Quote of the Week Selections, Third Quarter, 2002
prior quotes

020819, Quote #259:
The Stars Within Us

Howard Bloom, Global Brain, p. 223, John Wiley and Sons, 2000.

Ancient stars in their death throes spat out atoms like iron which this universe had never known. The novel tidbits of debris were sucked up by infant suns which, in turn, created yet more atoms when their race was run. Now the iron of old nova coughings vivifies the redness of our blood. Deep ecologists and fundamentalists urge that our faces point backward and that our eyes turn down to contemplate a man-made hell. If stars step constantly upward, why should the global interlace of humans, microbes, plants, and animals not move upward steadily as well? The horizons toward which we can soar are within us, anxious to break free, to emerge from our imaginings, then to beckon us forward into fresh realities. We have a mission to create, for we are evolution incarnate. We are her self-awareness, her frontal lobes and fingertips. We are second-generation star stuff come alive. We are parts of something 3.5 billion years old, but pubertal in cosmic time. We are neurons of this planet’s interspecies mind.

020812, Quote #258:
Learning from Ground Level

If you’re building a system designed to learn from the ground level, a system where macrointelligence and adaptability derive from local knowledge, there are five fundamental principals you need to follow. Gordon’s harvester ants showcase all of them at work:
• More is different – It’s only by observing the entire system at work that the global behavior becomes apparent.
• Ignorance is useful
• Encourage random encounters
• Look for patterns in the signs
• Pay attention to your neighbors.

020806, Quote #257:
"Information is Physical"

Robert Auger, The Electronic Meme: A New Theory of How We Think, pp 139 - 140, The Free Press, 2002.

It is a fundamental fact that "information is physical." This phrase has become the mantra of a group of scientists called information physicists. It was first adopted by one of their most august members, the late Rolf Landauer, of IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Center. The mantra doesn't mean that information is a separate kind of entity whose bits get tabooed up alongside the number of molecules and joules when accounting for all the material in the universe. Nevertheless the presence of information can change the course of events, and it is in this sense that information is physical. Any complete description of the universe must include information. Physical reality must be considered to include not just matter and energy, but information too. As Norbert Weiner, one of the founders of cybernetics in the 1940's, put it: "Information is information, not matter or energy. No materialism which does not admit this can survive the present day." Why does information matter? Because the structure of the universe—that is, of matter and energy—is a function of the distribution and quantity of information. If matter and energy are randomly distributed through space, there is no structure to the universe; if there is useful information about the universe, then there are pockets of organized matter and energy within it, capable of doing work, such as being converted from one to the other. Information is the quality or property of bundles of matter or energy.

020729, Quote #256:
Acquiring The Advantage

A contribution of Hans Kuendig of Atlantis Public Relations.


I was thinking about organisms and organizations, and the common force at work in both to create life, or energy. Margaret Wheatley's work in A Simpler Way, which provides an organistic perspective and model on designing organizations, is a fascinating book on this topic. Coupled with the many exciting ideas coming from organizations, like yours, willing to rethink every aspect of an organization from structure and relationships to communications and behavior, exciting new possibilities abound today. My curiosity about these forces led me to suggest the following quote:

"Once you begin to execute, you acquire the advantage: momentum."

The question behind this quote relates to what creates the "good" energy that we notice and are attracted to when in its presence. What is the ingredient that we notice in people, companies and nature, with so much energy and force, that attracts us like a magnetic? In a person, the force attracts people, ideas and success. In a company, that force attracts
partners, customers and intelligent employees.

It is a real entity. But what is it? To identify it and name it, I looked to what is missing when the force is not present. That proved a much simpler way to find and identify this concept. The next question, naturally, was the concept of what you must do to get the force or energy going, and I think that's very much what your organization focuses on and provides to its clients, in many ways.

I have not discovered anything new, of course. I've simply clarified it in a new light, a new context. I believe that momentum is the energy force that we see and are attracted to, and that attracts. The properties of momentum are known in physics as mass, speed and direction. If we examine an organization's problem(s) at any given time, I think we can identify details that would track along these lines.

And so the solution becomes organizational and relational context that creates the right mass, speed and direction for a company, a rearrangement of particular organistic properties. The concept suggests that if we examine an organization through discovery, identify and reposition the properties, and then jump start the heart (if you will), we can set the organization into a mode of execution, which then creates a healthy flow of energy and attraction: momentum.

© MG Taylor Corporation, 1995 - 2002

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