Recently I discovered that there is a relation between Cynefin’s domains and the Greek Square, a square formed by the four fundamental human values; the true, the just, the beautiful, and the good.

This became clear to me when I was thinking about values governing and shaping our actions in the domains.

In the obvious domain, truth is the governor. What else could shape action in that domain than a desire for truth, fact, and sticking to those facts?

In the complicated, justice shapes actions, as this is where we ask others for help and seek knowledge, which always needs justification in the social. It is okay letting solutions on complicated problems rely on knowledge bases, past solutions to similar problems, and expertise.

The value that shapes my actions in complexity seems to be beauty. Dijkstra said, “beauty is our business” when he described programming. Creative and aesthetic leadership are tightly connected. Some philosophers have described the sense of beauty as a taste. In that case, the thing that keeps me going is the hope for good taste. And good taste is not just good, it is something with aesthetic value.

In chaos, we need to stay grounded, but act on our toes. A desire to do good is the only thing capable of grounding us in chaos, and this is where ultimately gut feelings (gut etymologically has the same root as good, and even God), and intuition are what I can rely on.

(I put freedom in the middle in my sketch below. This was inspired by Ole Fogh Kirkeby, who connects the four fundamental human values with human freedom. Whether it fits Cynefin, I’m not sure.)

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More to come…

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