Autognomics Books Holacracy Life Organizing Quakers Sociocracy Values Workplaces

My 10 Year Summary: What I Have Learned


1. Introduction
2. Background
3. My Journey
 3.1. The initial years (2012–2015)
 3.2. The middle years (2016–2018)
 3.3. The final years (2019–2022)
4. Conclusions
5. Afterword
6. Acknowledgments
7. Recommended Books

1. Introduction

I started blogging ten years ago today (Sept 26, 2012). At the same time, I started searching for life-giving ways of working. This is a summary of my journey and what I have learned. It is a personal story of what felt right to me at the time and what I am seeing now. I raised three questions. The answer to the third question about deeper order is a topic for a book in itself.

I may perhaps pass a few ideas along to you that you can relate to in your own life. I mostly really want to communicate how deadly our world has become for so many. It doesn’t have to be this way!

Bookshelves with ten years of reading.

During this time, I wrote 1000 blog posts and gathered 40000 quotes and notes. The links in this post provide entry points to further reading. There is a list of recommended books at the end. I have included links to my book reviews when available.

2. Background

I have 39 years of experience, mostly in industrial R&D. I was trained as a physicist. I learned everything that was to learn and I even taught it. I was good at it. I received ABB Corporate Research’s Mission of The Year award in 2010 for my contribution to ABB’s Software Development Improvement Program.

I have explored a lot of ideas over my lifetime. I am still learning. I am even unlearning. My inquiry into life-giving work became more personal than I had anticipated.

3. My Journey

I saw a little girl this morning,
on her way to school.
It could have been me!
And here I am
on my way to work.
Fifty years later!
Does it have to be this way?

3.1. The initial years (2012–2015)

Little did I know at the start of my journey that I would suffer from depression half a year later. It took a couple of months until I could feel the sun in my face and the wind in my hair again. I think I have helped a lot of people in my workplace, but in that workplace I discovered that I was being killed. I was dying and I didn’t know why. I had to find out what I could do differently.

I found sociocracy two months after the start of my journey. I spent two years studying sociocracy in depth and wrote an ebook on sociocracy (in Swedish) together with John Schinnerer. I learned that the early development of Holacracy was influenced by sociocracy. My review of Brian Robertson’s new book on Holacracy got attention on twitter.

The group-centered decision-making in sociocracy is derived from Quaker practices. Michael Sheeran’s Beyond Majority Rule is to some the definitive guide on the Quakers’ decision-making method. I wanted to learn more and visited the Quakers in Stockholm, Sweden.

Kväkargården, Stockholm, Sweden.

I learned that the Quakers (Friends) don’t just seek consent (as in sociocracy), but seek unity (or concord). It’s a subtle but important difference. I noticed how the Friends deliberately slowed down when there were objections. The Swedish Friends call it “framkallningstid” (development time).

I met a British Friend at the Nordic Friends Yearly Meeting 2017 who had experiences of making decisions in meetings with a thousand participants. He said it worked because they were seeking the sense of the Meeting. The method can also be used successfully in a secular context. It would revolutionize our political system.

Michelle Holliday sent me her new book on thrivability. I love her tree metaphor. We need to recognize life itself in our organizations. We need to move from control to letting life thrive. It is all too easy for us to lose sight of the very quality of livingness. There is a place for control, but that doesn’t mean that it is the best way to deal with work and people.

Sociocracy and Holacracy are based on cybernetic principles. The way of seeing is the engineer’s. Both use control to run the organization. Sociocracy acknowledges that people are not system components, while Holacracy uses the metaphor of people as sensors acting on behalf of the organization. It is a misconception to view people as autonomous rule-following entities. Metaphors both reflect and influence our thinking.

There is a distinction between being autonomic…, and allonomic

—Norm Hirst, Life-itself as organism characteristics – The Autognomics Institute

Norm Hirst makes a very important distinction between machines, which are allonomic, and living organisms, which are autonomic. Organisms come into being and grow into maturity as a whole entity unlike machines that are assembled piece by piece by some other.

Organisms are self-creating, not just self-organizing. Their purpose is not only to fulfill external tasks, but to develop their own life. To be alive is to be able to act. No organism is a machine, let alone an input-output machine (cybernetics).

Comparing an organism to a machine is profoundly misleading…

—Andreas Weber, Biology of Wonder

Andreas Weber emphasizes that it is profoundly misleading to compare an organism to a machine. Machines do not create themselves. They have no own interests. They do not resist being switched off. All organisms experience being alive. They decide, choose, and act according to values. Feeling is the inner experience of meaning. Organisms have to be free out of necessity.

Organism ways will always push to maintain the freedom to be autonomous…

—Skye Hirst, Value Intelligence In All Creative Organisms – The Autognomics Institute

Skye Hirst points out that it is a fundamental principle and an inalienable right for us to be free to act according to our own beinghood. Some people in power try to take it away by imposing overly tight controls. People are living beings, not things to be managed.

It is essential that we have the opportunity to take right and effective actions that are guided by our intrinsic intentions and meanings. This is a prerequisite for a healthy environment where we can learn, adapt, and thrive.

These insights gave me an understanding of my depression. I realized that I couldn’t find effective actions to fully be myself in the workplace. And yet, I was very good at adapting, obeying, and fulfilling expectations.

3.2. The middle years (2016–2018)

My journey took a new turn in 2016 when I started searching between and beyond our traditional ways of organizing work. Many different approaches have been developed over the years. They are often accompanied by a whole industry offering tools, training, consulting, and certification.

David Bohm & F. David Peat, Science, Order, and Creativity, pp. 274–5.

My inquiry was inspired by David Bohm and F. David Peat’s notion of the order between and beyond. I raised three questions in the inquiry:

  1. What existing orders of organizing do we have today?
  2. How are they entwined within each other in ways that are basically incompatible?
  3. What clues to a deeper order can we find in the answers to these questions?

I was never able to answer these questions completely, but they gave a direction to my inquiry:

  1. I made an attempt to answer the first question. The challenge was that the different approaches couldn’t be thought of as being well-defined. Misinformation also became problematic. I discovered quotes that were not accurate, and claims that were not true.
  2. I never answered the second question. As I write this, my working hypothesis is that there is an overcommitment to mechanical order. Many approaches require that people behave as cogs and wheels (or, in the language of cybernetics, as sensors).
  3. Likewise, I never answered the third question. This is a topic for a book in itself. My hypothesis is that in order to sense deeper order we need to pay acute attention to the ways in which we see, think, feel, and act — individually and together. We need to enter into a new way of seeing. We need to examine the edges of our awareness.

