Quantum Systemicity Theory

Author: David M. Boje July 19, 2014; Revised August 20, 2014

"The study of quantum systems is more complicated than the study of classical systems" (Prigogine & Stengers, 1984: 286).

Classical systems theories such as 'General Systems Theory' (GST) and 'Open Systems Theory' (OST) are being challenged by 'Quantum Systemicity Theory' (QST). The main reason for this is both GST and OST assume systems are a whole, with parts, in a single context, in a single scalability. My alternative to 'whole system' in singular context and scale is called 'systemicity.' Systemicity is a dynamic multiplicity of unfinalized systemicities in a multitude of interacting and embedding and entangling contexts and fractal-scales. Systemicity theory explores the decaying of so-called ‘whole systems’ into disorder by exploring and tracing the dialectics of order and disorder (Morin, 2008 calls it dialogical relation of order and disorder; see Boje, 2008a). GST and OST both have the starting point that a system adapts to complex environment (Complex Adaptive Systems, or CAS). However, CAS has failed to acocunt for fractal-scalability.

Going Beyond the Assumption of Complex Adaptive Systems (CAS)

Naive systems theory (GST and/or OST and/or CAS) is the epitome of what Slavoj Zizek (2012: 905) calls “incomplete ontology” due to “the abyss/void of subjectivity” and “the incompleteness of reality” itself. GST, CAS, and OST have regressed to a naïve ontology because they ignore fractals, those self-repeating sameness patterns.

Here is the main challenge to naive systems theories. The “true problem is not how an organism and its environment interact or connect, but, rather, the opposite: how does a distinct self-identical organism emerge out of its environment?” (Zizek, 2012: 910). How does an organization form in systemicity out of fractality, not as adaptation to its environment, rather how does it form identity as distinct fractal-entity, in the first place.

I am working with Tonya Henderson, on a book for Routledge, due in 2015 (Henderson & Boje, 2015, expected). It is all about fractals and systemicity (see also Boje & Henderson, 2014).

Fabien Tarby (2013: 138) describes fractal-systemicity without using the technical terms:

"I approach a familiar object and observe it from different angles both close-up and from a far. I can say that it belongs to my office and my apartment but also that it t belongs to the city to the socal system."

Alain Bidiou's (2013) central thesis, as Fabien Tarby puts it, "living is simply the infinity of multiplicities" rather than some whole, some fantasy of One unity. "There are only multiplicities that are infinitely decomposable into new multiplicities" (Tarby, p. 136). We are living in a fractal-world, among many worlds, in a fractal-universe, and some would add, a fractal-multiverse.

Fractal-systemity is a radical move. Systemicity is fractal! This move flies in the face of a century of GST, OST, and CAS theories that have not stopped to understand not just context but the interplay of contexts and fractality. A fractal is a jagged repeating form.

Fractal-systemicty is a different ontology. Perhaps the best statement of fractality is Deleuze and Guattari (1987). In their chapter 14 on space, 'The Smooth and Striated' they take us on a grand spaces tour of the technological model, the muscial model, the marittime model, the aesthetic model, the physical/material model, and along the way, the mathematical model. It is in the mathematical model taht they pause to consider Benoit Mandelbrot's 'fractals' (p. 486).


Fractals The Hidden Dimension HD 1080p / Nova


Fibonacci's Fractals by Phil Langdon

A fractal is one thing repeated over and over agian in systemicity. Fibonacci's fractals functions in tree-branching, in spiral movement and growth. Spirals are goverened by Fibonacci's number sequence. Fibonacci series is the sum of the two preceeding two numbers. 1+1=2; 1+2 = 3; 2+ 3 = 5; 3+5 = 8, etc.

The set becomes {1, 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, and so on}

Fractals are self-similar across scalability. As Phil Langdon, summarizes Figonacci fractals: "Centrepetal and centrifugal forces co-exist as spirals giving the pulling/squeezing force..." The implications are astounding, revolutionary. The Fibonaaci-double psiral is a harmony-seeking configuration with progressive evelution to larger whole and to smaller and smaller twirls aound a void. Smaller fractals are fitted toether in the Fibonacci0bases spiral arms of the Milky Way Galaxy. The increasing globality of a Fibonacci-spiral, its right- and left-handed spirals around a vortex, has centripetal and centrafugal patterns of movement (aka trajectories). The Fibonacci-double spiral can be used to theorize globality. The following figures are mirrored, two spirals, the mirror of the other, that form a dialecitc-systemicity, the potential Ideal, dialectical to the Potential Existential/Fear, in a global context.

..................................................Fibonacci Upward Spiral Arm

Figure 1: Fibonacci-Upward, Expanding Spiral, Part of its Double Spiral (Source: http://kairos.laetusinpraesens.org/engatao2_1_h_3).

Fibonacci Collapsing Spiral into the Void

Figure 2: Fibonaaci-Dowward, Collapsing Spiral, Part of its Double Spiral (Source: http://kairos.laetusinpraesens.org/engatao2_1_h_3).

Useful examples are the attitudes of the World Economic Forum to the World Social Forum, and vice versa -- as previously discussed (All Blacks of Davos vs All Greens of Porto Alegre: reframing global strategic discord through polyphony?, 2007).

Another example: (Global Strategic Implications of the Unsaid: from myth-making towards a wisdom society, 2003). In globalized socieity, there areincreasingly topics of the 'unsaid' and what is unsaid undermines conventional hopes for global policy-making and world governance that responds effectively to one global crisis after another.

Examples of the "unsaid"

AND SO ON, Click here for More examples

Examples of the Counter-Narrative to the 'Unsaid':

Notice, that this all assumes a balanced dialectic of thesis and antithesis systemicity. What if we change the assumptions, to incomplete ontology, and flawed dialectic (i.e. the antithesis keeps veering off into more wierdness, rather than being a counter-narrative).

Rather than just this whole Double-spiral Fibonacci system, there are also fractals of continuous variation in direction of smooth spaces and striated spaces, in repeated relations of self-same repeating similarity patterns, with centripetal and centrifugal spial forces. "What describes a smooth space, then, is that it does not have a dimension higher than that which moves through it or is inscribed in it; in the sense it is a flat multiplicity, for example, a line that fills a plane without ceasing to be a line" ( Deleuze & Guattari, 1987: p. 488).

Of course, flat multiplicity of fractal-space is only one option. There can also be striated fractal-space with has multiplicities bubbling up out of multiplicities in many contexts.

An alternative to Fibonacci-fractals, the Mandelbot set.It behaves according to a different mathematical logic.

z_{n+1}=z_n^2+c, where only number sequences that do not tend towards infinity (large numbers, getting huge) are permitted in the set. For example if c=1, the sequence veers off twoard infitinity. But, if c=-1, the the sequence is bounding, and in fact, alternates betwee 0 and -1: -, -1, 0, -1, 0, -1 etc.

Belowe the sequence of Mandelbrots a are labeled 1, 2, and 3, and so on. That is not the Mandelbrot Set of numbers, rather its a graphical depiction.

Periods of hyperbolic components (see Mandelbrot website)

"Images of the Mandelbrot set display an elaborate boundary that reveals progressively ever-finer recursive detail at increasing magnifications. The "style" of this repeating detail depends on the region of the set being examined" ((IBID.).

See Peleg, Shmuel, et al. (1984) for an example of Mandelbrot fractal analysis of spactial texture.

How does this apply to Systemicity Theory?

Let's make two assumptions: (1) organizational dialectic is flawed, the anti-thesis is strange or veers off strangely and does not form a counter-[Grand]-narrative to a Grand Narrative. Rather, than a Fibonacci-type of Double Spiral, there is more likely to be a Mandelbrot sort of fractal patter.Harold Osborne (Symmetry as an Aesthetic FactorComputers and Mathematics with Applications, 1986):

"In classical antiquity symmetry meant commensurability and was believed to constitute a canon of beauty in nature as in art. This intellectualist conception of beauty persisted through the Middle Ages with the addition doctrine that the phenomenal world manifests an imperfect replica of the ideal symmetry of divine Creation. The concept of the Golden Section came to the fore at the Renaissance and has continued as a minority interest both for organic nature and for fine art. The modern idea of symmetry is based more loosely upon the balance of shapes or magnitudes and corresponds to a change from an intellectual to a perceptual attitude towards aesthetic experience. None of these theories of symmetry has turned out to be a principle by following which aesthetically satisfying works of art can be mechanically constructed. In contemporary theory the vaguer notion of organic unity has usurped the prominence formerly enjoyed by that of balanced symmetry"(source: http://kairos.laetusinpraesens.org/engatao2_1_h_3).

