Participatory Spirituality for the 21st Century
For an introduction to this expanding meta-thread see Integral Anti-Capitalism pt I. We continue here because we have, hilariously, exceeded this website's capacity...
I agree that holacracy should be singled out for special investigation. The provocative notion that we are dramatically over-emphasizing the need for "conscious leadership" pertains very pertinently to this discussion. Robertson, like ourselves, is pointing to the fact that business (organizations) which integrally improve the interiors and cultural
spirit of their participants are still predisposed to certain outcomes as a result of their actual structural habits of communication and their specific decision-making protocols.
His notion of a constantly self-correcting dynamic organization drawing upon the capacity of individuals to act as tension-sensors relative to the "evolutionary purpose" of the organization is compelling and admirable.
More important is simply that he is making a stand and making an attempt to construct a protocol (constitution). I am not fully versed in the 4.0 version of the holacracy constitution but we should get deeper into some of these proposals.
Given the level of your current knowledge of their protocols, what would you want to change or add in order to ethically and functionally empower this approach even more?
I’m not yet familiar enough with holacracy to know it might need. So for now I’ll ask questions. From p. 8 there was a blog post on ownership and the model might (but not necessarily) include outside capital investors. I asked:
“One question immediately pops up on outside investors. Are there limits on the amount of outside capital investment? What if their investment is such that without it the company could not financially survive? And/or depends on it for start-up? Then such investment would control the company, like it or not. If you don't do what I say I'm taking my ball and going home. No ball, no ballgame. Not the same as a mortgage or loan company.”
Granted why such investors are included on the Board there are other stake-holders to balance their input. But are there rules about which outside individuals or companies can invest? Do they have to have similar values like triple bottom lines instead of just profit for their investors? Can a Goldman Sachs provide start-up capital? Or Romeny’s ex-firm, Bain? Just wondering, so perhaps it’s time for those out there more familiar with the system to engage us?
I appreciate your inquiry about the potential influence of outside investors in holacratic systems. Perhaps they have a good protocol for that. Or perhaps not. In general, all "smart groups" need to comprehend and anticipate the distortion influence that donors and enablers wield. The psychology of human nature shows that we may believe ourselves to be quite sturdy and impartial while we are really bending in the breeze.
One of the concerns I had while perusing the holacracy constitution was about the voting procedure for filling roles. There are many parts of their approach which impress. In particular I would like to make not of the necessity to place constraints upon discussion. When the mention of a concern is met with the mention of counter-concerns then the intelligence and practical efficacy of discussions drops dramatically. A highly suspicious mind might even supposed that the human hive is encouraged to engage in the constant casual usage of dysfunctional conversation. So their use of controlled phases in both operational and hiring decisions is admirable. However, their actual voting protocol seems (to my naive glance) to be based on a model of transparent majority. A sophisticated "show of hands".
So this may be an area in which holacratic principles can be expanded to include a more thorough use of "secret ballot" and "averaged ranking".
The former often seems like a show of bad faith and an invitation to covert dangers... but these are considerably outweighed by the liberation of individual intelligence from any conscious or unconscious concerns about the social consequences of their input.
The latter evades a primitive "first past the post" approach in which our intelligence is functionally limited to a yes/no determination about each candidate relative to other candidates.
Another thing I admire about holacracy is that it represents a functional procedure and culture in which participants would appear to become better participants by participating. Their capacity and ethical commitment to the good of the organization through its evolving protocols should be an increasing trend. Any smart group needs to be arranged so that even people who try to distort the results will find their capacity and will to do this reducing over time. Replaced by the inspirational efficacy of the group.
This brings me to another issue relative to voting, both in political and economic groups. That is the relative absence of specific instructions about how to translated ones feelings into a vote-mark. This is almost completely unaddressed in terms of popular elections. To discuss it even seems insidious to some people who fear coercion (and/or wish to maintain the current material power structures).
Protocols should have at least a clear suggestion about how to locate both "gut" and "intellectual" data within ourselves and convert that into a numerical value which can be contributed to a group decision. A lack of clarification at this critical junction may act as an invisible source of drag upon an otherwise very functional group organism.