Paavo Pylkkänen was a collaborator with David Bohm and is in a great position to comment on David Bohm’s work.

Bohm often used the metaphors of machine and living organisms to illustrate the difference between a mechanical order and a non-mechanical…order…

—Paavo Pylkkänen, Mind, Matter and The Implicate Order, p. 51.

Mechanical order emphasizes external relationships while deeper order draws attention to internal relationships and participation. Bohm thought that it was important to understand the factors which supports communication and coherent action. Changing reality means changing oneself. We always act based on a certain understanding.

You can learn how to let a deeper bodily felt sense come in relation to any specific situation.

—Eugene Gendlin, Focusing, p. vii.

Felt sense is a felt meaning, a bodily understanding. When we become quietly attentive and sensitive we can let our actions be guided by the needs of the situation. Experiencing is always there in the present moment. It is a deeper order in that it is pre-conceptual. Only actual living can grasp living experiencing adequately.

…feeling our needs and having them satisfied is a direct sign of how well we realise (or fail to realise) our aliveness.

—Andreas Weber, Enlivenment, p. 17.

Feeling is directly related to our sense of aliveness. Rational thinking has no way of understanding lived experience. Our ability to think in logical and abstract terms of mechanical order separates us from the world. It is, in fact, our reliance on rational calculation which makes today’s loss of life possible. We need a more qualitative and organic way of understanding. We need to become carefully observant of life itself.

3.3 The final years (2019–2022)

My journey took yet another turn in 2019 when I started painting. I loved it! I discovered that painting moved me into a state of flow, which felt very relaxing, enjoyable, and freeing.

It felt so good, in fact, that I spent hours painting when I came home from work. While painting, I was totally absorbed in the moment. I was totally involved with all my being in something which felt intrinsically satisfying. I felt creatively alive.

—Jan Höglund, Grevens stig, Ängsö, Sweden.

I continued reading and writing, but not as much as previously.

4. Conclusions

At the beginning of my journey, I discovered that I was being killed. I was dying and I didn’t know why. I knew I had to find out what I could do differently. Ten years later, I have learned how to move towards my own aliveness, towards who I am, towards who I was born to be.

We are not only killing ourselves with our organizations, we are killing our planet and all of nature with our western civilization. Our organizations reflect our values and priorities, our ways of thinking. All aspects of life need to be marked by new priorities, new ways of seeing, new perceptions of what is good.

What we find in other organisms is aliveness: ours, and theirs, and that which is the source of all.

—Andreas Weber, Biopoetics, p. 117.

We can discern what enhances aliveness for the simple reason that we are alive. By experiencing aliveness we are able to evaluate the life-giving potential of any situation. Life is contagious with aliveness. Aliveness is intrinsic to life itself.

Life-giving work is about being in the world with a deep sense of caring. It is about listening, seeing, and acting in harmony with Life. It is through gentle action, living from a deeper place, using our whole intelligence, that we can act in harmony with Life’s deeper order.

Kelvy Bird provides a practical example of how to make the unseen, yet felt, inner life of a social field visible in her work as a scribe and visual facilitator. It’s about staying open, listening deeply, and acting in the right time.

Staying open is a key skill…

—Kelvy Bird, Generative Scribing, p. 53.

We need to step deeply into our lives, staying open to the flow of meaning. It is a key skill and a real challenge. It is far too easy to inadvertently close our minds to what is actually going on. I closed my mind during my depression because I was afraid of feeling deeply. I didn’t think it was safe to feel and to express those feelings honestly.

Listen deeply… Trust that a deeper meaning will arrive…

—Kelvy Bird, Generative Scribing, p. 127.

Instead of imposing order we can inquire into what is seeking new order. We can listen deeply for what wants to unfold in the present moment. We can act in the right time as it unfolds. It is all fluid motion!

We can let our next step of thought come from…experiential feedback, rather than only from the concept.

—Eugene Gendlin, Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning, p. xvii.

We can let our thoughts and actions come from our experiencing, rather than from ideas alone. It can lead us to modify our thinking, rather than being confined in it. We can act from a felt sense. This is one of my most important discoveries.

Felt meaning is present whenever actions, observations, and situations occur that have meaning to a person. An individual who is maximally open to his or her experience weighs and balances all the meanings in his or her experience. Change occurs through experiencing.

In summary, I know now that I can choose to stay open and allow myself to feel fully alive. Without natural beauty and a deep connection to the living world, we end up lifeless and depressed. Beauty is felt aliveness. It is also healing.

…help each person reach the deepest place in their own hearts and…help them bring this material out into the open.

—Christoper Alexander, The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth, p. 117.

Going forward, I want to create conditions that will activate and intensify life itself, with my he-art. Ultimately, it is a question of love — for the planet, for other beings, and for myself. To allow myself to be fully alive is to love myself and the world. Love is the inside of aliveness. Honoring our aliveness is also the best way to ensure our long-term survival as a species.

5. Afterword

My journey became more personal than I had anticipated at the start. My focus was initially on finding systemic answers to my question about life-giving work (for example, sociocracy), but I ended up with intrinsic answers (seeing, being, feeling). I had searched for explicate order, but ended up with a focus on implicate order. I had searched for systemic value (rules), but ended up with giving priority to intrinsic value (love). This is also one of my most important discoveries.

Embrace change…
…be present.
Work is…creating.
Create a nurturing…environment.
Love the workers…before the work.
Make time for community…

—Tess Jette, Six pillars of a life giving workplace – The Autognomics Institute

Life-giving work can only happen when all people are free to use their brains and hearts. It can be done in many ways, but it always has to be done wholeheartedly. Stay open, listen deeply, act at the right time, and trust your felt sense! It can be this way!

6. Acknowledgments

I would like to thank the Friends in Sweden for generously sharing their knowledge in group-centered decision-making. It’s one thing to read about it, it’s quite another to experience it! Thank you!

I would also like to give my heartfelt thanks to Skye Hirst, who coached me in the writing of this post. We have had an ongoing dialogue since 2017. Thank you for accompanying me on this journey — both as a coach and as a friend!

Finally, thank you, dear reader, if you have read this far! You can reach me or follow me here.

7. Recommended Books

This is a long list. Authors who have influenced me most are Christopher Alexander, David Bohm, Henri Bortoft, Eugene Gendlin, and Robert Hartman. I have found myself going back to their books again and again. All have something to say about deeper order.

Christopher Alexander’s books hold a special place in my library.

