Replying to LO24528 --
Corina Timaru <email@example.com> writes:
>My name is Corina Timaru, my age is 23, I am student in
>Economics in my 3rd year, I am a member of AIESEC Romania
>since I entered University. I am following this discussion list
>since almost 8 months. It is I think the second time when I write
>something. I subscribed after reading 5th Discipline by Peter
>Senge. I couldn't find further materials in my country.
Thank you for your contribution to the LO-dialogue.
My eldest daughter's name is Corine. It is the one who spent six years of
her life more in hospital than at home.
I wish students would participate much more in dialogues and also
this LO-dialogue. Here in my country our educational system is
based on rote learning ("parrotry", memorization and regurgitation).
Hence the majority of our pupils, students, teachers and lectureres
believe that there is no place for the dialogue in the learning
They even believe that introducing a dialogue into the learning
situation is a terrible waste of good money.
>I am doing Human Resources since 2 years. I love people, I think
>they are mirraculous. I believe in friendship, love, sharing,
>trust, empower and power of people. I am a good person, I am
>constantly learning new things, my goal in life is to help the people
>to be happy and this is why I will dedicate my life to them finding
>the best way for this goal to be achieved.
I admire your positive outlook and your lofty goal. Both will bring you
very far while sustaining you when the going gets tough. You will need
them when I think of Romania, even the little which I know from it.
As for me, I have learned that even "happy" has many colours and shades.
For example, people appear to be superficially happy when feasting and
dancing, but the next day their hangovers show how unhappy they are deep
down below. Students appear to be happy when they get good marks, but once
they open up their hearts, they tell how unhappy they are for not doing
that which they love so dearly. Church goers are happy when they received
a good sermon, but afterwards they horrify themselves by reading the
Hapiness and sadness are twins.
I think that the happiness which lasts is that which comes with
constructive creativity, something which I can also call "deep evolution".
Should we want to help others to find such happiness, we will self have to
find out at exactly what creative (evolutionistic) events this happiness
manifest itself. The blind cannot show the blind the way.
>I would like to know what is the motivation of each of you to write
>to this list. Why do you do it? Is because you feel that your
>is recognized, is because you need to challange you ideas, why?
Corina, the length of the next section will surpise you. It is because
of the nature of the LO-dialogue. Many other fellow learners will be
following all the replies to you. Some will follow even this one of
The level of complexity at which I work causes them to have many
questions of which I will try to answer some of them down below.
Let us begin with the last question. I would like others to challenge my
own ideas. I truely need it. Sadly, up to now, I had to challenge myself
far more than the challenges which I get from others. Why? There is a
vast difference between constructive and destructive challenges like the
difference between peace and war.
Yes, I would like my activities to be recognised world-wide -- not to make
me important, but to reverse the destructive course which the culture of
humankind is following. Thus I try to focus on my activities and not
myself. However, liveness, sureness, wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness,
otherness and openness are "curious things". Should I not tell ("words")
how I respond ("deeds") myself to these activities, I actually act
destructively towards these "curious things". The power of knowledge is in
the doing and not the telling.
Jan Smuts (Holism and Evolution, 1926) saw wholeness as the power of
evolution. For him this evolution begins in the physical world at the
sub-atomic level and ends in the spiritual world in the personality of
every human. This caused an immense dillema for him. He could not speak of
wholeness while switching off his own personality. The persons close to
him referred affectionately to him as the "Oubaas" (Old master). They
experienced him as a humble, graceful, joyous person who did not love
conditionally and whose curiosity was unbounded. But his political
opponents perceived him almost the opposite -- arrogant, ready to outwit
them, without patriotic and philantropic feelings, etc. Their name for him
was "Slim Jannie" (Clever/slick Johnny). If you want to know more about
the Oubaas, also read his private letters.
I see with "deep creativity" evolution as the drama of Creation which
began with the "first" Big Bang some 5 billion years ago. The "first" Big
Bang began as flash of pure energy which since then evolved by some very
complex patterns to where Creation is at present. It will continue to
evolve up to the "second" Big Bang by which Creation will join the Creator
as One-to-many-Love. What are these patterns? In my opinion the best
which we have up to now to trace them are LEC (Law of Energy Conservation)
and LEP (Law of Entropy Production) which both pervades the physical and
spiritual dimensions of Creation.
