Prof. Ilya Prigogine

Artur F. Silva artsilva at
Thu Feb 1 16:40:47 PST 2001

Thanks, Harrison, for stating your position so "clearly" that now I am
able to see where I agree and where I disagree with you... Please follow
my argument.

At 16:37 01-02-2001 -0500, Harrison Owen wrote:

>Every adventure, enterprise, institution that I know started out of
>nothing -- an Open Space. There was a day when it wasn't there. And out of
>that nothing -- something emerged. I would say through the process of
>self-organization. And if that something persists we say it has a life

I agree. (But see above)

>As near as I can see - this is exactly what happens in Open Space. We
>start with nothing.

I agree.

>So when you ask, " what are the special and different conditions that are
>at work during OST?" I guess I have to say -- nothing new. Just life. (...)
>Don't do Open Space. Just live.

And here is where I disagree with you. I will state my disagreement
in 2 points.

First, I think you are underestimating the importance of the work of an
American writer that I don't remember the name... but wait a minute
that I will see... I must have it written somewhere... at least I must
have a book from him... hang on please...

...Oh, yes, the guy's name is Harrison Owen...

(I find it interesting that we diverge on this subject, but in a certain sense
that's ok and even interesting...)

As I can't claim that you don't know his works, I have to search for
a different reason. But I still have to answer the question: « why is it
that I think as being  SOOO important something that you think is
"just life" ?»

To explain this difference of opinion there could be many reasons.
And I know I am only speculating, but I would say that the easiest
reason I can find to explain the disagreement is the following: we are
looking at the world from different points, or perspectives, or
paradigms - and as the world is the (real) world plus the theories/beliefs
through which we see it, maybe we are even looking at different
worlds ;-)

I will not speculate about how you see the world. I will only
explain how I see it. Let me first state again where we agree:

>in Open Space. We start with nothing.

>Every adventure, enterprise, institution that I know started out of
>nothing -- an Open Space.

But the point, as I see it, is that when we "open and hold the space"
for an enterprise, institution or community we ARE NOT in the beginning
of the adventure, we are not any more in face of a space that is Open.

(by the way, you used "start" in relation with Open Space and
the past ("started") to refer to adventures, enterprises,... not
to mention that an "institution" is something that has been previously

The enterprise has been living from some time, an is now OLD, its
movements are now constrained due to age and bad management, etc.

The Public Administration is at the service of politicians, which are in
of financial powers, etc.

The communities have been constrained for centuries by political,
economical and social constraining powers, and by the churches and
ideologies that have almost always served those powers.

So every time we are asked or accepted to "open the space"
we are moved to open the space because it IS NOT open - it is closed
or at least constrained. Maybe in some cases it is not so
"closed" as in Nashville,TN, but it is almost always at least constrained.

Really we are living in a world that is mostly anti-life: the majority
of our gouvernments, of our companies, of our administration systems,
of our churches, of our schools are mostly anti-life.

And even the well-intentioned people that try to help others that
suffer because of the system are normally acting in such a way that
the people they help will continue to NEED their help. They help
in a way that prolongs the situation that obliged others to need
help in first place. And it doesn't matters the name it is given to this
"help" - as long as someone is "helping" others he is not "changing
the system" or creating conditions that will facilitate that they will
feel empowered and help themselves.

Maybe I am wrong and the explanation for our "disagreement"
is a different one. But I am always open to surprises...



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