Abram, D., The Spell of the Sensuous
Abram, D., Becoming Animal.
Addleson, M., Beyond Management
Agerbeck, B., The Graphic Facilitator’s Guide
Alexander, C., The Timeless Way of Building
Alexander, C., The Nature of Order: Book 1 – The Phenomenon of Life
Alexander, C., The Nature of Order: Book 2 – The Process of Creating Life
Alexander, C., The Nature of Order: Book 3 – A Vision of a Living World
Alexander, C., The Nature of Order: Book 4 – The Luminous Ground

Alexander, C., et al., A Pattern Language
Alexander, C., et al., The Battle for the Life and Beauty of the Earth
Amabile, T., & Kramer, S., The Progress Principle
Arrien, A., The Four-Fold Way
Arrien, A., The Second Half of Life
Artur, B.W., The Nature of Technology
Atran, S., Talking to the Enemy
Bache, C.M., The Living Classroom
Bache, C.M., Dark Night, Early Dawn
Bache, C.M., LSD and the Mind of the Universe
Baghai, M., & Quigley, J., As One
Baldwin, C., & Linnea, A., The Circle Way
Ballé, M., & Ballé, F., Lead With Respect
Banishoeib, F., The Poetry of Leadership
Bateson, N., Small Arcs of Larger Circles
Beck, K., Extreme Programming Explained
Bennis, W., Organizing Genius
Benson, H., The Relaxation Response
Bergstrand, J., Reinventing Your Enterprise
Bird, K., Generative Scribing
Brikinshaw, J., Reinventing Management
Blake, A., The Supreme Art of Dialogue
Blake, A., A Gymnasium of Beliefs in Higher Intelligence.
Blake, A., The Intelligent Enneagram.
Block, P., Community
Block, P., Flawless Consulting
Block, P., The Answer to How is Yes
Block, P., The Empowered Manager
Block, P., Stewardship
Bogsnes, B., Implementing Beyond Budgeting
Bohm, D., On Creativity
Bohm, D., On Dialogue
Bohm, D., Unfolding Meaning
Bohm, D., Wholeness and the Implicate Order
Bohm, D., Quantum Theory
Bohm, D., The Special Theory of Relativity
Bohm, D., & Biederman C., Bohm-Biederman Correspondence
Bohm, D., & Hiley B., The Undivided Universe
Bohm, D., & Peat F.D., Science, Order, and Creativity
Bornstein, D., How to Change the World
Bortoft, H., The Wholeness of Nature (My tweets from the book compiled by Simon Robinson)
Bortoft, H., Taking Appearance Seriously (Excellent book review by Simon Robinson)
Brafman, O., & Beckstrom A., The Starfish and the Spider
Brogan, K., A Mind of Your Own
Brooks, F.P., The Mythical Man-Month
Brown, J., The Art and Spirit of Leadership
Brown, J., & Isaacs, D., The World Café
Briggs, J., & Peat, F.D., Turbulent Mirror
Briskin, A., The Stirring of Soul in the Workplace
Briskin, A., Erickson, S., Ott, J. & Callanan, T., The Power of Collective Wisdom
Buk, J., & Villines, S., We the People
Buckley, P., & Peat, F.D., A Question of Physics
Buhner, S.H., Ensouling Language .
Buhner, S.H., The Lost Language of Plants
Buhner, S.H., The Secret Teachings of Plants
Bungay, S., The Art of Action
Burbank, L., & Hall, W., The Harvests of the Years
Bush. R.A.B., & Folger, J.P., The Promise of Mediation
Bushe, G.R., & Marshak, R.J., et al., Dialogic Organization Development
Cameron, J., The Artist’s Way
Campbell, J., The Power of Myth
Capra, F. & Luisi, P.L., The Systems View of Life
Carson, R., Silent Spring
Chaitin, G., The Limits of Mathematics
Chaitin, G., The Unknowable
Chang Ha-Joon, Bad Samaritans
Chase, S., Roads to Agreement
Cleveland, H., Nobody in Charge
Cloke, K., & Goldsmith, J., The End of Management
Conley, C., Peak
Cori, J.L., The Emotionally Absent Mother
Cox, G., et al., A Quaker Approach to Research
Csikszentmihalyi, M., Creativity
Csikszentmihalyi, M., Flow
Chomsky, N., On Anarchism.
Chödrön, P., When Things Fall Apart
de Geus, A., The Living Company
de Maré, P., et al., Koinonia
Deci, E.L., Why We Do What We Do
Deci, E.L., & Ryan, R.M., Intrinsic Motivation and Self-determination in Human Behavior
Dehnugara, K., Flawed but Willing
Dekker, S., The Safety Anarchist.
DeMarco, T., Slack
DeMarco, T., & Lister, T., Peopleware
Deming, W.E., et al., The Essential Deming
Denning, S., The Leader’s Guide to Radical Management
Dimitrov, V., A New Kind of Social Science
Earls, M., Herd
Edmondson, A.C. Teaming
Edwards, B., Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain
Elgin, D., The Living Universe
Ellison, S.S., Taking the War Out of Our Words
Emery, F., & Thorsrud, E., Democracy at work
Fairtlough, G., The Three Ways of Getting Things Done
Ferguson, M., The Aquarian Conspiracy
Frankl, E.F., Man’s Search For Meaning
Frankl, E.F., Yest to Life.
Freire, P., Pedagogy of the Oppressed
Fukuoka, M., Sowing Seeds in the Desert
Fukuoka, M., The One-Straw Revolution
Gallwey, W.T., The Inner Game of Tennis
Gebser, J., The Ever-Present Origin
Gendlin, E.T., Focusing
Gendlin, E.T., Experiencing and the Creation of Meaning
Gendlin, E.T., A Process Model
Goodwin, B., How the Leopard Changed Its Spots
Goodwin, B., Nature’s Due
Graeber, D., Bullshit Jobs
Grant, A., Originals
Griffin, D., The Emergence of Leadership
Grof, S., Healing Our Deepest Wounds
Grof, S., When the Impossible Happens
Grof, S., The Cosmic Game
Gruen, A., The Betrayal of the Self
Gruen, A., The Insanity of Normality
Guendelsberger, E., On the Clock.
Hamilton, D.M., Everything is Workable
Harding, S., Animate Earth
Hari, J., Lost Connections
Harland, P., The Power of Six
Hartman, R.S., Freedom to Live
Hartman, R.S., The Structure of Value
Hartman, R.S., Five Lectures on Formal Axiology.
Hartman, R.S., The Revolution Against War.
Heider, J., The Tao of Leadership
Hensel, M., Menges, A., Weinstock, M., et al., Emergence
Hernes, T., A Process Theory of Organization
Hiley, B., Peat, F.D., et al., Quantum Implications: Essays in Honor of David Bohm
Ho, M-W., The Rainbow And The Worm
Ho, M-W., Living Rainbow H2O
Ho, M-W., Meaning of Life and the Universe .
Holliday, M., The Age of Thrivability
Hollis, J., Finding Meaning in the Second Half of Life
Holman, P., Engaging Emergence
Hock, D., Birth of The Chaordic Age
Hock, D., One From Many
Hock, D., Autobiography of a Restless Mind, Volume 1 & 2
Hoffman, D., The Voice Dialogue Anthology
