Micro-rules / Principles and Law
hhowen at verizon.net
Wed May 30 12:31:23 PDT 2007
Artur wrote: "Would you agree with my heresy?"
Sorry, Artur - No heresy, so far as I can see :-)
But the reason I asked the question was that for some time now, it has been
apparent to me that both the Principles and the Law were in fact
descriptive, as opposed to prescriptive. In short they simply acknowledge
what will happen anyhow rather than telling people what to do. I think this
is very clear with the 4 Principles, but it is also true of The Law of Two
Feet, I think. I understand that most of us have been trained, brainwashed,
socialized (or whatever) to restrict the use of our two feet, all under the
heading of duty, politeness. And it is true that people will endure a
phenomenal amount of abuse in the name of duty and politeness. But I still
think they follow the Law of Two Feet anyhow - psychologically if not
physically. So in a particularly boring meeting which you would rather not
attend, your body is still there, but the mind and the heart have definitely
gone to another place. And after a while, even the body follows without
moving - falls asleep.
Given all of the above it makes perfect sense to me that an Open Space could
proceed quite well (work at some level) with no special mention of the
Principles or the Law. I think it is likely to work much better when both
the Principles and the Law are brought to people's attention - and assume
some significant place in their consciousness. Self organization, as I would
understand it, is always happening whether we like it or not, whether we are
conscious of it or not. However, I do think there is a useful role to be
played in bringing the unconscious to consciousness. The net effect is to
begin to optimize the self organizing function as opposed to either ignoring
it, or worse, suppressing it (which seems to be the usual mode). This is the
role of the facilitator in an Open Space, and it is best done lightly and in
a minimalist fashion - but done none the less. I think there is a much
broader and more important role to be played in the larger world of
self-organizing systems, such things as our businesses and other
institutions, doing the same sort of thing. Our experience with Open Space
can be very valuable as a training environment for this larger role.
If you were to ask me where I think all of this is headed (which you
didn't), I think the true significance of Open Space Technology is that it
has provided this "training opportunity." I really look forward to the day
when we consider OST as that funny, but nice, thing we did on the way to the
future. Now there is some heresy for you!
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From: OSLIST [mailto:OSLIST at LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU] On Behalf Of Artur
Sent: Tuesday, May 29, 2007 5:43 PM
To: OSLIST at LISTSERV.BOISESTATE.EDU
Subject: Re: doing self-organization - OST "foundations"
Thanks for your question, Harrison.
That is a very interesting point indeed.
The Law of two feet is one of the most marvelous "micro rules" of OST.
Without it, people would not feel "invited" - they would probably stay in
their groups even if they are not interested - or leave the space
Without the law there is no Open Space, I think.
In what concerns the Principles, you probably recall that I have conducted
some OST meetings without mentioning the principles at all, and it worked
So, for me the Principles are not a micro rule (essential to create OST) but
one of the many marvelous things that happen in Open Space. They are one of
the things that emerge from the micro-rules. A consequence of OST - not a
foundation of OST.
Would you agree with my heresy?
PS: From your other comment I assume that you have missed the heresies in
the list ;-)
Harrison Owen <hhowen at verizon.net> wrote:
Artur - great to see you here! I could ask where you have been hiding, =
am afraid you might tell me. :-)
I'm curious why do you include the Law of Two Feet under the heading of
"micro-rule," but not the Four Principles?
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an Edge to see what's on, when. * *
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