What is Good? LO13203

Bill Godfrey (bgodfrey@ozemail.com.au)
Sat, 12 Apr 97 19:22:21 +1000

Replying to LO13143 --

I strongly suspect that Ken Wilber "Eros, Kosmos, Logos" is the German
title of the book that is modestly titled "A Brief History of Everything"
in English. My copy is Australian published (Hill Of Content) but I would
expect that The US publisher is Sha mbala - who have published most of his
other books.

A short commentary on the book follows:

It is said that if we, who are concerned with managing change, are to be
successful we must ourselves learn to see the world anew9. Ken Wilber is
one of a handful of authors who can help us to learn.

Seen from a manager9s perspective, this book is therefore included for
those who are interested in looking more widely at the nature and causes
of the changes with which we are dealing and the possible future shape of
our society and world view. Ken Wilb er is an extraordinary writer who
works to synthesise material from science, philosophy, psychology,
sociology and eastern and western spiritual traditions into a
comprehensive diagnosis of the western condition and the nature of the
challenges which face us. Having said that, a fuller review of what is
also a powerful polemical attack on the inadequacies of modernist and
post-modernist philosophy belongs in another forum. This commentary is
simply an attempt to explain why the book merits inclusion in a manager9s
reading list.

Astonishingly, he achieves his synthesis in a way which is, in general,
very readable and which clarifies a lot of concepts and ideas which, for
me as a non-specialist in the field, have been pretty unapproachable. In
particular, I have a much clearer id ea of the content of modernism9 and
post modernism9 and why it is important to understand something of that

Perhaps most valuable of all, for people who are concerned with
organisations and organisational change, is his framework of analysis,
based on holons9 and holarchies9 and on four quadrants for consideration
of the properties of holarchies. [A holon is simply an entity which is
both complete in itself (e.g. an atom) and a part of a larger complete
entity (e.g. a molecule), with the essential characteristic that more
complex units in the holarchy (e.g. particle, atom, molecule,cell, etc)
have properties which can not be found in a simple aggregate of the
separate holons of which they are composed.]

Each of these has an exterior (i.e. susceptible to scientific examination,
like the structure of the brain) and an interior (i.e. not susceptible to
such examination, like my train of thought) aspect and an individual and a
collective aspect. Wilber deve lops the thesis that each aspect has to be
dealt with on its own terms - the attempt to subject interior aspects to
exterior or scientific9 examination leads to gross distortions. He sums
this up in the phrase 3surfaces can be seen, but depths [i.e. int erior
aspects] must be interpreted.2. Equally, no consideration is complete
without taking account of both individual and collective aspects.

With these tools, Wilber enters into an exploration of the four aspects of
holarchies, which is very revealing, even if there is a stage beyond which
the reader, like myself, can no longer confidently follow him and even if
the reader is uncomfortable wit h Wilber9s conception of Spirit.

Bill Godfrey
Bill Godfrey & Associates Pty Ltd
8 Reibey Place, Curtin, ACT 2605, Australia
Tel: (61) 6 282 2256
Fax: (61) 6 282 2447
email: bgodfrey@ozemail.com.au
BookWatch site: http://webtrax.com.au/BB/BookWatch.bbd


Bill Godfrey <bgodfrey@ozemail.com.au>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>