Ethos is the field of in-formation that resides at the core of an entity system and guides its unfolding and development.
It is depicted as an orange dot-like field.
Analogous to the in-formation contained in the DNA, a system develops according to the guiding values of its ethos.
Ethos is part of the larger in-formation field that permeates the web of the biomatrix (see web versus field perspective). It gives rise to the aims, governance rules and related information which also determine the development of a system and are part of the in-formation field. This field represents the conceptual reality of the system (see conceptual reality).
Each type (i.e. species) of entity system has its own unique ethos field (Sheldrake calls it the morphogenetic field). It is shared by all members of that species. For example, the language and traditions of a society are shared by all its members. At the same time, each individual member of the species also has unique ethos, shaped by its interaction with its specific outer and inner environment. In fact, no two entity systems have exactly the same ethos. For example, although identical twins share the same in-formation embedded in their DNA, it may be activated differently as each is exposed to a different environment and interacts with it in unique ways, giving rise to different perceptions and values.
The unique ethos of an entity system gives it its identity. It is represented by the darker area towards the middle of the orange ethos field. From there it fades out to merge with the values shared by other systems (see also boundaries between systems).
In natural systems, ethos is described by the laws of nature. In technological systems, it is embodied in the design. In social systems, it refers to the culture of a society and the character of a person. It includes patterns of perception, worldview, theories, values, beliefs and attitudes.
The ethos is an organiser and attractor. For example, if I value beauty, it will shape my behaviour. I will be attracted to and attract activity and entity systems that reflect this value. There is no transformation of a system without transformation of its ethos.
relevance for the change manager
In an organisational context, ethos refers to culture. Managing culture includes clarifying the current ethos and deliberate choosing an ideal ethos.