Understanding Human Nature
One of the fundamental challenges in working with people, any people, whether it’s in a team, an organisation or a culture, is the paradox that human beings are often viewed as the greatest assets in any situation and also the greatest liabilities. This paradox has always driven, and continues to drive, a profound interest in human nature. in the attempt to understand why people do the things they do and often, more importantly, why they don’t do the things that they should be doing. The conventional way of trying to resolve this paradox is to view human nature as a limited and simplified set of characteristic behaviours that individuals should exhibit, the sort of thing that we see in personality profiling instruments, such as the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator.
Although this apparent simplicity may seem very appealing, it has fundamental limitations in actual practice, mainly because it views individual humans as reified objects that will always exhibit certain and consistent behaviours. Now, I’m not trying to get all dystopian here, saying that humans are being treated as objects, but when individuals are labelled as INTJ or ESPN or RNLI, or whatever, then those individuals are going to become stereotyped, always expected to behave in a certain way, and you’re going to lose the rich potential of working with a bigger, deeper and wider understanding of human nature.
So instead of trying to work in this conventional way, which doesn’t really work and there is a growing body of evidence to support why it doesn’t work, Archegyral have developed a way of understanding human nature that actually engages with it, rather than trying to repress or ignore it. Instead of treating human beings as static objects with pre-defined personality dimensions, this revolutionary way of understanding human nature works with human beings as dynamic processes. Working with human beings as dynamic processes who embody meaning, purpose and potential is far more effective than working with them as two-dimensional stereotyped objects that are always expected to behave in a certain way.
The fundamental basis of this way of understanding human nature is simply a circle, with the inside of the circle representing your inner world and outside of the circle representing your outer world. The circumference of the circle represents the boundary between your inner and outer worlds, the boundary where you form your perceptions by experiencing and engaging with the flow of awareness between your inner and your outer worlds. And this boundary is constantly moving, it’s dynamic, it emerges, exists and evolves, a constantly moving circle, a dynamic feedforward-feedback loop.
Many people think that our word ‘understand’ is simply derived from ‘stand under’ but its origin is in ‘inter-stand’, literally meaning to ‘stand among’. To really understand any situation, you have to stand among your perceptions of it, you have to stand in the centre of your own self-perceptions. And as you stand in the centre of your own self-perceptions, they can be viewed as a perceptual arc, which encircles you, providing you with a far more effective understanding of your circumstances. Rather than viewing yourself as a static object, viewing other people as static objects, viewing teams as groups of static objects, and viewing leaders, organisations and cultures as static objects, it is far more effective to work with them as dynamic processes. By engaging with that feedforward-feedback loop between inner and outer worlds, we can use that boundary, that edge to make sense of our circumstances, so we can really work with meaning, purpose and potential.
This fundamentally dynamic way of working with human nature, using this circle of perceptual arcs, is described as an Archegyre. ‘Arche-‘ is a prefix for fundamental, and a ‘gyre’ is a constantly moving circle, so this perceptual circle is described as an Archegyre, a practical multi-ontology contextual framework for understanding human nature. At its most fundamental, an Archegyre is simply a circle, with the inside of the circle reflecting your inner world and the outside of the circle representing your outer world, and as it naturally differentiates, it forms the basis for a range of processes that enable you to powerfully work with the connections between your inner and outer worlds.