John Michell is a British writer, consultant and Internet specialist.

After completing university studies in natural science and management, he travelled the world as a marketing manager for American and British companies in the fine chemicals business During extensive visits to the then Soviet Block he was able to experience firsthand the glaring inefficiencies and tragicomic consequences of the way in which organizations were managed under the Soviet communist system. Subsequent experience as a management consultant in Western Europe and Asia enabled him to take a critical look at how organizations operate in the more successful economic systems of the capitalist West. With the introduction of personal computers in the early 1980s he was involved in the development of a number of ventures in information technology, and worked as an I.T. and Internet consultant for major corporations in London and continental Europe. In the early 1990s he was the first person to run courses for UK CEOs on the commercial uses of the Internet. His search for meaning in work and his questioning of the effectiveness of organizations motivated him to organize a series of seven international conferences covering four continents between 2004 and 2007. This book is an account and a result of those journeys, putting forward the idea that leadership in organizations is a delusion which needs to be recognized as such and challenged – a challenge which can lead to a new organizational model appropriate for this century – a model in which human beings can find fulfilment and meaning in their working lives.

The Leadership Delusion
Travels in search of a new organizational model for the 21st century

John Michell

Xecnet

First published in Great Britain by Xecnet, 2008 This edition published by Xecnet 2011

Copyright © John Michell, 2008

This book is copyright under the Berne Convention No reproduction without permission ® and © Xecnet Ltd. All rights reserved. The right of John Michell to be identified as author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with sections 77 and 78 of the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act, 1988.

Xecnet Limited Loudwater Farm, Loudwater Lane Rickmansworth, Herts OL13 0BZ United Kingdom http://www.xecnet.com A CIP catalogue record for this book is available from the British Library ISBN 978-0-9557826-0-2

Contents

Preface: Chapter 1: The Context of Leadership Chapter 2: The Leadership Delusion Chapter 3: The Folly of Leadership Chapter 4: Making a Start Chapter 5: Preparing the Ground Chapter 6: The First Meeting, Cape Town, South Africa Chapter 7: The Second Meeting, Vilnius, Lithuania Chapter 8: The Third Meeting, Badger, California, USA Chapter 9: The Fourth Meeting, Perth, Western Australia Chapter 10: The Fifth Meeting, La Source, France Chapter 11: The Sixth Meeting, Byron Bay, Australia Chapter 12: The Seventh Meeting, Cherkassy, Ukraine Chapter 13: Summing Up the Evidence Chapter 14: The Global Enterprise Model Chapter 15: Human Beings and World-Views Chapter 16: Applying the Model Chapter 17: Conclusion Bibliography: Acknowledgements: Index: Notes & References:

7 10 13 18 21 27 35 62 75 91 103 120 132 146 168 180 195 201 214 216 217 223

Preface

‘That's what learning is. You suddenly understand something you understood all your life, but in a new way’ DORIS LESSING

This book began as a search for meaning in my working life. This search then became a journey spanning the globe several times, during which I unexpectedly stumbled upon a formula which developed into a new and strikingly original organizational model. Although my initial emphasis was on meaning in work, I very quickly realized that it involved a questioning of the role and function of leadership of organizations. This questioning led to the development of a unique form of leaderless meeting involving the sharing of responsibility. This model can just as well be applied to education, health and government as well as to companies, corporations and multinational bodies. My journey was structured around a series of seven international meetings, and with every meeting new insights were born which added to the structure of the model which began to emerge like a new archetype coming into being. With the emerging insights, support for the model was given through the ideas of many other writers whom I came across in a synchronistic manner during my travels. It was only after the seventh meeting in the late summer of 2007 that the idea for this book arose, and as I began to write during the subsequent weeks, my ideas became clearer and a

conclusion became possible. Throughout the four years of the journeys I felt that I was following some undefined aim, and on numerous occasions when I felt that I had reached a firm conclusion, subsequent events proved that I had only reached a stage in a much larger process. Most significantly perhaps the journeys came to identify and describe a process, which became known as the Global Enterprise Process. This process contains within it a powerful dynamism, a dynamism which needs to be experienced to be understood - a dynamism unleashed partly through the intentional abolishment of hierarchy. It also seems to provide a way of optimizing the use of all of the human resources within any organization, invariably accompanied by a feeling of fulfilment and well-being. I had finally found what I was searching for, a way in which meaning and fulfilment in working life could be experienced. However I also found much more than that, I found a way of working together which was able to serve the real needs of human beings. It was clear to me that working with such a process represents a distinct change from the way in which leadership is applied in the majority of organizations today. As can be expected such a change is neither easy nor comfortable, for it requires a basic change of attitude and provides many challenges to existing belief systems. However my experience was that as long as one approaches this model with an attitude of scientific enquiry, and a dedication to the truth as one sees it, then the necessary change in attitude and abandonment of unnecessary belief systems occurs naturally as part of the process. Right from the beginning, almost without knowing it I undertook the journey in the spirit of a scientific experiment,

owing perhaps to my own scientific background, and this book serves to present my results in the form of a hypothesis, upon which the new model is based. This is a hypothesis which is informed by my experiences as well as those of several hundred other people on these journeys, so that the book is also a kind of travel book with details of places and people whom I encountered along the way. In this respect I have been scrupulous in relating details of actual events, people and places, with the exception that the names of most of the people in the narrative have been changed to preserve their anonymity. While I do not claim to possess the style or erudition of a Patrick Leigh Fermor, who wrote an account of his journey1 on foot from London to Constantinople in the 1930s, this book is presented in a similar spirit of adventure with which I set out on my journey from the small Swiss town of Scuol in that hot summer of 2003.

Chapter 1

The Leadership Context

‘The fault, dear Brutus, is not in our stars, But in ourselves, that we are underlings.’ WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

When Cassius tried to persuade his friend Brutus that Julius Caesar had to be stopped from becoming the Roman leader, he reminded him that Caesar was just a man, and not a god, and therefore being equal with him why should they bow to another man? Shakespeare understood the human condition well enough to know how natural it appears for us to bow to other human beings, yet it is by no means in our destiny to make ourselves subservient to others. The purpose of this book is to explain the nature and operation of this common trait in the human condition and to show that provided human beings find a way to move towards their destiny – perhaps even to what is written in their stars – then they will no longer be required to bow to others. This book attempts to describe one such way in detail, a way which was discovered with the assistance of hundreds of people, in the course of a series of international meetings which took place between 2003 and 2007. Today no less than throughout recorded history we are used to the presence of leaders in our midst, whether political leaders, bosses at work or ministers of religion.

Some of course are good leaders, those who exercise power legitimately, but they are very rare indeed, for the simple reason that a good leader will do everything to enable his followers too to become leaders. To do this he will design a system which does not require a leader, meaning that he will try to make himself superfluous and thereby disappear from the scene. The vast majority of the people in positions of leadership however, exercise that leadership through an illegitimate abuse of power, albeit with the collusion and consent of their followers or underlings – and these leaders are the ones who tenaciously hang on to power. Society has worked in this way for so long that most people regard it as a natural part of the human condition – something which cannot change. In this book I aim to show that on the contrary, this can change, but only for those who really wish it to, those for whom it is important that they aim for their destiny, in other words for those who really care about themselves – for only then can they be capable of caring for others. Having said that, there have always been those who only feel comfortable if they either follow or lead others, and such people will continue to be with us, but this book is not as yet meant for them. The context of leadership which this book describes therefore, is that provided that there exists an appropriate environment, then all of us are leaders, each in our own fields, and that there need not be any followers. In such a context, the sometimes colourful, sometimes comical and sometimes malevolent figures which we all see around us strutting the leadership stages of the world will indeed continue to be seen; only this time perhaps more will be as actors playing roles, rather than puppet-masters pulling unwilling strings.

In such a context for example, a government will in reality be more or less wisely led by a community of equals, any one of whom may take on the costume and role of premiership, except rather than acting on their own uncertain understanding – these premiers will reflect and represent the community of which they are but a part. Similarly in such a context in administration and business, teams of equals will use their joint resources really to lead, their spokesperson being one of their number with no additional authority. Such scenarios may sound strange, even utopian perhaps, yet they are based on a profound understanding of human beings and on the workings of a new kind of model of leadership – a model in which each member has not only an opportunity – but an obligation to lead precisely there where he or she has the greatest competence. Such leadership is in reality no burden, because of the co-operation with others implicit in a new model in which such an understanding of human beings is applied. The result of the changes which will arise as a consequence of the application of the model described here will be such as to alter the context of leadership from what is currently being observed in the world, to a combination of a new as well as an existing context – and with time the ratio of these contexts will continue to change in favour of the new. Indeed, if human beings really will be able to use this new century to fulfil themselves as well as to care for their environment, then in time the new context will become merely the current accepted paradigm, and the previous context will be seen as the negative, constraining and dishonest anachronism which it in reality is.

Chapter 2

The Leadership Delusion

‘Man will never be free until the last king is strangled with the entrails of the last priest’ DENIS DIDEROT

The French philosopher Diderot wrote the above just over two hundred years ago, and while most kings have disappeared from the scene, other leaders, with arguably more power than kings have ever had have taken their place – and religious authority figures, from Islamic or Christian fundamentalists to all manner of priests, monks and imams still make their presence felt. The European Enlightenment, of which Diderot was a prominent figure, was a time in which human beings realized that by virtue of their reason they could free themselves from old and outdated beliefs and patterns of thinking - that these were delusions which reason was able to overcome. I make no apologies for the provocative title of this book, in which I undertake to show that our understanding of leadership is based on a real delusion – on an acceptance of that which is false as being true. Indeed, the similarity of this title to Richard Dawkins’ recent book The God Delusion is intentional – because both books attempt to throw light on deluded forms of thinking and attempt to show the value of rational analysis

supported by empirical evidence rather than acts of faith, habits of mind or unexamined traditions. In a sense this book is perhaps more directly relevant for most of us than Dawkins’ book, because his targets are the divine, religion and all forms of superstition – certainly all of which could do with more critical examination – while my targets are the belief systems and assumptions behind the way in which organizations – meaning the workplaces of most of my readers – are organized. Whereas amongst the majority of educated, largely secular or humanistic populations of post-industrial societies religion is not an issue of major significance – and which in any case tends to be a private matter, the way we work is a matter of immediate concern because it affects our daily activities, economic well-being and social status. The leadership to which I refer in my title refers to all forms of leadership in which one person, most commonly a man, understands himself to have a responsibility which extends beyond that of others – where in fact he has the final say in decision-making. This refers equally to leaders of companies, corporations, bureaucracies or governments, although most of my research and ideas concern themselves with leadership in working environments – there where most people are directly affected. The main purpose of this book however is not merely a negative iconoclasm, but a putting forward of an alternative structure, a structure which can be implemented anywhere at anytime in working organizations, and indeed in the running of countries as well. The delusion to which I refer is the unexamined belief system or systems which permit the prevalent organizational structures to operate in a leader-based hierarchical manner – a manner which has proved to be very effective in the past – but

which has now outlived its usefulness – as I hope to show in this book. Of course no organizational structure is entirely black or white – and there are variations in how strongly leaders lead or how complex or flat the hierarchies are – my main concern with leadership is to bring implicit, often unconscious assumptions about it into the open, and to show how very different things could be if an explicit model would be adopted – one in which these assumptions and beliefs are examined, challenged and changed. Dawkins of course has many critics, and he intentionally presents his arguments in broad strokes, such as why are so many of us in the twenty-first century concerning ourselves with ancient contradictory texts and the rituals and beliefs based on them. In the same way I intentionally present my arguments in broad strokes, as an opening gambit in a larger debate, such as why are we in the twenty-first century organizing ourselves in forms based on outdated traditions when so much current knowledge which contradicts those traditions is available. There are indeed many parallels between the ideas of ‘God’, and ‘Leadership’, not least the fact that ‘God’ can be seen as the ultimate leader. In the same way, whereas a religion consists of a set of beliefs and attitudes relating to an unseen higher power or powers, leadership as commonly understood cannot be separated from a belief system which underlies the way that organizations are managed. This belief system is something that has gradually been built up over millennia, so that its assumptions are implicit and therefore largely unchallenged – to the detriment of the well-being of those who need to spend a large part of their lives in these organizations. Therefore it does not really matter if the leadership refers

to leaders in business, politics or religion – in every case it is based on a delusion – and by seeing the delusion for what it is we can begin to work towards its replacement with something more appropriate. Until about ten to twelve thousand years ago, all human beings lived as hunter-gatherers, in bands of up to about forty members, moving from place to place every few months when food supplies grew low. Contemporary hunter-gatherer societies which we know of, such as those in Papua New Guinea, usually do not have leaders. They often have a nominal chief, but his powers are limited, and he can easily be dispensed with if the rest of the tribe are not satisfied with his leadership. In these societies, important decisions are usually arrived at by group discussion, and there are no real differences in wealth or social status. As the anthropologist Christopher Boehm2 points out, this egalitarian approach seems to be universal for foragers who live in small bands that remain nomadic - suggesting considerable antiquity for political egalitarianism. As societies evolved and became settled, individual leadership became more and more apparent, and its consequences have now been with us for so long that most of us are incapable of envisaging ordered societies without it. The ideas and facts which I present in this book have developed in me over several decades, and have been extended and tempered by much study and personal experience, but before I was able to present my arguments, I needed the evidence and understanding which would back up the presentation of any new model. The way in which this understanding and evidence revealed itself was by means of a series of global journeys and meetings, so that the bulk of this book is an account of the travels during which I gained that evidence and understanding. In this work I hope to show how this evidence can be used

to formulate a new organizational model, one with the originality and robustness required for the twenty-first century, for a world symbolized by borderless, co-operative communications systems such as the Internet.

Chapter 3

The Folly of Leadership

‘The ultimate result of shielding men from the effects of their folly, is to fill the world with fools’ HERBERT SPENCER

It was Herbert Spencer, in his book Principles of Biology, who coined the term ‘the survival of the fittest’, in order to illustrate his belief that human beings should face the consequences of their actions – to understand that they are responsible for what they do. One of the implicit beliefs of any system in which individual leadership is important, is that a leader is needed to give direction, to manage a team of people and to show others the way by going first. This sounds all very well in theory, but in practice such a leader cannot but shield his or her team from the effects of their folly, and as Spencer points out it creates a world where both the leaders and the led become fools. The followers become fools because they accept too little responsibility for themselves and their organization, and the leader becomes a fool by accepting too much responsibility – usually far more than he or she can handle. In itself such a state of affairs need not matter too much, but for the consequences of that folly – consequences which can be seen all around – from the wars pushed through by individual national leaders with

too much responsibility to the environmental disasters brought on by corporate mis-management. Worse still, leaders are not content with making foolish decisions; they are also rewarded with excessive remuneration irrespective of their performance – a systemic fault which only a new model can correct. If any new model merely leads to a significant reduction of the ever-widening income inequality which is increasingly being witnessed – then that in itself would be a significant advance. All human organizations are governed by a number of social contracts, many of which are implicit rather than explicit. When a new member joins an organization he or she is saying in effect, ‘I consent to recognize a leader and a hierarchy which supports the leader, and to be a follower, I understand that your leadership is only possible by my and others’ consent to be a follower, and that if I and others withdraw that consent, your leadership would cease to have any meaning.’ By joining an existing organization, such consent is given at an unconscious yet absolutely binding level – and any attempt at independent, free, unfettered thinking beyond the leader-follower paradigm can result in the member being expelled from the organization. A religious body, for example a church, can excommunicate such a person and a corporation can fire such a person. If however, an organization applies a different model, in which it explicitly agrees to change the rules of engagement – so that the explicit order is a leaderless, non-hierarchical one, then any new member joining is saying in effect. ‘I consent to recognize no leader or hierarchy and to accept full responsibility for myself and my behaviour within the organization, I respect the individual value of each member here and indeed I may sometimes consider it appropriate to

show leadership behaviour.’ In such a model, if any one member attempts to guide or to lead by accepting too much responsibility, then he or she is going against the explicit rules of engagement – and can and in practice will legitimately be overruled by any other member. The power of social contract is so strong that this change in structure does have very significant consequences in practice. A traditional organization with a clearly defined leader becomes a new kind of organization without one, where any number of members - from a small group to the whole organization can become leaders. Certainly, the idea of leaderless groups is nothing new, but it forms only one property of the new model and on its own would hardly be practicable or desirable – the model needs to be both far more sophisticated yet in essence far simpler.

Chapter 4

Making a Start

'Life is either a daring adventure or nothing' HELEN KELLER

Making a start on this venture, not knowing where it would lead and without any certainty as to its outcome might be deemed a foolhardy if not a daring adventure. Therefore before attempting to formulate any new model, I knew that I had to be honest with myself as to what were my qualifications for such a task – so I looked back on my career to see how my experience had conspired to provide such qualifications. Starting off as a scientist, I graduated in 1972 with a BSc degree in Natural Sciences and Management3 and spent the next seven years travelling mostly around the then communist states of eastern Europe, visiting trade fairs, negotiating export contracts with state organizations and seeing first-hand the tragicomical idiocy which state socialism and centrally-planned economies had unleashed. After this I was fortunate enough to work as a management consultant with a large American company, observing the startling success and efficiency which the installation of intelligently-designed management systems can

achieve in moribund large organizations. It is difficult to imagine a starker contrast between the results obtained in terms of operational efficiency between the application of state-socialist principles in enterprises and the application of modern American, statistically-derived systems. However, I observed that neither of these systems - which can broadly be defined as communist or capitalist, seemed to be able to address the needs of the people in their organizations, and led to either a state of incentiveless mediocrity or crass worship of profit to the exclusion of everything else. After my consulting experience, I was able to put my understanding of systems to good use when I assisted a small high-tech company to grow and prosper, giving me valuable first-hand experience of running a successful small business. With the arrival of personal computers in the early 1980s, I moved into computer consultancy – along with vast numbers of clever people at that time, and quickly arrived at an understanding of the revolution which the rise of the Internet was to engender. Early in 1994 I was the first person in the UK to organize and run Internet training courses for chief executives of companies; with the motto ‘If your company is not on the Internet by 2000 your company may not be around after 2000’. At the time I was overwhelmed by the response, and CEOs from all over the country came to Cambridge to hear my lectures. One consequence of my initiative was to be invited to speak to members of the Institute of Directors in London alongside the government’s minister of technology. My presentation then highlighted the effect which the Internet would have on banking and money-transfer systems – a prediction which came to pass quicker than any of us thought possible. During the dot-com boom of the 1990s, in trying to understand the extraordinary creativity and dynamism coming

out of Silicon Valley in California, I interviewed a number of companies there and came away with a feeling – confirmed by subsequent events – that these companies were as much taken aback by the dot-com frenzy as were people everywhere. My experience in California showed that little that was new or of value could be obtained by asking questions of existing organizations – after all they were hardly likely to reveal any of their secrets to an outsider – and in any case management books were full of reports and results from questionnaires of this kind – most of which were of dubious value. My subsequent work as an Internet consultant in the UK, Germany, Canada and Australia over the next few years gave me wide experience of mainly large organizations; interestingly enough the most common response of senior management to the changes brought on by these new technologies was to try and ignore them. By the middle of 2002, after working with a multinational legal practice, I felt that I was ready to put my years of preparation into effect and to start a new era in my working life. Certainly, when I began this task, I was unaware of its precise nature – I did not even know that it had to do with showing that the emperor of leadership had no clothes – I merely had an idea of the general direction in which my work was heading. I knew that in order to allow human beings to find meaning and fulfilment in their working lives a new approach to organizational structure was needed, and that it had to have a global scope. Furthermore, this approach had to go beyond the façade which organizations present to the world – and often to their employees as well – and to get down to what was essential in human organizations.

In order not to be biased by existing models or current research, my modus operandi was going to be that of a scientific experiment, to garner evidence first and to evaluate the results afterwards. It was in early June of 2003 with such thoughts fresh in my mind that I set off for the Engadine Valley in the east of Switzerland, to attend a congress in Scuol, a small town to the east of Davos. The theme of the congress was, rather vaguely, ‘What really matters in human organizations’, and it appeared as good a place as any for me to start. I was living in Munich at the time, from where I set off on my journey into the Swiss mountains. Taking a break at the top of the Flüela Pass, I gazed at the surrounding mountains from this quiet snow-covered peak at a height of over two thousand metres. Despite it being the hottest summer in recorded Swiss history, at this height it was cold as I parked by an icy lake. As I sat pensively alone on the mountain peak, I was only dimly aware that the events of the next few days would spur me on to an adventure requiring the next four years; an adventure that would span four continents, involve me closely with several hundred diverse people, and would lead me to formulate the new organizational model which I had been searching for. A model that could potentially have far-reaching consequences, which would not only be of its time, but would also be attuned to the needs of the individuals in any organization, something which was barely visible anywhere in the world at that time. All I was certain of on that mountain-top, was a growing anticipation, and I was reminded of the time when the poet Petrarch climbed Mount Ventoux in 1334, in order to ‘see the view’, and in so doing marked the beginning of a new

humanistic, Renaissance spirit. I had always felt at home with this humanistic spirit, a spirit which had led to the application of the scientific method and a turning away from superstition and belief not founded on rational analysis. After descending down to the valley and a short, winding drive, I came to the idyllic little town of Scuol, in the Romansch speaking part of Switzerland, easily finding the Hotel Belvedere which was to be my home for the next few days. During those days I felt an incredible energy, in no small part due to the altitude and fresh mountain air; this energy was to stay with me throughout the week. For decades I had been reading and studying the work of human beings in organizations and looking at ways in which it was possible to organize it for the benefit of all. I had worked for dozens of the world’s great companies in a number of countries, and I was invariably struck by the fact that each of these organizations had created an environment in which it was impossible to be oneself; one had to conform to the prevailing culture in order to survive or to prosper. As this culture was invariably the extension of the character of the organization’s founders, it was sometimes more tolerable and sometimes less tolerable, but it never seemed to offer its members the kind of supportive work environment which would enable them to offer the best of themselves in an authentic, healthy and fulfilling way. Here in Scuol I attended as many working sessions as I could with an energy and a determination to contribute as much as I was able to - as I was guided by a feeling – not knowing from whence it came - that this was to be the start of a personal odyssey. Towards the end of the five-day meeting, I chaired a group which discussed how to be authentic in our working

lives, and here I felt completely at home as though I was really in an environment which gave me a direction. I no longer remember what conclusions we came to, but time flew and I came away feeling a strong sense of purpose, rather like I’d been given the key to unlock something of real value. During the closing party, trying to get away from the awful music, I found myself talking to George, a marketing consultant from England, with whom I was able to discuss my hopes and aspirations. During the conversation I rashly suggested that it might be a good idea to organize a global meeting around the topic of creating authentic working environments, he said ‘That’s a great idea, why don’t you do it?’ So I said ‘OK. Where shall it be?’ He suggested Cape Town, where he had lived as a young man. After a short discussion we agreed on a theme for these meetings, settling on something which could attract people from all walks of life, something which suggested the essence of global creativity and innovation. From such unlikely beginnings the series of seven Global Enterprise Meetings was born.

Chapter 5

Preparing the Ground

‘By failing to prepare you are preparing to fail.’ BENJAMIN FRANKLIN

Benjamin Franklin, one of the most important figures of the Enlightenment in America, knew the value of preparation – and of the importance of the spirit in which something was being prepared for. As a prolific inventor he never patented his inventions because he wanted to serve others freely and generously. In the same way I was aware of such a spirit in preparing my ground, never considering any personal gain but following an inner purpose for its own sake. However I was still working entirely on my own with lots of ideas rushing around my head, a commitment to a meeting in Cape Town at some time in the future and no idea how to bring it all together. After leaving Scuol, I drove very leisurely across Switzerland, stopping only to spend the night by the lake of Lucerne, before heading off to Geneva. Whilst in Geneva, I spent a couple of days visiting a friend who was working at the United Nations, with the World Health Organization. The UN was then approaching the sixtieth anniversary since its foundation in 1945, and although many

regarded it as little more than a toothless talking-shop, I had the feeling that its time is about to come. In discussion with my friend about the role of the UN in the world, he confirmed this feeling, and said that much of the UN’s most effective work, particularly amongst the world’s least advantaged people, goes unreported. My friend lived at Ferney-Voltaire, which was just over the border in France, and we cycled each day into Geneva, he being a fanatical cyclist. Just before leaving, I participated in a guided tour of the UN’s Headquarters building, which lasted a couple of hours. The tour was led by a very bright and articulate young Chinese lady, who led us from chamber to chamber down endless corridors, galleries of paintings and statues of worthy dignitaries. The history and activities of the institution were well worth hearing, and I was left with the impression of an organization quietly and purposefully getting on with its business. I also strongly felt that here in Geneva an ideal is in the process of being realized, something more than merely a global forum for discussing and for attempting to resolve problems between nations as well as problems common to all nations, such as Global Warming. This ideal has to do with forging a truly global identity, something which is like an awareness which goes far beyond nationalism or the perceived imbalances of globalization – but more a common human identity based on a common understanding of the oneness of mankind. It was also clear to me then that some kind of quantum leap would be required for the UN to be able to position itself to effectively tackle the kinds of intractable global problems which seemed only to be increasing. I had a vague feeling that perhaps the journey on which I had embarked could serve in some small way to furnish a means whereby some of these problems could

be looked at. At that time I did not realize to what extent my search for the understanding of a new organizational model was linked with the needs of complex, multi-cultural and multi-national bodies such as the UN, and I was thinking more in terms of applying such models to any commercial enterprise. After leaving Geneva I drove on into France, where I camped high up on a hill in the beautiful Parc Naturel de Voiron. I spent a few quiet days, enjoying the warm weather and getting my thoughts together before driving down near to Montpellier to visit my younger brother. He had an apartment in an imposing mas, set in the midst of vineyards, and dating from the 13th century when it was used as a place for the Knight Templars to change their horses. In his living room a large stone cross was inlaid in the centre of the floor, adding to the sense of history of the place. My brother is a musician who had moved to France from the west of England early in the 1990s, and I was able to spend a relaxing few days in the company of his musician friends as well as taking long walks in the surrounding, almost uninhabited hills – ideal walking country with wide views over the charming landscape of Languedoc-Roussillon. Whilst staying there I received an email from a friend inviting me to another small conference in the south of Spain at Granada. Looking at my map, and seeing that it was only about a thousand kilometres directly due south, I set off in a campervan and drove for three days across Spain, while the record summer temperatures of that year got hotter and hotter. At first I followed the coastal road through Barcelona and on to Valencia, but soon got tired of the traffic and the tacky coastal towns catering to the tourists, so I turned inland at a suitable point and soon began to climb some rather steep and spectacular hills.

Quite soon I found myself driving along narrow mountain roads with multiple bends, and looking down steep cliffs to brilliant blue lakes far below. Often rocks would appear overhanging the road and I feared lest the height of my van would not give me sufficient clearance to avoid them. This was a different Spain, a wild and beautiful country, barely populated with harsh rocky landscapes, rushing rivers and pine forests appearing out of nowhere. I felt a clearing of my feelings as compared to the muggy confusion which I experienced on the coast, and just as dusk was descending pulled into an enchanted pine forest at a high point and settled down for the night. Being alone in the quiet of a natural wilderness, looking up at the stars of a clear night is an experience like no other. Knowing that the universe out there is over fourteen billion years old, and that the light from some of the visible stars has been travelling for millions of years – so that we are looking deep into the past of the universe, can be awe-inspiring. Curiously however I never felt alone at all – perhaps it was because I felt a sense of purpose on this journey – and that purpose imbued all that I did with a meaning which I really did not understand – neither did I need to, for the subjective experience appeared sufficient of itself to sustain me. Awakening to the sound of birds, I fried up my bacon and eggs thoroughly enjoying my aloneness on the mountain-top, with its air of timelessness, being far removed from the sights and sounds of civilization. After some meandering on small mountain roads I eventually found a main highway south, looking with concern at my fuel-gauge and the lack of any towns of any size in the area. Fortunately I was able to make it to Requena, where I was guided to a filling station. In these inland country areas nobody appeared to speak

much English, and I was grateful for having taken the trouble of learning Spanish years ago, and finding that I could make myself understood. The road continued south to Albacete and became a fine dual highway, one of many in Spain financed by the EU’s infrastructure grants, although it seemed hardly used. The countryside was majestic, and I revelled in the wide open views with my windows open to enjoy the warm flow of the summer air as temperatures continued to rise as I travelled south. The last night before Granada I pulled into an olive grove and overnighted amongst the olive-trees under a pitch-black sky surrounded by quietness. The drive towards Granada took me through the Sierra Magica, an enchanting range of hills which were a relief from the monotony of the central plains, before dropping down into the sprawling city of Granada, where I eventually found a reasonable place to park under an urban highway, which provided some protection from the merciless sunshine. The conference itself appeared to be chaotically organized, nothing much seemed to be happening - which at least gave me a chance to relax and explore the city, with its many narrow alleys, churches and places to eat. After a while I tagged along with a group of three Dutch ladies to walk around the city, and we wandered the narrow streets, spending some time in the cathedral where we talked about the history and culture of the place. The cathedral was built in the Spanish Renaissance, on the site of a mosque, and it took almost two centuries to complete. The juxtaposition of Islamic and Christian influences was everywhere in evidence in this province, and indeed while we were there we heard that a new mosque was being inaugurated – the first for a long time – attesting to the contemporary resurgence of Islamic influence. As we sat over ice-cream in one of the many roadside

cafés, I found myself explaining my ideas about the Global Enterprise Meeting, and one of the ladies – a writer whose name was Monica was immediately taken by what I was saying, as much of it was in line with a number of ideas on which she was working. The two of us spent hours wandering through the city, oblivious of time, talking intently about these ideas which now became neither mine nor hers, but which evidently had a life of their own. By the time we had returned to the city it was the middle of the night, we had walked tens of kilometres, had been all round the Alhambra and had never stopped talking. My campervan was thankfully cool – way below the temperature it would reach during the day – and I could barely sleep as the confluence of our ideas had opened up new horizons – I realized that a team was beginning to form. Next morning I managed to find my friend Peter, who had invited me to Granada in the first place - and together with Monica we updated him with the content of our discussions. It was no surprise to me that he enthusiastically added in ideas of his own – and that he too had been thinking along similar lines for years. Indeed we had last met at a seminar in Santa Fe, in New Mexico a few years earlier, where we shared our thoughts on the future world of work and finance – which was his particular specialty. During the next few days, in the sweltering heat of the city the three of us spent much time together, consumed huge amounts of ice-cream and realized that we could work well as a team. Over roast duck and a fine Rioja we agreed to work together and jointly organize the Cape Town meeting - we felt like pioneers about to discover a new world. One of the highlights of the congress in Granada was an organized tour of the Alhambra, a magnificent fortress and palace complex dating from Moorish times on a hill on the

outskirts of the city. Built in the mid-thirteenth century during the Islamic Nasrid dynasty, more as a series of palaces and an administrative centre than as a defensive fortress, the Alhambra lies in a magnificent setting with the snowy Sierra Nevada mountains as a backdrop. The building complex exudes harmony and attention to detail, with courtyards, gardens and a maze of rooms all leading seamlessly into each other. Everywhere there were areas dedicated to work, relaxation and to prayer – with small mosques accompanying each of the administrative areas. While the time of its construction was punctuated by many battles between the armies of the Catholic kings of Spain with the Moorish, Islamic rulers of that region, its harmony is perhaps a reflection of a time in that part of the world in which Christian, Islamic and Jewish people were able to live together in peace – something which seemingly would take a miracle to achieve in parts of the Middle East today. The long drive back to France passed as in a dream, from which I only have memories of long, empty straight roads. This time I drove across the centre of Spain, through Madrid, then the wild rocky country to the north before finally crossing the Pyrenees somewhere near the centre of the range. The French side was lush and green, very different from the arid barrenness of the land just south of the border. In no time at all I was sitting in my brother’s lounge again, drinking tea and reminiscing about my journey. It all felt like an impossible dream, yet a team had been formed and there was work to be done. Over the next few months the three of us met several times in our respective homes in England, Holland and Ireland, and put together a plan for the first Global Enterprise Meeting which was to be held in March of 2004. After thoroughly researching the Internet we found what

appeared to be an ideal location by the sea, situated on False Bay just south of Cape Town itself, this was the Oatlands Resort and Conference Centre just outside Simonstown on the way to the Cape of Good Hope. Over weeks of exchanging emails with the friendly Oatlands staff, we put together what we hoped would be an unforgettable meeting, with local South African delicacies which we had never heard of such as Boboties and Sosoties. I set up a website with online booking forms and we began to approach people we knew and respected to attend the meeting. In keeping with its global nature we wanted people from many different countries to be present. We made no attempt to stipulate who should or should not come, leaving it up to chance. In the event we got bookings from Australia, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Romania, the United Kingdom, the United States as well as from South Africa. In looking around for a facilitator or moderator for the meeting, George, whom I had met in Scuol, and who had originally suggested South Africa, was approached and agreed to fulfil this function.

