Tag Archives: communication

Light and Life (PDF)

[An extract from my next book–some speculations on energies]

Light and Life

The forms of nature are subtle and far ranging. When one moves from the lattice structure of a crystal or the dance of electrons in a superconductor to the coherent oscillations in the human brain, the distinction between animate and inanimate begins to become blurred. Indeed a particularly striking suggestion is that light itself may play a key role in living systems.

Light has a powerful mythic history in the creation of the world. In the Judeo-Christian religion light was a result of the first act of creation and, in this sense, everything that exists comes from light. Light fills the entire universe and there is not one region of space, however remote, that is not criss-crossed by complex patterns of electromagnetic radiation. Indeed, the random noise that can be picked up by a microwave dish facing an empty region of the sky is believed to be the actual radiation present at the Big Bang origin of the universe. The radiation that once filled the embryo universe is present everywhere and, as space expanded over billions of years, so this aboriginal radiation was stretched out into longer and longer wavelengths until it forms the hiss that can be picked up by a microwave dish today.

(Foot Note: However, I do not all together accept the Big Bang convention that the universe was created at a single instant in time. The discussion of the previous chapter suggests that there is no fundamental level or origin to the universe. The “Big bang radiation” may nonetheless be the residue of some spectacular event occurring within a particular range of energies and space-time.)

Even the smallest region of space is filled with radiation from the extremely low frequencies of the Big Bang remnants, through the range of radio waves, from visible light and into ultra violet, and so up to gamma rays of the highest energy. This radiation comes from stars, supernovas, quasars, the event horizon of black holes, and from the twisting magnetic fields that stretch across vast regions of empty space. Moreover all this light is carrying information–it conveys information about it origin, in a nuclear process deep within the heart of a star, or as matter hurtles into  a black hole. Every volume of space is alive with electromagnetic radiation and, therefore, packed with an immense amount of data about the whole universe.

Light is a highly efficient way of encoding and transmitting information. Think also of the large number of telephone calls, television programs and telecommunication channels that can be carried on a single beam of light along a fibre optic link. This light stretches to the limits of all space so that each tiny region of space contains an amount of information that far exceeds the memory capacity of all the largest supercomputers put together. Indeed, every time you look into the night sky some of this information enters your eye and then unfolds within the brain to give a picture of the universe of stars and galaxies.

Light is information and communication. But what is truly remarkable is the recent highly controversial idea that light may play a central role in all biological systems. One of the active workers in this field is Fritz-Albert Popp of the Institute of Biophysical Cell Research in Kaiserlautern, Germany who is also associated with the Centre for Frontier Studies at Temple University, Philadelphia. While his ideas are not accepted by all physicists they are certainly striking in their implications.

For many decades it had been speculated that electromagnetic fields are associated with living systems. But research in this field is extremely difficult to carry out, since for every good, well documented experiment there are many others that can never be duplicated. Nevertheless, a number of experimentalists have been looking at this proposed bio-radiation and have suggested that photons, quantum particles of light, are emitted from the DNA molecule.

DNA is the key molecule in the nucleus of every cell and now it seems that this same molecule may be giving off a very weak level of radiation–just a few photons at a time. Experimentalists who have investigated the nature of this radiation believe that it is coherent, just like laser light only enormously weaker in its intensity. A biological molecule, DNA, seems to be acting like a laser and producing collective vibrations in an electromagnetic field.

If this is eventually confirmed to everyone’s satisfaction the question must be raised as to why. Nature does not normally do things without a reason. Why should the central molecule of life be emitting a very weak form of laser light? What could be its purpose?

An immediate answer is communication. Admittedly it is just a conjecture but one that scientists like Popp are willing to make. Suppose that DNA is using electromagnetic radiation, coherent light, to communicate inside the cell. Light can penetrate across the cell and is ideally suited for transmitting information. could it be that the cell uses a two level communication system–slower speed communication via conventional molecular processes that take place around the DNA molecule and a much higher speed communication within the whole cell using coherent light?

