The birthplace of Group Relations is the Tavistock Institute of Human Relations, London, England in 1957. Its ancestors are psychoanalysis and systems theories in their widest sense. Today the Institute is the custodian of the roots of the group relations tradition and supports emerging developments and creative extensions to it.
Ahead of the conference we are co-sponsoring in South Africa, Institute colleagues reflected what ancestral meaning systems evoke for them. Dr Mannie Sher was moved to reflect that:
Ancestral meaning systems as they relate to leadership and authority may prefer to be described as custodians or guardians of an ancestral domain rather than as title owners… Current ancestral meaning systems conceptions invoke a mutual responsibility and relationship between land and people, so that the total population might have a clearer notion of who they are and where they stand in relation to their history and the lands they live in.
A group relations conference on the theme of ancestral meaning systems is one of the finest ways of learning about these ancient, yet modern, relationships between people, land and ancestors.
Juliet Scott and Antonio Sama articulated what ancestral meaning systems evoked for them in the following way:
Rocks and matter lie deep below the earth’s surface and we have a choice as to whether we view them as dead, inanimate and inconsequential in the organisational ecology or as part of a living system respecting the matter as a potentially sustaining and perhaps regulatory force. Ancestral meaning systems similarly material and embodied evoke the dynamic relation between history and action. We, as individuals, are the intermediate result of a combination among forefathers and foremothers.
Ancestral meaning systems cannot be ignored, they are integral parts of the way we construct and act the world we inhabit. In our work in and with organisations this dimension has and deserves a special place…. Where past and present become a swirling of emotions and the great melting point of life where time and space are transcended. Where the past and the future are enacted in the present of the here and now.
Perhaps the perennial philosophical dictate “as above so below” is now possible for the masses, not just the initiates of the ancient mystery schools or freemasonry. Group Relations in the age of the Great Reset can play a part as a gathering and training place for Gnostic Reticulists.
See you in South Africa, online from 16-18 February 2023 for Exploring Ancestral Meaning Systems as they Relate to Leadership and Authority. For more info, contact Busisiwe Mahlangu, pre-conference Administrator at firstname.lastname@example.org
Director: Michelle S May (Executive member, IGSPO, SIOPSA)
Associate Director: Leslie Brissett (Director of the Group Relations Programme, The Tavistock Institute)