(2) the organizational ontology is itself incomplete, a flawed-dialectic, and the successive events in a situation do not recur in a linear or in cyclical repeetitive series. This, however, does not mean that the systemicity pattern is random, rather, small changes or small fluctuations bring about shifts in successive series, in the trajectory of the Situation.


For example, watch what happens to the 'Grand Narrative (GN)' of Structural Racism, as the socieal media (YouTubes) we will access, and then various counter-(GN), and associated Living Story Webs (LSWs) around both the GN and counter-GNs, of the police shooting of Michael Brown, an 18 year-old unarmed teenager, in Feguson, Missouri, takes on a fractal-patterm more like the Mandelbrot-fractal series than a Fibonacci-fractal expansion pattern takes place. IN other words, instead of one ever-exapnding series, there are pockets of counter-GN, and each appropriates living stories from the locality (form the ground) to suppor thier ideological stance.

In the Mandelbrot-fractal series, instead of one ever-expanding GN, there are many counter-GNs, and many LSWs surrounding each of them, and some LSWs without GNs, and some counter-GNs without LSWs. Instead of one-ever-exapnding Storytelling Sphere, many Storytelling Spheres form in the Storytelling Field around the shooting, to form a Multiverse (Spheres within Spheres; Sphere interacting with Spheres in a Multiverse Storytelling).

Before the YouTubes, let's take a gander at a GN from the Guardian news source:

"It’s not just that black drivers are stopped more often for alleged crimes than white drivers, despite the Missouri attorney general’s report that white people break the law more often. It’s not that Ferguson’s police force is 94% white in a town that’s two-thirds black. It’s not even, as Jeff Smith wrote in Monday’s New York Times, that black people – many unemployed – “do more to fund local government than relatively affluent whites” by way of those stops and the subsequent fines... “47 percent of the metro area’s African-American men between ages 16 and 24 are unemployed”. Our men are more likely to be convicted and our women are more likely to be evicted... Our children are twice as likely to have asthma (even before you teargas them). Our babies are twice as likely to die before the age of one – and their mothers are three or four times more likely to die as a result of bearing them... It’s not like the “best” stores of Ferguson – the McDonald’s or the Walgreen’s, for instance – provide much more than minimum wage jobs, barely helpful for subsistence living. The dollar stores pedaling cheap goods and unhealthy food that no one needs aren’t much better. And it’s undeniable that the worst of Ferguson’s businesses – the many legal loan sharks who blight its streets – are actively strangling the last breaths from Ferguson’s black residents who are already on the margins" (Read entire Article in Guardian, Aug 19, 2014).

The Guardian reporters gives the essentials of an Institutionized Racism Grand Narrative, as the dominant way of explaining what happened.

Various news service crews flocked to Ferguson, such as Amy Goodman's Democracy Now:


Institutional Racism in Ferguson? First Black School Chief Speaks Out After Forced Resignation

See Part II - Dredd Scott - Ferguson Protests Erupt Near Grave of Ex-Slave Dred Scott, Whose Case Helped Fuel U.S. Civil War - Law Professor Crenshaw's interview. Part III - cousin gives memorial Part IV - Human Rights Crisis and reasons why the crisis is escalating

Various news services, includes Eye witness accounts in support of the Institutional Racism Grand Narrative (see 1st eye witness account); See 2nd witness and cell phone video (see more).

The Living Story Web takes places, on the ground, in the ensuing demonstrations, news interviews, and more social media releases to YouTube:

Speak Truth to Power !! - Greg Thomas in Ferguson on the structural racism in America


War zone in Ferguson - Justice Corrupted - wade through the long ad and see eye witness accounts. Published on Aug 17, 2014

"In the wake of the shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, MO, John Oliver explores the racial inequality in treatment by police as well as the increasing militarization of America’s local police forces."

  • How the outrage spread across Twitter (See more).
  • New Mexico now has 43 MRAP vehicles in normalized use See more



One Counter-GN is this instead of Institutionalized-Racism-GN, the base root problem in the Fergeson shooting, it is alleged to be a deeper Counter-Narrative of underlying Economic-Inequality beneath racism (See Guardian Story, Aug 20 2014).

"What all this adds up to, in the long run, is a crippling disadvantage – a yawning wealth gap between the races. One study shows that while a white family turns every $1 of income into $5 of wealth, for the typical African American family that $1 translates into a mere 69 cents of wealth. White Americans make up 64% of the country’s population, but own 88% of its wealth; today’s typical white household is likely to be 20 times more affluent than its black counterpart. As long as that remains the case, the white economic elite perpetuates itself, and continues to make the rules – deciding, for instance, what the criteria are for hiring cops in Ferguson. ... There are alternatives. History has demonstrated – if only in its exceptions – that racism doesn’t need to triumph. Paving the way for economic opportunities enables individuals to transcend and even defy the racist environments in which they grew up."

This is an example of the interplay of Social Context (racism) with Economic Context (wealth elites perpetuate a gap in wealth between the races). The Guardian (Aug 20) storytelling supplements the counter-GN of wealth gap with a living story of how Carnival Cruise CEO Arnold Donald broke out of the racial ceiling as a result of his Catholic school education. As Donald is quoted, "My high school brainwashed us,” says Donald about St Augustine, the prestigious high school run by the Catholic Josephite Brothers. 'They drilled it into us that we could be anything we wanted to, and because they prepared us to compete on a level playing field – in debates, in sports. It never crossed our minds to doubt them.' " (See Guardian Story, Aug 20 2014).

A second Living Story is appropriated in support of the counter-GN of wealth gap. This is how an African American occupies the White house, and another, how an African Amercian sints on the supreme court. The conclusion is that that the problem of Institutional Racism, is not a "systematic one" in the United States. Then the writer adds that even in "Ferguson and far too many other communities... this isn't the case." And then the grand generalizaiton, "And it is probably one that economic advancement – the closing of that wealth gap – alone won’t solve completely" (IBID.). He adds:

"I doubt that members of any affluent black family are unfamiliar with the problem of 'DWB', or 'driving while black'. On the other hand, the less that African American families have to struggle for the basics of life – to stay above the poverty line, to educate their children – the better positioned they’ll be to grab and wield the share of political and economic power to which they are enti tled by birth – by virtue of the fact that they’re citizens of the United States" (IBID).

The Mandelbrot series, for example, gives progressively quasi-self-similarity, a scalability of difference, versus the hamony-seeking symmetry of Fibonacci-spirals. The Institutional Racism GN and the Counter-GN of Wealth Gap are an example of progressivly quasi-self-similarity. The addition of the appropriated Living Stories (of Arnold Donald and President Obama are examples of scalability of difference).

In the case of Ferguson the deep social wounds, with the Event of the death of 18 year old youth, and the subsequent police responses, to the demonstrators and news reporters, have seen an escalation of differences (e.g. John Oliver: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KUdHIatS36A).

Can fractal-patterning be used to interpret the relation of Institutional Racism GN to the Wealth Gap Counter-GN, as a Mandelbrot-spiral? Notice how this stands in contrast the the Grand Narrative of progress in post-racist America (more according to Fibonacci-spiral assumptions)? Where everyone has equal opportunity, once they rise above the poverty line (again see Guardian Story, Aug 20 2014).

Second Counter-GN

Aug 20 the Huffington Post, puts together a different counter-GN2 to the GN of Institutional Racism.

"The real Ferguson‬ story is about a community that's grown so fed up with being pushed around that they've decided to fight back against what amounts to an invading army. ... A community armed with little less than their deep sense of indignation saying 'enough is enough' and defying a deeply unjust and increasingly violent system. It goes far beyond the atrocious killing by the Ferguson police of Michael Brown, an 18-year-old unarmed black male, because depressingly so, such killings happen all the time. " (Huffington Post, Aug 20).

Citing an MSNBC piece makes a connection back to something broader than Institutional Racism and Weath Gap::

"From 2006 to 2012, a white police officer killed a black person at least twice a week in this country. Which brings us back to Ferguson, Missouri, where according to a report in The Daily Beast, in 2009 police officers charged a man for property damage because he bled on their uniforms while they arrested him-and allegedly beat him bloody."

The conclusion reach is that its not Instutional Racism, its a trend of increasing Militarization of the Police in an increasingly violent society:

"And to the degree that courage and defiance breeds more courage and more defiance, it is likely that the example of Ferguson will be noticed across this great country of ours, where people's grievances range from decreasing opportunities for the many to increased wealth accumulation in the hands of fewer and fewer... While pledging non violence, many are coming to the conclusion that it's time to take a stand against an unabated offensive targeting working people and other minorities that has systematically eroded their rights, their livelihoods, their future. And few have resisted.

Until Ferguson decided it wasn't going to take it anymore." (IBID, Huffington Post Aug 20.

