This blog post is part of my learning journey (and others) within the Metacogs peer learning network. We have come together online to form a self organising learning group that seeks to help each other learn ‘meta-cognative’ (thinking about thinking) tools and understandings. That’s how I understand it. To start with we set up a Facebook group oriented around this purpose. Then we set up this blog and lately some of us in this group have been meeting in online video conference calls via Google+ Hangouts. These have been recorded and you can access them on this blog. We are using and exploring a range of meta-cognative tools, including PatternDynamics, which I have developed as a systems thinking tool for enhancing the enduring health and functionality of human organisations at any scale and of any type. The premise behind PatternDynamics is that sustainability and forming a thriving planetary civilisation is dependent for the most part on people and how we collectively make decisions about how we treat the environment, social capital ect. So PatternDynamics (PD) takes the patterns nature uses for sustainable organisation of its systems and translates them into a set of symbols that we humans can use to understand, communicate and design using the same patterns of organisation. This is proposed as a method for giving us humans the same capacity we find for enduring health and evolution in natural systems.
I have described Source on the PD web site as representing ‘the primordial pattern of organisation at the heart of all systems.’ I see it as the collective consciousness or shared awareness of identity and purpose—what an organisation (human system) ‘is’ and what it ‘does’. If the shared awareness of identity and purpose are strong then the basic ‘organising principle’ of that organisation will be strong. People will be aligned through this and the natural self organising capacity that can work in groups is enhanced.
In our Google+ Hangout sessions we identified our provisional starting Source statement as: “to model particular methods of enhancing and creating coherent conscious fields and to form structures that serve the emergence of a healthy planetary society.”
This works for me and it creates the kind of meaning that motivates me to participate in an engaged and positive way.
This is our ‘origin’ as a group–our fundamental DNA as it were. But, to be relevant over time it will have to adapt and evolve to fit changes in the conditions of a changing world. How our Source evolves over time will be important. If we deviate too far from our original identity and purpose the conscious field of our essential organising pattern will be compromised and people may find it hard to adjust to a new form of meaning making that motivates them. For instance if we changed the last part of our Source statement to “… the emergence of profit making excellence.” Then I’m leaving the group. This is unlikely, but it illustrates how important it is to evolve Source with reference to its origin or original identity and purpose. Too many organisations compromise Source either by moving too far away from it in a ‘rebranding’ or by not changing it enough over time (making Source irrelevant).
In that way we could think of Source as the ‘ever present origin’ (a term coined by Gene Gebser) that maintains a strong self organising capacity within organisations. In natural systems the ever present origin can be seen through ‘patterns’ of organisation (for instance a tree pattern) that adapt and change over time. They are never identical, but somehow maintain a general form of organisation that makes them recognisable and functional and that allows them to adapt, develop and evolve over time to meet the challenges of a dynamic world around them. What do these patterns look like in human systems? And, how can we use them to ‘think like an ecosystem’.