It seems to me that an increasing number of fellow learners begin to write
about the "LO dialogue". It makes me very happy because it signifies
learning. Some fellows claim the "LO dialogue" should be this way and
other fellows it should be that way while ignoring a diversity of ways
used by the remaining fellows, even the way of silence used by the
Should we go very careful through all the contributions in which the "LO
dialogue" is in some way an issue or the topic, only one person is singled
out by name as following ways which are not conducive to the "LO
dialogue". It is me. After some 20 years of such criticism I have learned
how to keep alive. But I feel concerned for those fellow learners who want
to try some of it, but fear to do so because of judgement which will be
directed at them personally. It is to them that I primarily owe an
explanation, description and prediction of my own participation.
I usually write on topics after I am sure that my thoughts have toured
through that topic along many routes and from many points of departure. I
also try to take the thoughts of many others on the same topic into
consideration -- reading the books from many ages.
Perhaps this preparation may be called research of some kind. But it will
not make the Learned Journals. I myself have no time for these important
trimmings and formalities because I have to travel too far.
Its like in a desert. Move from A to B. The trim and
formal roads are few. They are usually "wide detours" of
several hundred kilometers. They become almost useless
when A and B are not close to them. It sometimes take a
longer time to reach A and B from roads than to reach B
from A without any direct road between them to rely on.
But do not get the notion that I simply blunder on between
A and B. Sometimes I envy the rich people with their
expensive 4x4 vehicles who can do just that so quickly.
They do it by relying on the brute force and durability of
their technology. Thus they feel that they have spent
their money well. I have to use my unsuitable pick up truck
to do the same travelling, but I rely on my brains rather than
technology. Thus I feel how I have put my mind to test.
These tests sometimes show just how perilous my way
is. But in ALL tests failed I had to blame my own stupidity
rather than inferior technology. And blame helps nothing
when getting stuck for whatever reason in the desert. Only
creativity pays off with a caring God in the background.
What happens in such a preparation is that I "paint" in my mind a "rich
picture". This "rich picture" must have certain qualities for me. It must
be complex, consistent, coherent and dynamical. It must be like a drawing
of Leonardo, a sculpture of Michelangelo, a play of Shakespeare and a
sonata of Beethoven. It must harmonise with my feeling for "deep
creativity". I then "draw" from this "rich picture" in my mind to create
my contribution. I usually begin my contribution by connecting to a
specific reply in a fellow learner's contribution.
Often this preparation becomes a swinging between the "writing
contribution" and the "painting rich picture". At a certain stage I will
become intuitively aware of some poverty in the "writing contribution". I
will then stop writing. I will go back to the picture in my mind to paint
it even richer until its own poverty seems to have disappeared. Only then
will I commence writing again. Occasionally this cycling will take so long
that by the time I have finished with the "writing contribution", the
dialogue on that topic will have died a natural death. I will usually
delete that contribution as it did happen in the past . But obviously,
this cannot happen to the "rich picture" in my mind. Fortunately, it will
happen that I have to "draw" from such useless "rich pictures" so that
they eventually will become useful again.
It is like searching for another living specimen of a
plant (also insect or animal) of which only one dead,
preserved specimen in a herbarium is known. Many
of these unique specimens come from the deserts
and arid regions. They are unique because of the
arid condtions -- their living relatives are few and few
people are there to have encounters with them.
One can make careful preparations when going on
a searching trip -- serviced vehicle, tools for repair,
sufficient water, preserved food, first aid, snake bite
serum. Then one spends a couple of weeks trying
to find the species in quest. One makes unexpected
discoveries and gets many experiences. The trip
seems to be a success. But the search is a failure
because the elusive species was not rediscoved.
So much money was spent on preparing the technology.
Perhaps enough will be gained to show a profit. But
utter frustration prevails because the very quest
So I also began to learn how to prepare myself
mentally for such a searching trip. After many trials
and errors, this is how I do it. I first study a map
(topographic if possible) of the region. I try to form
an image in my mind of the mountains, hills, plains,
valleys and gorges. Then I study stereo photographs
of that region taken from high altitude plane or a
satellite. But this information is usually well secured.
Next I will study maps of the climate for the province
in which the region lies. The next overlay of info comes
by paging through books on trees, insects and birds.
With the description of each species there is usually
a small map of the country showing its distribution.