Scientists are also looking at coherent radiation from individual cells. The idea is that the entire organism may be swimming in a “living”, vibrating electromagnetic field. It may turn out, for example, that coherent light is being used as a communication system throughout the whole plant or animal–between DNA and the cell, between cell and cell and between organ and organ. The entire organism may therefore be a complex flow of information in which each cell and organ is responding to a constant flux of electromagnetic messages.

A living being would be a complex communications system in which coherent light ties together all its activities of metabolism and change. The very coherence of light would therefore be acting to preserve an even greater coherence–that of a living, changing organism. In this sense, light is active information. It is a global and active information that stretches across the cell, indeed the whole organism, and coordinates its efforts.

Individual animals may even be able to communicate with each other using electromagnetic radiation, just as do cells in a body. Indeed, one may ask if information, in the form of the coherent dance of fields of light, is the essence of all life and the way that complex living systems coordinate themselves?

At this point some readers may feel uneasy, for the idea of a complex flux of electromagnetic radiation which controls the activities of an organism begins to sound like a “life force”. The idea of such a field of information has echos of an elan vital, or of an aura of energy which surrounds the organism and is supposed to indicate its state of health. But in fact this is just what several scientists are indeed claiming–that the radiation given out by healthy cells is quite different from that given out by those that are sick or dying!

Could it be that health is an active flow of information within the body while sickness is a breakdown in that flow–an impoverishment of information? The ever changing flux information carried in within the electromagnetic fields and in the complex interlocking of a wide variety of chemical reactions must so subtle that, to an external observer, its very complexity may almost appear as chaotic. Indeed, it is very difficult to distinguish between chaos and a flux of ever changing complexity. So, when sickness occurs the overall coherence of these complex and subtle field of information will begin to break down until all that is left will be the various individual processes–a simple ticking over of the machinery as it were. This could explain why scientists discover what looks like chaotic behaviour within the heart or brain is characteristic of health, while simple regular heart beats, for example, presage a heart attack.

This idea that living systems are sustained by highly complex fields of cooperative information may characterize not only living organisms but entire ecosystems, societies and indeed of the whole planet. Life is always fluctuating and exploring, while simple oscillations are more characteristic of machine and dead matter. Simple stability spells death while vitality lies in the ability to support a complex and subtle pattern of global fluctuations. An ever flowing, ever changing pattern of meaning becomes life itself and the boundary between the animate and the inanimate begins to dissolve.

The whole field of electromagnetic bio-information is controversial but it is nevertheless engendering some interesting research and raising a variety of significant questions. Is it possible, for example, for an organism to gather electromagnetic information about the environment and then feed it back into itself? If this is true then an electromagnetic sense must be added to those others of sight, sound, touch, taste and smell. Indeed there is already considerable evidence that many animals use electromagnetic sensors to help them navigate.

The surface of the earth is alive with electromagnetic signals. In addition to the magnetic field of the earth there is the radiation from the sun that falls on the earth and its upper atmosphere. There are slow oscillations in which the electromagnetic field of the whole earth vibrates at a frequency of between seven and eight times every second. There are also waves of the activity high in the ionosphere and magnetosphere whose effects are ultimately felt on the surface of the earth. Indeed, the whole earth is a vast and complex sea of radiation whose strength and pattern varies very subtly from place to place, for the information encoded in each location is affected by the chemical composition of nearby rocks, by minerals, underground streams and surface water. This radiation pattern is also modulated by the daily fluctuations of the earth’s weather.

So within any tiny portion of the earth’s surface there is encoded a vast reservoir of electromagnetic information, not only concerning the global state of the earth but also the details about the particular local area. As a bird flies through the air, an animal moves across the surface of the earth, or a fish swims in the oceans, so it may be picking up and responding to a sea of electromagnetic information that is far more complex than that in any radar signal or radio broadcast. Moreover, the organism may even be picking up the faint electromagnetic signals and modulations given by its prey or other members of its pack. It is quite possible that some of this vast reservoir of information is decoded by the animal so that direct information about its surroundings is constantly being received.

