Enacting an Ethics of Care of Humans for Swainson’s Hawk family at New Mexico State University

There has been a change in the signage, and its part of a Dialectical Storytelling intervention. The participant observers have become intervenors, and affecting the “material-semiotic dialectic” (Fleckenstien, 2001: 774). Is this the beginning of New Mexico State University’s ♥-of-Care? (Boje, 2012c)

This sign appeared May 27, 2016, at the New Mexico State University spacetime, intersection of Stewart Street and Williams Avenue

We can zoom out, and catch a different glance at a selfsameness fractality unfolding.

May 27, 2016, at the New Mexico State University spacetime, intersection of Stewart Street and Williams Avenue

Contrast with the old signage:

Signage of Human Centric Removed May 27 2016, to make space for New Signage strategy. Below our May 17 2016 suggestions to University Operations:

new sign by C C

What is this shift in signage all about?

Here I want to suggest its about the emergence of an ethics of care in the process of Dialectical Storytelling that ‘Hawk pair’ could bring about a School of Sustainability.

New Proposed Sign for New Mexico State University, preliminary signage concepts for the Hawk habitat area. Because we must to turn the campus into a living laboratory, the education angle is included (with marketing and fund raising potentials.(art by Kelley Hestir, as concept piece, not final version yet) (May 17 2016)

The signage is designed for side walk stenciling [which commenced May 27 2016] – could be progressive, like a story board – keep it interesting.
This means the University is at a crossroads, and three futures have arrived, a choice of paths to be made.

3 path modes of inquiry

From the heart of care posting (Boje 2012c).

3 modes of storytelling inquiry

These are three of the paths of Storytelling, and I am tilting destiny to the ontological storytelling, by a path of dialectical interventions.

It’s not a straight line, or cyclic journey, rather it’s what I call a spiral-antenarrative which is in relation to other sorts of antenarrative (linear, cyclical, & rhizomatic) (see Boje, 2012g). “Finally, quantum storytelling is from the heart, not the head, and is defined as an iterative constitutive process of heart’s attunements to process-encounters by locomoting to and fro, to get at primordial ‘living storied’ experience of organization and its environments, one liberated from narrative reductions” (Boje, 2012g: 8). “Quantum Storytelling – meanings and interpretations are modified over spacetime in a negotiated process of social-actor structures and behaviors, in the medium of materialactant-actor interaction (Latour, 2007)” (Boje, 2012g: 96).

And there is no synthesis, just the negation of negation, repeating in its fractal transformative process.

  • “Here once again we emphasize the tensions between cooperating and competing transformative processes which simultaneously “construct – destroy – restructure – reconstruct – deconstruct – redestroy  – redeconstruct” in the never ending chaotic-semiotic dialectic of meaning-making” (Jemmer, 2011: 58).

Back to Hegel (1807) and a Dialectical Storytelling

In the 18th century Reason (vernunft) took on a different meaning from Understanding (verstand) and have not come back together again.[1] Reason now means making and seeing the whole. Understanding now means breaking things apart, analyzing differences. This is why there is a dialectic between them.

I want to apply this dialectic of Reason and Understanding to the NMSU School of Sustainability (hereafter referred to as SOS). Hegel says both Reason and Understanding are Spirit. On the one hand, the Spirit of Understanding in its simple consciousness forces its moments of SOS experience apart (#444). On the other hand, the ethical substance of Reason develops through the dialectic process into an actual self-consciousness of the whole of SOS.

