A mindset to set goals
Education in the social exercise of the mission of authority.
The exercise of authority described above corresponds to a limited social group. Beyond the group, in order to ensure the minimization of violence across several groups, at the level of a people and between peoples, network organizations and spiritual movements use in their operation the principle of the alliance of opposites. The alliance of opposites is fundamental in the spiritual movements of Asia, Taoism, ying and yang, Tantrism of the left hand and that of the right hand, etc. This principle is the basis of fairness when it comes to resolving a dispute when applying a rule. If there is no opposition or a different point of view, it will be necessary to give the floor to the “devil’s advocate”. The point is clear: at the social level, apart from the forced imposition of dogmas, it is impossible to obtain a unanimous agreement on the whole functioning of a society and on the way of life between the peoples of the planet. Yet there is a common interest in how we view life and how we ensure dignity for each and every one in his or her human condition.
The alliance of opposites goes far beyond the mere observance of fair procedures in a dispute and goes beyond judicial law with its adversarial principles, the publicity of debates, etc. It is an education in the social exercise of authority.
We are no longer at the individual or group stage but at the social level. We said earlier that the delegation of authority is always partial. When a problem or dispute arises in the performance of the mission of individual authorities or in the exercise of power or command, the resolution of that problem or dispute again calls for the expression of the whole group. It is not just a question of pitting the interests of society against those of individuals, the interests of those in power against the interests of members of the group, as is the case in a system of power. The goal remains the same: minimize violence to ensure the development of political, economic and social peace.
In a system of power, leaders adopt an autocratic attitude by imposing knowledge that serves their interests. They say: “we know,” and we must obey them. To bring about contradiction, to think differently then represents a deviance and an opposition which must be eliminated or at least silenced and concealed.
In the network organization, the members of the group shall cooperate with a view to carrying out a project. They must inevitably incorporate the uncertainty principle and take account of unforeseen events in their business processes. They know what they want and they know that they are able to achieve the desired result, that they can succeed in obtaining the optimal solution. But they also know that they must rely on a minimum of mistakes to succeed. The successful one is the one who makes the least mistakes.
This is Herbert Simon’s BMI model. Intelligence modeling choice: decision-makers cannot predict everything, they stop thinking when they find the solution that gives them an optimal level of satisfaction. The optimal solution that generates group unanimity is not unique and above all it is not the mark of absolute truth. It is optimal in relation to a set of contexts: Spatial, temporal, relational, social, etc. Intellectual work from the second source of knowledge makes it possible to find this optimal material and relational solution.
The alliance of opposites organizes the first stage in the search for the optimal solution and the principle of subsidiarity organizes the second stage. Of course, the two are complementary. To continue to use the vocabulary of management, we can say that the alliance is contrary represents the mindset with which we must set up the information intelligence.
Clearly, when defining a goal and assembling the data, all views must be considered. The end result is optimal and consistent: the more the interests of each have been taken into account, the better the solution will be and the better the solution will be, the easier it will be to obtain unanimous support to validate it as an optimal solution. Then it will have to be adapted to the local particularities and the more this planned solution will become optimal at the local level, the more it will be validated unanimously by the members of this local group. In another local group, the local particularities will ensure that at the other planned optimal solution will be implemented.
Listening and dialog
A basic principle among the Benedictines
The oldest Western enterprise dating back 1500 years, founded in the year 500 at Mount Cassin by Bernard of Nurcie, the network organization of Benedictine monasteries, like the spiritual movements of Asia, uses this alliance of opposites. Members of a network organization seek to learn from all the original experiences and characters.
For Benedictines the decision is made in three stages: at the beginning there is the phase of silence, the monks are listening to themselves and others, especially novices who still have a new look. Then comes the phase of dialog that confronts viewpoints. Finally, there is the third stage, the action phase in which the decision is taken and then implemented.
The alliance of opposites concerns the first two phases: listening and dialog. It’s about stepping outside our normal cognitive range, out of our everyday frame of reference, to take into account what other people are doing. This understanding of the other is based initially on empathy, the ability to identify with someone, to feel and share emotions; it represents a form of emotional understanding of the other. It’s a communication technique you can learn. If necessary, other registers of languages developed with our first source of knowledge, the spiritual and initiatory source: the language of the bodies from the spiritual paths of overcoming the limits of the body and loving ecstasy, the language of the heart from the spiritual paths of mystical experience and the poetic direct path. We will come back to that.
