Etikettarkiv: Inspiration

Liv i arbetet 5

Principen om icke-tvång

Jag nämnde i mitt förra inlägg att grundaren av sociokrati fick sina grundidéer från skolan där han gick i som barn. Detta är en berättelse om denna skola—De Werkplaats Kindergemeenschap i Bilthoven, Nederländerna—och hur den växte fram steg för steg.

Kees och Betty Boeke startade skolan på 1920-talet. Skolan är ett exempel på hur ideal som frihet, demokrati och jämlikhet omsattes i praktiken. På samma sätt som barn tycker om frihet och spontanitet så tycker de om ordning och reda. Utmaningen är att hitta en minimal struktur som stöder maximal frihet. Ordning kan förstås skapas med tvång, men rädsla hämmar all spontanitet. Frågan blir då hur man kan skapa ordning utan tvång? Detta är bakgrunden till att principen om icke-tvång etablerades.

I en bok från 1956 beskrivs hur vänliga barnen är mot alla, och hur enkelt och naturligt skolan verkade fungera. Det fanns mycket glädje och skratt. De äldre barnen hjälpte de yngre. Det fanns ingen skadegörelse och inga slagsmål. Det fanns inget tvång, eller hot om tvång. Skolan verkade genomsyras av tystnad och lugn.

Hemligheten bakom skolans framgångar låg i hur frustrationer i skollivet hanterades. Bespreking förkroppsligade andan på skolan. Samtalsandan hade växt fram från Kees och Betty Boekes ursprungliga skola. Samtalet var en samling där allt som berörde hela skolan diskuterades. Var och en på skolan hade möjlighet att säga sitt. Och idéer kombinerades så att lösningar som representerade den gemensamma viljan kunde hittas. Kees och Betty Boeke fick denna idé från kväkarna och deras samlingar, där man söker efter ”mötets mening” istället för att rösta.

Även om icke-tvång tillämpades, och alla beslut fattades gemensamt, så finns inga garantier för att skolans atmosfär kommer att bestå. Skolans framgång är beroende av dess familjära atmosfär, där minoriteten aldrig körs över. Det är den familjära atmosfären som förklarar vänligheten mellan vuxna och barn. Denna atmosfär växte naturligt fram ur de omständigheter vilka skolan grundades.

Det viktiga är att barnen respekteras som människor. Varje människa förtjänar respekt, hänsyn och kärlek. Det gick inte att bära en ”mask” på skolan. Du kanske inte vill att andra ska se hur du känner dig, men det går inte att dölja. Även om det inte alltid är lätt att vara utan en ”mask”, så ger denna spontanitet också glädje.

Skolan uppmuntrade barnens kreativitet. Aktiviteter som barnen helhjärtat kunde ägna sig åt säkerställde en atmosfär av vitalitet och glädje i livet. Poängen är att låta barnens intressen ta dem till den punkt där de vill lära sig. Och det fungerade! Effekten blev att barnen kände att deras personliga behov uppfylldes så långt som möjligt. Det var också en känsla som var viktigt för att vidmakthålla atmosfären av frihet på skolan.

Ett oväntat resultat av friheten var spontant ansvarstagande. Barnen tog ansvar även då läraren inte var på plats. Mänskliga behov sågs och blev omgående tillfredsställda. Barnen förväntandes inte organisera allt själva. Barnen ingick i en grupp, en gemenskap. Den enda faran var att de vuxna tog över och därmed tog från barnen deras eget initiativ och ansvar, så att barnen själva inte fick uppleva tillfredsställelsen av att själva organisera och skapa något.

Balansen mellan frihet och struktur måste hittas för att en gemenskap ska vara hälsosam. Skolan lyckades med detta genom att kombinera tre saker: (1) Ingen rädsla och inget tvång; (2) vänlighet vid förseelser; och (3) kontinuerligt stöd. Det innebär inte att det inte fanns några sanktioner, eller att inget gjordes om ett barn misskötte sig.

Poängen är att barnen inte dömdes eller fördömdes. Att döma och fördöma är sämre än sämst. Ingen indignation visades. Barnet fick enbart frågan: Varför gjorde du det? Känslan av skuld uppstod naturligt. Och med det kommer också önskan att gottgöra. Nästa fråga var: Vad tänker du göra åt det? Frånvaron av tvång gjorde att det inte fanns någon att motsätta sig. Valet att rätta till var barnets. Personlig antagonism undveks.

