Organizations have tics, and blind spots, and habits, just like people do. So maybe it’s not surprising, in fact it’s brilliant, to apply psychological processes to organizations.
At the blog Rethinking Complexity, Jorge Taborga examines a Depth Psychology model of organizations, based on the work of Carl Jung.
“The organizational unconscious,” he writes, “is the unique array of ‘energies, contents and truths’ that operate beyond the conscious control of the organization. It is the bridge between the conscious organization and the collective unconscious. It provides the psychodynamic environment for these two forces to interplay.”
All of which is to say that organizations have complexes of which they’re not aware; things that they channel their energies into, without realizing it, that might be neurotic or actively hurtful.
Existentialism and psychoanalysis both view human life as containing tragic elements and hard limits -- we are free, but we can't have everything we want. According to Carlo Strenger, of Tel Aviv University: “The tragic dimension (of life) is no longer popular in our culture that perpetuates the myth of ‘just-do-it,’ and repeats the mantra that happiness is a birthright.”
As long as our culture denies life's tragic elements, as long as our science refuses to acknowledge that there may be any limits to our eventual mastery over life (we'll eventually develope Artificial Intelligence ... we'll eventually understand how "mind" reduces to "brain chemicals" ... we'll eventually prolong human life indefinitely and download our consciousness and reach "the singularity" and all you have to do is click your ruby slippers together three times and believe ...) then philosophies that teach us how to live with and through the human condition - however true and useful - will seem out of touch with a culture of Hollywood endings.
On the Rethinking Complexity blog, Saybrook Organizational Systems faculty member Kathia Laszlo makes a fascinating point: "There is no environmental sustainability without social sustainability."
Is this true? Does solving our planet's environmental crisis mean also addressing the social needs of its citizens?
I think she makes a compelling case. Let us know what you think in the comments section.
Photo by Patricia Ripnel
What’s that? There was widespread cheating on standardized tests in the Atlanta school system?
Surprise surprise …
It’s gotten to the point where you can reasonably expect: if a school district or state doubles down on standardized testing, forces teachers and schools to be held accountable for student scores, and then announcing amazing gains, a major cheating scandal will follow like night and day.
Texas, Washington D.C., Atlanta … all of the “miracle”gains caused by overemphasis on standardized tests have been increases only in smoke and mirrors.
So our emphasis on high stakes testing isn’t actually increasing student learning … and it’s causing what one analyst called “management by fear” in school systems. That can’t be good for teachers or principles.
It’s worse for students. As the Triple-Pundit blog noted, standardized testing actually impedes students’ ability to engage in systems thinking … exactly the kind of creative problem solving most valuable in the 21st century.
What are we doing? Why would we constantly push an educational practice that creates climates of fear, encourage cheating, hurts creative systems thinking, and doesn’t even improve performance?
Why do we do that?
In a recent essay for The New Yorker, Louis Menard recalls the first time a student ever asked him “Why did we have to read this book?” It’s the more direct way of asking: what is this education good for?
It was, apparently, the first time he’d ever thought of the question himself.
I could see that this was not only a perfectly legitimate question; it was a very interesting question. The students were asking me to justify the return on investment in a college education. I just had never been called upon to think about this before. It wasn’t part of my training. We took the value of the business we were in for granted.
The answer, he decided, depends on what college is for – and nobody’s really sure of that, anymore, are they?
The Existential Humanistic Institute is hosting a Learning Community on Thursday, July 7, to connect people interested in existential therapy and see how a vibrant existential culture can address local and global needs.
A Learning Community is a social forum in which people who share a common interest can get together and network, share resources and ideas, brainstorm, and build a local support system in the psychological world at large. Learning community meetings can look very different depending on who organizes them, but the common thread which they all share is that they bring people together who have diverging interests. It is also helpful to invite people from other professions (e.g. – the artistic community, the teaching community, the medical community) to create an integrative grassroots forum.
The EHI’s Learning Community meeting will be held:
- Date: Thursday, July 7th, 2011
- Time: 7:00 - 9:00 PM
- Location: Laguna Grove Care
- Address: 624 Laguna St. Map http://tinyurl.com/427obrj
- San Francisco, CA 94102
For more information, contact Candice Hershman
AHIMSA and The Metta Center for Nonviolence Education Present a Free Public Forum - Inspiration from Peace Movements Worldwide06/30/2011
Inspiration from Peace Movements Worldwide AHIMSA http://www.ahimsaberkeley.org/ and The Metta Center for Nonviolence Education http://www.mettacenter.org/ present a Free Public Forum Taking stock of peace: Inspiration from Peace Movements Worldwide Sunday, October 30, 2011 2:30-5:30pm Berkeley Society of Friends 2151 Vine St. in Berkeley You are invited to a celebration of the global...
Alumnus Michael Mayer, PhD '77 Offers Case Consultation/Training Group as Online CEUs or in Person in the SF Bay Area06/30/2011
Dear Colleague: I hope you are enjoying the blooming summertime in the Bay Area.. During these troubled times when we are being called upon to bring the best of our mind-body treatments to our patients suffering, I hope you'll consider expanding your repertoire of such treatments in this Bodymind Healing Psychotherapy Case Consultation/Training group. I'd love to share with you the integrative...
Alumnus Ken Fox, PhD '96 is battling cancer. Kenneth would like you to keep him in your thoughts & prayers. The story of his cancer journey is chronicled in the following website: http://www.caringbridge.org/visit/kennethfox If you would like to make direction contact, you can write a message on the above website, email him: firstname.lastname@example.org home phone: 360-734-7846 K's cell:...