Chapter 6

The First Meeting Cape Town, South Africa March 29th to April 2nd 2004

‘I have discovered the secret that after climbing a great hill, one only finds that there are many more hills to climb’ NELSON MANDELA

There is a certain raw energy in Africa which many visitors seem to feel, and I certainly felt its anticipation on the long flight from Amsterdam to Cape Town. Looking down at the landscapes we were greeted by forests, marshlands and deserts, and I got a sense of the immensity of the continent – and a feeling which I often get on leaving Europe behind, a freeing-up of fixed and conditioned patterns of thought as I entered a new environment. In my anticipation of this meeting I felt a sense of Mandela’s words, that we were engaged in climbing a great hill, and that there were to be many more hills to climb beyond. Coming into land at Cape Town, an almost treeless aridlooking landscape came into view, with acres upon acres of desolate-looking shantytowns which I knew to be the African

townships. My first impressions were of a relaxed country still enjoying the last days of its summer. The three of us had decided to see something of the West Cape before going on to the meeting so we rented a car and headed east towards Stellenbosch, seat of the Afrikaansspeaking university. We decided to continue east to Franschhoek, a delightful town situated in a picturesque valley, with towering mountains beyond the Franschhoek Pass to the east. The town appeared to be full of restaurants including one listed as amongst the world’s best by the Michelin Guide. In looking for a place to stay we chose a farmhouse belonging to a farmer growing satsumas. We found a delightful chalet set amongst the satsuma bushes, where we were able to plan the details of our forthcoming meeting. The farmer told us that his entire crop was destined for Sainsbury’s supermarket in Britain, and they determined the exact shape and colour of the fruit. He commented that it was hardly worth his while to continue growing the stuff, owing to the exacting conditions of the purchasers and the ever falling prices. Unfortunately he felt that the best way to survive would be by renting chalets to tourists – growing food was becoming less and less viable. I was amazed by the grandeur of the farmhouse which was immense - probably several hundred square metres in size, and which had a gallery which would have done justice to some of the finer houses of Europe. Indeed, many of the houses and farmsteads in and around Franschhoek were of a similar size and quality. Returning to our chalet one evening we walked by a low hedge, from where we could see shacks built of car tires and

petrol cans at the end of a field. We saw that Africans were living in these makeshift places, and children came over to us begging for money. We were often to see such inequalities in post-apartheid South Africa. In observing the people driving cars, there appeared to be almost no Africans, but mostly Whites and Asians. This crass contrast between the living conditions of Africans and whites was most marked in towns like Franschhoek, where we dined, often the only guests in luxury restaurants, paying prices which seemed ridiculously low owing to the weakness of the South African Rand. We explored the mountains to the east and climbed up ridges to get a fine view of the wide, grand-looking countryside. After a few days enjoying the tourist lifestyle we drove back into Cape Town past the Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens and took the scenic route past Simonstown to arrive at Oatlands Resort. The Resort is situated on a hillside and the accommodation is in either wooden chalets or round buildings shaped like native Kraals. Just across the road were a fine beach and a penguin colony, which highlighted the exotic feeling of the place. We found the meeting centre with its restaurant and bars immediately above the chalets, behind which was an imposing mountain sheltering the resort from the ocean winds to the west. We liked the informality of the family-run resort, and the flexibility which this allowed, enabling us to structure our meetings, our meals and our free time as we wished. I felt that this was an ideal environment in which thirty some people could set themselves apart from the world and from their perhaps hectic lives, and to pay attention to creating something new.

Never having organized a conference before, we had to look after every detail, going into town to produce badges for participants as well as to get instructions printed so that people would know where to find everything. All the while we were full of a feeling of exhilaration, a feeling that we were taking part in a grand drama and that we were part of something bigger than ourselves without knowing what it was - which appeared not to bother us. In this way, during our first few days in the country we had put together what we felt would be an appropriate programme for the meeting. We would meet in a number of sessions for the first two full days; the third day would be devoted to sight-seeing and relaxing activities while the last two days would consist of further working sessions. The key element of the meeting was to be the working session, for which we decided to structure an appropriate format. We wanted to emphasize the equality of the participants, so each session would take the form of all sitting in a circle, with the moderator sitting amongst them. Each session was to be a maximum of ninety minutes (we figured that human beings usually cannot easily sit still for much longer at any one time). George had insisted that it was essential for each session to have a clearly defined starting and finishing point, and one volunteer would need to be found to agree to time the sessions; he also stressed the need to start and finish each session with a couple of minutes of silence. In order to allow for clear communication during sessions, we agreed that each participant should be made aware of their two responsibilities during sessions. The first responsibility was the responsibility to speak when it was appropriate to do so, the second responsibility was to remain silent and listen attentively

to the speaker at all other times. Because the meeting was billed as a Global Enterprise Meeting, a number of participants had prepared presentations of projects or enterprises in which they were engaged. We therefore decided to structure the meeting so that the daily sessions finished at six each evening and individual presentations could take place between six and eight, after which our meals would be served. Attendance at these evening presentations would be voluntary, so participants had the choice of attending or of relaxing in their chalets or down on the beach. Our moderator George had given us three guidelines in advance which we were to use to structure the meeting. The first guideline was that there should be nothing in the centre of the meeting circle to symbolize emptiness. The second guideline was that if possible we should feel ourselves to be a group or an organism which is greater than the sum of its parts. The third guideline was that if we were able to stick with the process of the meeting then we could expect something unexpected to occur before the meeting closed. I was not sure what George meant by this last guideline, but I guessed that if we were able to put up with the discipline required to stick with the group process for the time allocated, then we should expect some result. We felt confident that we had prepared the meeting to the best of our ability, and were hoping to relax for a few days before the welcoming meal was to be served on a Thursday evening. Unfortunately I became acutely ill with a stomach complaint, which forced me to stay in bed and hardly venture out until the day of the opening dinner. Early on that morning, my mobile phone rang.

‘Hello John, this is George calling from London - I’m not coming!’ Apparently George had got on to the plane at Heathrow for his flight to Cape Town and was overcome with severe chest pains, so he had to be taken off the plane. The acute episode was now over and he was reasonably comfortable, so he apologized for any inconvenience caused and wished us best of luck for the meeting. This was rather a bombshell! We were stunned, the meeting was about to begin and we had nobody to moderate it. We had no option but to go forward with a meeting with no moderator, in fact with a leaderless group. The three of us decided that our role would just be to sit in awareness to ensure that the meetings were reasonably orderly, as none of us had had experience of working in a group of this size (over thirty) where there was no designated leader, facilitator, moderator or other person in charge. After an excellent breakfast, the participants gathered in the circle, curious as to what to expect. They were certainly an interesting if somewhat motley crowd. They appeared to range in age from about the early thirties to one or two certainly over eighty, with a fair mix of men, women, Whites and Asians. At the registration desk we handed out our colourfullydesigned badges with their bright African motifs of a lion and giraffes, checked registration details and were introduced oneby-one to the people who were to be our fellow guinea-pigs in this experiment. After all were seated, we explained the format of each session, suggesting that we start and finish each meeting with a couple of minutes of quietness in order to get into a state of awareness. Feeling a bit uncomfortable having no programme or

moderator, the easiest thing for us to do at the beginning was to allow each participant a couple of minutes to say their names, where they came from and why they were there. We knew that this would take up the entire first session allowing for an average of three minutes per person. I observed something rather interesting and unusual during this first session - there was an intensity present and as each person spoke, the others listened respectively. This intensity focussed the mind of the speaker so that he or she really had to concentrate and think as to what they were saying. For many of the participants it was perhaps the first time in their lives that they were given an opportunity to take part in a leaderless group, and the experience was one in which all boundaries appeared to fall away. Unlike my experience of past meetings and conferences, I felt a heightened energy, and a real interest in the proceedings which quite surprised me. Time seemed to fly, and by the time the last person had had his say, the time-keeper said that our ninety minutes were up. We had arranged for plenty of cold drinks as well as tea and coffee to be available during the breaks between sessions, and I sensed an air of excitement and expectation during this first break, something which I was to observe frequently throughout the meeting. At the start of the next session, I explained a little bit about the background as to what we were here to achieve, and I emphasized the fact that we were a leaderless group, by accident rather than by design, but that I felt that this was a fortuitous happening, because it forced each participant to take full responsibility for all that they were saying or not saying. I also explained the three themes which George had brought us, and it further occurred to me to bring in the concept

of Kairos, perfect time, into the group. Kairos is an ancient Greek word which roughly translates that at any particular time with any particular group of people at any particular place there is one unique result or set of results which can be expected, and this is something which the group is unconsciously aiming for. Throughout the meeting we were to find that creative ideas came to us as a result of the process of which we were now a part. Peter and Monica also said something of their understanding and we then decided to stay quiet and allow the dynamic of the meeting process to follow its course. At first there was a deathly silence, and I hoped that we would not have to sit like stuffed dummies in that circle for the next hour. There not being a leader is not an easy option for a group of mature people far away from home. Fortunately someone began to speak, and I understood that often people start talking not because they have something important to say but because there are always people who can stand the discomfort of silence less than others, and who also have a ‘bee in their bonnet’, which they want to share with the world. Given such a respectful and willing audience, such people are only too pleased to take the floor. It takes some self-discipline to sit there listening to people expressing what often appears to be arrant nonsense, and feel that it is inappropriate for oneself to make an intervention. Fortunately there are others with perhaps less patience, who feel that it is their duty to challenge the speaker. In practice this created a session which was at best lively and at worst highly chaotic. Indeed the first day and a half proved to be a difficult experience of having to sit through various people getting things off their chest, and yet feeling that it was inappropriate to control the process.

After a while I realized that the process has a mind and a rhythm of its own, and that it is actually essential for people to clear their systems, to have their say fully and to be listened to with respect, because once their need to communicate has been met they may remain quietly respectful and be ready for the real work of the group – whatever that might be. Of course because the real work essentially comes up from unconscious sources, as is the case with all truly creative activities, the best that each of us participants can do is to be aware of the bigger picture and not be taken in by the detail of what is being said at any one time. After a while more and more participants were able to get into the spirit of the meeting, and really to see the point of sitting in that circle, and realizing that it had nothing to do with trying to solve problems which arose, or to teach others or to be taught. Because of the widely divergent backgrounds of the participants, who ranged from housewives to senior business managers, to creative writers and artists through to retired people, the subject matter was diverse and of interest to all. After a while I observed that many participants felt a new energy arise within them, and I could see them sitting on the edges of their seats with the excitement of young children in their eyes. I guessed that we had inadvertently, through our choice of leaderless group, created an environment in which each participant could feel that they were in a secure place, a place which fostered authentic behaviour. It occurred to me that the experience of most human beings in the world is invariably that of being placed in hierarchical group environments. All of us grew up in a family situation where there were defined roles, a hierarchy in which we all knew our place.

This is further continued in the various stratified school systems as well as in the collegiate environment of universities with their own academic hierarchies. The world of work further puts individuals in an unequal environment, while particularly highly structured work environments such as the civil service, the police, or the military depend upon clearly defined hierarchical systems. Outside our immediate social circle, the whole political and social environment is one where hierarchies are always there - implicitly or explicitly. Hence the intentionally non-hierarchical, truly egalitarian structure which we had created at our meeting in Cape Town was one of which virtually no-one had ever had much, indeed any experience. I think that this was one clear reason why the participants felt so intensely involved. Certainly, such non-hierarchical groups occur from time to time among human beings, but these are virtually always accidental. I remember one occasion when I was travelling on a crowded train from London to Cambridge on a dark winter’s evening. The train broke down and the lights went out, so the passengers in my compartment had to get used to the dim glow of the emergency lighting. In Britain, train passengers are notorious for keeping themselves to themselves and not speaking to other travellers. However this emergency broke the ice and we began to talk to each other. On account of being a group of people thrown together by a force beyond ourselves, this made us into a completely equal leaderless group. The conversations were uninhibited, after all we were all strangers who would probably never meet each other again, and they were direct, honest and completely fascinating. We had glimpses into each other’s lives, heard

personal histories, people revealing their innermost thoughts, and we wished that we could stay there for ever and that they would not fix the train in any hurry. Many of us found unexpected areas of common interest with our fellows, but for me what was so unexpected and yet so clear was that we were able to be aware of what it meant to feel our common humanity. Perhaps because each one of us is entirely alone in the world, there exists a powerful tendency to try to make ourselves busy in our normal lives – very often simply to get away from this awareness of isolation, but in the abnormal circumstances of people being randomly thrown together, we realize that actually none of us are alone, because the awareness of our common humanity brings with it an awareness of something far greater, and that in itself is sufficient to overcome any feeling of isolation. What we had hit upon in Cape Town was a way of intentionally formalizing, of creating a system which would emulate the freedom and creativity which spontaneously arises amongst a group of people who are convinced of their mutual equality, and who realize that they are not in a hierarchy with members above or below them. The three of us retired to our beds at the end of the first day with a feeling that we had really achieved something, as that first day had exceeded all of our expectations. It is one thing to plan a meeting such as this amongst two or three organizers, quite another thing to experience the raw humanity amongst a group of over thirty committed people over whom we know we have no control. On the next morning, at the start of the first session, Peter turned to me and commented in surprise at the numbers of women present. Because this had been billed as an enterprise meeting, we would have expected the majority of participants

to be men, who tend to predominate in any meeting where ‘business’ is on the agenda. To our surprise however, we counted an exact equality of men and women in the circle, some sixteen of each gender. As if on cue, another participant commented on this fact, and this became the subject of a lively exchange of ideas and opinions. It became clear that what we were dealing with here was not the importance of a balance of men and women as such, but the significance of the masculine and feminine aspects which felt so balanced in the group. Conceptually, the feminine aspect can include such attributes as relationship, inwardness, nurture, sensitivity, intuition, receptivity and emotionality – often denoted by the term yin. The masculine aspect conversely can include such attributes as firmness, strength, outwardness, logic and aggression – often denoted by the term yang. Inevitably, both genders share all of these attributes to greater or lesser extents – and some women have more of the masculine than feminine aspect, while some men have more feminine than masculine aspect. Certainly, scientific research has found significant differences in the brains of men and women – and the influence of hormones such as testosterone on either gender is well known, so that it is perhaps more useful to consider these two aspects as energies. For want of a better word we decided to call these two aspects masculine and feminine energies, not because of any metaphysical energetic actions or energy fields, but because in practice these aspects appeared to motivate human beings in a certain direction, to imbue them with certain qualities. Carl Jung talks of the twin archetypes, Anima4 as the ‘feminine in man’ and the Animus as the ‘masculine in woman’, both at first latent and hence unconscious, and regards it as a

lifelong task for both genders to recognize and finally assimilate the contra-sexual elements within themselves. During the sessions the group came to the following conclusions, which were at one point theatrically illustrated by one of the men to much merriment and laughter. The nature of the masculine energy seems to be that it very quickly is inspired with an idea and wants to act straight away, like an arrow shot from a bow, the energy is directed, consequent, and quick. The nature of the feminine energy however, seems to be circumspect, to look around and to see the whole picture, to be aware of meaning, values and relationships. However, there is little directed energy. In practice a group purely consisting of men tend to show the working of the masculine energy quite well. Such a group will tend to grasp an idea quickly, know very well how to execute it in practice, and to move ahead quickly to its completion. The danger however is that the group goes in the wrong direction, wrong meaning without reference to values, meaning and relationships within their environment. They are as likely as not to fall over a cliff! Likewise in practice a group of only women, when given a project to undertake, while understanding perfectly well what the right thing to do may be, they may lack the energy to pursue their aims consequently with a directed force, and end up merely talking or planning. During the meeting it was a revelation to the women that many men were as afraid of the feminine energy, as they themselves were afraid of the masculine energy. The men too listened intently and some spoke of their fear of the feminine energy, particularly of its boundlessness compared to the welldefined directed nature of their own masculine energy which

they knew only too well. It occurred to us three during one of our after-dinner analysis sessions, that what we were attempting to create was in essence a model of a Human Enterprise, one in which both energies needed to be balanced – perhaps rather like the situation in an ideal family. Hence in a Human Enterprise, this balance is best achieved in practice by having a working group in which the genders are more or less balanced in number. The consequences of this understanding are plain to see in our male dominated business world, in which most start-up businesses fail within the first five years. Even those businesses which succeed have on average a life span which is less than that of a human being. The enterprises which are longest lasting tend to be either family enterprises, in which both genders are necessarily involved, or enterprises formed from a background such as the Quakers, in which gender equality forms part of the belief system. During our meeting a consequence of the group finding this understanding about the gender balance, led to a subtle change in peoples’ awareness, so that many of the men in the group began to look at the women with an attitude of greater respect, and likewise the women towards the men. We were often to find that such subtle changes of understanding about many often unquestioned belief systems within individuals occurred as a result of the powerful process which appeared to be guiding our meeting. It became clear to many of us that the dominant belief system in organizations today included an assumption that the masculine energy on its own was a necessary quality – so much so that those women who succeeded in these masculine energy environments did so by predominantly having to make use of

their masculine energy. While each session now became somewhat more orderly, with many participants merely sitting and enjoying the awareness of changes within them while participating in the greater process, the tea-breaks between sessions were often lively with small groups of people excitedly exchanging details of their experiences. By the afternoon of the second day the group had settled down into a kind of common understanding, which can be summed up as an awareness that all were taking part in an experiment, which was quite unlike any other meeting, conference, seminar or other social experience with which they were familiar. This led to a group which was becoming more and more cohesive, more and more like a community. For me it was exhilarating to observe human beings communicate directly with each other and that even those who sat still and said nothing found that ideas which occurred within them which they were about to voice were being voiced by others. The group appeared to be approaching a state where it was acting as a single organism. Again I felt that perhaps we were participating in developing a further stage in human evolution, that in a world of increasing sophistication and complexity, only an organism – one comprising both genders and one which is greater than the sum of its parts, has the ability and resources to solve the largely divergent problems which increasingly arise in the world. My excitement was intensified by a growing understanding that here we had stumbled upon a technique; we were in process of consciously designing a system by which human beings may be able to understand each other, and to cooperate to find a solution to what appear to be intractable

problems. Taken further, I could see applications of this process in international relations, and in the creation of a peaceful world. I realized that I was now mostly sitting quietly, gratefully allowing others to speak, which both confirmed the fact that the group had accepted that this was a leaderless meeting, and enabled me to observe subjectively how this process was enabling all kinds of creative and positive ideas to arise within me. It was fascinating to observe how once an interesting idea had matured within me, another participant was able to voice it far better than I would have been able to. I also observed that often it was the least likely participant, perhaps a housewife or retired person who had the ability to express a subtle realization in a field requiring profound expertise - with the most precise articulation. Again, it appeared that this process seemed to turn our reliance on so-called ‘experts’ on its head, because in reality provided that the environment is appropriately designed, then each of us will find within ourselves the necessary skills, abilities and talents to do or to say precisely what is required at that time. In the Internet world the case of Wikipedia demonstrates this principle. Wikipedia is a free online encyclopaedia which is compiled, edited and corrected entirely by lay people, i.e. nonexperts. A recent German study5 showed that Wikipedia entries were more exact, complete, correct and understandable than similar entries in the fifteen volume Brockhaus encyclopaedia which is not free and compiled and up-dated by ‘experts’. I understood that the only real task required of us was to create a space in which learning, growth, and spontaneous autonomous activity in a heterogeneous group of people could lead to each individual becoming more and more aware of precisely those qualities which were unique to them and in time

could lead to them understanding their nature, and perhaps even start them on a path to find the work in the world which was most fitting for them. By the end of the second day, we were a relaxed group of people, amongst whom there was a distinct lack of aggression or other negative feelings, just a purposeful feeling and a quiet satisfaction with the way things were going. Certainly the physical environment, with fine weather, a gentle sea-breeze and beautiful views - particularly as the sun rose on the eastern horizon beyond False Bay, all contributed to the general sense of well-being. The fact that we were cut off from our normal environments, heightened the timeless atmosphere of the meeting, and the difficulty of accessing the outside world there being only one phone-line in the office by the entrance and difficult Internet connectivity - was a blessing in disguise. Our structure, in which participants with their own projects or enterprises were given space between six and eight each evening, worked surprisingly well, with only those with a specific interest in the projects on offer, attending, and often contributing in a positive way. As planned, the third day was a day out of the session work, and after breakfast we boarded a coach which took us on a tour of the scenic spots around Cape Town. At first we went down the coast to the Cape of Good Hope National Park and climbed to the end of the Peninsula, looking across at both the Indian and the Atlantic Oceans. There was a terrific wind, which almost threatened to blow us into the sea. Down on the beach it was calmer, as we gathered round the sign telling us that we had reached the Cape. Everywhere there were baboons, which we were told not to feed (otherwise they would become dependent on humans, become aggressive and would have to be destroyed). On our

return to the car park we were met with the curious sight of baboons sitting often in twos and threes on the roofs of cars. The tour continued around the west coast and included a fish lunch at Hout Bay, following which the coach set us off at the Victoria and Albert Waterfront from where we walked around the tourist parts of the city. Deciding not to visit Robben Island, on which Nelson Mandela had been incarcerated in a tiny cell for twenty-seven years, we were able however to peruse an exhibition of Mandela’s life which was being shown at the ferry terminal. After the city tour we were taken up to the cable car station from where the party went up to the top of Table Mountain in a steep and spectacular ride. I found it to be such a surprisingly friendly place at the top, with small bushes abounding, and incredible views on all sides of the city and the oceans. There was little wind and a sense of peace which I often feel on the tops of mountains. It can however be a treacherous place, particularly when fog descends and people get lost attempting to find their way down leading to several fatalities each year. While most of the party descended in the cable car, I joined a small group who had decided to walk down the mountain. The walk was rather steep, and we constantly met with walkers going up the mountain, however the views were extraordinary, and the path back to the cable car station was easy to find. That evening we all had a booking at the African Café, an extraordinary place with designs and motives from all over Africa. The menu was also designed to reflect influences from all over the continent. A highlight was a group of singing and dancing Africans, whose exuberant energy filled the dining space, and again made us aware of the specific qualities of the

place in which we were meeting. I reflected on the fact that during our meeting, there was a quality of timelessness and neutrality of place so that it almost came as a surprise to rediscover that we were actually deep in the African continent. This led me to observe how little contact we had had with the native African population. Our participants were mainly European, with some of Asian origin, and the lack of a single black representative was made abundantly clear as we sat in this somewhat contrived African environment in the restaurant. The only Africans with whom we had been in contact were the housemaids in our chalets, and the occasional African we had met on our forays into Simonstown to go shopping. Later, during our stay in Cape Town it was rather sad to observe as we walked in the streets of the southern suburbs, that we knew that whenever an African walked towards us, he would stop and ask us for money. As we learnt from some of the congress participants from Cape Town, the situation within the country since the fall of apartheid had hardly improved for the majority of African people. Whereas previously apartheid had been institutionalized in the law, now the situation was one of economic apartheid. The white areas were still predominantly white, the coloured areas were still predominantly coloured, and we had already seen something of the awful squalor of the African townships. We were told that there was no social safety-net in the country, and that people without income had a choice of starving, begging or turning to crime. We had not ourselves seen any criminal activity, but we had heard many stories of how criminality was very much on the increase throughout the country, although thankfully Cape Town appeared to be significantly less affected than Johannesburg or other large

cities. However, the positive side of this lack of social security was that people were forced to become highly inventive, creative and flexible in order to survive. In many of them this led to a taking of responsibility for themselves and to a necessary finding of courage and self-confidence; often enabling them to move forward into enterprising activities. For example, a number of the Asian participants were highly enterprising, including a family involved in building and fitting out yachts, which were often bought by wealthy Europeans or Americans. We noticed in particular the position of the coloured community who were often the descendants of Indians and Malays who had come centuries earlier. They appeared to be thriving in the post-apartheid world, no longer subject to the petty restrictions which were extended to all non-Whites. We heard an amusing story from an elderly Indian, a sensitive and cultured individual, who during the apartheid era had decided to swim in the ocean and came up onto a beach reserved for Whites only. He was duly arrested and taken before a court. When asked what his plea was, he replied ‘please Sir, I am an Indian and I merely wanted to swim in the Indian Ocean.’ The judge dismissed the case and he walked free. I could not help thinking that had he been an African rather than an Indian, the judge would have been perhaps less lenient with him. As we drove back to Oatlands, we saw the beginnings of a violent thunderstorm, which was to accompany us for the last two days of the meeting. Our hostess at Oatlands commented that this was surprising because thunderstorms were extremely rare in that part of the country. On the fourth day of the meeting, the increased energy after the day out made itself felt in a heightened struggle

between individuals and groups. It felt to me as if a number of power struggles were going on simultaneously within the group. The effect was one of frequent confusion and chaos, interspersed with periods of quiet and introspection. A number of themes or areas of common interest began slowly to emerge from out of the chaos, a major one being the particular brain-child of a British participant, Harold, who expressed his conviction that a global currency is required in the world to replace the confusion, inequality and speculation which characterizes the use of the many national currencies. This theme found resonance amongst a broad group of participants, and it was subsequently agreed to set up a listserver on the Internet to pursue this topic. Harold’s idea was that what was needed was a Human Value Unit, a unit which he felt should equal the cost of one day’s cheap food for one person. He was under no illusions as to the difficulty of evaluating such a unit, particularly in view of the varying quantities of the different kinds of food eaten in various parts of the world. After many different attempts at evaluating this Unit, he settled on a scientific value of energy, valuing each Unit at four hundred joules or around sixteen hundred calories. There was a consensus that while Harold’s idea of a money unit based on human values was on the right track, his idea of basing it on a measure of food presented complex problems of evaluation and would in practice be unworkable. Another theme which arose concerned the problem in the world of an increased need for energy, including problems of peak oil, and what kind of response would be appropriate. Whenever a number of people became interested in taking a theme further, they agreed to arrange to keep in touch by email and listserver once they had returned home. On the fifth and final day of the meeting the group was

relaxed and much looking forward to the events to come. By this time those participants who had a particular axe to grind had got their concerns out of their system and joined the rest in waiting patiently for whatever would arise spontaneously from within the group. The feeling was much lighter than the day before, many were anticipating the end of the meeting, and there was a feeling that we had been struggling with something and were expecting some kind of resolution. This feeling was heightened by the weather, as the sky had turned dark and a wild thunderstorm began to rage. As we sat there observing the lightning and listening to the thunder, we felt that the elements were playing their part in a grand drama, the script of which none of us had written. I had a sense that we had become an efficient working group, and that whatever questions entered into our midst could be tackled and resolved quickly and with the benefit of accessing all of the resources from all of the members of the group. Perhaps therefore, if a commercial or governmental organization were able to operate in this manner, with all of its members irrespective of function within the organization, meeting and working in such a way, then the quality of decision-making could be so much higher than could be expected from a small executive team. Such a group has access not only to all of the accumulated wisdom of each person present, but also has the great benefit of enabling the women-members present to confidently represent their uniquely feminine perspective, a perspective which is so often excluded in the commercial world because the environments of that world do not permit its genuine expression. Perhaps the most useful property of such a working group

however, is the quality of intrapersonal communication which is made possible by the environment. Once the main surface concerns of people had been worked through, this communication becomes authentic, appropriate to the time and place, and potentially offers the best resources for whatever decisions are needed to be made by the group. During the day a couple of main points seemed to emerge as a kind of result of the meeting, of which the importance of a global unit of currency was one, and the necessity for entrepreneurs to work as a larger heterogeneous team, rather than to start and stay as one person enterprises. It was perhaps this last point, which was so strongly felt amongst the many sole-entrepreneurs present, and the fact that the meeting had come a long way to designing a system in which this heterogeneous team could operate. As the meeting approached the end of the final session, there was an air of expectation, heightened by our original statement, taken from George’s themes, that if we stay to the end of this process then we can expect something unexpected to occur. As I sat there I became aware of a subtle appearance of something within my consciousness. For me this awareness could be described as if something new had entered the world and had descended in our midst. This something new was like a template or a blueprint, a new archetype from the collective unconscious to use Jung’s terminology, an archetype which from now on could be used to create new types of organizations and new institutions which would operate in accordance with a new and original social model. Bearing in mind the difficulties that the group went through before the appearance of such a result, I was reminded of Rupert Sheldrake’s theory of morphic resonance, whereby the

initial form of any new idea, substance or concept requires a lot of original work and expenditure of energy, but once it exists in the world, subsequent applications of this form become easier and can be applied without much effort – they become part of our common inheritance. At that time I felt that we had been given something in a raw form, and it was the task of subsequent meetings to put precise detail onto this form, so that ultimately we would end up with a new model of organizational and institutional management and social behaviour, whose beneficial consequences would leave no part of human activities untouched. Here was the potential to give a new sense of direction and purpose to every field of human endeavour, whether in the commercial, educational, legal or political arenas. It struck me during the last moments of that meeting, that we had stumbled upon a formula, a practical way of organizing human beings in such a way that we all support each other, so that theoretically very efficient organizations could arise. In addition, and arguably more important, these organizations would be such as to primarily meet the real, often unmet human needs of their members, leading to what could be called a truly human institution. Certainly, I was under no illusions, as to how difficult it is to present a new idea to the world, for in the words of Machiavelli writing in The Prince: And it ought to be remembered that there is nothing more difficult to take in hand, more perilous to conduct, or more uncertain in its success, than to take the lead in the introduction of a new order of things. Because the innovator has for enemies all those who have done well under the old conditions and lukewarm defenders in those who may do well under the new.

This coolness arises partly from fear of the opponents, who have the laws on their side, and partly from the incredulity of men, who do not readily believe in new things until they have had a long experience of them. Thus it happens that whenever those who are hostile have the opportunity to attack they do it like partisans, whilst the others defend lukewarmly. In any event, Machiavelli’s words did not really bother me, for I knew that I was not really interested in foisting yet another new idea onto a world already weary of a surfeit of new ideas, plans, initiatives and crazy schemes, but I was following my own truth and was guided by no-one except by my own convictions. During the closing session, each participant was asked to say a few words about how the meeting had been for them; it was during this round-up of comments, that people became aware that actually something unexpected had taken place. This something was often described as a change of awareness, which was experienced by many if not all of the participants. A South African businessman commented that where previously he had only a furtive sense of going in the right direction, now he knew with conviction what his next steps would be, plus he felt a deep sense of gratitude, opportunity, and a feeling of truly being alive. As we relaxed after the end of the final session in the warmth of the gardens in the air which had been cleared by the thunderstorm, many of us had the feeling that we had witnessed something vitally important during the last few days, something which really had little to do with our individual lives, and which was not really linked with the South Africa in which we met, rather it was something with a global significance. Although virtually all participants agreed that the meeting

had been an extraordinary experience, only a few could sense something beyond that feeling, and were able to articulate what they felt. After the close of the meeting before the last evening meal, we were entertained by a local Marimba band, which stayed on and even gave us three encores. We asked those who wished to email us after the meeting with their impressions, and indeed we received several responses over the next couple of weeks following our return home. One participant, a hard-boiled businessman used to dealing with budgets of many millions of dollars, wrote that the Cape Town meeting was the best meeting in which he had ever participated in his entire life, adding that he was sure that the structure of the meeting virtually guaranteed success. Another participant, a local woman, wrote about the session in which the different aspects of the masculine and feminine energies and the balance between them was discussed, something which touched a chord within her because her place of employment in the engineering industry, a predominantly male environment, had recently employed two females as an initiative towards a more gender balanced environment. She thought that that was no coincidence, and went on to report about just having read Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code in which the balance between male and female is also explored, and which conveys in detail Leonardo Da Vinci's obsession with this aspect as he believed a human soul could not be enlightened unless it had both aspects of male and female elements. Hence when this same issue came up during the meetings it totally bowled her over, yet again confirming her understanding that we are all neither male nor female, but a fusion of both. At the end of the meeting she understood very clearly where she was in her life – which was neither good nor

bad, merely in the right place, from where she simply needed to jump in and get on with her thoughts and plans without delay – leaving with a sense of purpose and clarity as to what she needed to do next. A British lady found the amount of synchronicity going on to be really delightful, even the intense variations in the weather appeared to reflect the process - high winds on the first days to sweep away the cobwebs in our minds and a series of extremely rarely seen electrical storms, that seemed to reflect the birth of something with great power. Rather surprisingly the responses which came in were all positive, although there was one attendee who wrote that while the enthusiasm of the meeting wore off for him quite quickly, he asked himself whether we really achieved something new and unexpected for the world, and reckoned that only time would tell. After our return to our respective homes in Europe, we three members of the organizing team continued to meet. We had learnt a great deal of value in the organizing of this meeting, such as the enormous value of selecting a relaxed, informal out-of-city venue for the event, the importance of providing meals of an exceptional quality, and the importance of providing a mix of sit-down working sessions, tourist excursions and cultural activities relating to the host environment. Over the next couple of months it became clear to all three of us that Cape Town was only the first of a series of meetings, a series which was to move around the world in order to make it a truly global effort and our next task was to decide the venue and dates of our next meeting.

Chapter 7

The Second Meeting Dubingai, Lithuania September 2nd to 7th 2004

‘Without learning, without eyes’ LITHUANIAN PROVERB

I had been on my first visit to Vilnius, the capital of Lithuania, during a particularly severe winter shortly before going to South Africa. I had been there to look at property investments, as the country was about to join the European Union, an event which took place on May 1st, 2004. I was impressed by the hospitality and warmth of the Lithuanian people and intrigued by the way in which a small country which had only just recently managed to disengage itself from the Soviet Bloc, was responding to life as a member of the capitalist world. I had made a number of contacts on that occasion, and when I mooted the idea that we could have another Global Enterprise Meeting in Lithuania later that autumn, I was pleasantly surprised by the enthusiastic response. On my flight back to London from Vilnius, I sat next to a

Swiss-British banker, who had also been looking at the Lithuanian property market, and confirmed my view that prices would increase rapidly after accession to the European Union. He enthused about the flexibility and high standard of education of the young Lithuanians, and was in process of relocating some of the back-office functions of his London bank to Vilnius. The years since then have served to confirm the banker’s observations about the Lithuanian property market, although unfortunately I did not act on that advice at the time, which would have been to my financial advantage. So our team began planning the second Global Enterprise Meeting which was scheduled to take place in September 2004 in Lithuania. My contacts there had located what they felt would be an excellent venue, a resort camp situated deep in a forest by a lake in Dubingai, less than one hour’s drive and some fifty kilometres north of the capital. This was to be our first attempt at a meeting in a nonEnglish-speaking part of the world, and we were to expect many participants from the former Soviet Union and its exsatellites. However, we were assured that a suitable interpreter had been found and that simultaneous translation between Russian and English was possible. Again, following the pattern from the Cape Town meeting, I put together a website inviting anyone interested to book online for the meeting, and included comments from participants of the first meeting as a means of describing what could be expected. While the three of us felt that we were engaged in a developing process and that our task was to organize a series of meetings, we did not know then how many there would be or where they would take place.

