Ologies and Isms

We are clearly in the midst of huge changes in how we make sense of the world. Partly driven by technology and the power of networked communication, partly by our old sense making stories of materialism, conservatism or socialism running out of steam.

We need new stories to help us move forward, and these will emerge with time. At a business level they will help us to replace the machine metaphor and Taylorist thinking; at a societal level they will help us move towards our modern equivalent of The Enlightenment.

But be wary of those who would sell you new stories too soon. There are always those who seek to fill power vacuums with their own theory and dogma. We need to resist the temptation to go for the easy, quick solution.

I worry that we lose our nerve. That we grasp for a new -ology or -ism to ease our discomfort with not knowing. We need to be brave.

2 thoughts on “Ologies and Isms

  1. Very true that we grasp a new truth too soon, and too strongly. I’m certainly guilty of this. I hope less so these days, but I may well be deluding myself… 😉

    I remember seeing some research that looked at a number of somewhat pioneering communities – eg mindfulness practitioners, fans of Ken Wilber’s Integral approach et al.

    What was interesting was how most such people treat their new approach to life as ‘The Truth’ – and are happy to frame all their answers in terms of one approach; they get totally caught up in the prescribed jargon etc.

    All too few people make it to a far more varied and open approach – holding loosely to multiple perspectives.

    I only recently noticed that Maslow-based researchers like Pat Dade/Cultural Dynamics have spotted very much this same phenomenon in their quantitative research on values in the UK population. At first – when these ‘Pioneers’ step a bit beyond conventional conformism – they seek ethical clarity. Only once they have satisfied this need will they begin to search for ethical complexity – no longer thinking that there even is a single right, ethical way to live.

    Jonathan Haidt found something similar – indeed, went on such a journey himself – in his fascinating book ‘The Righteous Mind’.

    My – rather in-depth – thoughts about Haidt’s book are here: http://rsafellowship.com/group/human-capability-and-societal-transformation/forum/topics/beyond-the-righteous-mind-helping-jonathan-haidt-understand-his-o

    Matthew Mezey@matthewmezey


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