Peppered Football – Those Slippery Organicists — Part V
Organicists are slippery because as a group they are subject to change, change that accompanies living entities.. Perhaps viscosity is a good word to use for description. The Formists hold on to ideas and change slowly, but they are not quite the idealists. The passive but intense Mechanists use empirical data to support creating a machine. The Contextualists use what works, change or no change, and the slippery Organicists flow and change and evolve. More so, they sometimes revel in the revolutionary nature of their world view.
Organicists value the future in contrast to the Contextualists who study and revere the past. Whereas the Mechanists value the machine, the Organicists value the living being and view such beings as having choices, compared to other world views where behavior and outcomes can be influenced, predicted, and controlled. Control is also important to Organicists. But control is in the hands of the individual and not predominantly defined by environmental factors. To the Organicist nature outpaces nurture. Cause and effect is far more important to mechanists (and the typical football fan). Influences are put aside as people make their own decisions.
Contextualists and Organicists can be viewed as cousins, but frequently Mechanists and Organicists are at odds. The machine metaphor is far removed from the living organic whole. Organicists do not accept the machine metaphor where parts explain the whole. The Organicist values the whole.
Concerning football, as mentioned, this world view may be the hardest to grasp. Since cause and effect, data, and common sense are minimized, it becomes problematic to read the intentions of a true Organicist coach.
Remember, Pepper heavily cautioned not to change world views, as chaos, failure, and confusion may be the result. There is some evidence that Michigan football is going organic. But, Michigan seems to be resisting, at this point, the urge to become outright Organicist. Radical change that looks to the future can be a solution, but such an approach can also cause a further slide down the toilet vortex.
Yes, Michigan is looking ahead to the future, but so do all athletic teams. There is indication that Michigan coaches believe they are in control of their destiny, and it will be their decisions that make the difference. It is unknown how much external influences and cause and effect are playing into the recent Michigan changes. Probably, Coach Nuss was brought on board as a Contextualist reaction to program elements not working. The same can be said about the assignment switches.
Changing something does not mandate a verdict of Organicism. Ideas change, machine structures change, and views on what works change. Most football coaches love to have the genetic structures in their machine known as physical specimens. And some coaches love the idea of a living, mixing organic cauldron. But most coaches do not care about the basics of Organicism, they simply want to win. The idealism of a total, united universe is probably a little too idealistic for most coaches. They focus on a rectangular field that has finite size.For the Organicists, facts emerge and eventually collect into the truth. Football fans and football coaches usually do not possess enough patience to let a program go through a lengthy period of Organicist change and eventual success. Things change and emerge as the truth, a process that again takes time. Once upon a time not so long ago, Athletic Directors held to a future vision with Organicist development. Quote the above… once upon a time.
But there is one characteristic of Organicism that all coaches seek: development. This outcome is valued within the Organicist view, but again this takes time. In a living, organic system, development is present across broad spectrums. So many things in science and psychology revolve around developmental stages and cycles. This is an outcome Michigan’s coaches have identified from day one. This is not surprising since all programs seek to better develop players.
For Michigan, the jury is still in recess as to how effective development has been or will be in the future. For remember, it is the future that Organicists look at with yearning. Organicists being idealists, strive for the ideal state, as do all football coaches. Processes are important, but sometimes a lack of understanding of the processes can damage the outcomes.Coach Hoke appears to grasp the basics of Organicism, but has not sold out the other three world views. The opinion here is that this is a good strategy. Hoke is not overly idealistic, but he understands the importance of development. His strategy for development hinges on traditional football mechanisms: good teaching, good strength and conditioning, and gathering sufficient physical talent. Again, we do not know the external forces, or how much of the identified change is due to Hoke’s decisions. It really does not matter. What will be left to see is how well the new strategies pay off with better program elements.
How one views the success of these changes depends on world view. The Formists will either like or not like the underlying ideas. The Mechanists will look totally at statistics, particularly wins and losses. The Contextualists will look at the program in context and consider many factors. The Organicists will look to the future and make a determination as to whether the program is on track.
Do any of the four options above ring a bell?
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Written by GBMWolverine Staff — Dan Keller
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