The difference between the Oubaas and me is caused by the different time
slots we live in. The difference is merely that I extend what he was so
much aware off. He would have taken his theory back to the Big Bang if
that concept was known in his time. Perhaps he would have complxified
wholeness to other XXX-nesses as the power of evolution if irreversible
thermodynamics as a source for physical complexity was know in his time.
As an old man who should have rested after some sixty years of service, he
threw himself once more for his last four years into deep studies after
having lost in 1948 the elections to apartheid ("antiwholeness"). What
else other than wholeness are also essential to the power of evolution?
What motivates me to write is the bliss which I have experienced when I
became aware that the ultimate level of evolution within the personality
itself is to love unconditionally, to understand the rapture which Paul
experienced when he wrote 1 Cor 13, to get after some 2000 years once
again a glimpse in the incredible personality of Jesus of Nazareth. I take
great pains not to confuse my motiviation with my mission. My mission is
not to tell the gospel of Jesus so that they can become converted
Christians, nor to promote any other religion or even atheism. My mission
is to tell people how to become aware of learning in its deepest and
widest sense (which I call "authentic learning") by setting self an
example. I am deeply aware of how much time I need to become further on
what I reckon "authentic learning" to be -- how frail, battered and
distorted my version of it is.
Why does my mission has "authenic learning" as its focal point? The human
personality is complex and become complexer with its many ordered levels
of activities through time . When we want to live together as humans, we
have to connect effectively at all these levels. However, we need to begin
somewhere just as creation had begun with its "first" Big Bang. I firmly
believe that the first effective connection FOR ME has to be on the level
of learning. I do not belief it either rotely or as a working hypothesis,
but have made a thorough study taking many moons going through many
millenia and involving many civilisations on as many continents as
possible. On what level of activity did those persons, who brought about
an effective change for the better among people, connect effectively? With
only rare exceptions, it was always on the level of learning.
(I have capitalised the FOR ME because it need not be the same for other
people. In fact, it is impossible even for me to restrict my first
effective connection to the level of learning. Sometimes I have to go
directly to the level of believing or loving. Sometimes I have to put my
arm around somebody's shoulder and say "Let us get it done". This is what
openness is about.)
I know it sounds inconsistent that although caring love characterises the
highest level in the human personality, I want to make effective
connection with the much lower level of authentic learning. The only way
at present in which I can explain it sensible enough, is the
mitosis/meiosis in biology.
Unlike one-cell life forms, the far majority of complex life forms begin
with mitosis -- the sexual production of a new cell. Mitosis is a
two-to-one-mapping -- two gametes, each with half the DNA, fuse to form
the sigote, the first cell of the new organism. This is a unique event.
Thereafter all subsequent new cells of the organism are made by meiosis --
asexual or autopoietic reproduction. Meiosis is basically a
one-to-many-mapping -- first (the embryonic phase) in numbers, then (the
foetic phase) in qualities so as to diversify into different kinds of
cells and finally again mostly in numbers so as for the organism to
mature. Vuriously, the last diversification into striking sexual
differences is the one which occupies many minds most. Why?
It is impossible for a teacher-consultant-facilitator-steward not to have
any influence on any learner. A dramatic example is the "lineage" (family)
diagrams of intellectual "authorities" and Nobel Prize winners which John
Ziman gives in pp132-134 of his book The force of Knowledge. In other
words, it is impossible for me to deny that learning begins with mitosis.
But thereafter I think that meiosis have to take over, the
teacher-consultant-facilitator-steward supplying the enzymes as needed
until the learner can produce them self. The reason why meiosis
(autopoietic cell production) has to take over, is because all
constructive phenomena are self-driven, i.e. spontaneous. Almost all
extrinsical attemps, ie. attemps forced from the outside of a system, to
advance the evolution of the system causes destructive immergences in it.
