Doug, your comments below reminded me also of the Hindu concepts of Atman
and Brahman. As I recall it, the Atman is the Higher Self each of us has
at our "core". The goal of yoga for example is to connect with this Higher
Self through meditation, postures, breathing practices, etc. Brahman is
the Cosmic Unity, the totality of what is in the many universes. It is a
central theme of Hindu belief that the Atman _is_ the Brahman--there is no
real separation or distinction between the two. The outcome of proper
practice is to _experience_ the unity, not to rank or prioritize it.
In a related way, I recall reading in Buddhist stories about Maya--the
realm of illusion--being no different from that which one discovers in
enlightenment. It is our separation from it--our conception of it--which
dissolves in the light of illumination.
And, of course, the Taoist tradition is an eloquent call for the
"inescapability" of interdependence and complementarity.
In any case, though it has been some years since I was studying these
fascinating traditions, your comments rang true to what remains in my
memory (my soul?) of such perspectives. Thanks for calling them forth and
linking them with the notion of learning organizations....
On 12 May 1995, Doug Seeley wrote:
> To me this speaks of an essential complementarity which is missing when
> notions of merging into Oneness are elevated above the Ones who are
> supposed to be merging. I believe that this complementarity to be crucial
> to our systems and learning work with organizations.
> This complementarity is between the One and the Many, the Part and the
> Whole, the Individual and the State, the Observer and the System, the
> Consultant and the Organization, the Particle and the Wave, the Drop and
> the Ocean. It results in an interPlay, a joyful dance between these
> complementarities, the result of a fundamental distinction.
> Are Boundaries real?? This complementarity would imply both yes and no.
> No in the Oceanic oneness, and Yes in the individual (not ego) drops of
> the Many. It seems in my practice to be the fundamental distinction in
> the mind.
> This danger appears again in the learning organization when some top-down
> truth is either pushed onto individuals from the Board, or some conceptual
> framework or buzz concept is pushed onto the organization by a consultant.
> For me, it speaks of a rigorous need to keep the dignity of the individual
> in balance with the well-being of the whole, which can at least be
> attempted by calling for as much participation as possible.
> Doug Seeley <email@example.com>