This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. This is a retrospective of what has happened during the week. The purpose is to reflect on the work itself. Here is my previous retrospective. Here is my next retrospective.
What has happened? What needs to be done?
I’ve read Human Dynamics by Sandra Seagal and David Horne this week.1 Sandra and Seagal introduce a framework consisting of nine different personality dynamics of which five make up over 99.9% of the population. The framework feels artificial somehow. I didn’t feel fully at home in any of the personality dynamics described. Here is my review.
I’ve mentioned in this retrospective that Roger Penrose strongly argues that mind cannot be described in any kind of computational terms. This week, I found an interview with Roger Penrose by Robert Lawrence Kuhn on YouTube. Roger Penrose explains in this interview why consciousness is non-computational, i.e., why consciousness can never be simulated. If Roger Penrose is right, then tasks which requires understanding—in principle—lie beyond the capabilities of automation. There are limits to what can be automated.
I’ve also discovered that Václav Havel has much to say about organizing. He writes in this article on The Need for Transcendence in the Postmodern World that the ”conception of the world” that science has fostered ”now appears to have exhausted its potential.” ”Man as an observer” has become ”completely alienated from himself as a being.” Havel also mentions the urgent threats facing humanity. He says that ”it is clearly necessary to invent [new] organizational structures”, but that such efforts are ”doomed to failure if they do not grow out of something deeper, out of generally held values.” A deeper generative order for organizing is related to deeper generally held values.
Václav Havel writes more about organizing in this article on The Power of the Powerless. He writes that ”life, in its essence, moves toward plurality, diversity, independent self-constitution, and self organization, in short, toward the fulfillment of its own freedom”. Havel believes in the ”principle of self-management”. He also thinks that the ”principles of control and discipline ought to be abandoned in favor of self-control and self-discipline.” It’s the only way to achieve ”genuine (i.e., informal) participation” and ”a feeling of genuine responsibility”. The organizational structures should arise naturally ”from below as a consequence of authentic social self-organization”. They should ”derive [their] vital energy from a living dialogue with the genuine needs from which they arise”. When the needs are gone, then the organizational structures should also disappear. ”The principles of their internal organization should be very diverse, with a minimum of external regulation.” A deeper generative order for organizing derives its vital energy from a living dialogue with genuine needs.
What was good? What can be improved?
I always appreciate comments and reading suggestions. Sophia Montgomery (@Sophiam1973) sent a link to an audiobook, The Language of Archetypes: Discover the Forces that Shape Your Destiny by Caroline Myss. And Jesse Soininen (@jessesoininen) sent this article on Confronting the Technological Society by Samuel Matlack. It’s an article about Jacques Ellul’s life and work. Ellul was a French historian, sociologist, and lay theologian. He has much to say about technology. Ellul writes that the machine has created the modern, industrial world, but that it’s a poor fit for society. Social conditions have been adapted to the smooth churning of the machine. ”All-embracing technique is in fact the consciousness of the mechanized world.” The primary concern for everyone involved becomes improving the means, while the ends—the ultimate purposes—move out of sight.
1 Sandra Seagal and David Horne, Human Dynamics: A New Framework for Understanding People and Realizing the Potential in Our Organizations (Pegasus, 1997).
Organizing in between and beyond posts