Certainly it was clear for me that each meeting would add precision and detail onto the archetype that had been given to us in Cape Town, and that all we needed to do was to provide the environment in which this could occur. By now we could openly explain that the meeting would not be moderated or facilitated, as we were following a leaderless group model. Just as before, we had no idea how many participants would be present, and we had left our contacts in Lithuania to use their network channels of personal and business contacts to approach as participants. As the time for the meeting approached we were gratified to note that registrations had come in from many of the countries surrounding the Baltic Sea. We had participants from Austria, Germany, Holland, Ireland, Latvia, Norway, Poland, Russia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom as well as from Lithuania. Unlike the first meeting therefore, at which participants had arrived from four continents, this one had a particularly north and east European flavour. Flying from Berlin on the Latvian airline, Baltic Air, I was impressed at how quickly these post-Soviet states had abandoned their obsolete Soviet-built aircraft, and had equipped themselves with the most modern Boeings and Airbuses, putting many of the larger European carriers with their ageing fleets to shame. Before the meeting our little team was hosted by Ivan, whom I had met on my previous visit to Vilnius. Ivan is a businessman dealing with industrial equipment which he trades between the EU and Russia. We were put up at his elegant twelve-bedroom residence, which was built, along with many similar spacious dwellings, on the site of a former collective farm.

Like so many things which I was to see in this country, the house was only half-finished, with most of the bedrooms still being in a half-built state, however, the rest was finished in an interesting neo-Roman style, with indoor fountains and statues. There was obviously no shortage of space in this country of only three-and-a-half million people. After a brief visit to Vilnius, we were driven to the congress site, a couple of days before the meeting was due to commence. The site at Dubingai appeared to be just ideal. It was a holiday resort owned by the local electric power company, a company which obtained its power from a single nuclear reactor, based at the Ignalina power station and of a similar type to the ill-fated Chernobyl reactor in nearby Ukraine, which so spectacularly went out of control in 1986. We were not overjoyed to hear of the proximity of this nuclear power station, but we were told that it was another hundred kilometres north of where we were, and was currently being restructured into a safe condition with the aid of EU funds. The site was impressively extensive, as could be expected from a facility serving the five thousand people employed at the reactor. Set in the middle of a dense pine forest, surrounded by a high wall, with a single guarded entrance, we could have been forgiven for initially thinking that we had been led into a prison camp. This initial sense was further highlighted by the eerie silence of the surrounding forests, which seemed to be devoid of birds and their song. However, our apprehension was quickly dispelled by the natural peace of the location, the clear placid waters of the lake on whose banks we were sited, and by the outstandingly high standards of our hotel rooms, which included broadband

Internet - in retrospect the best of any of the accommodation which we had before or since at these meetings. At the centre of the site was a solid military looking building with a barred steel door, which we were told was the entrance to an underground bunker. During Soviet days this bunker was to serve members of the Soviet military in the event of a nuclear war, and even now we were told there were underground chambers fully equipped with food and accommodation, left entirely as it was when it was abandoned by the departing Russians. As we were left to our own devices for a couple of days before the start of the meeting, we sat down to plan the format for the forthcoming days. Again, we would emulate the success of the structure in Cape Town, except that we would meet for one day less, starting with a welcoming meal on the evening of the Thursday, and concluding with breakfast on the following Tuesday morning. As before, we had arranged for a day out on the Saturday, with a coach to take us on a tour of Vilnius. In order to find something to eat we had to go on foot to a local store, some twenty minutes’ walk away, where we found ample bread, cheese and fish and where I was grateful that I had not entirely forgotten the Russian I had learnt decades ago. The landscape was pleasant and reminded me of rural Ireland, with its flat fields and small villages - with their wooden houses looking like something straight out of a Russian novel. At the first session, we the organizers felt like old hands, more or less confident as to what to expect, and secure in the fact that a leaderless group not only works, but works far more effectively than a facilitated one ever can. We were introduced to our interpreter, a young student who spoke excellent English and Russian, as well as the

Lithuanian of the local area. We were told that Lithuania has in fact three official languages, Lithuanian, Russian and Polish, as Vilnius and its surroundings had been in Polish hands between the wars. At that session two facts both surprised and heartened us, firstly the balance of genders was almost exact, and secondly the numbers present were between thirty and forty. Without conscious planning we appeared to have found the optimum configuration for these meetings, as subsequent experience was to confirm. Because this time English was not widely understood, at first we attempted to work with simultaneous translation into and from Russian, however after a while we settled down to a modus operandi in which each speaker was translated after their contribution. This worked better than we could have expected, because it gave us an opportunity to pause and think before needing to speak. Amongst the participants was a child, an eight-year-old boy who had come with his mother, and had begun by playing outside but had then asked to join in the sessions. The significance of this was noted, and it was felt that this child quality was something which added playfulness, joy, lightness, spontaneity, strength and energy to the opposing natures of the masculine and feminine energies. Two young entrepreneurs present illustrated the need for this quality and how important it was in their working lives, as they explained that as soon as one of their businesses gets boring they give it up and start doing something else. This third quality is an important aspect which otherwise is only rarely present in the ordinary world of business. This time, it was agreed to intersperse sessions with presentations from participants who wished to show something of their work or their plans.

The variety of presentations were as fascinating as they was diverse, ranging from arcane mathematical formulations involving differential and integral calculus from a Norwegian academic, to artistic bronze sculptures from Lithuania and plans for holiday accommodation in private houses in Vilnius. A pair of identical twins, entrepreneurs from Norway, came to look at the potential of exporting timber and timber houses from Lithuania to Norway, claiming very wide price differences between the two countries, and we were also treated to a slideshow of a holiday centre on an island off the coast of Norway. Most of the participants from the former Soviet Bloc were eager to learn about how to structure enterprises in a new way, as many were still trying to get to grips with the idea of private initiative, after decades of suffering the deadening hand of state socialism. The second day was devoted to the excursion, much needed after the accelerated exertions of the first full day. It was interesting to observe how the difficulties and chaos which we had to go through in Cape Town was replaced by a much more harmonious experience of that first day in Dubingai, despite which it was by no means easy and for me had the feeling that we were rapidly working through important issues. Along with the tour coach, our hosts had employed the services of a local tourist guide, a charming lady who seemed to be exceedingly knowledgeable about the history, geography and importance to the world of Lithuania as a state. Throughout the day’s sightseeing, we were never without precise information pertaining to the places, monuments and buildings which we visited. During the middle ages the combined state of Lithuania and Poland was the largest kingdom in Europe outside of Russia and stretched from the shores of the Baltic to the Black Sea. This sense of empire was evident from the grandeur of

many of the buildings in Vilnius, more than one would expect from the capital of such a small country. Our guide also rather proudly informed us, that just north of Vilnius there was a point which had been confirmed by the National Geographic Institute of France as the geographical centre of Europe6. No doubt there are many such ‘central points’ all over Europe, some of which would perhaps take issue with the Lithuanian claim. In any event, we were left with the impression of a small country with a long and proud tradition, a sense of history going back centuries, being very much kept alive by a people coming to terms with yet another period of independence, following a series of occupations by more powerful neighbouring states. Perhaps in being part of a loose federation such as the EU, Lithuania has found its place at the heart of Europe, within a supportive alliance which perhaps for the first time in its long and turbulent history, promises it a lasting period of peace. Another observation which I made here in respect of EU membership was the fact that a large percentage of Lithuania’s young people had left for Britain and Ireland as soon as they were legally allowed to work in those countries upon accession to the EU the previous May. This may have made economic sense to the migrants, but it left their home country with a lack of precisely the bright, energetic talent it most needs at this time in its rapid development. We saw innumerable churches, for Lithuania is a staunchly Catholic country, in contra-distinction to the other Baltic states of Latvia and Estonia which are predominantly Protestant, and we were informed that there is no place from amongst the hilly streets of Vilnius from which one cannot see the spire of a church. The evening was splendidly rounded off with a visit to a

traditional Lithuanian restaurant, a spacious timber building with many floors and rooms in which local people were enjoying themselves. We were sat around a very long wooden table, with fifteen or so on each side, and served a succession of traditional Lithuanian dishes, all of which appeared to be largely made of potatoes. Perhaps most noteworthy amongst these was a large dumpling called a Zeppelin, which had some indefinable meat well-hidden in a large lump of potato dough, cooked into a shape of a long balloon. Before we headed back up to Dubingai, we were serenaded by a group of local musicians in colourful traditional costume, playing a range of medieval-looking string and wind instruments. Outside the restaurant I met with an example of the harsh economic reality which determines the lives of some of the less fortunate citizens of this country, an elderly man approached our group with a pained expression on his face, and said in perfect English that he was very distressed at having to ask for money, but he had no other option if he was to survive. The next day was a Sunday, and the group sat down to work in earnest. This time we introduced our findings from the South African meeting, and outlined our understanding of the value of the gender balance, which was again so obviously seen in the composition of the group. We were able to go more deeply into the meaning for each of us of what the masculine and the feminine energy really means. A lady from Norway, who had come with her industrialist husband, was startled by the clarity of her understanding of the vital role this gender balance plays in the success of any enterprise. She felt that we were at the beginning of an understanding which had not been felt before, and she said that this is something which can have enormous consequences for

the world, akin to the effects of the French Revolution. We began to look more closely at the meaning of ‘working together’, and ‘co-operation’, in order to understand how a group can become harmonious. While on the outside the sessions appeared to be going swimmingly on the inside a number of power struggles were beginning to emerge, and these grew stronger and more pronounced as the days of the meeting continued. Most ominously for me, these struggles were most pronounced in our little group of three conference organizers and none of us were unaffected by them. We saw how such struggles seem inevitable in a meeting which intentionally has no leader. After the meeting a Norwegian lady commented that such struggles are a necessary pre-condition for approaching the truth, which can only be done when both genders are in balance and two distinct viewpoints can blend together to see something which neither one can see. In retrospect there must have been many such struggles which were hidden behind the chaos of many of the days of our South African meeting. It was only here in the midst of the calm forests of Lithuania that we began to be more aware of the nature and effect on the harmony of a group of these power struggles. I felt that we had no choice but to allow the individuals who were trying to disrupt the proceedings to work through their process within the greater scope of the meeting. Nevertheless, I found myself faced with considerable internal discomfort, really not knowing if there was anything I could do to change this state of affairs. Fortunately the group appeared engrossed in the subject matter of the proceedings, which in any case were developing in its own way to the satisfaction of most people present. After the struggles of the day I was pleased to have a

respite in the form of a barbecue by a roaring bonfire near to the lake. We were served a range of delicious roast meats and vegetables, being a fine contrast to the rather unimaginative food which the resort’s restaurant managed to serve up. After three days eating pancakes (bliny) for breakfast, we were happy to enjoy some real food. After the meal we were surprised by the appearance of a group of fifty some members of the National Lithuanian Folk Song and Dance Troupe, who entertained us with their renditions of traditional Lithuanian dance. In particular they presented yet another confirmation of the effect of the genders on each other. In one dance the men were on their own in a group, whereby their movements and actions were rough and aggressive and as soon as they were joined by their women folk, their movements and dance became much softer and harmonious. After a few dances we were invited to join in, which proved to be not particularly onerous, because each of us was partnered with an expert dancer who was able to guide our steps. The festivities continued long into the clear starry night and we sheltered from the encroaching cold by the dying embers of the bonfire, either deep into conversations or listening to the music and singing of one of our group who had brought his guitar. Whereas in Cape Town a number of participants who worked on their own as self-employed people expressed a wish to find a team to work with, here in Lithuania a wish was expressed to co-operate with others more internationally by means of setting up a global network through which members could communicate and co-operate, find common business interests and new markets, even trade with each other.

A working party was set up to coordinate a project which would look into such a network, initially by means of building a website which would act as a common means of communication. This group of seven, four men and three women, got to work after the sessions and produced a prototype design for a site which would link creative people and encourage ways in which they could work together. The site was divided up into a number of areas of activity entrepreneurial, cultural, social, health and communication. A plan was outlined to put the site on the Internet and to fill it with content as well as to encourage contributions from others. Because of the financial and time commitment required to build, maintain and run the site, it was agreed to seek an external team who would be willing to undertake this task, and it was understood that much research and development would be required before it was complete. For me, the fact that the meeting produced the need for a group to form to pursue a project, and the ease and the enthusiasm with which the team, once formed began to work together, confirmed that such meetings can very quickly bear fruit. As the meeting drew to a close, each participant was given the opportunity to express their feelings as to what they experienced during the few days. It was extraordinary how so many participants had felt an inner change, an awareness of inner processes, and felt strengthened in their approach to organizing their lives in the future. On balance, the Lithuanian meeting served to increase my understanding of the process behind these meetings, particularly the pre-requisite of the gender balance, in order that harmony can be achieved. The way to that harmony made it essential for all that is hidden to come to the surface and be

seen, in order to allow the truth to be revealed, following which each individual who partakes in the process can move towards finding his or her place in life. It was also quite surprising for me, how even the most intense power struggles can be contained within such a group of mature adults dedicated to the pursuit of truth, such as was the group which had assembled in Dubingai that September.

Chapter 8

The Third Meeting Badger, California, USA March 10th to 13th 2005

‘As one went to Europe to see the living past, so one must visit Southern California to observe the future’ ALISON LURIE

We now knew that we wanted to have our third meeting again in a warmer climate so as to attract participants from Europe and North America. When I received news of a possible offer of a venue in Phoenix, Arizona from an acquaintance in the United States, I felt that we were in the right area. However, the Phoenix possibility turned out to be no longer available but I received a very positive response from a couple who had moved to central California and were involved in the renovation of an old motel in what looked like an idyllic setting in the mountains near King’s Canyon National Park – home of giant redwood trees. Although the venue was not yet completed, they assured us that there would be comfortable accommodation for the thirty to forty participants which we now knew that we could

reasonably expect. Again I set up the website with online booking forms, programming ever more sophisticated choice options into the system, refreshing my abilities in writing server scripts. By the time the meeting was to commence, we had already had the required number of bookings, the majority of whom were from the United States, with a few from Canada and Mexico and the rest from Western Europe. This time both Peter and Monica decided to travel on their own to the US, having private visits to arrange there, and I arranged to fly to California together with three participants from Germany, all of whom had been with me in Lithuania. Even though it was already March, an unexpected snowfall at Heathrow delayed our departure for San Francisco, where fine, even balmy weather awaited us. This being post nine-eleven America, we were subjected to iris scans and fingerprinting on arrival, and I sensed an anxiety in the air which was in sharp contrast to the relaxed friendliness I was used to on prior visits. I have always liked to visit the United States, and was invariably impressed by the spontaneity and warmth of the Americans I met, as well as by the sheer size and scale of everything as compared with the more limited scale of Europe. Indeed, I had met my friend Peter at a conference in Santa Fe, New Mexico in 1998, where I felt immediately at home in the friendly smallness of that city. At that time strangers in restaurants invited us to their barbecues after only a brief conversation, and everywhere there appeared to be a feeling of satisfaction and confidence amongst the many people whom I had met. On this visit however, I sensed a more sombre mood, and observed many more beggars in the streets, one sleeping in our car-park near our hotel while others walked in front of our car

carrying begging messages. Perhaps one reason for this was that we were staying in a very old hotel near the City Hall, apparently not the most salubrious part of San Francisco. The hotel was like something out of an old movie from the Gold Rush of 1849, with a slow, clattering elevator similar to ones I had seen dating from the Austro-Hungarian Empire in central Europe. Still it was remarkably inexpensive, full of character and served no breakfast. There also seemed to be no staff on duty most of the time. The rooms were generously proportioned however and the place was ideal to sleep-off our jet-lag and explore the Bay Area in a leisurely way. As the four of us ate breakfast in a nearby café, more signs of poverty greeted us as we observed an elderly man coming round all the tables begging with his old glasses-case to collect coins. We had allowed ourselves a few days rest before setting off to drive the four hours south to our destination, and we took in the Botanic Gardens, drove down the coast to Pacifica where we stared out over the waves of the Pacific. I took the opportunity of showing my colleagues the area north of the Golden Gate Bridge, in Marin County, which I had visited each time I had been on the west coast. We walked up the steep, scenically hilly streets of Sausalito and shopped for healthy food at the ‘Real Food Company’, which I was pleased to see, was still trading. The last time I had been there was in 1998 when I was running an Internet company in the UK with my colleague Chris. Despite the fact that we were running a dot-com company in the middle of the dot-com boom, we were rather short of ideas as to what to do apart from building complex websites for

customers, something which even then was becoming a commodity business with falling profit margins. Deciding that Silicon Valley was ‘where it’s at’, we had arranged a few interviews with high-tech Valley firms, including a few start-ups and went on a fact-finding trip to glean some ideas as to where to head our business. At that time we based ourselves at a hotel in Union Square in San Francisco, and drove all around the valley to San José talking to a range of CEOs. The trip included a working breakfast with British journalist Simon Firth, who had just written an article called Renaissance Geeks7 for a local web-based magazine. Simon assured us that most business was done in such restaurants as Forino’s in Palo Alto where we met, where techies with ideas were excitedly chatting with venture capitalists and lawyers over breakfast, evidently discussing multi-million dollar financing deals. His article attempted to compare today’s Silicon Valley with Renaissance Florence, and asked the question as to where were the great works of art and architecture - there was certainly the money around but not the culture or the inspiration – no noble ideals aiming at higher things but mere money-making. In those heady days of the late 1990s, the world appeared indeed to be witnessing a new Renaissance whose prime cause and geographic heart appeared to be Silicon Valley. As the subsequent dot-com boom and bust were to show, this was no new Renaissance but merely a more extreme example of human greed which left no great treasures behind, only empty nondescript office blocks. Our fact-finding tour failed to turn up anything of significance for our own venture, other than to confirm our view that the Valley was a place where almost any idea could be financed relatively easily, companies could start from

nothing, burn up investors funds and disappear without ever needing to know what it was like to have to generate genuine profits. One of our visits was to a software company owned by one of the big banks, where we witnessed people crammed together in small cubicles with only a desk and a computer in each. The managers proudly informed us that this arrangement ensured that communication between employees was kept at a minimum, and that each could ‘get on with their work’. I wondered what the value of such work could be, work which was produced by people who were treated like battery hens. This was a scenario straight out of a Dilbert cartoon – that creation of Scott Adams which brilliantly satirises the absurdities of a command-and-control management culture in high-tech environments. After our Valley tour Chris and I went north over the Bay Bridge up to Marin County where we decided to go for a walk in the redwood forests of the nearby Muir Woods, after which we called in at the Pelican Inn, an English Pub which seemed to have appeared out of nowhere. For me it was another one of those rare moments which occur from time to time, moments with a timeless quality rather like that incident on the London to Cambridge train. As soon as we got to the bar and were being led to our seats time appeared to stand still, a sense heightened no doubt by the incongruity of sitting by a roaring fire in an English Pub on the west coast of America. As the dining area was rather full, our host asked us if a couple of other guests might join our table, to which we had no objection, being rather engrossed in discussing the meetings of the last few days. The other guests turned out to be two young women, whom we found to be very good company. One was an airline stewardess and her friend was a singer, a performer

from New York – she seemed to be quite well known in America, but her fame had apparently not spread to England. Again barriers to communication easily dissolved in such a setting where strangers are randomly thrown together by fate, and we talked until late, eventually writing a poem where each of us contributed a line at a time. Time seemed to fly, and when I asked one of them for her email address she simply said ‘I’m not an email female!’, something which one would hardly expect in a similar situation today, where email is more than ubiquitous. This time, on our journey to Badger, recalling that incident again made me ask myself the question if we really could design a system through which such ‘spontaneous’ qualities could be imparted into ordinary meetings – so that one could do away with the inadequacy, stifling boredom and ineffectiveness of so many human get-togethers which pass under the name of ‘Meetings’. The next morning we found the freeway towards Fresno by going over the Oakland Bridge and then south onto the Interstate. In Fresno we stopped to shop in a local supermarket, and noticed that there was a surfeit of processed foods, all full of sugar and taste, but without much nutrition. The town itself was a sprawling nondescript place like so many American towns, easy to leave behind as we headed east towards the Sierra Nevada mountains. Interestingly, these mountains bore the same name, meaning ‘snowy range’, as the ones behind the Alhambra in Spain, although there are as yet no such comparable building complexes in this part of the New World. We were heading for the Old Badger Inn, which lay deep inland in the hills, with any number of concentric bends on the road which made our heads spin.

At one point we were almost forced off the road as a trailer with an old mobile home rushed past, requiring most of the width of the narrow, winding road. After a good while we passed through the township of Miramar and eventually came to Badger by the highway on Route 245. The place really was remote, with the nearest shops being in Vesalia or Fresno, each about an hour away, there was not even a filling station in the vicinity. The area however was beautiful and serenely peaceful, with views over the surrounding hills and fine clear air. The Badger Inn is a collection of motel buildings, mostly refurbished, with a central dining and meeting area, and the rooms gave a pleasant impression, predominantly on the ground floor and with ample space as appeared to be the norm in this country. I took advantage of the fine walking country after the hours spent driving, and climbed high above the Inn to a vantage-point from where I could see the mountains to the east. It really was a fine site, ideal I thought for another Global Enterprise Meeting. Because the Inn did not have a room of sufficient size for our meeting, our hosts had hired a hall in Miramar, a few miles down the winding road. The participants were again an almost equal mix of genders, with quite a number of younger people in their thirties, and I sensed that go-getting energy which seems to be a hallmark of Americans, who were in the majority. The group was exclusively white, middle-class and of above-average education, and as expected around thirty in number. Again the meeting was to stretch over four days, this time with half a day out to visit the King’s Canyon National Park.

The meeting got off to a quick start, with a rapid acceptance of our by now well-understood modus operandi. The participants were eager not to waste time and to ‘get on with it’ - whatever ‘it’ was, in a typically American enterprising mode. Some of the younger men had highly individual opinions, and did not take easily to the community-oriented process, but even they calmed down as the sessions continued. Early on a number of individual projects emerged, enterprise ideas to be shown to the whole group, and space was allocated within subsequent sessions to allow for these PowerPoint presentations. Ideas abounded, a couple was enthusiastic to develop a coffee business, and their delicious range of coffees were a constant presence at break-times; an artist producing computerenhanced pictures had ideas for national distribution of his work, and a group had plans to produce innovative building materials which could have enormous world-wide potential. Many other practical ideas emerged, including alternative therapies and the kind of wacky concepts which one can only find in America. One of the highlights of the meeting for me was the visit to an adjacent property, Badger Creek8. One of the participants, a German living in Los Angeles, presented this project which comprised the development of a neighbouring site of several hundred hectares into a model residential and business community – an experiment in twentyfirst century living and working. We were driven the few minutes to the site, which is in a stunningly beautiful location on a wide hillside next to the land of the Badger Inn. The site has an interesting history, and indeed, one which serves to highlight the dangers which may face members of communities which are not based on openness and

transparency. In the 1960s the site was one of the properties belonging to Synanon, an organization formed by reformed alcoholic Charles ‘Chuck’ Dederich Sr. which for a time had a remarkable record in curing alcoholics and drug addicts – albeit through the use of very drastic confrontational methods. The organization essentially folded in the mid 1990s. Interestingly for me, some years ago I had come across a book, Escape from Utopia – My Ten Years in Synanon, by William F. Olin. In his book Olin describes his experiences and that of others of being virtually imprisoned by what turned out to be a vicious sect. Synanon had developed this outlying part of central California, and had built substantial buildings, a trash dump and an airstrip – all without local authority permission as it subsequently turned out. They were eventually arraigned by the authorities and the Internal Revenue Service revoked the group's tax exemption forcing the property at Badger Creek to be sold. It subsequently passed into the hands of an Islamic Group, which was apparently no longer welcome after the events of nine-eleven, and as we wandered around the various buildings we could see piles of literature in Arabic decorated with typical Islamic motifs. The present owner had purchased it only recently and was involved in developing the site in accordance with his own vision. As an experienced architect and town planner, who had many successful projects behind him in the former East Germany, here he was attempting to fulfil a dream of creating something new on this site which was so full of potential. He took us on a guided tour, showed us some of the tastefully renovated dwellings and explained his vision. The site had over two hundred houses, mostly pre-

fabricated single-storey buildings which had been towed over on trailers. There was an excellent infrastructure with concreted roads, drainage, water, power and cabling. The owner proudly told us that the infrastructure alone was worth more than he had paid for the site. At first the plan was to refurbish all of the buildings, many of which were in a dire state of disrepair - having stood empty for decades. It was however easier to remove them and build new, and he was selling them off piecemeal to a local trucker for a dollar apiece if he would take them away. The trucker apparently sold them to farmers for storage barns for a couple of hundred dollars. This explained the wide truck which had almost driven us off the road on our way up to Badger when we first arrived! On our tour we saw the twelve hundred metre airstrip which was to be cleared and restored to take commercial aircraft, and a number of enormous hangar-like structures at the far end of the site. Inside the hangars were solidly constructed of huge steel beams, and I could easily see the potential for their conversion into a convention centre which could seat many thousands. Beyond the hangers were a number of industrial buildings, including one in which a carpentry workshop was already operating. All in all it was an impressive site, and I looked forward to seeing it again some years hence once it was completed. As we left I observed a clear clash of cultures as three cowboy-looking characters with broad-rimmed hats were lazily leaning against a truck as the owner was berating them for not carrying out his instructions. He was being a typical German, gesticulating with anger in a Hollywood-German accent, while the three cowboys appeared relaxed and determined to ignore his admonitions and carry on as before.

After this fascinating visit, we returned to the Inn for another delicious dinner by an open log fire, at which we sat discussing the events of the day and the workings of the overall process. That evening after dinner, a Canadian academic in the group gave a presentation of his doctoral thesis on ‘The True Meaning of Leadership’, which fascinated those who could follow the minutiae of his scholarship. He also enthusiastically introduced us to the concept of Spiral Dynamics. Spiral Dynamics is a theory of human culture, developed in the United States by Don Beck and Chris Cowan, based on the psychology theories of professor Clare Graves. This theory argues that human nature adapts and develops in response to life challenges, producing a series of models of looking at the world, with each model including but transcending the previous ones. In particular it introduces the concept of v-memes (values-attracting meta-memes, derived from Richard Dawkins’ concept of memes), which can be seen as cultural levels which include almost all of the worldviews, cultures and mental attitudes we see today. There are two tiers of v-memes, the first tier are described as subsistence-level, which are still mostly prevalent today, while the second tier, or being-level v-memes are slowly emerging. The v-memes were given names of colours in order to simplify classification, such as beige, referring to archaicinstinctive attitudes; purple for animistic and tribal; blue for authoritarian; orange for scientific and strategic and green for communitarian and egalitarian. The second tier had yellow for systemic and integrative and turquoise for holistic attitudes. In terms of leadership styles, each of these levels would lead to different organizational belief-systems, and in practice in the real world most organizations would include a range of styles and beliefs which spanned a number of these levels. This

analysis could be of possible use in looking at management models and could explain the various cultural underpinnings to belief systems in organizations, thus assisting the uncovering of hidden assumptions. Although I had not studied this subject in any depth, it occurred to me then that what we were engaged in in the development of our new organizational model could possibly be interpreted by means of a discipline such as Spiral Dynamics. It was surely no coincidence that we were introduced to this somewhat obscure subject in the midst of this series of meetings. Our lecturer finished his presentation with the conclusion that the most effective and most satisfying kind of leadership was actually by a group in which all of the members are leaders, using a way of working where each person was able to lead in areas represented by his or her strengths – whilst the others accepted that input and listened with respect. That same evening it helped to clear our minds from too intense an intellectuality by being entertained by a couple of participants on their guitars, one of whom was quite an accomplished country and western singer. It became clear to me during the sessions that the implicit understanding in the American culture of the absolute supremacy of the capitalist system as developed and integrated into the American system of enterprise was very difficult to challenge. In other words people in America appear overwhelmingly to be convinced that their system is the best that there is, and this conviction seems to make them less open to examining any alternatives. Seen in the context of the model which we were developing, it was obvious to me that this clash of cultures would form an irreconcilable background – albeit hidden from open examination – to these sessions in Badger. I was reminded here of the comments of the Austrian-

American philosopher and author of New Work – New Culture, Frithjof Bergmann, when asked where in the world his future models of work would be able to be applied – he replied ‘anywhere but in the United States!’. One of the themes which emerged during the sessions, introduced through the experience of a man working in the high-tech environment of Silicon Valley, was that of transparency. Some of the dangers of a lack in transparency had already been illustrated by the events at Synanon, the sect which operated in a completely opaque and unaccountable manner. In his experience, he was shocked at an incident at work in which a member of senior management openly denigrated a fellow worker, a skilled technologist, on account of his ethnic origins and implied that he was a supporter of Islamic fundamentalist terrorism – purely on account of his Islamic culture. Certainly, post nine-eleven America is a place sensitized to such issues, but this was no excuse for what was a blatant misuse of power in a commercial organization. He knew that to raise such an issue openly was impossible in what he called ‘a typical fear-based hierarchical organization’, and he found himself with a moral dilemma similar to that faced by whistle-blowers. So he decided to make use of a device, used historically to powerful effect by Benjamin Franklin amongst others – the anonymous letter. Publication of this letter in the company had the desired effect and the senior manager was duly reprimanded, but our colleague was left with a somewhat guilty conscience, for he had transgressed one of the unwritten rules of modern corporate life – do not bite the hand that feeds you! We heard stories from managers in large corporations who confirmed that an employee could be fired for disclosing even

details of his own salary to anyone else – particularly to any of his work colleagues. The control of information is clearly a powerful way of dividing members of an enterprise and of abusing power. It became increasingly clear to the group that in order that an enterprise may be highly efficient in the use of a leaderless model, all information which directly concerns the enterprise must necessarily be available to all within the organization. Some organizations may claim that such openness of information forms part of their corporate style, but unless it is backed up by a robust system which forces its implementation amid daily use, then it is merely lip-service. With the present ubiquity of computers and networks, it would be relatively simple to design an intranet or extranet system which would act as a depository of data for the organization, organized in such a way that all members would be able to access and update this information. Tools developed for the Internet such as wikis, content management systems and groupware would be ideal in this role. If every member would be obliged to record all information pertinent to his or her work in the organization onto this system, thereby ensuring that the system is always upto-date, as long as all members have full access rights, then true transparency can be implemented. In such a case everyone is well-informed, provided they take the trouble of referencing the system. If such a system is known to be pertinent, reliable, trustworthy and easy to access and to use, then it will certainly become well-used. In an impromptu meeting amongst a small group of information technologists present at our meeting, details of an I.T. system which would serve this purpose were quickly put together. Using freely-available open-source software, we estimated that implementation time and running costs could be

minimal. The two structural pillars of a transparent organizational system quickly became clear at that time. Provided the organization has a leaderless open communicational structure similar to that seen in our sessions, and provided that it has a robust networked computer system designed specifically to support the communications structure, then openness and transparency are systemically guaranteed. With the application of such a system, any member could serve to keep a check on anomalies or potential irregularities, which would soon come to light and thus could be discussed and resolved in open sessions. This is a structure which formalizes the statement ‘Where light is everywhere there is no darkness in which to hide’. It was now time for our excursion, and a number of cars were rounded up to take the party off into the woods. The King’s Canyon National Park covers nearly two thousand square kilometres in the southern Sierra Nevada mountains and is heavily forested - including several groves of giant sequoia. According to the Guinness Book of World Records, King’s Canyon is the deepest canyon in the United States with a maximum depth of 2.4 km. The canyon was carved by glaciers out of granite. We visited the General Grant Tree, which stands over 81 metres tall and is reputed to be nearly two thousand years old and which was also labelled as being the largest living thing in the world. Like so much in the United States, this seemed to be a place of superlatives. As it was still March and rather cold at that altitude - up to three thousand metres on some of the passes, we had to walk through snow and on icy paths. We clambered through hollowed-out hulks of fallen trees and wandered over many redwood groves until we ended up at the restaurant in the

Cedar Grove Visitor Center. Like much of the food in the US, it was plentiful and looked good, but to me it appeared to lack substance, leaving me with a feeling that I hadn’t eaten anything. Conversely the food back at the Badger Inn was exceptional, having been prepared by a fine chef brought in for our event, who produced a number of local delicacies including a variety of delicious fruit tarts. On our last evening at Badger we were treated to the music of a local hillbilly band, and a number of townspeople joined us in the dancing and partying until late into the night.

