Jokey disclaimer...."Our opinions are worth precisely what you paid us for them."
Rogers postulated a theory about the universe having a 'Formative tendency'. That is a tendency towards organisation and structure via differentiation and integration. From that, he also posited that all organisms had an actualising tendency - a theory that Rogers developed after seeing potatoes in a dark basement growing sprouts in a futile attempt to reach a non-existent light. An overarching tendency to enhance and maintain the organism is a movement towards wholeness and integration and away from coercion and self-control. Finally, this led to the posit of 'self-actualisation' and the belief that humans will tend towards actualising the self (whatever that might be).
It raises many immediate questions, is self-actualisation culturally/environmentally specific? Is it always positive (spoiler: er actually, not necessarily)? Etc. The questions that intrigue me at the moment include...
Organisations, do they have an actualising tendency?
Rogers initially points to living organisms when discussing things exhibiting the actualising tendency. I would like to know if it could equally be applied to organisations. The immediate impulse would be to say, "Yes, of course, as organisations are only made up of people". It explains how organisations enhance and maintain themselves, probably due to a partly Darwinian impulse to select in the business jungle naturally. However, that only explains some company-specific behaviours.
I am thinking about non-business organisations (charities, NGOs, public services etc.) that do not have the same competitive business stresses as their primary impulse to prevail but can still act most aggressively when the organism is under threat. I am thinking about health authorities that cover up instances of neglect rather than come clean and police forces that obstruct investigations to protect individuals. In these cases, the organisations have gone so far to maintain the 'organism' that they have entirely forgotten their purpose, who funds them, and who they are ultimately answerable. Protecting themselves as an organism has even trumped their whole raison d'être. This could, of course, be put down to lots of individual self-interests merging to the point that it becomes the macro stance of the organism. Still, I do wonder if something else is going on here. Is there possibly a phantom consciousness that gets created when human beings all work together on a joint venture, a sort of ethereal hive mind that, in all senses, is a living organism that strives to maintain and enhance itself, to actualise competently?
Is the actualising tendency divinity at work?
Rogers chaining together his theories of the formative tendency, the actualising tendency and the self-actualising tendency, touches on a subject that has baffled me since childhood. Why do things, animals, plants, and people (generally, not specifically) all want to strive to enhance? Why not just settle? Why not just be as you are?
The idea that it is simply an evolutionary urge has never sat well with me. Hence, the tubers on Rogers's potatoes in the dark cellar grope towards a light that they will never find, for the soil they never will grow in, for rain and sun they will never feel are simply the potatoes carrying on that evolutionary urge. But what does that mean? Why do they? Why not choose to do nothing? to settle with for what they have ? By the way, Rogers doesn't claim any mysticism; that's my sort-of-possibly interpretation. He clearly states that it is a 'biological urge'.
This is at odds with the universe, which operates downward towards higher entropy, chaos, and a breakdown of everything. The actualising tendency inherent in all organisms is swimming against the current.
The question for me is who or what told them to?