A Third Counter-GN

Another Counter-GN is that the root cause is the economic context, the tranition of US capitalism, manufacturing jobs ending, as firms went to out-sourcing jobs, to other countries, and blue collar jobs were scarce:

Mounting racial and economic stress in areas near Ferguson. "The police shooting of Michael Brown was the spark. But the tinder fueling the anger and resentment that has exploded in Ferguson has been building for decades. The town has seen many middle-class homeowners who eagerly moved to St. Louis' northern suburbs after World War II to buy brick ranch homes with nice yards leave in later years, replaced by poorer newcomers. Good blue-collar jobs have grown scarce; the factories that once sprouted here have closed shop. Schools have struggled" (LA Times, Aug 17).

And the local economy McDonaldized its capitalism:

"In Ferguson, the change happened fast. In a generation — from 1990 to today — the population changed from three-fourths white to two-thirds black. Even as the area's demographics shifted, good blue-collar jobs sustained many of these towns, said Lara Granich, a community organizer" (IBID.).

Ecological Grand Narratives and Local Living Stories of Ecology

City of Ferguson's website on sustainability "

Sustainability: "If you look up the word sustain in the dictionary, you'll see definitions that include to keep up or keep going or to keep in existence; to maintain. Referring to the environment, sustainability is the term to describe the efforts that public and private organizations as well as individuals undertake to minimize their impact on the environment" (Source).

There are some good examples of sustainable development initiatives in Ferguson, MO.

City & Regional Efforts
On February 24, 2009, the Ferguson City Council adopted Ordinance #2009-3382, which imposes energy-conservation requirements, recycling guidelines, and regulations relating to the design and construction of new and remodeled homes and buildings.

Going Green
In an effort to help the city and residents go green, we have created this page to share information about what the city and other organizations in our region are doing to improve our environment, and how you can help as well, from the comfort of your own home.

Related Documents
As they become available, other documents and information will be provided below. 

The 2012 EIR indicates Ferguson City has reduced its electricity and natural gas use.

Ferguson has pioneeirng programs in community gardens: e.g. EarthDance.

  1. The Impact of EarthDance

    www.earthdancefarms.org Music credit: The Northwoods Our Mission: EarthDancesustainably grows food, farmers, and ...
  2. EarthDance FARMS, 2010 Mission Award/Farm: Honors, Old Ferguson West Community Garden

    Old Ferguson West Community Garden project is located in the City of Ferguson, Missouri. Founders Larry and Heather Robinett ...

See more Earth-Dance videos of working with ecology and sustainability in Ferguson, MO.


Grand Narratives

Grand Narratives (Lyotard, 1979/1984), that have become mantras, commonsense and unchallenged in organization studies. One important challenge to GST and OST begins with deconstructions of their many Grand Narratives by reinvoking Webs of Living Story outcomes and exceptions, and the many Antenarratives that interconnect Grand Narratives and Living Story Webs. A second challenge is to develop an understanding of how several different pragmatisms I call COPE (Critical-, Ontologic-, Post-Positivistic, & Epistemic-paragmatisms) do seem to interact, with much of what is most important being in their combinations.

Quantum Systems Theory and COPE Pragmatisms

Figure 1 - Quantum Systemicity Theory and COPE-Pragmatisms (see Boje, 2014a for discussion).

Quantum Systemicity Theory (QST) is at the nexus of four kinds of Pragmatism (COPE ---Critical, Ontologic, Post-Positivistic, & Epistemic). We will look at the principles underlying quantum mechanics then explore how William James' (1907) pragmatism operated in-between two of these pragmatisms (Post-positivistic & Epistemic). Next we will look at the polyphony of contexts that make system theory problematic from a pragmatist standpoint. I believe that by developing a COPE approach to systems theory in organization studies, we can resituate the epistemic models of OST and GST in a polyphony of contexts. Finally, we will look at two new aspects of relationships of whole to parts, the mantra of systems thinking. These two new aspects are antenarratives of Beneath and Between, to compliment the original aspects of antenarrative, the Before and the Bet (Boje, 2001, 2008a, 2011, 2014c).

Reverse your thinking. Instead of organizations adapting to environments, question how it is that organization is possible. Zizek (2012, chapter on The Ontology of Quantum Physics) develops a theory of dialectical materialism. Zizek presents a radical definition of materialism, by positing ontological incompleteness. He abandons the naïve notions of material reality being constituted in the transcendental (Kant's, architectonic-systems theory). He calls for a quantum indeterminacy of the multiverse: “the idea that the wave function never collapses, since all possibilities are actualized in different worlds’ the non-local hidden variables theory which restores determinism; decoherence, which accounts for the the collapse y way of the interaction of the object with its randomly fluctuating environment, and so on” (p. 916).

What is ideology? We are embedded in the ideologies of Grand Narratives. Ideologies are on a spectrum between liberal and conservative, left and right, with more or less central standpoints. Ideology is a 'system' of ideas and ideals that forms the basis of social, economic, political, cultural, and ecology theory. as an example see Is Green Capitalism Possible given the many contending ideologies?

What is Systemicity?

In Boje (2008a) I use the word systemicity instead of systems to get at the interplay of organizations partial systems temporally emerging and declining within more macro systemicities (see below) the polyphony of social, economic, political, cultural, and ecological-systemicities in regional,national, continental, and global spaces.

Mikhail Bakhtin (1981: 152) uses the term "systematicalness" to denote unmerged parts and unfinalized non-wholeness, what I am calling systemicity, is similar, however includes as well, the antisystemic. Open systems thinking generalizes with abstractions, at a distance from what I call systemicity (Boje, 2008a). This systemicity is comprised of relatum, four kinds of antenarrative-relata: linear-, cyclic-, spiral-, and rhizomatic (Boje, 2001, 2011, 2014).

What is Systemicity? Systemicity is holographic, with many different systemicities in many contexts (social, economic, plitical, ecological, Materialisms, and so on). Instead of ONE WHOLE system, there are many uncompleted, partially implemented, partially uninstalled, and interconnected, embedded, and entangled SYSTEMICITIES in interactive contexts. Systemicities are situated in many CONTEXTS (social, economic, political, cultural, gendered, racial, ecological, and so onl). Our systemicites can be EGOISTIC, CRITICAL, or even POSTHUMANIST. See Boje (2008a: pp. 2, 29, 54, 191, 264, pp 42-54 for relaiton to storytelling organizations.

This allows us to develop Complex systemicity Theory (CST), organizing occurring within a plyphony of contexts. The systemicities of organizing within polyphonic contexts (themseleves entangled, interconnected, and embedded) allows us to examine the relation of microcosm of organizing with t the macro-systemicity contexts. You can find examplies of organizations and organizing that combine social, economic, political, cultural, and ecological contexts quite differently. Compare the authoritarian political-capitalism of Mexico (neoliberalism) with that of Japan (state capitalism), China (state capitalism), and quite different blending in Germany, the United States (blend of liber and conservative polity in capitalism), and so on. Each capitalism forms a different blend of systemicities of the social, political, cultural, and ecological contexts.

We will begin with two principles of quantum mechanics that underly QST.

Polyphonic Contexts of Manyness of Discourses

William James' (1907: 22) [American] Pragmatism, conceived of the relation of One and Many discourses of systems. He suspended Epistemic- and [post] Positivist-pragmatisms into a series of oppositions.


William James (1907) did OST better, four decades before von Bertalanffy

William James is one of the founders of American Pragmatism. There are several sorts of American Pragmatisms. James worked as a post-positivist, but he related it to other pragmatisms. I will elaborate and embellish what I read as James' Pragmatism (1907) of Eight problems with Open Systems Theory (OST) in more depth below. This is a modified quote about implications of James for pragmatic-systemicity and antenarrative theory, from (Boje, 2014a):

  1. Single Discourse or Multiple Discourses? This is problem with monological open system; it assumes one discourse unifies parts into whole.  Each relatum is a "subject of discourse" and one sort of union of the parts of a systemicity (James, 1907: p. 92). The manyness of antesystemicity is different than monologic of a single relatum among parts into a single whole open system. Many parts are left out of a supposedly 'open system' defined by a monologic frame. The pragmatist question, is 'so what' are the practical implications of antesystemicity and monological open systems thinking? The pragmatic implication of antesystemicity is the 'before' and the 'bet of transformation' of the antecedent-systemicity. The pragmatic implication of monological open systems thinking is its focus, its summative abstract simplicity; the shortcoming is all the parts left unaccounted for and unarticulated that pare part of poly-materialist antesystemicity. In short, 'poly-relata of antesystemicity' is a way to move from abstract monological open system, beyond to to poly-materialist pragmatist, understanding of the practical facts of situations such as food systemicity in middle schools.
  2. Causal Unity or Many Small Causes? The antesystemicity paths of influence and non-influence can be co-listed under the general problem of causal unity. In organizations, (Harvard Graduate School of Education, 2008: 6).