I can offer two reasons. The one is from "deep creativity", namely that
the very evolution within the system itself with respect to liveness,
sureness, wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness, otherness and openness
determine its constructive/destructive behaviour. The other one is from
history itself. Study the low-negative and the high-positive outcomes in
the history of humankind and try to figure out the role of extrinsical or
intrinsical involvement. Alfie Kohn has only touched the tip of an
In other words, when I (who is also a learner) gets involved as a teacher
with another learner, it begins with a mitosis whereafter meiosis have to
take over. It is not for me to add by way of a two-to-one-mapping on any
of the other levels of the learner's personality such as creating,
believing and loving. That must come from within the learner self through
a one-two-many-mapping, i.e. meiosis.
>I would would also like to know what are the objectives of these
>list and how each of you feels that participates in achieving these
Short term objectives are guided by medium term goals which themselves are
guided by the long term mission. Hunderds of objectives can be guided by
one goals and tens of goals by one mission. It all depends on how complex
the mission is. Rick's mission with this list is to advance the concept of
Learning Organisations among as many humans as possible. The concept of a
LO is very complex. (Merely look at how long it took to get the concept
articulated. I think that Plato had tacit knowledge on this concept when
he toiled with his idea of democracy.) Thus we can expect hundreds of
different objectives needed to reflect what the mission is about.
One of the GOALS of LO for me is to know where a change has to be made to
improve on learning -- either in the system, or in the environment, or in
both, or even in none of them. We often see even on this list a person who
wants to change other people in their enviroment (fellow learners on the
list) rather than themselves. We sometimes see the opposite -- a person
asking fellow learners to intervene in the person's own learning without
offering any self-change, especially as learning. It is usually students,
certainly not like you. In "seasonal" waves we get informed that some
fellow learners delete parts of their LO-mail using various indicators --
persons who prefer no change self nor any change in other learners. Many
of these learners seldom contribute otherwise.
I am the last one to say what a learner has to learn or not to learn. (As
for "rote learning" self, it cannot be learned ;-) However, whatever we
learn, I will be first in asking whether it can happen otherwise than in
the spirit of constructive creativity. The day when somebody can show me
that we can learn in a spirit of destructive creativity, that very day I
will apologise for wasting so much of each of you and then become self a
bum. Hence the crucial questions to ask are: What is creativity? What
makes creativity constructive? How is constructive creativity and learning
related to each other? Can learning itself become destructive?
It is by answering through a LO-dialogue these questions that we will
aquire the capacity to formulate the masterable objectives by which we
will understand the LO-goal where (system / surrounding) to make a change
so as to improve on our learning as individuals and organisations. (Wow,
what a complex sentence ;-) In other words, we are still figuring out
what objectives we ought to have while we already are pursueing the
mastering of some. It means the LO "course" on this list is not an
established "being", but still "becomes".
>I am rational. I am also a warm person, carring about people.
>Sometimes I see on this list people who are writting very BIG
>words to express things that can be expressed simpler.
In my mother tongue we say, literally translated: "That person has
swallowed a dictionary." But why do dictionaries exist at all? Just for
some linguists and publishers to make money?
When I have to communicate what I have in mind, it is most important for
me to use the word which describes the closest what I have in mind. Since
English is not my mother tongue, I have to work hard at it. I have to look
up the English word for an Afrikaans (mother tongue) word. Then I have to
consult a thesaurus for all the English synonyms of that word.
Subsequently I have to look up the meaning of each synonym in a standard
dictionary. Often I even have to study the etymology of the words to get a
clearer idea. Sometimes I end up with two words rather than one which
portray what I have been thinking. Only then will I avoid the BIG word.
When I have to communicate indirectly with metaphors, allegories or
stories, it is different. The reason is that these "mouthpieces" will
wake up many different perceptions. Then I try to avoid BIG words. But
habits are habits. We may get into the groove of communicating directly or
indirectly, with a natural or a technical language, with short or long
sentecnes, with a couple or an army of paragraphs, with all the diversity
Oh otherness, how I love you.
Anyway, what we certainly can do is to show each other by way of examples
how to expressed things simpler which has been expressed with BIG words.
What we also certainly can do, is to overcome the intimidation which BIG
words have on us.