Däremot kunde vissa barn uppleva att det moraliska trycket ibland blev så stort att de upplevde det förtryckande och gjorde uppror. Några lämnade t.o.m. skolan, även om de flesta var tacksamma för hjälpen de fick med sina svårigheter. Skolans metoder hjälpte t.o.m. barn som hade mentala svårigheter. Det tog en eller två terminer.

Skolgemenskapen är ett samarbete mellan barn och vuxna. Den underliggande idén är att barnen vill lära sig, så det är upp till barnen att bevara den ordning som krävs för inlärning. Ursprungligen fanns endast en kommitté, Bespreking, som möttes en gång i veckan eller oftare om nödvändigt. Alla andra kommittéer föddes ur denna.

Från den ursprungliga Bespreking utvecklades Ronde. Dess syfte var att hantera ordningsfrågor. Alla medlemmar i Ronde var lika ansvariga för att lösa ett problem de var inblandade i. När det är problem, beror det vanligtvis inte bara på ett barn. Atmosfären i en grupp är lika ansvarigt för att något går fel, som brist på kontroll av en viss individ.

Mycket av skolans organisation lämnades medvetet flytande. Mänskliga, och inte tekniska, faktorer var avgörande. Detta inkluderade sammansättningen av kommittéerna. Kommittéer skapades spontant som ett resultat av skolans kraftiga tillväxt, när organisationen inte längre kunde hantera det stora inflödet av barn.

Barn håller sig inte alltid till reglerna, även när de har gjort dem själva. De lär sig från sina misslyckanden, så de måste få möjlighet att göra misstag. Konflikter uppstår alltid. När en lösning hittas, flyttas vanligtvis konflikten någon annanstans. Barn är spontana och handlar impulsivt i ögonblicket utan att tänka på konsekvenserna för andra. Viktigare än själva ordningen är lärandet i sig. Det finns alltid barn som inte lyssnar. Och det finns alltid en minoritet som inte låter sig påverkas av något.

Spontanitet förväntades på De Werkplaats. Det är naturligt för barn att vara spontana. Atmosfären blev outhärdlig för vuxna som irriterade sig på det. Inflödet av nya lärare ökade svårigheterna. Handling och reaktion hörde till ordningen för dagen. Vad vi gör och säger påverkas av det vi känner. Inget kan förhindra detta, så en ärlig ödmjukhet tillsammans med en villighet att erkänna misstag krävs. Där fanns också den ständiga känslomässiga belastningen som finns i alla grupper som arbetar tillsammans. Dagliga svårigheter uppstår i alla grupper.

Auktoriteten låg hos gruppen och inte hos läraren. Principen om icke-tvång fick såväl lärare som barn att ta sin del av ansvaret i det som gick fel. Detta krävde en villighet att se hela situationen utan beskyllningar. De Werkplaats tog för givet att alla vill vara vänner, och att det är bättre att vara kärleksfull än att hata. Aggression smälter bort i en atmosfär av ömsesidigt givande och tagande. Tillsammans kan vi göra livet finare och rikare för alla.

Relaterade inlägg:
Book Review: The Werkplaats Adventure

Organizing reflection 21

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
Today’s reflection is inspired by this and this post by Michelle Holliday (@thrivability).

Michelle writes (my emphasis in bold):

It usually takes more than action to generate and support change. …

We need to reconnect with what matters. We need to rediscover our place in the whole of life. …

Ultimately, what we need is to find the collective will to cultivate life’s ability to thrive … in every sphere of society. …

The outgoing worldview has been dominated by persuasion and even coercion, “driving” and “incentivizing” change.

Cultivating thrivability is not a discrete item on your to-do list; it’s an ongoing life practice…

Everything comes down to our ability to acknowledge and celebrate the precious gift of aliveness, source of our kinship with all existence.

It is through a sense of place … that we connect with the generative dimension of life most directly.1

Michelle also writes (my emphasis in bold):

Beyond specific techniques or the latest management fads, then, thrivability calls for a conscious commitment to nurturing life. It asks us to recognize the life in our organization—acknowledging that the organization isn’t something we can fully manage and control, but that our role is as stewards and participants, creating fertile conditions for life to flow and thrive across the fullness of the organizational ecosystem and beyond. —

For individual organizations, the lesson seems to be: get on in whatever way you can… Keep moving forward. … Adjust your speed and direction until you find the flow. And you will find it.2

Generative organizing calls for a conscious commitment to creating fertile conditions for life to flow and thrive accross our organizational ecosystems and beyond. It’s about reconnecting with what really matters, acknowledging the precious gift of life itself. It’s about finding and staying in the flow.

