Toward a Unified Metaphysical Understanding: Organisations, Collective Consciousness & Developing Human Potential - TweetList    
 Organisations, Collective Consciousness & Developing Human Potential - TweetList
2010-07-09, by John Ringland

@VenessaMiemis ( asked on Twitter:

  • "Does a Corporation have consciousness?"

  • "What would happen if developing human potential of people were top priority of corps & orgs?"

The other responses that I saw focused on profit motives, incentives, toppling capitalism, etc. These are the usual types of responses and they arise from an anthropocentric paradigm, which could be caricatured by the phrase "people rule the world". They focus on how people can engineer organisations for the benefit of people without even considering the perspectives of the organisations themselves and what they want. For example, the comment by @steve_e

  • Orgs more successful, people happier. Orgs would exist to support/enhance people, not the other way round!

And in particular the comment by @mgusek555 caught my attention

  • Corps don't have consciousness, but the people within them do collectively.

IMHO these are rather narrow anthropocentric perspectives on a very important issue, hence I decided to throw in my two cents worth in order to present an alternative non-anthropocentric / systemic perspective. Here are my tweets:

  • "Does a Corporation have consciousness?" We r orgs of cells, so do we have consc or do our cells just have a collectiveConsc?

  • It's a matter of sub/super system perspectives & the distinctions we make.

  • re orgs developing human potential? Do we give priority to developing the potential of each cell in our bodies?

  • Or do we formulate and pursue agendas within our own field of awareness? Would orgs of humans be any different to us in this?

As a hint towards a solution:

  • What attitudes do we have that nurture the cellular civilisation within us even if we r oblivious to its existence?

  • What attitudes could orgs develop that nurture the human civilisation within them even if they r oblivious to our existence?

To which @VenessaMiemis replied:

  • i suppose they will have to implement infrastructure that rewards socially responsible behavior

  • and i think when ppl r empowered & given responsibility, it builds empathy, compassion

  • corp consciousness - corp becomes legal entity, so no human to blame. employees slaves to an enigma, in a way

I don't think she got my point so I added:

  • I guess my point was that an org is more than just a collection of ppl, just as we r more than just a collection of cells

  • To understand why orgs behave how they do we need to understand them as bonafide lifeforms at a higher level of complexity.

  • Humans don't live for cells & orgs don't live for humans, each formulates agendas at its own level of complexity.

  • Asking orgs to live for us will not work. But we can help them 2 find a way to live their own lives that also works for us.

@technoshaman replied:

  • cells don't have free will 2 steer us 2 have a life they want us 2 live; we can do that with orgs.

My response:

  • An org might think the same about us; "ppl have no free will only we (orgs) do". To them we are "just cells"

  • Each of us is a civilisation of 70 trillion cells, our mind is their culture, our freewill emerges from theirs.

  • At their own level cells are complex living beings with complex societies but to us they are just specks.

  • Similarly we see ourselves as complex living beings with complex societies but to orgs we are just specks.

  • Organisms are cellular organisations but it took us 550 mil yrs to discover this even though cells already knew.

  • Likewise we know we exist but how long til orgs (on their own level) discover us & begin to take us into account?

  • Note: the collectiveMind emerges from but is fundamentally different to the collective of individuals minds.

@technoshaman replied:

  • we created organizations & society, we can change them; cells didn't "create" us, they don't have self-reflective consciousness

My response:

  • Nobody invented society it evolved from family > tribe > … > empire > nation > corporation etc

  • Organisations self-organise by the same systemic principles as organisms do - meta-system transition.

  • We have a subsystem perspective on orgs, whereas we have a supersystem perspective on cells. Beware perspective parochialism.

  • Also, we have egos that believe that they are the doers. But without the ego doing still happens. Beware egoic delusion.

  • Did plants invent photo-synthesis? Did corporations invent solar panels? Did these self-organise? Is there a difference?

@technoshaman replied:

  • nobody "invented" society but social evolution cannot be reduced to biological one without giving up self-reflecivity & choice

My response:

  • only if we assume that we are the sole possessors of self-reflecivity & choice. This seems unlikely & anthropocentric to me.

  • All complex systems possess these to varying degrees, that is how we come to have them in the first place.

