This quote comes from the late Ron Brady in an essay which examines ‘form’ and ’cause’ in relation to plant morphology, a branch of biology which is the study of the form and structure of organisms and their specific structural features:
The forms of life are not ‘finished work’ but always forms becoming, and their ‘potency to be otherwise’ is an immediate aspect of their internal constitution – i.e. of their representative function – and not something to be added to them. Their ‘potency’ is ‘self-derived,’ in that it is inherent in their identity with the whole. The becoming that belongs to this constitution is not a process that finishes when it reaches a certain goal but a condition of existence – a necessity to change in order to remain the same.
Source: Goethe and the Sciences: A Reappraisal edited by Fredrick Amrine, Francis J. Zucker and Harvey Wheeler
Maria and I included Ron’s quote in our own book Holonomics, as it is one of the most beautiful conceptions of what we could refer to as the livingness of life, the essence of life.
This second quote comes from Tor Hernes, writing about the process view of organisations:
Process thinking is a way to think about that which is otherwise possible, and in doing so, capture the ongoing emergent nature of organisational life. It is a philosophy of possibility and creativity, without ignoring the restraints of the existing. It is about appreciating how processes contain potentiality for becoming otherwise without rejecting the idea that things are perceived in their actuality.
Source: Tor Hernes (2014) A Process View of Organizations
Sometimes when we are stuck in the thinking mode of knowing reality, we miss the essential qualities of life. The reason is that our education never challenged us to conceive of life on its own terms, in its own right, without the lens of conceptual frameworks.
The process view of life captures the temporal quality of life, in its continual state of becoming, and this is important since it demands us to see life, and people and organisations, as always having potentiality. This makes our thinking more fluid, and it opens us up to being more creative, as we never lose sense of life’s possibilities.