Holdrege, C., Thinking Like a Plant
Holt, J., How Children Learn.
Holt, J., Learning All the Time.
Husband, J., et al., Wirearchy
Hutchins, G., Future Fit
Hutchins, G., The Illusion of Separation
Hutchins, G., The Nature of Business
Inamori, K., A Compass to Fulfillment
Isaacs, W., Dialogue
Jaworski, J., Source
Jaworski, J., Synchronicity
Jung, C.G., Answer to Job
Jung, C.G., & Pauli, W., Atom and Archetype
Johnson, R.A., Living Your Unlived Life
Johnson, R.A., Owning Your Own Shadow
Johnson, S., Emergence
Johnstone, K., Impro
Jonas, H., The Phenomenon of Life
Jones, M., Artful Leadership .
Jones. M., The Soulf of Place.
Joy, L., How Does Societal Transformation Happen?
Joy, W.B., Joy’s Way
Järvensivu, T., Managing (in) Networks
Kahane, A., Collaborating with the Enemy
Kahane, A., Power and Love
Kahane, A., Solving Tough Problems
Kauffman, S., At Home in the Universe
Kauffman, S., Reinventing the Sacred
Kay, J., Obliquity
Keeney, B., The Bushman Way of Tracking God
Kegan, R., & Lahey, L., How the Way We Talk Can Change the Way We Work
Keleman, S., Emotional Anatomy
Keller, E.F., A Feeling for the Organism
Kendzior, S., Hiding in Plain Sight.
Kidd, E., First Steps to Seeing
Kingsley, P., A Story Waiting to Pierce You
Kinglsey, P., In the Places of Wisdom
Kingsley, P., Catafalque, Volume 1 & 2
Kirkpatrick, D., Beyond Empowerment
Koestenbaum, P., & Block, P., Freedom and Accountability at Work
Koestenbaum, P., Leadership.
Kohn, A., Punished by Rewards
Kohn, A., The Myth of the Spoiled Child
Koestler, A., The Ghost in the Machine
Koestler, A., The Sleepwalkers
Kotler, S., & Wheal, J., Stealing Fire
Kramer, N., The Unfoldment
Kuenkel, P., Mind and Heart
Kuenkel, P., The Art of Leading Collectively
Lamott, A., Bird by Bird
Laszlo, C., & Brown, J.S., et al., Flourishing Enterprise
Laszlo, E., How Can We Build a Better World?.
Lawlor, R., Voices of the First Day
Lee, B., Artist of Life
Lee, B., Striking Thoughts
Lehrs, E., Man or Matter
Leonard, G., Mastery
Leonard, G., & Murphy, M., The Life We are Given
Leonard, G., The Silent Pulse.
Leonard, G., The Way of Aikido.
Levine, S.K., Poiesis
Lieberman, M.D., Social
Lievegoed, Phases
Lipton, B.H., The Biology of Belief
Lowen, A., Joy.
MacKenzie, G., Orbiting the Giant Hairball
Macy, J., & Brown, M.Y., Coming Back to Life
Madsen, B., & Willert, S., Survival in the Organization
Malone, T.W., The Future of Work
Mandelbrot, B.B., The Fractal Geometry of Nature
Mannix, K., With the End in Mind
Margulis, L., & Sagan, D., What is Life?
Marshall, P., A History of Anarchism.
Marquet, L.D., Turn the Ship Around!
Maslow, A.H., The Farther Reaches of Human Nature
Maslow, A.H., Maslow on Management
Maturana, H.R., & Varela, F.J., The Tree of Knowledge
May, R., The Discovery of Being
Mayer, E.L., Extraodrinary Knowing.
McCallum, I., Ecological Intelligence
McChrystal, S., et al., Team of Teams
McGilchrist, I., The Divided Brain and the Search for Meaning.
McGilchrist, I., The Master and His Emissary .
McGilchrist, I., The Matter with Things.
McGregor, D., The HumanSide of Enterprise
McInnes, W., Culture Schock
Mead, G., Coming Home to Story
Merrell, F., Becoming Culture
Merrell, F., Change through Signs of Body, Mind, and Language
Meyer, E., The Culture Map
Meyer, R., & Meijers, R., Leadership Agility
Midgley, M., The Myths We Live By
Miller, T., & Hall, G., Letting Go
Milton, J.P., Sky Above, Earth Below
Mintzberg, H., The Rise and Fall of Strategic Planning
Mithen, S., The Prehistory of the Mind
Morris, T., If Aristotle ran General Motors
Murphy, M., The Future of the Body
Nachmanovitch, S., The Art of Is.
Nachmanovitch, S., Free Play.
Neal, C., & Neal, P., The Art of Convening
Nelson, S., Living in Flow.
Neumeier, M., The Designful Company
Nicholson, D.J., & Dupré, J., et al., Everything Flows.
Nielsen, J.S., The Myth of Leadership
Norman, D.A., The Design of Everyday Things
Norman, D.A., Emotional Design
O’Donohue, J., Anam Ċara
O’Donohue, J., To Bless the Space Between Us
O’Donohue, J., Eternal Echoes
O’Donohue, J., Divine Beauty
Ostrom, E., Governing the Commons
Ostrom, E., Understanding Institutional Diversity
Owen, H., The Spirit of Leadership
Owen, H., Wave Rider
Owen, H., The Power of Spirit
Owen, H., Open Space Technology
Paul, M., Inner Bonding
Palmer, P.J., A Hidden Wholeness
Palmer, P.J., Let Your Life Speak
Palmer, P.J., The Active Life
Palmer, P.J., The Courage to Teach Guide
Papert, S., Mindstorms
Parker, P., The Art of Gathering
Parlett, M., Future Sense
Pascale, R.T., Millemann, M., & Gioja., L., Surfing the Edge of Chaos
Peat, F.D., Blackfoot Physics .
Peat, F.D., From Certainty to Uncertainty
Peat, F.D., Gentle Action
Peat, F.D., Infinite Potential
Peat, F.D., Pathways of Chance.
Peat, F.D., Synchronicity
Peat, F. D., The Philosopher’s Stone
Peirce, P., The Intuitive Way
Peltier, B., The Psychology of Executive Coaching
Penrose, R., Fasion, Faith, and Fantasy in the New Physics of the Universe.
Penrose, R., Shadows of the Mind
Penrose, R., The Road to Reality
Peppers, C., & Briskin, A., Bringing Your Soul to Work
Perls, F., Gestalt Therapy
Perls, F., Gestalt Therapy Verbatim
Pink, D.H., A Whole New Mind
Pink, D.H., Drive
Pink, D.H., To Sell is Human
Plotkin, B., Nature and the Human Soul
Plotkin, B., Wild Mind
Plotkin, B., Soulcraft
Polanyi, M., The Tacit Dimension
Pollan, M., How to Change Your Mind
Polyani, M., Personal Knowledge
Poynter, J., The Human Experiment
Prigogine, I., The End of Certainty
Prigogine, I., & Stengers, I., Order Out of Chaos .
Pylkkänen, P., et al., The Search for Meaning
Pylkkänen, P., Mind, Matter and the Implicate Order
Quillien, J., Clever Digs.
Radin, D., Supernormal
Radin, D., The Conscious Universe
Ramquist, L., & Eriksson, M., Integral Management
Ramquist, L., & Eriksson, M., Manöverbarhet
Rawson, W., The Werkplaats [Workshop] Adventure
Reiss, S., Who am I?
Remen, R.N., Kithcen Table Wisdom.
Remen, R.N., My Grandfather’s Blessings.
