S=(E-F)/T LO25362

From: Stan Schellenburg (stan_schellenburg@hotmail.com)
Date: 09/24/00

Responding to LO25349,

I shared a quote by Tony Blair saying, "...most economists would agree
that oil is no longer the most important commodity in the world economy.
Now, that commodity is information."; juxtaposed it with an excerpt from
the Independent of "a nation grinding to a halt," "panic buying"; and

>I see S=(E-F)/T. Do you?

Roy Benford wrote:
>I don't understand the formula. Is it the same as 'Group Think'?

Roy, your question initially caused me to laugh, then pause for a while,
uneasily, then laugh some more. I didn't and don't know how to interpret
it lacking sufficient context, so I'll interpret and respond to it several


Your words "Group Think" leapt out at me, of course. Seeing them, I
think, yes! Group Think, Abilene Complex, sheep. My first tendency is to
link the idea group think to a simple order of organization, a level of
organization insufficiently complex for the complexity of the world.

I remember as a youngster my sister kept three sheep in a pen that had two
trees close to the center, not far apart from each other. One excited
sheep would run right between the trees. The two sheep running evenly
with each other right behind would get stuck, jammed between the trees,
time and again.

Recent responses to the petroleum situation seem to me analogous. From my
perspective, peoples' level of organization is not sufficiently complex
for the complexity of the world. I think for example, jeeze, if people
only understood minimal systems thinking to recognize archetypes and the
effects of delay....

"Group Think" also resonates with At's recent comment about people being
so caught up in business-as-usual economic growth dynamics as not to be
able or willing to imagine a scenario where they might need to...discard
their material obsessions to walk in the desert.

I think peoples' willful unwillingness to question their business-as-usual
lives in the context of the three black scenarios ...grin... (energy
scarcity, war, and irreversible environmental degradation) might fit in a
learning-handicapped category of behavior close to group think.


Then I thought, hmmm. Roy has read learning-org for a while. I've seen
posts by him before. I sense that he's bright. Stepping up ladders of
inference, if we were face-to-face and my mind was on this thread, what
follows probably would be in my left-hand-column: As a participant on this
list of people who value learning, does he more or less, then, understand
S=(E-F)/T, and does he link it to "Group Think" by way of impugning people
identified by (gullibility) openness to At's insights?

Hmmm. How could a person who values learning who has read learning-org for
a long time not understand the formula at at least a rudimentary level?
Does he ask this question by some indirect way of intended insult to me
linking the equation to group think?

I experience this possibility as ironic because of how I have identified
and made choices as an iconoclast.

And I think, no. It's easily possible he doesn't understand the formula and
he implies no hidden meaning or agenda. For that matter, the formula is
still growing on me. I laugh. I'm confused.

In the context of my ladder of inference, it's not clear to me. Do you want
to understand the formula? Do you want to understand the formula as At does
or as I am beginning to understand it or as I was using it symbolically in
the context of the quotes I shared?

This night's dark whispers rain on wind chilled rustling leaves.



"Stan Schellenburg" <stan_schellenburg@hotmail.com>

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