In preparation for a recent talk I came across some interesting material. It suggested the remnants of traits that supported our most distant ancestors still linger within us, and may provide an explanation for some the difficulties we are having with organizations today. In the couple hundred years or so since the Industrial Revolution the world around us has evolved much faster than our human minds. The hereditary changes that should eventually assist us in making this adjustment just don’t move that fast.
As a result a portion of our comfort zone remains embedded in a desire for the time in early human development when groups and its members worked in relationships that were based on mutual concern. It really is as if the advances that brought us into today’s world, and the and the skills we need in order to take it forward from here are caught in a mighty “tug of war”.
Consider the words of two time Pulitzer Prize winner E.O. Wilson:
“Humanity today is like a waking dreamer, caught between the fantasies of sleep and the chaos of the real, and having created a Star Wars civilization, with Stone Age emotions, medieval institutions, and godlike technology. We are terribly confused by the mere fact of our existence, and a danger to ourselves and to the rest of life.” E.O. Wilson, The Social Conquest of Earth
It makes one wonder if we had better understood this dilemma, whether or not those grand organizations run by our world’s government leaders could have avoided the mess they have created. Judging from the rhetoric we have endured, I am afraid that level of enlightenment is still far beyond their reach, and perhaps our own as well.
This posting is based on a Blog previously posted on this site.