Self Organization

I went to an event where there were a bunch of people from a few different organizations that were mostly unknown to each other. Oh, sure, a few people knew some other people through cross-organizational ties but mostly we were an unknown quantity. We were getting supplies individually and as groups. The supplies were brought out from the warehouse in bulk, then it was everybody for themselves, so to speak, to divide, rebox, and pay. A recipe for chaos? Nope. A recipe for self organization.

People self sorted into groups in which they may or may not have known any of the other members. People separated, grouped, packaged, labeled, and boxed the supplies, discarding the original packaging, and somebody periodically grabbed a broom to keep the floors swept clean of debris so that nobody would slip and fall while they were working. Nobody had any direction, but spontaneously sorted themselves into groups where manual dexterity (usually but not always women) or physical strength (usually but not always men) were required. There were plenty of jobs for everybody. No one group worked on only their own supplies; this was done for everybody. Some of us were there to just pick up a little but many hands make light work! Three hours later, the last of the bulk supplies were sorted and boxed, everybody was able to find their boxes of supplies, pay the cashier, the youngest folk loaded trucks and trunks for everybody, and then walk out.

Call me crazy, but I think the vast majority of people are capable of this.


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