Mental Models, Constraints and Essentialities LO25476

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 10/16/00

Replying to LO25431 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Dressler <> writes:

>Think of the complex part |_____| as |__ I __| and |__YOU__|.
>Thus the 'soil' gets the interpretation 'humankind' or 'human
>society' or 'organisation' etc. Now I and You can commute or
>relate by simply (+) money (Namber of dollars - Na$) or more
>complexly (++) by care (Ca).

Greetings Winfried,

What a marvelous metaphor you have created here.

What we have to see is the forming of bridges between clay plates
 =|_____|= by means of ions with charge more than +1 like Ca++
and Fe+++. I think this bridging is just as crucial between humans.
Some things like care (<==> Ca++) and respect do this bridging. This
causes the "human organisation" to become rich (fractal) in structure
and hence alive.

This "bridging" have been called by many names. If I remember it
correctly, Maturana called it "structural coupling". Many years before
him Monsarrat called it "conjoining". It can also be called "bonding".
I prefer to call it "commuting" because I cannot ascertain for sure
which name ought to get presedence.

A couple of years ago I tried to explain to you how "entropy production"
may be quantified by means of the concept commuting. Now we have
completed some gigantic circle in our understanding. Mental Models
(Senge) or mental Constraints (Goldratt) as labile equilibria prevent
further "entropy production". Since entropy is a measure of organisation,
they prevent further mental organisation between humans. As the
cultural environment becomes more complex (the river becomes more
polluted), the bridges in rigid mental organisation become broken by
replacement through lower order values (marvelously symbolised by
your $Na+ ).

>Reading the part about the open system 'soil', which is not
>a container, this special glasses, or interpretation, shed a
>very interesting light on the formula.

Yes, I agree. Unless an organisation does its best to manifest metanoia,
it will have to close itself more and more to withstand cultural
complexity. But it cannot close itself at all fronts so as to become fully
isolated. Conseqently some day somewhere the complexity infiltrates the
organisation (like the farmer who irrigates innocently salty water) so
that it loses its rich (fractal) structure, thus becoming linearly
structured like the clay in an "alkali brack" soil. When such a soil is
dry, it becomes as hard as rock. When it becomes wet, it becomes a soft,
mucky mess. It makes me think of "brackish" organisations -- hard as rock
when the political climate is dry (favourable), but soft and mucky when
the political climate gets fluid (unfavourable).

So how can an organisation manifest metanoia? By emerging into a Learning

With care and best wishes


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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