Reynolds, M., The Garden Awakening
Richards, M.C., Centering.
Richards, M.C., The Crossing Point.
Rico, G., Writing the Natural Way
Rilke, R.M., Letters to a Young Poet
Robinson, K., Out of Our Minds
Robinson, K., The Element
Robinson, K., Finding Your Element
Robinson, S., & Moraes Robinson, M., Holonomics
Robinson, S., & Moraes Robinson, M., Customer Experiences with Soul.
Rodgers, C., Informal Coalitions
Roeper, A., The “I” of the Beholder
Rogers, C., A Way of Being
Rogers, C., Client-Centered Therapy
Rogers, C., On Becoming a Person
Rogers, C., On Personal Power
Rogers, C., & Stevens, B., Person to Person
Rogers, C., Kirschenbaum, H., & Henderson, V.L., The Carl Rogers Reader
Rosen, R., Life Itself
Rosenberg, M.B., Nonviolent Communication
Rosenberg, M.B:, Speak Peace in a World of Conflict
Rosenzweig, P., The Halo Effect
Ross, C., The Leaderless Revolution
Roth, W., The Roots and Future of Management Theory
Rother, M., Toyota Kata
Rough, J., Society’s Breakthrough!
Rozenthuler, S., Life-Changing Conversations
Rovelli, C., Seven Brief Lessons on Physics
Russell, J.M., Thrivability
Sadler-Smith, E., The Intuitive Mind
Safina, C., Beyond Words
Sahtouris, E., EarthDance .
Sahtouris, E., Gaia’s Dance.
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Sanford, M., Waking
Saul, J.R., Voltaire’s Bastards
Scharmer, C.O., Theory U
Scharmer, C.O., & Kaufter, K., Leading from the Emerging Future
Schein, E.H., Humble Inquiry
Schmaltz, D., The Blind Men and the Elephant
Schmidt, M., et al., Understanding Montessori
Schumacher, E.F., A Guide for the Perplexed
Schumacher, E.F., Small is Beautiful
Schumacher, E.F., Good Work
Schwaber, K., & Beedle, M., Agile Software Development with Scrum
Schön, D., The Reflective Practitioner
Seagal, S., & Horne, D., Human Dynamics
Seddon, J., Freedom from Command and Control
Seddon, J., In Pursuit of Quality
Seddon, J., I Want You To Cheat!
Seddon, J., Systems Thinking in the Public Sector
Seddon, J., The Whitehall Effect
Seifter, H. & Economy, P., Leadership Ensemble
Semler, R., Maverick
Semler, R., The Seven-Day Weekend.
Senge, P., The fifth Discipline
Senger, P., The Dance of Change
Senge, P., et al., The Necessary Revolution
Senge, P., Scharmer, C.O., Jaworski, J., & Flowers, B.S., Presence
Sennett, R., The Craftsman
Shaetti, B.F., Ramsey, S.J., & Watanabe, G.C., Personal Leadership
Shaw, P., Changing Conversations in Organizations
Shaw, P., Stacey, R., et al., Experiencing Risk, Spontaneity and Improvisation in Organizational Change
Sheeran, M.J., Beyond Majority Rule
Sheldrake, R., The Science Delusion
Sheldrake, R., A New Science of Life
Sheldrake, R., The Presence of the Past
Sherburne, D.W., A Key to Whithead’s Process and Reality
Siegel, D., Mindsight
Siegel, D., The Developing Mind
Sirolli, E., Hot to Start a Business and Ignite Your Life
Sirota, D., Mischkind, L.A., & Meltzer, M.I., The Enthusiastic Employee
Snowden, D., et al., Cynefin.
Sousanis, N., Unflattening
Stacey, R., Managing Chaos
Stacey, R., Managing the Unknowable
Stacey, R., Complexity and Organizational Reality
Stacey, R., Strategic Management and Organisational Dynamics
Stacey, R., Complexity and Group Processes
Stamoliev, R., The Energetics of Voice Dialogue
Stefanovic, I.L., Safeguarding Our Common Future
Stolaroff, M.J., The Secret Chief Revealed
Stone H., & Stone, S., Embracing Our Selves
Stone H., & Stone, S., Embracing Your Inner Critic
Streatfield, P.J., The Paradox of Control in Organizations
Surowiecki, J., The Wisdom of Crowds
Sutton, R., The No Asshole Rule
Sutton, R., Good Boss, Bad Boss
Tarnas, R., The Passion of the Western Mind
Thompson, W.I., Coming Into Being
Tippett, K., Becoming Wise
Tonn, J.C., Mary P. Follet: Creating Democracy, Transforming Management
Turner, T., Belonging.
Ury, W., The Power of a Positive No
Vaill, P.B., Managing as a Performing Art
Vaill, P.B., Learning as a Way of Being
van der Heijden, K., Scenarios
van der Heijden, K., Bradfield, R., Burt, G., Cairns, G., & Wright, G., The Sixth Sense
van der Kolk, B., The Body Keeps the Score
van Vugt, M., & Ahuja, A., Selected
Varela, F.J., Thompson, E., & Rosch, E., The Embodied Mind
Wachterhauser, B.R., Beyond Being
Wahl, D.C., Designing Regenerative Cultures
Wallack, F.B., The Epochal Nature of Process in Whitehead’s Metaphysics
Watts, A., The Book On the Taboo Against Knowing Who You Are.
Watts, A., The Watercourse Way.
Watts, A., Does it Matter.
Watts, A., The Way of Zen.
Weber, A., Matter and Desire.
Weber, A., The Biology of Wonder.
Weber, A., Enlivenment.
Weber, A., Biopoetics.
Weggeman, M., Managing Professionals? Don’t!
Weick, K.E., Sensemaking in Organizations
Weinstock, M., The Architecture of Emergence
Weisbord, M.R., Discovering Common Ground
Weisbord, M.R., Productive Workplaces
Weisbord, M., & Janoff, S., Future Search
Weisbord, M., & Janoff, S., Don’t Just Do Something, Stand There!
Weltzel, C., Freedom Rising
Welwood, J., Toward a Psychology of Awakening
Wendt, T., Design for Dasein
Western, S., Coaching and Mentoring
Western, S., Leadership
Whitehead, A.N., Process and Reality (see also Sherburn and Wallack)
Wheatley, M.J., Leadership and the New Science
Wheatley, M.J., Finding Our Way
Wheatley, M.J. Who Do We Choose to Be?.
Wheatley, M.J., So Far From Home
Wheatley, M.J., Turning to One Another
Wheatley, M.J., & Frieze, D., Walk Out Walk On
Wheatley, M.J., & Kellner-Rogers, M., A Simpler Way
Whyte, D., The Heart Aroused .
Whyte, D., The Three Marriages
Williams, B., The Genuine Contact Way
Williams, M., & Penman, D., Mindfulness
Wolff, R., Democracy at Work
Wolff, R., Original Wisdom .
Woolley-Barker, T., Teeming.
Youngs, R., The Puzzle of Non-Western Democracy
Yunkaporta, T., Sand Talk.
Zander, R.S., Pathways to Possibility
Zander, R.S., & Zander, B., The Art of Possibility
Zubizarreta, R., From Conflict to Creative Collaboration
Zimmerman, J., & Coyle, V., The Way of Council
Zweig, C., & Abrams, J., et al., Meeting the Shadow