Notes:
1 Michelle Holliday, Beyond Best Practices—How to Listen for Generative Threads of Aliveness in Stories of What Works | Medium, 2018-08-13 (accessed 2018-08-14).
2 Michelle Holliday, Lessons from Amsterdam | Medium, 2018-08-14 [first published 2013-10-31] (accessed 2018-08-14).

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing reflection 19

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to reflect on subjects occupying my mind. I make no claim to fully believe what I write. Neither do I pretend that others have not already thought or written about the same subject. More often than not, I take up, combine, and add to already existing thoughts and ideas.

What is on my mind?
In today’s reflection, I combine thoughts and ideas from Harrison Owen and Rachel Naomi Remen. Rachel’s two books—Kitchen Table Wisdom and My Grandfather’s Blessings—are about opening space in our lives. I’m currently reading both of Rachel’s books.

This is also a continuation of this reflection. There’s an ongoing discussion about Open Space Organizations in the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList) which I find interesting.

Harrison Owen wrote August 10, 2018 (my emphasis in bold):

By my reckoning – All organizations are (already) Open Space organizations… they are just doing it very badly. Premise is that self organization has been the operative force with ALL systems for roughly 13.7 billion years. … And to play an old song: Open Space is not a method, technique, procedure – it is simply a remembrance of who and what we really are.1

Rachel Naomi Remen speaks to who and what we already are (my emphasis in bold):

The power to repair the world is already in you.2

Often … we may have ideas about life that keep us from experiencing what we already have.3

In befriending life, we do not make things happen according to our own design. We uncover something that is already happening in us and around us and create conditions that enable it.4

Everything is moving toward its place of wholeness. Befriending life requires that we listen for that potential which is trying to actualize itself over time.5

It is not about mastering life, controlling it or exerting our will over it, no matter how well intentioned our will may be.6

It means listening to life from the place in us that is connected to the wholeness around us. The place in us that is also whole.7

Generative organizing is about uncovering what is already happening in and around us, creating conditions that enable it. It requires listening for the potential which is trying to actualize itself. It means listening to life from the place in us that is whole and connected to the wholeness around us.

Notes:
1 This is from Harrison Owen’s mail 2018-08-10 20:38 UTC to the World wide Open Space Technology email list (OSList).
2 Rachel Naomi Remen, My Grandfather’s Blessings: Stories of Strength, Refuge, and Belonging (Riverhead Books, 2001, Kindle Edition), Loc 323.
3 Ibid., Loc 349.
4 Ibid., Loc 2759.
5 Ibid., Loc 2760.
6 Ibid., Loc 2763.
7 Ibid., Loc 2765.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Organizing principles that embody living wholeness

This is a post in my series on organizing ”between and beyond.” Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore what Charles Tolman has written about organizing principles on his blog Reflections, Ramblings and Rumblings: People, Technology, Gliding.

Source: Charles Tolman, Reflections, Ramblings and Rumblings: People, Technology, Gliding (charlestolman.com)

Organizing principles
Here is a post where Charles Tolman tries to explain the idea of organizing principles.

Organizing principles are not fixed, discrete ideas. They embody living wholeness, have a high degree of ambiguity, are never static, lie behind the parts, and cannot be written down.

This is very hard to get our heads around and requires mobile thinking. Experienced people have a sense of the whole and yet they also know the essence of what needs to happen in the parts.

Perceiving organizing principles
Here is Charles Tolman’s post on perceiving organizing principles, which requires the development of a living and mobile thinking perception.

Logical thinking can cope with known and static issues, but we need to be very aware of the boundaries of our knowledge. Thinking which is fixed into rule-based structures have unwanted side effects, like making it difficult to think in a mobile, living way.

Livingness is dynamic. If we want to develop a more mobile thinking perception, we need to engage in activities that foster a mobile mode of cognition, like dancing or painting. Dealing with human situations requires living, mobile thinking.

Other posts:
Here is Charles Tolman’s overview of all his blog posts in series order.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts
Memes as organizing principles

Michelle Holliday on thrivability

Michelle Holliday

I tweet quotes from the books I read from my twitter account @janhoglund. Here is a compilation of the most retweeted and liked quotes from Michelle Holliday’s upcoming book The Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World (in italics):

… thrivability – the intention and practice of enabling life to thrive as fully as possible, at every level.

… what if we made it our primary intention and goal to enable life to thrive …?

