To become or not to become. LO24340

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 04/10/00

Replying to LO24323 --

Dear Organlearners,

Gavin Ritz <> writes:

>On this becoming issue I propose we are not becoming
>anything at all this is a pure figment of the human imagination
>hoping there is some reason for our existence in this chaotic
>looking universe.

Greetings Gavin,

Thank you for responding so strongly. Yes, "becoming" is a figment of the
human imagination. But so is every other concept, even the concept of
"being". I do not know about you fellow learners, but for me it is
impossible to think without imagination. To imagine is for me to
construct mentally, to let past mental constructions evolve into future
mental constructions.

>This is all spiritual guess work going nowhere this being and

Perhaps it is more a case of spiritual exploring than a case of guessing.
Anyway, to guess is merely another form of imagining!

I cannot help thinking of the history of physical sciences like biology,
chemistry, geology and physics. Their evolution through many centuries as
sciences is a gripping story of observations, wild guesses and weeding out
the unsuitable ones. Their object of study is invariably a physical rather
than spiritual system. In the evolution of all of them the
"becoming-being" imagination is now essential. Although it entered the
scene unobtrusively a couple of centuries ago, it became increasingly
important to to make sense out of mountains of data. A biologist will
seldom, if ever, use the words "becoming"-"being", but his/her
articulations are rich in words such as "physiology" (for becoming) and
"morphology" (for being). It is the same for a chemist who rather uses the
words "process" (for becoming) and "structure" (for being). The physicist
is perhaps the most eccentric of them all, using "time" (for becoming) and
"space" (for being).

Should we explore the humanities, we will find this same duality unique in
its asymmetry. For example, think of "verb" (becoming) and "noun" (being)
in languages, "methodology" (becoming) and "model" (being) in management,
"practice" (becoming) and "theory" (being) in philosophy. What are we
really trying to understand with the concept "action research"? Why are so
relatively few people sensitive to "action research"?

The hot questions for me are:-
(1) What do we actually perceive with these many instances of
(2) Is it possible to think without making use of this asymmetrical

Let us contemplate briefly question (1). It may be quite possible that
"becoming-being" is purely something of the imagination (i.e. a mental
construct) which all the specialists of the material world imagine INTO
the objects which they study, but which actually does not exist in these
objects. This may then very well imply that specialists of the abstract
world have to honour this "becoming-being" so as not to fell victim to

On the other hand, this awareness to a mental "becoming-being" may be the
very reason why we fail to understand the material world and thus cannot
pay more attention to the spiritual world! Perhaps the only becoming is
the spiritual world with the physical world merely the being. But I do not
think that this is the case. Why?

One of the things which I focus very much on, is the "awareness" of
living species other than humans on "becoming". My won observations led me
to the conclusion that each species has its own "awareness of becoming".
Each species responds in a manner typical of that species to external
forces on its becoming. That is why cats will never behave like dogs,
parrots like eagles or succulents plants like petunias.

When we get down to the level of elementary particles, we have a most
extradinary categorisation of them into "fermions" or "bosons". For
example, electrons are "fermions" whereas photons are "bosons". When
brought together under the same conditions, "fermions" will become
"differently" while "bosons" will become "similarly". That is why photons
can give rise to laser technology whereas electrons cannot! That is why
electrons can give rise to semiconductor technology whereas photons

>Maybe we are totally motivated by our needs, desires and >fears, losses,
hopes and this has nothing to do with becoming. >How do we know that all
religions, cultures are not outputs of >human motivation?

Gavin, how do we picture human motivation? As for me, I try to picture it
as an essential part of a much richer picture involving the whole of
reality. When we think of human motivation, we already assume the
principle of causality -- an effect has a cause. But what do we have
between the cause and the effect? If we see cause and effect as beings,
then what is between them if it is not "becoming"? If that between them is
a "being", then what are the cause and the effect if not "becoming"? If
all of them are merely a string of "beings", is the stringing itself then
not a "becoming"?

I believe that once we understand "human motivation" with respect to the
rest of reality, we will definitely "become" more humane. When I think of
myself, I am completely sure that I change in some aspects and resist
changes in other aspects because of my very motivation for each such a
change. But when I think of other humans, the difficult part comes with
not knowing how they think about motivation and changes. Can they each say
like me that every change or resistance to change is motivated?

