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« Gender differences and championship soccer | Main | Training and Consulting: Competitors or Two Components of One Team? »


Doug Groseclose

Barry, in what I have come to call "Bateson's Curse," Gregory Bateson stated it this way...

"There is latent in Cybernetics [systems theory] the means of achieving a new and perhaps more human outlook, a means of changing our philosophy of control, and a means of seeing our own follies in wider perspective".

"The myth of power, is of course, a very powerful myth; and probably most people in this world more or less believe in it... But it is still epistemological lunacy and leads inevitably to all sorts of disaster... If we continue to operate in terms of a Cartesian dualism of mind versus matter, we shall probably also come to see the world in terms of God versus man; elite versus people; chosen race versus others; nation versus nation and man versus environment. It is doubtful whether a species having both an advanced technology and this strange way of looking at the world can endure...

To want control is the pathology! Not that the person can get control, because of course you never do... Man is only a part of larger systems, and the part can never control the whole...

The whole of our thinking about what we are and what other people are has got to be restructured. This is not funny, and I do not know how long we have to do it in. If we continue to operate on the premises that were fashionable during the Pre-Cybernetic era, and which were especially underlined during the Industrial Revolution, which seemed to validate the Darwinian unit of survival, we may have twenty or thirty years before the logical reductio ad absurdum of our old positions destroys us. Nobody knows how long we have, under the present system, before some disaster strikes us, more serious than the destruction of any group of nations. The most important task today is, perhaps, to learn to think in the new way."



Interesting. Yes it is the reality for most of us right now but I do think there is a rejection of that occurring at this point amongst individuals who are internally motivated and that is much more slowly but visually starting to show up in those who are more externally motivated.

Let me toss this into the mix: given the rise of social networks in which individuals are reaching out to work collaboratively with others, often people they have not met-do you see the shift from the individual contained in the corporate box when they are wearing their work hat rejecting that box and developing their own 'cloud' (to borrow from the tech types) formations in which they no longer fit within a box in a hierarchical system but in a 'cloud' in which they can invite, accept or reject others and/or others ideas based on what works for their 'tribe'. I use the word tribe in the context that social networkers use it-that of the group you build. I am seeing this happening and am utterly fascinated with the way the 'systems' are morphing, one in which people are pulled not pushed into change. It comes out much like "if you want to join us on this trek you will have to contribute, you will have to collaborate, you will have to be accountable for your actions and you will have to become comfortable with ambiguity"- it is your choice but we are going ahead with or without you. Where it used to be the norm that one was expected to fit into the system as set, now one is being challenged to establish something different-no more "comfortable with the devil you know", rather become comfortable with being a 'pioneer'.

This is a topic that has occupied much of my reading, interacting and observational activities for the past few years.

Peter Block

Barry: Elegant blog. Thanks.

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