Re: Soul LO1132

Gerry Starnes (
Tue, 9 May 1995 19:47:50 -0500

Replying to LO1107 --

Responding to LO1091 (Re: Distinctions) David Birrens writes:

>This is a BIG subject that I suspect is going to form not just a thread
>but a whole skein.

*** snip ***

>Finally, (quoting from Chapter 1 now): "'Soul' is not a thing, but a
>quality or a dimension of experiencing life and ourselves. It has to do
>with depth, value, relatedness, heart, and personal substance. I do not
>use the word here as an object of religious belief or as something to do
>with immortality. When we say that someone or something has soul, we know
>what we mean, but it is difficult to specify exactly what that meaning

In my work with several re-organizations, I have noticed that
"Sprituality" has emerged as a priority value in every instance. While the
definitions of the term have been different, as backgrounds are different,
it is clear that the participants value a "bigger than I" concept in their

In my opinion, this is an expression of expansion beyond the ordinary
"day's work for a day's pay" view -- it is an attempt to incorporate one's
work within the context of one's life, rather than being

Systems thinking may serve as the catalyst for this, just as quantum
physics pulled away from Newtonian physics, which worked well for dealing
with mechanical phenomena, but ultimately did not adequately explain
reality. Threads regarding the Tao te Ching, Talking Stick Circle, "Not
doing," Aikido and other Zennist ideas and concepts, as well as this
thread on "soul," point toward this broadening of concepts.

In my observation, people are no longer interested in just working for
pay. The only managers I have seen who still espouse this view of work
have been in management for twenty or more years, and mostly come from a
military background. (Sorry, if I offend, but it is my observation.)

In this sense, I believe that Ketan Lakhani (LO1100) is in error in his
observation. Systems thinking is/can be both moral and ethical, and does
acknowledge the individual.

I have to say though, that what causes me the most difficulty in this
context is those individuals who take the next step and impose their own
religious beliefs upon others in the workplace -- particularly managers
and supervisors -- in the name of infusing the organization with
spirituality. Unless a particular religious view is the established norm
for an organization, which will by necessity restrict the employee pool
and the system as a whole, such activities create an uncomfortable
(sometimes threatening) environment, in which a learning organization
cannot exist.

Again, systems thinking and the concept of a *learning* organization
represents the "quantum science" of management. Tolerance and openness is
an absolute requirement, the antithesis of entrenched, dogmatic religious

gerry starnes
austin, texas