Talk of 'firefights' and talk of 'poems as trappings' in LO's got me
As for the place of poetry (and musical language) in battle, though I think
the reference term was actually a 'firefight' which usually implies relative
'small arms' fire at close quarters, may I humbly offer two insights for any
I had the great privilege to work as a young man with two World War I
veterans, Arthur and Percy. Somehow these 'friends since school days' went
through the entire four year carnage of western France pretty much physically
unscathed, but not alas entirely emotionally so. 'Psychology' was not then a
term open to them.
In a remarkable account taken from third party verbal testimony I quote these
words. Maybe those who as the 'one' truly 'lead and facilitate' others can
judge for themselves the efficacy and import of the words below against the
true deeper need of the contemporary 'many' as most at any time, let alone in
the heat and ferment of battle.
"The night before they returned to the front there was singing. The men knew
no shame. A mawkish song duet about a girl worth a million wishes. O'Lone
recited a poem about a little house with roses at the gate and a bird in a
tree that went tra-la-la. Weir, who had been prevailed upon to play the
piano, blanched with embarrassment as Arthur Shaw ;-) and the rest of his
section, men he knew had been personally responsible for the taking of at
least a hundred lives, longed over several verses for the touch of their
mama's kiss. Jack Firebrace told a series of jokes in the style of music hall
comics -- men joined in, -- a token of determination, and their fear. They
were men who each could have had a history, but in the shadow of what awaited
them, were interchangeable. He did not wish to love one more than the next.
-- In a rage of fear and fellow feeling for the mass of faces he concluded
his act (of making the rounds) with a song. The tinkling words were
gratefully taken up by the men as though they expressed their deepest
Some two hundred pages in 'virtual reality' later and some sixty or seventy
years later in 'real time' these word close the epic account, " - He threw up
the 'conkers' into the air in his great happiness. In the tree above him the
disturbed a roosting crow, which erupted from the branches with an explosive
bang of its wings, then rose above him toward the sky, its harsh, ambiguous
call coming back in long, grating waves towards the earth, to be heard by
those still living." From 'Birdsong' S. Faulkes
As for the constituent skills and values of a LO I returned to read for
orientation the seminal work of Senge; to the opening pages to discover once
again a visionaries guiding vision maybe fast losing itself. The opening
words are for me like a lament, " From an early age¦" so he commences both
with and from childhood experience, "we are taught.." he implies we do not
'learn emergently' or 'authentically' as At would say it, because "we are
taught to break apart problems¦" and in so doing sow the seeds of
destruction, " to fragment the world." He points to the illusion many
individuals seem to have who purport to serve business through consulting
that in so doing, " This apparently makes complex tasks and subjects more
manageable --" So then the men and women with one eye are kings and queens
in the land of the blind. Then Senge points to a coming reckoning, but maybe
not one of just numbered dollars, " but we pay a hidden price," well maybe
you don't if you are a successful consultant or business man but someone
is¦and "we can no longer see SEE the connection CONNECTION to a larger whole
WHOLE." And so it goes on, this first paragraph to say, " Thus, after a
while we give up trying to see the whole altogether."
Plus ce change, plus ce la meme chose, n'est pas?
So what is according to Senge a LO supposed to 'become'. A place wherein, "
-- people continually CONTINUALLY expand EXPAND their THEIR capacity CAPACITY
to create TO CREATE the results THE RESULTS they truly desire THEY TRULY
DESIRE, where new NEW and expansive EXPANSIVE patterns PATTERNS of thinking
THINKING are nurtured NURTURED, where collective COLLECTIVE aspiration
ASPIRATION is set free SET FREE, and where people are continually learning
CONTINUALLY LEARNING how to learn together LEARN TOGETHER."
Senge suggested that LO's have been 'innovated' but not yet 'invented'. He
points at five emergent component technologies converging to form the content
of LO's. Systems Thinking, Personal Mastery, Mental Models, Building Shared
Visions, Team Learning. Even when these five 'waves' or 'ways' converge to
form and content a LO I believe like Senge that they will already be
fermenting a new wave or waves of advancement through experiment. Connecting
begets -- Begets Connecting.
Furthermore, returning to 'poesis' in LO's from a different perspective and
historical time frame; before the battle of Trafalgar and to some extent
during it 'bandsmen' played upon the decks of the battle ships of the English
fleet; to instill the men with the courage and spirit for the battle ahead.
It was the custom that any Captain could and often would employ musicians and
whole bands to bring cohesion amid fragmentation and confusion upon the
'Bandsmen' may be said to be those who 'bind' and so 'bond'. A 'functioning
band' is a 'body of musicians', doing differing things in accord with an
inhering capacity to bend and flex (band deriving from bend). [Oxford
Dictionary of English Etymology]
How to bring war and 'poesis' together for a happy ending but remain in
context, on the line?
Senge ends his book with the chapter heading The Indivisible Whole. It closes
with a final quotation,
"It was like seeing a baby about to be born."
That baby I happen to think is now being born, here and elsewhere.
Senge was not averse to using the power of poetry as witnessed in his quoting
of the Kahlil Gibran poem,
"Your children are not your children."
The poet speaks there of the 'bow' (parent) from which 'living arrows fly',
But there is another 'bow' from which a different 'arrow' flies. In and upon
that is perhaps the old Greek 'Musica Humanis' of the new Chileans 'Homo
We can but hope.
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