Chapter 9

The Fourth Meeting Perth, Western Australia January 15th to 18th 2006

‘I believe in Spinoza's God who reveals himself in the orderly harmony of what exists, not in a God who concerns himself with fates and actions of human beings' ALBERT EINSTEIN

Within our first year we had completed three meetings, all of them intense and rewarding experiences in their own unique way. After the Badger meeting, Peter and I bid Monica farewell as she had decided to pursue other directions in her life, and we pondered our next steps in the process of the Global Enterprise Meetings. Despite the fact that relations with Monica had not been easy for either of us, and indeed often quite stormy, I will always feel a sense of gratitude towards her for assisting in the early stages of these meetings. Without her strength and tenacity, her powerful conviction that we were going in the right direction, and her resolute dependability, we would not

have been able to come so far and to learn so much. With her leaving the team however, a great deal of tension disappeared and the relaxed atmosphere enabled two others, both from Germany, to join our team. Johanna had been at all three of our meetings, and indeed I had met her at that initial workshop in Scuol which had set me off on this adventure, although we had lost touch until shortly before going to Cape Town. Hubert was an Austrian, an experienced management consultant who had attended the meetings in Vilnius and Badger. As before, we agreed not to seek out more venues, but to see what would arise out of the serendipity of life. At an international conference in Innsbruck later that June, we met a lady from the University of Western Australia in Perth, who taught management and was exceedingly interested in our new model. Through her we were put in touch with a couple who had built a small conference centre in the rolling hills to the west of Perth. This was Hilltop Farm, and was to prove an excellent venue for our fourth meeting, which we began to plan for the following January in the antipodean summer. It was snowing heavily in England towards the end of 2005 as I left Gatwick bound for Dubai and Perth, where it was warm and pleasant, though cooler than one could have expected from a Western Australian summer. While I had been to the east coast of Australia on a number of occasions, I had never been to the West coast, and decided to come well before the meeting and see something of the country. Perth has been described as an island surrounded by desert – being rather isolated within Australia - it is nearer to Jakarta than it is to Sydney. Friends who had lived there

described it as either the best place on earth to live or the most boring city in the world. I immediately liked the informality of the people, the well laid-out city centre and the natural situation around the Swan River and Kings’ Park; everywhere there was a sense of spaciousness – far more than I recalled from the east-coast cities. There was a sense of prosperity too – Perth being the capital of a resource-rich state, its minerals were in high demand from the booming economies of the Far East, particularly from China. I noticed no beggars on the streets and I heard that crime was not particularly prevalent. I drove over to the beaches to the west, which were clean and wide with fine white sand; the Indian Ocean was warm and inviting, although there were signs warning swimmers not to go too far out and whilst I was there I heard reports of a swimmer being killed by a shark somewhere off the coast of the state. I visited Fremantle, on the mouth of the Swan River, and found it much more touristy than Perth, and easy to get around on foot. With its bookshops, restaurants and cafés it was a good place to relax. The Museum of Western Australia, across the railway from the centre of Perth in Northbridge, showed me much that I wanted to know about the history and geography of the area. The history began with a settlement on the Swan River, and very soon the settlers began to have conflicts with the aboriginal inhabitants, mainly over land. As with most colonial incursions, the aboriginals were not well treated, and I saw some horrific examples of inhumanity towards the natives during the times of colonization. Later on, I saw groups of aboriginals sitting around aimlessly in the city, often drinking and shouting at passers-by. Their presence here,

like that of so many native peoples in other countries which were colonized by Europeans, served to remind us of the consequences of past actions, and that much remains to be done in the field of cultural understanding. It seemed to me that such understanding can only come about if individuals from cultures as diverse as possible can come together and communicate as equals, and that can perhaps best happen in leaderless groups in which all participants really feel their common humanity. In cases of cultural diversity, leaderlessness is all the more important, because no leader could be free of accusations of partisanship. After a while the constant heat became rather monotonous, so I sought refuge in the State Library of Western Australia, which had a fine collection of books and a welcoming café. When the others arrived, we drove out to Hilltop Farm, less than an hour to the east, through forested lands of rich red earth. Hilltop Farm was easy to miss, you had to turn left at a rather obscured sign, but eventually we found the entrance gate, and drove across open country to a small collection of buildings; dominating them on the horizon was an intriguinglooking geodesic dome, built entirely of timber. The Farm was owned by a couple who were originally from England, and the husband who was an architect had designed the dome himself. The inside of the dome was spacious, air-conditioned and devoid of furniture, only chairs in a large open circle. I counted about fifty, which in the event, turned out to be just enough; as this was to be the largest of all of our meetings. Because the farm could only accommodate some twenty people, albeit in comfortable chalets each with their own kitchens, we were advised to check out a nearby hotel.

The hotel was only a few minutes drive away, and appeared large enough and well-appointed for a hotel in the middle of virtually nowhere – and during the meeting our group provided its only guests. We had arranged for a professional chef to supply us with lunches and dinner, and he did a marvellous job, serving fresh fruit and vegetables, any number of barbecues and a variety which satisfied all tastes. The four of us who were now on the organizing team felt really relaxed, and we were all sure that we were pulling in the same direction. While the process we were involved in required a leaderless group as a prerequisite, the organizing team still had a role to play, and I thought it would be good if we could define that role precisely. Despite the fact that we were definitely not leaders, many in these groups automatically expected us to lead – something we resolutely and deliberately refused to do. We were not moderators, as no matter how chaotic things became, we refused to moderate but let events follow their course. We were not facilitators, because we did not have a clear aim or goal which we were facilitating the group towards, we were concerned solely with the ongoing, developing process. Precisely because our interest was in a process which transcended the immediate concerns of each meeting, as it had started before the meeting came about and would continue after the meeting was over, we could be open and unconcerned about specific details as they arose. In the end we decided that we were merely witnesses of a process which we had observed time and time again. This process which we had witnessed so far could be described as being dispassionate, insofar as it was clearly unaffected by the range of human passions we observed during

the meetings. It seemed also to be disinterested in the individual egos of the people present, so it could be described as being impersonal. It appeared also to have a quality or a power which was greater than the power of any individual who tried to overcome or destroy it – for no matter how chaotic our meetings may have been, the integrity of the group and the group process had never been disturbed or in any way impaired. This was perhaps a truly original insight, because it meant that there was something which many of us had observed about this process which implied the presence of a metaphysical power, energy or force which acts once the process begins. In thinking about how this process operates, I reasoned that if an individual human being becomes aware of a power or a force or energy higher than itself, it has no option but to allow that power to operate, other than to exclude himself from the process, participation in which is in any event voluntary. I recalled a quotation from Jung about the effect on the ego of a human being who acts purely and constantly on his own responsibility: ‘The ego becomes ambivalent and ambiguous, and is caught between hammer and anvil. It becomes aware of a polarity superordinate to itself’9. The effect of a truly leaderless group is one where each person has to accept responsibility for himself or for herself, because eventually they realize that there is no-one in the group onto whom they are able to foist their responsibility. It appeared to me then that these meetings served to test a hypothesis about not only the existence but also the nature of this metaphysical force or power – so I was very much looking forward to the events of the next few days. I looked around the gathering on the first day of the meeting; the circle was larger than in the past, with about fifty people. There were quite a few young people, students perhaps,

but the majority as ever were in their thirties, forties and fifties. As expected, the gender balance was fairly exact. Participants came mainly from all over Australia, but also from New Zealand, Indonesia, the United States and Western Europe. I quickly realized that with the power struggles within the organizing team over, the group process found it easier to assert itself, and a distinct clarity of harmony reigned right from the start of the meeting. Many participants had come with presentations of areas of interest to them, projects or individual business enterprises. There were so many that we scheduled them throughout the meeting, limiting each to half an hour. Here there seemed none of the urgent seriousness of our American meeting, more a light-hearted laid-back Australian mateyness in which laughter was rarely absent. There was a richness amongst the presentations, a wealth of information was disseminated and I formed the impression that here in Australia people were getting on with their lives in a purposeful way without needing to draw attention to themselves. I noticed that quite a few families were present, generally parents with student children, and the session format enabled them to overcome barriers of family culture which they would not normally have addressed. It was interesting to observe how age barriers disappeared and how young students were accorded and themselves accorded others the respect due to being a unique individual and not as a member of an age group. Overall I sensed not only a willingness to share but a generosity of spirit where each individual was willing to support any other spontaneously. The days passed quickly, interspersed with deep

conversations over the excellent barbecues while the strange sounds of the various Australian animals and birds could be heard from the surrounding desert. On our day out a coach took us out east into the desert country to visit some historic townships and then on to an experimental farm run by a couple who were trying to make it self-sustaining. They had inherited barren sandy soil, with salty water which came up from the aquifers. They had excavated a series of lakes and waterways, including a heart-shaped lake which local pilots used as a landmark. Hardy plants from the Mediterranean had been planted and the area was slowly shaping up into a cultivated site. With extensive use of solar power, saline water was pumped up from the lakes and desalinated into pure water using a series of solar desalination frames. Before departing we were served a fine home-made lunch outside a grounded railway carriage which served as their kitchen. This excursion confirmed to us what a harsh environment for human beings Western Australia presents, and that without fresh supplies of water, habitation here would have been almost impossible. On another day the group went out to a local vinery by a wide river for lunch, and many returned rather the worse for wear. The following session proved difficult to maintain, as many were asleep on the floor of the dome, a situation made worse by the somewhat inadequate air-conditioning in the raging heat of summer. Admittedly, our hosts conceded that we were the largest group that they had ever had, and they were concerned about the ability of the wooden dome to cope. On another evening there was a visit to a nature reserve, a fenced-off area to protect local species from cats, dogs and other marauding animals.

Many Australian animals being nocturnal, we waited until dark and saw wallabies, kangaroos and other indigenous creatures, as well as countless gigantic spiders whose webs were illuminated by torchlight in the forest. On the way back, the car in front suddenly stopped and all the occupants tumbled out – a Huntsman spider had been found inside – large and fearsome-looking but quite harmless, and had to be coaxed out. As the sessions continued, participants invented games and exercises to foster movement, and during break-times many could be seen exercising out on the lawn. It was clear to me that individual expression and a feeling of individual empowerment was rapidly being fostered by the sessions, fears were cast aside as mutual support seemed selfevident, and communication again became direct and authentic much of the time. Despite the constant heat, the inevitable flies, and the required discipline of the seated sessions, we all remained a good-natured group eager to experience more of the process. On the last day, the visiting daughter of a participant in the meeting asked if she could come and observe. She was so affected by the spirit she felt that afterwards she got some of her young friends together and we were asked if we could run another meeting on the East coast of Australia in a year’s time; something which we agreed to do. On gathering the final evaluation comments from all present, there was a unanimous feeling of having been present at a uniquely harmonious meeting. One participant, an American businessman, claimed that these were some of the best days of his entire life, and I observed that he had been very active during the sessions and had given much of himself – in this process apparently, the more you give the more you receive.

The four of us agreed that the meeting had exceeded our expectations, and had further confirmed the lessons we had learned to date. While the others returned to their homes I stayed on in Perth for a few days before going on a private visit to New Zealand. As my return flight was routed back through Perth I spent a few days with a family of acquaintances there before my return to England. Whilst relating the various experiences of my meetings, my hostess handed me a book, which she said I may find interesting. It was Synchronicity: The Inner Path of Leadership, by Joseph Jaworski. Strangely enough I remember coming across this book in a Cambridge bookshop just as it was published, and not finding it of much interest – now however its contents appeared to relate directly to the process I was involved with, and the title could not have been more apt in the way in which it fell into my hands. In the book, Jaworski remembers the moment he began his journey to a new understanding of leadership. It was 1973, and his father, Leon, had been called from his ranch in Texas to Washington, D.C., in order to act as the Watergate Special Prosecutor. What he heard on the Watergate tapes appalled him, particularly the transcript where Nixon and his coconspirators were figuring out how to perjure themselves. Listening to his father’s story made him ask the question as to what kind of a system is it which allows people in the highest parts of government to breach public trust so dramatically. Jaworski's book describes his search for an answer, chronicles his inquiry into the nature of leadership, and suggests new approaches to company strategy and business transformation.

The story is that of a successful American lawyer, abandoning his practice, following his deep convictions and describing how synchronous events appeared time after time in order to enable him to fulfil his destiny. The mountaineer William H. Murray in his book, The Scottish Himalayan Expedition describes such a process well: Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamed would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets: Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it. Boldness has genius, power and magic in it! I spent my few days in Perth reading Jaworski’s book from cover to cover, and was fascinated to read of his serendipitous meetings with David Bohm and Francisco Varela, and of his work as a futures strategist with the Shell Oil Company. This led me to read Bohm’s last book, Wholeness and the Implicate Order. What he seemed to be saying is that all of reality as we know it, the Explicate Order, is like a ripple on the surface of something greater, namely the Implicate Orders, within which are the determinants for what happens here, in our world so to speak. This is a view which has parallels with Jung’s concept of a collective unconscious, although Bohm discovered it through his study of quantum physics while Jung used analytical psychology and particularly his experience with his patients as

the source of his ideas. Varela was a Chilean biologist, philosopher and neuroscientist who concerned himself with the way human beings see reality. He was able to show how we are limited by our neuro-cognitive apparatus, in that we perceive only what our sense organs tell us. Reading these works, and trying to relate the findings of such writers to my experiences with groups of people at these meetings, made me realise how little is known about what really goes on in such groups. Ultimately everything in these groups is subjectively experienced; hence the only benchmark of any value is the effectiveness of such a group in the competitive world out there. Effectiveness here means an effective way of meeting the true needs of human beings as well as commercial effectiveness. I was aware that at some stage this emerging model or theory would need to be tested, and its effectiveness measured. I knew that we were still a long way from understanding the model in such a way as to be able to design a system for success. It was with such thoughts that I returned to England, after an absence of almost two months. Unfortunately snow still lay on the ground as I landed at Gatwick.

Chapter 10

The Fifth Meeting La Source, High Pyrenees, France May 25th to 30th 2006

‘There are truths on this side of the Pyrenees, which are falsehoods on the other’ BLAISE PASCAL

Almost immediately upon my return to England, the fifth meeting began to organize itself, centred on an isolated meeting place deep in the south-west of France in the high Pyrenees. La Source10, near Asque – one of the last villages in France before the border with Spain – is situated in the Baronnies, an area of wild natural beauty. The old farmhouse and barn have been restored through the single-minded determination of its owner, Halim Korzybski, who had a healing centre in mind when undertaking the project. It provides good-quality accommodation with ample meeting rooms and a fine kitchen set around a grassy courtyard. The site has a splendid location in a valley with wide views over to the mountains in the south. I had known the owner for some years and indeed had

visited the site two years earlier when the barn was still a barn and the courtyard hidden under a pile of rubble. He was now building up the place as a seminar and small conference venue and our timescale of May fitted in well with his plans. With only a short time to plan the meeting, it was looking to be the smallest so far, but after the exuberance and scale of Perth I was looking forward to a more contained experience. In the event, with only twenty participants, the meeting came together rather well. Peter however could not attend due to family obligations, and Hubert had to cancel in the last minute, which was one reason why this time we had rather more women than men in the group, which in fact produced its own unique result. This time participants came from Austria, France, Germany, Spain, Holland, Poland, the United Kingdom and the United States. La Source can be notoriously difficult to get to. Although only half an hour or less from the main autoroute from Toulouse to Tarbes the way from the exit at Lannemezan leads through countless tiny roads marked only with signs to the next village. Fortunately I had a large-scale map showing all the villages, while others have been known to spend hours driving up and down the steep hills and attempting in vain to get directions from puzzled farmers who spoke only the guttural local version of Catalan French. Henrietta, an English lady, had decided to take the Eurostar from London, and it had been arranged to collect her from the railway station in Tarbes. Our hostess was rather puzzled when the train arrived without her, and there were no messages when she got back. In fact Henrietta, who spoke fluent French, encountered a rail strike in Paris and had to take the next train which arrived

in Tarbes late at night. There she hailed a taxi and asked imperiously to be taken to La Source. The puzzled taxi driver drove her up and down the town, which was shut up for the night, eventually depositing her at the station hotel. Despite not having brought the telephone number or address of the meeting place with her, with considerable presence of mind she rang a mutual friend who, after quite a search managed to find and give her the number. This feeling of rather extreme isolation was enhanced by the mountains all around, the absence of any visible neighbours and only the tinkling of cow-bells in the night air. With the fine weather, we assembled our circle on the lawn in the courtyard and had most of our meetings in the open air. Despite the motley spread of nationalities, English was well understood by all except for a German lady who needed interpretation for some of the time. After a while the translation was becoming tedious and we asked her to listen and to feel the sense of what was being said, rather than to require precise translation. Interestingly enough, when the subject matter was pertinent for her, she understood well enough, and after a while agreed just to get a sense of the proceedings. Pretty soon she was able to respond well in English too. While I know a number of foreign languages, most of them not particularly well, I have often discovered that when there is a real need to understand or to be understood, then my fluency and comprehension improve dramatically – it is as though human communication takes place below the threshold of learned speech, requiring the words only as a confirmation or to indicate precision when required. At first I was concerned at the absence of Peter and Hubert and at the men being outnumbered by the women, but after a

while I realized that the women were tending to relate predominantly from their ‘feminine energy’, and there was very little of that behaviour amongst women that generally irks men – behaviour which comes from the use of their male energy – such as the tendency to hold firm opinions and to treat them as unassailable facts, something men can generally easily see through. Similarly, from the feeling of relaxed harmony in the group, I assumed that we men were generally relating from our ‘masculine energy’, meaning that we were not prone to irrational moods or indefinable negative feelings – which tend to arise when men attempt to relate from their feminine energy. Personally I experienced this surfeit of ‘feminine energy’ as rather pleasant and nurturing, something I would not have thought possible when placed in a group predominantly of women. This harmony persisted throughout the sessions, and in retrospect this was the lightest and most effortless of all the meetings for me. Certainly, the informality of the place, the fine weather, the excellent food, much of it from their own produce, prepared by our hostess and assisted by a German lady, herself a fine cook; all contributed to the light mood. I experienced the exhilaration of participating in a group in which the members helped each other spontaneously to such an extent that each of us appeared to be acting virtually without any self-interest. Such a group can be extremely effective in its communication and therefore in its results. However, it became clear that there is a need for a certain amount of self-interest for each individual. What is necessary however is the appropriate balance between a complete lack of self-interest and the appropriate amount of it. Two of the men present had driven up from the south of Spain and were keen to present their project. One of them, an Englishman, was a highly skilled restorer of old buildings, with

several in England and in Italy under his belt. He explained that he worked in a harmonious team, with his partner, a Dutchman and both their wives. They had purchased an old Olive Mill in the Sierra Nevada Mountains, south of Granada, and were involved in the process of developing it into a hotel and restaurant, in an area lacking in high-class places of that sort. We were shown a PowerPoint presentation with many fine photographs of the Mill, which dated from the Middle Ages, showing a magnificent location overlooking the snowcovered mountains. They felt that they were rather stuck as to how to proceed and fortunately another English participant with expertise in large building projects was able to assist with input as to practicalities and in drawing up financial plans. With each continuing session, individual participants felt strengthened in their resolve to discover that which they really, really, wanted to do in life – to take a phrase from Frithjof Bergmann’s book, of New Work – New Culture, and to begin to take small steps in that direction. The leaderless group was again weaving its magic of allowing people to keep their own responsibility and to learn how to use it, rather than to give it up to others. During one of the sessions a lady became quite distraught after receiving a call from her son on her mobile. His school orchestra had been giving a concert while visiting a nearby town in south-western France, and on their way home, near the Swiss border a road accident had killed a teacher and a fellowpupil who were travelling in his car, while a second pupil in the car survived but was badly injured. The lady’s son was travelling in a following bus so was not involved, merely shocked and was grateful to receive his mother’s support on the phone. On hearing this, Henrietta broke down in tears, and after a while we heard her story. Over thirty years ago, she had been

driving from England to her chalet in Switzerland with a couple with whom she shared a house. In France, near the Swiss border, a lorry had jack-knifed and had crashed into their car, slicing it in two. The couple, both of whom were sitting on the left of the car, were killed instantly, and Henrietta, who was the driver - was so badly injured that doctors thought she would not survive. However, she experienced what she termed a ‘miraculous healing’, and was able to return home to recuperate far sooner than expected. The synchronicity of these two events, so similar and yet separated by a long distance of time, had a cathartic effect on Henrietta, and she was finally able to integrate an incident that had affected so much of her life. As the sessions continued, there was a lightness and a sense of fulfilment present which meant that there was no separation between work and leisure - so that no-one felt the need to seek any relaxation or excitement outside of the working sessions. We therefore decided not to make any excursions until after all of our meetings were over. This made for a crisp meeting in which the continuity of work was allowed to develop unimpeded, despite the intensive nature of the work we were covering. As ever in these groups, when topics of interest arose, all of the members in the group were able to partake of the subject matter, and even those with no prior interest or expertise in these matters sat quietly and respectfully and listened – effortlessly learning and gaining new insights. I recalled that in earlier meetings, whenever a range of subjects arose, causing a confused atmosphere, someone would always suggest that we split the group into smaller groups to discuss the individual topics – while others would immediately support the idea. I always sat quietly and felt the tone of the meeting at such times, knowing full well that the strategy of

splitting into smaller groups is invariably an attempt to break the process, to attempt to get away from the necessary discomfort of staying with the chaos within. Fortunately in none of the series of meetings that I attended was such a suggestion taken up – splitting into smaller groups always kills the process stone dead – barriers to common communication descend which cannot easily be subsequently overcome. One topic which arose was health. Henrietta – who had a number of impressive qualifications in social medicine - was at that time working on a health development centre with a number of colleagues in the UK. She had acquired a formidable body of knowledge about the origins of dis-ease, as she called it. She related that disease or dis-ease starts in a person at a deep emotional level when there is a lack of balance of some kind. Only when the person is unaware of this balance, which today is the default condition in most people, will warning signals appear as physical symptoms in the body. This is of course nothing new, and goes back to medicine in ancient Greek and Roman times which attempted to balance the four ‘humours’ or natures - sanguine, choleric, melancholic or phlegmatic. Her theory however, which was very well developed, included a ‘health development institute’, which showed people how to understand the nature of this balance, and how to read the signals before the physical symptoms occurred. She calmly related that this was primarily a matter of correct education. It was important however to begin by looking at the effect of world-views. There are, broadly speaking two main and seemingly opposing philosophical world-views today, reductionist materialism and holism. Reductionist materialism is a mechanistic view which

states that existence is purely physical and everything that is in this universe is of material substance, and that all complex systems can be explained by reduction to their fundamental parts. I call this the prevailing world-view. Holism states that all the properties of a given system – whether biological, chemical, social, economic, mental, linguistic, etc. cannot be determined or explained by the sum of its component parts alone. Instead, the system as a whole determines in an important way how the parts behave. I call this the emerging world-view. Actually, there is nothing wrong with either view, both are useful and complementary, and both are required to give an adequate view of any system. In the sciences however, there are large differences of emphasis with regard to world-view, with biologists and therefore by extension medical professionals tending to regard the materialistic-reductionist view as a true picture of reality, whilst physicists, particularly quantum physicists tending towards the holistic view with an acceptance of the complementarity of these views. One result of the materialistic-reductionist view of living systems has been to regard human beings as machines which all function much in the same way, and which can be ‘repaired’ rather like cars or computers. This model is certainly very useful as a means of managing health systems and in allocating resources, but by leaving out the holistic part of the equation, it makes the system very one-sided, and neither human nor particularly ‘individual-friendly’. A curious aspect of this model is that in order to study life, plants for example are first killed and dead bodies examined – leading to a way of thinking which leaves out life itself. As people accept more responsibility for their own health, they increasingly want to make an individual choice in their method of treatment, a choice based on their understanding of

their own needs and not one offered from ‘on high’ by someone in authority. Their need is more for appropriate personalized guidance rather than the kind of standardized response which most health systems are designed to offer. The fact that health systems are well-established along certain lines, makes such an individualized approach difficult. A danger of the materialistic-reductionist model of human beings on which health systems are based is the attempt to try and fit people into norms, ‘adjusting’ them so that they stay within these norms, often with the aid of pharmacological compounds. This model sees little sense in looking at the inner and outer causes of stress, and the system is not designed to create changes in the patients’ environment which might allow them to find their way back to health. One reason for the resistance of some professionals in health systems to a system informed by a holistic world-view is that such a view may allow various pseudo-scientific practices and quackeries to be considered. However, with the rise of many proven complementary therapies, the holistic viewpoint is becoming more and more accepted by people if not by many health professionals. A holistic approach to health emphasises wellness and a general state of well-being in everyday life as being a result of a healthy, stress-free lifestyle rather than as a result of a satisfactory healthcare system. There are countless examples of ‘cures’ which have occurred once the patient treats his or her illness as a signal for change and begins to follow his or her inner needs, followed by major changes in habits or lifestyle. Author Brandon Bays, in her book The Journey, relates how she was able to cure herself of what would have been a fatal tumour by taking the illness seriously as a sign to look deeply into herself and to begin to resolve deeply-embedded emotional blockages. She describes tumours as ‘friendly’ because they

point precisely to what is out of balance and show the way to health – but only if their message is taken seriously – otherwise they can be fatal. Her experience underlines the importance of belief systems, because if you really believe that an illness is like an invader which needs to be attacked with medicines then you kill the messenger and fail to get a vital message. The tragedy today is that health care systems operating under this kind of belief system create a fear of illness which makes it almost impossible to take up a positive attitude towards it. Henrietta then introduced us to the Peckham Experiment which took place in London in the 1930s. Two doctors, Innes H. Pearce and G. Scott Williamson set up a health centre for families in which they emphasized the cultivation of health to prevent disease taking hold. Williamson maintained that health was being overlooked or ignored altogether in favour of sickness – and he regarded preventative medicine as being generally ineffective. He realized that unless people lived in a healthy environment, diseases would keep on recurring despite treatment. Their intention then was to observe health and ‘to find a practical means, based on scientific knowledge of releasing hitherto unexpressed biological potentialities of the human organism for living.’ The way to do it was through the observation of human beings in an objective, non-interfering way. In a stroke of genius, assisted by Sir Owen Williams, a noted structural engineer, they designed and built a unique glass structure in which everything going on was made visible to all in the building, which included a gymnasium, a selfservice restaurant, a concert hall, a theatre and two swimming pools. All of the spaces used by infants, young children and adults alike were flexible and available for various uses at different times of day. There were no restrictions or rules whatever in the Centre, apart from the obligation to periodically undergo a health check and make a small monthly

payment. Indeed the only authority exercised by the staff was aimed at preventing any other group or person assuming authority. An environment was created where families could live spontaneous lives without interference – staff would only give advice if asked, and then only to tell the patient where he or she stood in order to allow them to make their own choices. The Centre thus enabled the founders to observe health in action. The results were observed in an increased vitality, serenity, purposefulness and sociability of both parents and children – it was the independence of action of each family member within a rich common environment that produced health. Not competition but co-operation therefore seemed to be the natural way of behaviour in a free and appropriate environment. With the Peckham Centre they had succeeded in designing a stress and fear-free environment, in both an inner and an outer sense, where they were able to show that freedom is of the utmost importance if people are to develop physically and mentally healthy from birth. Sadly however the Centre was forced to close in 1950 as it was an embarrassment to the founders of the British National Health Service, which at the time took an overwhelmingly medical direction showing little concern for the cultivation of health – the sad consequences of which are still with us. Indeed many doctors today, not only in the UK, regret that they have effectively become functionaries of the pharmaceutical companies, companies which would be threatened by a medical emphasis on health. Williamson maintained that quality needs to be taken into account in a study of health, and only then we will come to see that in a living entity health can only be seen as a process, not as a state or a condition. Sadly quality is very hard to measure by statistics – so it tends to be ignored by administrators of health management systems. Peckham was able to prove

however, that health is more infectious than disease, given the right conditions for its spread, and that given an appropriate environment people can infect each other with wellbeing. The premise which underlies virtually all modern health systems is therefore not health but illness, and indeed the more ill people are, the more customers are processed by the system and the more successful it will be in terms of volume and turnover – often measured by meeting arbitrary targets. In ancient China by contrast, each community had a doctor who was paid a small amount by each person in the area, his task being to give people advice and information as to how to stay healthy; if a person became ill he or she stopped paying the doctor, so that the system was based on the creation and maintenance of health rather than the need for sickness. Above all however, the most important single factor which determines not only a person’s general health but often even whether they live or die is the question of meaning. The psychologist Viktor Frankl was a survivor of Auschwitz, and wrote a book called Man’s Search for Meaning. Frankl discovered that in Auschwitz you needed a reason to carry on living - if you lost that, you lost the will to live, and if you lost that, you died. Each of us is here for a purpose, a task that only we can fulfil - to find meaning is to find that task. Frankl liked to quote Nietzsche who said that those who have a why can withstand almost any how. Shortly before the meeting I had been on a flight from Vancouver to Minneapolis and I was seated next to an attractive young lady with whom I fell into conversation. She was from a privileged background and had lost her faith after the early death of her father. Her major concern was that she could not find any meaning in life. Her outer life was very well arranged, she was a student of philosophy in Vancouver, a course she started in order to help her find that meaning, she

was also a successful model who was on her way to an assignment in New York. Despite her outer success, she was prone to constant depression because the central issue in her life of which she was so aware was the lack of meaning. As we waved each other good-bye at Minneapolis, I was saddened by the fact that I had no good arguments which would have helped her on the road to find that meaning. Now after my experience of our meetings, having seen so many instances of people beginning this journey to find their meaning, I am sure that had she been able to experience the extraordinary atmosphere of our meetings she would maybe start on her own road to find that purpose in life which promises to confer genuine meaning. By the time the last day of the meeting had come, the harmony amongst the group was such that we could sit still happily together for long periods of time without needing to speak. At such times I was aware of subtle exchanges between people, a kind of subliminal communication which appeared to nurture the work of the group. At this time, out of the harmony arose a certain understanding about the nature of a way of working together, which we called a Human Enterprise, a term we had already come up with in Cape Town. In such an enterprise all of its members would meet regularly in open communication sessions during which all decisions would be taken. These meetings would require a gender balance and a commitment to transparency through the adoption of an appropriate system. The result of the harmony engendered by such a modus operandi would be the creation of abundance for all involved. This abundance would be manyfaceted; it would include financial surplus, mutual help and withdrawal of dependency, access to seemingly boundless resources and an abundance of joy with an absence of fear.

Abundance too - of creative ideas and of the resources to carry them out, as well as an abundance of expertise to determine whether a project is worth doing or not. As we sat there in amazement at this understanding we had been given, we also knew that the reality behind this concept of Human Enterprise is very difficult to grasp, it is something which needs to be experienced to be understood. We understood that this is a concept which is really very wide, for it encompasses all aspects of life – and a few were troubled that such a deep awareness is missing in the world. The meeting finished all by itself, it merely felt complete, there was no more work requiring to be done. People relaxed and went for walks, collected wild strawberries in the surrounding hills or just sat on the grass and took in the wide vistas and marvelled at the beauty and harmony of the place, and how this harmony and beauty appeared to have influenced the conclusions to which we had come. Whilst idling through the books in the library at La Source, I came across a substantial volume with the title Science and Sanity, by Alfred Korzybski, the founder of General Semantics, and a great-uncle of my host Halim Korzybski. Reading Korzybski was quite an experience – and required a lot of patience - and I could well understand why so many reviewers on Amazon.com regarded Science and Sanity to be the single most important book written in the twentieth century. Korzybski wrote the book in 1933, and his ideas, which he put together in his philosophy of General Semantics, were instrumental in the development of neuro-linguistic-programming (NLP), rational emotive behavioural therapy (REBT), Gestalt therapy, as well as having an influence on Scientology. Korzybski is perhaps best known for his statement ‘the map is not the territory’, and he showed how the human brain

and nervous system is structured in such a way as to respond primarily to the map and not to the territory. He showed how most human misunderstandings are a result of people confusing words for the things or ideas which they represent. This way of looking at things fitted in very well with our experience at the meetings, during which our observation was one of getting beyond the words being spoken, indeed it could be said that our meeting structure encouraged such a manner of communication. I realized that despite the turgid prose, Science and Sanity had within it a great deal of wisdom, particularly regarding how human beings communicate, and there seemed to be so much in the book which could shed light on our experiences during our meetings. I simply did not have the time during the La Source meeting to go through the entire book – that would have to wait until much later. On our last day we had a bit of free time, so we decided to go on an excursion to Lourdes, which was less than an hours’ drive away. As I had been educated in a Catholic prep school, I had certainly heard a lot about Lourdes as a place of pilgrimage and the story of Saint Bernadette, the young shepherdess who had had visions of the Virgin Mary. Apparently Lourdes was a place of miraculous healing, and was a major shrine. Although Lourdes did not attract me the majority wanted to go there and I was happy to drive the minibus over the narrow, winding hilly roads, in any case I felt it would be good to see more of the surrounding areas than just La Source. Lourdes was not as tacky as I had expected, but a charming little town in the mountains with a fast-flowing river. Certainly, there were processions of invalids in wheelchairs being pushed by their carers towards the supposedly healing spring waters, at the place where a spring is said to have

miraculously appeared after the visions of the shepherdess. The processions of the terminally ill, the incurables and the wheelchair-bound were testimony to both the inability of modern medicine to deal with so many diseases and their consequences as well as to the profound faith, the refusal to give up of ordinary human beings faced with the severely limiting consequences of disease. Sadly however their faith does not appear to be effective, as was demonstrated by biologist Richard Dawkins on his recent visit to Lourdes for a television documentary11, in which he made the point that the number of confirmed cures at Lourdes was statistically insignificant. Perhaps above all the field of health shows how strongly our belief-systems and patterns of behaviour which are based on them affect the inner and outer realities of our lives and how they appear to override that part in us which understands our true potential and our path to its fulfilment. As we left La Source, I reflected as to why there was such an emphasis on health and healing at the meeting, and I recalled that Halim had had the intention of setting up a healing centre when he founded the venue – and that intention had somehow imbued his place with a content which our meeting picked up on. On our way home, we had plenty of time and stopped for lunch at Carcassonne where we parked by the hill-fortress and wandered into the finely preserved walled city. The old town within the fortress was quite charming, and I particularly liked the stained glass in the church within its walls. From Carcassonne we drove on to Geneva and further past the lake to the little town of Aigle and on towards Les Diablerets. After a steep climb we came to the mountain chalet belonging to Henrietta with whom we were travelling. There was abundant snow at that height, and the chalet was bitterly

cold as night was falling. As the heating appeared to be ineffective, we tried to keep warm by turning on the oven and leaving it open – only to succeed in fusing the lights. After crawling through the darkness I found the fuse-box and we could settle in. I spent a while chopping firewood and soon we were seated at supper by a roaring fire – reminiscing on the events of the past week. Whilst in Switzerland I recalled that meeting in Scuol in the east of the country where my quest had begun just three years earlier knowing however that I was still in the midst of this voyage of discovery.

