Expressing human experience. LO24378

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 04/17/00

Replying to LO24368 --

Dear Organlearners,

Bernhard Weber <> writes:

>.... perhaps my contribution is an unnecessary sidestep to
>your discussion. But I will know that from your reaction.

Greetings Bernhard,

It is not a sidestep. I was lured by my five years of training in "hard
core" science as well as the next 18 months of research in soil science
that the "humanities" have little to do with it. However, I am most
grateful that I have healed somewhat from this terrible affliction. My
healing began when I strated to implement the basics of irreversible
thermodynamics (the study of "entropy production" in all its complexity).
I managed to make advancements in soil science, but these advancements
were incomprehensible for colleagues in tradidtional linear physics and
chemistry as well as farmers alike. Try to tell somebody about a network
of Onsager "cross inductions" (reciprocal relationships) and all which you
get are blank stares. So I stopped "breaking my head over soils" and began
"breaking my head over minds" ;-)

>It's the key issue "sensory overload", that brought me out
>of the background as an observer of the LO-list-multilogue,
>because it means a lot to me. And also, because I feel
>protected in a discussion culture, where scientific, metaphoric
>and spiritual ways of speaking can co-exist.
>I have experienced some situations similar to the ones,
>AM de Lange describes.

I am glad that at least one other fellow learner is also sensitive to it.
About a month ago I struggled to get one of the permits necessary for
exporting succulent plants. One of the persons who had to handle the
issueing of that specific permit (I will not identify it closer) showed
clear signs of a sensory overload. As a result it took 6 weeks (5 visits
to that agaency and at least 50 telephone calls) for the permit to be
finalised whereas in the past twenty years it took a week or two on each

>Using a systemic language I like to translate "sensory overload"
>by "complexity overload". A central problem and a big learning
>chance mainly for curious people, groups, organisations, ... so
>for learners of all type.

Yes, I will go with that refinement. But remeber that the "complexity
overload" comes through the senses.

It can happen just as easily to animals. The lover of any animal soon
knows not to confront as a stranger any animal with a complexity overload
through the senses. Yesterday my dear wife surprised the employers of a
very large pet shop by immediately befriending herself with two parrots
which normally behave very aggresively to customers. They let her carress
them, something which they not even allow the employers!

>It could be fruit-bearing to relate the topic of "sensory overload"
>to the experiences of many of the spiritual schools. Argument:
>Shamanistic healers/Maes dos Santos/Zen-Buddhist Masters
> ... seem to be able to reframe the "problem situation" into a
>powerful tool for individual development. (->Oom Matewa Roos
>in AM de Lange's case)

I forgot to tell what the name Matewa means. This name was given to him by
the black people of the Blouberg region. I cannot even remember what was
his real name. Let us see if you can guess the meaning of this name

Oom Matewa Roos, was a small man, perhaps not an inch over five feet.
Although I had physically to look down at him, he was a spiritual giant in
my eyes which I had to look up to. And even in physical performance he was
my equal with him in the region of 80 years and me a little over 30 years.
On another occasion he took me with him into the Blouberg to show me a
locality of Pachypodium saundersii, another rare succulent plant. I had to
work very hard to keep the same pace as him being 50 years my senior --
sweating and breathing heavily. That day he almost became super-human to
me -- showing me what can be done despite age.

Matewa Roos was feared by candidates of every political party. When he
attended a political rally, which did not often happen, he would somewhere
in the candidate's speech get up and lift his hand until he gets
attention. Then he would politely ask if he may ask one question. He did
not make his own speech with such a question as usually happens, but
merely posed the question. But this was exactly what all candidates
feared. With that one question he would go directly for the jugulars --
the candiadates ignorance and disrespect for some definite value of
humanness. Usually the rally would then break up in chaos while he leaves

Black people knew him for exactly the same thing. But they also knew that
he could become very happy if any person, black or white, tried to live up
to these qualities. I could almost describe his pleasure by the Michael
Faraday stance -- he would sing with laughter and dance with joy. Thus he
was the only white man so much respected that he was allowed to visist the
ancient burial sites of the Sotho people on top of the Blouberg ("blue

So guess what the name Matewa means? The "destroyer"? The "sharp critic"?
The "super-man"?

No, the "man with bliss"!!!

I think this tell us something important about facilitating the
personality transformation which you speak about as:

>But perhaps there are ways of reframing our views of
>"falling to pieces" from beeing just a horrible feeling to
>becoming a part of an important individual change process,
>where unfreezing is followed by change and re-freezing at
>another level (of identity).

The change facilitator who cannot share in the generative adjoints
(hapiness, care, curioisty) of the person who is transforming self his/her
personality, is incapable of such facilitation.

(By the way, this "unfreezing" which you speak of, is an important facet
of what I call the "creative collapse".)

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

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.