  • [1] I am grateful to Sabine Trafimow for her translations of Hegel’s Phenomenology of Spirit into German, and doing an etymology of Reason (vernunft), how it took on a different meaning of Understanding (verstand) over the centuries.
The umbrella sign points to an umbrella station, and actual stand, that is not yet in Being, but is definite potentiality, a bet on the future of Humans not only concerned for Self, but for Another, and not as just a threat, but in an ethics of caring for another species, and we have committed budget to it from http://greening.nmsu.edu.
The Swainson’s Hawk couple are sending out an SOS, an acoustic rhetoric of ‘Kearrrr’ sounded as Humans approach their nesting tree, and in last two years, their fledgling.
Greening NMSU
Heart-of-Care for NMSU Sustainability –Graphic by D. Boje, used with permissionSource: http://davidboje.com/sustainability/history.htm  and part of a longer history excavation 

“The members of my Mgt 655 doctoral seminar in systems theory did a seminar project, which was accepted for publication at International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior. The article is titled: “University Sustainability and System Ontology.” Co-authors are from Management and Marketing departments, and are listed in alphabetical order: Grant Aguirre, David Boje, Melissa Cast, Suzanne Conner, Catherine Helmuth, Rakesh Mittal, Rohny Saylors, Nazanin Tourani, Sebastien Vendette, and Tony Qiang Yan. The theory of the article is that an ontological approach to dialogic of sustainability, as it relates to the balancing of competing needs, such as efficiency, heart, and brand identity at NMSU. Another aspect is intervention, thus bringing top administrators new possibilities Tales from the Quantum Storytelling Field 11 regarding the university’s goals and environmentalities” (from the longer history).

And this fold of history refolds into a history of Quantum Storytelling and its material-semiotic-dialectics. sQuantum Storytelling is defined here as the interfusion of quantum physics with storytelling (Boje, 2012a to g).

Can Hegelian dialectic be considered a Sierpinski fractal triangle, and a shift in the ethics of care on a University campus?

Hegel - Christianity

(Source) See more at blog post Is Hegel and Peirce Triadic a Multifractal?
2:49 am on May 25, 2016

Advocating an ethics of care that extend from Humans to Hawks, and Hawks to Humans , and from Habitat to them both — is not easy to enact.  It is a Logic-Spirit-Nature triadic intervention. And its a materiality-semiosis intra-activity, as Barad (2007) might call it. This collapse of materiality into semiosis and semiosis into materiality is clearly illustrated in the Hawk-Human-Habitat triadic and  its ongoing process of dialectical storytelling. “The material-semiotic dialectic is circular, messy, and contradictory.” (Fleckenstein, 2001: p. 774)

This Hegelian semiotic dialectic “combines elements of the first [Jameson dialectics] two as an image of their future contradictions writ large in the possibilities of social and ecological transformation” (Hitchcock, 2011, bracketed addition, mine). This movement of the dialectic has a history, what Hegel calls an interfusion of Action and Being, a shift in meaning-making, stimulated between May 26 and the news of May 23 based on the video of May 16, 2016, the opposition of social media films, which has an even longer history. A shift, a vital transformation of strategy is happening at New Mexico State University as various social media are opposing one another, and the dialectic of human virtuality and Nature’s world is shifting in the ontological and dialectical storytelling. The implication raised by Miller (2016: 26) applies, “the ontological nature of communication reflects a semiotic/dialectic (yin-yang) type dichotomy inherent in the nature of existence that can only be resolved by creating larger spheres of beneficial interactions”. There is something beneficial in the Swainson’s Hawk interactions with the Human-centric at NMSU, a shift from being-for-self to being-for-Hawk. The Hawk is contributing to a better Nature-Human-University relationship. The oppositional forces of narrative (Hawks aggressive to Humans) and counter-narrative (Humans aggressive to Humans) sets up a movement, not to synthesis, but to a Dialectical Storytelling, as I am calling it here. And as Miller (2016: 29) puts it, “the ontological nature of communication is a reflection of the semiotic nature of existence.”

In Human-Hawk-Habitat co-existence, in the emergence of ethic of care” a semiotic dialectic becomes accessible to our awareness: “The nature of our material existence pervades the nature of our semiotic existence” (Fleckenstein, 2001: footnote 3 p. 784).

John Dewey (1929: 183-4) as Miller  (2016: 31) summarizes:

  • “believed that a semiotic perspective—if developed—enables a person to perceive existence in terms of triadic communication interactions the results of which allows energeia to play a role in the outcome of the encounter (energeia represents the potential encounters have for actualizing what is of intrinsic value).”