… our … role is not to tightly control … but to cultivate the necessary fertile conditions for life to self-organize …

… systems thinking remained (and still generally remains) grounded in a mechanistic model …

… the persistence of mechanistic thinking … is valuable to some degree and absurd if taken as the total view.

Even Deming’s forward-looking systems vision was implemented in mechanistic fashion.

… the patterns and larger goal of all life … [is] to connect to itself in ever more complex forms …

… all life is … a single interwoven tapestry of living, evolving, creative organisms.

… engaging … life in our organizations and communities … unleash unprecedented wisdom, collaboration, creativity and impact.

If … divergence is not integrated into the whole, then the living system … is jeopardized.

… the real point of our efforts is to participate in and support life’s ongoing ability to thrive.

… the mechanistic view of organizations as machines prompts us to put people in service of infrastructure and process …

When infrastructure is … in service of the life in an organization, what naturally emerges is what I call Practical Play.

We have mistakenly assumed that play is the opposite of work.

Seeing the organization as one coherent living system … opens up new possibilities.

When we see organizations as living ecosystems, the goal more naturally shifts to enabling life to thrive …

… the most effective solutions will be those generated by the organization itself.

… our opportunity – and pressing need – is to participate consciously, intentionally and in harmony with life’s processes …

… “thrivability” – … can be understood as the intention and practice of crafting an organization as a “space for life.”

… “responsibility” … is most of all “response-ability.”

What is needed in the Age of Thrivability is … integration of … [divergence, relationship, wholeness, self-integration].

For some reason, it’s only MBA students who ask me: how do you measure thrivability?

… fundamentally reconceiving the organization and our role within it is the most powerful “social innovation” possible.

Related post:
Book Review: The Age of Thrivability

Book Review: The Age of Thrivability

The Age of Thrivability: Vital Perspectives and Practices for a Better World by Michelle Holliday is a new book which will be released this fall. Michelle Holliday is a facilitator, consultant, researcher, presenter, and writer. Her work centers around ”thrivability,” which is based on a view of organizations and communities as living systems. It’s this view which Michelle Holliday eloquently elaborates in her book.

Thrivability
Thrivability can be understood as ”the intention and practice of enabling life to thrive as fully as possible” (p. 21). It’s about ”crafting an organization as a ”space for life”” (p. 107). But thrivability is not only about ”vibrant health and joy” all the time (p. 149). It also includes ”death” and ”conflict” (p.149).

Mechanical Systems vs. Living Systems
Michelle Holliday writes that ”the persistence of mechanistic thinking … is valuable to some degree” but is ”absurd if taken as the total view” (p. 41). I fully agree. Systems thinking has ”remained (and still generally remains) grounded in a mechanistic model” (p. 40). The result is that ”many of the changes made to date on the basis of systems thinking represent important first steps in a new direction, while most have been superficial and built on familiar values” (p. 41). Even W. Edwards Deming’s ”forward-looking systems vision was implemented in a mechanistic fashion” (p. 40). Although Deming insisted that ”measurement and quotas be replaced with leadership and removal of fear from the workplace, the widespread application has focused squarely on statistic measurement” (p. 41).

A key differentiating factor between mechanical systems and living systems is that ”living systems integrates divergent parts into a convergent whole characterized by dynamic relationship internally and externally in a continuous process of self-organization and self-creation” (p. 42). Keywords here are self-integration, self-organization and self-creation. This means that ”the real point of our efforts is to participate in and support life’s ongoing ability to thrive” (p. 95). When we see ”organizations as living ecosystems, the goal … naturally shifts to enabling life to thrive – contributing to and participating in life’s process[es] and pattern[s]” (p. 101). What are these patterns?

Living System Patterns
Michelle Holliday presents ”the core patterns of living systems in a variety of contexts” throughout her book (p. 12). The point is that ”the underlying conditions for … living systems to thrive” are ”the same conditions needed for an organization to thrive” (p. 18). Michelle has found the following four basic patterns to be ”widely cited across the literature in biology” and also to be ”universally present across … organizations and communities” (p. 29):

  1. Divergent Parts (Individual People): ”In every living system, there are individual parts …” (p. 29)
  2. Patterns of Relationship (Connective Infrastructure): ”The divergent parts are connected and supported in a pattern of responsive relationship with each other and with context” (p. 30).
  3. Convergent Wholeness (Shared Identity & Purpose): ”The divergent parts come together in relationship to form a convergent whole with new characteristics and capabilities” (p. 30).
  4. Self-integration: ”The entire process of divergence, relationship, and convergence is self-organizing, set into motion by life itself” (p. 31)

Generally, 1) the more ”diverse and self-expressive the parts are able to be,”  2) the more ”open and free-flowing the interactions” are, and 3) the more ”consistency and convergence there is at the level of the whole”, the more ”resilient, adaptive and creative the living system is likely to be” (pp. 30–31). This means that our ”most appropriate and important role is not to tightly control the activities of our human systems, but to cultivate the necessary fertile conditions for life to self-organize and self-integrate” (p. 31).