But electromagnetic information is only one of several possibilities for a vast ocean of information carried through sound. For a small mammal this sea of sounds paints a detailed picture of all the transient patterns of life and movement within the immediate environment. An animal not only responds through the ears to what is “heard” but possibly at the cellular level to high frequency vibrations and to low frequencies that cause the whole organism to oscillate in sympathy. The animal will be aware of the way its own sounds are reflected back and transformed by the environment. It will constantly be interpreting the complex symphony of bird song, insect sound and animal cries. When it comes to whales and dolphins this matrix of vibrational information may extend throughout the ocean for several hundred miles. And add to all this a sea of smells which, to a dog, can produce a vivid impression of the world around. Every living being is immersed in a rich, subtle and multilevel ocean of information.

DNA: A listening molecule

If DNA is responsible for sending coherent photons into the cell then is it also possible for this radiation to be modulated and bounced back from the environment where it is detected by the same molecule? Could it be that DNA can actually “listen” to the environment around it?

The DNA molecule is a vast repository of information, indeed it contains the whole history of the cell’s ancestors and evolution. This information is then expressed by directing, in exactly the right time sequence, the synthesis of various proteins which become involved in, depending on their nature, growth, regular metabolism, or repair. DNA is therefore pictures as the chairperson of the board, the active principle at the top of the hierarchy.

But there are difficulties connected with such a one way flow of instructions. For how precisely is the correct information selected at just the right moment for its expression? If the cell turns out a particular protein too late or too soon then it will disrupt its whole metabolism. Moreover, only a very small percentage of all the information stored in DNA appears ever to be used. What is the function of the rest, those silent areas of DNA? Do they simply contained garbled messages and discarded information from far back in the cell’s evolutionary history? Or could they have the potential to exercise a useful function?

Suppose that DNA could actually listen and respond to the world around it. Suppose that a cell operates in a democratic fashion so that DNA becomes a venerated elder statesperson rather than a dictator. DNA would be like a giant set of reference books on metabolism and the synthesis of various proteins. And, as with a reference book, the actual information that is selected would depend upon a wider context–on the whole cell and on the organism of which it is a part, even perhaps on the external environment.

The electromagnetic dance within the cell carries the data on the ever changing context of the world outside and could play a role in selecting specific information from DNA. In this way, the genetic code would then be part of a much greater language, the conversation of the whole organism, a conversation that even extends far out into the environment. The DNA molecule itself would be constantly informed about its wider surroundings and, in turn, certain of its “hidden information” could, for example, be made active. It is even possible that the whole cell could act in an intelligent way and cause modifications within its own DNA. In other words, a mutation of the organism would be the cooperative response to some overall change in the global context in which the cell lives, rather than a purely random and purposeless event. Evolution would become a cooperative process, the outcome of a constant dialogue between other lifeforms and their entire environment.

The idea that life is a complex dance of meaning and information lead to yet other speculations. One idea that at first sight looks completely crazy, yet has been seriously proposed, is that food may contain not only nutrients but also information! When a  predator hunts its prey, so this theory goes, it is not just seeking a source of protein but a source of information. In consuming its prey it is ingesting a complex structure of information. In this way, information is passed between species.

While this idea sounds pretty far out it is not too distant from that held by many indigenous peoples who view food a nourishing the whole of a person and not just the physical body. To the hunters of North America, caribu and buffalo is “good medicine” and a person thrives by taking its meat, for it does more than supply bodily energy. According to this view, food acts to feed a person at many levels, so that certain foods that happen to be high in protein could in other ways be “bad medicine”. Likewise, a Chinese shaman will perform an act of divination using the bone of a sheep or goat. The animal eats only of pure grass and drinks of pure water, the shaman says, therefore the “universal” will be strong within the bone so that it can hear and see.

