How does our theory become practice? LO23785

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 01/19/00

Replying to LO23581 --

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to you all,

Leo Minningh always end his contributions with
    "Let your thoughts meander towards a sea of ideas."

These meandering thoughts form rivers.

Here in Africa the waters of rivers have to cover vast distances with only
a slight decline in elevation. The waters of these rivers meander very
slowly, so slow that in the dry season they seem to stand still. With such
brooding the sea seems to be so far away.

In these still waters deadly diseases develop like bilharzia, malaria and
ebola fever.

Rapids are scarce and waterfalls even fewer. Hence they afford few people
the experience in their perils in their meandering towards the sea.
Hearing the noise which these rapids and waterfalls make through LEP, most
people flee in fear from them like we do when the acronym LEP becomes
articulated. Thus most people lack the knowledge beginning with experience
which will help them not to fear these noises and overcome the perils
which they speak of.

The wary explorer knows that thirst can be quenched at waters in turmoil
because deadly diseases cannot think.

I came back from the desert (or should I say sea of ideas) and saw on this
list that our thoughts have passed a rapid depicted by the following

Steve Eskow <> who writes:
>Rick, if I'm being "covert," why am I being covert? Is it possible
>that the "rules" that you have imposed make it difficult or
>impossible to criticize a theory "overtly"?
>I have tried to criticize "entropy" overtly several times, without
>rancor or personal attack or obscenity: you have used your
>power and your rules to refuse to publish.

Rick Karash <> who replies
>Steve, with over a dozen msgs a month over the past three
>months, I cannot accept that you've been stiffled. I think you
>have communicated your positions on entropy and on At's
>mode of exposition.
>To other readers: Steve is correct that I have declined to
>distribute some of his messages. I stand by my policies.
>(I've summarized them a bit further below.)

When our dialogue concerns LEP, we have to cover vast distances (because
LEP concens everything) with slight declines in elevation (because
humankind have come so late in the of picture of LEP with its evolution
and erosions). Consequently we are not experienced in rapids and even
less in a waterfall. So why not let the experienced skipper steer a
course? Or is it the case of a cynical saying in my own mother tongue:
"The best skipper stands on the bank."

The last message which I have received in the digest V1 #2447 is numbered
LO23764. Rick, you have a vast experience as a skipper along the thoughts
meandering towards the sea of ideas. You are the Christopher Columbus of
Internet steering a course to the New World. Your wisdom tempers the
quarrels of the inmates. I love you as the skipper.

Rick, you wrote:
>>>At's off in the desert and is not here to answer. Your
>>>question is very ligitimate... We have theories; how do
>>>we test them?
>>>Do you want an answer? or are you just repeating your
>>>(negative) point? We do understand from your prior
>>>messages that you don't buy At's entropy theories and
>>>don't like his exposition.

to which Steve replied:
>>My question of you and others is this: am I correct in
>>asserting that At's exposition of entropy is not cast in
>>theory-practice form? If so, "entropy" is not a theory that
>>can be tested in the field of human organization.

and you have responded with:
>I don't know what "theory-practice form" is.
>I will acknowledge that I don't feel At's theories of entropy,
>creativity, and essentialities have been tested, and therefore
>I am not depending on them in any significant way. But, I do
>find them very stimulating and they have caused me to open
>my eyes and take notice in certain ways that are new to me.
>For me, this is an open area of investigation.
>I'm looking forward to At's response on this... How would we
>test the theories At has proposed?

My granddaughter Jessica has far less difficulties with "numbers" that her
fellow classmates. They try to focus on the "number" and still fumble in
even identifying them. With my insight on the vast difference between
"entropy" and "entropy production", I taught her to focus on both "number
production" and "number" in that sequence. She has even passed the stage
of creating exquisite rhythms with series of numbers.

This is the pattern which I taught her to focus on:
            --"number production"--> ["number"]
like in
            ------------(add 3)-----------> [ 15 ]
The arrow ----(xxx)---> designates a "becoming" (or process)
and the square brackets [ yyy ] designate a "being" (or

Yesterday I had to fetch her after school. Her teacher in the new grade
praised her in front of me and the remaining class mates, asking her to
read a page from their prescibed story book. (Jessica read it aloud to me
in less than a hour on the day she received it.) Jessica did not present
us with the "being" -- text in sound. She expressed with her body language
the "becoming" -- the emotions which give rise to the text.

