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A Simpler Way

Margaret Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers

Being conversant with Margaret J Wheatley's earlier work in Leadership and the New Science a 1992 publication by Berrett- Koehler Publishers Inc. we came upon a review of the above book by Paul Schumann and decided to post some points of interest from that review here on our Relationship Counselling segment for those people interested in expanding their understanding of self, systems generation and group dynamics as we progress towards a wholesome momentary understanding, towards the ever evolving possibility and potential of the ‘self'.

Burning Child  Alex Milov

"Aggression is inherently destructive of relationships." 

People and ideologies are pitted against each other, believing that in order to survive, they must destroy the opposition."
Margaret J. Wheatley

So our Counselling motto is

If we change the way we look at things the things we look at can change.

This way we all have the opportunity to grow and progress towards a wholesome organism

To actually become aware of the self just as we are in the moment..


Our intention here is for the possibility of seeing that maybe we could get on better with those around us if we loosened up some of our old attitudes and expectations.

That is of course taking into consideration the possibility that we are prepared to ‘turn the other cheek' or in other words step back for moment and mindfully study and observe what is occurring with in us at any given moment when we feel some what disturbed, up set, angry, offended or excited.

Considering change to be a constant breathing, heart pulsing experience of life then we need to be able to constantly adapt to the changes around us. However this may activate a belief or sense that change requires effort and as we are creatures who have a tendency for habitual pathways the expectation of some demanded input, of new effort meets resistance whilst ever we allow our path to be regimented by old attitudes of past belief.

"But you said......"

"That is not what happened, what happened was........"

Disagreement, communication cross fire, conflict, argument, pain, separation.

But why?

Lets take some time in Hakomi therapy to study these illusions of habitual consciousness Mindfully and unravel the basis for the old belief so that we may create and identify a possibility for change.

In Margaret J Wheatley's earlier book Leadership and the New Science she quoted the Austrian astrophysicist Erich Jantsch from his 1980 writing in The Self Organizing Universe.

" A system now appears as a set of coherent, evolving, interactive processes which temporarily manifest in globally stable structures that have nothing to do with the equilibrium and the solidity of technological structures.

Caterpillar and butterfly, for example, are two temporarily stabilized structures in the coherent evolution of one and the same system.

Then later Margaret quotes the British physicist David Bohm:

"For fragmentation is now wide spread, not only throughout society but also in each individual; and this is leading to a kind of general confusion of the mind, which creates an endless series of problems and interferes with our clarity of perception so seriously as to prevent us from being able to solve most of them......

The notion that all these fragments separately existent is evidently an illusion and, this illusion cannot do other than lead to endless conflict and confusion.

The following pieces have been taken from Paul Schumann's review of

A Simpler Way written by Margaret J Wheatley & Myron Kellner-Rogers

1. Systems offer the possibility for more stability.

2. But in a curious paradox, that stability for the system depends upon its member's ability to change.
"When individuals fail to experiment or when a system refuses their offers of new ideas, then the system becomes moribund.

Without constant, interior change, it sinks into the death grip of equilibrium. It no longer participates in coevolution.

3. The system becomes vulnerable; its destruction is self-imposed...This broad paradox of stability and freedom is the stage on which coevolution dances.
Life leaps forward when it can share its learnings.
The dense web of systems allow information to travel in all directions, speeding recovery and adaptation."

4. "Stability is found in freedom - not in conformity and compliance.
We may have thought that our organization's survival was guaranteed by finding the right form and insisting that everyone fit into it.
But sameness is not stability.
It is individual freedom that creates stable systems.
It is diffferentness that enables us to thrive,"

5. Research suggests that we perceive the world based on who we have decided to be, "...at any moment, what we see is most influenced by who we have decided to be...

At least 80 percent of the information that the brain works with is information already in the brain."
The corollary to this is that "We will change our self if we believe that the change will preserve the self."

In answering the question about what conditions will allow self-organization to flourish, they state:

"We need to trust that we are self organizing...
We live in a world where attraction is ubiquitous.
Organization wants to happen. People want their lives to mean something.
We seek one another to develop new capacities.
With all these wonderful and innate desires calling us to organize, we can stop worrying about designing perfect structures or rules.

We need to become intrigued by how we create a clear and coherent identity, a self that we can organize around...

Identity includes such dimensions as history, values, actions, core beliefs, competencies, principles, purpose, mission...
Identity is the source of organizations.
Every organization is an identity in motion, moving through the world, trying to make a difference."

In search of that illusive concept of emergence, they write:

"Emergence is the surprising capacity we discover only when we join together.

New systems have properties that appear suddenly and mysteriously.
These properties cannot be predicted.
They do not exist in the individuals who compose the system.
What we know about the individuals, no matter how rich the details, will never give us the ability to predict how they will behave as a system.
Once individuals link together they become something different.

Peering out at the world, they describe seven principles of life's process of creating:

  •    Everything is in a constant process of discovery and creating. Everything is changing all the time: individuals, systems, environments, the rules, the processes of evolutions. Even change changes. Every organism reinterprets the rules, creates exceptions for itself, creates new rules.
  •    Life uses messes to get well-ordered solutions. Life doesn't seem to share our desires for efficiency or neatness. It uses redundancy, fuzziness, dense webs of relationships, unending trials and errors to find what works.
  •    Life is intent on finding what works, not what's 'right'. It is the ability to keep finding solutions that is important; any one solution is temporary. There are no permanently right answers. The capacity to keep changing, to find what works now, is what keeps any organism alive.
  •    Life creates more possibilities as it engages with opportunities. There are no 'windows of opportunity', narrow openings in the fabric of space-time that soon disappear forever.
  •    Possibilities beget more possibilities; they are infinite.
  •    Life is attracted to order. It experiments until it discovers how to form a system that can support diverse members. Individuals search out a wide range of possible relationships to discover whether they can organize into life-sustaining system. These explorations continue until a system is discovered. The system then provides stability for its members, so that individuals are less buffeted by change.
  •    Life organizes around identity. Every living thing acts to develop and preserve itself. Identity is the filter that every organism or system uses to make sense of the world. New information, new relationships, changing environments - all are interpreted through a sense of self. This tendency toward self-creation is so strong that it creates a seeming paradox. An organism will change to maintain its identity.

Everything participates in the creation and evolution of its neighbors

"There are no unaffected outsiders. No one system dictates conditions to another. All participate together in creating the conditions of their interdependence."

  •    "There is no ideal design for anything, just interesting combinations that arise as a living thing explores it space of possibilities",
  •     Wheatley and Kellner-Rogers write, a combination of words that could be used to describe how an organization innovates.
  •     "Wisdom is about living harmoniously in the universe which is itself a place of order and justice that triumphs over chaos and employs chance for its ultimate purpose" Matthew Fox.

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