The criteria that differentiate the opposites are extremely numerous: gender, age, space and time criteria: a geographical origin, a period of history, etc. In order to establish the alliance of opposites, it is therefore necessary to start by looking at whether most of these criteria are present, are represented among the members of the group. It is not necessary for natural persons belonging to these criteria to be present, it is sufficient for their views to be present.
In a system of power, decisions are subject to consistency with the goals of the system’s leaders, sometimes there is little freedom to define different goals. These constraints and limitations do not exist in networked organizations.
The mix of fixed and flexible rules.
The example of Benedictine monasteries is interesting. The rules established by Bernard de Nurcie in the year 500 are still present but they have been constantly reinterpreted according to the place and the time of the convent. This mix of fixed rules and flexibility is largely unknown in power systems that are unable to change.
For example, companies have very limited lifespans because they are unable to change, that is to say to define new objectives that radically change their structures. For Simon, the intelligence of an organization is its ability to question itself as soon as a threat or opportunity in the environment arises in order to adapt to take the best advantage.
Another example of an alliance of opposites can be found in the confederation of Iroquois nations: when another people refuses the confederation’s peace proposals, it is women and mothers who alone have the right to declare war, that is, the power to send their husbands and sons into battle.
The alliance of opposites is used here to take into account the fate of possible victims of a decision. Since each decision has advantages and disadvantages, in good intelligence, it is not a question of minimizing the disadvantages or of concealing them but of managing them at the same level as the expected advantages. This is, of course, a risk-prevention approach. This risk prevention is an integral part of the alliance of opposites.
There is no middle ground
We must not confine ourselves to the simplistic consideration that the alliance of opposites allows us to strike a balance. That middle ground should not be regarded as an ideal. When we know what we want to do, before we decide, we have to look at who has an interest in making the opposite decision. The ecological approach is essentially based on such confrontations: the waste of resources on one hand leads to poverty and misery for others. The search for profit for some results in an increasingly unequal sharing of wealth. The monopoly of the agricultural bio-technology industries on seeds is causing ruin and suicide for the peasants in India, and these unacceptable social consequences do not bother these capitalists, because in order to be even more profitable, agriculture must be done on a large scale over vast areas.
The cynical financier will reply that this inevitable evolution took place in the West over several centuries, but that today this evolution must take place very quickly and therefore suddenly in Asia or South America, because it is a matter of feeding humanity and the demographic explosion on our planet. The end of small farmers is thus inevitable to favor capitalist agriculture capable of generating fabulous financial profits for its leaders.
The functioning of our Western political, economic and social power system rejects any possibility of alliance of opposites and of world government based on the values of peace and love. This operation relies on balances of terror to deter people from moving and revolting: nuclear terror, demographic terror with peoples condemned to endemic poverty, technological terror with the threats of pollution, climate change. The terror of future world wars will be when people driven away by desertification, rising sea levels, and deadly misery will march towards countries with comfortable and pleasant living conditions.
The leaders of our capitalist economic power system reject any prospect of an alliance of opposites: they are defending their dogmas and their pursuit of ever more profits. No negotiation is possible because there is no alternative to their neo-liberal policies: there is no recognition in them that an alternative is possible. the workings of their system of power rule out any alliance of opposites. We will show it later: in order to restore this alternative and to establish an alliance of opposites, we will have to separate ourselves from them and eliminate their systems of domination in our societies.
Life and death can be opposed and appear as two opposites, but for the initiate, death is only a passage between two opposites: a human condition incapable of understanding the mysteries of life and a life after human life that has nothing to do with the carnal body.
Here we can find Freud and Keynes. Freud argues that the impulse of death is embedded in the heart of human activity and is repulsed by the sexual impulse which is a impulse of life. But the risk of a society falling apart is permanent. In Keynes, the diversion of the impulse of death is effected by the infinite desire for accumulation. The obsessive love of money becomes a morbid, disgusting passion, which leads to social disorder and the revolt of the poorest.
In this alliance of opposites, the fatal outcome is pessimistic for Freud. Keynes was a little more optimistic in demanding that states establish a world government based on the values of peace and love capable of satisfying the basic needs of humanity. As we have already said, these two authors did not address the spiritual approach and they did not see the value of the alternative of networked organizations in relation to the systems of power they criticized. Their discussions remain limited to the framework of knowledge imposed by the systems of power, and these two authors have not really departed from this framework of thoughts.