Is this stance serendipity, giftedness, parrotry or living proof?

Dear fellow learners, try to make the vital distinction between "entropy"
(the static picture fixed in time) and "entropy production" (the moving
picture changing in time). They are vastly different so that you should
never confuse the one with the other or allow anybody to confuse you with
them. Whereas "entropy" refers to a "moment or point of time", "entropy
production" is concerned with a "period or length of time".

Study the Primer on Entropy as a resource:

Rick wonders how fellow learners can test the theories which I have
proposed. Well, to my knowledge I have described only one theory which I
call the "theory of deep creativity" and not many theories. Since this
theory encompasses all reality, Creator and Creation, even a mere abstract
of it will too be long for one contribution. But it does not mean that
when it has to presented in many contributions, the theory (one) becomes
theories (many).

Let me tell you of some of the difficulties which I self have encountered
along the way.

Some people will argue that this theory is not the only one of its kind.
There are already a few others in the making and many more will emerge,
each known as a TOE (Theory Of Everything). I myself do not like to call
the "theory of deep creativity" a TOE because for me it is still in its
"becoming" stage and will reamain so till the end of this dispensation.

It makes use of LEP (Law of Entropy Production). From LEP we know that
once a system has reached the "being" of equilibrium, no entropy is
produced any more so that no changes are possible. No futher creating, no
further learning, no further believing and no further loving -- whether my
theory links them or not.

Speak of a paradigm shift!

Sceptics want ready-made theories so as to test them and here comes the
odd one which cannot be finished. This odd one rather requires testing in
the making and thus as feedback the experience of making so as to design
tests along the way.

The topic of this dialogue is "How does our theory become practice?"
Before we try to tell its answer, let us see what the question tells us. I
have been trying to make up my mind what it tells all you fellow learners.
It tells me the following:

Big gap. Theory ("being") in mind articulated ("becoming")
on paper or screen or any other artifact. Artifactual theory
("being") multiplied ("becoming") into many copies. Copy
of theory ("being") memorised ("becoming") by mind. Mental
image of theory ("being") practised ("becoming") outside
mind by forcing changes. Big smash ("being") succeeded
("becoming") by another cycle.

It sounds almost like the title of Prigogine's "From Being to
Becoming". Fellow learners, can you follow the sophisticated
mathematics of this book weaving a thread through physics,
chemistry and biology, thus covering the evolution of the
physical world as a result of entropy production? I can and the
book tells me about
    "From our past being-becoming to the becoming-being
     of the physical world".
But will a book with such a complicate title ever sell?

Refer to the paragraph before the last one. In the theory of deep
creativity I also try to cover that "big gap", the "articulating", the
"multiplying", the "memorising", the "practising", the "smashing" and the
"cycling". They are all "becomings" leading to "beings" through which they
interlock (commute). Little Jessica has experiences in this rich picture
about commutation which emerged into tacit knowledge which she now uses in
her articulations. Surely, when I say that we should also try to
understand how practising becomes theory, it cannot be too difficult to
understand. Or is it LEM (either the one or the other but neither both nor
none) standing in our way?

When we think HOW a theory BECOMES practice, let us focus on the BECOMING
as the question begs. In my articulations of the "theory of deep
creativity" I have stressed many times that it should never be forced into
practice. But this does not give anyone the right to use LEM and thus try
to force it out of practice. Whether we force any idea into practice or
out of it, we have to bear the following in mind concerning LEP.

When one system (even a theory) forces (by entropy production in another
system) that other system to change in a non-spontaneous manner, it will
usually cause destructive immergences in that other system. However, when
the other system produces its own entropy, the very patterns needed to do
so helps it to emerge constructively when ordinate bifurcations develop at
the edge of chaos. Entropy is produced by force-flux pairs.