Finally, when this is available, I study a monograph
on the genus or family to which the specimen belongs.
This monograph affords info on the general ditribution
of its relatives throughout the entire country.
With all this level upon level of information a complex,
but hazy, picture takes shape in my mind. As I begin
to enter the region where my quest will take place, this
complex-hazy picture begins to transform into a "rich
picture". My excitement grows because although I have
not been there before, I often "know" what to expect
around the next corner. I will browse a bit here and a
bit there, but a strange certainty grows within me
where my final browsing will be. So I head into that
direction. Eventually, sometimes within that very day, I
find what I had been searching for. Sheer bliss explodes
when staring in amazement at that specimen which
previously would have taken weeks to find, if not fruitless
I am also often astounded how this "painting rich picture" subsequently
becomes reflected in the dialogue between fellow learners on that same
topic. It enables me to connect with almost any contribution by them in
This had definite influences in my ordinary dialogues rather than those in
the cyberspace of internet. Initially I will say very little, except when
the dialogue seems to drift into nowhere. While others speak, I rush with
"paint rich picture" in my mind. Only when "rich" enough will I jump in
the meandering of the dialogue. But sometimes it can lead to
"complications" -- situations in which I become quite "vulnerable".
Somebody may ask "why are you so quiet?" Obviously I then have to stop
"painting" and just jump in -- sometimes eliciting strange responses like
laughter on something which is serious to me. Or I may discover that the
dialogue has drifted so far away that I have lost contact with its
meandering. "What are you now talking about?". Why is he here with us? Or
I begin to speak by connecting to the last speaker, speak my own mind,
stop, wait for the next person, but only silence speaks up, everybody
rather buzzy with his/her own mind. The meandering river of thoughts
reaching the sea of ideas? Intimidation?
OK. THIS PICTURE SEEMS TO BE GETTING TOO RICH
Money has no value in the desert. Sitting stranded
somehere in nowhere with enough money to pay for
the rest of the journey and even unforseen mishaps
makes you realise this. Strange creatures like
lizards or beetles want to take care of you. But you
may perceive as them taking an interest in you like
It is indeed a graceful experience when another human
dweller of the desert gets to you. When you ask him
water, he will not only give you water, but invite you
to his adobe and overwhelm you with his hospitality.
When you begin to plan how to make your gratitude
known, never ever think of offering him money. It is
very difficult to forgive this sin because money has
no value for him who always dwell in the desert.
But he will certainly appreciate you showing him your
gratitude. The most expensive appreciation is to get in
sincere dialogue with him. He is as hungry for that as
you have been thirsty for water. And once the dialogue
commences, you will realise your own spiritual thirst.
Thus, when he wants to "chain" you to his adobe with
further hospitality, you will gladly let him take such
advantage of you.
I now feel like advertising a famous computer software
company admired for their financial miracle. From the
beginning of this contribution up to this point we have
a lot of "fatware". This company is also notorious for all
the "fatware" which goes along with the selling of their
product. The program features which we really want from
them is like a banana. It requires a couple of hundred
thousand computer bytes. Yet they sell this banana for
a very high price. They also give megabytes of code free
with this bananna. How fortunate!
But the banana itself is not free. You may grab it only
at the one end because the other end is already held
by that megabytes of code -- the "fatware". It is like
buying a banana and getting a gorilla for free which holds
the banana on its other end.
I am not trying to sell myself as the babana. I am trying
as best as I can to paint for you a "rich pricture" in which
there are three elements (the "associativity" pattern in
the essentiality wholeness). You are on the one side,
"deep creativity" is the banana in the middle and
complexity is the gorilla on the other side. If some of
you still want to see me as the gorilla on the other side
selling the banana in the middle, I can do nothing more
to prevent it.
Yes, I am a desert dweller and I want to "chain" you to
my adobe called "deep creativity". I do not want your
money, nor your praise. I want a sincere dialogue
because I have experienced far more than enough that
it is an elementary sustainer of creativity. It breaks the
silence. A LO emerges. The desert if full of them. Too
few humans to destroy them there too.
But sometimes, as is the case the last couple of days, my mind covers new
terrains for the first time ever. This is not for me some act of research
or even speculations on observations. It is like taking up new, unfamiliar
kinds of "painting tools" and beginning with a new "rich picture" from
scratch. Dear Andrew will know what I mean -- thanks for the gift.
