"Visions of World Benefit & Global Responsibility: Perspectives of McGill Students

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Evolution and change

Over the years, the scientific society of the world has established that the development of humankind is exponential rather than linear in nature. This trend applies not only to the growth of population and technology, but also to the psychological, emotional and mental evolution. According to the Spiral Dynamics Theory, the humanity has been going through different tiers of behavioural and psychological maturity, but the duration of each one has been getting shorter and shorter. The higher tiers are more complex in nature, but they do not last as long as the more simple and primitive ones. The humanity is surging upward at higher speed than ever before, going from strict induced order to complete chaos, yet somehow the interconnected and interdependent world, as diverse and as chaotic as it is, is creating a new self-organizing order based on cooperation and individual experiences.


The chaos theory is gaining momentum as the one that represents the present world’s complexity, yet the experts agree that this natural chaos is self-organizing, creating structures that are have better endurance than the carefully-built plans. When the world as a whole is left to its own, is there a higher level of order in chaos? Is self-organization the road to success?

John Stewart, in “Evolution’s Arrow”, discussed the development of early cells, and how the evolution of the proteins and other molecules shows that cooperation is more productive in the long run. Although the cells today are universally considered to be the “smallest building blocks of life”, and the individual molecules are often dismissed in discussing “organisms”, there was a time when it was a dog-eat-dog (or, actually, more of a REM-eat-protein) world. The organism as a whole was developed over time, with new governing laws emerging in a process of self-discovery.

Much in the same way, the humanity is developing now. New leaders start as scavengers, looking out solely for their own benefit, and only later on begin to discover the efficiency that comes with leading a team. We are not at the end of the evolution of our systems yet – we still see ourselves as separate entities, fighting for dominance instead of working as one towards a common goal. One day, perhaps, our view of the world will change, and we will see any organization as a single organism as well, built for its survival and dependent on its individual parts. If the evolution for humanity as a whole is driven by the same hand as that of a single cell, if humankind is simply the next spiral of tiers in the grand evolution of the world, if the chaos that is taking the artificially-created power out of the hands of men is the driving force behind the development of the world as we know it, what does this mean for the way we organize ourselves, for the way we do management?

The truth of the matter is, even though the corporations of today are relatively new phenomena in the history of humankind, the principles of management that guide them are mostly the same since the beginning of time: there are dominants and submissives – there are leaders and there are followers; some people are chosen to manage, some take it by force or by means of a corporate ladder. Each individual contributes to the group of people he or she belongs to, and each organization as a whole has an experience that differs it from other such organizations in the world. Early organizations – communal groups, villages, nations, empires – were built on the principles of brute strengths and clear distinctions of classes and roles. Each person had a part to play in the bigger picture, and even though some roles might have seemed unimportant and even futile in comparison to others, each one provided a piece of the greater mosaic that shaped the entire group, the entire picture, the entire empire. However, for many centuries, this importance of every individual was ignored and instead replaced by an artificial idea of ranks of importance. The collective power was disregarded and instead an idea was created that people as a whole had to be managed by select few, with clear hierarchy and division of power.

This system today is crumbling under the pressure from the self-organizing chaos, and the nature of the world as a mosaic of individual experiences is emerging. Not only the people on an individual basis are becoming extremely interconnected, but even some of today’s leaders are starting to understand the importance of each person in the survival of the organization as a whole. The pioneers in this field included the Mondragon cooperatives in the Basque region of Spain and the Semco company from Brazil. They recognized the potential that exists in group collaboration and surrendered to the chaos of giving up the synthetic power of conventional management to the people. Each piece of mosaic, thus, is free to create and to connect to others,

The experience of each individual is only one piece of the mosaic of the world’s collective experience, but it is an essential piece to fit into the complete picture of the world’s state at that particular moment. Each individual, thus, is contributing to the development of the world as a whole, and as each person evolves, he or she boosts the combined evolution. As the mosaic is filling up, it takes fewer and fewer pieces to connect the fast-closing gaps. The “bigger picture” is getting clearer with each individual, even though the piece by itself would provide little clue into the greater idea. It is the same principles that are central to painting by numbers. Each colour sector provides little information about the entire picture, but as more sectors are filled up with appropriate selections, the picture “comes out”. Claude Monet was the one who pioneered this principle, creating not children’s books but whole masterpieces that had to viewed from afar, as looking at them close-up one would see nothing more but little dots of colour – small pieces of a complex mosaic, chaotic in nature to the observer.

Today, chaos and mosaic are closely related, with the chaos being the way and the mosaic being the visual interpretation of the new order of life. One wonders where this path will lead us, and how, with absolutely no directions, will the mosaic make sense to us in the end. Already, all over the world, visionaries are predicting new organizational systems, new ways of doing business and new ways managing – not only people, but resources, too. One realization about the nature of the world often leads to many more, opening up more doors and questions, but slowly and surely opening up our eyes to the bigger truth, the greater life, and the brighter future. This future is interconnected, developed, humane and oh-so-very-close. Some can already see it through the complicated patterns of the existing pieces, and as for the rest of us – we might need just a few more pieces of the puzzle to fall into place.

Ref: http://users.tpg.com.au/users/jes999/6.htm

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