"Human efforts are dealing with unifying the world more and more in definite systematic ways" (94). Yet, this systematic administrative force is met with the not only anti-systemic influences, but also with antesystemicity that is being ignored, where the causal unity is antesystemic, more micro quantum, more qualia, more in quantities no coexistent in spacetime. In some places, some times, some things that have minor antesystemic causal influences converge ontologically into some "absolute causal unity" (p. 95). The pragmatic question is 'so what' are the practical implications of antesystemic path influence and more absolute causal unity? By looking at rationalistic or transcendental open systems idealism, that sort of unity is not ontologically realized in things Being-in-the-world. Against this abstract unity, James (1907: 95-96) posits "pluralistic notion of an eternal self-existing many in the shape of atoms or even of spiritual units of some sort" in other words a pluralistic unity. Each antenarrative has its own sort of causal unity.

  1.  Unity of Purpose or Many Individualistic Purposes? It is just too simplistic, and dangerous, to declare open systems theory is be definition a unity of purpose. Antisystem is subversive to it, and administrative, industrial, university, military, school, and other so-called open systems exist in a systemicity-antisystemicity relata. Each individual has their purposes, as do groups or departments, and to think that some "climacteric purpose" (p. 97), that is a psychic condition, will unify the whole system is entirely naive, as is the idea of "Purposed in advance" (ibid). All the details are not worked out in advance, in some vague notion of climacteric purpose. That is why the is antisystemic and antesystemic. One problemitization of Unity of Purpose, by James is the implication of a teleological unity for organization open systems being highly unlikely.
  2. Single Aesthetic Unity of One Story, or Many Partial Stories? This is where James (1907: 98) makes a most important contribution, in declaring, "things tell a story." The things of an organization tell a living story of living things in their antesystemicity, their directionality, deseverance, and so forth (see 11 D's Table below). "retrospectively, we can see that al tho no definite purpose presided over a chain of events, yet the events fell into a dramatic form, with a start, a middle, and a finish" in short an "aesthetic union" (p. 98). Yet, making his pragmatist point, James (1907: 98) says' "the world is full of partial stories that run parallel to one another, beginning and ending at odd times. They mutually interlace and interfere at points, but we can not unify them completely in our minds." To follow your living story, I must turn my attention from my own, and encounter yours in the middle, and my own unfinishedness. It is monist dogma to declare the organization tells one story, and that leaders can learn it like some sort of stump speech or elevator pitch to persuade angel investors, or find that lost control of their institutions. Storytelling is a pluralistic enterprise, where in Tamara-land (Boje, 1995) the path taken or not taken, from room-to-room, in an organization matter, so meaning gleaned by those in the same room at the same time, will be different depending on path-sequences before arrival to hear a telling. Absolute aesthetic unity of narrative is grossly overrated, a barely abstract ideal, in a world of antesystemicity, cross-purposes, in web of living stories.
  3. Generic Unity or Multiplicity of Subspecies? For example, a spiral-antenarrative is generic, and has instead of a singular logic, or experience, rather there are subspecies, the Archimedian Spiral, Logarithmic Spiral, Quantum Spiral, Fractal Spiral, and Hybrid Spiral.
  1. A Monistic Knower or Pluralism of Many Knowers of Systemicities?  The contribution of quantum mechanics, the observer effect, is that you cannot separate the knower from the systemicity. Systemicity is a concept I developed in Boje (2008a). It means the unmergedness of many partial systems, including ones by previous administrations or leaders that never got implemented fully, or withdrawn and shut down when some new leader with a new partial system, installed one, but not all the way. Reading one system is done by one knower, "as he knows them, they have one purpose, form one system, tell one tale for him" (James, 1907: p. 99). This is also called the "all enveloping noetic unit in things" and is a gross naive understanding by opens system theory, aka, the monological all-knower (ibid, p. 99). Prgamatically-speaking this has far-reaching practical consequences of organization studies. If we question the All-Knower hypothesis of the open-systems framework (input-throughput-output-feedback) then we have a way to move from that abstraction to a pluralist notion of antesystemicity.
  2. Continuous Parts Hanging Together into a Whole or is it Parts in search of a Whole? Are open systems continuous, discontinuous, or combination of both? How do the parts of the systemicity "hang together", conjunctive in space, co-present in time (p. 93)? Are parts conjunctive and co-present like grains of sand in the New Mexico desert? In moving from part to part of an organization, are we passing continuously from one to the next in space, as well as in time? The pragmatic implication of systemicity is the unions of space and time and who in "the whole motor of life is based upon them" their union (p. 93).
  3. Continuous Monologic-Path or is it Discontinuous Paths of Assemblage? Besides the monological [open versus closed] systems thinking, there are "innumerable other paths of practical continuity among things" (p. 93). Here I use the term assemblage in the Latourian sense of actor-network-theory. Antenarratives can trace what James (1907) then called the "lines of influence" (p. 93). Linear-, cyclic-, spiral-, and rhizomatic-antenarratives are paths of relatum as you pass from one thing to another in an organization and its environment. The antesystemicity ontologically has theses paths of influence form one thing to another, including how other things interrupt those paths, block them contextually. The 11 quantum D's are a way to explore the antesystemicity paths of an organization.

END QUOTE from Boje (2014a).

In current renditions of open systems theory, we have accepted the mantra that the 'whole is greater than the sum of its parts.' The implication for QST and its pragmatics (COPE) is that the manyness that James writes about the many partial stories, the lack of unity of purposes, and so an is consistante with polyphonic contexts and the lines of influence in a circuits of power model, which we review next. James sets up a dialectic, and its a kind of double negation.

Double Negation

Let us look at the dialectics of systemicity. Double negation, in Hegelian dialectic, involves two opposed ideologies, such s those of James' Epistemic- and [post] Positivistic-pragmatism (see Boje, 2014a for definitions). These oppositional ideologies are embedded in various Grand Narratives that as Žižek (1993: 129) says are "exerpted from the discursive field."

James' doubled negation is between the Symbolic and the Real. Many of the OST/GST models, exclude the Real, reducing systemis to just the Symbolic act of Grand Narrative. This prohibition-exclusion of the empiric, sensory, and materialisms make the Real, taboo. In first move of double negation, the empiric-sensory-materialisms get translated into Whole and Parts, then into Inputs-Throughputs-Outputs-Feedback model variations. In the decond act of double negation, the translated Real (empiric-sensory-materialism) is tossed out, and the Symbolic is susbstituted through the acts of symbolization. In Kant, this becomes the transcendental a priori.

“By the term Architectonic I mean the art of constructing a system. Without systematic unity, our knowledge cannot become science; it will be an aggregate, and not a system. Thus Architectonic is the doctrine of the scientific in cognition, and therefore necessary forms part of our Methodology” (Kant, 1781 p 466).

Kant makes cognition the be all of Architectonic systems unity. General System is at the same time a dialectic of thesis and antethesis. The thesis of cognition is made impossible by the antithesis of all that empiric-sensory contingency, where every part is divisible into two or more parts, and is conditioned by parior parts, and therefore the thesis must unify in the a priori and rational, all that antimony.

“Human reason is by nature architectonic. That is to say, it regards all cognitions as parts of a possible system, and hence accepts only such principles as at least do not incapacitate a cognition to which we may have attained from being placed along with others in a general system. But the propositions of the antithesis are of a character which renders the completion of an edifice of cognitions impossible. According to these, beyond one state or epoch of the world there is always to be found one more ancient; in every part always other parts themselves divisible; preceding every event another, the original of which must itself be sought still higher; and everything in existence is conditioned, and still not dependent on an unconditional and primal existence. As, therefore, the antithesis will not concede the existence of a first beginning which much be available as a foundation, a complete edifice of cognition, in the presence of ushc hypothesis, is utterly impossible. Thus the architectonic interest of reason which requires a unity—not empirical, but a priori and rational—forms a natural recommendation for the assertions of the thesis of our antinomy” (Kant, 1781: p. 269).

Notice how much Real gets excluded in Kantian dialectic between the thesis of cognitive-unity and the antithesis of parts all divisible and full or precedent historical existence.

For Žižek (1993), Kant's restriction of systems to a cognitive/rationaltranscenental a priori is not a satisfactory answer to double negation.

Žižek prefers to situate the "status of the Real" in jouissance (p. 129), something intense, pleasurable, intellectual, even sexual (in various combinations), or a surplus enjoyment, getting a 'kick out' of an experience. Hélène Cixous uses jouissance to describe pleasure or sexual rapture (mental, physical, sexual, and spiritual even mystical aspects) of women's creative experience.

Organizational systemicity can easily get reduced to the totality of GST or OST by a series of Symbolic presuppositions, robbing its jouissance. For example, a retrospective Grand Narrative, often begins or ends in a priori presupositions in tautological gestures.

