>Listening to friend Carol’s presentation yesterday made me realise how church is tied down by the industrial age. Perception of church is stil very much building based and the church building boom seems to have been part and parcel of the industrial development of the 19th century. Often funded by industrialists churches were places to be seen and seemed to cement people’s place in society.
We have hastily moved from being an industrial society to being an information society, and is it the nature of information which has had such an effect on society and how we organise ourselves into social networks. Yet while factories have closed (and communities coped far better that they thought) our church buildings remain and remain furnished with the trappings (and pews) of the mindset of the industrial age.
According to Gregory Bateson “information is a difference that makes a difference”. Dee Hock makes these points:
Unlike finite physical resources, information multiplies by transfer and is not depleted by use.
Information is a miser of energy. It can endlessly replicate, move ubiquitously at the speed of light, and massively condense in minute space …
Information breeds. When one bit of information is combined with another, the result is new information. It will become the slave and property of noone. Efforts to make information conform to archaic notions of scarcity, ownership and finite physical quantity – concepts that grew out of the agricultural and industrialised age – merely lock humankind into old, mental boxes of constraint and exploitation.
Information is ethically neutral.
Products, services, and organisations in which the value of the mental content begins to dwarf the value of the physical content require wise people of deep understanding.
Dee Hock writes this:
Thinking about a society based on information and one based on physicality requires radically different perspective and consciousness. However, we prefer too often to ignore the fundmental differences nd carry over into the Chaordic Age of managing information, ideas and values, concepts and assumptions that proved useful in the mechanised Industrial Age of machine crafting, the age of managing things; concepts such as ownership, scarcity, spearability, quantifiable measurement, statistical economics, mathematical monetarism, hierarchical structuralism, and command-and-control management.
The birth of the Chaordic Age alls into question virtually every concept of societal organisation, management, and conduct on which we have come to rely. Clinging too rigorously to old concepts, dismissing new concepts too lightly, protecting old forms that resulted from those concepts too fiercely, imposing those forms on a changing society too resolutely, are a certain path to failure.