The metaphor of a tree offers useful guidance to the living systems patterns. (Michelle Holliday, The Age of Thrivability, p. 97)

The metaphor of a tree offers useful guidance to the living systems patterns. (Michelle Holliday, The Age of Thrivability, p. 97)

Management vs. Stewarship
Michelle Holliday has ”spent the past decade bringing these patterns of living systems into” her ”consulting work with a range of organizations” (p. 18). Perhaps most importantly, recognizing ”organizations as living systems has encouraged … leaders to see themselves less as engineers and managers and more as stewards in service of life” (p. 18). Stewardship is to ”create the conditions for the organization-as-a-living ecosystem to self-integrate — to self-organize and to enable collective intelligence, responsiveness and resilience to emerge” (p. 47). Stewardship replaces ”control and guidance” with ”encouragement and invitation” (p. 122). An ”invitation-based, broadly participatory process” enriches the organization ”through learning and relationship” (p. 156).

Embodying Patterns & Practicing Stewardship
Michelle Holliday emphasizes that ”the most effective solutions will be those generated by the organization itself” (p. 101). Stories from five different organizations practicing thrivability are included in the book:

  1. Espace pour la vie / Space for Life
  2. Zenith Cleaners (written by Tolu Ilesanmi, Cleaner and CEO)
  3. CLC Montreal (written by a long-time staff-member and teacher)
  4. Experiencing Mariposa (written by Michael Jones, long-time resident of the town of Orillia, Ontario, Canada)
  5. Crudessence (written by Julian Giacomelli, CEO at the time of writing)

Conclusions
Michelle Holliday’s book is very inspiring! I love her tree metaphor. What gives Michelle’s book an edge is that she is serious about the living systems view. She even acknowledges that death is a vital aspect of thrivability. It’s certainly not superficial mechanical thinking. What’s nice is also that it’s possible to approach the book as an open buffet. I enjoyed the real-life stories in the book. Stewardship is less a role and more a commitment offered from a stance of reverence for life. What is called for is not a set of best practices, but a recognition of the life in our organizations and the world around us. The book shows what’s possible if we go beyond our old habits of thought and action. Thrivability requires that we see life’s intrinsic value and act accordingly.

Related posts:
Michelle Holliday quotes from The Age of Thrivability
Book Review: Thrivability by Jean M. Russell

There is another way

Here’s an excerpt (my emphasis in bold) from Russel Means’s most famous speech in 1980.1 There’s something deeper than just a rejection of Marxism from this radical. He has an entirely different worldview compared to all ”isms”:

“… Newton … “revolutionized” physics and the so-called natural sciences Descartes did the same thing with culture. John Locke did it with politics, and Adam Smith did it with economics. Each one of these “thinkers” took a piece of the spirituality of human existence and converted it into code, an abstraction. … Each of these intellectual revolutions served to abstract the European mentality even further, to remove the wonderful complexity and spirituality from the universe and replace it with a logical sequence: one, two, three. Answer!

The European materialist tradition of despiritualizing the universe is very similar to the mental process which goes into dehumanizing another person. … it makes it all right to kill and otherwise destroy other people. … In terms of the despiritualization of the universe, the mental process works so that it becomes virtuous to destroy the planet. …

There is another way.It is the way that knows that humans do not have the right to degrade Mother Earth, that there are forces beyond anything the European mind has conceived, that humans must be in harmony with all relations or the relations will eventually eliminate the disharmony. … There is no need for a revolutionary theory to bring this about; it’s beyond human control.

All European tradition, Marxism included, has conspired to defy the natural order of all things. Mother Earth has been abused, the powers have been abused, and this cannot go on forever. No theory can alter that simple fact. Mother Earth will retaliate, the whole environment will retaliate, … That’s revolution. …

What I’m putting out here is … a cultural proposition. … To cling to capitalism and Marxism and all other “isms” is simply to remain within European culture. … As a fact, this constitutes a choice. … retain your sense of reality.