Chapter 11

The Sixth Meeting Byron Bay, New South Wales, Australia January 13th to 18th 2007

'Where love rules, there is no will to power; and where power predominates, there love is lacking. The one is the shadow of the other' CARL JUNG

The sixth meeting came about as a follow-on from the fourth meeting in Perth, shortly after which we had a session with a number of young people, who were keen to organize a youth Global Enterprise Meeting on the East coast of Australia. They had assured us that they would publicise the event around their circles of friends and fellow students, however as the date approached we only had one or two bookings. Despite that, Johanna, Peter, Hubert and I booked our flights to Brisbane in the anticipation of this January meeting. I had decided to go earlier, indeed in the middle of November as I needed to go to New Zealand to assist my son in finding a house in Wellington. I flew out to Brisbane via Singapore, and spent a couple of days there. As this was my first visit, I decided to look around the city. It was very hot,

well over thirty, despite which I walked all over the city. I find walking by far the best way of exploring places, and generally I can spend hours on foot without getting lost. I found that Brisbane was much more disorganized than Perth, and seemed to have a tired feeling, and it was obvious that it lacked the dynamic prosperity of Western Australia. Next day I flew to Wellington, which lived up to its reputation for being a windy city. The flight had to take care to land on the short runway against a powerful headwind. My son was waiting for me there, and we went on to Hataitai, where he was renting an apartment. Wellington is a very people-friendly city, quite compact in its central areas, and small enough to walk from one end to the other in a few hours. So I got to know the city well, by walking all over the hills and valleys, looking at plenty of houses, noting that most of the roads were on slopes, some quite steep, with wooden houses often perched on hilltops at odd angles. On one occasion we were looking at properties in Karori, over in the windy north-west, and stopped for a drink in an American diner. As we sipped our drinks, my son asked what actually I was doing with all my meetings. I thought hard about that, and realized that actually I was unable to formulate a clear answer, simply because despite the experiences of the meetings, and the observation of the process, I felt that I was still in the middle of something, and I could give no account as to what precisely I was up to. I promised my son that I would almost certainly let him know more details within a year, which appeared to me a reasonable assumption to make. Just before Christmas we located a suitable house, which was bought, the buying process in New Zealand being very well organized, and one could generally move in within a month of making an offer.

Johanna came over and joined us for Christmas, and as it was her first visit to the country, we decided to head for the South Island, where most of the scenic landscapes are. We took the ferry to Picton, rented a car and drove down the east coast towards Christchurch. The drive is a great way to see the country, taking in an amazing variety of scenery from almost desert to green countryside reminiscent of England. Once we got to Kaikouri, about half way down, the road followed the rocky coast until shortly before Christchurch. We were hoping to do some sightseeing, maybe even to see the glaciers of the west and tourist sites like Queenstown, however the weather was against us as it just rained most of the time. We knew some people there with whom we were to stay. It so happened, that these people were part of group who were involved in organizing a major international conference in Christchurch three years hence. This was to get together perhaps three thousand people from all over the world. The conference was being organized on behalf of an organization in Europe, and their initial task was to find a leader to head up the work of planning and organizing the meeting. When we explained the way in which we were working during a New Year’s Eve party, a number of the guests were fascinated by the process we had described. One of the ladies responded by saying that she would only work in a team which worked in this way, and not in the way in which she was used to in the past. Our hosts then telephoned around a group of some fifteen people who were part of the conference organizing committee, and they were surprised to find that all could come and meet for an impromptu session at midday on New Year’s Day (2007). At the meeting we explained the way in which we work,

and we realized that here we had encountered fertile ground. All of the assembled people appeared to have an immediate and intuitive understanding of what we were saying, apart from one man who appeared dubious. They agreed to try out a session of ninety minutes, and we did our thing. Time seemed to fly, questions were being asked and responses were immediate from all sides of the circle. As the session drew to a close we had covered a vast range of details concerning the organization of the conference, and a number of people had agreed to accept specific roles. They understood however, that as long as they met regularly in the open transparent sessions, then roles did not have too much of a meaning, and could be easily interchanged, because everyone was privy to all of the information. By the end everyone, now including the doubter, agreed to carry on in this way, they knew that they still had to sell this way of working to their European HQ, who were waiting for them to come back with one name as the coordinator. However, they said that they were confident that they would manage that. As we left, one of the most active of the team turned to us and said ‘this will probably turn out to have been the most important meeting in our process’. Before we headed back to Wellington our host commented ‘now you know why you came to Christchurch!’ The way back to Wellington included a very rough crossing of the Cook Strait, and most passengers were sick as the ferry was frequently covered by spray. The Cook Strait is very prone to sudden changes of ocean currents and can be treacherous. I remember years ago I used to work with an Australian who had been on one of these ferries on the way to Wellington when it hit rocks in the entrance to Wellington harbour, and he had to endure bobbing up and down in high seas for hours

until he was rescued – an experience he understandably never wished to repeat. Fortunately for us we arrived back in Wellington safely if a little shaken, and we were even pleased to be greeted by the high winds. A couple of days later we flew on to Brisbane and then down to Byron Bay, a couple of hours drive south along the coast. Byron Bay itself is a sheltered bay with fine quartz sands, and a lovely location surrounded by low hills. It had developed a reputation over the years as having become a magnet for hippies and various drop-outs. Indeed we saw many people obviously enjoying alternative lifestyles, and there was a good choice of shops and activities to serve them. We had left the organizing of the Global Enterprise Meeting to the young people, and they had booked a venue some thirty miles inland at a place called Funky Forest12, somewhere near a place called Mullimbimby. After settling in in the Byron Bay Beach Resort, we drove out to reconnoitre this Funky Forest place. We followed their directions precisely, and turned off the road at the Funky Forest sign which was almost obscured by the abundant vegetation. This was an area of tropical forest, and everything grew in wild profusion in the damp heat. We drove up a path which seemed to disappear into nowhere. After finding a rough car park I walked down unmarked paths looking for Funky – which was nowhere to be seen. We eventually enquired at a house near the road and were guided to the right place. Apparently it was a centre frequently used for Buddhist meditation retreats, and had carpeted rooms, dormitories and statuettes of the Buddha. Funky was very pleasant, and surrounded with the most incredible virgin forest, but really too remote for our needs. The fact that accommodation was to be mainly in dormitories did not appeal to us either.

On our return to Byron Bay we discovered that actually the young people had only three bookings for the event, and after a while two of those cancelled. So there we were half-way across the world waiting for a meeting that was not to be. Meanwhile we were staying in small wooden chalets at the Byron Bay Beach Resort. These were self-contained with cooking facilities, right by the sandy bay, and we were quite happy to spend more time relaxing there. We had been informed that the resort was going to be pulled down and redeveloped into an upmarket beach hotel, which would completely change its character. The present layout, with the chalets distributed amongst the trees and a central dining and meeting area, appeared ideal for a relaxed holiday, and we were concerned about the encroachment of faceless characterless buildings which would make the place look the same as hundreds of similar beach side resorts anywhere in the world. Indeed we had heard that the local community had fought the development plans and had won at a regional level, but the state courts had ruled in favour of the developers, and sadly the place appeared to be doomed. Realizing that we had a meeting to organize, furious networking around the area over the next few days managed to elicit fourteen people, half of them young students all of whom agreed to take part in our experimental meeting. Quite expectedly, the gender balance was almost exact. As we had the resort to ourselves, we chose a large meeting room where we laid out the fourteen chairs in a circle. The participants came from Australia, New Zealand, Spain, Germany and the UK. At the very least I thought it would be interesting to observe a meeting where all of the participants except for ourselves had appeared spontaneously. The sessions started slowly with plenty of good

communication at the beginning. At the next session it felt that somehow we had got stuck, and I for one was at a loss as to why this was so. Just then an older man popped his head in, enquired what we were up to and asked if he could join in. He introduced himself as Ted, was camping in the area and had lots of spare time, and by mutual consent he joined the group. Almost immediately he did his best to take control, he even said as much, with Australian forthrightness he considered the organizers good for nothing, and knew a thing or two about meetings. Some of the others spontaneously began to accept his implied leadership. I watched in horror as Hubert happily followed the man’s suggestions and began at length to talk about himself. Others too behaved as though he were the leader and followed his instructions implicitly, to the obvious enjoyment of the man. Some of the younger people however saw through his stratagems, and refused to play his game. The man tried harder and harder to maintain control, and challenged the group as to the belief systems which seemed to be implicit in the meeting. When nobody backed up his or her own particular beliefs, he became more and more confused, and said that he was about to go crazy. After a while he could not tolerate his discomfort and left the group, but not before expressing his gratitude for being shown something about himself, and about the calm and respectful way in which he felt he had been treated. He later told us that he had a certain pattern of behaviour which always caused him to come into conflict with people, and which had forced him to become a loner, but our group had broken the expected negative outcome. Again I witnessed something very significant about the operation of the process. The power of consent amongst a group of people is very strong. If as in our meeting, at the

beginning every member consents to work under a leaderless group model, then that consent forms a powerful conditioning determinant during the duration of the group. When however any group member attempts to seize control, whether they make it clear or not, they are explicitly going against this determinant. This means that unconsciously, they are pitting themselves against every member of the group. This situation occurred time and time again, and the process was always stronger than the power of any individual to assert his or her ego, however unconsciously. After the man’s departure, the group proceeded to deal with issues, suggestions and ideas as they arose. Another factor about the man’s appearance came to mind. When he first appeared, it felt to me that the energy level of the group was low and I sensed that the group was going nowhere; therefore I amongst others welcomed his presence. After he left, the group was in a state of heightened energy and awareness, and it appeared that by his intervention in the group process, the process seemed to take whatever energy he had and converted it into a form which the group could usefully use. I realized that once the group was in a harmonious state largely in a community form, then the energetic process proceeded to operate in such a way that as people gave of themselves and their wisdom, it felt as though we were feeding each other with positive energy. The result was heightened awareness, much laughter and good fellow feeling. Amongst the participants were a family consisting of a mother and two children in their late teens. The mother commented that almost for the first time her ideas, suggestions and thoughts were taken seriously and examined for their merit, which really made her have to think carefully about what she was about to say. Her son was about to study town planning at university,

and the topic arose about the possibility of the group having the task of building a new township. Two of the members of the group were from the South Island of New Zealand, which they said was very sparsely populated, and there were lots of suitable plots of land at very reasonable prices available to realize such a project. We spoke about the benefits of a site such as the Byron Bay Beach Resort with its heterogeneous range of wooden chalets, which provided healthy, inexpensive and attractive accommodation. With a green-field site, there was scope for highly imaginative structures, landscapes and waterways. All building was to be ecologically friendly, with high insulation, possibly even zero energy or passive housing (houses so well insulated that the heat from their inhabitants maintains a comfortable temperature). The site would be commercially viable as a vacation facility. As we developed this theme, we realized that it would provide an opportunity for many people to come from all over the world and participate in building the site. With well developed self-build techniques already available, such as straw-bale systems, the costs could be kept low and there would be room for innovative design. The group overflowed with enthusiasm for the potential of such a project, with rough calculations carried out in our heads showing how the costs can be minimized and a profitable project could be created. Because of the impromptu nature of the meeting we had to look after our own catering which simply meant visits to the supermarket and arranging barbecues in the areas assigned for them. We carried plates and pots all over the place, and discovered our joint abilities to prepare excellent and tasty food. During one of our barbecues, Johanna and I while discussing the incident with Ted, wondered what would

happen if rather than an individual, a group of people from within the circle would attempt to control things. The answer came almost immediately at the beginning of the first session of the next day. The mother of the two children suddenly said that she felt very concerned about the way in which the group was being conducted, because she felt it inappropriate that a group of men and women should meet so closely together in such a way. Her children supported her argument, and said that they therefore all had to leave the group. She carried on to say that this process was very dangerous, and that she would do her best to let other people know that what we were doing was wrong. After talking with her it transpired that just before her comments she had been speaking with her husband on the telephone. He was apparently a very authoritarian figure, and the family system based on his power began to be threatened by the family’s exposure to the group process. It was interesting to observe how all three members of the family held together, and acted as one person, they tried to destroy the process because it was attempting to break the family up into individuals - which indeed is often a consequence of the process. The fear which held them together as a family did not permit each individual member to work towards their unique identities. This very clearly showed an effect of the process in a leaderless group; by forcing each member to think for themselves and to act on their own responsibility they are obliged to move towards discovering their own unique individuality. Again, despite their efforts they were unable to destroy the process, the group merely continued without their presence, and we never heard from them again. The remainder of the group discussed what happened,

and came to the conclusion that certain people are simply not ready to fully accept the workings of this process and that’s fine. The group was able to continue in considerable harmony from that point. At the end of the sessions we asked each member to say a few words about how they had experienced the meeting. One young man, who had hardly said a word throughout all the sessions, commented on a sense of peace, tranquillity and relaxation he had felt throughout the meetings, something which he had hardly experienced in any other place. Another young man felt very grateful at being in an environment where he could express his deepest fears to the group without being ridiculed. After the meeting, Hubert, Johanna, Peter and I returned to Brisbane where we spent a few quiet days together. On the long journey home, Hubert and I observed how this series of meetings keeps on presenting situations which sharpen our awareness and understanding of the nature of the process - as well as of our own individual natures. An important understanding was the need always to ask questions, for if a question is asked honestly within the context of the process, such as the one we asked ourselves about the effect of a group setting itself against the process, then the answer comes very quickly. On our return to a cold and misty European winter, we resolved no longer to travel much, and not to organize any other meetings unless we were specifically invited. After all of our travels we now felt the need to digest the lessons which we had learnt so far and to try to understand how we could put these lessons to use. We began to meet weekly in each others homes to develop our ideas and to see how we could apply our newly-acquired knowledge.

Our break however was short-lived, as after only four months we were setting off to our seventh meeting, the second in the former Soviet world.

Chapter 12

The Seventh Meeting Cherkassy, Ukraine July 23rd to 25th 2007

‘And something miraculous will come close to the darkness and ruin, something no-one, no-one, has known, though we’ve longed for it since we were children’ ANNA AKHMATOVA

Hubert, Johanna and I had been at a seminar the summer before in Hungary, relaxing by the lake of Balaton. There we met an earnest Ukrainian computer engineer, Alexei, to whom we explained our ideas. He was very taken by what we had said and expressed a wish for us to hold a conference during the following year in the Ukraine. At first we were rather reluctant to go to any more meetings, because we were aware that there was very little that we could offer, however with the awareness of our new model of Human Enterprise, and not wishing to disappoint our Ukrainian hosts we agreed to go to. A number of dates had been suggested, and we eventually agreed on a three-day

meeting in Cherkassy towards the end of July 2007. Despite the fact that we had done no organizing and had made no attempt to get participants, Alexei had been working quietly in the background, and all we needed to do was to arrange our flights to Kiev where we were to be picked up by our host, Bogdan. By now Peter had found a new direction working on a project with which he is still involved. Hubert, although remaining part of the team, was unable to come with us to the Ukraine for personal reasons, so Johanna and I set off on our own. We flew from Zürich direct to Kiev with the Ukrainian Airline, which seemed to dispense copious amounts of free Vodka to the largely Ukrainian passengers and just before landing a fight erupted at the back of the plane leaving one man with blood streaming down his face. I had been to the Soviet Union several times back in the late 1970s, when Leonid Brezhnev had been party secretary. In those days Moscow was a very safe place, because the slightest misdemeanour was dealt with very severely by the authorities. There was a constant atmosphere of fear, which was only to change with the collapse of the Soviet Union. This was to be my first visit to the former Soviet Union, and indeed the first time in the Ukraine. I had no idea what to expect, least of all the forty degrees of heat which met us as we climbed out of the plane. Bogdan and his young son were waiting for us, displaying no impatience at our three hour delay and before long we were hurtling down the Kiev to Cherkassy highway into the dusk in his minibus. The countryside appeared to consist of endless flat fields, mostly empty except for swathes of sunflowers disappearing in the distance. We decided to stop after about a hundred kilometres for some roadside shopping. I was reminded of the

Far East, there were roadside stalls selling a variety of fruit and vegetables, and our host purchased provisions for the next few days. He said ‘I don’t want to shock you, but this is how you buy meat here’. He took us to the back of the stalls where unappetizing lumps of dead flesh were laid out on a wooden counter, with flies all over, and old ladies with shawls on their heads wielding hand axes. Bogdan bought a chunk of pork and we headed on through the night. We had arranged to stay in an apartment which was right next to Bogdan’s house on the outskirts of the city. It was a pleasant studio with a tiny shower, and everything worked after a fashion. Most of the building work had obviously been done by Bogdan, and there had been a lot of necessary improvisation. His charming wife Olga greeted us and was to introduce us to some of the finer points of Ukrainian cuisine. This was just as well, because throughout the conference we were fed with a daily allocation of beetroot soup, fresh salted gherkins and potatoes, the mythical food of Eastern Europe. Olga’s Varenikis and Pelmenies were exquisite rural fare, followed up with fresh birch-juice (obtained by drilling holes in birch-trees and collecting the sap) laced with cherry juice from freshly-picked fruit. Rather than take a crowded bus we decided to walk the half-hour route down Shevchenko Boulevard, the broad, treelined avenue which runs right down the middle of the city and named after Ukraine’s national poet. The road was full of potholes even in the city centre, despite which the traffic roared along as fast as they could accelerate. Cherkassy is a small city of around a hundred thousand inhabitants and was designed some centuries earlier around the plans of a Swedish architect. It looked pleasant enough in the summer, with relaxed-looking people wandering along the

broad boulevards. We were told that one of its claims to fame is to be referred to as the ‘town of brides’, with a ratio of six women for every single man, which made it a magnet for men from all around. The Ukraine had never really been an independent state for centuries having been under the lordship of the Poles, Lithuanians, Russians and the Turks, and only gained independence after the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1989. However, after the Orange Revolution in 2005, the country was learning to cope with a semblance of democracy, and was now in a strange state of political balance between the two Viktors, Yushchenko – who my hosts said was the good guy and pro-European, and Yanukovych – who was pro-Russian and was regarded by many as a crook. The architecture of the city was typical of Soviet Bloc construction, with large numbers of concrete workers flats behind the shops and offices fronting the main roads. Our conference was to be held in a large private house near the imposing statue of the historical Cossack leader, Bogdan Khmelnitsky. The house had a number of extended rooms, each over fifty square metres in area and a spacious garden in which most of the meetings were subsequently held. As we had had no part in the publicity or organization of the event, we had no idea how many people there would be or indeed what they had been told. As we gathered for our first session we counted over thirty people present, with a fair balance of genders, and I thought somewhat younger on average than at our previous meetings. It quickly transpired that none of the participants had much of an idea as to what would be happening, but many had planned to stay only the first day to see if it was worthwhile to continue. There was no official interpreter, but three or four of the participants were fluent English speakers, and they contributed

translations to and from Russian as and when required. Although the official language of the Ukraine is Ukrainian, everyone understood Russian. We made a large circle of chairs in the garden, and sat quietly for a few minutes. I welcomed the attendees, and said I would explain the structure, format and way of working, after which we would continue with a leaderless group structure. I explained the three themes of openness, the awareness of an organism greater than the sum of its parts and the potential to expect the unexpected. I stressed the need to speak only when one felt prompted to speak, and otherwise to listen – and as I spoke the gathered company was respectful and attentive. I then asked each participant to say in two to three minutes their name, where they came from and why they were there. I said if we kept it short we could get all this information complete in the first session. Starting with myself, we continued around the members of the circle. One man, a wild looking version of Rasputin with a long beard, announced that he was there because God had told him to come - and nobody appeared particularly concerned by this assertion. Most of the others were curious and interested but had no idea what to expect, which was fair because neither did we. At first everybody wanted to ask questions, which both of us managed to answer to their satisfaction. Most of the questions pointed to the sharp differences between our background in the so-called prosperous west, and theirs in the Soviet communist system. The first day was an intense mutual learning process, during which both sides learned about the other system, and they understood that life was not easy in the west, and we understood that much had changed since the collapse of the Soviet Union. However we learned that one characteristic of the Soviet system which the Ukrainians had kept intact were their social networks, within which they

experienced support and an ease of communication with each other – something which has been largely lost in the west. We sensed that the people had wide hearts, and treated each other with a natural respect. There was no attempt at aggressive behaviour, but many examples of people helping each other out with explanations. Ideas which we presented such as the value of the balance between the masculine and feminine principles, and transparency, were eagerly taken up and accepted by the group. We sensed an eagerness to learn and also a kind of astonishment as to how the leaderless group process led to an easy consequent and uninterrupted flow of communication. Boris, a young interpreter next to me felt really sad at having to go to work the next day, because had he known that the meeting would have been like he experienced it now, he would have arranged to stay all of the three days. At one point ‘Rasputin’ announced that he was a well respected spiritual leader, with a large following in the region, and therefore it would be to everybody’s advantage if they were to become his followers too. This announcement led to a great deal of animated but in no way aggressive conversation, and my understanding of Russian was sufficient to note that many members were politely letting him know as to why they were declining his offer. At the next session the following morning ‘Rasputin’, had disappeared, never to return. It seemed that his guileless attempt at wrestling control of the group was so easily overcome without any apparent hard feelings. The next day the group was still as large as ever, people who had planned to stay only for the first day had decided to continue to the end. There was an air of earnest concentration and attention, and I had a sense of a respectful working group, an attitude that was to remain with the group until the end.

This time we had invited people at the beginning to present their projects, but nobody came forward with any presentations; they were more concerned with looking within and at observing the unfolding of the group process. They appeared to be such a mature group, contributing to the general conversation, and one by one really ‘getting it’. One lady commented that her entire thinking and belief system had been turned upside down, and she felt a great sense of freedom as a consequence. The topic which found the greatest resonance amongst them was how people work together in business enterprises, and our presentation of the principles of the Human Enterprise fell on fertile ears. Some people commented that what we could be looking at is a development in which the best qualities of the capitalist and communist systems could be blended, however the resulting recipe would transcend both of these established systems, and create something which had never before been seen. They marvelled at the possibility of true equality amongst members of a working team, and also in society. One man said ‘these people have brought us communism again, but this time in a form that really might work’. It was fascinating for me being with a group of intelligent, educated people who had mostly grown up during the Soviet dictatorship, and who really were in a position to understand the true meaning of social democracy, because they had experienced what it was not. Many said that during Soviet times they believed or rather wanted to believe the propaganda about the brotherhood of man and the equality of all, and yet they were faced all around with the contradictions of party functionaries who had special rights and few obligations. When we talked about the various points which make up a Human Enterprise, there was a sense that here was a presentation of a social model which reminded them of what

communism should have been, something which works effectively because it combines a true understanding of the equality of human beings with what it means to accept responsibility for oneself. The Soviet system embodied a typically patriarchal hierarchical system of leadership in which the leader accepted responsibility for his followers. This gave too much responsibility to the leader and denied his followers their share of responsibility, leading to the crass inequalities and inefficiencies of the system. Perhaps this is a generic fault in both the communist and the capitalist systems, on account of them both being based on a traditional leadership model. As we know - historically speaking human beings have always organized themselves into groups with various leaders in charge. The leader offered to help his followers and to solve their problems. In the same way our present political leaders of whatever political persuasion offer to solve our problems for us. Many of us sense that actually they are being dishonest - which has to be true because no-one can or indeed should solve our problems for us - for that is our own responsibility. Of course in time everyone sees that the leaders fail in their objectives, so political leaders in democracies fail to get reelected, while dictators are lucky if they escape with their lives. In the business world likewise business leaders offer to maximize profits for their shareholders, and are frequently dismissed when they fail to live up to their promises – unfortunately many ensure that they pay themselves handsome salaries and bonuses, irrespective of how their companies perform. The same flawed model is evident in the educational world, where teachers play the role of leader to the detriment of their pupils’ ability to accept responsibility for themselves – and worse still; the ministry of education frequently takes

responsibility away from the teachers in arranging the curriculum and in laying down rules as to how the teachers should work. This is a systemic fault in the failure of awareness amongst the leaders in that they delude themselves into believing that they really are better and more capable than others. This belief leads them into feeling that they have a right to make decisions which affect the lives of others – indeed because they feel that they know better than others know what is good for them. Conversely, there is also a failure of awareness amongst followers – pupils and parents - in believing that they need the services of a leader and unconsciously agreeing to accept a model in which learning is made to seem something artificial or ‘extra’, and therefore no longer part of everyday life. Once this model is accepted, an expert or teacher becomes indispensable and learning is no longer the same as it was before they entered school for the first time. Once they understood the nature of the group process as a learning but not a teaching, many of the Ukrainians spontaneously accepted the fallacy of accepted leadership models in politics, business and education. I recall a lesson I learnt many years ago which illustrated to me the innate tendency that human beings have to trust other people rather than trusting themselves. I was on an outward bound management training course in Wales, and a team of us were undertaking an abseiling exercise. This involved me standing at the top of a steep cliff, with ropes attached around my waist, firmly fixed to a sturdy steel ring concreted into a stone wall. Below me at the foot of the cliff stood another trainee; he was carefully holding the ropes to enable me to abseil down. I remember clearly feeling highly uncertain about whether the steel ring at the top would hold, but I felt strangely comforted by the support I felt from the

person guiding the ropes below me. In a workshop following the exercise, our instructor posed the question ‘When you are at the top of the cliff, whom do you have to trust?’, and I thought well the strength of the steel ring, but on second thoughts I realized I had to trust myself. When he asked how that felt I conceded that it felt difficult to do. This experience was confirmed by the other members of the group. In Cherkassy, as ever in these meetings, I always reflected as to what extent what we were doing differed from that of a leader. Although I knew that we were not leaders, and we always stressed the fact that this group has no leader, nevertheless people automatically assumed that we were leaders and therefore attempted to take on the role of followers. By resolutely refusing to help other people in the group and by speaking only for myself, in time people realized that no matter how often I was offered the role of a traditional leader I refused to accept it – after all I genuinely had no interest in leadership. I did not refuse to accept it because I felt that I was in any way better than a leader, but because accepting responsibility for others in a traditional leadership role is a highly stressful and uncomfortable experience, and I do what I can to get away from stressful or uncomfortable situations. Most leaders are only too happy to accept a leadership position and may enjoy its perceived advantages, but they invariably suffer from the stresses which such a role eventually engenders. It may indeed be that I have a lot to contribute during these meetings, in which case I will not hold my knowledge back from the group, but then I am acting purely on my own account. The very fact that we explicitly state that there are no leaders gives anyone the permission to question everything we or others say or do. However, the mere statement of this fact is not enough, for any leader can say that – yet others may be

afraid to speak out because of the dangers they perceive in an environment where real power is in the hands of those leaders – whatever they say about leadership. Therefore, what our role really is - is to provide a prepared environment in which such power-play is effectively neutralized, and that is perhaps the essential quality which we are able to bring to these meetings. Again and again I was confronted with evidence of how deeply engraved the hierarchical system is in human culture, and how natural is the need for a leader to look up to and then to knock down off his pedestal. If we had an educational system which pointed this out with its inherent dangers, then this would really help, but instead most educational systems merely serve to ingrain this culture more and more deeply by means of their own hierarchies. Immanuel Kant said that Enlightenment is the emergence of man from his self-imposed immaturity13 – immaturity being the inability to use one’s understanding without guidance from another. This immaturity is self-imposed when its cause lies not in a lack of understanding, but in a lack of resolve and courage to use it without that guidance from others. Therefore if a prepared environment exists in which courage and resolve are systemically encouraged, intelligent people are automatically liberated from their self-imposed immaturity – which as we so often observed leads people to a feeling of freedom and empowerment. As I sat there quietly to the rapid to and fro in Russian of people learning how to act on their own understanding - and relishing this amazing new found experience, it also occurred to me how personal relationships work in the same way as groups. In personal relationships there is a tendency for one person to make decisions for the other, often for the deluded reason that he or she is helping the other person. The more that

individuals can act only for themselves, the more they allow their partner to be themselves and the freer and more rewarding and joyful the relationship becomes. Perhaps what lies at the heart of this process is the mutual withdrawal of projections of one’s own internal elements on to other people. The last day of the meeting was a day when communication flowed particularly easily, large numbers of topics came and went, particularly about the way in which human beings behave at work, at home and in political organizations. There was a clarity, a freedom and an openness which astonished many of the participants, and people sat on the edges of their chairs eager to hear original statements rather than the clichés which meetings generally elicit. As the meeting drew to a close, the last session was dedicated to each participant relating their experiences of the last three days. Each participant expressed their gratitude for the meeting; many said that they had learnt much about themselves just by sitting there. Others said that now they can go back to their work or businesses with a renewed courage, and a sense that they know exactly what it is that they need to do. Alexei sitting on my right said that he had learnt and experienced a new way of being between human beings, a way of being which was light, respectful and had a sense of nobility. One lady who at first did not know what to say and in fact said that she wanted to say nothing suddenly became animated like a rag-doll, and her body moved in rapid freedom like a happy child, which told us everything we needed to know. That last evening we were happy to enjoy the culinary hospitality of our hosts, and enjoyed our last meal of Pelmenies and Varenikis, which were most welcome after the week’s diet of salted gherkins and borscht. The drive to Kiev airport in the early hours of the morning

in Bogdan’s old battered Lada passed uneventfully, until we were stopped by the police on entering the airport. Bogdan explained that all cars were being checked, to inform their drivers that motor insurance was to be made compulsory in the Ukraine from August 1st, in a few days time. We were pleased that this information came only after we had been driven around. On our decent towards Zürich we looked over to our left, to the south-east, beyond the mountains, and recalled the time we had first met in Scuol just over four years earlier, where the idea for these series of journeys which were now coming to an end had first started. By now we were both sure that this was the end of the first series of meetings, meetings which had given us all of the evidence and experience which we needed to develop our new organizational model. We were also aware however, that the development of the model was only the first part of our task, and somehow we felt that there was another series of meetings in the offing, this time with the aim of bringing the model to life. Rather like the turns of a spiral, we had completed one turn on one level, and we knew that another turn of the spiral was awaiting us at another level – the only mystery now was how many turns were there in the entire spiral. At least we were certain that it was not yet the time to understand that part of the mystery. As we drove from the airport we observed how neat everything was, how the roads had straight edges and no potholes, and how the material surroundings impinged strongly on our senses, compared with the lightness of those effects in the Ukraine. While we had only been in the Ukraine for a week, it felt like a much longer period of time. We reflected on how much the people over there are able to be closer to their inner reality and hence to each other - in an environment where external

reality seems particularly unstructured and chaotic. In Switzerland however the emphasis on external neatness and quality, while giving an impression of order and efficiency, appears to have the effect of distancing people from each other. Perhaps there is a lesson in these observations, in that too much attention to the external, material realities of the world can put people under some kind of pressure, whereby they become more separate from one another. Whereas an appropriate attention to these material realities allows people more easily to feel who they are and to feel their natural close links with others. What is needed of course is a situation where external realities can be well looked after without this loss of kinship, and we both felt that the influence of a process such as we had yet again experienced in Cherkassy potentially had the power to create such a situation.

