Objections to Learning Organization LO24084

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 02/28/00

Replying to LO24046 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <janlelie@wxs.nl> writes:

>The LO to me is a "sollusions": a combination of solutions
>and illusions and implying soll ("must become") situations.
>It belongs to the class described by Kurt Vonnegut of "foma",
>small harmless untruths, like prosperity is just around the
>corner, the cheese to lure the mice. I'm perfectly willing to
>trade it in for any other sollusion, as long as i am allowed to
>travel in your company. We seem to travel in the same way.

Greetings Jan,

Thank you for your contribution. I have quoted its last paragraph.

I am wondering how I must interpret this paragraph. If it has been written
cynically, then it is one of the finest examples of cynicism which I have
layed my eyes upon.

Your "sollusions" and the class of "foma" to which they belong remind me
of the way in which most students now learn the basic sciences by way of
"problem-solving". Little neat "problems", isolated from their context,
for which little neat "solutions" have to manipulated by applying little
neat "rules". Eventually neat little "marks" are given to them so that
neat little "promovotions" can be made.

But weave tens of these little neat "problems" together in a network and
place this monstrous network in an actual context of life to see how much
worth these previous excercises in "sollusions" have. All travelers in
such a "rich picture problem" do not know any more in which way any
fellow learner is traveling. All of them behave rather like the solute in
a solution by moving chaotically around according to a Maxwellian
distribution function -- no better example for entropy as a measure of
chaos. Yet it is from such homogenous solutions that we have to obtain our
chromatographic distinctions.

I agree somewhat with you in the following sense. The worst thing to do
with the concept of a LO is to use it as an "sollusion" or "foma" for a
neat little managerial problem. But I cannot agree that the concept of a
LO itself is a "sollusion". I am extremely thankful to Peter Senge and
Arie de Geuss for having formalised this powerful concept. Since 1973 I
have grown in my own tacit knowledge on its invaluable function without
having been able to formalise the concept myself. I have deliberately
tried to set up LOs according to my tacit knowledge of it and thus had
good experiences of what is important to it. Thus I am pretty sure that it
is a concept which becomes worthless without a context to operate in.

Senge's articulation in his Fifth Discipline is as good as one can wish
for. For the rest we need experience -- lots of it so that we each can
grow self in tacit knowledge so as to recognise what Senge is talking
about. This is what his Field Book does -- not to tell us more than the
Fifth Discipline, but to demonstrate the importance of experience.

>He, an after thought: Another con of the LO: it is a process
>not a state. It should be called Learn Organizing.
>And a second one: why are objections called object-ions?
>Are the less subjective?

Jan, again I am of opinion that the "con" has nothing to do with a LO, but
with the way in which we think.

English is not my mother tongue. But I think that it is a rule of the
English language that the "learning" before "organisation" is not a verb
any more, but a noun which functions as an adjective (like "learned") by
qualifying the noun "organisation".

In my own mother tongue Afrikaans we would think of it differently as
"learning-organisation" -- one complex noun made up by two constituent
nouns. Yet it is still too much of a being with too little becoming in it.

Should we carefully contemplate it, all predicates of nouns as adjectives
and verbs as adverbs, whatever their apparent grammatical form, are in
fact the outcome of processes. In other words, the "learning" as a
qualification of "organisation" (a BEING) in "learning organisation" is
the outcome of a process which is nothing else but the BECOMING learning.
In other words, the concept of "learning organisation" is a BECOMING-BEING
pair. This is how I personally think of a LO.

I have once explained on this list by way of diagrams how such
"becoming-being" pairs are powerful constructors in creativity since they
focus on the essentiality liveness ("becoming-being"). The "painting
picture" is an eaxmple of a "becoming-being" pair.

A striking example, but unknown to most fellow learners, of the power of
"becoming-being" pairs is how they are used in the formalism of Quantum
Mechanics as "operator-operand" pairs leading to "eigen" values and

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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