The leverage of language LO24467

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 04/26/00

Replying to LO24445 --

Dear Organlearners,

Roger Key <> writes:

>I am a reletivly new subscriber to this list and I am not
>totally sure of the protocols etc that will have developed
>within it. My apologies if I do not follow these protocols
>- ignorance is bliss!

Greetings Roger,

Keep it up.

Come to think of it, fellow members of the list are lenient towards new
comers. It is the old timers at which the axes are leveled like at old

You refer to your master dissertation as follows:

>The work has a number of roots. 1. Language is primarily
>for cognition and only as a by-product for communication.

It is true, but there is a twinge to it. Language is a product of
"mitsein" rather than "dassein" creativity.

>2. Systems thinking is a different reality to linear thinking.

Systems thinking can become linear unless we take definite precautions.

> 3. Learning and creativity exist in the chaotic/complexity state
> whilst the rules and regulations of business / society etc exist
> in the stable state.

I beg to differ.

First two examples. The rules and regulations of business / society can
easily become chaotic as is now happening in several regions of the world.
The innovation of creativity without its chaotic invention phase happens
orderly rather than chaotic.

Creativity has a rhythm which swings between the serenity of equilbrium
and the tempest of chaos. Learning which emerges from creating follows a
similar rhythm. When learning happens at the edge of chaos, it may be
called emergent learning. When it happens close to equilbrium it may be
called digestive learning. The one without the other, in other words,
learning without a rhythm cannot continue indefinitely. They sustain each
other so that authentic learning happens autopoietic.

The majority of learning problems locally among our own students can be
traced back to a lack of rhythm in learning. The local attitude to such
problems are that they are caused by a lack of intelligence. The effect is

>4. The reality that an individual holds can be accessed through
>their language - simulaly the reality that a group or society holds
>can be accessed through their language.

I wonder what artists who use other mediums than language to express their
experiences would say to this.

The main reason why I responded is because you wrote:

>The language of influence in use in the world is primarily
>European in origine. This language is expressive of a fragmentary
>and analytical culture - post-cartesian in nature. The nature of
>language id to also be fragmetary and analytic - meaning is is
>difficult to develop new systemic cognitions - - realities - by using
>a framentary language. Possible but time consuming.

It has triggered in me many questions of which the following are some.

(1) Are you refering to English, French, Spanish or all of them?

(2) Is the language intrinsically fragmentary or is it the usage of
     the language which has become fragmentary?

(3) How will a language or the use of it become when wholeness
     has been regained?

(4) Does the development of new systemic cognitions not require
     a preparedness for any mental emergence?

Surely, a seed cannot germinate under unfavourable conditions.

(5) How much are mental emergences prevented by denying
     interactions between mind and brain through maintaining
     an abyss between the abtsract and material worlds?

You need not answer them. They are merely intended to tickle the curioisty
of fellow learners. I do not intend to chop down some tree with them.

Here is my own thinking on, for example, question (1).

When I think of English and its remarkable two layers (Anglo- Saxon bottom
layer and Latin-Greek top layer) I often ask myself how much this lends to
a fragmented use of English.

My own mother tongue Afrikaans has also this double layer feature,
although its Germanic substrate is far more thicker. As an excercise I
sometimes force myself to use only words from the bottom layer. Even for
this thicker layer, the excercise is difficult because it requires much
more attention to wholeness among other patterns.

When I have to introduce a difficult concept to students for the first
time, I specifically avoid using words from Latin and Greek origin. In a
subject like chemistry it means that most of the technical terms have to
be avoided in the beginning. The dramatic advantage is that it helps the
students to get a much clearer picture from the start. The disadvantages
are that the technical terms still need to be introduced and that in a
multicultural class it leaves all other mother tongue speakers in the

Our country has 11 official languages. In practice it becomes a case of
winner takes all. More and more people of different cultures ensure that
their children are taught in English. Every year the fraction of first
year students increases who are functionally illiterate. When a possible
relationship between the two are proposed and not actually claimed, it
gets shot down faster than formulated.

Functional illiteracy has become a great worry to me. It is a sure sign of
defective communication. It is also a sure sign that little tacit
knowledge emerge into explicit knowledge. It creates opportunities for
treating students like robots of which only buttons have to be pushed to
get them into action. Click the wrong buttons to get drama or stop
clicking buttons to leave them rigid.

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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