Life Organizing

The very quality of livingness

This is a post in my series on organizing “between and beyond.” The series is inspired by David Bohm and David Peat. This post is inspired by Henri Bortoft. Other posts are here.

Taking Apperance Seriously by Bortoft

It is all too easy for our thinking to lose sight of the very quality of livingness and for us to fall into thinking of the organism as if it were responding in a mechanical manner to the influences of the environment. The living organism does not just adapt to external circumstances in a passive manner.1 It configures itself actively, instead of being conditioned passively, in response to the environment.2 The specific form is neither determined by the environment, nor predetermined by the organism itself.3 If the form is so rigid and static that it completely lacks the flexible and dynamic quality which is characteristic of life, then it is in fact no more than a lifeless counterfeit of living being.4

1 Henri Bortoft, Taking Appearance Seriously, (New York: Harper & Row, 1969), pp. 77–78.
2 Ibid., p. 78.
3 Ibid..
4 Ibid., p. 80.

Related posts:
Organizing in between and beyond posts
Henri Bortoft on wholeness in organizations
Henri Bortoft on human organizations and relationships
Henri Bortoft’s Schumacher Lectures 2009
Henri Bortoft on seeing life itself
BELONGING together vs. belonging TOGETHER
Henri Bortoft on taking the ‘appearance’ seriously
The ‘totalitarian’ tendency of systems theory
Organizational metamorphosis

By Jan Höglund

I share my reading, book reviews, and learning in my blog.

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