It might even be possible to define an "integral-level organizational set up" for business or politics by simply compiling a list of areas in which intelligence and capacity are distorted. We might recall that most of Wilber's philosophy has emerged in levels correlated to his discovery of "fallacies" or "basic errors". Integral proposals about business and society could be all over the map unless there is a reasonable set of constraints that make sure they fall in the most lucrative zone.
So other than the potential influence of outside "helpers" and "donors" what other sources of distortion or inhibition do you see going mostly unaddressed in otherwise progressive groups?
My next question of holacracy is who came up with it? It seems to be the pet project of Brian Robertson, his own brainchild. I'm wondering if that is so of if it was a community or P2P project? I mean, the structure of holacracy itself calls for distributed decision-making but was the creation of holacracy itself derived from this process or mostly dictated by Robertson? I've yet to find an answer at the site so I posed this question to them via contact info. I'll provide the response if/when received. I think the answer is pivotal in determining if this thing called holacracy arose from its own medicine.
I look forward that answer if it is forthcoming. The notion of self-arising systems is something which haunts the periphery of these discussions. My fantasy is that we can devise a group protocol which so reliably and simply exceeds the cognitive capacity of the individual participants that it would be foolish to predetermine the purpose and nature of the group. Collectively we could a better job of determining what kind of a collective we should be. "Smartgroups" of this kind could then spread through the world in a very radical social uprising. How possible that is remains uncertain...
As I understand holacracy, the different companies making use of it are assumed to engage in their own mutational modifications of the "constitution". So even if Brian wrote the whole thing out in his bathtub it still retains an open source quality. The answer to whether its current forms are or are not the result of distributed decision-making is almost certainly: sort of.
One of the reasons the holacracy approach is so amenable to business organization is that it seems to depend upon the functional axis of a specified purpose. The aim is somewhat pregiven -- our job is to sell widgets or maximize share-holder profit, etc. His use of the metaphor of the sensors on an airplane derives from a mechanism that is assumed to be designed for a well-known purpose.
My question would be whether or not this "aim" is a necessarily functional element in generating enhanced organizational capacity? Or whether it is simply an artifact of the need to make these systems serve a relatively conventional marketplace task?
Your suggestion of a smart group that arises creatively from a continually evolving set of parameters seems to be the intent and practice of holacracy. As to the organizational purpose of Holacracy One, it seems to have multiple bottom lines including but not limited to profit. For example, see this post in the comments where I noted that the top to bottom pay ratio is 3 to 1, and quoted some of those multiple purposes:
"With Holacracy at play, the game is entirely different: with the decentralization of authority, the separation of people and role, and the dynamic evolution of those roles, we end up with a situation that looks more like free agents going about their work with no central planning. There might not even be a single person who knows about everything you do."
This sounds much more like the sort of emerging P2P organizational structure discussed throughout this thread. And also of significance in the post following this article where The Integral Center of Boulder has "voluntarily relinquished their rights to control their company as owners. Instead, they have ceded authority to a purpose-centered governance process called Holacracy, a model that distributes authority across the organization and gives primary power to the organization itself."
These are indeed advances over the kind of conscious capitalism promoted and AQALly packaged for sale at I-I.
This is an interesting moment. Apparently Amazon.com is experimenting with a version of holacracy as well. It clearly represents a theoretical advance over the typical kind of conscious capitalism which combines advanced sentiments with a potentially dangerous and uninspected ideological allegiance to more primitive routines of social organization and wealth production. Yet we cannot know the results of the experiment in advance.
I have tremendous optimism about emergent p2p organizational structures. Experimentation is utterly necessary and should be strongly encouraged. I am also very hopeful that advances can be made in terms of quantification. This is very central in my thinking lately.
It seems that experimental protocols for advances social organization systems suffer from the lack of a quantifiable evaluation of their respective degrees of "collective intelligence". Most people are drawn to such possibilities by ethical and aesthetic criteria which do no necessarily persuade the world. So I would love to see experimentation supplemented by the attempt to devise a metric for estimating the intelligence of a social organization protocol.
Along similar lines, my "tetrabucks" type notions represent the possibility/necessity to structure our currency at a level that correlates to advanced P2P organizational structures and post-pluralistic consciousness.