>The themes are interesting, nice to discuss about and you are
>all very smart I could see that. Why do you use this list only for
>such cold things? Do you ever meet? Share in a personal contact
>your thoughts? Why when you write you always and constantly
>put yourselves on a superiority position?
Corina, has this list really been used "only for such cold things"? What
are the "hot things" which you would like to read? Should it include
"steamy hot ;-)" things also? Take "mitosis" as an example. Its about SEX.
Do fellow learners want the "steaming hot" version of "mitosis"? Have you
ever wondered what is the "steaming hot" version of "meiosis"?
Nevertherless, you have a very important point here. Every Thursday
evening people (now sixteen) from our parish get together to study the
Bible. We work from many translations: three in my mothertongue, two in
Dutch, one in German and six in English. I am the only one able to make
something out of the original Greek text of the NT. At almost every verse
they will eventually ask me what stands in the original Greek text. Then
my own desperate struggles come to light. Occasionally it happens that all
these translations in all four languages have used different words to
translate one and the same word in the Greek text. Often it is because of
the uncommon grammatical construction of the sentence.
But sometimes it is because the word in the Greek is a "hot" word while
the translators try to avoid it with a "cold" word. In that case, after
having made sure what the dictionary says, I ask my fellow learners
permission to tell them the hot word. They usually get shocked. But such
is the respect of the learning spirit that afterwards they will
acknowledge that this "hot" word told them much more than the "cold" words
could ever have done. However, I fully realise how dangerous it is to use
"hot" words in a modern world which now seldom care for the context in
which a word is used.
As for personal (private?) contacts, is that not exactly what they are?
How would you feel if I let it know in a public contribution that you by
name and I have corresponded privately on its topic? How would any
newcomer (who has something special to tell us about, but which is complex
to comprehend right from the beginning so that learning comes very slowly)
feel when receiving no private mail while others brag in public about the
dozen or more which they have to respond to daily? Openness and its
conceptual evolution is perhaps the most difficult of all seven the
"curious things" to understand!
As for the "superiority position" (the Greek word is "hyperefanos") I beg
you to make a careful distinction between it and the "intimidation by
complexity". It is very easy to confuse the two, but it is vital to
authentic learning to distinguish between them. There is very little how
a person with "hyperefanos" can aid us in our learning, except to serve as
an example who has to be avoided. However, and now absolutely important
for the new millenium we have entered, there is too much to tell what we
have to learn from complexity despite its intimidation. Thus we will have
to double loop learn in the sense that we will have to learn how to learn
something very complex, avoiding and overcoming indimidation which lurks
around every corner. The Greeks had Homer who told them through the story
of Theseus and the Minotaur how to do it. It is now more than two and a
half millenia later. I am convinced that we need some "horrible"
technicalities beside this story (and many others since then). Human
culture has become too complex to handle it simplistic.
>First I thought that is not ok for me to say the above. I am
>just a student, you are all Ph.D or important people, but it
>makes me really disapointed to see that you loose some
>values that you pretend to have, that sometimes is more
>ego in here than just working together to achieve great results.
It is OK to speak out your feelings. But is it OK to live with your heart
and leave your mind behind, or otherwise also?
I am, after more than half a century, still a learner. I have not yet even
claimed the title of being a "student". I am an ordinary "mister" for
reasons which I have explained carefully long ago. In that sense I find
great consolation in the life of Michael Faraday who died as a "mister".
One of my private cyber friends addresses me as in private as "esquire". I
was shocked until I had looked up the meaning. The English language has
immense power of expression. Perhaps I am a fool, but I think my own
mother tongue is slightly better because in it we can say many things
which is impossible to say in English ;-)
When anyone of us has foresaken any of our values, the very
Bible which so many people despise, gives us some valuable
* do not judge
* do not use vague words so as to cause impressions
* say to that person in private exacly what has hurt
* be humble so as to find grace self
* be ready to forgive
I know little of Romania and the "slavic" culture of Eastern Europe is
very difficult for me to fathom. But of the culture of Western Europe and
wherever it has extended all over the world, I know for sure that by
almost idolising individual learning it has lost virtually all contact
with the actuality of Learning Organisations. Perhaps you have become
aware of this strange peculiar immergence which you articulate with "more
ego .. than just working together". Your input from Romania, even as a
student, would be extremely helpful. We had a fellow learner Alexander
Raich from Yugoslavia who gave us some wonderful learning opportunities,
but with bombs going off within a couple of hundred meters from where he
was working, we do not know how it is now with him.