For example, Grand Narrative OST resorts to transcendental presuppositions that the abstract amplifying and counteracting input-throughput-output-feedback loops are return organizations to a state of equilibruium after its moments of environmental adaptation (i.e. complex adaptive OST). Positing these presuppositions of parts (input-throughput-feedback) in Whole of balance-equilibrium-mechanism is a bet reductive.

Retrospective Grand Narrative (GN) reductions to epistimic-cognitive-Idealism or to positivistic-empiric-Realism miss important aspects of Hegelian double negation.

In the Hegelian double negation, first there is an articulation of more and more successive forms of waht I will call materialisms-reflections as a counterpart to Kantian dialectic of the transcendental synthesis.

The antithesis of transcendental ideas (a priori) or some character (an edifice of cognitions) and the thesis of some chain of empiric-sensory conditions (and more and more divisible parts of parts; and preceding parts), for Kant, does not lead conditions of its synthesis, since thesis of events and antithesis of ideas are supplemented on and on to infinity (p. 284, online version. Consequently, for Kant, there is not an assumption of some self-subsistent thing in primal being (IBID online, p. 284, 288). In the Architectonic of reason (& cognitive edifice) requires unity, and the assertion of its thesis to settle the “indissoluble chain of nature ( its antithesis) (p. 289, online). Reason, for Kant, is in “its uninterrupted progress in the empirical synthesis” to be free of all conditions (p. 282). For Kant any completed synthesis of the parts, a totality, is impossible, rather a series of successive syntheses of parts that cannot be completed, matches what I mean by systemicity (see p. 265, online).

“The true (transcendental) conception of infinity is: that the successive synthesis of unity in the measurement of a given QUANTUM can never be completed” (p. 264, online, caps mine). The actual successive states of quantum systemicity cannot be completed into a whole by means of successive synthesis of parts.

In Kant, as well as Hegel, the systemicity, as I call it, emerges in the dialectic of Architectonic of reason and cognitive as thesis to the antethesis of all the empiric/sensory contingency. The successive syntheses are partial, incomplete, not tending to some Whole. Nor is it possible to determine preciesely the Before of systemicity dialectical processes, and get to some Beginning. If we seize the systemicity itself irrespective to a polyphony of contexts (explained next) then systemicity identity eludes us.

Polyphony of Systemicity Contexts

Each week students in my 655 and 375v classes compose and deside questions to ask, and each performs an observation of the Polyphonic Contexts of QST, and makes answers about position and momenta that are not independent of their language of theory, choice of macroscopic systemicity contexts (social, economic, political, cultural, ethnic, racial, gender, and so on) and their choice of microscopic contexts (atoms, molecules, micropower, and so on). POlyphonic Contexts of Quantum Systems Theory

Figure 2: The Polyphonic Contexts of Quantum Systems Theory (Drawing by Boje)

Yet, these Polyphonic Contexts all deal with the same ontologic and ontic Situation (Heidegger, 1962). And it is impossible to reduce the Polyphonic Contexts and that complexity to the monologic descriptions that GST and OST put forth. QST is a plurality of perspectives, logics, voices that takes our Quantum Systems Storytelling (Boje, 2014a) beyond OST and GST in order to experess the complexity of organiztions in their ontological Situation.

A complex systemicity of organizing in embedded, interconnected, and entangled polyphonic contexts adapts dialectically, lingering and hingeds upon "What makes a difference" (Žižek, 1993: 130). The moment we do Quantum Oberfaction, we impact a cluster of differences in differental features of organizing in polyphonic contexts. For example, our University's sustainability initiatives is composed of a cluster of differences in defining and practicing sustainability, embedded in differential features of different academic disciplines and the operations of the university. As a public univeristy contexts are entangled, such that the politics of the State reverberates in the social, economic, culutral, ecological, and many other contexts.

Figure 3 - Ego-Self Contexts of Complex Adaptive Systemicity (Drawing by Boje).

Another example, take the so-called systems of production, accounting, operations, and management.

For Žižek (1993: 131), “the human essence is the entirety of social relations…”  But social relations of a public university are situated in many other kinds of contexts that partially determine my Self-as-coordinator for Greening the Curriculum that has many contrary agendas.

University sustainability occurs in its social context, in the mandates of committees of academic departments, colleges, and a variety of administrative and support bodies such as Registrar, Academic Deans, Associate Deans, Department Heads, faculty teaching courses, students seeking courses, Graduate School, Faculty Senate committees, Provost, President, Board of Regents, and units that do Budget, Accounting, Computer programs for degree audits, Career Services that puts on Career Fairs, to name a few.   These are not just social contexts, but economic, political, and so on, including, ecosystems of all sorts.  The context of determination is in relation to, and interpenetrates other contexts of determination.  As coordinator for Greening the Curriculum, I have to talk up sustainability, negotiate minors, and certificates, as well as raise money for scholarships, in ways that lets me get a grip on university systemicity.  The idea that somehow all these organizing and governing contexts somehow sublate one another to make the Whole, since there seems to me, to be a series of successive thesis-antithesis moments, with attempts at synthesis, here and there. Mainly the renditions of sustainability across campus resonate in polyphony of contexts beyond to sociality of stakeholders, and many times contexts embed contradictions to one another.  Some involve antagonistic relationships, such as between the sciences of soil, plant, animal, desserts, water, and so on with the economics of so-called Green Capitalism, which several in economics, sociology, and ethics, find to be a contradiction in terms, perhaps an oxymoron. Others, go about sustainability with a blind faith that the parts will sublate into a whole, where parts are not as indifferent to one another as before.  And Before is never defined.

In this milieu I attempt, along with Sustainability Council, and Greening the Curriculum Steering Committee, a ‘green identity’ and agreement on several defining characteristics of sustainability.   The identity integrates in the abstract, more in Symbolic determination.  In short there is , a Void of a pure identity of sustainability, its systemicity being-for-itself not yet-a-Whole, and perhaps not ever.

When I negotiate among systemicities in their differentiated contexts,  evokes my own sense of alienation, because I am not just in some Void- , I am also in S1 Social, complicit in the S2 Economic, S3 in the midst of Political, S4 Cultural, and many other different sub-contexts, and my favorite, S5 Ecological context, and many others we will call Sn Set of many other systemicity contexts.

The Systems Hierarchy Model

A common way to think about systems is that they are arrayed between two opposites, such as the mechanistic sort of systems and the organic ones, with open systems in between (see Boulding heirarchy).

Hierarchy of Systems

In the above figure from (Boje, 2008a), on the right are the nine systems which Boulding (1956) arrayed into a hierarchy: 1 Framework, 2 Mechanistic, 3 Control, 4 Open, 5 Organic, 6 Image, 7 Symbol, 8 Network, and 9 Transcendental. On the left are my dialogic counter parts. However, here I want to challenge the hierchy using dialectics.

For Zizek (2012: 209), “the transcendental dimension of transcendental materialism prevents the regression to naïve ontology: whit if we discover that this hierarchy is false." He is speaking of naïve ontology of levels of reality, and I think Boulding’s (1956) hierarchy of systems complexity, and Pondy and Mitroff (1979) fits his critique. Pondy and Mitroff actually omitted Boulding’s ‘transcendental (level 9), see Boje (2008a). However, what if transcendental is not separable form the heterogeneous contingent content of how organizations-and-envirments are entangled?

Let's just take Mechanistic and Organic. This kind of mechanistic and organic linear depiction was once more common than it is now, but still quite popular. There are certainly many subtypes of Mechanistic and many subtypes of Organic.

Mechanistic and Organic poles of systems thinking

Figure 4: Depiction of several Mechanistic and several Organic system types

Mechanistic/Organic becomes a linear series. Implicit is some universal dimension (as yet unspecified) along which the various mechanistic systems (production, distribution, & consumption, for example) and the organic systems (matrix organization, living systems, stakeholder models, for example) are arrayed, perhaps with OST filling the gap between them. What is the universal common ground dimension along which these M and O system types are arraryed? The Universal dimension along which they differ, embodies some as yet unspecified structuring principle, and the oppositional determination of the two poles (M... and O...). There is a contradiction bwtwee the positions along this unknown universal, perhaps some sort of strange Likert-scale. The question I want to explore: does the 'True' Real conincide with this Linear hierarchic dimension of M's and O'?

