*To see the original images referred to below please go to
Schema for (Kabbalist) Amulet
Abstract Image, (Systemic Enterprising Workshop) 1998 co-create.com
"Art is a mode of prediction not found in charts and statistics, and it
insinuates possibilities of human relations not found in rule and precept,
admonition and administration." John Dewy
["These diagrams were limited only by the imaginations of the Kabbalists'.
The Sefiroth (see body of text) could be superimposed on the menorah, or
the seven branched candlestick, as well as the Seal of Solomon. Some of
the most interesting exist as superimposition, composites of many
differing types on one sheet like visual equivalents to the talmudic
textual supercommentaries anticipating in format the cyberspace phenomenon
of hypertext where one may digress from primary text to scan supplementary
(John Neff: Notes on Kabbalistic Ideas and Imagery, Negotiating Rapture,
The Power of Art to Transform Lives. Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago.)
A Sustainable System for Inconceivable Development
Recently over a lunch a young chairman of an association of mainly CEO
learning individuals was entertainingly revisiting his past as a young
officer in a merchant shipping line who then plied the seas of West Africa,
South East Asia and the Pacific Rim for untold lengths of time. Fascinating!
The captain (not related to Captain Complexity) always kept a loaded gun in
his quarters...! Now I wonder what THAT was for? And yes, there still are
'pirates' on those waves who literally chop off people's hands in order to
secure the correct levels of 'aligned interest' in their special brand of a
'shared vision' of capitalism at the 'edge of chaos', or should that be
sem(e)i-order;-)? Anyhow, he said that, by and large, dialogue was rather
restricted in the organization afloat, " -every man has his story to recount
and then that was it; he would just repeat it ad nauseam."
Peter Senge once really got my attention in his writings, (well I really
can't 'afford' to listen to him in the real world;-) when he asked, "- If
leading is creating then why wasn't Picasso a leader?" Then in another
article more words seemed to rise up out of the page into my blinking eye...I
quote, "Peter (Senge) began with the idea that knowledge is the capacity for
effective action." Ideas shape our behaviour. Hmmm;-) Then 'mechanical
responses' gets mentioned and I think/imagine myself beyond the present
printed word reflectingly looking to David Bohm's highly articulate notions
that we need to get beyond our 'mechanical responses' to our experience of
the world into something more upwardly recursive and generatively creative,
to get somewhere that we can hardly imagine. Limited possibilities, 'getting
stuck' and 'feeling frozen', 'locked in stasis'. Hmmm. Then this lovely
phrase popped up, "- a sustainable model for inconceivable change." That
really twigged with me, I mean it really "clicked". Three steps. Listen for
the choreography to a dance of veritable changefulness;-) " -You learn
something, and that changes the way you inter-act with people and events in
the world and then, hey presto! Something emerges!" Wow! Now we have a new
understanding from which to do some more learning? Yes please! Let's get back
into the studio (Oops! Sorry, too fast;-) so then, more slowly, we create
some more new understandings, we adjust again from the new place/space and we
start to create a new emergent system of understandings through our authentic
creations within the whole. Well, something like 'the five degrees of
separation;-)' happens, but this time it's 'the three degrees of
recursion';-) and wham! We are looking at something "inconceivably
What a dream?
Yes, a dream!
Why? Because (according to Shultz) most organisations simply stop at 'level
one' of recursion. What happens? "The system (aka most organizations) dies."
Why? Because in the common experience of 'stuck thinking' people 'stick' with
what they 'know'. People do not like living at the "edge of chaos", so they
build 'walls' to protect themselves. This applies to organisms (Learning
Individuals) and societies (Learning Organizations) even whole civilisations
alike. It is ancient as in the politics of Athens and endemic (the U.N.).
