On the cards

The ideas of the past, although half destroyed, being still very powerful,Ā and the ideas which are to replace them being still in process of formation,Ā the modern age represents a period of transition and anarchy.

Gustave Le Bon
The Crowd: A Study of the Popular Mind, 1895
(Hock: ch. 6 – The House of Cards)

Whether biological or social, whether organism or organisation, all thingsĀ are living processes, not constructed mechanisms, and none can be made toĀ behave as though they were machines, in spite of all our illusions to theĀ contrary. None, at bottom, are controllable, and science, mathematics, andĀ measurement can never bring them to compelled behaviour. We may damageĀ them severely. We may destroy them utterly. But we cannot change or compelĀ their essential nature or behaviour. Life will never surrender its secretsĀ to a yardstick.

(Hock: ch. 7 – Nothing to Lose)

Dee Hock
The Birth of The Chaordic Age, 1999

At the end of another tumultuous day in British politics I lifted a favourite book from my shelves and remembered why, upon first reading, I believed it ought to be required reading for anyone aspiring to any form of leadership at all …

… we cannot change or compel their essential nature or behaviour

I’m profoundly pro-European. But wouldn’t the entire project benefit (within the EU and in a post-Brexit Britain) –Ā from some considered reflection upon that advice?

Can the nations of the earth, politically, socially and religiously,Ā learn to be chaordic? – “dominated by neither chaos or order” … characterised by “the fundamental organising principles of evolution and nature.”


Tonight I hope so. And longer-termĀ I also believe so.