There’s a thread you follow. It goes among
things that change. But it doesn’t change.
People wonder about what you are pursuing.
You have to explain about the thread.
But it is hard for others to see.
While you hold it you can’t get lost.
Tragedies happen; people get hurt
or die; and you suffer and get old.
Nothing you do can stop time’s unfolding.
You don’t ever let go of the thread.
William Stafford, The Way it is
The other day I had an experience at work where some information was conveyed by a staff person tasked to ‘train’ other staff on a procedural or instrumental shift with respect to documentation with the aim of ensuring certain aspects of practice would be recorded in a case file system. I ascertained that it had become evident to the organization that specific practices that are germane to the engagement offered to customers needed to be more consistently and lucidly documented in a manner that would ensure an authorized person (auditor, outside echelon of monitors and data driven corners of the organization) could read and extract the language for quality assurance and pecuniary ends. While I perceived this need contextually and was willing to take on the change adaptively, at the same time, I expected and humanly require the opportunity to dialectically work at understanding the procedural intention so that it fits synthetically and does not obstruct my pattern of meaningful awareness, the territory of self care, nor at the cost of obfuscating the centrality of meaningful, person-centered practice that seeks to restore the ‘lifeworld’ in practice and healthy balance between it and the ‘system’.
The looming tension here for me is how during organization communication, we might promote and protect both the ‘system’ (organizational needs) and the ‘lifeworld’ in the work as a meaningful counterpoise. As a trained, self-aware practitioner, my first intention is to strengthen interventions that draw on the ‘lifeworld’ (self and other). It is my view that phenomenology provides the crucial lens for exploring the nature of the ‘lifeworld’ and how we might intervene meaningfully within it. Phenomenology recasts human life as something dynamic in nature, a verb-like happening (vs. static)—an unfolding experience. In this rubric the role and task of phenomenological practice is to facilitate new horizons of meaning so that, in Sartrean terms, people burst forth into their ‘lifeworlds’.
At the same time, a self-aware person’s caution is along the lines of sociologist Jürgen Habermas’ expression, recalling the historical and existing danger of the ‘system’ that had colonized the lifeworld bringing all manner of social pathologies—loss of meaning, alienation, disenchantment and impoverished social interaction—in its wake. This force still exists whether we admit it or not. Thus the question emerges, how are we keep going forward in the spirit of phenomenology. A mediocre response to the above like scenario is the low expectation of being simply “edified” (passive role). The high road is giving via active, rigorous thought, reflection and openness to living processes that over time bear qualitative leaps.
Since the colonizing spirit still resides in the human psyche, we thus should take cognizance of the nature of human consciousness as a first step as we approach new theories and needed adjustments that respond to the larger social construction that feeds into the organization. The managerial staff and the practitioner do well to respect each other’s habitus, which shapes how one expresses oneself in social life (vocational/avocational), as well as their “species of capital.”
It is true, the interplay between managerial and practitioner can be taxing at times, especially if they engage in a dialectic that includes mutual and natural opposition both in form and content. One solicits the other and the other solicits the one alternatively—two forces ideally thinking vigorously and not just hearing or simply being solicited. Each may take issue and solicit back alternately while listening to the other, still working out their expression of their own notion of force (being for self and for other). The dialectical exchange, if vigorous and allowed time, may well lead to duplicating terms, notions, and aspects that can offer promise of a working synthesis. This is the spirit of phenomenological, the reciprocity of force that leads to understanding.
 The Way It Is: New & Selected Poems, Graywolf Press (Saint Paul, MN), 1998
 environment of competences, practices, and attitudes representable in terms of one’s cognitive horizon (or consciousness)
 For me this is also about a needed understanding, distinction and appropriation of the classical Aristotelian contrast between techne and praxis of critical social theory. Habermas’s theory is first about the conditions of legitimacy crisis (how communicative action has become colonized, and how that colonization undermines legitimacy). The second part of his theory attempts to describe the conditions that would be adequate to the “ideal speech situation” that might restore legitimacy. My concern here is with the issue of colonization. And he helps us to see the need for the lens of the philosophical as well as the sociological, as his work constantly blurs the boundary between the two; for Habermas, each requires the other.
 GWF Hegel. Phenomenology of Spirit, preface.
 Phrase used by Pierre Bourdieu which refers to what enables one/group to appropriate social energy in the form of reified or living labor. Examples include cultural (e.g., possessed instruments, networks), practical assets, education (formal, specific/unique and often missed is noticing those who engage in continuous learning and what they read), artistic, philosophical substructure (e.g., ethical, epistemological, hermeneutical), quality of interior work (individuation).