Gaia theory and Global Knowledge Ecologies




Gaia and global knowledge ecologies

Last November 2010, I presented a paper at KM Asia in Singapore which presented some of my thoughts on Quantum Physics and KM.

We really do urgently need a new theory of knowledge and knowledge economics, to better develop and grow as individuals, teams, and organizations, in this global knowledge society, and that paper was my attempt to start a discussion around the global knowledge entity.

I used the metaphors of 'A Sky of Information'(actually that's a truth) and 'An Ocean of Knowledge'.

I really do see and better understand information and knowledge flow in these terms.

I have developed my thinking quite a bit since November 2010 and I hope to produce another paper, perhaps even a new knowledge hypothesis soon.

Well this week I decided to re-read one of my favourite older books from 1979 'Gaia - a new look at life on Earth' by Jim Lovelock. At the time, Jim was an independant scientist who has co-operated with NASA in their space programme, and since 1974 has been a Fellow of the Royal Society.

Of his book, Gaia, others say that Gaia is an intimate account of a journey through time and space in search of evidence with which to support a new and radically different model of Earth. Bringing knowledge from astronomy to zoology in support of his hypothesis, Jim Lovelock explores the idea that the life of Earth functions as a single organism which actually defines and maintains conditions necessary for its survival.

Actually, since Gaia was first published in 1979, many of Lovelock's predictions have come true and his theory has become one of the most hotly debated topics in scientific circles.

Today, global climate change is top of the agenda and Lovelock has some profound views on the implications for Planet Earth and humanity.

You will probably realise, by now, that I was glued to my chair when re-reading his views on the self-regulating information and knowledge transfer functions of the sky and the oceans. My metaphor suddenly took on a much deeper meaning for me.

I have always preferred to talk about knowledge ecologies and even in my first book in 1995, Upside Down Management, McGraw Hill Europe, I talked much more comfortably about getting the most out of knowledge workers in organizations when we remove structured limitations and recognise that people are highly complex organisms.

So I am thinking and looking deeper into similarities between the behaviours of deep ecological systems on Planet Earth and global knowledge ecologies.

Going back to Quantum Physics, I am still most interested in the Quantum Physicists view of an underlying force, deeper and beyond the laws of energy and matter, that is often called the Quantum vacuum or Zero Point, and informs all forms of life.

Again this is rather like a 'sky of information' and an 'ocean of knowledge', and intuition tells me that we all can, and unconsciously do, access some of this knowledge.

So I think some answers for a new knowledge theory may be found in combining new thoughts about the invisible world of quanta with new thoughts about the visible world and deep ecology, and of course, what we are all learning from the global knowledge society.

Let me know if you have any thoughts about any of this, or your views on a new knowledge theory, as I will be back in deep thinking mode soon.

Ron Young