An entropic force is set up between two different values of an intensive
quantity (for the physical world) or a qualitative property (for the
spiritual world). Put a flowering plant (of which the inside is at room
temperature) in an oven at baking temperature. Temperature is an intensive
quantity. A great difference in it becomes a large entropic force. As a
result of entropy production by heat conduction in the plant, steam
develops in it while it dies -- the destructive immergence of physical
life. Put an emerging theory among theories, bunching on a much different
paradigm, in a discussion list and see what a conducted debate does to it.
Theorisation is a qualitative outcome of the mind. A great difference in
it becomes a large entropic force. Did we not all had to wait for me to
come back from the desert to see whether I could revive it again?

I am not participating in the battle of theories and the business of
reviving those who seemed to have received a mortal wound. My task is to
help others to learn and for that reason I have to learn too -- even about
the battle of theories and the business of reviving the mortally wounded
ones. That is why I dare to write "entropy".

Steve Eskow <> writes:
>Unless we can help our organizations learn we are doomed.

Rick Karash <> replies
>We certainly agree on that point.

Yet they and perhaps all the rest of us differ. Why? Because of the how
and not the what -- because of the "becoming" and not the "being". Do we
not have in the next sentence by

Steve Eskow <>
>That is why it is so important to be able to get beyond
>endless Bohmian dialog that never is able to contribute to
>organizational learning.

and then the sentences by

Rick Karash <>
>Thanks for your appraisal Steve; I have a different opinion.
>First, I am not comfortable labeling this as Bohmian dialogue.
>Bohm has been an influence in my design for LO, but not the
>only influence, and with the limitations of our medium, I
>cannot think that I am creating Bohm's container for dialogue.
>My operation of LO is a conscious practice, much like my
>personal facilitation, speaking, and seminar work. I have thought
>a lot about the theories and principles that can make this
>effective, and I try to put them into practice here. I take this
>seriously and invest considerable effort to do so. The result of
>my practice plus the generous and wonderful contributions
>from all of you is this LO discussion which I OFFER to all
>who wish to partake.

Allow me to offer from chemists the insight into a "synthon". Perhaps it
will help you to understand what happens in a successful dialogue.

Natural occuring compounds in living organisms can be very complex
molecules consisting of hundreds of atoms. The organism may produce this
complex compound by digesting a lesser, but still complex compound, in
another organism. This less complex compound is a precursor. For example,
beta-carothene is the precursor for vertebrata to produce vitamin A from
it. This vit A is then converted itself further into the protein opsin
needed for the functioning of the eyes in cool colour spectrum. Thus we
have already made the links b-carothene ----> vitamin A ----> opsin

One higher organism eats a lower one. But eventually there are not even
lower organisms to eat. They can only "eat" common inorganic substances
like water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2) and ammonia (NH3). A "synthon" is
the chemist's comprehensive attempt to use such common inorganic
substances by linking them through hundreds of intermediate reactions to
produce at the end a complex natural compound like opsin. One product of
each intermediate reaction acts as the reagents of the next intermediate

The chemist does not even try with a synthon to imitate exactly the same
number and order of reactions which occurs naturally in the living
organisms. To do so would amount to a biosynthon. The microscopically
biochemical wonders of living cells cannot yet be replicated on a
macroscopical scale. Likewise the "big brains" of many experts cannot yet
replicate the seemingly insignificant thinking steps of one "small brain"
in an ordinary human.

What the chemist try do with a synthon, is to begin with these simple
substances as givens (imports) and then produce all the subsequent
compounds needed to link all the intermediate reactions. All these
intermediate compounds have to be produced self -- autopoiesis. Many of
the intermediate reactions may not even occur in nature --
non-spontaneous. The challenge is to produce by such a network of
reactions this complex natural compound.

A synthon is not the cut-and-paste technique so typical of many PhD theses
or short-lived books. Nor is it the adding a pich of this and a handful of
that in one broth according to the witch's recipe.

A synthon is a careful planning and execution step by step, relying on the
whole body of chemical knowledge in each step. Its success depends on
focussing all the way on both the reactive and inreactive parts of every
molecule. Sometimes a reactive part has to be shielded by yet another
reaction so as to allow lesser reactive parts to react. Later on this
shield has to be removed by another reaction, thus forming a feedback loop
along the sequence of reaction steps. Sometimes a reactive part has to
follow different mechanisms so as to branch into different compounds.
Since each compound will be needed later on its own reaction, one reaction
diverge into many reactions. Sometimes a reactive part has no use anymore
so that it has to be removed or replaced by an inreactive (noble) part.

