Mental forces LO25319

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 09/12/00

Replying to LO25180 --

Dear Organlearners,

Our host, Rick Karash writes in the contribution
"Evident Points, Hidden Points LO25180"
upon the sentence

>It is the algedonic signal-the fact is that's what it is a signal
>(yes it does have its complexity), no more no less and easily
>identifiable in organizations and people.
>[Host's Note: "algedonic"?? ..Rick]

Greetings Rick,

The word algedonic begins to crop up more and more.

Perhaps it is time to explain its etymology for fellow learners.

It is made up from two Greek words, namely "algos"=pain and
"hedone"=pleasure.. We find this "algos" again in a word like analgesic
(pain stilling). The "a" (in this case "an" for phonetical reasons) is a
way in Greek to make a denial by means of a prefix. The "hedone" is the
root in words like hedonics (a sub-discipline of psychology) and hedonism
(a philosophical outlook).

Hedonism among the Greeks was taught by the philsopher Aristippus. He said
that pleasure, of whatever kind, is the only good.

What greater pleasure is there not to rest for a few minutes under the
shade of a tree during the hot hours of the day. But the desert has a way
to open ones eyes. If there is only one tree as far as the eye can see,
stay far away from it. Every crawling, walking and flying animal will seek
that pleasure too. Sharing the shade with them is not pleasure, but sheer

This example taught me that pleasure and context are inseparable from each
other. Likewise are pain and context inseparable from each other.
Sometimes we have to allow for pain and endure it to gain in something
much more important. Mothers know it when giving birth. Runners in the
great Comrades Race know it too. The idea that we have to flee from all
pain, like the idea that we have to seek all pleasure, does not make
perfect sense.

Both ideas (flee from all pain, seek all pleasures) taken together may be
called "algedonism" according to the rules of English, although I have
never encountered this name before. (I will have to consult the Oxford
Dictionary on this one.) Yet, for example, many advertisements in the
media proclaim to us, without us becoming aware of it, algedonism. Many
pop stars often perform songs with the same message.

The fear "algophobia" is one of the many phobias recognised by
psychologists. This fear for pain plays an important role in "algedonism".

I have not encountered the words "phobedonic" and "phobedonism" (I will
have to check up on them too in the Oxford.) But it is not to difficult to
make out what they will mean. The "phobedonic" will mean a message
consisting of two parts, fear="phobos" and pleasure="hedone".

The "phobedonism" will involve two ideas, to flee from all fears and to
seek all pleasures. It is also proclaimed to an alarming extend in the
information media just to make more money. It makes use of "double loop
fear", the fear for all other fears.

Not all fears are bad. For example, a desert wanderer has to fear
poisonous insects and snakes. Using such a fear, the wanderer then do not
make fractal moves without first thinking. For example, turning a stone
over will cause a scorpion underneath to attack immediately. Pulling out a
tuft of grass to make a fire may cause a "horing-adder" (a small, deadly
snake with a pair of horns on its head) to do the same. In both cases
death will come within an hour.

"Algedonism" and "phobedonism" are two of many simplifications of a
complex philosophy called "dialecticism". It is usually said that
dialeticism was introduced by Plato. However, it goes back to
civilizations in ancient Meopotamia and Egypt. We can even go further back
into the days of Job, some 4000 years ago. In chapter 2 his devastating
immergences are described. Then in verse 9 his wife says to him "Do you
still hold fast in your integrity". But in verse 10 he answers her "You
speak like one of the foolish people. Shall we indeed accept good from God
and not also adversity?"

The book Job has an extraodinary complexity of themes. One of them is how
his friends gradually draw him into dialectical thinking. But in chapters
32 to 37 the young Elihu finally speaks, bring peace to the troubled
spirits of Job and his three friends. In chapter 32 he uncovers the
complementary dual rather than the dialectical dual which will guide them
into understanding, (verse 8) the "spirit of the human" and the "breath of
the Almighty". He then proposes the only dialectical dual to be the
wicked path and the devine path. All the other dialectical duals (like
judgement between good and bad) are humankind's own making. He finally
offers a solution, namely to learn self so as to become enlightened,
begging the Almighty to teach too.

Dialecticism involves two opposite (mutually exclusive) poles setting up a
mental force. The two poles are called the "thesis" and the "antithesis".
They involve opposite pairs like "pain" and "pleasure" from the emotional
level, "true" and false" from the intellectual level and even "good" and
"bad" from the ethical level of the human spirit. For novel outcomes
(revolutions) the "thesis" has to "dissolve" the "antithesis" so that a
"synthesis" can come forth. For already entrusted "syntheses" there has
to be a displacement from the "antithesis" to the "thesis", empowered by
the appropiate "synthesis".

The pattern of dialecticism is practised in both the former communistic
and ongoing capitalistic worlds. In the former communistic world it has
been called by this very name and described by terms such as those
indicated above. In the capitalistic world the dialectical terminology is
never used. But the pattern of dialecticism is sold under thousands of
different brands to whoever needs enlightenment in whatever predicament.

Is the dialecticism of communism, its basic pattern and its many brands in
the capitalistic world the truth? I think there is so much truth in the
basic pattern of dialecticism that it is partly responsible (because of
the little which it ommit) for much of the confusion which we have today.
To have, say, for argumentation purposes, 90% of truth under control can
be more dangerous than to have 10% of truth under control. The greatest
danger to a company with, for example, say ISO9000 policy is the ISO9000
certification itself. More than quality is essential to creativity.

The other part of the confusion is how we work with truth. When we have
finally managed to articulate our tacit knowledge of truth, we usually
stare ourselves blind at these articulations, forgetting that more truth
needs to be articulated, forgetting that truth is not only being, but also
becoming in our intuition and our experiences. Once we begin to pay homage
to our artifacts, they become artificial, then our idols and eventually
will cause our demise.

I am often astounded at the remarkable correspondences between the pattern
of dialecticism and the complex pattern of "entropy production" which
involves a network of "entropic force-flux pairs". The latter is operating
in nature, driving its evolution. This gave Marx his intuitive insight
which he articulated into "material dialecticism" or Marxism for short.

However, it is the very minute differences and not the many
correspondences between the basic pattern of dialecticism and the complex
pattern of "entropy production" which will eventually afford us vast
differences in understanding. However, the knowledge of "entropy
production" in the mind of a dialecticist will be extremely dangerous.
Allow me to explain.

Questions which often occupy my mind, are the following.
Assume the following is true:
. To have, say for speaking purposes, 90% of truth
. under control can be more dangerous than to have
. 10% of truth under control.
What will happen to us when we have evolved to such a
state that we will have, say, 99% of the truth under control?
Is that 1% (one sheep lost) which we do not know not more
important than all the other 99% (ninety nine sheep under
our care)? What do we need to know so as to learn that
which we do not know?

For example, I wrote above about examples which taught me that pleasure
and context, like pain and context, are inseparable from each other. What
do I actually know when I say "mental object and context are inseparable
from each other"?

Rick, perhaps I can offer you and fellow learners the following piece of
advice. Think before doing and think afterwards again so as to do more
again. Thinking and doing form a great complementary pair.

With care


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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