Replying to LO25095 --
Winfried Dressler <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
>One of the most impressing pieces contributed to this
>list by At de Lange painted a rich picture of the lack of
>technological development of the San people (SY) in
>changing environments (SU) and the role that creativity
>plays in it for both, those in the SY and those in the SU.
>Whether you have seen it or not, it seems apropriate to
>make the link:
>Learning and Technology LO18555, 2. Juli 1998
< http://www.learning-org.com/98.07/0011.html >
I intend to reply to Andrew separately.
Thank you for again digging up that topic. The message in it is the
The San (Bushmen) people took their hunting for granted. When they came
into contact with peoples migrating overland from the north, first the
Xhoi (Hottentot) and then the Banthu, they ought to have questioned the
conflicts which they were experiencing. They reckoned that since they
managed to sustain (not to win!!!) these conflicts, they needed not to
change their way of living based on hunting. They became arrogant about
their "freezing in evolution".
Finally, when they came into contact with Europeans immigrating overseas
from the south-west, their time was finished because of their very own
arrogance. They could not sustain themselves once again in the new
conflicts. They became losers, so much so that they are now on the verge
I ddeply love these little, beautiful people with their "ancient" outer
complexion and their "natural" inner complexion. Their innocence with
their own life and their ignorance of modern life are so striking that
their arrogance in taking hunting for granted is almost imperceptable. But
whenever I see that arrogance and what it has costed them, I cannot help
to cry about what they have lost.
I have used the history of the San people as a metaphor to indicate my
deep worry about people nowadays all over the world riding the bandwagon
of technology. Their technology is the result of their creativity. They
take their creativity for granted. Meanwhile, their technology is
responsible for wave upon wave of conflicts, ethnic region against ethnic
region and nation against nation. They reckon that since they manage to
sustain themselves in these conflicts, they need not to change their way
of living based on creating technology. Observe the pushing of technology
and see if you can spot the arrogance with which it is often done. Even
the vast majority of universities are becoming mesmerised by technology.
Once again the "freezing in evolution" is taking place.
The technocrats are now coming in conflict with nature too. They do not
realise that their time will soon be finished because they will not manage
to sustain themselves once again. All the wars on many fronts of life
which they seemed to have "won" so far, were merely indications that they
could sustain themselves in a never ending stream of new conflicts. But
they have become so arrogant (see for example how the stock markets
develop) that they assume they will "won" the conflict with nature too. I
have not the slightest doubt that they will lose this conflict with
nature. They battle after battle, but they will lose the war.
The San people managed to sustain the evolution of their creativity with
hunting for dozens of millenia. In this respect they are superior to all
other peoples. Yet it never occured to them that a time will come when
they will have to find other means to sustain the evolution of their
creativity. Has it occured to you, dear fellow learner, that a time will
come when humankind will have to sustain the evolution of its creativity
without technology as its principal base? I do not intend science fiction
with this question. I base the question on my understanding of the dance
of "free energy" through the creative course of time over billions of
Almost everybody is joining the "race of technology". It is as if this
"race of technology" is like the Comrades Ultra Marathon here in South
Africa. It taxes the body and mind of every runner to the utmost. Every
runner who completes the Comrades (90km) in the alloted time (11 hours)
is a winner. Every technologist who breaks into the market with something
which gets sold is heralded as a winner.
Have the competitor ever asked her/himself the reasons why s/he joined the
"race of technology" at all? Is it to make money? Is it for the fun of it?
Is it to grow in knowledge and wisdom? Is it a way of living? Is it a new
kind of religion? Is it a shift from the paradigm of the simple machine to
the paradigm of the complex machine? Or is it because everybody else
seems to be successful at doing it?
South Africa, where the first and third worlds come together, is a
gigantic "laboratory in situ". Here we can observe how technology with
inferior creativity to back it up becomes an intrument of death. Here we
can observe how technology with virtually no creativity to back it up
becomes dead itself. Creativity is a prerequisite for technology, but not
I think that it is extremely important that as many people as possible
should begin to learn authentically how to sustain the evolution of their
creativity. Technology is one of many outcomes of creativity, but
certainly not a sustainer of creativity. Up to now I have identified five
elementary sustainers of human creativity. They are dialogue,
problem-solving, exemplar-exploring, game-playing and art-expressing.
We can do research in each of them so as to transform their elementary
status to a fundamental status. But this transformation of their
elementary status to a fundamental status often causes them to lose their
power for sustaining human creativity. The reason is that when their
implicit complexity becomes articulated, this explicate complexity becomes
extremely intimidating because of the Digestor action.
What about the Learning Organisation? Is it also an ELEMENTARY sustainer
of human creativity? In my opinion it is a magnificent sustainer of human
creativity. But whether it is an ELEMENTARY sustainer is the question
which keeps on boggling my mind. We can begin with the elementary
sustainers dialogue, problem-solving, exemplar-exploring, game-playing and
art-expressing within minutes. In other words, the gestation period of an
elementary sustainer is very short. Hence we can think of them as patterns
But it is impossible to begin with a LO within minutes. The gestation
period of a LO is very long -- months and sometimes even years. Hence we
cannot think of a LO as a pattern for living. It is rather a system for
living which may involve patterns for living. This long gestation period
of a LO is something which the management team must take carefully into
account. We can begin an elementary sustainer immediately with an
invitation like let us talk, let us solve, let us explore, let us play or
let us articulate -- easy come, easy go. But we cannot do the same for a
LO. It requires knowledge, wisdom, faith and love to emerge from the
moment of inception.
This brings us to some very important questions. How are knowledge,
wisdom, faith and love interconnected? How do we sustain and promote
knowledge, wisdom, faith and love? What is the role of creativity in
knowledge, wisdom, faith and love?
The San people took their hunting for granted. They lost everything and
came close to extinction once they encountered a conflict against which
they could not sustain themselves. Likewise no organisation can afford to
make that error too. No organisation, small like a family or large like a
nation, can take learning for granted. Sometimes learning can suffer too
much as a results of conflicts.
Please, take lessons from South Africa, not only from the San in the past,
but also from its peoples at present. As a result of apartheid we had many
conflicts. All sides -- local and most other countries of the world --
participating in the conflict took learning for granted. As a result we
did not become aware how far learning has grinded to a standstill. I am
not going to treat you on the statistics of our education. But it has
become dreadful. (Allow me one exception just to indicate how dreadful --
in a newspaper today it was reported that a principal of a high school was
for the whole of last year 12 days on the job and for this year 5 days.
The crash of the Concord took the whole front page. This tiny report a
couple of short paragraphs on an inner page hidden between
Do not take learning in your organisation for granted. Do not take
creativity in your organisation for granted. Do not bluff yourself by
buying into the employee market. This arrogance will cost you dearly.
With care and best wishes
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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