Could it be that this “universal” of Chinese tradition is in fact active information and global meaning? Is the web of life, the dance of predator and prey, one great ballet of ever changing information? And is evolution the intelligent and continued development of this symphony of meaning? Indeed if the individual organism is viewed as the manifestation of coherence and information then the whole history and pattern of life’s unfolding on earth must be seen in the same way. Synchronicities now become just one more aspect of this greater dane of meaningful patterns.

By introducing information as a key player we also see how the division between life and the inanimate has begun to dissolve. We realize that all coherent systems can never be fully reduced to interacting components, for they are responding to a collective dance, a dance which represents the essential authenticity of that particular level of being.

In the Company of Women: Complementary Ways of Organizing Work (PDF)

Struggling down the cellar stairs with a forty-pound laundry basket at the end of a long day in the 1970’s I said to myself “I wonder where the laundry would be located if a woman had designed this house?” This laundry epiphany prompted a later observation in graduate school, “How come there aren’t any women in these research populations defining leadership?” My next thought was “How would these organizations look if they were designed by women?” These questions illustrate the threshold of perception a woman crosses in recognizing hte existence of a pervasive paradigm that does not include her. Once awakened, a casual scan of the nightly news will confirm the fact that the viewpoints of her half of the human population are rarely included in the crucial debates and decisions being made on the global stage.
Models are representations of key concepts and operating principles. When applied to organizations, they indicate what we pay attention to when we gather to do work. The predominant organization models that we use today were historically designed by men, in the West, by white men. As a consequence, they reflect male values and favor rewarding masculine behaviors. This fact has generally been overlooked in discussions of organizations. To seek answers to these questions I spent two decades applying a gender lens to the structure and dynamics, the look and feel of organizations through sponsored research which I conducted from 1981 to 1997 with over 1500 women leaders in public and private sector organizations on four continents. The forms of organizing studied were formal and informal, since women’t work transcends the standard definition of workplaces. The structures studied ranged from the predominating male-defined ones, through women-owned businesses with mixed management, to women-only businesses. It was in the latter group that the clearest manifestation of women’s unique modes of work emerged. The field study concentrated on twelve women-owned and women-only work structures. From the research findings and field applications I conclude that:
Women’s ways of conceptualizing and organizing to do work are essentially different than men’s;
Those ways are complementary, not competitive. By combining the best of both men’s and women’s models, an entirely new paradigm can be created, one that holds the promise of creating wholeness and balance for organizations struggling to adapt to the challenges of change;
To transform traditional models will require examination of the core beliefs we bring to, and find reflected in, the design and operation of our organizations.

Exploring Women and Men’s Ways of Organizing to do Work
This research explores the emerging models of the other half and views them as complementing existing models. Since we are familiar with the historically male-derived organization, we will primarily focus on the emerging female form.
Women’s Ways of Organizing
The work environments conceived and developed by women were found to reflect a preference for organic structure and collaborative operation where the flow of the work defines the form of the organization and information is shared freely among members, without attachmento to functional position. Context and processes are characterized by a strong commitment to values, with particular attention to building relationships in order to establish the trust needed to accomplish complex tasks. When women design and operate the organization, they pay attention to process as well as outcomes and describe operations in unique language, symbols and metaphors
The Embryonic Model: An Organic Design
Let us enter this new territory through the experience of a national woman’s service organization that successfully transformed their purpose, structure and operation using a consciously feminine model. Their challenge was to reinvent an eighty-year old, hierarchically structured institution that had lost focus, commitment and participation while retaining a nationwide membership, dedicated staff and generous endowment. They successfully met the challenge by using the organization design process to transform the energy as well as the focus of the organization from a static hierarchy to a dynamic embryonic form.
They began by envisioning the new organization as a success in a weekend process that gave form to what it would take to get to that state. Next they aligned their personal values with the organization’s to determine three principles that guided the redesign process:
question all existing organizational standards and structures, processes and procedures, language and symbols for congruence with women-centered values which were defined as cooperation, interdependence, inclusiveness, and process-orientation.
adopt “a level glance” in all deliberations acknowledging a female preference for status-level vs. status-enhancing interactions. This approach posited webs of connection that viewed staff and board members as peers rather than hierarchies that rank people by function, or what Dr. Deborah Tannen would call the female desire for “symmetrical connection”.
use a collaborative model where system-wide inputs would be sought and aired, a collaborative approach to decision-making would be utilized, experimentation and learning from errors would be encouraged and attention would be given to process as well as task.