The alliance of opposites represents a state of mind, an education, a desire that cannot exist without being put into practice. If we use the famous Marxist term of praxis, the alliance of opposites is the purpose of the organization, the strategic element of praxis. The second complementary element of this practice is the principle of subsidiarity, which guides the approach of operational and tactical activities.
This education uses our two sources of knowledge and it is indeed our first source, that which does not need to know how to read and write, the initiatory and spiritual source which gives us a vision of the world and of the place of human beings on planet Earth. The only source of rational and intellectual knowledge is not capable of leading us to the alliance of opposites and therefore it will put in place an optimal solution which is certainly brilliant in scientific and technological terms but which will not be accepted by the whole social group and which will be insufficient to meet our reasons for living according to the values of peace and love. It will inevitably give rise to conflict and injustice.
Improved authority and command management
The objective of the subsidiarity principle is to identify the optimal solution capable of achieving a unanimous decision in the group. It concerns the management of power and participates in raising the level of competence of the members of the group. But there remains the question of authority and command.
The alliance of opposites intervenes to improve the management of authority and command. The aim is to verify adherence to the optimal solution and to examine local particularities that will require interpretations of this optimal solution for ad hoc and local adjustments.
Of course, a well-functioning subsidiarity principle eliminates most of the difficulties in command and enforcement: a unanimous decision will be less subject to controversy and quarrel later on, especially if at the level of the committee of experts responsible for defining it, there are delegates from local groups who initially do not necessarily have the same interests. Nevertheless, an optimal decision taken on a given day will certainly not be optimal any time later, and it will be necessary to decide on the optimal moment to change the decisions taken earlier.
Similarly, at the level of management of the mission of authority, not all members of the group will have the same level of need and interest for the project conducted together and some, inevitably, in different groups will probably have interests in contradiction with those of the group. To minimize violence around us and our project group, it is necessary to take into account the interest of others to see how together a general interest can emerge. We are no longer at the level of the invisible hand that transforms individual selfish and cynical interests into the general interest and at the level of a myth and a fiction.
The alliance of opposites, on the contrary, is based on negotiating skills, on the search for consensus. It is contrary to the current practice of lobbying policy makers or public institutions. Through the famous space-time relationship, for a project group, there will inevitably be other groups who will be either harmed by this optimal solution or convinced by other solutions better for them according to their local particularities or according to their culture. Unless we consider that we are the number-crunchers of the world and that everyone else perceives us as such, the principle of subsidiarity is not enough, we must complement this project approach with the principle of the alliance of opposites.
At the same time as the project group seeks to establish a group of experts with other groups that have the same problem or project, it should also seek to identify groups that currently do not agree with the optimal solution, for various reasons: they use an older solution, their interests will be threatened, they are part of a system of power that refuses the development of this network, etc. Groups that may have different and contrary interests are known: men and women, generations: children, parents, grandparents, different nationalities, cultures, religions, occupations, etc. We will return to this in our fourth part.
The alliance of opposites is, of course, interested in ensuring that then the optimal solution is not vitiated by errors, as is the principle of subsidiarity, but its purpose lies in the future acceptance of the optimal solution in the group environment. This acceptance is obviously worked out from the conception of the project.
The alliance of opposites intervenes at all stages of decision-making: in defining and defining the project or problem in order to take into account the needs and interests of other groups, this is done in order to better define the general interest of populations living together or in good neighborliness. It also intervenes in the monitoring of decision-making in the control of the scoreboard that measures the gaps between the forecast and the reality: groups with “conflicting” interests are part of the monitoring and control team. The Alliance of Opponents seeks to establish conciliation and arbitration procedures with the aim of resolving disputes that may arise in the course of the project as well as in the external environment of the organization conducting this project.
To illustrate the alliance of opposites
The example of the Confederation of Iroquois Nations.
we are going to use the example of the confederation of the Iroquois nations, the case of the Great Bond Act of the Haudenosaunee people who live in the Great Lakes region of North America, from the St. Lawrence River to the Atlantic in present-day New York. This constitution that organizes the confederation of the 5 and 6 Iroquois nations dates back to the 1350s. Legend has it that a monk, across the Atlantic Ocean, came to teach the Iroquois people the art of making peace between tribes. We will return in our third part to this intervention of the monks, the Vikings and then the Templars in this region long before the trip of Christopher Columbus.