I would have loved to tell you fellow learners how it is about the many
dark skinned peoples (more than a thousand different languages!) from
Southern Africa. (I have a lighter skin because of Western European
descent some 300 years ago.) But I am very afraid to do so because it is
so difficult to fathom their common culture, what to speak of the more
than a thousand variations in it. I am afraid that I will cause completely
wrong impressions. But let me tell you one thing which might shock you
into some state of awareness, thus realising why Southern Africa is going
down the drain.
Whereas peoples of West European culture virtually idolised individual
learning and lost almost all contact with the actuality of Learning
Organisations, it is exactly the opposite with the Banthu peoples of
Southern Africa. Now is that not a stage for drama which even Shakespeare
could not have thought of? And to make it even more complex, the Khoi
(Hottentot) peoples had a rather central position while the San (Bushmen
people) had a such a peculiar outlook that the Banthu, Khoi and Europeans
considered them as unfathomable animals rather than humans! (I can give
you documentation up to your ears on it.) However, their own posistion was
actually "deep ecological" -- they disturbed nature as little as possible
and sought their most profound learning experiences from nature rather
than any human culture!
According to archeological evidence, the emergence of the first humanoid
Australopithecus africanus (how is that for BIG) happened in Southern
Africa. The majoirty of their fossils and the oldest among them come all
from within a radius of 100 miles from Pretoria! All the subsequent
emergences along the lineage of the genus Australopithecus happened here.
Further, the next major emergence from the genus Australopithecus to the
genus Homo (humans and not humanoids) also happned here. From Homo erectus
up to our own species Homo sapiens again Southern Africa offers the most
convincing evidence. It is thus here, in the craddle of modern humankind,
where presently the worst hardhips among humankind is unfolding.
Why? My thesis is that it is because of the many ways in which humankind
is learning and the exclusivity with which humans follow each way -- "my
way of learning is the only right way". What we seeminly just cannot
understand, is that the way of learning has a direct bearing on its
outcome. We keep on severing the "becoming-being" with respect to
"learning-knowledge". When we do this to liveness, what can we expect
other than the reverse of life, namely death! Do I have to tell you the
graphical detail how it is to live in the shadow of death? Do you want to
know how people of al sex, age and race get immobilised by cutting their
ankel tendons, then get abducted in the trunks of cars past security
systems of even learned institutions, get raped in manners which defies
all descriptions and then finally get murdered as slowly as sadism can
muster? Do you want me to make you sick with feelings which you have not
yet even experienced? Do you think that I am incapable of using language
to make your hair turn grey overnight?
Let us face it now for once and all. We will have to find out very soon
what authentic learning involves. If not, what is happening in Southern
Africa will happen all over the world. It is already beginning to happen
in other regions too as you Corina (and most fellow learners) know, but
not because it is spreading from here like a viral disease. It is but
horrific immergences which happen independently in these other places too.
Why? Because humans are intrinsically bad or because they live in an
environment (natural and cultural) which forces them extrinsically into
such immergences? Let us wake up to the greatest danger which Homo sapiens
has arrived at -- it is itself as "Homo ignoro".
Many fellow learners have accused me and hinted cleverly that I consider
myself as above all other humans -- a megalomaniac. Please also consider
the other possibility that I struggle to understand the complexity of all
reality (Creation and Creator), that I want to share with you what I have
learned -- suspecting just how misformed and incomplete it is -- caring
with deep love for each of you as for the rest of Creation. I cannot
include the Creator whose caring love is far beyond that which all of
humankind can emerge to. It is this Caring Love which keeps me going, even
in my craziest explorations.
>I might be wrong, but I consider myself as human as you are
>and with the same right to talk about these things. You are an
>example for me, you are our mentors(young people's mentors)
>and I just want to feel that you are a real good example for me.