Mechanistic types These M-types from 3 to 0, are they shadows of Frederick Taylorism production (M1), such as a mechanistic supply chain of distribution (M2), and consumption at a supermarket where you push you cart up and down the aisles, one by one (M3). Are these M's really on a universal scale? Or, is this an idyllic, and Idealized, a Diegetic Real> The Digetic is a style of storytellng where the world is experienced by characters narrating, recounting, or telling, as opposed to showing, living, enacting. The narrator tells tells the relation among M's with a Grand Narrative about a presuppostion: hierarchy, linearity, the Diegetic Real. Is there some conincidental identity between the 'True' Real (perhaps lived experience of particular contexts in Space, in Times --- what we call Living Story web of many people's experiences) and the Diegetic Real of Grand Narrative (a grand narrator telling or retelling an abstract schema)? Or are systemicities, just what we think them to be? (Žižek, 1993: 134). As we engage in Grand Narratives such as this we lose the ground of particular contexts, and their polyphonic inter-context relationality.

The immediacy of systemicity, in day-to-day life, seems to me, to defy the logic of a Universal scale of polar types. After all, in most mechanistic systems, there are organic elements (living things, living beings, living organisms). And within organizations, the so-called organic or living systems, have lots of machines, automations, cyber-things: cell phones, computers, ipads, and so forth. The schemata of Ms and Os, along a line, along some Universal dimension, does not help much. It is as if content is passive, and just fills in the Universal ideal-forms. Why not? They are conceived abstractly enough to fillin about anything.


Hegel's move is called "spiitual materialism? (Žižek, 1993: 138). Kant has suggested Aether, as the solution to what happens if space is full of things, or empty of things altogether, and you want to have movement. Consider Emery and Trist (1966) classic model. In Low/Low condition (Random Placid), the environment-Space has openness, with resource options scattered about. In Placid Clustered-Space, there is lses space, and so to in Distrubed reaction. But in Turbulent, the Space of the so-called enviornment is just other organizations, and they are every-place, in every niche, every-where about.

Emery and Trist 1966

Figure 5 - Emery and Trist (1965) Four Kinds of Organization-Environment Relationships

For Emery and Trist, the environment and organization relation has evolved, such that all organizations, it seems, are in turbulent dynamism and high complexity. The only advice they give to operation in a turbulent enviornment is to pursue values agreements (in dimensions from Aristotle). A secon problem I can raise (Boje, 2008a) is the environment of this open system is devoid of ecology. Only other organizations exist, in market niches, and that seems to subvert the embeddedness of all humans and their organizations in ecosystems. the days of rushing about to collect Random Placid or Placid Clustered resources and positions are at an end. Is there something beyond the closing Space of Disturbed Reactive, and the Turbulent Environment, aka the interorganizational field.

Causal Texture of Emery and Trist

Figure 7 - Summary of Four Types of Causal Structures, based on Emery & Trist - (Source: Systems Thinking and Futures Studies (Systems Thinking Ontario, 2013-02-21)

Again its a tautology. We are told we are all in Type 4, Turbulent, and are adviced to seek the value of Beuathy, do Puzzle-solving and Active Adaptive Planning.

Surely we can do something beyond this.

One way to proceed is the look at the form of ground and the tautological emtiness of various system theinking moves.

Hegel is more radical than Boulding or von Bertalanffy. Hegle pits the principle of universalization against the principle of individuation (Žižek, 1993: 135). Žižek argues that form is what makes something formless matter, and become, in our example, and M-type or an O-type. The principle of universalizaiton is deductive, deducint from form-types how to sift the content into its types. The universal dimension might be anything from rationalization, standardization, centralization, and other structuralisms. The universal differentiates types of forms, so content can boe sorted by some operational or codiefied rules. Matter (content) stands in the abstract accounting or telling. The abstract categories mediate the matter/content. Matter becomes the expression of the form-types.

The individuations become fodder for the principle of universalization. Taking an inductive approach, the principle of individuation says that organizing possesses an inherent structure (or if you like, a structuration, following Giddens). Empirically, and positivistically, there appear to be subtypes. Such thinking, however produces tautology, the relation of content (empirics) to form gets transformed; content becomes just form-indicator of form (the ideal type). An alternative is form becomes what content is not, which brings us back into duality of form and content. One can also define matter as the form's content (or form/content) that is activated, or actualized by means of an adequate operational formation of the types.

In both principles, the relation of form/content or content/form is tautological. Form defines content, or content defines form, and each becomes the other.

Next, instead of a hierarchy of systems, such as Boulding, and von Bertalanffy assert, let's try a different approach. Hegel uses a triadic of Essence, Form and Notion. this forms a double inversion, or if you prefer two doublings. Essence/Form/Notion triadic has form as its middle term

Essence is in-itself of the Notion. Essence falls apart in moments of subsistence, of placing content into Form of the Parts-Whole systems thinking, its presuppositions are Notions. The 'True' Real (Essence) is dialectic to Form, which is just another category schemata. And Form is dialectic to Notion, and Notion to Essence, and both are category Ideations.

Here is how it works in practice in systems thinking. The Essence is said to be Parts and Wholes. The Whole is always said to be greater than the sum of the Parts. Just classify the Parts, and the relations, is the usual advice.

This Notion/Essence comes to define the empirical content set into Form of the ground (Žižek, 1993: 136). The Content is sorted into Form-al ground, into the Framework (level 1 in Boulding's Hierarchy of systems). It is still a tautological gesture. This can be seen in the next move, as systems theory translates the Parts are Greater than the Whole montra, into the parts-relations: Inputs-Throughputs-Outputs-Feedback loops (levels 2, 3, and in all the 9 levels, since its a cumulative model where higher levels incorporate the part-identities/functions of lower levels). Look at what has happend. The Essence (Wholes & Parts) sorts Content, into another abstract form, the next Notion (Inputs-Outputs-Throughputs-Feedback). In the Essence/Form/Notion Inputs becomes anything: people, animals, money, information, and any other resources. Throughput is any sort of process within the [unknown] boundaries of production, distribution, and consumption. Outputs are going elsewhere, just as Inputs come from somewhere, but the space or place of this is left to the imagination.

In sum, GST (& OST) end up being tautologies. That is good to know, but does not stop the Grand Narrative or its tautological gestures. The content ends up in an empty determination of Essence, Form, and Notion, and it continues, as Notion is presupposition of some Essence, and so on.

This works OK for the material organizing of production, but even there, the organic aspects, the people working in such systems, and animals, plants, and ecology are as absent as they are in the organic (e.g. Burns & Stalker M/O model).

It works OK for "quasi-empirical-positivization" (Žižek, 1993: 137) or up to a point. However, when you ask about the ontology of this, or critical ontology, you are left in the circulations of the model abstractions of presupposing, sorting empirical into those categoreis in the systems kingdom of supre-sensible and Ideas (Ideals). The logical positivism ends up being an "enslavement to contingent empirical content" (Žižek, 1993: 138).

The network of Symbolic-relations of what Social contexts define as sustainability (& greening), along with the other contexts up to and includingis being embedded in a scheme of contrary discourses.

If we take an old dualism, that between mechanistic and organiic, we use Hegel to go another direction?

Hegel tries to resolve Kant's dialectic and transcendental materialism, using an inquiry into the relation between open space and sapce already full of stuff, such as material stuff.

We can start with some basic questions.

1. Are organizational systems beyond the actual, materail, empirical world?

2. Are organizational systems kingdoms of supresensible ideas?

3. Are organizaitonal systems falling into the drap of double inversion (see triadic discussion above)?

Dialectic Systems Theory

(Žižek, 1993: 132) gives one way out using a his combination of Lacan and Hegel. The relevant contradiction dows not take place between mechanistic and organic, or the other system hierachy stopping off points on the way to transcendental. In both instances and in OST, supposedly in the middle (see Boulding model above), there are problems.

Let's define terms this way:

 represents Systemicity that is mechanistic (such as phones, computers, copiers, checklists, and the like)

 represents Systemicity that is Organic (such as organic human beings, animals in ag, plants and algae in ag, the sorts of black mod forming in old buildings, the grass and trees that are not native to New Mexico, the water, soil, air and its pollutants, the bees that are going away due to, many say, overuse of lawn insecticides (off campus, I am told).
represents the Void of systemicities, that is without contextualized identity. Is it possible for Social relations to change university identity, and how is that related to my own identities? There is a Void, of an identity not yet, and may never become this university's sustainability, and that Void is related to my own Void, to ambivilance about greening, its possibility of changing anything biological, or ecological, deep down, as what I see as tipping points approach. Perhaps recycling, driving our Prius, having our phtotovoltaic electric on our home --- is just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, as catastorphe approaches.

