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

This paper is based on a presentation made by Humberto Maturana at the Society for Organizational Learning Member's Meeting, Amherst MA in June, 1998. It is not a transcript, rather it is a re-creation by Pille Bunnell, reorganized with changes, deletions, and additions intended to make it more coherent as a written document. The first person voice of Dr. Maturana is retained, but any mis-representation of what he intended is the responsibility of Dr. Bunnell.

Table of Contents
  1. Introduction
  2. History
  3. Conservation and change
  4. Living systems
  5. Language
  6. Love
  7. Conversation
  8. Emotions and intelligence
  9. Homosphere and Biosphere
  10. Identity
  11. Robots
  12. Social systems
  13. Responsibility
  14. Freedom
  15. Blindness
  16. Surprise
  17. Friendship
  18. Our possibility

1. Introduction.

I think that most of the fundaments about how we can work together in business setting are already understood by many business people. For example the transformation of Shell Oil over the last five years is grounded in an understanding of the social ground of working together, even where this is not made explicit. I am not a business person, so I shall not tell you about business. What I shall do is to reflect on the biological background on which the concern for what we do in business rests.
This meeting began with a presentation of beautiful slides, and we enjoyed them. Isn't this remarkable! We enjoy beauty. How come we humans enjoy beauty? What is beauty that we enjoy it? Why, or what, or how is it that we have a sense of wellbeing when looking at beautiful images? And what were these images that we found beautiful? Trees, leaves, waterfalls, sunsets -- nature, beautiful nature.
We find beauty in nature everywhere; in the desert, the forest, or the mountains -- any natural place. However, if we go to an eroded area we do not find beauty. What is the difference? In some sense a desert and an eroded area are similar as neither of them contains many living beings. I think the difference between these two situations has to do with us. It us humans who see beauty in one case but not in the other. How is this so; what in us makes this so?
This is not a trivial question, and it has to do with our concern about what we do, about how we conduct our affairs. To address this question I shall speak about human history and the history of the earth, about living systems and humans. And I shall make a few reflections about emotions, freedom, ethics and beauty. You will see that all of this does indeed have to do with business.

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