It will not be on a topic which seems to be of interest to others so that
I can connect into the learning of many. It is a topic which interest me
in the first place. Perhaps this topic never has occurred in the minds of
fellow learners and if it did, they never showed that it did or that it
interested them. Reading books on this topic may afford much information,
but this info usually have no definite pattern to the topic in my mind.
Its like that complex-hazy picture which I have in my mind through
thorough preparation before I enter a region for the first time.
Eventually, working as usual, even this topic will result in a "rich
picture". But in this case the "painting rich picture" involves much more
bifurcations. Some of them will immerge destructively, but the majority
emerge constructively with all the adjoints of emergences: joy, curiosity,
wonder, expectation, etc.
The sad thing about it all is that I keep this "novel rich picture" to
myself because I know through experience that telling about it makes me
extremely vulnerable. It is then when I experience how fellow humans can
make life insecure for me. I usually follow it up with a whole generation
of "rich pictures" on it, but they do not lift me so high up (inner
experiences) or pull me so far down (outer experiences) as the "first born
What word can I use to refer to this "painting novel rich picture"? We
have one in my own mothertongue Afrikaans which fits it almost perfectly.
It is the verb "verken". The Afrikaans-English dictionaries give as
English equivalents the verbs look, explore, scout, spy and reconnoiter
with scout as perhaps the closest. The word "verken" is so rich in meaning
that it includes the meaning of all five and even more.
The reason is that when the first settlers from Northern Europe came to
this country 350 years ago, they had to "verken" a continent not only
completely unknown to them, but extremely rich in its climate, geology,
plants, animals and native peoples. They have for each of the words look,
explore, scout, spy and reconnoiter a specific equivalent in Afrikaans,
but when they want to express the richness of them all, they used
What verb can we use in English to refer to this "painting novel rich
picture"? I really do not know. The word "verken" in my language consists
of two parts -- the prefix "ver-" and the verb "ken" as the root. The
"ken" translates into English as the verb "know" and the prefix "ver"
translates literally into the prefix "for(e)-". Thus the literal
translation of "verken" into English will give "foreknow". This is exactly
what "verken" is not. This is illustrated by the reverse translation of
"foreknow" which is "voorsien" (foresee as synonym) and "foreknowledge"
which is "voorwete" (precognition as synonym).
The verb "foreknow" often implies some mystic revelation going with it and
in which only an elected few may share. But the word "verken" implies
inclusivity rather than exclusivity. Any person can "verken", but only a
few can "foreknow". All the people who cannot "foreknow" cannot do
anything about it. But all persons who begin to "verken" for the first
time discover that life is not without its perils, that some valuables are
insequrities and that some truths are but perceptions.
The prefix "for(e)-" came from "fer-" in Old Eglish. It meant "very far".
We have a famous song "Ver in die ou Kalahari" (Far in the old Kalahari).
The Kalahri is another great desert in which one can get lost very easily.
The "fer-" means so very far that one may even be in the "other side".
Thus not only very far to the frontier of the one side, but even further
to also behind the frontier of the other side -- not only scouting, but
also spying -- far more than what LEM (Law of Excluded Middle) allows.
This is exactly what a word like "for-get" tells us -- losing as the
opposite of getting.
A friend of mine and I was once driving in Damaraland.
In those days good maps of that region did not exist.
It was very hot. We were afraid that we will not complete
what we hoped to be a circular trip. We met a Damara.
They have an incredible mastery of my mothertongue
Afrikaans and the Khoi language Nama. (They lost their
original mothertongue when the Namas, who could also
speak Afrikaans as lingua franca, enslaved them.)
We greeted the Damara. After having enquired about
each other's wellfare (which takes about 10 minutes),
we asked him how "ver" (far) it is to our destination
Kamanjab. Since he had observed in what direction
we were travelling (away from Xhorixas), he simply
said "ver" (far). We asked him how "ver is ver"
(far is far). He replied that he would rather go back all
the way to Xhorigas and take the public road (60 km)
to Kamanjab so as to enter it from the other side.
Then I asked him how "ver is ver" (far is far) with a
donkey cart in the direction we want to do it. He
quickly said "4 days", but asked even quicker
"Do you feel ill?" Struggling with a donkey for 4
days was certainly not his idea of fun.
