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SELF-MANAGEMENT IN PRACTICE

As a young man Marko Pogacnik experienced the period when the Yugoslav Constitution was being changed in the early 1960s and self-management became the basis of his country's political and economic system. He was at first enthusiastic about the idea of a self-managing society but soon became disappointed in experiencing the concept as it actually functioned in Yugoslavia in practice. Soon afterward, in 1965, as

an artist he came into conflict with the political authorities. In fact it turned out that the self-managing organ of the cultural institution which initially accepted his work for exhibition had no ultimate authority to back-up its decision. Indeed the demands of the local communist clique, operating behind the scenes, had to be obeyed and his works of art were summarily withdrawn from the given exhibition.

When, thereafter, Pogacnik with his wife and collaborating artists in 1971 created the community at Sempas, in Slovenia, they were now very aware of how to structure it, so as not to repeat the mistakes of the socialist "community" in which they were living. Indeed, based on such experiences, Marko became aware that working on one's individual autonomy is an inevitable precondition for a group of people or an enterprise to successfully organize itself in a self-managing way. By "working on one's individual autonomy" he means following any path of personal spiritual development that suits the needs of the given individual. Only people who make a day-to-day effort to become who they really are, and try to embody their soul and elemental essence in their daily activities, are capable of creating self-managing units of a lasting kind. Inner autonomy of the individual is not in contradiction with the will to create a selfmanaging community because a person, who is aware of her or his inner processes and possible weak points, restrains himself or herself from projecting his or her problems upon the group. On the contrary one is ready to learn from one's failures and possible illusions mirrored back to him/her by the group. Individual autonomy and self-managing principles thereby work in perfect synergy.

The clash with the alien communist system was followed in 1973 by a conflict between the Sempas community and another alien system, that of a young Indian guru based in the U.S. At first his advanced teachings fascinated the Sempas people, but after they were initiated as his followers it turned out that the guru system he was perpetrating blocked their freedom as a group to make autonomous decisions and to create out of the present moment. It demanded great spiritual efforts to free themselves from the bonds of a system built on hierarchy and personal authority, even if this authority was built upon the great wisdom of Indian sages. Following all of this, Marko Pogacnik reached the that the hierarchical principle of organization is not compatible with the self-management way of groups or enterprises.

The present transformational epoch, in fact, is characterized by the transition from a hierarchical (patriarchal) model of managing spiritual and profane forms of life towards a horizontal, participatory and thereby feminine model of organization. In the multitude of autonomous non-religious and non-guru-like spiritual movements generated since the mid-19th century he sees a decisive contribution of European culture to the rest of the world. It started with the theosophist movement, later transformed into anthroposophy, not to speak of the new wave in the 1960s with Scotland's Findhorn Community and other initiatives. The new principle of organizing groups and initiatives is based upon the love principle, whereby love is not meant in a romantic sense only, but primarily as a special kind of cosmic intelligence that enables integrative processes to evolve related to any aspect of social life. The fluid power of the heart represents a nucleus capable of nourishing any initiative or creativity that intends to enrich the life of other beings, not just human beings. This brings us to the cooperative movement, both historically and in Europe, most especially Southern Europe, and in Italy today.

 
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