Organizations in all forms, sizes and colors have started to play with the idea of self-organization. They experiment with holocracy, sociocracy, evolutionary organizations theory.
The core idea is to no longer lead from the top down, in fixed hierarchies, but to open up these hierarchies in a more flexible, matter of needs, living organism. To find a flow in the organization itself.
And everyone who has ever worked in such an organization has come across pitfalls this brings with it, like endless meetings, feeling unrecognized and un-organized.
With self-organization comes a great deal of freedom and creativity. But also a great deal of responsibility.
From what we are generally used to, through schools, college, most jobs, this degree of responsibility can seem overwhelming. It’s beyond taking responsibility for oneself into taking responsibility for the community as well.
There appears to be a good reason for being drawn to this kind of organization though. Sciences inform us that all living beings are interconnected. These connections are more important than the things 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 based on the systems we are brought up in.
From citizen to consumer
We are brought up as consumers, not citizens. The point is to make us consume as much as we possible can in our lifetime. In education, we consume knowledge in order to make money that let’s us consume stuff. Life-story told.
Yes democracy is the political domination, but within schools, the university, and most companies – our first learning experiences – there is no democratic system, so we don’t learn how to be part of a democracy. And if we never learn it, we can’t participate, we can’t co-create.
We basically 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.
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.