Update 2022-10-21:
1. Quotes changed to quotes and notes.

Update 2022-10-09:
1. Link added to further reading. 3.2. Correction of grammar.

Autognomics Retrospectives

Retrospective 2020-28

This is a summary of my reading this week (week 28, 2020).

I am currently immersing myself in Norm and Skye Hirst’s writings. Their work is available at the Autognomics website. I also received a USB flash drive with additional files this week. Thank you, Skye!

USB flash drive with Autognomics files from Skye Hirst

Here is my summary of Norm Hirst’s Propositions on a New Metaphysics and Science of Life-Itself. What is called for is a new logic adequate to understanding life. Our lack of understanding life shows in how we treat nature and each other. Here is a post (from 2015) on how free will plays a key role in the functioning of a living organism. And here is another post (also from 2015) on radical self-knowing and the freedom to act.

[I]t is an inalienable right for living entities to be free to act according to their own beinghood.
–Skye Hirst, Value Intelligence in All Creative Organisms

Finally, I want to mention this article by Tess Jette’s on how to transform the workplace into a life-giving experience. Tess Jette has a deep understanding of life and how work works.

It begins with an understanding of the value of each individual as singularly unique… [The environment is organic] and must be…cared for as a living entity. … When employees trust that they are being…valued they respond in kind with increased motivation and a feeling of joy in the workplace.
–Tess Jette, Transforming the Workplace into a Life Giving Experience

Tess Jette’s article is also available at the Autognomics website.

Articles Autognomics Life

Norm Hirst’s Propositions on Life

This post is a summary of Norm Hirst’s Propositions on a New Metaphysics and Science of Life-Itself.


Norm Hirst (1932–2012) was an independent scholar studying life and values for over 50 years. At MIT, Hirst studied with Robert Hartman, a visiting professor developing a formal axiology. See my reviews of Hartman’s Freedom to Live and The Structure of Value. Hartman later became Hirst’s friend and mentor. In working with Hartman, Hirst came to the conclusion that we need to extend our notions of reality to include a living universe.


Norm Hirst concluded that there is something profoundly wrong with the way life is understood and lived. Understanding life and values became his sole focus for over 50 years. Hirst claims that we will not understand life until we understand its organismic nature. We must understand that life is fundamental, non-deterministic and has the ability to act. To be alive is to be able to act.


Organisms are self-initiating, self-acting, and creating. They are alive. Norm Hirst writes that “…there is nothing in our history of ideas, whether philosophical or scientific, that deals with living self-acting entitites. Everything in our philosophy and science is an attempt to imitate life with non-living entitites not capable of self-determining and self-initiating action.

Norm Hirst draws a distinction between mechanisms and organisms, that do not function by mechanisms. It used to be an outrageous claim that cosmos is living, but Hirst proposes “that we must … see that the cosmos is a living organism.” To him “reality, including physical reality, is the creation of life-itself.” “Strictly speaking there is no totally, non-living anything.

Living organisms are self-aware and self-motivated. This means that they are “totally outside the domain of current scientific thinking.” “Current scientific thinking is either classification, as in creating a taxonomy, or causal dynamics.” It is, furthermore, assumed that “causal dynamics must be both quantitative and predictive.” Numbers are a convenient, but they are not the only form of order. The new science will not be used for prediction, but for guidance in finding effective acts.

New Science

Erwin Schrödinger (1887–1961) claimed in What Is Life? (1944) that we need a new physics to understand life. Norm Hirst claimed that we need a new science, and that “physics can be derived as a special case.

Norm Hirst put a great deal of effort into studying logic. “It turned out to be totally disillusioning.” There is, in short, no logic of meaning. Hirst ultimately concluded “there is no meaningful logic.” Believing that philosophy was a way of exploration Norm Hirst turned to it, but he found that mainstream substance philosophy offers a wordview, a metaphysics, that further entrapped us. “Not only is a new view of reality required, we also need to change protocols of inquiry to cope with it.” “The science applicable to life does not yet exist.”

New Logic

Classical and new logics, including Peirce’s logic, have inherited “subject-predicate forms of propositions.” In other words, they show their linguistic heritage. However, Norm Hirst doesn’t believe that “living processes speak human languages, except for some of the living processes of humans.” After years of studying logic, Norm Hirst reluctantly came to agree with Whitehead that “The exactness is a fake.” (See Alfred North Whitehead, Science and Philosophy.)

