Reframing ourselves around change-harvesting involves several important concepts or concept-clusters.
Maybe the most basic of these is the idea of a “dynamic unity”. Let’s go there.
We call a thing a “unity” because we experience it as a whole thing. It has an inside and an outside and a border. It might be made up of other parts, other unities, even, and the border might actively exchange parts from outside & inside, but still we see it as a whole thing.
We call a thing “dynamic” because of the extent to which it changes over time. The more often it changes, the more ways it changes, the more dynamic it is.
When we put those words together, we get a whole thing that is changing a lot. From one point of view, it’s a persistent thing — the *same* thing from moment to moment. From the other point of view, it’s undergoing almost constant change.
An example might help about now.
No matter where you are right now, I can tell you exactly what the nearest dynamic unity is. You know it well, intimately, even, tho you may not think of it that way yet.
It’s *you*. You’re the nearest-to-you dynamic unity right now.
I think of myself as a whole thing, and most of the time, I also think I’m persistent: the same whole thing. If we loosen things and say “roughly the same”, I think of myself as roughly the same my entire life.
I’m betting you feel the same way.
But *what* is the same?
The unities, of you and of me, are not remotely the same, from minute to minute, day to day, or year to year.
We’re made up of cells. 99.9% of the cells we were born with, though, are long gone from the scene. And 99.9% of the cells we have now are less than ten years old. But *I’m* not less than ten years old, except in the specific context of still finding fart-jokes hilarious.
Microscopically, we’re not the same. And, in fact, as we zoom out from the cell, we can see larger parts, and larger processes, that are not the same either. We are, humans in bodies, undergoing continuous change at every level.
Sometimes the changes are cyclical: the circadian rhythm, the breathing, the heartbeat, the cell replacement. Sometimes they’re sequential: substantial largescale processes with a beginning, middle, and end.
(Here’s a sequence I’m sure you remember rather well, if for some of us somewhat painfully: puberty. Your body underwent major large-scale change, stretching across several years. As I’m sure you recall, when it happened it seemed like it changed *everything*.)
Sometimes cycles become sequences, and sometimes sequences become cycles. But don’t let cycle-vs-sequence confuse you: it’s all change.
And then there’s your mind. None of us really know what a mind is, but we have a pretty good consensus that it rides in and around your brain. And your brain is just like the rest of you: constant change, some cyclical, some sequential.
It is possible to get distracted here by simple degradation of function. Your eyes & ears, for instance, if you’re my age, are likely to be losing strength around now.
But most of the change I’m talking about isn’t that at all. Your brain is tremendously different from when you were born, when you were five, when you were ten, when you were twenty-five. Its structure is different and its operation is different.
When I ask myself what is the same, then, I’m kinda at a loss. It seems like *nothing* is the same, when I look close. It seems like the only consistent thing about me is all that constant change.
(Bingo: Part 1.)
It’s change change change, all the time. It would seem that a dynamic unity is just one damned thing after another.
But it leads us immediately to a question: What is all that change *doing*?
I’ll tell you what all that change is doing.
All that change is, well, supporting all that change.
Each change, cyclical/sequential doesn’t matter, is assisting, enabling, or triggering the next change.
(Bingo: Part 2.)
That is what a dynamic unity *is*. It’s an engine that makes a change, harvests some value from that change, and uses that value to make another change.
That is what makes a dynamic unity dynamic, and it’s what makes it a unity, too.
Your self is a dynamic unity. Your body is one. Each of your cells is one. Each of the organelles in those cells is one.
That’s self-similarity when we scale down *down*. We can also scale it up.
Your *organization* is a dynamic unity.
It makes a change, harvests value from that change, and uses that value to fuel another change.
Over and over. All day long, all year long.
Does the change in a dynamic unity ever stop?
That happens on the day that dynamic unity dies.
It’s change-harvest, change-harvest, change-harvest, over and over again, and the purpose of every change is to create value we can use for the next one.
Now you have a sense of what we mean when we say dynamic unity, and more importantly what we mean when we talk about change-harvesting.
The next stop: are there techniques, structures, artifacts, are there worldviews, are there *approaches* to change-harvesting that make that change-harvesting 1) less risky, 2) more effective, 3) possible at all?
The answer is a decided “Yes”.
For now, just sit with it a little, I think.
Are you making a change? It might be a change to your code, to yourself, to your team, to your organization.
Whatever it is, think about the harvesting. What’s the value? How soon will I get it? What change will I use it for?
Thanks for reading along.
Go harvest some change, yeah?
Let’s change things!!
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