The example of the Iroquois confederation shows how tribes that wage war quickly come to terms by developing management tools to solve their problems.
This network operation respects differences and seeks above all the best solution that can be shared by all so as to raise the standard of living of everyone.
It is clear from this approach that resolving conflicts requires arbitration. The arbitrator is not going to impose his solution, otherwise we fall back into a system of power. The referee is responsible for preparing the ground, providing logistics for receiving opposing camps so that they can debate in optimal conditions.
The nation holding the role of arbitrator is responsible for ensuring compliance with rules and procedures, has the power of control and must report malfunctions, anomalies. It is not for her to decide and decide. This is the first task to be developed in the organization.
Then there is the question of external conflicts with neighboring peoples. The goal of the network is to forge an alliance with them. But first, two other opposites must be associated: men’s more bellicose nature and warrior skill with the more respectful nature of women’s lives. In order to limit men’s tendency to quarrel, the power to declare war and appoint warlords is given exclusively to women in the Constitution of the Iroquois nations.
We know from Julius Caesar in his narration of the war of the Gauls that the same was true of the Gauls: it was the women’s assembly that formalized the declaration of war and decided to send their men and children into combat. In the germans, Julius Caesar also tells us that women fought on the front lines, naked in order to be killed more quickly if they were defeated in order to protect their honor and not become slaves. Julius Caesar admits that this singular outfit was enough to disturb more than one of his legionnaires, troubles that could also benefit the opponent to defeat the Roman legionnaires. Quickly Julius Caesar sought an alliance with the Germans to use the Germanic cavalry whose charges would cause the defeat of the Gauls far more than the Roman infantry. We know that Roman leaders were first and foremost warriors who wanted to develop their empire and power system. They never sought to adopt the network organization of the peoples they were crushing precisely because that organization was contrary to the system of power they commanded.
The mothers’ group has the right of veto.
The involvement of women in the constitution of the Iroquois confederation is crucial: in the event of a conflict between the group and one of its leaders, particularly the one who has been appointed as warlord, the mothers ‘ group has the ultimate power to remove him before appointing another member to that position. The alliance of opposites is then used to give the right of veto, the final decision to the social group most affected by the decision: here, the fate of women and mothers who are most affected by wars, rapes, slavery, the loss of their sons in the fighting. More logical and humane than this common-sense rule, even Marx and Engels have given up looking.
The example of the Iroquois confederation is also crucial because it is a legal vestige that has remained intact and that has been preserved by some particularly cultivated English settlers curious about the world they were discovering.
In Europe, and particularly in France, the network organization of the time of the cathedrals and the Knights of the Temple was fiercely destroyed by royal absolutism and the inquisition of the popes. The last vestiges were lost in late July 1789, when people went to destroy the castles and church buildings that supported the power of the aristocracy. This confederation of Iroquois nations is now the last and best example of a functioning network organization. It is natural that some of its basic principles were perfectly suited to the establishment of the United States of America, just as its functioning is perfectly suited to the political developments of the United States of Europe.
Without elaborating on the subject here, we simply put a reservation on the use of the word “State”. The Iroquois confederation is about nations, that is, entities that are well defined and typed. True, the word nation scares our Western systems of power because those systems of power have waged war on each other in the name of the nation. This is also the strength of the example of the confederation of Iroquois nations: to show us that people who respect their differences manage to come together in a confederation to establish peace around them and develop a standard of living superior to the european nations that develop in systems of power and condemn themselves to waging war against each other.
read this constitution of the confederation of iroquois nations
Using the alliance of opposites in life project teams.
The alliance of opposites is also used to improve decision-making, which is step 5 of Peter Drucker’s 7-step decision-making scheme: It is also, in management, the modeling of possible solutions in the decision-making process and the IMC model of Herbert Simon.
To optimize a decision, the group that has identified the optimal solution, draws 3 subgroups by lot: arbitrators, the subgroup that advocates the optimal solution, the subgroup that attacks the optimal solution and puts itself in the place of the main possible detractors so as to test the robustness of the argument and the conditions for implementing the optimal solution in different situations or local constraints.
This is the approach of participatory local democracy. In power systems, on the contrary, it is a matter of imposing a rule from the top of a hierarchical pyramid and leaving it to the subordinate managers to find the arrangements to make this rule applicable whatever the circumstances, which does not allow the same adherence to the rule or group standard as in the context of a network organization.