Life Requires

Norm Hirst asks what we need to expect of a science of life and suggests that life requires:

  • Variety
  • Cooperation
  • Autonomy
  • Communication
  • Coherence
  • Awareness (in this moment of “now”)

Norm Hirst believes that the most serious mistakes result from the failure to understand that life needs “huge variety and harmonization.” “Finding ways to harmonize and utilize variety” creates health. We resort to violence and destruction when harmonization is, or seems, impossible.

New Formalisms

Norm Hirst, furthermore, makes the following distinctions between old and new logics, or formalisms:

Old LogicsNew Logics
Truth preservingCreative
Thing oriented (extensional)Meaning Oriented (intensional)
ConsistentAllows oscillation
Excludes self-reference (self-knowing)Requires self-reference (self-knowing)
Excludes valuesValue-driven

Traditional logics require truth-preservation. They are designed for arguments and collapse if there are inconsistencies. However, life must be able to evolve and can “quickly move beyond current truth“. Hence, traditional logics cannot handle the requirements of life.

Life, furthermore, is not computable. Thus new formalisms must be based on “forms of order other than numbers“. The question is not “Is it true?“, but “Can one get there from here?” The functions will be acts, transformations.


The primary value, for me, of Norm Hirst’s propositions is that he, through a lifetime of inquiry, makes it clear that a new form of logic and thinking is required to understand life itself. The mathematical and logical foundations of physics are totally inappropriate for understanding life.

Mathematics creates the “thought recipes” for physics, but cannot create the “thought recipes for a science of life“. Mathematics is too rigid and “does not allow the flexibility required by living processes.” Life is creative. It is only “when and where it gets bogged down and develops habitual patterns” that it can be “understood by logical concepts, theoretical physics, mathematics, and the hard sciences.

Norm Hirst makes another important distinction which I would like to emphasize. He distinguishes between entities that are autonomic versus allonomic. Hirst writes that “we have been led astray by our experience of obedient things.” “In dealing with living autonomic self-acting entities it may come as a surprise that they do what they want with no thought of obedience.” Organisms are born to create their own life. They are self-creating, and not just self-organizing. “They maintain their own life by constantly recrating it.” Their purpose is not to fulfill external tasks, but to develop their own life. It’s worth remembering!

Related post:
Notes on Goethe’s Aphorisms

Articles Autognomics Decisions Values

Skye Hirst on decision-making

Skye Hirst is one of the interesting persons I have encountered during my search for more life-affirming ways of working together. Skye Hirst writes, for example, in her article on Value Intelligence in All Creative Organisms that it is an inalienable right to be free to act according to one’s own beinghood.

Decision-making is coming to coherence
I am very interested in collective decision-making. Skye Hirst sent an article on Decision Making — Coming to Coherence. Skye Hirst writes:

Decision-making is a learning process.

Everyone has some expertise and lived experience to draw from that brought the growing and learning to be situation and hand.

Part of every moment of decision-making is discovery…
…a choice is made for the best action at that moment.

What works best…is when…three kinds of values are considered…
all are necessary for sustainable community coherence creating.

1) The aesthetics, action that allows for greatest freedom with least interference… Like grand coherence.
2) The practical, …seen from previous known experience… Another part…is how do we get it done, whatever we are choosing?
3) …the agreements, the rules, the laws …chosen…for harmonizing the whole…

Some people focus more on one value dimension than others. It doesn’t make them wrong, it only means they have only part of the view of what is needed.

When…alignment occurs…it has an ability to bring people into unity for a bit of time.

Coming to coherence requires that all three value dimensions are considered in the decision making. Usually, the focus is on the third dimension (rules, laws). It’s not wrong, but it’s only when all dimensions are considered that a choice can be made for best action — in that situation, at that moment, for that group. The systemic dimension (rules) is sufficient for machines, but not for human beings.

Related posts:
Autognomics: Radical self-knowing
Essential organizing principles for life

Articles Autognomics Organizing Thoughts

Essential organizing principles for life

This is a post in my organizing “between and beyond” series. Other posts are here. The purpose of this post is to explore essential organizing principles for Life.

This post is based on the article New Possibilities: A World That Works For Everyone – Part I by Skye Hirst. Skye Hirst explores ten essential organizing processes for life in the article. Her intention with the article is “to study and learn how to foster Life-environments that enhance and allow the realization of these processes” (p.3). I share Skye’s conviction that “with greater awareness of these necessities for living, a more peaceful, healthful and meaningful existence can occur for humanity everywhere” (p.3).

Organizing principles
Skye Hirst identifies the following ten organizing processes and needs in the article:

  1. Intrinsic intention
    Living, Learning and Acting in concert with one’s own nature” (p.3). All life forms have an intrinsic uniqueness. Living beings have an inherent right to be themselves, to thrive, and to flourish. We need to be able to act in concert with our own knowing.
  2. Intrinsic meaning
    FIND Sense of Purpose & Meaning” (p.4). We feel fulfilled when we act from our our inner knowing. Doing something which has a coherent overall felt sense feels meaningful. This intrinsic felt sense gives our lives direction and focus. We feel creative and alive.
  3. Right action
    Use SELF-INTEGRITY to find right action” (p.4). We feel an internal integrity, or coherence, when we act in concert with our intrinsic selves.
  4. Effective action
    A need to EXPERIENCE A SENSE OF FULFILLMENT AND ACCOMPLISHMENT OF YOUR OWN CHOOSING” (p.4). Choices that feel like effective action inspires us to keep going to achieve our intention over and over again.
  5. Self-management
    A need to feel in charge of and able to manage our own lives” (p.5). Self-confidence and self-esteem grows from inside out. The richer the learning experiences are, the more confident we become. Confidence grows through action from intrinsic intention.
  6. Self-mastery
    A need to grow to be challenged Beyond Our Boundaries, Recognizing and Realizing our Genius, a chance to be “somebody” because we are being what we were born to be” (p.5). We need to feel useful. And we need to be challenged to develop our skills. There is something which no one can do as well you do.
  7. Self-inquiry
    A need to be aware and confident that we can think, learn and grow” (p.5). We need to discover and use our own unique learning abilities. There is an intrinsic self-satisfaction in pursuing self-directed inquiry.
  8. Wholeness of life
    A need to Recognize we are part of larger whole, a bigger picture and that we contribute to that picture in a meaningful way” (p.6). We are all connected. Nothing truly separate. We need to discover the bigger picture. We affect the whole, and the whole affects us.
  9. Spirit of life
    A need to experience a connection to the Spiritual, our inherent loving nature, the breath of life that breathes us, and there, find inspiration and integration” (p.6). We need time for reflection. We need to integrate our experiencing and learning. Doing something creative feels inspiring. Lovingness opens the space.
  10. Life is change
    A need to Develop the Ability to sustain “Not knowing” Taking Risk (The body/mind likes risks) Life requires creativity and novelty” (p.7).  We need to sustain the inquiry needed for learning, adapting, and living. Life is change. Tolerating ambiguity increases the variety and depth of learning.