Flow Determines Form
The critical point in restructuring was committing to the design, a point where many organization redesigns flounder. To do this the women employed a manifestation of the mind-body connection in which intuition is employed to support feelings in a process of “being with” a situation or event. This is a process natural to women which I call “female embodiment.” In this case the planners immersed themselves in the imagined flow of both an ordinary day and a crisis situation to test the functionality of the restructured design. They described this process as getting a feel for the dynamics of how the work flowed through the proposed structure. Joanna Macy, an environmental educator, writes of this capability as female internalization of external events. In her workshops, women repeatedly described environmental degradation not as an intellectual concept but as a physical experience which some called the rape of the planet. After the September 11 terrorist attacks in the United States, several of my female coaching clients spoke of their inability to watch the televised replay as the impact of the plane on the Twin Tower evoked a physical reaction described by one as a blow to her body.
By sensing relationship of the functions of the organization in this way, the roles needed to operationalize the design became clear to the planners. It also became clear that two functions, finance and communication, were pivotal the success of the reinvented organization because they enable and define the system where it interfaces with the ooutside world. These functions were repositioned to surround the operational core with a permeable membrane marking this critical boundary. By intuiting alterations to the structure in this organic way, buy-in is incremental and on-going and continues today.
The Role of Female-Referent Language
Another unique outcome of applying a feminine consciousness to organization design was the use of nature-based language to describe the dynamic they wanted to achieve using metaphors drawn mainly from botany and biology. From the beginning, the board and staff wanted to reframe the impersonal, analytical language traditionally used in strategic planning. They saw it as creating a distance between the planners and the system. Instead they called the strategic planning process “midwifing the new organization”. Surveying stakeholder inpputs was “tilling the soil.” Actions to improve effectiveness were named “nurturing” and increases in funding were “watering” the system. Marketing was renamed “seeding”, new programs were called “buds” established programs, “flower”, new initiatives, “petals.” The reinvented organization came into being.
Collaboration in Action: Relationship-based Decision-Making
Findings suggest that women with a history of being an intact group do some amazing problem-solving. One group studied was six women who wanted to travel at personal expense to Santa Fe for an important meeting. They were of varying economic means and did not want cost to be a reason to exclude anyone’s participation. The women had built trust over seven years by periodically engaging in a process of sharing and listening to the details of one another’s lives and careers, devoid of judgement or unsolicited advice. Based on this established relationship, they devised a collaborative decision-making process that they had used on five subsequent journeys.
First they determined what they needed for the trip, including food, lodging, transportation and a “wish list” of activities. Next, priorities were determined by consensus. Then, a cost was determined for each aspect of the trip. The total cost was announced. Seated in a circle, members reflected silently on their commitment to making the journey and their individual economic situation. Each member then wrote on a piece of paper what she could afford to contribute and put the paper in the center of the table. Some of the anonymous contributions were hundreds of dollars, some thousands. Each was based on an honest assessment of the individual’s ability to pay. The total was fifty dollars in excess of the required amount.
Key aspects of this collaborative approach show up in all of the women’s groups studied in my research.They are: 1) the high value given to inclusion, 2) building relationships before addressing complex tasks, 3) sharing personal as well as professional information, 4) relating as peers and 5) encouraging a continuous and open flow of information.
The Spiral: A Diffuse Idea Incubator
Women in the groups I studied pursue ideas in an expansive way. Conceptualized as a spiral, an ancient symbol for the female creative life force, the process women use moves from idea generation to attracting interest and involvement by sharing the ideas freely with the goal of attracting others. As Carol Frenier noted men use a focused consciousness, notice content and seek a finite solution. Women use a diffuse lens, notice context and remain open to multiple potential resolutions. The aim is not to settle on one idea and focus on one outcome, but to allow a multiplicity of ideas to emerge and expand, providing space for viable ideas to embed and grow.
Once attracted, members move in and out of these collaborative efforts over time based on situational responsibilities, which may include family care. Periodic detachment did not appear to negatively influence subsequent participation in the project. The spiral model is distinguished by and relies on collaboration, an open flow of information, experimentation and a willingness to both tolerate and learn from errors. This is accomplished by observing and sharing information on what’s working and what isn’t that result in adaptations to the flow and outcome of the process.