Chapter 13

Summing Up the Evidence

‘A wise man proportions his belief to the evidence’ DAVID HUME

By now it was the early August of 2007. This adventure which had begun in the mountains of Switzerland in that hot June of 2003, had brought me back after a series of amazing journeys which had spanned the globe. I had covered a distance of over eighty thousand miles and had visited a dozen countries. I had organized meetings involving hundreds of people and had learnt much. In addition to the seven larger meetings, I had attended smaller conferences and held workshops in ten European countries, from Norway to Spain as well as having organised a two-day seminar in Vancouver, Canada. Over the course of these journeys many ideas had been confirmed, other ideas which I had thought important were found to be of little value and yet other new ideas and insights had arisen whose value I was yet to understand. Now it was time to make use of the lessons of those years and to apply the results of our experiences. These meetings had given me the empirical evidence which this unintentional scientific experiment, undertaken with the aid of hundreds of people all over the world, required. The results of this experiment were now to be put towards the formulation of the

new organizational model. Much in the proposed model was new, the three essential findings being that leadership as it is generally understood in organizations is best seen as a delusion, that women have an essential and as yet misunderstood role to play in any new structure and that a suitably prepared environment can engender a harmonious leaderless group which in turn releases a potential which manifests as an organism displaying wisdom of a higher order than that of any individual. The idea of writing a book in which this model was presented, along with the travels and meetings which led to its discovery occurred to me immediately on my return home from the Ukraine. I was convinced that the model of human organizations which had been discovered had a wide potential applicability, and I needed to clarify precisely what the model was and any assumptions on which it was based. To begin with however, I needed to understand the answers to a number of questions. Why was it that something unique happened? Why could the presence of a being or an organism – one distinct from any individual - be felt so clearly? Why did a spontaneous common understanding arise which enabled a very different kind of decision-making to that normally experienced? What was it that was so unique and beneficial that went on in our meetings, once they had been structured in a certain way? It seemed to me that there were two aspects which could usefully be looked at in order to try to find the answers to these questions, an experiential or inner aspect, and an analytical or outer aspect. The inner aspect was something which was experienced by many, if not all of the participants, and which for me centred around what could only be described as a metaphysical energy – an energy which could easily be personified because it had a

certain autonomy, and which manifested itself in this virtual organism which was greater than the sum of its parts. This energy had certain qualities, for example it was observed to have no interest whatever in the individual egos of the people present, it appeared to be completely dispassionate insofar as it seemed to act beyond individual wishes, and it possessed a certain numinous quality which made it very attractive. It was in particular this last quality which affected people very powerfully, and which caused them to comment that these meetings were the best they had ever been to or that they had experienced the best few days of their lives. As this was a quality which was experienced in people’s feelings, it was not easy to describe its impact in words. It was however fair to say that there was a wide variation in the degrees of intensity with which this experience was felt. In order to look at the outer aspect of what we experienced, I began by investigating a number of scientific disciplines. These included social neuroscience, cognitive neuroscience, social psychology, psychiatry, sociology, philosophy as well as environmental studies. Starting from a medical and biochemical viewpoint, I found it useful to look at the work of von Ditfurth and Vester. Hoimar von Ditfurth was a German physician and writer who fought ceaselessly against superstition, pseudo-science and a purely creationist and anthropocentric worldview. In his book, Der Geist fiel nicht vom Himmel, (The Spirit did not fall from Heaven), he emphasises the long evolutionary development of the brain and of consciousness, and explains that right at the beginning of life, every living cell already possesses the three most important characteristics of viable, intelligent life: differentiation, evaluation and choice. To prevent its inner structure being destroyed by the general chaos of the world outside, the cell admits only what is necessary for

its own survival; it does this by means of a semi-permeable covering membrane which allows both protection and adequate interaction with the outside world. It possesses its own intelligence and it knows what is good for it. Similarly therefore every human egg cell and consequently every human being possess an innate intelligence that knows what is good for it. Human beings have a structure which is infinitely more complex than that of a single cell, our skin being like the semipermeable membrane which has devolved into our five senses, yet the basic principle underlying organic life remains the same - direct intelligent interaction with the world allows our progressive development to follow its determined plan. In his book Leitmotiv vernetztes Denken, (Guidelines of Connective Thinking), the German biochemist and author Frederic Vester points out that 'connective thinking' as a way to solving our problems cannot be taught. It happens spontaneously when all our inner structures, from intuition to formal thinking, have come to life and are inwardly connected with a constantly flowing contact. This is only possible through direct interaction with an environment which acknowledges the need for autonomy and spontaneous action as well as actively reinforcing the opportunities for them. Vester also pointed out the consequences of fear, in that in nature, when fear is present, the creature is geared up to act and not to think – so that a fearful environment limits thinking of any kind. Next, I discovered the field of neuro-cardiology, which is one of the newest areas of study in medicine. While most information in this area comes from pathological studies, whereas our interest is in healthy individuals, nevertheless more and more data is being gathered about the so called heartbrain14 and the intelligence of the heart. In this field, the proposition can be put forward that the heart is not just a muscle or a pump but also a sense organ. The

heart can therefore be regarded as an extensive nervous system with a sophisticated information-processing capability such as to justify the word heart-brain. It seems that over sixty percent of the cells of the heart are actually neural cells, not muscle cells as was previously believed. These cells are identical to the neural cells in the brain. In addition, the heart produces around two and a half watts of electrical energy with each pulse, creating an electromagnetic-type field which can extend outwards to nearly ten metres from the person. This field is of the same nature as the field in our bodies which carry information around the body and brain to create our perception of the world around us. If thirty people sit in a circle whose radius is less than ten metres, as was always the case with our meetings, then their heart-generated fields have a possibility of overlapping and potentially creating a networked-being, which precisely describes the observation of many people at these events. Even if the circle were to be much larger, this overlap of fields would link those sitting next to each other to similar effect. When I heard about these neurocardiological findings, my mind returned to an experience I had when I was in my early twenties. I had graduated from University and not knowing what to do - I went off to Switzerland where I found temporary work. I was at a stage in my life when I was seeking answers to life’s most basic questions, why was I here? Why was the world here? I had read many philosophies and dozens of books – despite which my mind was burdened and I could hardly sleep with so many thoughts chasing each other through my mind. I became very depressed and getting up each day was a triumph in itself – nothing about my knowledge of the world made sense, all my science and learning appeared to be a pointless waste of time. It was a typical existential nightmare. After weeks of this, I realised that feeding these thoughts,

although an automatic process over which I had no control – was taking most of my energy so that every normal act was made complex and a burden to me. Suddenly, I felt that ‘enough was enough’ and I’d have no more of this lunacy. I went out into the forest in an attitude of pure rage against my own stupidity and to my amazement this rage seemed to provide enough energy to enable a quantum leap in my understanding to occur – and in a split second I had the strange and unexpected experience of my awareness moving from my head to my heart. In the same instant, my thoughts appeared to return to where they belonged, and I felt a wonderful peace, stillness and tranquillity – for the first time in many months. This peace has never left me. It was only now, with an understanding of the properties of the brain and of the heart that I could make sense of the change which occurred on that day. Indeed, during the writing of this book I met a young man who related a very similar experience which he had just had, which had also made a profound impression on him, as he had always depended on his logical, thinking mind to relate to the world. I suspect that this awakening of the awareness of this heart-centeredness is a relatively common experience. From my subsequent observation, perception by means of the heart-brain is very different from the thinking which is the rightful province of the higher parts of the brain. Antoine de Saint-Exupéry had some insight into this phenomenon when he wrote: ‘And now here is my secret, a very simple secret. It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye15’. The brain mind deals with logic, rationality, outcome, control, while the heart mind deals with intuition, systems, process and collective aspects. The heart mind however knows what is good for you and what is not good and therefore makes

a choice based on that knowledge. This confirms von Ditfurth’s findings that every cell and therefore every human organism knows what is good for it and chooses accordingly. Former London University professor John Macmurray was also convinced that it was a failure to distinguish between reason and emotion which had led to the false impression that the emotional life was irrational, and should therefore be neglected, which in turn led people into being 'emotionally undeveloped'16. He said, 'Only real people can be free', and, 'To live freely is to be responsible for one's own life; and everything in us that seeks to shirk that responsibility fights against freedom'. Dutch biophotonics researcher Dr Johan Boswinkel17 relates that after having seen many thousands of patients, he came to the conclusion that the real origin of all stress lies in the disharmony between heart and brain; in other words a conflict between feeling and thinking. This conflict is caused by an overemphasis of the rational thinking of our brain such that we neglect our feelings, i.e. the subtle impulses of the heart. If we really are able to balance the working of these two brain-systems in ourselves, allowing our hearts to see rightly or to discern truth and to feel what is good for us as well as allowing our heads to analyse and to rationalize what our hearts tell us – then the fulfilment and meaning which we experienced in our groups arises and informs our subsequent actions. This whole area of heart-experiencing, within the context of our groups – is one which it seems we are only at the beginning of our understanding. It opens out a potentially very fruitful field for scientific enquiry and research, perhaps enabling us to really understand the nature of man and how our consciousness operates. More than that, it allows us to look into that part of man which until now seemed impossible to

look at dispassionately – the world of meaning which hitherto has been the realm of myth, superstition and religion. Next, I needed to examine the way in which human beings behave in groups, to look at what was currently understood in this field - in order to see how these findings could go further in explaining our recent experience. Human group behaviour has been long studied, notably by Gustave LeBon in France at the end of the 19th century in his La psychologie des foules (The psychology of crowds). LeBon in turn influenced Sigmund Freud who wrote Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse (Group Psychology and the Analysis of the Ego). Subsequently in England Wilfred Trotter, a British surgeon wrote Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, while his pupil Wilfred Bion wrote Experiences in Groups. Starting at the most undifferentiated level of groups, the behaviour of a motley or random crowd can be described as herd behaviour - the phenomena of large numbers of people acting in the same way at the same time. Although often leaderless, such a crowd often finds a spontaneous leader who responds emotionally to the mood of the crowd. In such cases any awareness of individuality or personal uniqueness is swamped by an emotionality which can have quite dangerous and destructive consequences - mobs and riots which can even topple governments – often with justification. What determines the behaviour of such groups is that they are moved and directed by forces below the level of awareness – emotional euphoria influences these people so that their critical awareness is temporarily disabled – in other words they become unable to respond responsibly – they become irresponsible. An intentional leaderless group however, coming together voluntarily to achieve a common goal, which is the kind of group we are dealing with, at its best displays the other

extreme, a group of people clearly aware of their uniqueness and individuality – and therefore acting from that individual awareness. Members of such a group, while aware of emotional factors, remain unaffected by them and therefore able to respond – they are and remain responsible. However, as with any group – emotional factors never fail to influence the members, therefore it becomes vital to understand the way in which these factors operate. In a group with a leader, he or she has the authority to impose order, which merely sweeps the emotional factors under the carpet – while in a leaderless group the emphasis is on understanding and therefore using these emotional factors to good effect. It is important to emphasise the way in which effective decisions are made in such a group. Awareness of what needs to be done comes from the heart-brain, while how things are to be done is decided by the head-brain, so balanced effective decisions are always informed by the heart-brain - which thinks in social, co-operative and systemic terms. One of the first people to work with non-hierarchical groups was Wilfred Bion, a British psychiatrist and pioneer in group dynamics; his book Experiences in Groups, explains his basic ideas. Particularly important was his work with nonmoderated or leaderless groups. Bion always pointed to the unknown in group processes, and looked for the unexpected to occur. He observed what he called the three basic assumptions unconsciously motivated behaviours in groups: dependency, fight/flight and pair-formation. Bion was well aware of how not to be a leader and once remarked to an agitated member of a group ‘I don’t understand why you are so angry with me – I wasn’t trying to help you!’ In the 1960s, the American psychologist Bruce Tuckman developed a four-stage model to describe the group process, calling the stages forming, storming, norming and performing.

In the forming stage the members get to know one another and form as a group. The storming stage includes a chaotic vying for leadership and a testing out of group processes. By the norming stage eventual agreement is reached on how the group will operate. Once the performing stage is reached, the group practices its joint expertise and becomes effective in meeting its objectives. Around ten years after presenting this model, Tuckman added a fifth stage, which he called adjourning – which included the process of un-forming the group, letting go of the group structure and moving on. The American psychiatrist M. Scott Peck proposed a similar four-stage process in his book The Different Drum, which he found applicable even to much larger groups. In this work Scott Peck identifies the four stages of development within a group towards an ideal which he calls community. If a group is in a state of a community in this context, then communication between its members is direct, authentic and highly efficient. He thus identifies the four stages through which a group of people who are aiming to form themselves into a community need to pass. The first stage he calls pseudo-community which can be likened to the polite but insincere communication at a cocktail party. This stage is characterized by the hiding of real feelings and emotions for the sake of order and lack of embarrassment. It is interesting to note that this stage is the normal and expected way of being and behaving for most employees in organizations. This creates an ordered environment but one which denies the reality of most people’s lives, and which leads to the boredom and lack of stimulation which most work environments engender. According to Frithjof Bergmann, such environments often lead to employees experiencing their work as a ‘mild illness’18.

If a group then goes beyond the polite communication stage, genuine feelings begin to emerge and a chaotic stage emerges which Scott Peck refers to as ‘chaos’. This is the most difficult stage because in such a stage people begin to feel very uncomfortable and try many stratagems to avoid their discomfort. Most commonly they suggest that the group splits into smaller working groups (if the group was to split, then that is the end of the process and no community can develop). Suggestions may also be made that people take a break, anything to get away from the discomfort of genuine feelings being seen in themselves and in others. Assuming that the majority understand that the group is aiming for a goal that has nothing to do with solving convergent problems (where small groups might be useful), then the group can overcome this phase and move on to the next phase which Scott Peck calls ‘emptiness’. In this phase all energy seems to have disappeared, battles have been fought; there is just a general quietness and a feeling of expectation. The final stage of ‘community’, lies beyond the ‘emptiness’, in which the members of the group feel themselves to be secure, a high level of trust can be felt, and communication becomes direct, authentic and spontaneous. Only one person speaks at once while others listen with respect, and it appears that each person seems to be speaking for the group as a whole. I myself attended one of Scott Peck’s workshops in Dartington in England at which around two hundred participants met over a long weekend. My experience confirmed what I had read in his books and showed me the enormous value of a group of people all working consciously for a common aim. I observed all four of the stages in this process, and how in practice the group constantly moves between them, never

settling down long in any particular stage. Indeed, during the seven global meetings I was able to observe all four of these stages, often several at once, but in every case the fourth stage was the one which was most commonly settled into, and which proved to be the most productive. Certainly, there are many models of organizational behavior, but of the three outlined here, only Bion worked with leaderless groups, of which one of the best examples comes from the world of music. The Orpheus Chamber Orchestra of New York19 is an orchestra which works without a conductor; it has developed a unique style of collaborative leadership in which the musicians interpret the score – not a conductor. As well as performing, the musicians advise management classes in how to work in a leaderless way. They explain that their way of working produces a unique atmosphere, an atmosphere which unleashes the talent, vision and leadership of each individual. It is perhaps this atmosphere, or environment which is most significant in any new model, and it may be best to describe the work done in the application of the model as the creation of a prepared environment. Essentially, the work that our little group did in the organizing of our seven meetings was the design, organization and creation of such a prepared environment. To look at the reasons as to why such an environment is so important, it would be useful to examine in more detail at environmental influences on human beings. The example which Henrietta had given us at La Source, of the Peckham Centre in the UK, clearly showed the positive effects on health of an intelligently prepared environment, and the Summerhill School, also in the UK provides an example of the effect of such an environment on education. A. S. Neill founded Summerhill on the basis that children

should not be compelled to attend lessons, and its success in providing a happy environment for children and producing well-balanced men and women stands as a continuing proof of Neill's notion that the function of the child is to live his own life – not the life that his anxious parents think he should live, nor a life according to the purpose of the educator who thinks he knows best. Needless to say, as in the health services, such an educational approach was not understood by central government authorities and Summerhill is still the most inspected school in the UK! Incidentally, Neill had an interesting opinion of leaders, saying that he would be very disappointed if a pupil of Summerhill were to go on to become Prime Minister, as he would feel that he had failed. Another very successful model of a prepared environment can be seen in the work of Emmi Pikler. In 1946 the Hungarian paediatrician Emmi Pikler founded an institute for orphans in Budapest, where her requirement was to give children individualized attention with only a limited number of carers. Out of this requirement, she was able to develop a very sophisticated model, based on her profound understanding of the real needs of babies and young children. A main aspect of this model concerns itself with the structuring of time, in particular the need to allocate distinct amounts of time to two different kinds of needs; thereby clearly structuring time and space. On the one hand there is the fundamental need for security in the baby’s relationship with adults, which is expressed through an atmosphere of full attention, complete acceptance and safety during all times of adult care. These are times in which the adult fulfils the needs which the child at that age is not yet able to fulfil and for which it is therefore completely dependent upon adults, for example eating, washing and dressing at a very early age. In all the adult’s

actions in those times of care it is thus vital to approach the baby with an attitude of sensitivity and respect, telling him what you intend to do and so give him a chance to respond and to agree, so that by assuming that he is competent and involve him in his own care you create an atmosphere of co-operation. On the other hand there is also the need to play, to discover the world, to learn how to use the body and develop motor and sensomotor capabilities. Pikler’s understanding was that babies, even those newly born, are competent individuals with their own time schedules and agendas and that each of them has an innate sense of what is good for them and how they best learn individually with complete autonomy and independence from the adult. Thus in her system the baby is given plenty of physical freedom in a safe environment structured for a certain age - and development is never forced. A child who achieves something by means of its own experimentation – thereby gains a very different kind of knowledge than one who is given a ready-made solution. The idea is to refrain from teaching skills and activities which under suitable conditions will evolve through the child's own initiative and independent activity. So for example, while learning to turn onto the belly, to roll, creep, sit, stand and walk, the baby is not only learning those movements but also learning how to learn. He learns to do something on his own, to be interested, to try out and to experiment – thereby learning how to overcome difficulties and how to solve his own problems. He comes to know the joy and satisfaction which is derived from this success, the result of his patience and persistence. At the institute babies participate in their own dressing, feeding and bathing and are never put into a position which they couldn't get into themselves - for example, they are not propped up to sit and their hands are not held to be walked.

A WHO study between 1968 and 1970, which looked at 1323 year-olds who had been brought up as orphans in Pikler’s institute, showed no difference in self-confidence and behaviour from their contemporaries brought up in normal families. Pikler’s work again showed how important it is to prepare an appropriate, stress and interference-free environment in order for individuals to be allowed to develop fully at their own pace and that there is no minimum age for this requirement. Perhaps one of the best examples of the creation and farreaching consequences of prepared environments in the educational field today can be seen in the work of Rebeca and Mauricio Wild. The Wilds started a kindergarten in Ecuador in the 1960s, which developed into a non-directive active school and more recently into centres of autonomous activities in which adults and children learn, work and live together. Reading their work is very inspiring, and shows how through their courage and dedication they have been able to create truly authentic environments for human beings in which they feel respected and are able to give fully of themselves in a process of constant learning and growth. Their work is truly original, and although it is being carried out in a small third-world country amongst some of the least privileged of its inhabitants, through their books (mainly in Spanish and German) it has reached a wider audience. E.g. there are now a number of active schools which were inspired by the Wild model in Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Spain. These schools provide a learning environment where there is no direct teaching and yet there is profound learning in a far more efficient way than is seen in traditional schools. I attended a meeting with Mauricio and Rebeca Wild in

Germany in June 2007 at which they emphasized that no matter how good a school may be, it is still a ‘zoo’, in so far as it is separated from the community, and hence their emphasis today is on the Cepas, or centres for autonomous activities, in which, children, parents and others are integrated into the local economy. The Cepas centres are a bold experiment which seems to be showing the way in which an appropriate working environment can generate unexpected results. Following an economic crisis in Ecuador in the year 2000, the national currency, the Sucre, was abolished and replaced with the US dollar. This had very serious consequences for most of the population who no longer had adequate access to these dollars. In response to the great financial difficulties in which the parents of the children in the Wild’s school found themselves, Rebeca and Mauricio conceived an alternative currency which they called the Sintral. This developed into the present form of this currency called Ecosimia (a shortened form of ‘El ecosistema es responsilidad mia’, – ‘The ecosystem is my own responsibility’. Today there are already about one hundred and forty such groups in Ecuador, forming a country-wide trading network, using Ecosimia as their means of exchange. In this way the currency somewhat resembles the many LETS (Local Exchange Trading System) existing around the world. Many Ecosimia members however, have observed that a change in trading relationships as a result of using this currency represents only one side of their experience. They also discovered that a transformation occurs which is intimately linked with the use of such a currency, one which brings with it a new sense of responsibility: for one’s own health and development, for family relationships and for children’s education. Even cultural aspects between people appear to be fundamentally changed through the use of Ecosimia, including

for example spontaneous co-operation between women and men. This transformation even extends to the environment, profoundly affecting the way in which people deal with nature – by increasing their awareness of the way in which the material, vegetable, animal and human levels enable us to live on this planet. Despite the work of the Wilds being still at an experimental stage, its benefits are already beginning to be felt beyond the Cepas groups in Ecuador. The parallels of the Wilds’ work with our model were many, not least that a new alternative global currency was mooted at the Cape Town meeting, a kind of global Ecosimia. The Wilds experience showed that human beings discover a meaning to their lives by understanding what is their own unique contribution to the world – something which is most commonly expressed in terms of their work; and that this meaning can be most easily found by working together with others in harmonious groups where mutual respect is guaranteed by a system which explicitly acknowledges equality through a leaderless group structure. Rebeca Wild, like Emmi Pikler and Hoimar von Ditfurth, maintains that every child has within itself an inner life plan. This plan is like a seed which contains within it all of the latent capabilities of that child, and what is required for these capabilities to become manifest is an appropriate supportive environment. Such an environment permits them to make decisions and to choose activities which are in accordance with the inner life-plan and feeling. It is the same for every adult, their inner life plan is always active, and they also need an appropriate environment to allow their talents and true human potential to develop and bear fruit. In this way human beings can learn to understand their human nature, and if they can use this understanding to

develop their unique talents fully in their life, then it can be said that they achieve their natural potential or destiny. The psychologist Eric Berne talked of every human being having a life script, which is unconsciously written before about the age of six - rather like a film script in which the child plays out the role which he has written for himself. Because this life script is determined by the experienced prevailing environment in which the child grows up, which is very often far from the ideal supportive environment as outlined by Rebeca Wild; the adult suffers a fate in which he experiences many difficulties and in most cases never reaches his potential. People who discover their uniqueness and are able to follow it in their working lives inevitably suffer much less stress and illness than those who are forced to conform to external rules which limit and constrain the enfolding of their inner life plan. However it is never too late to change a life script - this is in any event the avowed aim of many therapeutic systems, and an appropriate prepared environment allows for change and script reassessment and rewriting to occur. Prepared environments such as the ones developed by the Wilds genuinely foster an understanding and an acceptance of individual responsibility, and their example is particularly relevant because theirs is also a truly leaderless model. Another way of looking at prepared environments is in terms of systems, and perhaps the most prominent exponent of the value, nature and design of systems in organizations was J. Edwards Deming. Dr. Deming was an American statistician, who is credited with being the one man who put Japanese industry on its feet to make it a by-word for quality. Dr. Deming was invited to a meeting of Japanese industrialists in the 1950s where he told them that at that time ‘made in Japan’ meant ‘cheap rubbish’

throughout the world. He also said that if they listen to him they can change that and produce quality. They asked ‘how long will it take?’ and he said ‘five years’, however they listened to him seriously and implemented his methods thus achieving quality production in four years – and today Japan remains unsurpassed as a nation producing quality goods. Deming created what he called The Deming System of Profound Knowledge, which he said can be applied in any organization to achieve real quality. He emphasized that if there are failures or faults in any organization, then they are the fault of the system and not of any individual within it, implying that management – those who manage the system - bear most of the responsibility for failures or poor results – blaming operatives or employees is entirely inappropriate. From an understanding of Deming’s work it should therefore be possible to create a system of quality for any organization – by building in his understanding of the value of systems into the organizational model. Quality in this context means the fulfilment of a number of criteria – job satisfaction, including integration of the job with the needs of home and family life – ecological consideration, meaning caring for the environmental effects of the enterprise, and financial effectiveness of a kind exceeding the norms of best-practice. The meeting of these criteria requires to be built-in to the design. Most succinctly, Deming put forward fourteen points as a basis for the transformation of industry. In looking at these points, although some deal specifically with manufacturing industry, I realized that most of them, particularly driving out fear, instituting leadership in all and breaking down barriers between departments are implicitly covered by our prepared environment. The basic contract between an employee and an employer

is one between unequal parties, because the employer makes the rules to suit his aims and his organization, and the employee needs to fit in to an environment which exists to serve other ends than his own needs. Eric Berne in his book The Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups, explained how this operates in terms of his theory of psychological games. He emphasizes that in any unequal social arrangement, there is an avoidance of responsibility on both sides, normally the employer accepting too much responsibility and the employee too little. This leads to a constant loss of energy by both parties, leading to the ‘mild illness’ as described by Bergmann, which in practice is experienced as frustration and sickness which is so often explained as due to work-related stress. Professor Michael Marmot, commissioner of the WHO’s Commission on Social Determinants of Health, conducted a fascinating study of British civil servants, in a number of phases from 1985 – called the Whitehall II study. His study showed that the most stress is felt by those on the lowest levels of the hierarchy who have the least responsibility, while the least stress was felt by those at the top with the most responsibility. An inescapable conclusion from the study is that it is the level of control people have over their work, particularly the freedom to make decisions based on their intuition, and to find meaning in the work which leads to job satisfaction and minimizes stress and therefore the ‘mild illness’. Such freedom is far more limited or indeed absent at the lowest level of the hierarchy. After looking at all of this evidence from so many different sources in order to enable me to better understand the nature of the model which I was developing, I wondered if there were any other organizations, besides the active schools and the Cepas, which were using any elements of this model, or indeed if any were taking note of the importance of a prepared environment.

Occasionally I came across attempts to tinker with organizational structures, such as those in the many cooperatives or socially-minded undertakings, and yet after further investigation I realized that the environments were not substantially different from those prevalent in standard command-and-control organizations. One example of a model in which the negative effects of traditional structures were clearly seen and an attempt was made to make a real change was a company in Brazil called Semco. Even today Semco stands out as a lone-model of a highly successful large enterprise in which the hierarchical commandand-control model has been largely abolished. This has led to a highly flexible and very efficient enterprise which displays many features of a cleverly designed prepared environment. Indeed in Brazil when graduates from universities are asked who they would best like to work for, Semco invariably comes at the top of their list. Semco’s owner, Ricardo Semler, wrote about his experiences in a book called Maverick: The Success Story Behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace, from which it was clear to me how he was able to achieve a healthy working environment without a rigid structure getting in the way. Semler was able to create a remarkable transformation in a hide-bound traditional company because he had been given full freedom by his retiring father to do with the firm as he wished. Not only did he have complete power in the enterprise, but he had an irreverent attitude presumably stemming from his early passion for rock music. This enabled him to organize the company for the benefit of all who worked there rather than for the benefit of a particular group of owners. Abolishing the corporate hierarchy and bureaucratic rules at Semco created a firm of equals where any of the firm's three thousand factory employees can examine the books and

decisions are voted on by all. Indeed, if an employee doesn't have the knowledge to understand the accounts, free courses are provided. Not surprisingly perhaps, Semco seems to stand alone amongst substantial organizations in loosening-up oldestablished ways of working and working towards more relaxed, prepared environments. The success of Semco, an industrial manufacturing company, provides an unassailable argument against those who claim that abolishing hierarchies can only possibly work in knowledge-based organizations. Another well-understood model is consensus management, which some may think has parallels with our model. In consensus management, proposals must be found which are acceptable enough for all members to support, and the role of a manager is still present, except instead of making decisions the manager attempts to empower others to do the decision making. In reality the two models could hardly be more different, firstly because consensus management takes place within a well-defined, necessarily hierarchical powerstructure in which an attempt is made to reach consensus – generally a very time-consuming procedure. Secondly consensus does not scale, it is far too cumbersome a method for regular use in decision-making. Finally, I looked at a variety of co-operative organizational models and while all of them have their own rigidities, their emphasis on co-operative ownership, self-help and equality may make them amenable to management via our model.

Chapter 14

The Global Enterprise Model

‘People are not disturbed by things, but by the view they take of them’ EPICTETUS

My starting points therefore in beginning to design the model are an understanding of how human beings behave in non-hierarchical, leaderless groups and the properties and requirements of a prepared environment. In looking in more detail at how we structured our meetings, a number of important details began to stand out. Our sessions were always open to include unexpected participants, who were always actively welcomed; we always observed a balance of genders and we started and finished each session with a few minutes of quietness. George had recommended that we observe these quiet periods as session delimiters, but the reason why this was so important was only made clear to me upon further reading of the works of Alfred Korzybski, which I had at first discovered during the meeting at La Source. Korzybski suggests that we approach everything with an attitude of ‘I don't know; let's see,’ to better discover or reflect reality as shown by modern science, and to get used to the importance of nonverbal experiencing of our inner and outer environment. One of these techniques is to

become inwardly and outwardly quiet, an experience that he called, ‘silence on the objective levels’, in order to get beyond the barriers to communication caused by mistaking words for the things they represent. While this reason for the quiet period, normally two to three minutes, was never explained - it was always well received and served to focus people’s attention on the here and now. Bearing in mind the four-stage models of group dynamics, this quiet period served to quickly shift focus from stage one onto the other stages, and there were always a number of mature, thoughtful individuals who appeared able to carry an awareness of the quiet and its emphasis on getting beyond words easily and directly to stage four. As part of the prepared environment, chairs were always arranged in a circle, with nothing at its centre, an arrangement which fosters a feeling of equality. The importance of timing each session precisely, and of ensuring that each participant was aware that sessions were not open-ended, was further backed up by understanding Korzybski’s work. Korzybski characterized animals as beings which bind the dimension of space, in that they are territorial, while he characterized humans as beings which bind time, in that we have access to the knowledge, information and experiences of all of the human beings who came before us, so that we start our lives with a built-in time-bound advantage, which animals do not have. Hence the way we use time effectively is a measure of our human rather than animal nature, and an acknowledgement of the profound importance of how we use time in our sessions, by putting limits to it, or binding it consciously, is another vital detail of our model. Similarly to Korzybski, the physicist David Bohm recognized that the almost universal habit of human beings of

taking the content of their thought as a description of the world as it is, does not accord with reality as it is, and causes us to view the world as fragmented, rather than as a whole - which is nearer to reality. As a quantum scientist, Bohm was very well aware of the effects which an observer has on matter at a quantum level as it is being observed. Whereas a clear delimiting of the sessions is essential to a proper functioning of the model – an additional element which has the potential of making the sessions highly effective in organizations is the addition of information systems – systems which facilitate open communication and serve to keep a record of sessions. Towards the end of 2004, a few weeks after the meeting in Lithuania, I was asked to advise a small company near London about its technology and systems. The company had developed an interactive technology, comprising small hand-held computers and some clever software, linked via wireless to systems which controlled presentations at conferences. Delegates using these systems could ask questions and receive answers by tapping on their screens, and thus interact with conference speakers in real time. An interesting if somewhat controversial feature of these systems was that delegates could ask questions anonymously, giving them the courage they needed to ask pointed or sensitive questions – in the full view of all – to the potential embarrassment of their senior management. On one occasion the systems were deployed by an international firm of management consultants working for an oil company in the field somewhere in the Middle East. The oil company employees who were in the audience, in full view of the consultants and oil company executives - pointedly asked the question ‘we, the oil company gave you the consultants five million dollars – what have you been doing to justify this

expense?’ This was followed by an embarrassed silence; needless to say future conferences were run without the interactive system. During the Badger meeting, a number of computer experts had put together an ad-hoc information system which would foster openness and transparency, and now I could see that if we were to bring together the interactivity of the hand-held system with the information access of the system which we had thrown together at Badger, and run the system on laptop computers – then we would have a truly powerful medium to facilitate communication in organizations. Thus I arranged for the development of such a system on my return from the Ukraine, which I named the GEM (Global Enterprise Model) communication platform. The GEM communication platform is a web-based system whereby participants can ask questions, send comments and provide answers. This is done anonymously to allow for direct communication unfettered by potential fears of overstepping the unwritten cultural rules of the organization. Each question is subsequently voted on to judge whether it has been answered to everyone’s satisfaction – in which case it is archived – or otherwise it stays on the system and appears at each session until satisfactorily dealt with. The system also serves as a record of matters discussed and of decisions taken during sessions. With the inclusion of this laptop-based system, the developing model was now beginning to be workable. Finally then, with the integration of the results of my travels and the subsequent research into group dynamics, prepared environments and information systems, I was in a position to put together the first draft of the Global Enterprise Model, or GEM. In this model, the management of an organization is the responsibility of a team. All of the functions which were previously carried out by named managers such as

CEOs and CFOs become the responsibility of the whole group. The team meet as equals with no member having any authority over any other member. Responsibility and accountability for decision-making is jointly shared by all. As has been shown, the key factors of this model are openness of communication, transparency of information and – crucially – a balance of genders. The balance of genders means that in practice the management group comprises more or less equal numbers of men and women members. This allows for the influence of the uniquely feminine aspect to be recognized and integrated within the model, yielding an effect and an influence which is characterized as being neither the male yang energy or the female yin energy nor a blend of the two but a unique third quality which is able to call upon all of the resources of the human qualities within the group. In practice because of the generally male-dominated nature of commercial organizations it may be difficult to meet this criterion of gender balance without augmentation of the teams by women. Interestingly enough post-industrial societies tend to have an oversupply of highly-qualified women who would be only too willing to work in organizations provided that the management model would respect their contribution on their own terms in the way which is implicit in the GEM. Because the only demand on people’s time in this model is the attendance at regular meetings – how and where they carry out their respective tasks is up to each individual – such a model becomes highly attractive to women with young children who need such working-time flexibility. Bearing in mind that according to a 2007 study from the European Professional Women's Network and the consultancy firm Mercer, women take up just over eight per cent of seats in the corporate boardrooms of Europe’s largest three hundred companies,

something like this new structure would be needed if the balance is to be restored in any meaningful way. Norway is an exception here – as government legislation there enforces greater gender equality. The main organ of management is the GEM session, being a regular meeting lasting no more than ninety minutes at which all management decisions are made. During the session there is no moderator or facilitator, and all participants are responsible for themselves and their contributions to the meeting as well as the proceeding of the meeting. The start time and end time of the session is agreed beforehand, and either a timekeeper is appointed or an electronic timer with a countdown display in minutes is used, visible for all to see. At the beginning all participants attempt to reach ‘Silence on the Objective Levels’, in order to get beyond the barriers to communication caused by mistaking words for the things they represent. Normally no more than two to three minutes is required for this. During the session each participant has a laptop at his or her disposal, linked to the organization’s information system through which all information relating to the organization is accessible. Many organizations lack the necessary sophistication to permit relatively easy access to their data in a form intelligible to all – and this often forms an essential and ongoing requirement to be discussed. The laptops also enable participants to use the web-based GEM Communication Platform which serves as a record of items discussed and of decisions taken. After the elapse of session time, a further period of ‘Silence on the Objective Levels’ needs to be observed. A consequence of this way of working is that the team

begins to act as a single organism in which no barriers are placed to individual contributions – recognizing the reality that in traditional organizations it is precisely the leaders who – however unintentionally – place these barriers in the way of their team members. This illustrates the reality of the leadership delusion. In our experience this way of working gives rise to a particular feeling or common understanding which cannot be described, but has to be experienced. Organizations which use this model may find that its effects will trickle down to all parts of the enterprise and in a remarkably short time, lead to profound changes accompanied by an increase of well-being, a decrease of stress amongst employees – and ultimately a more efficient, forward-looking and integral organization. Inevitably, as the process continues, in the absence of a leader, the boundaries between management and employees may blur, and more and more of the organization’s personnel will be included in the practice of the GEM. In a modern knowledge-based organization this may lead to all of its members sharing management in an extended GEM to the benefit of all. Although we had had up to fifty participants at our meetings, Scott Peck showed that many hundreds could be accommodated using his model – the only limitations being the size of meeting-place and the availability of a suitable public-address system. In view of our experience that we generally had between twenty and fifty members, I suspect that there is probably a critical mass of above thirty, and forty would perhaps be ideal. It is interesting to note from the first chapter of this book, that many thousands of years ago when human beings were still hunter-gatherers, they moved around in groups of up to forty members organized in a leaderless way, so there may perhaps

be an atavistic reason for this critical mass. As a GEM group operates in an atmosphere of true equality with all enterprise data being available to all at all times and with open communication systemically required, very quickly members begin to realize that each member’s contribution is of value – even that of frequently silent members. This inevitably has to lead to a fairness of remuneration. I expect that this last point may prove difficult to implement – but it must be implicit in such a model otherwise unnecessary tensions will arise which can only be solved by the implementation of fair pay. It is often thought that money is an appropriate motivator for leadership, and indeed that it is necessary to pay leaders way above the levels of pay of others – pay levels being seen as an appropriate reward for competence. In my experience this is entirely a matter of perception. When I joined a large management consultancy in my twenties, I was with a group of new intakes who had virtually zero experience of management consultancy – we had been hired because we were seen to be bright graduates who could easily fit into a successful system – our employer understood well that a cleverly-designed system does not require people with a high degree of specific skill to successfully run it. From our first day on the job, our time was billed to the client at exactly the same rate as top consultants, thousands of pounds per man-week. As a result we were treated with an awe and respect by client staff – and by their senior management – which in no way reflected our skills or abilities – the fact that we were each ‘earning’ thousands of pounds weekly – all paid for by the client – that mere fact confirmed their perception of us as ‘experts’, to be treated with respect and to take serious note of everything we said. During the 1990s there was an economic recession in the

UK, as a result of which many highly-qualified people, bankers, accountants, lawyers, senior managers and scientists were laid off and had to spend many months on the unemployment register. In response, the government tried a number of initiatives, including one in Cambridge with which I became involved. This initiative consisted of a two-week intensive course of really high-class lectures from business consultants, following which the participants were farmed out to local small and medium-sized enterprises as expert staff – in order to allow the firms to grow without the large expenses they would normally need to spend on high-salaried executives. The experts continued to receive their unemployment benefits plus an additional ten pounds weekly – which their new employer had to pay. On talking to some of these experts I was surprised to find that rather than being treated with the respect and deference one could have expected such people to receive, they were treated like office-boys, consigned to dingy offices without the proper facilities which would have enabled them to work. They said that because they were costing their employer only ten pounds a week – they were being treated as though that is all that they were worth. With regard to pay therefore, perception is everything – while value for money is patently ignored. This same mechanism is seen time and time again, as CEOs of major companies are paid many times the average salary in their particular sector, not because they are worth it in any way – but merely to maintain the illusion – or as I maintain the delusion of leadership. As earnings differentials increase however, this perception is being questioned by politicians. ‘Why should someone be showered with money when he has failed all the way down the line?’ Angela Merkel20, German chancellor, asked in 2007 in a sharp attack on the triple-digit-million rewards for failure handed out

to Wall Street bankers. She was also concerned at the rising inequalities of earnings in Germany, despite it being far more egalitarian a country than the UK, where top-earners get fifty times the rewards of those at the bottom. A GEM style of running organizations seems to me to be a natural and free way for human beings to come together to carry out complex tasks such as the running of modern organizations. Natural because the group size and equality is in accordance with the way human beings have lived for the larger part of their history, free because the necessary trust engendered in operating the model gives each member true freedom to allocate his or her time to doing what is in accordance with their nature. It needs to be emphasized that organizations structured in accordance with the GEM model will require only that members attend GEM meetings, and it is up to them individually as to how they carry out their work – at home if they choose - and indeed how they structure their own time – because their effectiveness will be apparent to all on account of all knowledge being shared. The huge amounts of energy which organizations waste on controlling and monitoring their members will thus become available to be used positively in the pursuit of more appropriate goals. With the current ubiquity of broadband Internet, people working in knowledge-based industries – now the majority in developed countries - should be able to work wherever they want, only needing to come together in a central location for their GEM meetings – which may not even be required on a daily basis. Devices such as Cisco’s Telepresence already enable people in distant locations to see and hear each other via highdefinition screens in Internet technologies which make current video or teleconferencing systems look positively archaic.

