Rüdiger Lutz:

The little monsters or obstacles to free and open systems

1. Structural violence and dissonance through hierarchical order.

Hierarchies are enemies of open systems because of their intrinsic structure independent from the cause and content of the intention. Nonetheless hierarchies are omnipresent: In organizations, technology, art and culture, they are the system, "De civitate dei" was Augustinus' utopia and holy order of things - and since then we think of hierarchy as gods will, how to order everything on earth. But hierarchy is counterproductive to its very essence to make things work, to achieve highest effectiveness and rescue us from misleading detours. The only thing they ever attached to, is growth and the survival of its structure (Parkinson's law), and the climbing of the level of incompetence on the stairway to success (the Peter principle).
On this struggle for a higher existence, aggressiveness and violence play a major role. Members of hierarchies produce visible and invisible acts of violence against each other, even for the price of selfdestruction. It's an autopoietic suicide, internally and externally fatal for the whole.

2. Nivellism - the big equalizer in modern "social" communities.

Societal progress is mainly a process of standardization and quantification of given systems. Be it a house or a relationship, there are definitions of "normality", beyond this quality there is illegality, non-conformity, chaos and disorder, prison or psychiatry. There are good structural reasons for having standards, when building a bridge or a high-rise tower, for designing a safe car or eating nontoxic food. But when is taste "bad", a relationship not healthy, or a contract unethical ? In an evercomplicated and more complex world, orientations of normality are looked for, and the result is an overprotected, superrestricted and fearloaden "crew on spaceship earth" (Robert Buckminster Fuller) unable to fullfill their free will because of all the surrounding limitations and possible dangers, even in this fortress "Corcoran", called "free world".

3. Stupidization and deprivation of the individual and the collectives.

The convergence of 1. Hierarchy and 2. Nivellism leads to the third monster or obstacle of systems-design: People degenerate and get so brain-washed, that they cannot perceive the obvious fallacies and blocks in reality - the consensus reality no longer mirrors the factual world, but its distorted image, seen through glasses and classes of hierarchies and norms, invented by our predecessors or ancestors of systems-thinking back to the stone-age or the big bang of evolution. This schizophrenia is today's normality, a cognitive dissonance people can live with - to a lower or higher degree, which we call tolerance. Tolerance is nonetheless also subject to nivelized standardizations: In times of crises or distraction the degree of tolerance is mostly lowered and in times of growth and acceleration it's used more liberal, taking chances and allowing experiments to enfold.
But especially in times of crisis, new approaches and therefore experiments would be needed, however hierarchical structures and traditional standards counteract and prevent innovations. So it's a double bind (G. Bateson) of conserving and renewing the overall design of the system. Different paradigms come into the play of actors, attractors and arrangements in the enfolding scenario. If the curtain of perception falls, the reality can easily be innovated. The wall comes down, first in the mind, then in particles and patterns, not seen before (metamorphosis).

4. Horrorphobia - the fear of fear

Hierarchical structures produce another enemy of open systems: Fear. The oppressive nature of hierarchies is based on top-down dynamics of pressure and counterattacks of its members. The foundations are the masses of oppressed individuals, which try to overcome their helplessness by supressing other helpless beings, the start for building classes is prepared. In the end of the evolution of every hierarchy, there is no top any more, but only victims of the system. The myth of progress and achievement is dismantled by the banality of having no freedom to move, everybody is paralysed by the rigidity and complicated complexity of the basically very simple structure of the hierarchy. But the hierarchy has a thousand faces, it's not an hidden and anonymous power, it's real and it executes the power, that is given to it, but this form of empowerment is a chisma of fear. Fear as predominant form of life is to be seen in every aspect of products, technologies, infrastructures, social interaction and artistic expression. Fear is the Co-designer of the systems-designer, always in advance and prepared for showing the "emperors new clothes" in always attractive new colors. But the obvious result remains the same: Distortion and destruction of helpful approaches to overcome the disabilities and fallacies of the hierarchical nightmare. There is nothing to be afraid of - all the main "handbooks" for living on spaceship earth, the religions and philosophies are telling this true story - but the "real" situations are showing the opposite, dark side of the silvermoon. The entanglement of hierachites in its own superstructure is dangerous, ugly, overwhelming and last, but not least - fatal.


The a priori categories (space/time) may not be altered, but seen differently. As the earth was getting bigger and bigger because of exploration (and exploitation) through sea and landcruising, the worldview began to be globalized, the new frontier was growth. Since the earth can be seen from the outside, our planet seems to shrink in comparison to the endless nothingness of outer space. Now the new frontier is the inner self, which has to find its moment in time, where this little soul encounters the marvel of the skies, Immanuel Kant praised in his "Critiques". Again we face a paradigmShift comparable to the era of enlightenment or the coming of Christ. Science and religion converge as the counterforces of evolution endanger our existence, they are both dedicated to truth, but pursue different approaches and pathways to get to know "it", yet they are on parallel trails, not divergent nor colliding, this would be harmful to the common cause. Sustainability and Survivalability of the whole system is the priority of this endeavor. Take it, you cannot leave it.



- This page is part of "Annettes Philosophenstübchen" 2005/06 - http://www.thur.de/philo/gast/ruediger/lutz25.htm -