Notes:
1 Revolution and Amrican Indians: “Marxism is as Alien to My Clture as Capitalism”, 17 October 2010. (Accessed 5 April 2016)

The fine art of shutting up

Ernesto Sirolli

If people do not wish to be helped, leave them alone. 1

The most important thing is passion. … The passion that the person has for her own growth is the most important thing. 2

Planning is the kiss of death of entrepreneurship. 3

We have discovered that the miracle of the intelligence of local people is such that you can change the culture and the economy of this community just by capturing the passion, the energy and imagination of your own people. 4

Notes:
1 Ernesto Sirolli @ (05:02), Want to help someone? Shut up and listen!, YouTube, Published 26 Nov 2012. (Accessed 27 March 2016)
2 Ernesto Sirolli @ (06:26).
3 Ernesto Sirolli @ (10:44).
4 Ernesto Sirolli @ (15:41).

A wide-ranging hangout with Simon Robinson

Simon Robinson, co-author of Holonomics: Business Where People and Planet Matter, shares in this wide-ranging hangout his view on holonomics, wholeness, leadership, change, human values, and the dynamics of seeing deeply. Simon says that there’s lot of talk about collaboration, co-creation, sustainability, and sharing, but that these are just words if there’s no authenticity and a lived presence of human values. I fully agree.

Related posts:
Book Review: Holonomics
Book Review: First Steps to Seeing

Book Review: First Steps to Seeing

First Steps to Seeing: A Path Towards Living Attentively is Emma Kidd’s first book. Emma Kidd “left the fashion industry to investigate alternative ways of thinking about and doing business” (p. 11). What she didn’t expect was that her explorations would take her right back to the very foundation for her previous work as designer – the “way of seeing” (p. 11). The book has two parts: Developing a Dynamic Way of Seeing, and Giving Life Our Full Attention, and is designed to take the reader on a journey “that encourages us to fully notice life by paying acute attention to the ways in which we see, think and act, every day” (p. 14).

A Dynamic Way of Seeing (and Being)
The book also serves as an introduction and guide to Henri Bortoft’s work. Henri Bortoft called the switch of attention from ‘what we see’, to ‘the way in which we are seeing’ a “dynamic way of seeing” (p. 32). A dynamic way of seeing involves “noticing our experience of life as we are experiencing it, rather than analyzing it” (p. 15). It “enables us to transform the way in which we relate to ourselves, to other people, to our work and to life in general” (p. 16), and “ask[s] us to become more gentle, vulnerable, open and intimate in our encounters with the world” (p. 17). Fundamentally, it is “a way of being in, and relating to, life” (p. 109). Living attentively “allows life to thrive, both inside and outside of us” (p. 109).

Focused Sensory Experience
Developing a dynamic way of seeing involves “pausing any internal dialogue that is occurring in our mind and opening our awareness to notice the way in which our senses can perceive the world” (p. 40). By shifting our attention “from our thoughts and towards our senses we can move beyond our habits of perception and begin to rediscover our own experience of life” (p. 41). When we “become aware of the way in which our thoughts divert our attention away from our experience of the world, we can make an effort to redirect our attention and attempt to more fully experience life” (p. 47). Although our “thoughts are an intrinsic … part of our experience, they are often part of a secondary ‘meaning-making’ process that attempts to re-present the life that our sensory experience first presences” (p. 47). The “awareness that exists prior to our thoughts”, in the form of words, “has a clarity and freshness to it that brings our experience of the world directly to the forefront of our perception” (p. 47). “Lived experience is our capacity to experience life, as it is being lived, in the present moment” (p. 51). Henri Bortoft believed that “perception can only truly begin when we slow down” (p. 51). Our minds often work incredibly fast, jumping “from one thought to the next” (p. 51). By slowing down, “changing the way we see, and the way in which we notice the world around us, we are literally changing the way we use our mind” (p. 60). This makes it possible “to experience a new richness, depth, and diversity in the life around us” (p. 63).

Sensorial imagination
We can also “use our imagination as a mirror to reflect on our experience and to bring it to life again in our mind” (p. 63). When we “use our imagination to re-member (put back together) a particular experience, as exactly as possible, in all its sensory and felt detail,” we can review the experience “without the distractions of personal opinions, analysis, preconceive ideas or definitions” (p. 64). Since we are all different, “there are no fixed instructions for the exercise of exact sensorial imagination” (p. 65). “We just need to pay full attention to our sensory experience of life and then try to accurately bring that experience back to life in our imagination” (p. 65). When we let “our intellectual analysis dominate our investigations, our living experience of the world tends to be overlooked” (p. 73). “This leaves us blind to the life of the world around us” (p. 73).