Inevitably, wide adoption of GEM methodologies will lead to substantial changes such as lessening the need for office buildings and the creation of new kinds of business workspaces – all elements of twenty-first century business practice. These new workspaces promise to be quite different from the types of office space we see today – when irrespective of whether we are in London, San Francisco, Bangalore or Shanghai – we see predominantly rectangular buildings divided up into countless small rooms in which people work separated from one other. GEM enterprises will eventually come to re-design their office buildings to accommodate largely open spaces to emphasize openness and transparency, spaces designed to facilitate interaction and co-operation. The example of the Peckham Centre, with its purpose-built glass building for the fostering of health admirably serves to illustrate the value of such dedicated structures. In 1987 I was running an I.T. company which was one of the first tenants of the then newly-built St. John’s Innovation Centre in Cambridge. This was the first such centre in the UK, having been founded by St. John’s College, part of Cambridge University in order to create a supportive environment where technology transfer and innovation were to be encouraged, and tenant companies were to be assisted at a local, national and international level. One idea was that these tenant companies would interface with each other to produce resonances and synergies which would help create larger, more sophisticated enterprises. Central services such as accountancy, business consultancy and secretarial facilities were on offer by the Centre’s management to assist these aims. The reality which I observed there was however very different. Firstly, the design of the building – a long, rectangular steel and glass structure with offices on both sides of a narrow

corridor and small coffee-lounges on each floor, effectively tended to separate rather than to bring tenants together. Secondly, individual firms, often high-tech start-ups, had no wish to share their ideas and perceived secrets with other – potentially competing companies. The philosophy behind such innovation centres – and there are now many all over the world – is admirable in its aims – but unless it is based on an understanding of how people work in groups and what is the real nature and purpose of a prepared environment – particularly in a business context, then they will inevitably fail to fulfil their potential. It is precisely because the founders of the Peckham Centre had a well-researched and essentially holistic understanding of human beings that they were able to design and build a structure which admirably fulfilled its purpose – and was able to prove the point that human beings are naturally co-operative rather than competitive – a characteristic that can best flourish in an appropriately prepared environment. Recalling my visit to Granada at the start of my journeys, it occurred to me that the Alhambra represented a prepared environment in its day, built during a time of harmony between differing religious world-views, a harmony reflected in the purposeful design of a building which was perfectly suited to its functions.

Chapter 15

Human Beings and World-Views

‘Science cannot solve the ultimate mystery of nature. And that is because, in the last analysis, we ourselves are part of nature and therefore part of the mystery that we are trying to solve’. MAX PLANCK

If the GEM really is an appropriate model for all kinds of human organizations, one which fosters genuine respect and equality, then why is it that such a model has not as yet been adopted in the world? It seems to me that the answer lies in the nature of the prevailing world-view and the way in which that world-view portrays human beings, something which was touched on at our meeting in La Source. Each period of time appears to be dominated by a particular world-view, a view which appears to most rational people to represent an appropriate view of reality, while previous world-views appear outdated and indeed ‘wrong’. The world-view which informs and influences many of our institutions – is one which is based upon the values and beliefs which came out of the European Enlightenment. This prevailing world-view is inevitably the result of a wide range of influences, and can perhaps justifiably be called a rationalist-materialist or scientific-reductionist world-view.

While this view is slowly beginning to change, the way in which modern institutions have been designed and the way in which modern people think is inevitably deeply influenced by it. The most pernicious aspect of this world-view is the limited way in which it came to portray the nature of human beings – if not in any intentional way, but rather in the way the worldview gradually became generally understood. In the seventeenth century René Descartes introduced a philosophical framework for the natural sciences, followed by Isaac Newton, who described gravitation and formulated three laws of motion. His contemporary, Thomas Hobbes said: ‘the dispositions of men naturally are such that every man will distrust and dread each other’. A little later John Locke proclaimed that the mind at birth was a tabula rasa, or blank slate, and that people are born without innate ideas. These men influenced the European Enlightenment which ushered in a new age of rationalism – and because Descartes’ ideas struck a chord it became known as the Cartesian revolution. It was a world-view which emphasized reason and enabled the natural sciences to come into the foreground – where they have stayed ever since. Anything irrational was discarded or put into the same category as myth or religion, something which rational men really did not need in order to lead good and moral lives. At the start of the twentieth century, Sigmund Freud again struck a chord by opening up the idea of the unconscious mind – again it was not his idea – it had been considered by many before him – but Freud’s ideas accorded with the needs of the age and gained prominence. Whatever Freud actually said – his view that the unconscious is full of irrational dangers, primitive instincts which must be kept in check – was emphasised and in a way intensified the rational spirit of the age. On the other side of the coin, this apparently negative view of the unconscious spawned

a vast army of psychoanalysts and therapists concerning themselves with introspective investigation – mostly with uncertain results. This developed into various New Age practices and beliefs such as the Human Potential Movement – which in the end concerned itself with individual fulfilment and personal happiness rather than a wider, social view of the world. As ever, economic interests aligned themselves with whatever was the current world-view, and manufacturers supplied an ever-increasing array of products to meet the desires – if not the needs – of people increasingly concerned mainly with their individual well-being. This economic growth merely served to increase the power of the markets – so that even politicians realized that they had no control over these markets which determined exchange rates of currencies and therefore whole domestic economies. Today this has gone so far that no-one has control over these forces of materialism – neither central bankers nor government leaders – all have become slaves of the monster released by an inappropriate response to reality – based on an erroneous view of the nature of man. Thus this prevailing world-view, a consequence of the Cartesian age was merely exacerbated by the influence of ideas such as those of Freud. Similarly, Karl Marx was influenced by this world-view, and he spoke of this being a heartless world in which people foolishly needed to seek succour in irrational beliefs in order to find its heart. Marx could not have chosen a more apt metaphor, for his writings appeared to come straight from his logical mind – his heart-brain meanwhile seemed to have been switched off. During the years of the Cold War, the fact that the dangers we were facing was so great – we could destroy the whole world many times over – was well understood – as was the fact

that we understood human beings so imperfectly. This led to assuming that human beings were entirely untrustworthy – the worst possible case – an assumption that appeared understandable at the time due to the extreme potential dangers of nuclear war. This assumption, while certainly in accord with the ideas of Hobbes and Locke, was given mathematical certainty by the Nobel Prize winning American mathematician John Nash, and enshrined in what became known as the Nash Equilibrium, a theory of human behaviour which stated that you could create stability through suspicion and self-interest not only in the Cold War but through the whole of society. Nash worked at the Rand Corporation in the US, which was set up by the military in 1946 in order to assist US security, and carry out research to promote scientific and educational objectives. Amongst other achievements, Rand spawned some of the technologies which were incorporated into the Internet. In testing out Nash’s theory of human behaviour however, what appeared to work amongst research groups failed to work when secretaries were asked to carry out the tests – they exhibited trusting and co-operative behaviour rather than the expected lack of trust – and nobody seemed to realize that it was probably because they were women. Despite that, these narrow, limited ideas of the nature of human beings continued to inform and influence social and political thinking – leading to the implementation of systems of control based on that understanding. A management technique called systems analysis which could be applied to any type of human organization was also developed at Rand; its aim was to get rid of all the emotional and subjective values which were believed to confuse and corrupt human organizational systems and replace them with objective methods. This was a rational system based on numbers – mathematically measurable outcomes – aiming to

replace hierarchies with incentives to motivate self-interest and reward efficiency. Although these systems were implemented primarily in the public sector in the UK and the US, they were also applied in private-sector bureaucracies as they were seen to be exact and scientific. Science itself of course never stands still, and recent discoveries in human biology and genetics further served to confirm this limited and negative view of human beings. With the publication of books such as Richard Dawkins’ The Selfish Gene, science went further, and appeared to confirm the fact that human beings were nothing more than machines, whose existence served only to propagate their genes to allow evolutionary forces to work. One inevitable consequence of the work in particular of the biologists, was that human beings were seen to be just another animal species, one with a larger brain and clever hands – but nevertheless just an evolved ape. As a result of all of these influences over the past four hundred years, we are now at a very interesting point in the development of world-views, a point at which the view of man as a being which is almost mechanically determined by its genetic structure, a being which is motivated by self-interest and whose interests are best served by mistrusting fellow beings – such a view informs the basis of the prevailing worldview. It is precisely because human belief-systems are implicitly informed by this world-view that human organizations are as they are – and therefore systemically unable to meet the real needs of the individuals making up those organizations. It is not as if some malign persons in leadership positions deliberately attempted to foist what ultimately became a philosophy damaging to human beings onto organizations, the change has been gradual and only today its excesses are

becoming clear. Politicians for example, who pushed through these mathematical performance target reforms in the public sector really thought that they were acting in the best interests of those whose working lives they were influencing – they were merely oblivious to the philosophical background and thus the negative effects of their actions. In the same year that I was in Scuol, the book The Corporation - the pathological pursuit of profit and power appeared, in which the writer Joel Bakan makes the point that modern corporations are obliged by law to maximize profits above all other considerations, the effect of this obligation on their workers and the environment was often shown to be catastrophic. It is interesting to note that in the book it was concluded that corporations when analyzed as if they were individuals would be diagnosed as psychopathic. This correlates well with the findings of the new discipline of behavioural economics which studies how people really do behave. These studies show that only two groups of people behave in accordance with this negative, materialistic view of man - economists and psychopaths. It seems therefore that the logical conclusion of a worldview which emphasises rational, brain-centred thinking is a narrow, negative and erroneous view of human beings. With such a view, those who wield power, leaders of every sort, political, religious or business – have no option but to treat those they lead – or indeed govern – in a negative manner which in the worst cases can lead to coercion. This is exactly how the subjects of these leaders experience their fate – as a more or less ‘mild illness’. Certainly, while those in leadership positions would never openly admit to such attitudes or beliefs – the nature of such a negative view of man gives them no option – made worse by the delusion they are bound to suffer in believing that they themselves are above or

beyond such a negative model. Sadly, their everyday experience merely serves to confirm their beliefs that they are right and that they have to deal with ungrateful, narrow and self-centred subordinates. The longer each side stays in this belief-system, the harder the boundaries between them get and the worse the total environment becomes. It is important to emphasize however, that this narrow, negative view of human beings is an implicit, and therefore unconscious view, which makes it all the more pernicious, because virtually no-one is aware that such a view in reality determines much of their behaviour – it is too deeply embedded in the prevailing culture. However, there was another idea or set of ideas which long pre-dated Enlightenment views, ideas about which Plato was an exponent around the fourth century BC. In Plato’s view, the world consists of a temporal, physical world - which in itself is a living creature - and an eternal, perfect world of forms. At the start of the twentieth century, this idea was further developed in the work of Carl Jung. This was a holistic idea of man, in which the forces within the irrational, unconscious mind were seen not in a negative light – but as vital forces without which man’s life could never have an appropriate and satisfactory meaning. Jung acknowledged that Freud was a pioneer – he had opened a door to an unknown world – but he failed to understand the true significance of what lay beyond. I was always puzzled by the fact that I found Freud’s writings difficult, shallow and somehow unsatisfying – and even more surprised by his influence over the last century – however his biography shows him to have been a rather strange and ultimately tragic character, perhaps fitting for such a strange and tragic century on which his influence was so great. On the other hand I found Jung’s work to be very wide-

ranging and able to explain many things – he seemed to have a rare depth of erudition as well as a larger-than-life personality – which his writings – as well as film interviews confirm. Twelve years after Jung’s death, in 1973, I had just graduated and was travelling through Switzerland with my twin brother who was working there at the time – and we had picked up three young hitch-hikers on our journey. These were a Dutch couple, who were psycho-analysts and a rather taciturn mountaineer from New Zealand. We began to talk about Jung, and mentioned the fact that he had built a kind of medieval stone tower with his own hands, at Bollingen on the upper lake of Zürich. As we were in that area, we all agreed to try and find it – and eventually we managed to park on a parallel road from where we could see the tower across some fields. We clambered over gates and through the tall grass until we came upon Jung’s tower. We stood for a while looking at it – the windows were boarded up with yellow timbers and the door to the courtyard was firmly locked. ‘you guys wanna go in there?’ enquired our New Zealander, ‘sure’ we replied – at which point he niftily clambered over the wall and opened the door from the inside to let us into the courtyard. Inside, there was a stone parapet around the outside walls, on which were arranged carved objects, birds carved out of wood and painted, as well as oddly shaped stones – all neatly set out. Everything appeared to have been left exactly as if Jung had just popped out for a moment – nothing seemed to have been disturbed or altered. As the five of us stood there quietly in that courtyard we felt a great peace and tranquillity – none of us wanted to leave – I felt a timeless clarity and crispness - for me it felt as if Jung was someone who had attained his destiny – there was nothing which had been left behind to do. Jung seemed to have been a fearless explorer of the human mind beyond the rational, and what he discovered there was

not some frightening chaos of primordial dangers but a wellordered world with its own structures and relationships – all utterly different from the known outer world of material objects. Jung described a range of archetypes of the collective unconscious, which appeared to mirror Plato’s eternal world with its forms. In order to make this world known Jung turned to Alchemy with its deliberately obscure language – for the alchemists had investigated this hidden, inner world thoroughly in their day – and had to keep their work and findings away from the prying eyes of the all-powerful church authorities. Jung emphasized that we know virtually nothing of man with regard to this inner world, and it is this lack of knowledge which is the only real danger today – a time when we have unleashed powerful forces, such as nuclear weapons – whose use or not depends only on our understanding of human beings. While Jung considered that a study of alchemy could lead us to this necessary understanding of the true nature of human beings, their work is too obscure for modern man. What is needed today is a clear description of this inner world, with its forces and structures, in modern language suited to the needs and understanding of today. Such an understanding is sorely needed to complement the one-sidedness of the materialisticreductionist viewpoint, and is an understanding which can only serve to enrich both aspects – because only a holistic approach can get nearer to the truth. Our experience has been that the GEM environment provides an ideal starting point for such a growing understanding and awareness through work, as it is a way in which a group of people can look at the area beyond the rational mind calmly and dispassionately – and apply their findings - to come up with a more precise picture of human beings, in which both the materialistic and holistic

aspects are included, and their inter-relationship and mutual dependence seen. Another challenge to the view of human beings as starting out with a mind as a tabula rasa comes from the biologist and sociobiologist Edward O. Wilson, who argued in his Pulitzer Prize-winning work On Human Nature21, that the human mind was shaped as much by genetic inheritance as it was by culture. In his forthcoming book Superoganisms, Wilson shows how ants live and die for the good of the colony, not themselves, so that they are in fact hyper-altruistic. Indeed this is a very Darwinian idea as Darwin himself had thought that selection must happen at the level of the group, and so group selection can be a really potent evolutionary force. Wilson is now doing some very interesting work in sociobiology, having studied ants he is now starting to work on human beings, building up a new picture of the origins of social behaviour in humans, the findings of which could show that either such behaviour evolves in much the same way as in insects, or human culture has entirely changed the way evolution works. This last point is vital in understanding the emerging world-view, because one important characteristic of this world-view is to see animals and human beings as separate and distinct classes of beings. Conversely, one important characteristic of the prevailing world-view is the seeing of human beings as animals. Alfred Korzybski, in his Science and Sanity saw this as a major error in human understanding, and the cause of many problems. Korzybski said that to treat humans as animals is the same type of gross error as to treat a cube as being a square; it is a mistaking of dimensions. He reasoned that it is only when we can overcome this error that we may look forward to creating an ethics, a jurisprudence, an economics, a governance, a science and an art of human life and society based upon the

laws of human nature as a class of life which binds time - and therefore to permit endless advancement. He saw the human class of life as a part and product of nature and that therefore there must be fundamental laws which are natural for this class of life. Environments such as the Peckham Centre, the Pikler project and the Cepas all implicitly understood this error, and their results show what happens when such a quantum leap in the understanding of human beings is applied. Similarly the quantum physicist David Bohm, in his book Wholeness and the Implicate Order, talking about how we see things as fragmented which are really whole says: ‘To be confused about what is different and what is not – concerning dimensions and measure, is to be confused about everything’. E.F. Schumacher, author of Small is Beautiful, one of the most influential books of the twentieth century, too had an unambiguous understanding of the nature of human beings. Schumacher was acutely aware of the importance of dimensionality, and in his last book, A Guide for the Perplexed, gave a masterful exposition of the dimensional differences between minerals, plants, animals and human beings, and outlined the dire consequences of mixing up these levels of being. Schumacher, like Korzybski was well aware of the importance of making accurate maps of reality for ourselves, and of the dangers, which are becoming ever more evident in the world – of mistaking the map for the territory. Perhaps only the width of vision which is achieved through the correct integration of the feminine energy in the decision-making procedures of modern organizations is able to map a territory with any degree of precision. It is this confusing of dimensions which lies at the heart of the prevailing world-view, to the extent that human beings are regarded merely as complex machines, which as Schumacher

says places them at the lowest level of being, that of minerals. Because our established organizational systems are derived from this world-view, these systems are also material in nature. Attempting to change the established systems therefore is tantamount to rearranging the deck-chairs on the Titanic, because entire systems need to be replaced with ones based on a more appropriate view of human beings. The ancient Greeks understood the value of dimensionality well. To keep everything in its right measure was regarded as one of the essentials of a good life – so that Greek tragedies generally portrayed man’s sufferings as a consequence of his going beyond the proper measure of things. Appropriate measure produced harmony, and that indeed in Latin, ‘mederi’ meant to cure, - which is the root of the modern word ‘medicine’ and is itself based on a root meaning ‘to measure’. Our present systems therefore are based on the use of an inappropriate measure on human beings, and we are seeing the tragic consequences all around. Modern science too is challenging many of the assumptions implicit in the mechanistic model – with quantum physicists perhaps furthest away from this model due to the results of their investigations – Max Planck is reported to have said that in all his studies he failed to find any evidence of the presence of matter! The notion that we are machines existing to pass on genes has also been challenged, with work showing how cells actually edit and choose which part of the DNA to use in response to environmental factors. In her book, The Century of the Gene, American physicist Evelyn Fox Keller shows how little we really know and how important environmental influences are. Bearing in mind the importance which the GEM places on the appropriate masculine-feminine balance, it is worth noting that the negative, narrow ideas of man as a self-interested,

genetically-programmed being were put forward almost exclusively by men. They also arose during a period which culturally suppressed the involvement and importance of women in political, philosophical and scientific work. Within the context of this emerging world-view, which can be called holistic, a much different picture of the nature of human beings arises. The findings of the Peckam Centre, the Pikler project and the Cepas of the Wilds among others confirm that the natural behaviour of human beings is co-operative, generous and peaceful. Our own experience at the GEM meetings supported these findings by showing human beings to be co-operative, to display only a limited, appropriate amount of self-interest, and above all to work best in an atmosphere where there is no fear and where they can be trusted to work without supervision or coercion. The findings of Spiral Dynamics showed how human beings belonged to a number of levels which had differing belief-systems, each with their distinctive ways of behaviour. Additionally, the work of Jung and Berne shows that Locke’s view that human beings are born as a blank slate is incorrect, as it completely fails to take into account the fundamental nature of innate human qualities which can be developed. Perhaps the greatest negative impact of the prevailing world-view however is seen in the field of education, where the current practice is to treat children rather like computers which need to be fed with information. Educational systems are based on adult rational thinking which in effect forces children to think theoretically and logically at an age when the brain structures appropriate to that mode of thinking have not yet been fully developed. This causes constant stress in children – with the engendering of a conflict between their feelings –

which tell them that this is an inappropriate way of learning at that age - and their adult environment and systems which tell them that they have to behave and do as they are told. Worse still, they are being told that this behaviour is supposed to be good for them because otherwise they will not be able to succeed in life. Beyond that, much of what is taught to children is out of harmony with what they feel to be true, adding to this stress. In such environments there exists virtually no freedom to allow the child to follow their own heart intelligence which shows the way to fulfilling their real needs. Furthermore, this is not helped by the common practice of teaching children what to think rather than how to think. Thus it is hardly surprising that in such a system human beings are trained to disregard their feelings and instead learn to act rationally despite such action frequently being damaging to their own well-being. Increasingly however, people intuitively feel these damaging effects, and are becoming more and more open to a more holistic, emerging world-view. New educational systems such as those in the active schools are being gradually applied, further confirming the beneficial nature of these prepared environments. With their understanding of the needs of children and the workings of the heart-brain, these schools are a much needed beginning, and are starting to overcome a major gap which exists in education and training today. This gap concerns the understanding of the importance of emotional aspects, of non-directive autonomous learning and the freedom of making choices in accordance with one’s inner needs and life plan. As the Wilds commented however, a school is still a ‘zoo’, if it is not integrated in the community, and with the growing awareness of life-long learning as a need for all to stay in contact with modern developments, new educational models

such as the Cepas will be needed to ensure that life-long learning will again become a natural and integral part of the everyday lives of people. At this point therefore, we have come to a more complete view of human beings which supports and informs the emerging holistic world-view. This view has parallels with the classical and western medieval conception of the order of the universe, whose chief characteristic is a strict hierarchical system - the great chain of being or scala naturæ. In this chain, God was at the top, followed by angels, saints, popes, kings and queens, archbishops and bishops, nobles, various levels of commoners – with vagabonds, thieves and actors at the bottom of the heap, followed by animals, plants and minerals. What is important about both the emerging and the classical views of human beings is that each person can be seen as having an outer and an inner component – whereas all human bodies are physiologically much the same – their inner qualities vary enormously, indeed each is unique. Because the more complete view of human beings takes account of their rich inner diversity, and acknowledges the fact that such diversity requires a specific environment for these unique human needs to be met, such a view requires a different type of organizational structure to achieve any goal, than exists in present organizations. If therefore this more complete view is openly accepted by an organization, then the need to treat people with real respect towards their individuality becomes an imperative, an imperative which cannot be realized with present organizational structures, leading to the necessary acceptance and subsequent implementation of a new organizational model, of which the GEM is an example.

Chapter 16

Applying the Model

‘People who say it cannot be done should not interrupt those who are doing it’ JACK CANFIELD AND MARK VICTOR HANSEN

It has thus far been shown that the delusion at the heart of leadership is based on an inappropriate and outdated model of human beings – a model which necessitates the divisive gap between leaders and the led – business leaders and employees – bureaucrats and those whose affairs they administer – teachers and pupils - politicians and those they are supposed to serve. It has also been shown that when a more accurate model of human beings is applied to organizations, the way opens out for truly transformational changes to take place. In order to get beyond this delusion therefore, the first step is to accept this more accurate model of human beings – the next step being to arrange the way people work together in an new and appropriate format, such as the one proposed here, the GEM. In order for a private sector organization such as a commercial company to apply the GEM, the essential requirement is that the owners of the company really understand the model and its advantages – and that they realize that they will have to surrender their power to the

managing group in a real way. Those owners who are able to give up their power will be able to enjoy a release of creativity, as seen for example by Semco in Brazil – and become a witness to an enlightened way of working. As ever of course, change will not be easy and many vested interests may try to hinder those changes, but ultimately such power-sharing can only benefit the company and its owners. Not least, due to the fairness of remuneration which is implicit in the GEM model – the gap between the highest and lowest earners in an organization will inevitably become narrower, to the eventual benefit of all. The public sector however presents a special case, whether at national, supranational (EU) or international (UN) levels. The management and delivery of public services always presents a problem for all governments. In countries following an AngloSaxon tradition where governments need to innovate, the attempt to replace hierarchies in the public services with performance targets has not always elicited the results hoped for. In countries with more traditional systems, such as France and Germany, public service bureaucracies are seen as standing in the way of change and are frequently perceived by the public they were meant to serve as a hindrance. France in particular presents an example where public service unions regularly meet attempts at reform with highly disruptive strike action. The main problem with public services can be seen as their lack of accountability, and because the reality of the GEM process is that it is based on responsibility without authority, such a structure should lead, in a trickle-down process, to a new kind of organization for public service organizations, one where accountability is built into the structure; this has always been a weak point of public bodies and indeed of all organizations which rely solely on external funding rather than on profits from commercial trading.

The fact that public sector organizations need to be managed differently is not in doubt, and attempts to manage them with the use of performance targets, in line with the technique of systems analysis have been shown to be based on a negative and limited view of human beings. These attempts therefore inevitably lead to glaring inefficiencies. In November 2007 the British public services achieved notoriety by managing to lose a couple of data CDs containing details, including bank accounts of almost half of the UK’s population – some twentyfive million people. This incident brought to light a staggering range of inefficiencies based on controlling work practices which the targeting system had brought with it. For Example, a civil servant of long standing wrote to the Daily Telegraph22, that while thirty years ago he could spend 95% of his time in productive work – it s now down to 40%. The remaining 60% of his time is spent proving that he has done his work, showing how quickly he did it, explaining what his next task will be, estimating how long that next task should take him and checking that colleagues have done the same for their case load. Each caseworker in his unit carries a ‘budget manager’ an ‘operations manager’ or a ‘systems manager’ whose activities add no value to the work but who are needed in order to supply the myriad reports and statistics required by their masters. One may think that working in such an environment must be incredibly stressful, particularly at the lower levels as the Whitehall II study confirmed – but perhaps the example cited must be an exception, our public services surely cannot be run in such a farcical manner? Sadly, the above example is but one of a very many, and it seems to suggest the norm rather than the exception. Such examples bring to mind my own, rather brief experience of working in the public sector. During the recession

in the UK in the 1990s after a period without work I was given a position with a quasi-governmental organization. This was a service-organization which received money and a detailed operating plan as to how to spend it, from the government each year. The functions of the organization were to foster local economic growth and development, encourage investment, and provide training and support for the unemployed. I was fully unprepared for what I found on my first day at work, in an environment comprising various grades of civil servants and other employees. I found myself in an environment in which no-one appeared to have an idea of what a work ethic is, managers made up what seemed to me to be purposeless tasks just to keep their subordinates occupied, and petty distinctions between people, such as use of car-parking spaces, size and position of desks and access to private offices were rigidly enforced. The building itself was modern and was internally divided up by all kinds of temporary-looking panels, which gave it the feel of a primary school or a kindergarten. Indeed, the analogy appeared quite apt, as the managers appeared to insist of treating the staff as children from whom any attempt at exercising responsibility had to be taken away. If I had been asked to name an environment to be as inefficient as possible, to generate as much stress for its people as is possible and to produce results of questionable value – then that environment would come pretty close. Everything about it, from the implied lack of trust by the government in supplying a detailed operating manual which gave the managers almost no autonomy or freedom – down to the petty regulations which controlled the life and work of the staff – seemed designed to produce mediocrity and failure. Needless to say I resigned as quickly as I was able to and felt a great release as I walked free from what could be described as a combination of a lunatic-asylum and

kindergarten. Unfortunately the others had to stay and continue to suffer the stresses of a working environment almost totally devoid of meaning. From such an experience I had no illusions that the implementation of such a radical innovation as is represented by the GEM in the public sector is something that will inevitably meet with considerable resistance. However, with the rapid take-up of broadband Internet, enabling many public services to be delivered online – an unstoppable process has been unleashed which will lead to an urgent need for the transformation of public sector organizations. Such a need inevitably opens up the way for a model such as the GEM, with its implicit openness and transparency to be implemented even there. One sector where the GEM can be rapidly adopted is in the area of Civil Society. The creation of viable, coherent and focussed Civil Society Institutions (CSIs) is increasingly seen as providing the only workable alternative to the authoritarian state or the untrammelled free market. Civil society refers to the arena of voluntary collective action around shared interests, purposes and values. In theory, its institutional forms are distinct from those of the state, family and market, though in practice, the boundaries between these are often complex, blurred and negotiated. Jeremy Rifkin23 calls civil society ‘our last, best hope’, while the UN and the World Bank see it as the key to ‘good governance’ and povertyreducing growth. In their attempts at managing and improving public services such as education and healthcare, some politicians are even beginning to talk of enabling local communities to run institutions such as schools. However, people often have no idea how to begin to organize themselves in order to be in a position to fulfil such a task. The GEM is an ideal model which

can enable local groups to get together, share expertise and to set up appropriate institutional frameworks. One factor in applying the GEM which I have so far only hinted at is the question of power, yet it is something that lies right at the heart of the model, and is something which is always present in any gathering of human beings. Leadership can be defined as the exercise of power by a leader or by a group over others; I have tried to show that leadership as currently practiced involves an illegitimate exercise or an abuse of power. I have also presented a model which attempts to show how this abuse can be changed to a legitimate use of power – and what the results of such a legitimate use may look like. The application of the GEM in an organization therefore inevitably leads to a legitimate use of power, because the GEM enshrines an explicit structure of openness and transparency with visible accountability and individual responsibility. Such a structure does not permit an illegitimate use of power, not least because of the subordinate role of self-interest.