@spirospiliadis replied:

  • the science behind orgs is simple, that is why "intent" derived from the one in power will shift org's but we don't know what ...

  • it will look like, but my hunch is we won't be so "possessed" by profit, and move towards "value in use" less is more

  • it's not easy to explain, but it starts with people organizing organizations not money organizing people...

My response:

  • IMO the science of orgs is complex and barely understood. System science is only just beginning to grapple with it.

  • I'm not talking about the art of mngmnt but the science of how organisations self-organise, perceive, experience & behave.

@spirospiliadis replied:

  • the organizing seems simple, the complexity comes with "humanity" and the way we are day in and out.. hence "drama"

My response:

  • would you also say that the organisation within an organism is simple except for the dramas occuring between the cells?

A comment to @technoshaman & @spirospiliadis:

  • My point is that it is not just about people. If we wish to understand we must get beyond that limitation!

  • People have been trying to manufacture and manipluate orgs but we are constantly surprised at how they end up behaving. We could go round...

  • ..this loop again and again until we start to think about it not just through a narrow anthropocentric lens.

  • A systemic approach takes all perspectives into account, not just the human perspective.

@spirospiliadis replied:

  • i agree, but it starts with people, and many are still sleeping inside those limitations, what's the hurry?

My response:

  • there's no hurry, but why perpetuate false, ineffective and ultimately dangerous ideas? Now is always a good time to change.

@spirospiliadis replied:

  • give me an example? of a false, innefective dangerous idea?

My response:

  • eg “we r ppl in a wrld, we r the only active entities, & everything can be understood and manipulated from this perspective”

  • such ideas lead us to create systems that are badly designed, out of harmony with surrounding systems & very destructive.

  • good intentions plus ignorance = danger!

@spirospiliadis replied:

  • yes b/c your trying to fulfill a need, a means to an end, the ego has grabbed the ignorance, don't blame the intention

  • my point if i have one :) is be human, and let the mechanics serve humanity, enjoy the ride, but learn from it too... cheers

My response:

  • no b/c good intentions cause people to intervene & ignorance causes them to stuff things up badly.

  • Point taken :) My point is “we r human and that's that” blinds us to the systemic reality that we are part of.

A comment to @technoshaman & @spirospiliadis:

  • Thnx 4 having the courage to say something. #respect G'night :)

Not yet time to sleep – more comments...

@ffunch said:

  • A problem with the organism/organization analogy is that cells probly didn't create the organism, but in an org, 1 of them did.

My response:

  • each organism begins life as a single zygote, which multiplies & via autopoesis these cells create the organism. But...

  • whilst there are superficial differences between the different levels of complexity the same systemic principles apply at all levels

@spirospiliadis said:

  • all we can do is be open to the "intent" detached and conscious makes things a whole lot easier and less drama, i agree with u

  • Illuminating perspective. So, can there be such a thing as a soulful organization? (I know @michelleholida thinks so).

My response:

  • re can there be such a thing as a soulful organization? IMHO certainly but it takes time to evolve to that level of refinement.

  • at present orgs are unconsciously driven by primal instincts to feed, fight and proliferate - not yet conscious let alone soulful

@ffunch said:

  • A cell can divide and grow into the whole organism. But you wouldn't claim that it designed the organism, would you?

My response:

  • who designed the USA? We could ask these Q's ad infinitum. The underlying issue here is the validity of the egoic discourse

  • if the ego's beliefs about itself and its role in reality are accurate then I am wrong, but what if the ego is deluded and mistaken?

  • If naïve realism is true then the ego is correct, if NR is false then the ego is DEEPLY delusional.
    [Note: Quantum mechanics disproves NR beyond all doubt.]

  • re "u w/dn't claim that it (cell) designed the organism, w/d you?" If 'design' is "process internal information to create external forms" yes!

  • If 'design' is "process internal information to create external forms whilst an ego deludes itself that it is the doer" then no!

@ffunch said:

  • I'd kind of group the "cell creating the organism" idea with naïve realism. Confusing a message carrier with design.

My response:

  • Do you accept that systems can process internal information to create external forms?

  • Do you believe that the ego is the whole being, or that its a cognitive process that identifies with other cognitive processes?

  • When a decision is made in the mind, is it the ego that 'decides' or does it just identify with the decision process?

