The way ahead, part 1.
May 29, 1997 02:40 PM
by Einar Adalsteinsson & A.S.B.
I had meant to send this article long time ago. It was mentioned this
winter, but I feel that it should have a place in today's discussion, as it
is quite an 'eye opener' in my view.
Take it as it is. I hope that you enjoy it.
THE WAY AHEAD, by Adam Warcup.
The times they are changing" sang Bob Dylan. In this article I would like to
explore one of the fundamental changes in outlook and approach Which is
currently sweeping through our culture. It
is perhaps time for The Theosophical Society to acknowledge sea-change, and
adopt to it if we wish to remain in tune with the times.
The hierarchical style has been dominant for thousands of years. It can be
seen exemplified in organisations like armies, churches, schools and
government departments. A hierarchical organisation has a chief such as a
general, a pope, a president or an emperor. then follows a series of
organisation: field marshals, brigadiers, colonels and finally foot
soldiers. Powers invested in these positions and the chain of command is
established. The colonel issues the order, which is implemented in
increasing levels of details. Finally the foot soldiers execute the orders,
this can be pictured as a pyramid; the chief is at the top of the pyramid
and the foot soldiers make up the base. Typically me foot soldiers, the
peasants and the laity in the church have no power to control events,
but are expected to do what they are told.
A network is totally different. It is a flat organisation in which each
individual is acknowledged as being as valuable as every other. An operating
telephone network is a good example. It is made up of a large number of
users who are interconnected via telephone lines and exchanges. The network
exists for the use of subscribers - without them it would all fall apart
because it would have no purpose. When compared with a hierarchical
organisation a number of things become apparent. Power is in the hands of
the many; the 'few' exist to serve the many. Engineers exist to maintain the
exchanges. Managers exist to ensure the smooth running of the physical
network. Planners exist to forecast growth in demand.
Secondly, the organisation is flat rather than pyramid shaped and everything
is open to inspection. Information does not confer power on the few.
Thirdly, the purpose and motivation comes from the members, the users, not
from leader or an elite. An interesting example of a modern network is the
Internet - users who have access to information stored on a large number of
computer systems world-wide.
The TS is a good example of a hierarchical organisation: it has an
international president and general council at the apex of the pyramid. In
each country there is a General Secretary, an Executive Committee, below
that a National Council and then a number of Federations - each with a
president and a council. Within each Federation mere is a number lodges,
again each with a president. Only then organisationally do we reach me
It seems at times that the structure is more important than the members it
is supposed to support We find all the weaknesses of a hierarchical
organisation. First it fosters elitism: it is better to be a Lodge,
federation or national officer than a 'mere' member. Second there are
secrecy issues there is information that that only certain people have
access to, books in libraries that only certain members can borrow and read,
groups that only certain members can attend and so on.
To be followed by part two.......
With LOVE to you all.
Einar from Iceland.
Let's change the world to the better,
by each of us changing ourselves,
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