Consider and and the Void, we can begin to look at the codependence, as well as entanglement of these several systemicities. My observations of greening, seem to change the relationships among these and other systemicties grounded in their respective contexts, and those contexts far from independent, are dynamic in their interconnectivity, and gross entanglements.

and are often treated as the opposite of one another, or even as successors, and mutually exclusive in treatments of organizations. Not so as far as I can observe. As I do the mediation on sustainability (or greening as I call it) in different systemicity contexts of my own public university, the background of these and many other systemicities (such as frameworks, control systems, symbolic, image, and onto the transcendental), as Boulding frames them, is not at all neutral. and interact instead of being alternatives or two pole opposites on some hierarchic continumum, which is the uusal presupposition of the hiniversal hierarchy of complex organizing systems. To me it is more like this. There is a Void that functions with (mechanistic) and that dialectic relationship impacts a dialectic with (organic). Following (Žižek, 1993: 130), we get the following relationships:

This, however, is just one of many dialectic relations, and there are so many more to navigate to get anything done, to accomplish any kind of large systems change, as it is called, in my field.

The point is we are the observers of systems, using observation apparatus, and our encounter affects he Void and the Observed Systems, and . They are codependent on one another and on the Void. They mediate one another. Rather than set Systems against the background Enviornment, or some shallow neutral univerality (the ideal types of and ), or OST, or put them along a horizaontal pole line, as one passes into its opposite, etc. we can start to assess the common ground among the systemicities, and thier differences, how one systemicity is being embodied in the other.

A multitude of dialectic systemicities of varying types and polyphonic contexts are simultaneous in the complex organization of my public university, as I attempt some greening of the curriculum.


Quantum Systems Storytelling

Quantum Storytelling becomes a way of describing the complexity of Quantum Systems' interconnectedness, embeddedness, and entanglement in Polyphonic Contexts. The purpose of Quantum Storytelling pragmatics is to generate alternative webs of leving stories and their Little Wow Moments outcomes and exceptions to Grand Narratives of classic OST and GST. This opens up spaces for new Quantum Systems discoveries.

"Systems theory helps people to co-create their new stories as well as help them re-create more positive perspectives of old stories" (Mandrell, 2014: 31). This is what Grace Ann Rosile and I refer to as Embodied Restorying Process (ERP):

"Restorying begins with♥-of-Care. It begins with mindfulness, embodiment practices to understand the FOUR SELVES: Social-Self, Frozen-Self, Mirror-Self, and ♥-Self. These four selves are in dialogue, continual conversation, in our mind's eye."

"Restorying moves you out of cacophony into polyphony (the symphony of voices conversing in our mind). Restorying is combined with mindfulness skill training so that the 'new story' is supported by dialogues among your Selves that connect you to Ecosystem and to Others in ways of Awareness, I call 'PeaceAware'."

This restorying process (White & Etpson, 1990) becomes embodied as we work on the interconnectedness, embeddedness, and entanglements of our multiple Selves in Polyphonic Contexts, inculding a QST that is in space, in time, and in materialisms.

Becoming aware of Grand Narratives that interpret and define Self and Other actions and roles is good place to start. Antenarratives challenge and trace the connections between Grand Narratives and Living Story Webs.


Two Principles of Quantum Mechanics

The two principles (Uncertainty & Complimentarity) result in Quantum Systems Theory moving beyond OST and GST. To repeat, "All description implies a choice of a measurement device, a choice of questions asked" (Prigigone & Stengers, 1984: 224). These contexts are already in Nature, since we embody and impact Nature, in enfolded contexts. The macroscopic contexts are entangled with the microscopic ones.


Principle of Uncertainty (aka Principle of Indeterminancy)

Werner Heisenberg's (1927) Principle of Uncertainty. "Since we can no longer simultaneously measure position and coordinates in quantum theory, classical determinism is breaking down" (Prigogine & stengers, 1984: 178), and (p. 223): "We can measure a coordinate and a momentum, but the dispersions of the respective possible predictions as expressed by triangle

"All description implies a choice of measurement device, a choice of questions asked" (IBID. p. 224). "it is not the quantum measurement process that disturbes the restults" (IBID.).

Principle of Complementarity

Niels Bohr's Principle of Complimentarity" "We can measure coordinates or momenta, but not both. No singles theoretical language articulating the variables to which a well-defined value can be attributed can exhause the physical content of a system. Various possible languages and poitns of view about the system may be complementary. They all deal with the same relaity, but it is impossible to reduce them to one signle description. The irreducible plurality of perspectives on the same realtiy expresses the impossiblity of a divine point of view form which the whole of reality is visible"(Prigogine & Stengers, 1984: 225). "Bohr and Rosenfeld repeatedly pointed out, every measurement contains an element of irreversibility" (IBID. p. 228).

The importance of Quantum Systems Theory (QST) is in the introduciton of (antenarrative) Bets on the future (the set of probabilities and potentialities) that the weave function does not evolve in deterministic mechanical fashion or in the idealized OST and GST equilibrium process, since there are non-equilibrium, and fluctuation processes, and our own observer apparatus affects the observed system processes. Our observing measurement system at a microscopic level presupposes the complex macroscopic world to which that measurement belongs. "A microscopic event projuces an effect on the macroscopic levle" which we read in our observing measurment instruments (Prigogine & Stengers, 1984: 228). The wave effect is affected by irreversibility and discontinuities.

In wave/particle duality, "the wave function represents the maximum knowledge of a quantum system" (Prigogine & Stengers, 1984: 229). But irreversibility enters into this knowledge, and the measurement observing apparatuses deployed, such that the idealized GST universality, and the OST equilibrium state become problematic conceptions.

QST is pragmatic, and there are pragmatic roots. One in particular is John Dewey's (1929) siminal work titled, Quest for Certainty, in which he develops the implications of Heisenberg's (1927, still only available in German) Principle of Uncertainty, and greatly extends the Observer Effect, in ontologic-pragmatism ways. "Then he went beyond anything Heisenberg imagined. He is not alone. George Herbert Mead (1932) read other quantum physicists such as Bohr and Planck, and decided time is not linear, and could well be moving from future to present, instead of past to present, then future" (Boje, 2014a, more quotes follow):

  1. By 1929, Dewey embraced a more ontologic- and quantum-pragmatism, while Peirce remained with epistemic-pragmatist (semiotics), and James with post-positivistic-pragmatism.
  2. Dewey’s (1929) ways of going beyond the Observer Effect, and Indeterminacy in what he calls pragmatic intelligent action that changes mindless habits of action are ways American Pragmatism has gone beyond the basics of the physics of quantum mechanics. For example, for James, ‘pragmata’ was about the story of things in their ‘plurality’ (1907: 44).
  3. For Dewey, the observer effect, meant theory and action are not separated. For James, plurality was a way to move beyond closed systems thinking (see chapter on 12 pragmatic paths). Each used pragmatism to inquire into metaphysics



Antenarrative and Critical Ontologic-Pragmatism

Fourfold Antenarrative

Figure 3: Fourfold Antenarrative (Drawing by Boje, 2014c)

Quantum Systems Theory is a care for the potentiality of Being-a-whole-Self-in-the-world in not just its physics, but its ontological Situation. It is fourfold: before, bet, between, and beneath. The BEFORE is the stuff that circulates in what Heidegger (1962/1996) calls an ontology of fore-having. The BET is the antecedent fore-having already in play existentially. The BETWEEN is the connecting going on in-between grand narratives and the living story webs of meaning so often excluded. The BENEATH is all the fore-conception much of it in language, in discourse, in which our storytelling swims.

Antenarrative was invented and defined in Boje (2001) as the double meaning of 'ante' as "before" [grand] narrative, and as 'bet' on the future. This year, I have expanded the definition, to include the between and the beneath. BETWEEN: An antenarrative is a connection or linking process between Grand Narratives of legitimation and the Living Story Web. An antenarrative is also a beneath, in the microprocesses, the microstructures that a Grand Narrative covers over. For this semester, I would like as a project to develop a 'critical ontology' understanding of antenarratives. I have begun to do this with the keynote presentation I gave at University of Warwick, at the conference on Cross-Cultural Management. You can see the paper, the slides, and for a while, a video (http://peaceaware.com/Warwick).

Fore-having, fore-telling (aka fore-sight), fore-conception, and fore-structure are developed by Martin Heidegger (1962) in Being and Time.

"Whenever something is interpreted as something, the interpretation will be founded essentially upon fore-having, fore-sight, and fore-conception" (#150). "Like any interpretation wherever, assertion necessarily has a fore-having, a fore-sight, and a fore-conception as its existential foundations" (#157) Read more on this

The four aspects of antenarrative (BEFORE, BET, BENEATH, & BETWEEN) have implications for Stewart Clegg's (1989) four circuits of power, one of which is Systems Integration. The paths of influence James (1907) wrote about, can be extended to Clegg's work on power circuits.

Implications for Circuits of Systems Integration and Power


Clegg's original drawing in 1989

Figure 4 Clegg (1987: 214) Representation of Circuits of Power

Above is the original drawing by Clegg (p. 214) representing the four circuits of power.

