Home Concepts Organizational Theory Journey to Irony I: The Lands of Alpha and Beta

Journey to Irony I: The Lands of Alpha and Beta

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Next to the craft shop is a music store that is beaming music out to the park (adding to the cacophony of sounds). I soon recognize that the music beaming from the store comes from a rock opera called Hair. The song being played is “The Age of Aquarius”. Several folks in ancient “hippy” attire wander by and start singing along with the recording: “Golden living dreams of visions/Mystic crystal revelation/And the mind’s true liberation “

I find that I have had all that I want of this land of the lotus-eaters. I don’t want to return to the 1960s in the United States. I know there was the wonderful “summer of love” in San Francisco, and that we were all invited to come to a yearlong picnic and love-in with flowers in our hair. But I also know that many of the youth who came to San Francisco didn’t leave when the party was over. They were addicted to drugs and often sold themselves (and their souls) as drug-dealers or prostitutes. At the very least, they were wandering about on the streets by Height and Asbury without a sense of purpose or direction.

Learning about Alpha

What did I learn about this land and my brief visit to Alpha? Everyone seems to be living blissfully alone with minimal interest in or contact with other people. There is a strong internal locus of control: everyone is following their own personal guide. As Timothy Leary so eloquently and compellingly put it: “Turn on, tune in, drop out.”

When I put on my hat as a system analyst, I identify the Land of Alpha as a quiet pool in the white-water world. Alpha seems to be a sanctuary—but I’m not sure what it is from which everyone is escaping or about which they are reflecting (other than their own dropped-out exploration of some internal self). I don’t find much “glue” in this land. There is not much concern about a collective good (though there does seems to be “peace in the valley.”).

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