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Humberto Maturana: 14 Freedom
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Biosphere, Homosphere, and Robosphere: what has that to do with Business?
Humberto Maturana Romesin and Pille Bunnell

Freedom is a very interesting thing because freedom is also an experience. Suppose that I think "If I do this, such and such is going to happen" And then I wonder, "Do I want that to happen" and realize "Yes, I want that to happen." That is responsibility. Then I may ask myself "Do I want my wanting? Do I like what I want?" And in that moment I have the experience of freedom. Because now I can say "No! I don't like what I want!" and I don't act. Or "I like what I want!" and then I act.

Freedom is the experience of being responsible for your responsibility.

Freedom arises when you have the experience of doing something in a way that you are responsible in the space of reflection about whether you want what you want. Whether you do or don't want that, your experience is freedom.

We speak as if freedom had to do with actual possibilities, but possibilities are possibilities only to the extent that one sees them. They are not possibilities in themselves. If you see something in your niche as a possibility, it is a possibility; if you do not see it as such, or do not see it at all, it is not a possibility. Freedom does not have to with possibilities, but how you live your possibilities in your awareness. So freedom is an experience, and it is a very fundamental experience. This why when you invite a person to participate with you in a conversation, in the co-inspiration of an activity as a person, in his or her legitimacy as a person, responsibility and freedom appear. They cannot but appear, not as a forcing situation, but as a natural outcome of the kind of beings we are.

At the same time, this does not mean goodness. Yet as a person arises as a human being love appears. Love is seeing the other, the other has presence.

Authority and obedience breed irresponsibility. In Argentina the military has generated horrible situations, and the argument of the people involved is "I was only obeying orders." This is authority. You can say that a company is not like an army, but if the company is centered on authority, then it is like an army. Obedience means self denial; whenever you obey you deny yourself. Suppose I were to say "Ladies and gentlemen be objective!" What am I saying? What do you feel? I am demanding that you agree with me, in the threat of you appearing inadequate if you do not. You disappear in this, there is no self respect in an agreement invoked on such grounds, and hence you resent it. We think we live as rational animals, but we do not. We are emotional animals who use reason to justify our desires.
The only way that you can have responsibility and collaboration is in social dynamics. But this collaboration does not mean blindness about what the tasks of the other person, or about the abilities or responsibilities of the other person. On the contrary, it means seeing these things, and then acting while listening to one because she knows something, or listening to another because he has a particular responsibility guiding that other thing. You do this knowing that they will also listen to you and act accordingly to everything else that also pertains to the circumstances. Love opens responsibility and freedom, authority reduces responsibility and freedom.
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