LeadU presents Fractionalization



"America is coming apart.  For most of our nation’s history, whatever the inequality in wealth between the richest and poorest citizens, we maintained a cultural equality known nowhere else in the world — for whites, anyway.” 

"The more opulent citizens take great care not to stand aloof from the people," wrote Alexis de Tocqueville, the great chronicler of American democracy, in the 1830s.  "On the contrary, they constantly keep on easy terms with the lower classes: They listen to them, they speak to them every day.” 

Americans love to see themselves this way.  But there’s a problem: “It’s not true anymore, and it has been progressively less true since the 1960s.”  — Charles Murray.

I am using fractionalization as a meta term, and therefore it is not what you might think about fractional banking, but about the "fracturing" of that which was once a part of something else.

Fractionalization occurs mainly as a result of something big becoming too big to scaffold, support, and survive in the face of increasing complexity.  When we have difficult problems, we often "chunk them down" into manageable parts.

When the noise becomes too great, we often head off for a quieter spot.  When we have complex systems, we often understand them in their less complex parts, we deconstruct things, matching reality to the resources we have available.

Why do families deconstruct?

Because they can.

Each of us is usually happier when we are pursuing our own self-interests.  In emerging countries large families are staying together… why?

Because they have to.

AS SOON AS IT’S POSSIBLE, they deconstruct and form other units that couldn’t fully form in the context of the whole of emerging resource constraints.  Liberty means a lot to a lot of people in different ways.  In the emerging world, people are free to act as they wish… or are they?

Of course not.  The rules are never the same for all people, even though the rules are the same.  It is the availability of resources that fractures the whole, in a lot of cases, even though freedom to act was not a restraint.

Fractionalization is a perfectly natural outcome of liberty + resources, or lack of them.

Even though everyone has a certain liberty, not everyone has resources and therefore fractionalization can or can’t happen based on a natural response to complexification.  Most likely, fractionalization and complexification are circular references.

Fractionalization is bringing about a whole other paradigm in social organizing and the need to be free, and with resources, fuels this process.  It can’t be stopped, it is a natural occurring process, even as distasteful it might seem to see America Coming Apart… under complexity and liberty.  It could be that everything will fracture, or have to.

Yet, those social and moral organizing systems that depend on assumptions about the whole are facing the end of their roads.  Most of us, having grown up in this described whole, are now seeing it threatened with such things as loss of the generational family unit, the shifting of complex problems to fractionalized realities, the shifting of the capability to do work at higher and higher levels with fewer and fewer people capable, and the inherent wicked problems that will and are being created all around us.

If we have capability that at one level was able to solve most of the conditional tensions, but through complexification, the conditional problems evolved in complexity, then we either have to evolve the capability, or the scaffolding, or both; or fracture the complexity –> a natural, welcomed response in a lot of cases.  Living simpler is but a snapshot of that idea.

This becomes much more difficult when capability is limited; or not growing as fast as complexity, as is the case now of our world.  Therefore most of what has to be done is to promote more complex levels of scaffolding.  Yet that ability is also limited by the inbornness of ego, because in order to create high levels of combinatorial scaffolding, we need to link capability.  That is prevented by such things as "rugged individualism" or a variety of inborn trajectories surrounding our trajectories of development around collaboration.

Clearly fractionalization will bring about the necessity, and therefore, according to some theories, the associated neurophysiological responses required to match that necessity.

NOW, in 2012, we see those growing pains, clearly as things become more involved, more interdependent.

It’s possible that the next solar 5,000 years will need to bring about a new way of seeing things, such that new means/memes are developed which have as part of their goal, the ability to induce things like collaboration, and other scaffolded approaches.  This will permit the fractionalized individuals to form collective responses, rather than continuing to rely on the "great" individual, heroic events and independent greatness.

In general, we know this cooperative and collaborative condition occurs when we have regression, as we see people pass, for short periods, their own individual ego goals and work on supre-ordinate goals, but only for a time.  When the conditional tension is relieved in sufficient enough manner, we see individual ego take back over and self-interest again become key players in the ongoing process of fractionalization.

The question I have is whether or not, instead of regression, we see a progression, where people come together and solve the tensions and then begin to form new ideas about how to make more permanent the scaffolding which will lift everyone up past their own individual limits, without the seemingly natural response that when the crises are over, to again go back home.

Helpful Hint: Fractionalization is a natural response to more.  Yet, because we have so little experience broadly as a people with the liberty and the resource availability, along with the scaffolded legacy of modern and post-modern culture, we are still dealing with the entire process, rather rudimentarily.  The true human potential is as of yet, unrealized because of the simple nature of human ego convincing us, that it is us, rather than some other reason we go but by the grace of God.  We have swung from being fully controlled, to fully controlling… and we have rejected any middle ground in this process.

Fractionalization is not a bad thing.  It is a natural process.  Therefore we want to learn how to use it, design it, and learn about it, so we don’t get ourselves hung up on the BS need to make everyone equal, or the same.  Becoming fractionalized means that we are able to pursue individual gifts with more ITEAM, and Intention.  However, the scaffolding needs to shift in our cultures to leverage the advantage, which can be created by the whole.

Action Step: Here’s an idea.  Try collaborating for collaboration’s sake.  Put aside WIIFM for a short period of time, and just try to "grease" the wheels, so to speak.  Be, Do, Have and Become whatever your gifts are, and just offer that to others.  Try it for a little bit at a time, and see what happens.

Reference Article: https://www.wsj.com/articles/SB10001424052970204301404577170733817181646

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    Mike R. Jay is a developmentalist utilizing consulting, coaching, mentoring and advising as methods to offer developmental scaffolding for aspiring leaders who are interested in being, doing, having, becoming, and contributing… to helping people have lives.

    Mike R. Jay
    Leadership University

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