31st October -- Famish or Profusion in the Systems Input LO25553

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 10/30/00

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to you all.

31 October 1517 was the day when Martin Luther nailed his 95 theses
against the door of the Wittenberg church.

It is not my intention to compare Catholicism (RCC) with Protestantism.
I wish intensely that we all will avoid such a religious debate and beg
you all to do so at all costs.

What striked me the last seven years or so, is the following.

When Luther and other reformers afterwards began to read the Bible,
"they discovered that for them" the RCC became stagnated in its spiritual
growth or even began to immerge destructively by incorporating pagan
beliefs. In those times the invention of the printing press was making
it possible for ordinary people to get hold of a Bible in an understandable
language so as to study its information. In other words, the increasing
availability of information precipitated Protestantism, whether for better
(as an emergence) or for worse (as an immergence).

Now, with 17 years to go to have 400 years of Protestantism, ordinary
people do not have a scarcity of information, but the opposite -- a flood
of information. Internet is turning it open onto an actual deluge of
information. It also seems as if more people are beginnning to discover
how Protestantism also became gradually stagnated and even put itself
into reverse gear.

Almost 400 years ago Christians became concerned about what had
happened to Christianity because of too little information on the Bible
in specific and also on life in general. Today Christians (Catholic and
Protestant) are becoming once again increasingly concerned about
what is happening to Christianity because of too much information on
the Bible and also on life in general. Thus many contra measures are
taken. One of them is an increase in exclusive thinking, manifested
as "religious fundamentalism".

The topic which I want to discuss, is what happens to a system when
it has too little interaction or too much interaction with its surroundings.
In other words, what happens to a system when its boundary become
either too much closed or too much open? How can a system in either
of these conditions take preventive measures so as to continue on its
path of evolution?

I took Christianity as an example and are well aware through dialogues
that many others do not understand it like me. Perhaps I should have
taken as example a corporative business who once had the playing field
to itself so that people starved for information on the guts of that business,
but now has to struggle like many other contenders in the field to stay
in business because people have too much information on the guts of
the business to be involved in a healthy manner. I could also have taken
any living organism. If it has a deficiency in one of its essential foods, it
becomes ill rather than growing healthy. But if it has too much of that
essential food, it also become ill in its growth. I could also have taken
my example from education where both too little and too much learning
resources have a detrimental effect on teachers and learners. Perhaps
capitalism has stagnated and is already in reverse gear (like communism
not so long ago) without us becoming aware of it.

Whatever example I take, it boils down to this. Either too little or too
much of a good thing for a system input is not a good thing any more
for the future organisation of that system.

I have taken Christianity as an example because especially here the
effect of the availability of information on learning and knowledge is most
dramatic for me. I think that some of you who also have become tacitly
aware of this effect will be able to cite examples which speak better to
you than my example of Christianity. Let us become informed on such
examples rather than nailing each others beliefs to the cross because
I used Christianity as example. (I suspect the same is happening to
other religions, but I know too little to stick my neck out there ;-) Let us
find ways how to regulate our exposure to information so as to learn with
a healthy optimum.

Perhaps it will be a wise thing to contemplate by Team Learning this
issue each year for at least one day out of 365 days. Let us then use
the 31st October of each year as the marker for such contemplations.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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