Men’s Ways of Organizing
The work environments originated and developed by men can be seen to reflect a preference for hierarchical structures, with orders coming down from the top and reports moving up from the bottom. The leader is located at the top and access to information is stratified according to functional position or an informal network. Highly focused on results, this model can miss emerging factors critical to operations.

The Arrow: A Focused Dynamic
The arrow model, suggested by Bill Page, futurist, represents the linear, sequential progression of a concept from inception to completion. Direct, quantifiable and outcome focused, this is the standard applied in our society to accomplish work. This basic model suggests the focused instrumentality of an arrow.

A Natural Connection: The Models Mimic Nature
Quantum physics and folk wisdom tells us that “The whole is reflected in the parts” or “As above, so below.” I suggest that the distinctive designs of men’s and women’s organizations reflect a hologram of their distinctive essence, including their reproductive function. Complementarity denotes a functional fit with the other half. It is why the male of the species is physiologically designed to fit the female in the act of creating neew life. In the Asian understanding of yin and yang the two halves create a whole, not a polarity; they represent completion, not opposition.
Brain structure also differs in the male and the female. There is more connective tissue (corpus callosum) linking the left and right hemispheres of the female brain, increasing her capacity to switch from the left, linear, abstract hemisphere to the the right, holistic, concrete hemisphere. The male brain has a preference for dealing with discrete events, sequentially. This primordial difference in brain structure leads to a facility for multi-tasking and whole pattern thinking in females and for focused, sequential thinking ind males. The arrow model reflects the linear thinker, as does the standard organization chart. The spiral suggests the generative flow of the creative process, providing time and space for ideas to grow.
Complementarity is reflected in the biological make-up of men and women. For example, in the construction of the visual mechanism of the eye, female rods have a capacity to see diffuse patterns and wholes and male cones have a capacity to focus discretely with specificity and acuity. (Ramsey, Shlain) These biological tendencies when applied to organizing to do work could result in an organization primed to scan for emerging trends while paying attention to bottom line results.
If the arrow represents a direct route to effect an idea, the spiral represents a diffuse process of generating and refining a multiplicity of ideas. If the spiral is the incubator where ideas are conceived, nurtured and developed and the arrow is the vehicle that transforms ideas into products and services, then combining the two would insure that great ideas are successfully grown and launched into the system. New ideas need a safe container where they can be tested and improved., where they can attract key support before being introduced into the organization, the society. Further, if we consider the spiral as a idea incubator it becomes a dynamic metaphor for the womb after conception. Here only viable ideas would embed and grow; since the womb rejects a conception that is seriously flawed. Therefore, ideas that emerge from such incubators are biased for quality and strength. To combine the spiral and the arrow is to capitalize on the strength of both.
Conversly, to encourage imbalance by encouraging one and discouraging the other is to court dysfunction. Most of us can recall efforts dominated by female ways of organizing that were so inclusive and emergent that they couldn’t reach a decision and efforts doinated by male ways of organizing that were so focused on results that they missed important emerging factors.