The potential of an evil holacracy has hardly been broached. If it works -- it works. Other than simply the tendency of less complex people not to use more complex systems, and the tendency of more complex systems to complexify their participants, there needs to be some inter-organizational structures which incline all organizations int he direction of broad human well-being. It is my assertion that as long as primary areas of value remain outside monetization the actions of groups trying to utilize official social credits will constantly become unstable.
So I am imagining a line leading from pathological capitalism to standard capitalism to conscious capitalism to trans-capitalist network organizations to such organizations bound together by a integrated set of metrics for determining the intelligence of groups and splicing together (at least) four broad domains of human value.
Along these lines -- how will we decide whether holacratic integral business is working better?
As to how we determine whether alternative economic paradigms are 'working,' I'd suggest that even by the standards of typical business democratic workplaces like co-ops are successful. If by that we mean the organization runs smoothly, has low employee turnover, high employee satisfaction, makes a profit or surplus over operating costs, and other such typical measures. Plus they fulfill their stated purposes as expressed in theRochdale principles, like community education, cooperation, democratic control, etc.
I'd say the same applies to holacracy. They also have to accomplish the usual business parameters like above but also meet stated principles like in their constitution. Given Robertson's business acumen I'm sure at the site he has precise and measurable indices to track such progress, though I didn't try to find them as yet.
There has been a lot of chatter on the net recently surrounding three issues that are at play in many countries in the world: an enormous rise in real estate prizes coinciding with an intentional drive to devalue human labour and create huge pools of easily exploitable cheap labour; combined with enormous increases in homelessness . I can testify to this in Vancouver ! Some people in Hawaii and Australia are saying the same things and am sure this is happening in many more places .
Okay, I have to post this here to highlight a rather massive difference of perspective within media culture :
It's in the comments section where they bring up Cuba and posit that Castro's 'green' Cuba -as illustrated by the previous linked Counterpunch article -was premised and implemented within Inquisitional state structures .
If this is what Castro did then it is morally repugnant , IMO, and his means certainly are at odds with the end result . This is not the type of greening I would ever advocate for nor is the Rights 'austerity for the poor' while they transfer the wealth of nations to their pockets via corporate welfare .
On a more mundane and pragmatic topic:
Despite the unsustainability of the current economic model as far as consumption and pollution ; I don't see what is happening with AIRBnb and the new taxi model as being positive solutions . I agree with this commentator that this is not a sharing economy but a new underground economy which isn't solving anything .
Happened upon this from Aquinas:
Aquinas views private property as necessary for human life and as an extension of natural law. He acknowledges that under natural law all property is communal, but also contended that the addition of private property was an extension, and not a contradiction, of natural law. Aquinas explains that human reason derives the notion of distinction of possession for the benefit of individual human lives. He states that possession of private property is necessary because: (1) men will more resolutely and attentively take care of things if they possess them instead of the goods being held in common by all or many others; (2) possession advances order rather than chaos and confusion as responsibility can be determined; and (3) private possession promotes a more peaceful state.
And that came from this:
Some thoughts on this from my own point of view:
Aquinas concedes my first spiritual protocol and then argues for private property rights which I agree with in a limited fashion . The Amish might be a good example of a group of people breaking the first spiritual protocol but fully enacting the second : non-necessary exploitation or no exploitation beyond what is necessary .The point being that one can still break the first protocol but live within the means of natural law by fully implementing the second protocol . Of course, modern neoliberal corporate oligarchy knows no such boundaries concerning property rights or natural law . In Integral jargon it's Flatland . But putting I.C.C. icing on a badly baked orange cake isn't going to work .
Happy to know that there are at least a few folks out there addressing the issue of currency even if from right on the spectrum :
I can guess where Canada is going at the moment : the 1 to 10% will do everything in its power to resist Trudeau's redistributive methods leaving the fine Sir no option but to flood the economy with more KA$H perpetuating the endless cycles of booms and busts and right/left swings that are inherent within this financial structure . WooHOO or woowoo?
Anyway, nature will most likely put a stop to this much sooner than later , or so I suspect .
See this article on the real sharing economy. Instead of being like Uber, owned by capitalists for their own profit, alternatives in the real sharing economy share ownership. While they use the new tech that is not the savior; "what matters is how people organize around it." The "on-demand" economies like Uber could give a shit about anything but their bottom line, while a true sharing economy works to ensure each stakeholder has an equitable share, including the environment. It's two entirely different takes on how to use the tech, one capitalist and one platform cooperativism.