This, Aristotle’s energia has dialectical storytelling import because in a quantum sense, it is a means of collapsing waves of energy of concerned parties in their dialectic semiotic interaction, the triadic of Nature’s habits, wishing the socioeconomic context of the college disciplines becoming the basis for new sensemaking, perception, and larger sensing of the reproduction of species, and new potentialities of wisdom in every university discipline: Agriculture, Sociology, Ecology, Law, Business, Operations, Ethics, Philosophy, Engineering, Communication, and so on.

NMSU Storytelling Consulting Seminar (Mgt 685), on walking tour to see the battle between NMSU and Hawk over Habitat (April 25 2016, has the old signage material-semiotic dialectic)

As  doctoral students above in our seminar on [Dialectical] Storytelling Consulting, and as faculty and staff (Carol, Kelley, Jusitine, Gerri, and many others )enact change in the strategy of an entire University: “We are simultaneously initiator of and participant in meaning, a dialectic created out of the dialectic that creates us as we create it. A biorhetoric, then, is not just about speaking minds or speaking cultures. It is about speaking bodies in culture; it is about speaking minds in bodies” (Fleckenstein, 2001: p. 774)

The signs one the sidewalk are dialectic to Bodysigns, the semiotic dialectic of materiality and semiosis in a posthumanist sociomateriality.

  • “Bodysigns” emphasizes the inextricability of materiality and semiosis. Although language allows us to speak as if materiality and semiosis were separate, they are mutually entangled in a nonlinear weave of cause and effect. We can know them and live them only at the point where they blur. Positioned within the spin of body signs, a biorhetoric provides a double perspective from which to recognize the semiotic-material nature of the status quo and of change.” (Fleckenstein, 2001: p. 762).

Fleckenstin draws insight from Spellmeyer, who seeks to rebalance materiality and discourse: “

  • Spellmeyer attempts to balance the overemphasis on discursivity in composition studies by emphasizing the necessary materiality in our constructions of self and other. “If the world is not a text,” he points out, “then when we treat it as one we soon lose the capacity to differentiate between actions that can lead to meaningful change and those symbolic practices that substitute for action all too easily” (“After” 893-94). What gets lost in a “semiotic universe,” Spellmeyer explains, “is the crucial distinction between ‘codes’ or ‘signs,’ which simply ‘signify,’ and the living words that foster a ‘felt’ resonance between ourselves and the world” (906)” (Fleckenstein, 2001: p. 767).

But how is meaning making emerging in Dialectical Storytelling: “Meaning is not material; it is not semiotic: it is both at the same time… Meaning relies on and implies the existence of material potential.” (Fleckenstein, 2001: p. 770).

There is an interfusion of Being and Action in enacting an ethic of care, in our heart-of-care of sustainability at our university.

“These material-semiotic systems comprise a complex network of feedback and feedforward loops, all of which create, disrupt, and re-create the other” (Fleckenstein, 2001: 771).

The ethics of care, the ♥-of-Care as Hawk brings Human species out of its sleepwalking, cell-phone walking, back into an awareness of Nature is the possibility my University has, a potentiality for a new future, a new bet on the future. I am proposing here a Dialectical Storytelling method of research and intervention.

Can this Hawk couple, bring about a transformation of an entire University? Is this the becoming (fore-caring in antenarrative terms) of morphing a University, its transformation into a School of Sustainability (SOS)?

“These life-path choices occur in what Heidegger (PLT, 1971) called the fourfolds of life existence: Earth, Sky, Mortality, and Divinities. -of-care for dwelling-in the fourfold means to ‘spare’ and ‘save’ the natural temporal cycles and spirals of the fourfold by being ethically-answerable for our activities and technology processes.  Heidegger (QCT, 1977; PLT, 1971) makes the point that modern technology can be dangerous to the fourfold temporal cycles and processes of the natural world as we create artificial ones” (Boje, 2012c).