1. System Integration within Exogenous Environmental Contingencies

2. Episodic Agencies -

3. Dispositional Rules and Obligatory Passage Points

4. Facilitative Innovation in Techniques of discipline and production

"Agency is something which is achieved" in fields of force, including quantum and discursive grand narratives (Myer & Rowan, 1977; Clegg, 1987). Agency is a filed of force that has been stretched and reconstituted in may ways, beyond strategies and practices (Clegg, p. 17). Embedded in discursive practiesa are ideologies, which Clegg suggests are better studied and understood as a set of practices (IBID.: pp. 15-16). Disciplinary power, following Foucault's (1977) classic work is about practices of discourse, and is a break from Marxist and post-Marxist approach to hegemonic ideology. Rather in Clegg's model, it is the facilitative practices of discipline that afect innovation. this move resituates Lyotard (1979/1984) grand narratives of ideology in practices, in processes.

Clegg's Circuits of Power Model and System Integration

Figure 5 - The Circuits of Power Model of Systems Integration (Drawing by Boje)

Above is a drawing of the circuits I drew. It is easy to miss the system integration circuit as it is not clearly labeled in the original or my adaptaion. I am not alone; Claeyé (2011) also does a drawing that does not clearly identify system integration circuit (source).


One way to think about it is three circuites are shown above, within the overall Systems Integration Circuit. The other three are the Episodic, Dispositional, and Facilitative Circuits pass through pasage points (Read more on Circuits of Power).

Circuits of Power Passage Points and Rules

Figure 6 - The Passage Points within the Systems Integration Circuit (Drawing by Boje)

The four circuits of power interact, such that within the System Integration Circuit, the other three connect to Passage Points. There are people, departments, whole divisions that block, gatekeep, or otherwise prevent actions and things from getting done.

System integration circuit in its interrconnectedness in with the episodic agency, dispositional passage points, and facilitative circuite gives us a way to work in-between the COPE pragmatisms. Beneath-antenarrative, the below-surface of system epistemic, is the ontological, the non-decision-making, the ways of pblocking systems integrration, of not doing things, of blocking others doing things.

This is relevant to Organizational Outflanking (Clegg, 1989: 218). Scoieties and organizations cannot be reduced to a "single systemic ordering principel" as in GST/OST or put into a hierchic continum as von Bertalanffy and Boulding do, a "single bounded space-time continuum" (IBID.). There is in organizations a multiplicy of fields of influence, including the micropolitics of episodic power, the dispolitional rules and obligatory passage points, whereby the facilitative circuit cannot yeild the innovations beyond those of diciplinary and reglatory control.

In the intergrative systems circuit, the "environmental pressures serve to structure system integration into a limited range of organizational forms" of "disciplinary power" (Clegg, 211-214). System integration includes "institutional isomorphism" the integration of systemicity and strategy into the many field forces that the circuit of systemity integrate tends to facilitate in the name of efficenty, environment and other legitimacy narratives (Clegg, p. 19, 214). See work by Meyer and Rown (1977).

Meyer and Rowan

Figure 7 - Meyer and Rowan Instituional Myths of Legitimation, Strategy, and Resources (reporduced from 1977: p. 353).

"Formal organizations are generally understood to be systems of coordinated and controlled activities that arise when work is embedded in complex networks of technical relations and boundary-spanning exchanges" (IBID.: p. 340, see entire article). The pragmatic models we have explored go way beyond OST.

"Quite beyond the environmental interrelations suggested in open-systems theories, institutional theories in their extreme forms define organizations as dramatic enactments of the rationalized myths pervading modern societies, rather than as units involved in exchange-no matter how complex-with their environments" (IBID.: p. 353).

The grand narratives or myths we have discussed, and the passage points and rules that can not only facilitate but obstruct are widely present in bureauractic systems, such as universities, government, and corporate entities. These grand narratives or myths are also contextualized, part of the polyphony of contexts.

"Bureaucratization is caused in part by the proliferation of rationalized myths in society, and this in turn involves the evolution of the whole modern institutional system" IBID.: (p. 347).

This extends to institutional isomorphism. "As a result, it is argued here, institutional isomorphism promotes the success and survival of organizations. Incorporating externally legitimated formal structures increases the commitment of internal participants and external constituents" (IBID.: p. 349, see entire article).


Impications for Greening the University

Greening moves essentially in the element of universality of Grand Narratives as I call them. Hegel this universal, “includes within itself the particular” (Phenomenology of Spirit, 1807: section #1). The ordering of the knowledge system of Greening is knowledge of the kinds of kinds of Greening of a University in the particular colleges.

“The more conventional opinion gets fixated on the antithesis of truth and falsity, the more it tends to expect a given philosophical system to be with accepted or contradicted” (#2).

There is a diversity of Greening viewpoints within University Colleges, and the progressive unfolding of Greening, can be seen by some to be simple disagreements among University Colleges about what is Greening.

“The bud disappears in the bursting-forth of the blossom” (#2). There is a difference in this or that College saying it is Greening, and the actual real actions of Greening; saying is not the same as doing. Where are the “moments of organic unity” (#2) in this Greening f NMSU, the necessary Greening that “constitutes the life of the whole” (#2). The oppositions of the Colleges to one another, their one-sidedness, can be seen as a recognition of their reciprocity, that shapes minor conflicts and “seeming incompatibility” among the Colleges, while cognition about Greening evades “an impression of hard work and serious commitment to the problem while actually sparing oneself both” (#3).

https://www.youtube.com/user/SlavojZizekVideos for other videos that apply here.

The Real issue as Žižek calls it is not exhausting in saying Greening is an aim, rather its about acts of Greening in the process of making it come about. And this is a Greening that is hard work with serious commitment in what Hegel calls “actual existence” (Hegel #3).

Delusion of Green Capitalism (summary of video points): Žižek says, we too easily like to be guilty of our threats against the environment. Because if we are guilty, then it all depends on us, and we can save ourselves by changing our lives. We don’t accept that we are reduced to the purely passive role of an impotent observer, and regress to frantic activity of doing recycling in the superstitious believe that we can affect or change the outcome, without a radical change in my life. We cannot influence the process that will result in my actions, so I do something, like buy organic food, overpriced, in order to do something. We convince ourselves are care demonstrating our capacity for care, and doing something meaningful. This fantasy is assuming a central role in capitalism today. E.g. Starbucks logic, that 1 or 2 cents goes to Third World for the ills of our consumption, and we can pretend we are an ethical being. Starbuck makes the product, so you can remain only a consumer, who on purchase of the coffee is in solidarity with the poor. https://www.youtube.com/user/SlavojZizekVideos

The Real Greening is at a limit, where the Greening stops at a University, and it is what the University is not. Courses in Greening the University curriculum can be focused- or related-to-greening, however this is not losing itself in Greening, or “tarrying with it” (Hegel #3). Greening that is a grasping for something new is a problem since that is not “being preoccupied with the real issue and surrendering to it” (Hegel #3).

About Greening NMSU. The laborious emergence of http://Greening.NMSU.edu is also part of Greening NMSU Culture beyond the substantial life of courses, it refutes a general conception of unsustainability with reasons for Greening, gives accurate instruction, that is rich and in depth, and takes place in ordinary conversation. Finally Greening exists in “scientific system of such truth” (#5), and in the “external necessity” of Greening as it is grasped in a general way, such as AACSB and other accrediting bodies of Colleges are promoting it, and the early accrediting low grades NMSU received, and in the recent AASHE Gold Star in Sustainability grade, “lies in the shape in which time sets forth the sequential existence of its moments” (#5). The point is that Greening at the slevel of sciences teaching Green-ness in all six Colleges, does not at the same time accomplish Greening of the Real.


Quantum systems are pragmatic in the four aspects of COPE.

Quantum Systems Theory moves beyond GST and OST by exploring the ontological Situation of antenarrative (Before, Bets, Beneath, and Between) connections of Living Story Webs and Grand Narratives of classic systems theory and practice. Instead of the asusmption of systems hieararchy Grand Narrative of GST or the equilibrium state of OST, there are bets on a new evolution of order and disorder, and a nonequilibrium source of order (Prigogine & Stengers, 1984: 286-7). The relation of order and disorder, reversibility and irreversibility, equilibrium and disequilibrium, and the phase shifts are more complex than the reductionist, universalizing, and essentializing Grand Narratives of GST and OST.

This problemetizes questions about "old a priori distinctions between scientific and ethical values" as a false duality (Prigogine & Stengers, 1984: 312). Quantum Systems Theory is about an ethic of care already in the world of Being. Self-reflection is a way to explore the polyphony of contexts of Quantum Systems, and the irreducible plurality of perspectives of embedded contexts and their entanglements, including instutional myths, connectiong to many sorts of grand narratives.



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