Posts Tagged ‘Why’

Why Organize?

Posted: March 4, 2012 in Organizing
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Most of us are familiar with the Tug of War game played with a big rope. Two teams are set at either end. A flag on the rope between them and either a line on the ground or perhaps a body of water or mud puddle below the flag, in the middle. Can you picture that in your mind? Have you ever played in this game? Lots of fun and a good metaphor to understand why we organize.

So imagine life as a kind of multiple Tug of War games. On one side are all of the market forces pulling on the other end of the rope. The referee is the government who establishes the rules, what is allowed, how it is enforced, and who declares the winner of each game. And why do you play the game at all? Because the market provides you with messages and goods you want and need, you have no choice but to play.

Here is the problem. The market players are giants. They have no moral compass that wants to play fare. The market forces are principally interested in profit, something necessary to keep them providing us with the things we want and need. They have no reservations in getting the rules of the game set up to favor their objective of pulling you and your resources to meet their need for profit. The more the better. They are big. You are just one person. If it is you against them, you have little chance of winning the game.

However, there are more people than there are marketers. The only way to achieve a balance in this game is to enlist more people to pull on your end. Since you can vote, but the market can’t, you can change the rule makers to make the game more balanced. But you can do this only if you are part of a organized effort to have organizations you belong helping to pull and educate people about fairness. The pulling in this metaphor represents the constant tension that exists between your organized efforts and those of the market. You don’t have a chance alone. You don’t have a chance with drop-in and drop-out partners. Your only chance is with continuing organized effort.

The All Important “WHY” Question

Posted: January 26, 2012 in Philosophy
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The other day I was riding in the car with my grandson who I will refer to as “A.”  This happened when he was four years old.  We were carrying on a conversation and he asked me, “Pop Pop, why do we have maps?”  The “Why” question usually leads to all sorts of additional why’s as I attempt to answer the first one.  Well, I started to explain how maps were a model, like his model car of where things were and how to get there.  I was driving our Prius that has a rather large GPS screen he had leaned over to see, so I began to discuss how it worked, how satellites sent signals like a radio or TV that the car can listen to and figure out where it is, etc. etc. etc.  He was being unusually quiet, so I stopped and he interjected a clarification to his question.  “No Pop Pop, I mean paper maps.”

I was suddenly struck with the generation gap or I should say the grand-generation gap.  “A” was living in a different age than the one I grew up in.  Now, GPS was just some magic movie on a screen that his relatives used to get where they needed to go, so what was the point of a paper map?  Hmmm.  Good question.  My cell phone has GPS, my car has GPS, I have a device I can wear on my wrist that tracks where I go, how far I go, how fast I go, how high I go.  Why have paper maps.  Needless to say, a four year old stumped me.

The world is changing very quickly.  Even when we adopt that new technology thingy, we still find it difficult to let go of the tried and true, steady as you go things we became attached to as we grew up and depended on.  These new thingys though have a way of changing our perceptions of reality in subtle ways so that as we grow older, our world view might also be changed — that is if we are an open, not a closed system.  Being open, however, can put our basic underpinning beliefs at risk.  If we are open, what we once believed represented “truth” can be questioned and if found wanting, our beliefs are or have to be changed.

It may be more comfortable to be closed, but it is a lot more interesting to be open to new ideas.  Hope you are enjoying your journey through these interesting times.