Intuitive Perception
The action of “fully focusing on our experience, rather than our thoughts, has the effect of … connecting us directly to the world” (p. 82). We can then “release the specific focus of our attention and open our awareness, so that we remain present to our experience yet not fixated on it” (p. 82). This “frees up our intuition to sense life in its own unique way” (p. 82). Intuition is also “called non-inferential perception” (p. 81). With “focused sensory perception” we narrow our gaze, whereas with “intuitive perception” we loose gaze and open our attention (p. 84). Putting “intuitive perception” into practice is not as straightforward as the “ways by which we can put our thoughts and senses into immediate action” (p. 84). Again, there are no fixed instructions “that will guarantee successful results” (p. 85). “All we can do is try to create conditions within ourselves for intuitive understanding to emerge” (p. 85). The validity of our intuition can be strengthened by “most crucially coming to know ourselves, ever further and deeper” (p. 86).

Authentic vs. Counterfeit Wholes
Wholeness is “intrinsically embedded in all parts of nature” and “expresses itself through the parts that make up whole forms” (p. 87). Henri Bortoft distinguished between ‘authentic’ and ‘counterfeit’ wholes. An ‘authentic’ whole ”reflects the type of wholes that nature creates, where the whole is always present in the parts” (p. 90). This type of whole “cannot be reduced by simply removing ‘parts’ of it” (p. 90). The authentic whole “is created by an ongoing, interactive ‘dialogue’ between the parts and the whole(s) of which they are a part” (p. 92). “An authentic whole is … a coherent integrity which becomes expressed through the parts that make up its form” (p. 92). The parts rely on “the coherent integrity of the whole to guide their development, but they are not slaves to the whole” (p. 92). The parts are “a place for ‘presencing’ of the whole” (p. 92). “In an authentic whole there is an intrinsic relationship between the parts and the whole but neither the part nor the whole is dominant; they are not separate entities and cannot be separated” (p. 93). A ‘counterfeit’ whole, on the other hand, is “a kind of ‘super part’ which domiciliates the parts that it creates by sitting over and above them, assuming significance, supremacy, and superiority” (pp. 91—92). This type of whole consists of “a collection of separate parts that have been assembled … in order to create the ‘whole’” (p. 92). Counterfeit wholes “operates as separate entities” (p. 92). They have “just been put together” (p. 92). “Our ability … to distinguish between authentic and counterfeit wholes … can help us to recognize what is genuine, and most satisfying, in our everyday lives” (p. 93). “In nature, in order for a whole to thrive, its parts must thrive also” (p. 95). “The same goes for societies, neither the part nor the whole can dominate, they need to authentically work together” (p. 95).

Living inquiry
Paying full attention “to noticing what brings us alive and intentionally expressing that vitality draws out the same potential in others also” (p. 124). If we want “to create livelier … societies we each need to find our own ways to come more alive and to be more fully human” (p. 124). “Paying attention to experiencing ourselves and presencing our own life … enables us to become more present, vulnerable and authentic” (p. 125). This creates “new space for life to flourish and flow within us” (p. 125). “A living inquiry is a dynamic way of seeing in action” (p. 130).

A Dynamic Way of Seeing (and Being) At Work
Emma Kidd cites several authors and researchers in the book to “demonstrate a form of living inquiry that allows the part of life being studied to become its own theory and to show itself, on its own terms” (p. 130). The case studies are very interesting and “illustrate the way in which systemic change can begin with an individual” (p. 143). “By using living knowledge to put the needs of life itself at the very centre of professional practice,” each case study shows “ways in which life can, and does, thrive” (p. 143). The projects and people in the book provide examples “of a truly revolutionary way of working” (p. 143), but to truly change the way of being at work is difficult. Emma Kidd has “come across many businesses and individuals all over the world who are really trying to make a difference but many only manage it in a partial way” (p. 168). They might, for example, “still end up controlling their employees rather than finding ways that allow them to genuinely thrive” (p. 168). Emma Kidd noticed, on reflection, “that these contrasting ways of working form two very different approaches to life and to business – one in which life generally suffers and in the other life quite obviously thrives” (p. 170). The case studies in the book display “a radical form of honesty and openness” (p. 174). They provide “a kind of … open-source project design and development, offering … a starting point from which to provide the best possible conditions for life to thrive in our own communities, schools, offices and businesses” (p. 174). The projects are very important “examples of the way in which parts of life can thrive when whole systems intentionally give their parts the freedom to do so” (p. 174).