It’s essential that we, as living beings, have the opportunity to find right and effective actions, that are guided by our intrinsic intentions and meanings, while feeling connected to the greater whole. This is a healthy environment in which we can learn, adapt, and thrive.

Update 2020-11-16:
Correction of typos.

Update 2018-12-30:
Added link to Skye Hirst’s article. Updated link to Skye Hirst’s bio.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Articles Autognomics Organizing Thoughts

Value-intelligence as organizing order

Value-intelligence within life is related to my interest in organizing principles. I think it’s an example of a deeper generative order for organizing that is present in anything that’s alive. Here are my other posts on organizing.

Skye Hirst, Co-Founder of The Autognomics Institute (TAI), presents here the idea of a Value-Intelligence present in living organisms. Skye Hirst writes (my emphasis in bold):

“… capacities for value-intelligence are operative throughout all living contexts …”

“… anything … alive … is a dynamic organism, and … functions according to similar organizing principles.”

“… we act from assumptions that are formed through our value lenses …”

“[The Hartman Value Profile] … points to the existence of … organizing principles of value-intelligence within life …”

“[The] … inner intelligence does not control; it liberates and frees living entities to find the most effective acts …”

“… there are organizing principles that allow … for all life to be co-creative, self-organizing …”

Skye Hirst introduced me to the Hartman Value Profile in February 2017. It was amazing to experience how quickly Skye helped me to picture my own inner relational realities. I could understand some of how my own value intelligence has developed. And it was immensely helpful to see where I have my own strengths and blindnesses.

Related post:
Book Review: Freedom to Live


Autognomics Organizing

Autonomic vs. allonomic orders

This is a post in my series on organizing “between and beyond.” The post is part of my exploration of deeper generative orders for organizing. Other posts are here.

Norm Hirst spent fifty years to understand life itself. Hirst distinguishes between being autonomic and allonomic:

  • Living entities are autonomic. Machines are allonomic, they obey the laws built in by external agencies. Living entities are autonomic, which means there is no way for any other to build in the internal laws of a living entity.1
  • Living entities are creative. All living entities create new forms of order. Thus living entities do not approach reality in a machine-like fashion that is always limited to the current context of order. Living entities must change and adapt constantly to evolving forms of order and this requires values as opposed to cause and effect as guiding force.2
  • Living actions are chosen based on values. They are never the result of cause and effect. For the simplest living entities the only choice may be to act or not act. For people the choices may be very complex.3
  • Values are internal experiences. Experiences are intrinsic (aesthetic), extrinsic (practical), and systemic (correct). Intrinsic values are more important than extrinsic values, which are more important systemic values.4

In other words, autonomic orders are generative, allonomic orders are not.

1 Norm Hirst, Research findings to date, Autognomics Institute (accessed 10 August 2016)
2 Ibid..
3 Ibid..
5 Ibid..

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts

Autognomics Thoughts

Norm Hirst on self law and non-self law

Norm Hirst makes a distinction between following self-law and non-self law which is pertinent to understanding the difference between living organisms and machines. He writes (in italics):

It is useful to distinguish between entities that are autonomic, obeying self-law and entities that are allonomic, obeying non-self law. We have been led astray by our experience of obedient things. In dealing with living autonomic self-acting entities it may come as a surprise that they do what they want with no thought of obedience. 1

Organisms are autonomic and come into being as a whole entity and grow into maturity as a whole entity unlike machines that are assembled piece by piece by some other. There is a distinction between being autonomic, obeying self-law, and allonomic, obeying some other’s law. Machines are allonomic; they obey the laws built in by external agencies. There is no way for any other to build in the internal laws of a living entity. 2

Obedience is not the foundation of any living process although many people may believe that it is. The idea of imposed obedience may seem to be necessary if there is also a belief that that is the only way a being learns self-control and respect. There are two natural processes at work that must be accounted for in a living organism that obedience does not allow. The first process is that a living entity inquires through action to find effective acts. An act is effective if it produces the results intended. … The second process begins with growing awareness of coherence conditions that come out of relationships of all kinds. These are minimum conditions connecting us to one another while not unduly limiting our freedom. We grow into beings both unique and social. 3

… imposing obedience is theoretically impossible with a living organism. Control and force may be used to influence and coerce, but ultimately the living entity chooses from a wide variety of responses to such efforts, some of which may appear to be obedient. It is not a machine nor will it respond by cause and effect. Remove the force and most likely you will find a natural desire for freedom of choice and inquiry quite different from that being imposed. Some beings will choose to rebel, to fight, to choose violence in order to express and self-fulfill. … Further, empirical research shows clearly what the theory predicts. Insisting on obedience in childhood is more likely to lead to violence in adult life. This goes beyond opinion. 4

Forced obedience is just as impossible as the cow violating gravity by jumping over the moon. However, herein may well be one of the areas by which we are making the world sick. Force and dominance over another living entity cannot work ultimately. The force of life will insist on finding it’s own unique way no matter what we believe. 5

1 Norm Hirst, Towards a science of life as creative organisms
2 Ibid..
3 Norm Hirst, Art is Essential to Life
4 Ibid..
5 Ibid..

Autognomics Life

Norm Hirst on a life-itself science

Prologomena of Life-itself Science by Norm Hirst at The Autognomics Institute is an introduction (or prologue) to a life-itself science. Below are some axioms from the paper:

  • All life is connected
  • All living entities are autonomous
  • All living entities are complex
  • All living entities are self-referential
  • Self-referential implies self-observation and awareness
  • Living entities survive by learning effective acts
  • Living entities exhibit invariant organization and structural plasticity
  • Living process is social
  • At all levels from atoms to the universe life forms societies

Related posts:
Autognomics: Radical self-knowing
Organisms are self-creating, not just self-organizing
Machines are allonomic, living organisms are autonomic

Autognomics Life Thoughts

Organisms are self-creating, not just self-organizing

Organisms are born to create and maintain their own life. They are self-creating, i.e., autopoietic; they are not just self-organizing. They maintain their own life by constantly recreating it. Their purpose is not to become machines fulfilling some external task. Thus they are autonomic, i.e., obeying self-law. They are autonomous. An organism’s purpose is to develop its own life.1

1 Norm Hirst, Towards a Science of Life as Creative Organisms, (Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, vol. 4, nos. 1-2, 2008), p. 95.

Related post:
Machines are allonomic, living organisms are autonomic