In the Dark of Night: Public Administration in the 21st Century

Advanced Cyber/IO, Blog Wisdom, Communities of Practice, Cultural Intelligence, Ethics, Officers Call, Policies

I see three story lines in this particular piece and often in much of your work in the past decade since you encountered Tom Atlee and those he introduced you to (one could say he did change your own consciousness):

Line 1.  We are going to change consciousness

Line 2.  The prior regime needs to be destroyed

Line 3.  The times allow for, and cause us to, organize differently

I am sympathetic with all three, but each has its downside.

Line 1 often seems weak, gets overstated, and quickly sounds like fantasy

Line 2 is unrealistic because direct assault has never worked before, or just ended up destroying everything

I prefer emphasizing line 3.  I think the third has the better chance of swaying people, and it might be beneficial to the person telling the story.

Here is Hamel taking Line 3.  He makes a lot of money and sells a lot of books, but he also tweaks the establishment.

You don’t have to say that the past was right or wrong, for the past or for the present.  It simply was a pattern we used to organize ourselves, and it did allow us to create large scale industry, and now the underpinnings of that pattern are no longer there.  Technology and communication allow us to organize differently, without institutions, which have been a heavy burden and a constraint on the creative possibilities for humans.  We can now live better without all the waste and regimentation.  We are freer now and can perhaps get back to doing some things as we did before industry, when workers owned their tools, set their own schedule, and made beautiful things in their communities.  But we can also do more that advances beyond pre-industrial life, which was impoverished materially.  We can do all the things you say.

I think Toffler got it pretty well with his “pro-sumer” concept, which you don’t mention.  He emphasized that people will produce, not just consume.  Lots of voluntary doing for oneself, and that’s played out in wiki-open everything.

But I don’t think institutions go away.  There will be a long twilight of institutions.  We aren’t finding anything else that will distribute wealth through jobs. I love to do all this volunteer stuff, but I can do it because I have a job where I am supposed to keep myself informed.  Everyone looks the other way when I’m not grinding on some thing that I am supposed to do for my pay. There is a lot of slack that we refuse to acknowledge.  I always find it strange when people speak with such sincerity about how they fill out their time card.  If they really don’t do anything but officially sanctioned work, they either must be incredibly slow, completely over the top with workplace trivia, or incredibly ignorant and dull.

So yes there is a lot of turmoil, but it is a lot of small acts that undermine power structures and sort of hollow them out but don’t exactly kill them.  We still have kings and queens.  They don’t matter much, but we still use the outlines, maybe appropriate them for new purposes.