If the Hawk pair is correct, the bet on the future, NMSU can grow into an Interdisciplinary School of Sustainability.


Aguirre, G; Boje, D.;Cast, M.;Conner, S. Helmuth, C.; Mittal, R.; Saylors, R.; Tourani, N.; Vendette, S.; Yan, T. Q. (2013). University Sustainability and System Ontology. International Journal of Organization Theory and Behavior. Accepted October 2012.

Barad, K. (2007). Meeting the Universe Halfway: Quantum Physics and the Entanglement of Matter and Meaning. Durham/London: Duke University Press.

Boje, D. M. (2012a). Reflections: What does Quantum Physics of Storytelling Mean for Change Management? Journal of Change Management, accepted 7/22/2011, waiting to appear in print in 2012. Click here for pre-press PDF.

Boje, D. M. (2012b). Boje seminars on Quantum Storytelling in Lille France March 2012. At http://davidboje.com/lille/  1. BBA How to storytelll seminar salle 556 Lundi 8AM – midi Mars 19th 2. Doctoral and Faculty Ferronnerie d’art seminar salle 623 Mardi 5:15 PM – 7:15 PM Mars 20th 3. Advanced Seminar in Storytelling Methodology seminar 623 Jeudi 9AM – midi Mars 22nd

Boje, D. M. (2012c). “The ♥-of-Care of the Life-Path of Organizations through Landscapes of Quantum Fields”, working paper on http://davidboje.com/Boje/index.htm

Boje, D. M. (2012d). , Quantum Storytelling: Blacksmithing Art in the Quantum Age, Film premier at Aalborg University Denmark May 30 2012 lecture to faculty, and was basis of Keynote address took place 23 June 2012 to the 4th International Symposium on Process Organization Studies; Theme: Language and Communication @ Work: Discourse, Narrativity and Organizing, 21-23 June 2012, Kos, Greece. Use either YouTube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=a7pm_mRwL-0 or NMSU College of Business website at http://business.nmsu.edu/2012/05/20/quantum-storytelling-blacksmithing-art-in-thequantum-age/

Boje, D. M. (2012e). What is Living Story. Working paper on http://davidboje.com/Boje/What%20is%20Living%20Story.htm

Boje, D. M. (2012f). Quantum Storytelling. Free online book (until it gets finished with its revisions, and a publisher calls). Tales from the Quantum Storytelling Field at http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/448/The%20Quantum%20Physics%20of%20Storytelling%20in%20book%20format%20Jan%202011%20Boje.pdf

Boje, D. M. (2012g) Quantum Spirals for Organization Consulting. Online book until it gets a publisher. http://business.nmsu.edu/~dboje/448/QUANTUM%20SPIRALS%20for%20Business%20Consulting%20a%20book%20by%20David%20M%20Boje%20July%209%202012.pdf

Dewey, J., (1929) Experience in Nature. London: George Allen & Unwin, LTD. http://dx.doi.org/10.1037/13377- 000

Fleckenstein, K. S. (2001). Bodysigns: A biorhetoric for change. JAC, 761-790.

Jemmer, P. (2011). (Re)(De)(Con) structing Lacan: Mathemegenesis for a Rhizaleosemiotic Calculus.

Heidegger, M. (1977). The Question Concerning Technology, trans. William Lovitt. NY: Harper and Row. The Turning; The Word of Nietzsche: “God is Dead”; The Age of the World Picture; Science and Reflection — are essays in the QCT book.

Miller, L. (2016). Intercultural Communications and Global Social Existence: a cross cultural analysis of communication theory. Review of Social Sciences,1(1), 26-37.

Mossi, P., & Salvatore, S. (2011). Transición psicológica de significado a sentido. European journal of education and psychology, 4(2), 153-169.

Other references at http://davidboje.com/hawk 


#antenarrative, #counternarrative, #storytelling, #swainsons-hawk