The ethos gets focalised around the self of the entity system.
The term self refers to the core of the system that identifies with the system as a coherent whole. It is depicted as the white point in the centre of the ethos dot, surrounded by the darker orange area representing its unique values.
Different terms are used to describe a self. In social systems, terms like sense of self, soul or spirit (e.g. of a person, team, group, organisation or society) are used. In natural systems, the existence of a self is more controversial. For example, the Gaya hypothesis suggests a planetary self; there are references to the spark of life or the unique frequency or vibration of an entity system.
The self is intimately interlinked with the ethos and derives its identity from it. The self determines its ethos and also emerges from it. For example, “I” can deliberately choose my values. At the same time my “self” was shaped by the environment (e.g. the language and culture of my society and the values lived in my family and school). The self of an entity system could also be an emergence from activity systems that refer to a shared ethos field.
In social systems it is observed that a self has sub-selves. They are typically referred to as roles and represent the identification of an entity system with one of its activity systems. For example,I am a parent, worker and driver. In fact, as Ornstein observed: “I am many.”
The self can also be part of (or identify with) a larger, transcendent self. Most cultures postulate the existence of a transcendent or all inclusive God, creative intelligence, or life force that can be experienced by or merged into by a human “self” through the experience of mystic, cosmic, God or unity consciousness (amongst other names).
The self seems to be the seat of consciousness and acts as a witness and observer during self-reflection.
The self is the actor in self-governance and the witness of consciousness.
relevance for the change manager
In a learning organisation, the ongoing planning and performance management is conducted in a self-referring and learning manner. The self that is referred to and reflected on is that of the project, function or whole organisation that the particular planning forum represents.