Is it alive? LO16702

Tom Christoffel (
Mon, 26 Jan 1998 23:10:10 -0500

Replying to LO16615 -- plus the Learning Region

Steve Eskow wrote:

>For all of the weaknesses pointed out here, correctly, the "team"metaphor
>makes it clear that an organization is NOT a living being, but an
>artificially contrived structure.

Organizatons exist for life support - support of living things. It is
contrived by living beings and therefore mirrors the internal organization
of its creators. Neither chemistry nor physics require organization. There
is a pattern in the relationships that are uncovered through science.
Living organisims require organization and can't evolve to higher
complexity without significant internal organization. Their tools are
chemicals, chemical compounds and the physics of relationships. Life
forms, once past mitosis as the means of reproduction, and with the
introduction of sexual reproduction require social organization - which
leads to cultural/psychological communication for sustaining the organisms
within the environment they've evolved. In the case of many organizims
they alter their environments - which can be called engineering. In man -
tool invention and use, engineering applications - have allowed great
increases in the number of humans that can be sustained in a given
physical space.

So - since in my understanding - biological organization came first - an
experimental implementation of spiritual vision that continues in this
generation - bio-logic metaphors can contribute to understanding of
organizations. All language is limiting - much less metaphors - but the
very act of limiting - not trying to deal with the entire cosmos at once -
the focus - permits communication, and our life forms - change, grow,
explore, create and multiply using all the tools we can. When the earth is
at capacity - we'll need more real estate . Science and engineering is
already working on it.

If you attend to the UFO phenomena - other life forms beat us to this
organizational capacity. LO as discussed here - is mostly applied to
discrete organizations that must produce to stay in business. My level of
practice is regional cooperation. This is a new level of organization -
bigger than a single locality - but smaller than a single state, though
many regions - metropolitan areas - are multi-state.

At this time on our planet - from the angle of economics - I offer people
the view that , "All markets are regional and the economy is global."
Business people already live this for the most part. Local governments do
not - they look inward and seek to solve their problems with their own
resources, or by begging more from higher levels of government - seeking
grants. While that is often appropriate - since state or national policies
may have created some local problems, an emerging tool for the past 30
years has been regional cooperation. Local officials - sometimes when
enlightened, but most often when pushed by local econmic problems, risk
the creation and use of regional tools to solve problems. Regional
organization - is a learning process - it can be - I envision - a
conscious learning region. The business community already is dealing with
regions - labor markets, housing markets, shopping and services,
recreational sites - all are regional. The business community can convey
to elected officals the need to be regional and cooperative in order that
the assets of the region, roadways, airports, colleges and universities
all work together so they can remain competitive in the global economy.

In Virginia this approach is being supported through encouragement by the
General Assembly of the formation of Regional Partnerships - a body of
elected and administrative officials, business and industry leaders,
educators - public and higher ed leaders, and representatives of civic
association. This mix goes beyond the traditional regional council which
is based on cooperation among local governments. A barrier there is that
neighbors are not peers, so in may regions there is a gap in capacity
between the higher population, often more sophisticated city and suburban
jurisdictions, and the smaller suburban or exurban jurisdictions. These
approaches require investment from higher levels of governance to support
the learning that cooperation (which inherently requires power sharing - a
definite barrier - the risk of loss of power, percieved power).

One aspect of "regional" as an organizaing concept, is that it is
scalable. The medical profession uses local and regionl in relation to
the human body. The State Department divides the planet into six regions
for the organization of its diplomatic information. Very simply, I've
concluded, regional is cooperation across a boundary. Two locals cross a
boundary to solve a problem. Cooperation is then, by definition, on the
regional scale. (insight as written) When regions are organized with
stable geographic boundaries, it is possible for community to be built.
Even arbitrary boundaries can work - for all community is virtual -
there's only one planet - as the Internet and this list demonstrate.

In Alvin Toffler's book "Future Shock," 1970, he predicted/suggested the
future - (where we currently live) would utilize "adhocracy" - ad hoc
groups coming together as needed for an issue and in a democatic process -
dealing with the issue/solving the problem. Today - this need is met
through networking, cooperation and - in the business world now -
coop-itition. That is teaming - back to Steve's point.

In my regional community vision, utilizing a small staff - in this
organization I promote a team approach, as opposed to a family approach -
because families can be dysfunctional. The biologically evolved
organization has limits when applied in many workplaces, though it seems
to work for some. Extended family - social support - is a key element.

Metaphorically we need to have a toolbox of things that work, given the
environment, culture and x of the situation. Planet earth as the default
community is a thought that would, I believe, help us achieve a dynamic
peace which encourages a balance between stability and creativity, all
supporting a more rich (complex) life.

Lost post - thanks to LO for supporting seeking . (regn9801.txt)


Thomas J. (Tom) Christoffel * e-mail: My mission: "Regions_Work!" Why? "All markets are regional and the economy is global. Two or more crossing boundaries to solve a problem is regional cooperation." *TJCdesigns * Box 1444 * Front Royal, Virginia (VA) 22630-1444 * "True peace is dynamic. For sustainability, design with re-use in mind."

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