Chapter 17

Conclusion

‘Not being able to govern events, I govern myself’ MICHEL DE MONTAIGNE

Whether they acknowledge it or not, virtually all human beings long to have an opportunity to act to fulfil their own potential. Yet they somehow feel that they need leaders to provide them with such an opportunity; on a political level in the past such leaders arose to lead them in support of their longings, often into revolt – violent or otherwise. These leaders of revolutions promised to give people what they longed for – once they had overthrown the powers that were in charge and preventing them from having it. Unfortunately, the new governments were in no position to offer people such an opportunity, because it is a delusion to believe that any government can offer what is required – a delusion shared by leaders and led alike. This delusion inevitably led to government coercion and terror – as witnessed for example in the French and Russian Revolutions - leading people into misery rather than into fulfilment. Since those times, modern democratic governments have understood this well enough, and made no attempt to offer

people something which they could not fulfil. The political philosopher Isaiah Berlin illustrated this understanding in his two concepts of liberty24, which he called positive liberty and negative liberty. Positive liberty being the opportunity and ability to act to fulfil one's own potential, while negative liberty merely offers freedom from restraint allowing people the freedom to follow their own narrow selfinterest. The exercise of positive liberty however requires three things of individuals; an understanding that such liberty is possible, a possession of the courage to reach for such a selftransforming process and an appropriate, supporting environment. The exercise of negative liberty on the other hand requires no such challenges, and in practice leads to more and more mindless consumerism. Therefore virtually all modern governments took the easiest option and chose to offer people negative liberty. As in the political sphere, so in working organizations, managers and leaders are in no position to offer people what they long for. As a result, in both the private and the public sectors, in the area which it matters most to people - their places of work - there is virtually no opportunity to pursue the longed-for positive liberty. These workplaces are therefore places where stress is an inbuilt feature, where the pursuit of a narrow, material self-interest is openly acknowledged, and any attempt at fulfilment of human potential is systemically thwarted. This produces, at the very least the ‘mild illness’ of Bergmann and at worst the tyranny of stress, an empty world without meaning - which inevitably leads to dissatisfaction, chronic or serious sickness. In such an environment a widening of inequality of status and income is a necessary and unavoidable accompanying factor which can only become more and more extreme. Nevertheless, the longing in human hearts for that

environment in which they can find meaning and where their potential can be fulfilled will not go away, for it is innate to what it means to be a human being, as has already been shown. Not knowing where to turn to find what they long for, many still put hope in our political leaders – and they in turn choose their words so as to engender hope in their voters. In 1997 Tony Blair was elected prime-minister of the UK in an atmosphere of euphoria for change, indeed possibly for transformation – despite only 22% of the electorate voting for his party. Just ten years later after a number of fiascos – not least an unpopular and unwinnable war – he stepped down under a cloud, without doubt disappointed at the results of his time in office despite his well-meaning intentions. Yet nothing much had changed, only an added degree of control for many in the public sector. As in other spheres of leadership, in politics the delusion of leadership is seen most clearly in the inability of national leaders to deliver what they promise. Increasingly, people are becoming wise to the fact that any future leaders are no different – for it is not in their power to deliver what human beings really need. In any case with their espousal of negative liberty, national governments have given away much of whatever power they had to those multinational corporations which so effectively meet the desires if not the needs of so many people. However, nothing stays the same, and with the gradual acceptance of the new and more holistic, emerging world-view, models such as the GEM will start to appear on the scene. The GEM in particular provides an ideal prepared environment for the exercise of positive liberty, as it explicitly provides the opportunity for individuals to act in order to fulfil their potential and to develop an understanding of their inner worlds – there where it really has maximum effect, and where it has

always been most difficult to implement – in their place of work. Despite this inability of governments to offer their people positive liberty, and despite the frequent perception that governments are losing power to the multi-nationals, they still have a vital role to play in the ordering of national affairs. Apart from guaranteeing universal rights, governments have the power to nurture and to encourage the kind of social experiments which made the Peckham Centre such a success, and this encouragement needs to go beyond the mere abolition of red tape and requires a certain degree of proactive involvement with local communities. Finland furnishes an example of intelligent government action in the field of education. In its 2007 annual report25 on the state of the world’s school systems, the OECD put Finland at the top, with the most capable 15-year-olds. Finland is among the countries with the best education value for money measures. Its schools depend on the government for their funding but enjoy so much freedom of action that they are virtually independent schools. Similarly to schools, networks of local GEM-organized communities can be well-placed to be effective partners with government in the delivery of services. Increasingly too, trends are leading to a situation in which more and more individuals are becoming free to be able to choose to come together and organize themselves into new Civil Society Institutions (CSIs) and work in accordance with the GEM to meet the requirements of society as well as their own needs in terms of positive liberty. As more and more white-collar jobs are being outsourced to cheaper locations of plentiful skilled labour such as India and China, companies in developed countries are being hollowedout, with increasing skilled, middle management job losses.

With the trend towards early retirement at one end, and the lack of fulfilling graduate jobs at the other, a growing pool of qualified, educated, skilled and experienced people exists – people who would be only too keen to work in a respectful environment. To this can be added large numbers of people who have reached the peak of their skills and experience – only to be dumped from the labour market on account of reaching an arbitrary retirement age. With increasing healthy life-spans some of these people have decades of useful and productive life ahead of them – not to mention their wealth of experience and contacts. The GEM is no respecter of persons – such that there are no age limits in its inclusive environment. Perhaps the largest pools of recruits for this model however are women – many of whom are currently unemployed or under-employed - and whose qualities are not only desired but positively required by the GEM. This positive inclusion of women on a large scale is perhaps the single most revolutionary aspect of the model, indeed one of the participants in Lithuania compared its potential effects with those of the French Revolution. It could be said that the contribution of the feminine energy to the running of human affairs has been suppressed for many centuries, to the extent that most women have no wish to be confronted with the kind of naked male aggression which so frequently manifests in the higher echelons of organizational decision-making. Women therefore need to find the courage to enter this world, and this courage is something which they find comes to them naturally as long as the fora for decision-making are organized in accordance with something like the GEM. In such fora, the fact that the distribution of power is equitable so that male aggression cannot override the ambient power system is something that many women seem to intuitively understand. Once women are really able to find their appropriate place

alongside men as respected equals in the decision-making processes of organizations, only then does it become possible for an energy to arise which – as we have observed - appears to lie above and beyond the masculine or the feminine energy, an energy which is inclusive and engenders trust. In support of the benefits of gender balance, the World Economic Forum’s 2007 Global Gender Gap Report26 confirmed the enormous inequalities in gender balance and showed that there is a clear correlation between the gender gap and national competitiveness. In other words, by giving women the same rights, responsibilities and opportunities as men, a country will increase its efficiency. Of all countries, Norway has gone furthest in its implementation of gender equality, as from January 2008 all public companies there must have at least forty percent of women on their boards of directors – or face being closed down for non-compliance. By its very nature the GEM is nothing if not international – it binds people in all countries together not by any false ideals or unattainable goals – but by a common understanding based on an appropriate picture and experience of what it means to be human. The power of an international movement of people who join together freely to work with one another across international boundaries under a common model which recognizes not their differences but their common humanity – can be truly awesome. With the increasing sophistication of the Internet – particularly in its Web 2.0 form of social networks the tools now exist for many GEM communities to be linked together to communicate and to trade with one another. Using the example of the Cepas network developed by the Wilds in Ecuador, a genuine transformation of human beings as a consequence of living the liberating experience of positive freedom is not only a possibility but a reality. As with the Cepas,

the GEM network will in time inevitably develop its own global currency as a unit of trade – as was envisaged by Harold with his Human Value Unit in Cape Town back in 2004. The fact that a globalized world requires a global currency seems to be self-evident, and numerous suggestions have been made as to how such a currency can arise. The success of the Euro as a multi-national regional currency in taking over some of the functions of the US dollar may indeed point towards the feasibility of such an idea. While the UN would be the obvious body to set up a World Central Bank, much would have to change before it could be in such a position. One of the most realistic ideas for a global currency is that of Bernard Lietaer, who in his book The Future of Money, suggests the introduction of a global reference currency, the Terra, in order to make money sustainable. The Terra is defined as the value of a standard basket of commodities and services particularly important for world trade – oil, wheat, copper, gold; a value which can be made inflation-proof by definition. No matter how good such an idea is however, without the political will or other imperative for its implementation, it will just remain a good idea. Once a network of GEM centres has arisen around the world however, in which a common and inflation-proof trading currency is a need, then the imperative for the introduction of the global currency will really exist. Because the new currency would be underwritten by a common understanding, an understanding upon which the life of the GEM centres is lived daily – then such a currency will stand an excellent chance of having a genuine legitimacy and stability. Such a currency could then be seen as a public good in the community, issued by the GEM network and allocated without use or charging of interest – thus creating a co-operative rather than competitive environment, with all of the positive results which have been experienced with the

Ecosimia. In this first decade of the twenty-first century, our western civilization has reached a period at which a certain opportunity presents itself. Through the recent work of very many pioneers and researchers – only some of whom have been mentioned in this book - there is clear evidence of what human beings really need in order to find their way to develop their innate potential – from the earliest moments of life right through to advanced maturity. Through the experience of the hundreds of participants in the GEM process there is clear evidence that a prepared environment in which the development of true potential as well as an understanding of one’s inner nature is fostered can be effectively combined with a daily place of work in a new organizational model. The opportunity to implement this model now exists for the first time, and this book has been written in the hope that many who read it will feel moved to examine its claims in greater detail. In the development of the GEM and the writing of the book I have met with nothing but support and encouragement from all those who chanced to hear of the concept and its potential applications. As a consequence a core team has been formed to act as a focus for the development and spreading of the GEM. In the same way that the conception and development of the GEM required a series of international meetings to enable it to see the light of day, the next phase, that of implementation of the model and of seeing it anchored in organizations around the globe, requires a similar process. Like another turn of the spiral, a second series of global meetings are now being planned by our team – this time in order to implement the model – to give participants an opportunity to experience for themselves something of the reality of the GEM and how it can be applied in their home environments. I am sure that those of you reading this book will be under

no illusions that the model presented here is not just another management model or technique to be classified along with so many others and perhaps referred to in management schools – for it represents a truly radical departure from accepted ways of organizing human beings in order to achieve an organizational aim. Perhaps most radical of all is the freedom which this approach promises to give to those who have the courage and the vision to attempt to carry it out in their organizations – a freedom from stress and from a pernicious delusion – the leadership delusion – which has been the subject of this book. I think that it is impossible to overestimate the potential impact of a process such as the one which lies at the heart of the GEM – simply because it has the potential of enabling large numbers of people to directly engage in the solving of many of the social problems which concern them. The traditional methods of attempting to do this – voting for political parties and expecting governments to provide public services – has become so discredited that fewer and fewer people even bother to vote. In the developed democracies there is a widespread feeling of frustration and despondency – a feeling of powerlessness in the face of stubborn, entrenched bureaucracies who seem increasingly to serve their own interests. The GEM provides a convenient and highly-effective mechanism for ordinary people to come together and form their own organizations to tackle long-standing problems – problems which many are in a far better position to understand and to solve than those in government bureaucracies. Private corporations are not much better than governments in this respect, because their primary goals are to maximize their profits rather than to find solutions which meet human needs. In effect, by applying the GEM, responsibility and power can be returned to the people – the only way in which it ever can – by the people taking it for themselves – because if one thing is

certain – it is that no authorities – once they have power over people, are ever able to return it – the system simply does not permit it. One way in which this may develop, is that GEM-groups form in many places and countries to set up new CSIs, and they share their resources, their knowledge, experience and contacts, and help each other in the furtherance of their aims. With the communications facilities of the Internet at their disposal on the outer level, and the communications experience of the GEM sessions on the inner level – a congruent system may arise whose ultimate consequences promise to be far-reaching. The ideas of Karl Marx defined the twentieth century in a certain way, and undoubtedly his ideas of the equality and brotherhood of man struck a chord with many – he was however unable to propose a workable organizational strategy to enable those high-minded ideas to be realized – because among other things they arrived in a world which was deeply influenced by a narrow and erroneous view of man. Such a view left no choice but for societies adopting his philosophy to descend into terror and their peoples into subjugation – the misery and absurdity of which I was frequently able to witness at first hand. At the start of the twenty-first century we have a very different world, we have a world which still largely operates as though those narrow and erroneous views of man prevail – yet within the manageable context of negative liberty. It is however a world where a new and truly holistic model of human beings and what their real needs are is coming more and more into the foreground. Into this world an idea such as the GEM fits perfectly formed, perfectly adapted to enable human beings to find meaning in their work – and by extension in their life – and in the process enabling an international community to arise which is based on positive liberty – on a high and noble vision

of man as a being capable of transformation. With the understanding implicit in the GEM, it could be that a means has been made available for human beings to consciously guide the destiny of the world. Because an institution governed by a group of people working in accordance with the GEM, is in reality governed by an organism which has arisen as a consequence of each person in the team working towards finding his and her unique destiny – so too the organism has its own destiny. In such a way, a world which has been out of control for so long, being predominantly guided by unconscious forces, now becomes a world which is being guided consciously, deliberately, and in a way which is open and transparent. There are those in the world who appear to be convinced that many of the affairs of men are guided by some kind of hidden conspiracy, perhaps the Illuminati or the Bilderberg Group. In reality the world is far too complex for any shadowy group to even attempt to control it – it simply cannot be done. Most of the men – and they are just about all men – who are in positions of authority in the governments, corporations and institutions – are well meaning people doing what they believe is their best to come to terms with the uncertain events which life throws their way, they are merely working in systems and contexts which created and continue to create the world we have. Their greatest failing however, is their lack of understanding of the inner realities of human beings, and particularly of their own inner worlds. Carl Jung saw this as the greatest danger facing the world – the fact that we know so little about who we really are and how we function. This failing therefore lies at the very heart of the leadership delusion. Once this failing is properly understood however, it can be seen that leadership is very important, vital even. Each individual has the potential to become a leader provided that

he or she becomes sufficiently aware of their inner structure so that they can order it appropriately. To become aware of this inner structure and then to begin the task of organizing it what is required is an appropriately prepared environment. The task which meets such a potential leader is made easier by the fact that the inner structure of human beings has a certain predefined order. Elements of this order have already been outlined in the chapter on human beings and world-views, while it is necessary to experience something like the GEM process in order to discover the reality of these elements. Only when an individual has mastered his or her inner order will they be in a position to assume true leadership. In this position their leadership will consist of allowing a prepared environment to come into being, thereby enabling them to stand aside, make themselves superfluous and thus confirming the delusion of leadership as it is generally understood. Thus the emergence of a prepared environment using the GEM represents a way of leveraging conscious decision making up to another level, something which is very much in accordance with a world of instant global communications, with a world needing a higher order of intrapersonal communication to tackle its most intractable problems. The GEM however is only a tool, what is now needed is the will to start using it – because once it begins to be used it cannot be held back – the genie will be out of its bottle – this time perhaps as a true servant of man. In this way, through the liberating influence of GEM-managed institutions man will find once again, after the elapse of perhaps many thousands of years that he can aspire to become master in his own house. Only then will he, as well as she, be in a position to order the vast resources of the world in a way to serve all of mankind. In finishing this work, I am deeply aware that my role has been that of a man who has been enabled to follow his own

conviction and truth without any external barriers – indeed everywhere I went I found my own prepared environment – not least in the active co-operation of the hundreds of men and women who – however unwittingly – contributed to the ideas contained in this book. This book however is only a beginning; the real work of the putting of the GEM into practice is yet to be done.

Bibliography

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Schumacher, E.F. - Small is Beautiful Schumacher, E.F. - A Guide for the Perplexed Scott Peck, M. - The Different Drum Semler, Ricardo - Maverick Sheldrake, Rupert - A New Science of Life Spencer, Herbert - Principles of Biology Trotter, Wilfred - Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War Varela, Francisco & Maturana, Humberto - Autopoiesis and Cognition Vester, Frederic - Leitmotiv vernetztes Denken Von Ditfurth, Hoimar - Der Geist fiel nicht vom Himmel Wild, Rebeca - Education for Being Wild, Rebeca - Genügend gute Eltern Wild, Rebeca - Lebensqualität für Kinder und andere Menschen Williamson, G. Scott - Science, Synthesis, and Sanity

Acknowledgements

This book has been the result of years of observation and countless conversations with large numbers of people to whom I owe much of the inspiration for many of the ideas presented here. Indeed, there are far too many to list on even a few pages, so a general acknowledgement is all I can offer. Certainly, books are collective efforts and this book is no exception, owing much of its existence to the selfless contributions of many hundreds of people, not least to those who attended the seven Global Enterprise Meetings described in this work. Above all however, I gladly acknowledge the invaluable contribution to this work of Johanna, who not only attended all of the meetings, including the one in Scuol, but who also worked tirelessly on its content and editing. In particular her distinctive point of view proved essential to the development of those ideas which related to the experience of women, ideas which have found a central place in the expression and formulation of the organizational model which forms such a major pillar of this work. The author and the publishers have made all reasonable efforts to contact copyright holders, where applicable, for permission. They apologize for any possible omissions or errors in giving credit, and endeavour to make corrections in subsequent printings.

Index

A Guide for the Perplexed, 190 aboriginals, 93 active schools, 160, 193 Adams, Scott, 79 administration, 12 Africa, 35, 52 Aigle, 118 Albacete, 31 Alexei, 132, 133, 143 Alhambra, 32, 80, 179 Amazon.com, 116 America, 27, 75, 76, 79, 80, 82, 86, 87 Amsterdam, 35 apartheid, 37, 53, 54 archetype, 7, 57, 64 Arizona, 75 Asque, 103 Atlantic, 51 Auschwitz, 114 Australia, 23, 34, 91, 92, 93, 97, 98, 99, 120, 121, 125 Australia, State Library of Western, 94 Australia, University of Western, 92 Austria, 64, 104, 160 Austro-Hungarian Empire, 77 baboons, 51 Badger, 75, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 86, 90, 91, 92, 171 Bakan, Joel, 185 Balaton, 132 Baltic Air, 64 Baltic Sea, 64 Bangalore, 178 Barcelona, 29 Baronnies, 103 Bays, Brandon, 111 Beck, Don, 85 Belvedere, Hotel, 25

Bergmann, Frithjof, 87, 107, 155, 165, 202 Berlin, 64 Berlin, Isaiah, 202 Berne, Eric, 163, 165, 192 Bilderberg Group, 211 Bion, Wilfred, 153, 154, 157 Blair, Tony, 203 bliny, 72 Boehm, Christopher, 16 Bogdan, 133, 134, 144 Bohm, David, 101, 169, 190 Bollingen, 187 Boris, 137 Boswinkel, Johan, 152 Brazil, 166, 196 Brezhnev, Leonid, 133 Brisbane, 120, 121, 124, 130 Britain, 4, 36, 44, 69 Brockhaus, 50 Brown, Dan, 60 Budapest, 158 Buddha, 124 business, 12, 16, 22, 28, 43, 46, 48, 64, 67, 72, 78, 82, 97, 100, 138, 139, 140, 176, 178, 179, 185, 195 Byron Bay, 120, 124, 125, 128 Caesar, Julius, 10 California, 23, 75, 76, 83 Cambridge, 22, 44, 79, 100, 176, 178 Canada, 23, 76, 146 Canadian, 85 Cape of Good Hope, 34, 51 Cape Town, 26, 27, 32, 34, 35, 37, 40, 44, 45, 51, 53, 60, 61, 63, 64, 66, 68, 72, 92, 115, 162, 207 capitalist, 22, 62, 86, 138, 139 Carcassonne, 118 Cedar Grove, 90

Cepas, 161, 162, 165, 190, 192, 194, 206 Cherkassy, 132, 133, 134, 141, 145 Chernobyl, 65 China, 93, 114, 204 Chris, 77, 79 Christchurch, 122, 123 Christian, 13, 31, 33 Cisco, 177 Civil Society, 199, 204 collective unconscious, 57, 101, 188 communism, 138, 139 communist, 21, 22, 136, 138, 139 companies, 7, 14, 22, 23, 25, 78, 113, 139, 172, 176, 178, 179, 204 Constantinople, 9 content management systems, 88 Cook Straits, 123 co-operative, 17, 154, 167, 179, 183, 192 corporations, 7, 14, 19, 87, 185, 203, 211 Cowan, Chris, 85 culture, 25, 31, 78, 79, 85, 86, 87, 97, 142, 186 Da Vinci Code, 60 Da Vinci, Leonardo, 60 Daily Telegraph, 197 Dartington, 156 Darwin, Charles, 189 Davos, 24 Dawkins, Richard, 13, 14, 15, 85, 118, 184 Dederich, Charles, 83 Deming, J. Edwards, 163, 164 'Der Geist fiel nicht vom Himmel, 148 Descartes René,, 181 Diderot, 13 Dilbert, 79 Ditfurth, Hoimar von, 148, 162 dot-com, 22, 77, 78 Dubai, 92 Dubingai, 62, 63, 65, 68, 70, 74 Ecosimia, 161, 162, 208 Ecuador, 160, 161, 162, 206 education, 7, 63, 81, 139, 140, 157, 161, 199

egalitarianism, 16 Engadine, 24 England, 26, 29, 33, 80, 92, 94, 100, 102, 103, 107, 108, 122, 153, 156 Enlightenment, 13, 27, 142, 180, 181, 186 Escape from Utopia, 83 Europe, 21, 35, 36, 61, 68, 69, 75, 76, 77, 122, 134, 172 Europe, Western, 97 European Professional Women's Network, 172 European Union, 31, 62, 63, 64, 65, 69, 196 Europeans, 54, 94 Experiences in Groups, 153, 154 Explicate Order, 101 extranet, 88 False Bay, 34, 51 feminine, 46, 47, 56, 60, 67, 70, 106, 137, 172, 190, 191, 205, 206 Ferney-Voltaire, 28 Finland, 204 Firth, Simon, 78 Florence, 78 Flüela Pass, 24 Forino’s, 78 France, 28, 29, 33, 69, 103, 104, 107, 108, 153, 196 Frankl, Viktor, 114 Franklin, Benjamin, 27, 87 Franklin, Benjamin,, 27 Franschhoek, 36, 37 Fremantle, 93 French Revolution, 71, 205 Fresno, 80, 81 Freud, Sigmund, 153, 181, 182, 186 Funky Forest, 124 Gatwick, 92, 102 GEM, 171, 172, 173, 174, 175, 177, 178, 180, 188, 191, 192, 194, 195, 196, 199, 200, 203, 204, 205, 206, 207, 208, 209, 210, 211, 212, 213 General Grant Tree, 89 General Semantics, 116

Geneva, 27, 28, 29, 118 George, 26, 34, 38, 39, 40, 41, 57, 168 Germany, 23, 34, 64, 76, 83, 92, 104, 125, 160, 161, 177, 196 gestalt therapy, 116 global currency, 55, 162, 207 Global Enterprise, 8, 26, 32, 33, 39, 62, 63, 81, 91, 120, 124, 168, 171 global identity, 28 Global Warming, 28 globalization, 28 Goethe, Johann Wolfgang von, 101 Gold Rush, 77 Golden Gate Bridge, 77 government, 7, 12, 22, 158, 176, 182, 201, 204, 209 Granada, 29, 31, 32, 107, 179 Graves, Clare, 85 great chain of being, 194 groupware, 88 Harold, 55, 207 Hataitai, 121 health, 7, 73, 109, 110, 111, 112, 113, 114, 157, 158, 161, 178 heart-brain, 149, 150, 151, 154, 182 Heathrow, 40, 76 Henrietta, 104, 107, 108, 109, 112, 118, 157 hierarchies, 15, 44, 142, 167, 184, 196 hierarchy, 8, 19, 43, 45, 165, 166 Hilltop Farm, 92, 94 Hobbes, Thomas, 181, 183 Holism, 109, 110 Holland, 33, 34, 64, 104 Hollywood, 84 Hout Bay, 52 Hubert, 92, 104, 105, 120, 126, 130, 132, 133 Human Enterprise, 48, 115, 116, 132, 138 Human Potential Movement, 182 Human Value Unit, 55, 207 humanistic, 14, 25 Hungary, 132 Ignalina, 65 Illuminati, 211

Implicate Order, 101 India, 204 Indian, 51, 54 Indian, Ocean, 93 Indians, 54 Indonesia, 97 Innsbruck, 92 Instincts of the Herd in Peace and War, 153 Institute of Directors, 22 internet, 17, 22, 23, 33, 50, 51, 55, 66, 73, 77, 88, 177, 183, 199, 206, 210 intranet, 88 Ireland, 33, 34, 64, 66, 69 Islamic, 13, 31, 33, 83, 87 Italy, 107 Ivan, 64 Jakarta, 92 Japan, 163 Jaworski, Joseph, 100, 101 Jaworski, Leon, 100 Johanna, 92, 120, 122, 128, 130, 132, 133 Jung, Carl, 46, 57, 96, 101, 186, 187, 188, 192, 211 Kairos, 42 Kant, Immanuel, 142 Karori, 121 Keller, Evelyn Fox, 191 Khmelnitsky, Bogdan, 135 Kiev, 133, 143 King’s Canyon, 75, 81, 89 Kings’ Park, 93 Kirstenbosch, 37 Knight Templars, 29 Korzybski, Alfred, 116, 168, 169, 189, 190 Korzybski, Halim, 103, 116, 118 La psychologie des foules, 153 La Source, 103, 104, 105, 116, 117, 118, 157, 168, 180 Languedoc-Roussillon, 29 Lannemezan, 104 Latvia, 64, 69 LeBon, Gustave, 153 Leigh Fermor, Patrick, 9

Leitmotiv vernetztes Denken, 149 Les Diablerets, 118 LETS, 161 Lietaer, Bernard, 207 Lithuania, 62, 63, 64, 67, 68, 69, 71, 72, 76, 170, 205 Lithuanian, 62, 63, 67, 69, 70, 72, 73 Locke, John, 181, 183, 192 London, 9, 22, 40, 44, 62, 79, 104, 112, 152, 170, 178 Los Angeles, 82 Lourdes, 117, 118 Lucerne, 27 Machiavelli, Niccolo, 58, 59 Macmurray, John, 152 Madrid, 33 Malays, 54 Man’s Search for Meaning, 114 Mandela, Nelson, 35, 52 Marimba, 60 Marin County, 77, 79 Marmot, Michael, 165 Marx, Karl, 182, 210 masculine, 46, 47, 48, 60, 67, 70, 106, 137, 191, 206 Massenpsychologie und Ich-Analyse, 153 Maverick: the Success Story behind the World's Most Unusual Workplace, 166 Mediterranean, 98 Merkel, Angela, 176 Mexico, 76 Minneapolis, 114 Miramar, 81 Monica, 32, 42, 76, 91 Montpellier, 29 morphic resonance, 57 Moscow, 133 Mount Ventoux, 24 Muir Woods, 79 Mullimbimby, 124 Munich, 24 Murray, William H., 101 Nash, John, 183 National Geographic Institute, 69

National Health Service, 113 National Lithuanian Folk Song and Dance Troupe,, 72 nationalism, 28 negative liberty, 202, 203, 210 Neill, A. S., 157 New Age, 182 New Mexico, 32, 76 New Work – New Culture, 87, 107 New York, 80, 115, 157 New Zealand, 97, 100, 120, 121, 125, 128, 187 Newton, Isaac, 181 Nietzsche, Friedrich, 114 Nixon, Richard, 100 NLP, 116 Northbridge, 93 Norway, 64, 68, 70, 146, 173, 206 Norwegian, 68, 71 Oakland Bridge, 80 Oatlands Resort, 34, 37 OECD, 204 Olga, 134 Olin, William F., 83 openness, 82, 88, 89, 136, 143, 171, 172, 178, 199, 200 Orange Revolution, 135 Orpheus Chamber Orchestra, 157 Pacifica, 77 Palo Alto, 78 Papua New Guinea,, 16 Pearce, Innes H., 112 Peckam, 192 Peckham, 112, 113, 157, 178, 179, 190, 204 Pelican Inn, 79 Pelmenies, 134, 143 performance, 19, 185, 196 Perth, 91, 92, 93, 100, 101, 104, 120, 121 Peter, 32, 42, 45, 76, 91, 104, 105, 120, 130, 133 Petrarch, 24 Phoenix, 75 Picton, 122

Pikler, Emmi, 158, 160, 162, 190, 192 Planck, Max, 191 Plato, 186, 188 Poland, 64, 68, 104 positive liberty, 202, 203, 204, 210 power, 11, 13, 15, 20, 55, 61, 65, 71, 74, 84, 87, 88, 96, 97, 101, 126, 129, 142, 145, 166, 167, 182, 185, 195, 200, 203, 204, 205, 206, 209 Power, solar, 98 Principles of Biology, 18 Pulitzer Prize, 189 Pyrenees, 33, 103 quantum physics, 101 Queenstown, 122 Rand Corporation, 183 Rasputin, 136, 137 Real Food Company, 77 REBT, 116 Reductionist materialism, 109 religion, 10, 14, 15, 16, 153, 181 remuneration, 19, 175, 196 Renaissance, 25, 31, 78 Renaissance Geeks, 78 Requena, 30 Rifkin, Jeremy, 199 Robben Island, 52 Romania, 34 Russia, 64, 68 Russian, 63, 66, 135, 136, 137, 142, 201 Saint Bernadette, 117 Saint-Exupéry, de Antoine, 151 San Francisco, 76, 77, 78, 178 Santa Fe, 32, 76 Sausalito, 77 Schumacher, E. F., 190 Science and Sanity, 116, 117, 189 Scientology, 116 Scott Peck M., 155, 156, 174 Scuol, 9, 24, 25, 27, 34, 92, 119, 144, 185 Semco, 166, 167, 196 Semler, Ricardo, 166 Shakespeare, William, 10 Shanghai, 178

Sheldrake, Rupert, 57 Shell Oil Company, 101 Sierra Magica, 31 Sierra Nevada, 33, 80, 89, 107 Silicon Valley, 23, 78, 87 Simonstown, 34, 37, 53 Singapore, 120 Sintral, 161 Small is Beautiful, 190 South Africa, 34, 35, 37, 59, 62 Soviet, 62, 63, 64, 66, 68, 131, 133, 135, 136, 138, 139 Soviet Bloc, 62, 68, 135 Soviet Union, 63, 133, 135, 136 Spain, 29, 30, 31, 33, 80, 103, 104, 106, 125, 146, 160 Spencer, Herbert, 18 Spiral Dynamics, 85, 86, 192 St. John’s Innovation Centre, 178 Stellenbosch, 36 Summerhill School, 157 Superoganisms, 189 superstition, 14, 25, 148, 153 Swan River, 93 Switzerland, 24, 25, 27, 108, 119, 145, 146, 150, 160, 187 Sydney, 92 Synanon, 83, 87 Synchronicity, 100 Systems analysis, 183, 197 Table Mountain, 52 tabula rasa, 181, 189 Tarbes, 104, 105 Ted, 126, 128 Telepresence, 177 Terra, 207 Texas, 100 The Corporation, 185 The Deming System of Profound Knowledge, 164 The Different Drum, 155 The Future of Money, 207 The God Delusion, 13 The Journey, 111

The Prince, 58 The Scottish Himalayan Expedition, 101 The Structure and Dynamics of Organizations and Groups, 165 Titanic, 191 Toulouse, 104 transparency, 83, 87, 88, 89, 115, 137, 171, 172, 178, 199, 200 Trotter, Wilfred, 153 Tuckman, Bruce, 154, 155 UK, 22, 23, 77, 109, 113, 125, 157, 158, 176, 177, 178, 184, 203 Ukraine, 64, 65, 132, 133, 134, 135, 136, 144, 147, 171 United Kingdom, 34, 64, 104 United Nations, 27, 28, 29, 196, 199, 207 United States, 34, 75, 76, 85, 87, 89, 97, 104 Valencia, 29 Vancouver, 114, 146 Varela, Francisco, 101, 102 Varenikis, 134, 143 Vesalia, 81 Vester, Frederic, 149 Victoria and Albert Waterfront, 52 Vilnius, 62, 64, 65, 66, 67, 68, 69, 92 Virgin Mary, 117

v-memes, 85 Voiron,Parc Naturel de, 29 Wales, 120, 140 Washington, D.C., 100 Watergate, 100 Web 2.0, 206 Wellington, 120, 121, 123, 124 Whitehall II, 165, 197 WHO, 160, 165 Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 101, 190 Wikipedia, 50 Wikis, 88 Wild, Rebeca, 162, 163 Wild, Rebeca and Mauricio, 160 Wilds, 160, 161, 162, 163, 192, 193, 206 Williams, Owen Sir, 112 Williamson, G. Scott, 112, 113 Wilson, Edward O., 189 World Bank, 199 World Economic Forum, 206 World Health Organization, 27 Yanukovych, Viktor, 135 Yushchenko, Viktor, 135 Zeppelin, 70 Zürich, 133, 144, 187

Notes & References

1 2

A Time of Gifts and Between the Woods and the Water, by Patrick Leigh Fermor. Hierarchy in the Forest: The Evolution of Egalitarian Behavior, by Christopher Boehm 3 University of Loughborough 4 Archetypes and the Collective Unconscious, by Carl G. Jung 5 Report of the research institute “Wissenschaftlicher Informationsdienst”, commissioned by the “Stern” magazine December 7th. 2007. http://de.wikinews.org/wiki/Stern-Studie:_Brockhaus_kontra_Wikipedia 6 Le centre géographique de l'Europe, calculé en 1989 par l'Institut national géographique français, se situe à 26 km au Nord de Vilnius, à Purnuskes. 7 http://archive.salon.com/21st/feature/1998/03/cov_26feature.html 8 http://badgercreekhomes.com 9 Memories, Dreams, Reflections, by Carl G. Jung, Late Thoughts, pp 378-379 Fontana Press 1995 10 http://www.lasourcepyrenees.com/ 11 The Root of All Evil? a television documentary, written and presented by Richard Dawkins, in which he argues that the world would be better off without religion. 12 http://www.funkeyforest.com/ 13 http://www.english.upenn.edu/~mgamer/Etexts/kant.html 14 http://www.clevelandclinic.org/heartcenter/pub/NEWS/ARCHIVE/2004/heartbrain9_1.asp 15 The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry. Voici mon secret. Il est très simple: on ne voit bien qu'avec le cœur. L'essentiel est invisible pour les yeux. 16 The Gifford Lectures, 1930 and 1932 by Professor John Macmurray. Published as Freedom in The Modern World and Reason and Emotion. 17 http://www.thehealingjournal.com/prev_issues/dec_jan04_stress.htm 18 Die Zeit - Zeit Campus. December 12 2006 "Die moderne Arbeitswelt macht krank" 19 http://www.orpheusnyc.com/ 20 http://www.guardian.co.uk/business/2007/dec/05/europe.executivesalaries 21 On Human Nature, 1979, Harvard University Press, ISBN 0-674-63441-1, Winner of the Pulitzer Prize 22 The Daily Telegraph, London 23rd November 2007 23 The Third Sector - Strasbourg Parliamentarians / NGO Conference 1999 Speech by Jeremy Rifkin 24 Two Concepts of Liberty - inaugural lecture by Isaiah Berlin at the University of Oxford, October 31, 1958. 25 http://www.oecd.org/document/52/0,3343,en_2649_39263238_37328564_1_1_1_1,00.html 26 http://www.weforum.org/en/initiatives/gcp/Gender%20Gap/index.htm