  • I gotta sleep! We can continue this another time if you like - if not thnx 4 an interesting conversation :) #respect

The next day I found these comments by @ffunch:

  • Sorry, I was in a real time conversation with @sebpaquet and @technoshaman. I'll leave a few answers and we can continue later.

  • A "decision" is probably more often merely identifying the result of sub-conscious processing than a fully conscious act.

  • Systems can generate stuff. Seeds can grow trees. Are seeds conscious of trees? Was a tree designed? Discovered? I'm not sure.

My response:

  • I heard it was an interesting convo, I'll listen to it soon :) I am busy this weekend but will briefly respond to ur comments.

  • Re “'decision' probly merely identifying the result of sub-conscious processing than a conscious act” Glad we can agree on this :)

  • Re “Was a tree designed?” Yes, by the evolutionary process via the interaction of organisms within a biological ecosystem.

  • Ideas are also 'designed' by an evolutionary process via the interaction of memes within a memetic ecosystem (mind).

  • BTW here are a few tweets clarifying my thoughts on memes, memeplexes, minds & collectiveMinds

  • The main difference is that we have an ego that believes that it is the doer. This causes us to misunderstand the situation.

Some general comments:

Introducing another relevant analogy...

  • We have discusd the analogy btwn cells and ppl (subsystems), but what about an analogy btwn ppl and orgs (supersystems)?

  • An ego is a cognitive process that identifies with cognitive processes within an organism. Likewise...

  • A political regime is a cultural process that identifies with cultural processes within a society.

  • When either the ego or regime deludes itself that it is the organism or society, then destructive forces are unleashed.

  • The ego/regime uses the organism/society as "my body" that it manipulates in pursuit of its agendas, thus creating inner strife.

  • When this strife arises as pain, stress, etc the ego/regime suppresses the problem so that it can continue pursuing its agendas.

Regarding power struggle & end-game:

  • The power relations between the ego and cells is that of a totalitarian dictatorship so extreme that cells are conceived of as mere objects.

  • The power struggle btwn ppl and orgs will hopefully find a difrnt balance, but ppl have been trying for thousands of years.

  • With each failed attempt the problem only gets worse. Because ppl do not understand orgs but they believe that they do.

  • If we remain stuck in the egoic paradigm then we will make the same old mistakes in new ways. A paradigm shift is needed!

  • This time may be our last chance to break out of the closed loop of assumptions and finally do something genuinely new.

  • The systems upon which we depend cannot survive unending abuse, we either break out of our delusions or we go extinct.

  • The essence of tyranny is the denial of complexity. Jacob Burkhardt

  • Truth, in its complexity, can't be advanced if our discourse conforms to a self-reproducing closed loop of hidden assumptions. WD Perdue

  • There are a thousand hacking at the branches of evil (pruning) to one who is striking at the root. Henry David Thoreau

  • If we question our assumptions to break the loop & expand the discourse we can learn from our errors & not merely repeat them in new ways.

Some relevant links:

  • Quotes from a Survey of the Science and Philosophy of Living Systems

  • Quotes regarding the illusion of being a person #ego #naiveRealism #reality

  • Simplified Anatomy of the Global Systemic Crisis and How to Heal Civilisation

  • Signs of an Emerging Paradigm Shift #quantumMechanics #naiveRealism #SSE

  • Naïve Realism, its Ramifications and Overcoming #naiveRealism

  • High altitude map of the systemic context, showing where the closed loop of limited awareness fits

  • What I think in simple terms a brief overview in common language.

  • Detailed overview of the mathematical science underlying my thinking

  • Changing How we think for the sake of all An essay pieced together out of comments made during a conversation on the Global Mindshift forum.

  • Discussing naïve realism with the Society for Scientific Exploration #naiveRealism #SSE

  • Gaian-Ego Hypothesis: Systems Analysis of Organisation, Ego, Control and Authoritarianism

What do you think about this issue?

  • Can we understand the psychology and behaviour of people by thinking of them as collections of cells?

  • Can we understand the psychology and behaviour of organisations by thinking of them as collections of people?

  • Or do these systems need to be studied at their own level – the level at which they experience themselves as a single entity in a world, and at which they formulate their world-views, fears, desires and agendas?

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