Why did my friend and I failed to grasp how
"ver is ver" (far is far). Far is so far that it even may
cover the other side.
Let me create for a brief period the word "far-know". It is this word
which I to use to signify what I did with the word "verken" above. It is
the word which I will use to refer to this "painting novel rich picture"
because I lack the word. You may find in a dictionary the exact word which
I need and thus scold me for causing a lot of dust and scorn my lack of
learning. But in the "LO dialogue" which I am thinking of, we do not
scold and scorn, any learning or lack of it, even with the cleverest of
In the "LO dialogue" which I am thinking of, we freely contribute from the
"far-know" of our thoughts and respect those of all fellow learners,
whether we are able to discern it or not. The verb "foreknow" often
implies PERHAPS some mystic revelation going with it and in which only an
elected few may share. I added PERHAPS because as a teacher I often fail.
So has many before me and many will after me. But as learners all of them
and also I know that "far-know" precedes "foreknow".
It is this "far-know" which results into the emergence of "foreknowledge".
But we keep quiet about this tacit knowledge because when we articulate it
in whatever way we get hurt. Perhaps this explains why all tacit knowledge
could not be articulated as Fred insists. However, for me the "LO
dialogue" is that open space in which anything can happen, even the
articulation of some of the tacit knowledge of each of us. Hopefully
"far-know" or whatever word you use for it will become one of the ways to
What I have experienced for many years and now will try to articulate, is
that when all participate sincerely in a dialogue such as in Owen's
concept of "open spaces", that dialogue emerges in the "LO-dialogue". This
"LO-dialogue" is the very "far-know" needed for Learning Organisations as
I described the kind of "far-know" above which I need as Learning
Individual. I may hide my individual "far-know" so deeply that none of
you may ever perceive it to hurt me with it.
But I will be stupid if I assist in hiding organisational "far-know" or
"LO-dialogue" because the organisation needs it. Other people outside the
LO may use this "far-know" to hurt the LO. But when members of the LO use
the "LO-dialogue" to hurt other members, that hurt will also be inflicted
on those members self. No force on this side of Creation is strong enough
to reverse entropy production when it does sustain more than only our
evolution. Eventually it will cause the destructive immergence of the LO.
Perhaps there are "spies" ("spy" of far-know") or even "emissaries" among
us. But let us stop hunting them down, then judging them and finally bring
the most destructive of immergences down upon them.
We have something much more important to do. We have to follow the path of
constructive emergences and digestions. On it we will find learning,
believing and loving. For this we need the "LO-dialogue" as the elementary
sustainer for our creativity. Thus we can prepare ourselves for the
ultimate creative collapse by which we will emerge into the order of Love.
The dear person who accompanied me in the last trip
to the desert is deep in his seventies. Like any person
reaching that age, he fell into a slumber by day while I
was driving. It happened most of the day. Yet by night
he still slept like a log. Hence outer dialogue became
little. More than enough opportunity for inner "far-know".
In less than a century of their golden age the Greeks
seems to have discovered all the ways to come to the
truth: idetics, dialogue, debate, cynicism, sceptisism,
etc. Then three hundred years later st Paul came,
always too late to be even the last -- the untimely one.
He thought he found the ultimate way, "painting rich
picture". I wonder how he felt when that young man,
finally falling asleep on the window sill, fell to his death.
I have sufficient free energy for "painting rich picture"
because I get it from past "painting rich picture". But
I also know that others do not have it unless it concerns
their own "painting rich picture". Yet I know by experience
that "painting rich picture" gives us incredible insights.
I see no other way for you to know that too than by your
Yesterday I got a birthday celebration card from my
dear friend. He wrote one sentence in it: "Spare yourself".
The desert makes one wise.
Dear fellow learners, life is not about windowS or about marketing them in
whatever artifact. Life is the singular Window through which we may "look"
(of "far-know") into the future. But when we sit on the sill of that
Window, we will surely get asleep and fall to our death, missing the
future. We have to get off that sill into life, not fearing the
intimidation caused by those "painting rich picture".
Get off and do what?
We have TO LEARN TOGETHER about "painting rich picture" TOGETHER. Then
not one of us need "painting rich picture" alone.
I hope you have not yet fell asleep on the window sill.
With caring and best wishes
At de Lange <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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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