There are interesting correspondences between Rick's rules and that of the

Perhaps we may discover some day that the dialogue which
we need in collective learning is a sort of synthon. Perhaps
we may also discover that using the dialogue as an elementary
sustainer of creativity to enhance authentic learning (for
individuals and organisations) is a sort of biosynthon --
nature's way of linking all steps together into one whole, a
complex being capable of further becoming. Should it be
the case, then we have to bear four things in mind:
        the givens (all participating learners)
        The reactive and noble parts (contributors and lurkers)
        the network of linking reactions (systems thinking)
        the challenge (manifesting the vision)

So where does LEP comes into this picture? It takes a tenacious physical
chemist to do a thermodynamical analysis of the "being" of each reaction
step of a synthon. For every step he will be able to show that the
entropy of the universe has increased. Sometimes he has to take so many
facets into account that to the less experienced it seems to be clever
trickery. When this physical chemist change into the higher gear of using
irreversible thermodynamics (involving entropic force-flux pairs and
Onsager cross induction relationships) to analyse the "becoming" of each
reaction step, the clever trickery seems to retrograde in banal mockery.

A synthon concerns the linking of simple inorganic substances into a
complex natural substance. All these substances belong to the physical
world of brain. But the synthon itself has to span matter (substance) and
spirit (knowledge). Likewise the dialogue is the never ending interaction
between the physical and spiritual sides of one reality.

Although Rick writes:

>Now, about putting THEORY INTO PRACTICE: To me, this
>LO discussion is a grand experiment in creating a learningful
>internet dialogue. I'm putting my theories, and the theories
>in organizational learning into practice here and we have
>results to observe. The result of LO stands in public view.
>I ask each reader to decide for yourself whether it's working
>for you.

he really speaks my own heart with

>Well, honestly... It's more than an experiment for me. I believe
>in this stuff and I do care how it comes out. I think many of you
>are aware of my commitment to work in a manner consistent
>with the org learning theories, here and in every aspect of my

I admire you Rick.

But when we use LEP to its fullest, I believe we are leaving some ages
behind for good. The same happened when humankind began to employ Newton's
laws to their fullest. We may not be satisfied with the outcomes any more,
but we need to grasp the historical fact that his laws closed the Middle
Ages forever.

I want to stress it again. It is very easy to crush all my work on LEP
into oblivion. But it is impossible to prevent somebody else to discover a
pattern which covers the entire reality. Jan Smuts (1926) is a historical
example. He used wholeness as a force to cover reality from the level of
microscopical world of the physical world to end in the personality of a
human as a result of the body commuting with the spiritual world.

Somebody else will discover again a pattern through which God Creator and
Creation commute. It will be sooner than later. It will be far more
glorious or disgusting than LEP. Why should we not now begin using LEP to
learn more about the future?

Remind me to point out what complications are caused when LEP becomes part
of any theory which has to explain (the past), describe (the present) and
predict (the future). Did the cosmologist Sir Eddington not interpret
entropy as the "arrow of time"? In my mother tongue: "Hy was geen
bobbejaan nie."

We have another saying in my mother tongue: "Do not fetch the baboon from
the other side of the hill." It cautions us not to head towards problems
and even disaster. Perhaps this why some list members react so strongly
against LEP.

But we have also the saying; "I must fetch a baby baboon." It means the
person has to take care as midwife for some pending bifurcation to assist
its emergence rather than its immergence. This is why I react on this list
with LEP.

Oh, what a complex world? What a complex Africa! In my own Afrikaans
culture the word "baboon" is a powerful aid in our learning. But in the
culture of the Banthu peoples with which we have to share this country,
the word "baboon" must never be used with respect to a person. Why? It
signals a transformation. What? When a male lifts the lid of the pot to
see what the female is cooking for better or worse, that male will become
a "baboon" sooner or later.

Did I lift the lid of the pot? Who is cooking? What will become of me?

With caring and best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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