The Challenge to Change Agents
If the organizations we serve are to achieve resilient, strong cultures able to capitalize on change they, and we, need to consider these challenges:
Transform our organizations and institutions by acknowledging that they are constructed on a base that capitalizes on only half of our human potential.
The fact that the basic model for our organizations is male-defined goes all but unnoticed by today’s organization design and development community. As a result, we do our work in a construct whose very invisibility threatens our ability to influence it, to improve its operation. In its many manifestations, whether public or private, business or bureaucracy, for profit or not, our organizations still reflect the thinking of the men who conceptualized and built them. The myth has been that the basic model is inclusive. If the numbers of senior women bailing out of corporations to start their own business is to be believed, one size does not fit all.
Balance our systems by including the authentic feminine voice in arenas of decision-making.
The authentic feminine voice is developed at the individual level through introspection on living life as a female and reflection on how that experience has affected ones impact on her world. This includes engaging at a physical, emotional and intellectual level with the impact of internalized cultural scripts for gender and external institutional sexism on her life choices. THe goal of tilling this soil, which is not without suffering, is expanded consciousness. From the ground of her being comes the courage to speak the truth of a woman’s knowing. A writer describes her efforts to access her feminine voice: “Gradually it dawned on me that I was unconsciously used to a masculine mentality and writing style. I was approaching the task through my head. I had to drop into my body…to balance masculine discrimination, rational, analytical, with feminine sensibility, empathy, feelings.” (Simkinson)
Go forward in wholeness by addressing and moving beyond ancient and global beliefs, deeply embedded in men and women, that regards the female as “less than” and essentially flawed.
The original act of discrimination into “better than” and “less than” groups occurred between males and females thousands of years ago. It occurred on a global scale. This opinion about the relative value of humans by sex was conveyed primarily through religious tradition. The belief that males took precedence over females was later reinforced by the family and society. Over time, negative attributes were ascribed to being “less than”. Females were considered to have less intelligence, less strength, less ability to complete any number of tasks from studying in school to leading nations. These views resulted in girls and women not being accorded equal status with boys and men, being considered essentially flawed. This opinion prevailed in societies all over the world until late in the 20th Century. Ancient beliefs are deeply embedded and operating primarily below the level of consciousness in people. These beliefs do not go away at the office door.

Embracing Complementarity
Energy is gathering among people active in the important work of social justice and organization effectiveness. These are people who envision a world where a multiplicity of ideas are valued, where no single point of view dominates. These people are beginning to understand that the input of females is needed at top levels of public and private sector organizations and institutions. This is movement toward complementarity.
Key to the development of complementarity is the understanding that until girls and women are honored and valued society will not succeed in transforming the way we order life and structure organizations. Bringing the authentic voice of a critical mass of women into arenas of decision making will transform the way we operate our commerce and governance, our communities and our planet.
We need both halves of humanity to run a business, build a community, co-exist on the planet.

Relevant Postscript
At lectures and presentations, I have been repeatedly asked why I use the words “male” and “female,” “masculine” and “feminine”; why I don’t use “less polarizing” terms to create more joining and less jolting, to be more team oriented and less threatening. It is because I want to keep before us the core issue at hand: the ancient, pervasive and largely unconscious devaluing of the human female. As a result, I am concerned that some male decision-makers in institutions and organizations will assume that the desirable attributes observed in female ways of working can be appropriated by males, thereby obviating the need to adapt to include “the other”. I am concerned that women will continue to populate middle and lower levels of management and therefore some will see themselves as fit only to serve in support roles in organizations and in life. I am concerned that both men and women will continue to be suspicious of women’s capabilities for top leadership of our society, thereby supporting the status quo.
The source of this concern is to be found in the numbers and their consistency over time. Women are not rising to the top of the major organizations that perform the world’s commerce and governance in numbers that reflect their fifty-one percent of the population of the world, their decades of experience as contributors in mainstream organizations or their substantial educational qualifications. Women in the U.S. are still only 3% of CEO’s and 18% of Congress forty years after passage of the Civil Rights Act. At a time in history when the voices of women are needed for global decisions affecting every aspect of their and their children’s lives including the environment, globalization and its impact on women laborers, the conduct of war, they are noticeable in their absence, their exclusion. Until a critical mass of females are welcomed into arenas of decision-making, transformation will elude our best efforts.