A collection of essays based on the Frank Gerstein Lecture series. Authors include Ivan Illich, C.S. Holling, George Grant, Robert Lifton, Harold Taylor, and Jacob Bronowski, with an introduction by Rubinoff.
Much of the book may seem a bit dated by its authors' references to the then-current counterculture movements, but that's understandable since lectures, unlike most print-based essays, are more explicitly situated in particular times & places.
Probably the most interesting text (to me, anyway) was Rubinoff's intro: "The Crisis of Modernity: The Implicit Barbarism of Technology" and that's because he comes up with one of those ideas that is so contrary to common sense that it makes sense: an apo logy for barbarism.
The structure of barbarism is ambivalent. In its most pathological form it marks a regressive return to the 'war of all with all'.... On some occasions, however, it arises as a necessary stge in the dialectic of self-recovery. That is to say, there are ti mes when barbarism can be comprehended as a way back to sanity, as an experience through which society seeks to recover its lost integrity and virtue....which reminds me of the oscillations between order and disorder that chaos theory talks about.
A programmatic blueprint for enacting a learner-centered education system, sort of like translating Holt's and Illich's approaches into an institutional model. And that's the strength and weakness of their plan.
On one hand, this book could be seen as a practical response to skeptics who might say that progressive educators of the 60s had some fine ideas but never got around to figuring out how to implement them. Martin & Harrison attempt to bring Utopian vis ions into the realm of actual practice.
On the other hand, their book is largely a scenario based on ideal circumstances--a kind of 'this-is-what-we-would-do-if-real-life-didn't-get-in-the-way' extended daydream. I found it valuable and compelling nonetheless. Probably because I'm an incurable daydreamer and stubborn optimist (well, most of the time).
I don't usuallly read books clear through, but I read this cover-to-cover, in part because the idealistic scheme was compelling in its own right, in part because I wanted to see if they managed to address economic and political implications. They take a s tab at them at the very end, but never really get into the mess of how their blueprint might be implemented.
This is a good book for revolutionaries and evolutionaries anyway. Treat it as first step, something to use as leverage for a next step.
An unapologetic application of current scientific theory to human-scale phenomena (organizations). Wheatley notes that even some scientists recognize science as essentially metaphoric, and since metaphor is the bread and butter of humanist endeavor, it's upon that bridge that Wheatley totes stuff like chaos and quantum mechanics, translating them into language organzation theoriest and organization managers can easily grok.
I suppose in the process some of the science gets oversimplified, but so it goes. She does a great job of making difficult concepts accessible.
And in the process she does something that's probably more important than scientific precision and thoroughness: She shows the relationship between scientific thought and social movement, how the way we work and how we work together is transforming, not only by dint of these new ideas, but because of new social and economic conditions as well.
Her ideas seem both relevant to and descriptive of Interversity (a new kind of educational organization!). This book could be a kind of conceptual guide for us as we continue to give shape to this project.