It sure describes the millennia old struggle between my left and right hand protocols with the left hand kicking the crap out of the right hand ways to the end of the age ! ( the financial anti-christ stands in the way of the Buddhist collective ). Politically, atheistic moneyed republicanism makes a cozy bedfellow with amoralism ; while the religious right enables them by placing their entire platform on dominion while dismissing stewardship(my 2nd right hand protocol) and in this regard they are quite deluded , IMO.; but these two streams of enacting economy are responsible for where we are at today in N.A. . Of course, these two streams of behaviour are embedded within the ocean of currency monopoly.
But this is it. This is the world we live in now. And in this world, some of us have to play by the rules, while others get a note from the principal excusing them from homework till the end of time, plus 10 billion free dollars in a paper bag to buy lunch. It's a gangster state, running on gangster economics, and even prices can't be trusted anymore; there are hidden taxes in every buck you pay. And maybe we can't stop it, but we should at least know where it's all going.
That is from this article:
That sure sounds like my left hand protocols:) Thanks Matt!
And this just in from the private neoliberal oligarchy in Canada :
Apparently education doesn't work! Well, when it comes to altering the status quo anyway .
I"VE GOT IT! let's put Goldman Sachs in charge of Cap and Trade ! Right Magna?
I just finished reading Robert Reich's latest, Saving Capitalism for the Many, not the Few. He talks of a time when capitalism worked in the US, when there were countervailing forces like trade associations and unions to balance the capitalists. When there was a healthy middle class, where there was less income inequality and more and better social safety nets. He thinks because it used to be that it can be again if we but stand up and fight for our rights.
And he accepts that capitalists are just doing what is natural to capitalism and it would be ok if we just reinstituted those countervailing forces again. But the premise is wrong because what is now is the exact result of a defunct system that indeed is doing what is natural to it. It would have done so long before had it not been for those countervailing forces, but the latter have been destroyed beyond repair never to see the light of day again. It is capitalism that has to go. It is beyond saving. We can't go back to a better capitalism. The capitalists will see to that.
Yes, they will see us to the end of the age ( whatever that may be ) .
I suspect Reich isolates history to a period in America between 1850 and 1950 and although conclusions from that view are not necessarily wrong-they are woefully limited . To get to 1850 we first had to commit genocide for 350 years prior and of course this will be dismissed . I also suspect that he doesn't address the fundamental mechanism creating these massive left/right- boom/bust occurrences . So under his view the fiat Ka$h printing presses will continue to roll onto their inevitable destination . I suspect that the limitation of that system was around 1950 as far as limits to growth and population, which is why I've speculated a two economy solution based on giving as many people as much choice as possible within new environmental laws NOT proffered by Goldman-Sachs and the rest of the corporate oligarchy .
Now if we were to analyze the situation from this perspective :
we would see the futility of carrying on the way we do . BTW., completely consistent with my two right hand protocols . From this perspective we might say that the mind/subtle elite ( people who make a living with their minds especially in the field of finance ) have trampled upon those who make a living with their bodies ( (the gross) , while dismissing spiritual reality ( the causal ) or placing spiritual reality in a new agora of the marketplace ( an error , IMO ) , and framing the whole bloody mess within vast systems of false choices .
Yes, I mentioned Reich in a previous comment:
"We can also characterize the vast majority of liberal/progressive thought as trying to shore up and restore the accomplishments of the New Deal and Great Society (Global System 2). This line of thinking is well represented by folks like Robert Reich and Paul Krugman in the U.S.. No, we don't want the perfect to become the enemy of this good - we must acknowledge that this line of thinking is light years ahead of the (Pogany's) GS1 stage (that the tea party is trying to take us back to). But they are also mistaken in thinking this move of trying to restore GS 2 will reverse the current deficient stage we're in."
I just finished reading Robert Reich's latest, Saving Capitalism for the Many, not the Few. He talks of a time when capitalism worked in the US... It is beyond saving. We can't go back to a better capitalism. The capitalists will see to that.
I do wonder though if we need to reestablish GS2 as a springboard for GS3. As it is we've regressed to GS1, which ain't going forward no matter what. GS3 is going to require government support, and a GS2 govt. provides pre-conditions necessary to getting there.