From Surviving to Thriving
“At the root of everything we create is the mind that created it, including the organisations in which we work and the societies in which we live” (p. 176). A dynamic way of seeing “shines a light on the conditions within which life is most likely to flourish and therefore makes it possible for us to replicate these conditions” (p. 176). This is why a dynamic way of seeing and being is so important!

I highly recommend the book! It’s a great guide towards living and working more attentively, so that we can create conditions for life to thrive. The book is an important signpost in my own search for life-giving ways of working.

Related post:
Seeing Life in Work

Soul of Business

NicAskewBusinessSoul
The causes of much of what happens in our lives lie far deeper than we imagine. The Soul Biographies by Nic Askew look beneath the surface of our lives, work and society at an unusual depth. And in doing so, the films open our eyes wide to what people and organizations might become.

Ett exempel på värdegrund


För några år sedan hörde jag en föreläsning av Nirvan Richter, grundare av Norrgavel. Föredraget handlade dels om hantverket i möbelsnickeri, dels om Norrgavels värdegrund. Nirvan Richter är en färgstark person med starka värderingar. Norrgavels värdegrund är tredelad och har ett humanistiskt, ett ekologiskt och ett existensiellt perspektiv:

  • Humanistisk – om människan: Ambitionen är alltid att göra möblerna så fina som det någonsin går. Möblerna är bruksföremål som skall vara funktionella och praktiska, men de skall oockså göra vardagslivet enkelt och vackert. Mottot är okonstlad enkelhet.
  • Ekologisk – om naturen: Konsekvent kretsloppstänkandet utgör själva grunden i sättet att göra möblerna. Användningen av förnyelsebara råmaterial handlar inte enbart om kretsloppstänaknde utan har också med upplevelsen att göra. Äggoljetemperans doft. Den fysiska känslan när man stryker handen över en såpad träyta. Naturmaterial åldras som regel med behag. Ytterligare en ekologisk aspekt är funktionen. Möblerna ska tåla att användas dagligen under lång tid.
  • Existentiell – om evigheten: Vad är meningen med allt? Vem är jag? Vad är egentligen viktigt i livet? Livsviktigt, alltså! Ett barns födelse. En anhörigs död. Att få vara frisk. På ett sätt är det livsviktigt precis hur möblerna är utformade och ur en annan synvinkel är det fullkomligt oväsentligt. Möblerna skall inte dominera livet utan vara en bakgrund till det. Inspiration kommer från den japanska traditionen och amerikansk shaker. När möblerna görs åt Gud duger enbart det bästa.

Remember to live the questions now

Remember to be deeply honest with yourself, deeply aware of yourself. It requires that you face choices and realize that sometimes the right choice are difficult ones.

Remember that the way forward demands the most intense personal integrity. It demands that you become aware of and live out of that deep center in yourself that transcends all the fragments into which your life has been shattered. It demands that you re-collect yourself, including those parts of yourself that it has been painful or difficult to own.

Remember to stand open to experience, to recapture the ability to see life and others afresh as through the eyes of a child. It demands that you cease to seek refuge in what you know, and constantly explore and learn from what you do not know. It demands that you live the questions rather than the answers.

Live the questions now,
Perhaps you will then, gradually,
Without noticing it,
Live along some distant day
Into the answer.

~Rilke

Source: Inspired by Spiritual Intelligence: The Ultimate Intelligence by Danah Zohar & Ian Marshall, page 296.

 

The Elements

The Elements with Joseph Jaworski is an interesting series of short videos on:

How will companies approach the management challenge?

Here is a visionary tweet by Kenneth Mikkelsen on how companies in the future will approach the management challenge. The businesses will:

  • Have a higher purpose beyond making profit
  • Hire people who are passionate about this higher purpose
  • See all shareholders as equally important
  • Cultivate long-term relationships with suppliers
  • Have open doors and be transparent with information
  • Encourage decision-making and autonomy all the way down
  • Pay well, provide excellent benefits and be generous with training/development
  • Volunteer services to the community
  • Narrow the gap in pay

Life-giving work

Life-giving work is bringing something meaning-filled into being.

Bringing something into being requires flexibility and ability to adapt one’s capacities to the demands of the situation. As some degree of mastery is gained, what is brought into being can can become expressive of something that has its own integrity and beauty.

These thoughts were inspired while reading Craig Holdrege, Thinking Like a Plant, p. 182.