What I do know about me is that when somebody else begins to prescribe my
own motivation, a deep unrest begins to unlash within me which I have to
control very much otherwise I lash out destructively. Therefor I resist to
prescibe somebody else's motivation. This causes a great tension within
myself -- I would love to see them change for the better, but I would hate
to see any prescriptions from me causing them to change for the worse.

I am now able to describe my own motivation in terms of "free energy". My
"free energy" is that part of all my energy which is not locked up in
sustaining my present personality. It is my "free energy" which I use to
make further changes to my personality. Thus for me in terms of myself
there is a direct connection between motivation and personality. But I
also know through close observations that many other people has never even
though of any possible connection, even distantly, between personality and
motivation. Why not?

>I now know that there is no such thing as personality, how
>do we measure the so called 2500 personality traits. We can't!!!!!

I will rather say "there is no such thing as FIXED personality TYPES". My
own observations allow me no other conclusion as that each human has a
unique personality which evolves through time. A person meanders
(transform) from type to type according to his/her personality, some
faster or deeper than others.

I am reminded very much of applying the species concept in the world of
succulent plants. Sometimes dozens of species have been described from
what another taxonomist would describe as one single, variable species.
But when observing one unique living specimen of such a species in habitat
rather than dead on a herbarium sheet, my perception is completely
different. There is no other specimen in its vincinity looking and
behaving exactly like that specimen. In other words, although we all have
a human personality, our personalities differ from the one to the other

What I also do know is that the more I become involved with the whole
personality of a particular person, the more I understand the motivation
of that person. In other words, the personality of a person is for me the
key to understand the becoming of that person.

>I have not found one scrap of evidence from all this to suggest
>that we are becoming this is that.
>I also suggest that if this gives meaning to ones life then that
>is fine. Whatever we believe to be true is true for us. (see the
>other thread on human expression- Frankels meaning of Life
>or Logo therapy)

I cannot say the same. There is overwhelming evidence for me
that there is indeed a "becoming pattern" with the form
    DIFFERENCE times CHANGE "becomes more than nothing"
rather than
    DIFFERENCE times CHANGE "is nothing"
I was already as a child intuitively aware of this pattern in the
material and abstract world. You could push me gently over
when I learned in 1968 from irreversible thermodynamics that
this pattern has very deep scientific sense for the physical
world. Suddenly an immense amount of physical data and
especially data with respect to soils and other non-linear
systems (ceramics like glass and cement, transportation like
transpiration and blood) began to make sense to me.

Our country South Africa is in great turmoil because of the great
differences and changes here. Some people manage to become constructively
as a result of it whereas others simply let go with destructive becoming
in response to these "becoming patterns". For example, 2 out of 1000 have
already been murdered in Gauteng (Vereeniging, Johannesburg and Pretoria)
this year and another 6 will have to follow before the end of the year.
Some try to reduce the differences or slow down the changes so as to have
a milder environment whereas others want to cash in by increasing the
differences and changes. Millions of black people stream in over our
borders because of fleeing their own hell while hundreds thousands of
white people emigrate to escape what they fear is becoming hell here.

What I do know is that there is not another country in the world in which
people of all walks of life are more aware of differences and changes than
in South Africa. I am also intensely aware how few people here are aware
of any direct relationship between these differences and changes. They
rather think of these uncountably many differences and changes as the
ingredients of a grand chaotic mixture which have to react so that a new
order will emerge.

I myself belief that once they become aware to the "becoming
        DIFFERENCE times CHANGE "is more than nothing"
in which each DIFFERENCES has a CHANGE and vice versa
to form a complementary "becoming-being" pair, they will be
able to manage their constructive creativity much better.

Thank you Gavin for stressing the NOT TO BECOME in the topic "To become or
not to become". By doing it you have done fellow learners a great service.
This topic seems to very esoteric and academical in countries where civil
life happens so organised and gently. But because of the very "global
economy" which so many people are pushing now for, the calm of one day may
become great turmoil the very next day. A butterfly may flap its wings in
some of the "tiger countries" in the east so that a tempest unlashes
itself the next day in western countries. When people of another country
live in chaos, we cannot expect indefinite order for our own country.

With care 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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