Value Dynamics Evidenced in Open Space Technology Circles
Value Dynamics Evidenced in Open Space Technology Circles
Notes from WOSOS by the Sea 2009 in Camden, Maine (Not sure of date) on
Value Dynamics in Open Space
Convened by Skye Hirst and Norm Hirst
This is a summary of discussion that took place during a World Open Space on Open Space by the Sea (WOSOS) in Camden, Maine. In an attempt to talk about valuing dynamics first identified by Robert S. Hartman, the Hirsts bring this understanding to the Open Space for discussion with Open Spacers attending the discussion.
- Hugh Huntington
- Argene Carswell
- Karen Davis
Robert S. Hartman's Structure of Value, 1967 identified and developed a beginning formalism and way of thinking towards a science of value dynamics. Through this lens, we see three dimensions of value operative within life and living processes. Hartman defined values as fulfillment of conceptual intensions. The three dimensions are Intrinsic, Extrinsic and Systemic.
The Intrinsic value is a unicept, unmediated perception applicable only to what is being valued. Here there has to be totality, oneness and aesthetic, intuitive judgments. It is known through feelings, intuition. Intrinsic is direct connection to the oneness; as unconditional loving.
Extrinsic values compare the entity being valued to concepts abstracted from experience. This is a dimension of Good and Bad as to how well something being valued meets the expectation. Extrinsic is connection to part of the oneness; as valuing someone for their blue eyes or their skill as a computer programmer.
Systemic dynamic is applied concepts that are created such as the worth of money, justice etc. Of these, only Systemic values have finite measure. Systemic is imposed on the oneness as a rule or law; shoulds, idealism show up here.
The full metric for value has both finite for Systemic and orders of infinity for both Extrinsic and Intrinsic. You have to have orders of infinity for the full metric. The Systemic is easiest to talk about and to be worded.
Points of discussion:
There were those in the group who thought of the word Systemic in reverse to the above. Systemic meaning as related to system, results, in some people's thinking that systemic is thinking about the whole system.
In Hartman's use, Systemic refers to concepts that are synthetic and created by us rather than concepts derived through experience.
People have experienced, at the Hartman Institute, that it is very difficult to communicate the theory. It needs to be communicated by inquiry circles where time is given to reflect upon and develop each notion as it applies to the context or situation. Nevertheless a Value Perception Test based on the theory has been validated and verified, we believe, in every major culture on earth today. Thus the theory is not just Hartman's opinion. The theory stands up as a serious contribution to a value science.
Open Space illustrates beautifully the effects of these value dynamics being used.
Feeling loving helps communication because it puts us into the direct unmediated perception of the Intrinsic, (no boundaries) which includes all and serves as ground for the development of the lower dimensions; Extrinsic and Systemic. Without connection to the Intrinsic, the perception of the lower dimensions can become a random walk resulting in the conditions we face in our society today, a lack of meaning.
Open Space values the intrinsic first, all-inclusive possibility, permitting and respecting.
The one rule that is Systemic, The Law of Two Feet, enables all three dimensions to be possible, not controlling the oneness. The best use of the Systemic is when the rule or law enables and supports people to act with and from the higher values. (Intrinsic, Extrinsic) Driving on the "right/left" side of the road is a good Systemic rule, permitting greatest freedom with least interference. If people are to live together, work together, such an agreement helps support the widest all-inclusive possibilities.
Whatever happens is the only thing that could….is an Extrinsic dimension, where some aspect of the whole is materialized and separated out of the whole, yet still connected.
As OS process unfolds, people feel free to be themselves, yet connected with the ability to express their highest intrinsic valuing, i.e. a direct experience of unmediated loving. Such deep connection that happens and is possible over and over again within OS is evidence of a positive effect of a process that puts Intrinsic first. All else unfolds from that.
If you should begin with the rules (Systemic) being many and first, you won't get the same result.
The invitation question, ideally, will include all three dimensions of value.
It helps people focus on some part of the whole (Extrinsic) and brings their Intrinsic (un-mediated direct connection) to the issue, and the rules of engagement are understood to some degree through the process of getting to the invitation. The issues and responsibilities combine Extrinsic and Systemic to complete the full picture of coherence. One value dimension without the other would not make a full and satisfying whole experience.
In discussion a personal experience of negotiating a family decision process was offered as way to apply and think about the use of the three dimensions of value in order of hierarchy.
What we are learning is that to know all of these dimensions, you must access your own inner knowing and feelings of what is coherent action within various contexts. Therefore self-knowing is what is called for to use these dimensions.
However, when there are arguments between people often, the argument is between these kinds of values. One argues for the importance of aesthetics, respect, loving, while someone else argues the importance of practicality, measurement of "thinginess" as in a job skill, and others say it's just the bottom line and doing the "right thing" by rules and laws laid down. What we know is that all three dimensions are necessary to live in this world, with one another. To end the argument, remind everyone that we need all three dimensions to come together and be harmonized for the context, the intrinsic mix of individuals and the task at hand (hoped for outcomes).
When you make laws so inappropriate that no one can actually fulfill them, you make lawlessness. The dominant Western worldview believes that the rule of law should be the highest in value over all others. Fundamentalism of any kind is a call to rule of law as the "right" or "wrong," one way only believed necessary to correct errant ways. However, when your only values are Systemic you don't even see the other higher values(Intrinsic, Extrinsic). Love and loving are not even allowed in discussions in business or government, that is, in governments of Western Traditions.
There are other cultures that have and do know the importance of the hierarchy of development using this order of values and live by them whenever possible. Living contexts can change how we value by necessity to function there. Knowing about the dimensions of value can help us know better how to create environments that permit Intrinsic value, then Extrinsic, then Systemic with an ever processing towards balance recognizing the value of all three.
Join in this conversation about how value dimensions can help us develop a language for talking and sharing an understanding so essential in our living processes. The Hartman Institute celebrates it 40th Anniversary this year. www.hartmaninstitute.org
Value Dynamics and Kinds of Values
All connected, Living Dynamics, Asethetics
Love, "No Thingness" Unicept
Good Extrinsic Bad
Measurement of Category
Right Synthetic Law Wrong