4th of 5 posts on “Lenses for Seeing Agreements”
A third question now arises, asking how, through the agreements we make, the abundance and vibrancy questions interact with each other, the five relationships, and the three levels of perceived reality. How do the agreements address all three levels of reality, for you, me, us, nature, and spirit? Do they? This organizing question connects the experience of relationships and realities to the experience of harmony. As I shared the conversations I have been in with hundreds of people over the past two years, I told you how people clearly preferred the experience of greater harmony. This third question provides a lens for seeing how to bring in the harmonic.
These three questions (how much, what I experience, how the relationships interact), which naturally arise when looking at the five primary relationships in three levels of perceived reality, are lenses into the core building blocks of all agreements. Economists call these lenses resources (how much), value (what I experience), and organization (how they interact). Typically resources are seen as the inputs to the production process, which people organize their work together to produce into a product or service that someone else values, as shown in the figure below. Theories about these building blocks and their application to human agreements have evolved over hundreds of years. Equating the three lenses to the three building blocks allows us to benefit from what many people have observed about agreements over many years. Remembering that agreements are arrangements in relationships, and that eco-nomos means rules of relationship, there is much to learn from the centuries of development of these three building blocks.
Before I jump into what the three lenses show about agreements in more detail, in the next blog post, I want to point out a subtle shift that just happened. As I showed in the figure above, the current thinking about the three building blocks – resources, organization, value – relates the building blocks linearly. First resources come in, then people organize to transform them into something that, finally, others value. One then the other then the other. This framework greatly simplifies a great number of complexities, and it leads to dividing them up into separate fields of study. While sophisticated theorists recognize their interdependencies, and sophisticated practitioners work with complex models that deal with these interdependencies, common use of these three building blocks separates them into distinct disciplines. Common practice builds off of resource theories or organization theories or value theories, but rarely off all three together. This makes seeing the agreements implicit in them very difficult.
Framing the questions as lenses on the same relationships makes the agreements visible. It puts the agreements up front, instead of the lenses. By equating these building blocks with the lenses of the three big questions, we see that they are different lenses on the same thing – the harmonic vibrancy experienced in the five primary relationships at three levels of perceived reality – and not three separate disciplines put together linearly. I will say that another way. The shift is from trying to figure out agreements buried in amongst three different disciplines (resources, organization, value) to having three different lenses on the same agreements.
The next post looks at the questions that emerge around the agreements we make within and across these three big questions of how much, what I experience, and how the relationships interact.
 For a multi-century history of economic theories of resources, organization, and value, see (Roncaglia, 2006).