I get raving mad when a learner says "I may be wrong". There is not such a
thing in authentic learning. But is very possible to be immature in
learning -- to be childish or even babish in learning. This is part of
the "being" of learning. But what about the "becoming" of learning? Here
we have two possibilities, either constructive learning or destructive
learning (the latter including no learning as well as inhuman learning
modes). Yes, here LEM (Law of Exluded Middle) works omniously, whether we
like it or not. What is the tell tale sign of destructive learning? Here
my English fails me -- the best I can say it is that destructive learning
makes everything banal, even love.
The "you are my example" is in my list also an extremely hot issue. We all
are rooted in our environment. The taller a tree grows, the greater the
sight when it topples over when its roots finally give way. Those who want
to stand in the shadow of such a high, old tree, take caution! Do you know
why I go so often to the desert? I love trees dearly, but in the desert
you will have to walk many days to find even one big enough to crawl
underneath it for a little bit of protection from the burning sun. I see
our future task as humans to transfigure the desert of human culture into
a lush park landscape filled with islands of trees where every human can
work in the sun and rest in the shade.
I urge you not to view me as a big tree. I am a desert shrub and I want to
remain to be one. I have a very good reason. To find that which is
commouflaged from the eye like a Lithops species (a small living succulent
looking like the pebbles among which it grows -- Greek "lithos"=stone),
one has to bend down lowly by going on the knees and lowering the thorso
to get level with the ground, otherwise one will not see what is really
there, yet completely different.
But do not get the wrong idea. Desert shrubs are as beautiful as the
oldest giants among some tree species. (I wish I could take all you fellow
learners on a trip through the deserts to open you eyes.) There is not
such a thing as an ugly bacterium, an ugly plant, an ugly animal or an
ugly human. Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. However, it is when the
going gets tough when we fritter beauty for anything which is bad and
ugly. It has happened to me and it has happened to every newcomer who
enters the desert for the first time as a San person rather than a Khoi,
Banthu, European or even an Asian person. Why?
What we do is to project our destructive immergences of our bifurcations
from ourselves to any object outside us -- Adam saying that it is Eve, Eve
saying it is the snake, Snake saying it is God. What we should have done
is to continue with our authentic learning, seeking again those
bifurcations as closely as possible and then struggling for the
constructive emergences in stead.
Let us now try as best as we can to stop judging other humans and even
going further by accusing them for our own demise. This is deadly to
Learning Individuals. Let us also try as best as we can to stop learning
all on our own because once we have destroyed all the Learning
Organisations in our culture, that culture will have become the worst
desert of them all -- the Skeleton Coast. This desert has to be explored
to believe any story about it.
>I hope you understand the point that I wanted to make. I had
>no intention of ofending anyone, I just felt that you all need to
>look again at yourselves with different eyes and to ask where
>are you going?
Thanks again for helping me to look very hard at myself.
The following is not intended as a pun. In the desert, when living as a
San person, it is impossible to look DIRECTLY at oneself because there is
nothing, not even sufficient water to function as a mirror. Thus one have
to look at oneself through the eyes of one's fellow humans and the rest of
nature. If you have read my contributions on the topic "To become or not
to become", it means that one atom have to be looked at by another atom.
This brings us right into the centre of one of the most profound empirical
discoveries of the late millemium -- Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.
This was perhaps the last nail in the coffin which has to bury the
thinking of humankind some two and a half millenia old.
What you tell me what you see in me and what I tell you what I see in you,
in other words, what we each tell each other what we see in each other, is
going to be decisive in this new millemium. Just as decisive is the
environment in which we are going to do it. (We have to think in terms of
both the system SY and all its surrounding systems taken together as the
complementary system SU -- the LI and the LO) I have absolutely no hope
when this "face-to-face" telling of Learning Individuals is done outside a
Learning Organisation. Should it still succeed, then we ought to thank the
Creator for extending the grace given to us all.
>Thank you for reading my message
The same here. As usual mine is very long because it has to deal with much
complexity -- Dostoyefsky on the job ;-)
>You can answer at firstname.lastname@example.org
I have sent a copy to this address because I do not know how regularly you
get your email. Otherwise I would not have done it.