Artists continually delve and re-delve into the 'chaos of becoming'. I will
not bore;-) anyone here with evidence but it is very amusing and interesting
to note that the greatest visually emergent artist of the century (Picasso)
never 'framed' his works! Peter Senge among others wants to promote the idea
of 'slowing down' to bring increased order to our experience of thinking. I
happen to think that 'art practice' in the visual arts anyway, often
contradicts that notion and is capable of eschewing such symmetrical
(equivalence "=") associations by providing 'slipping glimpses' and
'touchstones to eternity', the perception of which is breathtakingly stilling
in the relatively momentary fling of an 'asymmetrical' hand "<". Acting
ourselves into a new way of thinking. Who wrote that first?
"Mens et Mans" ~ "Minds and Hands" (M.I.T. motto)
Much of what our minds do is hidden from us, especially those parts that are
fond to verbalize;-) (Minsky) What might be possible if you truly believe
that "everyone is an artist" as the director of the Boston Institute of Fine
Art said was the case? "Embodied means that cognition depends on the kinds of
experience that come from having a body with various sensorimotor
capacities;-) CAPACITIES;-) and that these are themselves embedded ;-) (Let's
leave 'rafts' alone today, ok?) (..ŽAnd the oceanesque Rutter's charts;-) in a
more encompassing bio< >logical, psycho< >logical and cultural context.
--Behaviour is the first cause of all stimulation -thus the form of the
excitement by the organism itself...person and organisation is shaped by its
Who I wonder, reading this now could think to make the 'fruitful' and
'creative connections' between Dr. Deming's 'quality management diagrams'
(Neff) and the Kabbalistic diagrams of the ten divine manifestations
(Sefiroth) as Trees of explanation; each inhering within its own treedome;-)
and downwardly so forth;-) recursing as it 'twigs' itself into an infinity
like, "-an invariant that is not" which some see and some do not according to
the lenses they are wearing;-) to arrive at some point of a singular
contemporaneity of the (this) unique life cycle in the design of an auto
car...and even a CROWN (fitting for a KING;-) ((For DP;-)? The infinite is
manifest invariably within it, no "thingness" but just the source of all
emanations just as is the "will", under which branches outward the Hokmah
"wisdom", the source, a "primordial point" of light that actually "flows" and
the connections go on and on;-). The more deeply into creativity one probes
beneath the "shell" the higher one's spirit ascends. And let's listen within
all quietude, "- the more complex the correspondences among supposedly
disparate things the more one affirms the unity of the whole." And so with
just a little 'breeze' as 'gentle gust doth blow' The nut --shell, two inner
layers, kernel...hmmm atomic physics. Chernobyl. And the sure and certain way
through this 'dark wood' (Dante), well, back to walking the talk. Another new
"level of comprehension and good works". Like the desert, stilled in
enacting, such effort for every step. Relief in knowledge that there must be
"interconnectedness" and the perMISSION granted for 'flashes' of insight and
inspiration to persevere. A burning bush? A vivid Tree of Emergences? Mind
and Body in world embedded?
I think I understand that most of what we think we know is derived from
application of 'instruments of knowing' and measuring that in reality
provides us with no true connection to what "IS" or the "WHO" of nature.
In the 'system' I have described immediately above there is a fundamental
recognition in the design needs of "balance", especially that between
"knowledge" and "wisdom". This is because such a balance creates a "flow"
which brings forth life. In some of the diagrams there appears an eleventh or
"unseen Sefirah" named Da'at or Daath meaning "awareness". On one such it
corresponds to "throat and mouth" because knowledge is conveyed by speech.
According to Scholem, the celebrated scholar of Jewish tradition "the Tree of
Good and Evil" was identified with the oral Torah, the tradition that
regulated daily life, as distinct from the written Torah. The German artist
Kiefer uses this motif to effect inscribing the word "Da'at" on his
paintings. He implies by connection that, "enraptured by information or
beauty, but lacking wisdom, we risk self deception and destruction by
attempting to control what we neither see nor comprehend."
I know a lot of people think that if they 'understand' complexity they can
fall into the "flow". My intuition tells me that the only 'flow' that really
counts;-) in the new paradigm is the one that arises when 'force-flux' pairs
become inwardly operative, but that's another story and it revolves around
the wisdom implicit within the number 'seven' which like the number 'eleven'
require the living balance be asymmetric.
My sincere thanks to Rick for making the web space available for the images.
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