Sunday, March 13, 2005

Where two or more are gathered

The key to harvesting serendipity is found in nurturing relationships based on loving fellowship, according to an article by Carol Hay, "The Science of Serendipity."

From the level of partical physics and quantum mechanics, to the highest order of organization, human interaction, Ms. Hay presents a holistic view of a universe based upon adaptive processes, which in response to disruptive stimuli evolves into higher orders of understanding and creation.

In summary, she argues that serendipity is simply a glimpse into what life would look like if we had the faith that our lives are in God's hands. Of course, this requires a definition of the word "God", but that can be left to the reader. Ms. Hay says that "When we wrestle with events that affect our lives, we often move so far away from the guiding principles and patterns of the universe that, when we bump into them, mostly by accident, we have a serendipitous experience."

Ms. Hay contends that a fundamental nature of the universe is its tendency toward fluctuation and change. Through that change, greater order and resiliency is achieved. She quotes recent scientific research in support of this view of the universe. Research on "dissipative structures" by Nobel Laureate scientist Ilya Prigogone, for example, demonstrated how certain chemical systems respond to environmental demands by regenerating into higher levels of organization. Likewise, human organizations can emerge better and stronger from chaotic stimuli than they were before they lost their equilibrium. For this to happen, however, those organizations must communicate within themselves.

Most often, however, organizations are not set up in accord with principles of dissipative structures, but instead are made rigid and complex to defend themselves from fluctuation and change. This leads to unhealthy organizations that are inflexible, which can't evolve in response to change and new information.

The problem with mainline Christian churches, according to Ms. Hay, is that they suffer from lack of information, leading to deterioration of interest and purpose. Even though clergy are highly educated in the seminary, they conform to rules of behavior that deny discussion of profound, but sensitive topics, such as the true origin of the bible, and blood atonement theory. While sharing this information with parishioners would shock many of the faithful, it would also lead to a restructuring of organizations of faith into more relevant and vital spiritual communities.

Contrary to conventional wisdom, the strongest organizations are not those that have strong individual leaders, but those that have more freedom in self organization. Self organization succeeds when the independent activity of members follows from a shared vision of the group's ideals. In this kind of organization, leadership is shared by all individuals, some of whom may rise to an occasion at any given moment to share their particular assets of information or ability.

Overlooking her reference to the cultish Book of Urantia, Ms. Hay provides valuable insights which prime the reader for a more profound appreciation of the nature of the universe, and the possibility of living a more spiritually fulfilled life. Conspicuously absent from her analysis, however, is an explanation of how the thoughtful individual can operate outside of organized communities to strengthen and perpetuate an appreciation of the serendipity that follows from a more inspired understanding of the universe.

I've never read the Book of Urantia, and don't view it as anything more than a book of enlightened fiction, but it may be worth reading. An objective interpretation of the Book of Urantia can be found at Wikipedia.


Post a Comment

<< Home