>[Host's Note: Welcome Corina! ..Rick]
Rick, your "Welcome ....." is truely remarkable patience.
Rick, when I first came to this list many years ago, I used the elephants
of the Kaokoland and Damaraland deserts to describe how I see my future
participation on the list. Do you still remember it?
They are strange creatures, the largest of all elephants. Despite their
immense size, they are the most difficult of all animals to see in a
strange panorama which distorts human sight incredibly. An artist friend
of mine (Koos den Houting, now deceased) wanted to take his students there
to experience the surreality of reality -- but he had to settle for the
Richtersveld which is much closer. These elephants have to walk daily
vast distances in Damaraland to keep alive, sometimes more than a hundred
kilometers. (In Kaokoland it is slightly better for them.) The surface is
tough because it is a rock desert. I (and others who have been there like
Basjan Crous, Pieter Russouw and John Lavranos) have walked pairs of
guaranteed boots into pieces in less than a day.
I have tried on two occasions to follow them on foot. I had to beat the
retread. They are my superiors by far. What a fool I had been, trying to
compete with them rather than learning from them!
Rick, I have wandered over your list like a Kaokoland elephant in
Damaraland. For many fellow learners this is crazy and a waste. I would
have agreed with them before my experiences with these Kaokoland
elephants. But now? Are they crazy and a waste to nature? Why are they
there? Why are they so incredibly shy of humans with their culture?
Sometimes these Kaokoland elephants in shear agony will pull out a
gigantic succulent plant like a Cyphostemma uter (desert grape) or Adenia
pechuelii (desert passion flower) weighing up to a ton and waste it into
nothing by smashing it again and again on the rocky surface. When I get to
the scene, what remains is a sad sight for sore eyes. It speaks of their
frustration and fury, perhaps for having to flee from human destruction to
a habitat so completely alien to them. But they dissipate their hurt on
the quiet when no human eye can see them. All which remain so as to know
who did it (because rocks leave no tracks), are their gigantic, short,
cylinders of dung -- bigger that your or my heads.
Is it again a case of an animal in front leaving its telling marks? How
do they manage to produce them with so little to eat around? By keeping
up their immense walking!
Firewood is vary scarce in the Kaokoland desert. These big brickets of
elephant dung make wonderful fires to keep one warm at night. So those
whose who know it as well as the cold which can creep up in you at night
in the desert, collect them and put them to fire because there is nothing
better for this job. Its also much safer because our own version of the
ratlle snake, the "pofadder" (puff adder) will sail close to you so as to
get your last heat. Luckilly, it also snores like some humans. Often, when
I woke up. perhaps of my own snoring, I first listen carefully whether
another "fellow" is also snoring!
Likewise, dear fellow learners, burn my BIG brickets to keep you warm in
the cold of the night because tomorrow in the heat of the day you will
have to be fit to keep up with your own authentic learning (and possibly
make your own "brickets" should you survive in that surrealistic desert
One last note. It is very dangerous and sometimes even downright foolish
to compare the creativity of various peoples. However, the Damara ("Rock
Natives") of Damaraland are in my opinion the most creative of the many
peoples in Southern Africa which I have met. They have to be exceptionally
creative in order to survive.
To learn is to create. Although we learn by creating, let us use that
learning even to know how to create richer because living, after all,
becomes painting rich pictures.
With care and best wishes,
PS Corina, do you really want to know how I feel just before clicking the
"send" button on this contribution? My mouth is dry and my stomach is
upset from fear. I have a headache which frightens for nothing because
burning the candle from both sides and in the middle is hurting. I still
have to talk with my dear wife by "baking sweet cakes" otherwise she will
divorce me. My granddaughter little Jessica is probably asleep and will
have to forgive me tomorrow.
PS Andrew, you are a painter. Will you be able to paint a little girl who
is able to dream in sleep of heaven and paradise and tell others
spontaneously how those places are like and Who is to be found there? Will
you be able to paint a little girl who occasionally surprise everyone with
her down to earth observations of how cruel humans can be? Do not rush
with your answer because the task is very complex.
At de Lange <email@example.com> 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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