The core idea is to no longer lead from the top down in fixed hierarchies. The core idea is to open up these hierarchies in a more flexible, matter of needs, living organism. To find a flow in the organization itself.
Everyone who has ever worked in such an organization came across pitfalls. Endless meetings, feeling unrecognized, unorganized.
With self-organization comes a great deal of freedom and creativity. But also a great deal of responsibility.
From what we are used to, through schools, college, most jobs, this degree of responsibility can seem overwhelming. It goes beyond taking responsibility for oneself into taking responsibility for the whole.
There appears to be a good reason we are drawn to this kind of organization though. Sciences inform us that all living beings are interconnected. These connections are more important than the individual parts themselves.
Life itself is now understood as a self-organizing, self-regenerating complex that extends like a fractal at ever-increasing scale, from a single cell to the global system of life on Earth. Jeremy Lent
Our system, our politics, our economy, is based on the fundamental flaw, of putting a few people into power, trying to rule it top down. Even though democracy is an attempt against a top-down approach, a democracy only works, if it’s entities – that is us, citizens – participate. Which most of us don’t know how to do, and that in turn is the result of the systems we grow up in.
From citizen to consumer
We are brought up as consumers, not citizens. We adapted the idea that our goal in life is to consume as much as we possibly can in one lifetime. In education, we consume knowledge to make money that lets us consume stuff. Life-story told.
Yes, democracy is the political domination. But within our first learning experiences – schools, university, and most companies – there is no democratic system. We never learn how to be part of a democracy. And if we never learn it, we can’t take part, we can’t co-create.
We un-learned how natural systems work – self-organized, self-regenerating. And that’s why we blame ‘the people up there’. Because down here, we don’t know what to do. We need an enemy.
Turning to nature
When we turn to nature, we see swarms working in service of their queen, we see kings ruling their herd. When looking at the greater eco-system, we also see a dance of organisms, we see them living together without any formal institution. It’s a trial and error, a back and forth until a balance is found. And than change happens and the dance starts again.
Since it’s quite a challenge to turn the system upside down in an instant, we can at least start with ourselves. We can become citizens again by actively participating in the design of our culture and our environment.