The Form of Knowledge LO26006

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 01/29/01

Replying to LO25983 --

Dear Organlearners,

Fred Nickols <> writes:

>At de Lange has already offered up that Polanyi
>referred to wissen and konnen. It is in that same
>reference (p.7) that Polanyi refers explicitly to
>"know what" and "know how" and attributes those
>two to Gilbert Ryle. Actually, Gilbert Ryle referred
>to "knowing how" and "knowing that" (on page 27 of
>Ryle's 1949 book,The Concept of Mind). Ryle was a
>pretty highly regarded and influential philosopher at
>Oxford -- and a behaviorist (which is why I read him).

Greetings Dear Fred,

Thank you for stressing once again the "what" and the "how".

>From time to time I write in our LO-dialogue on the "seven essentialities
of creativity" (7EoCs). One of them has the nominal name liveness and the
seminal name "becoming-being". I wonder how much Ryle and Polanyi had this
specific tacit thinking in mind which they articulated with "what" and
"how" and which I eventually articulated with liveness -- becoming=how,

One of the most serious Mental Models which students have to overcome
when studying chemistry, is to stop thinking in terms of "rigid structures".
When they learn the first time how to determine the structure of a molecules,
say that of the water molecule which has a bent structure like

. H H
. \ /
. O

they think the angle between the two hydrogen H atoms with the oxygen atom
O in the centre is fixed at 104.4 degrees. They have a "hard-wired"
picture in mind whereas they should rather think of the two H -- O bonds
as "rubber-stringed". The two H atoms oscilate away and back to the O atom
and the angle oscillates by bending more open and closing more than 104
degrees. This stretching and bending of the H -- O bond can be considered
as its "internal becoming".

The microwave oven had been designed specifically to sensitise this
"becoming" of the H -- O bond. On receiving the exact quantum of
electromagnetic energy (which is in the microwave region) the H -- O bonds
begin to stretch vigorously. Its like a boxer hitting at shadows in the
air, showing how much internal "becoming energy" it has. When another
molecule comes close by, the H atom as the "hitting fist" of the boxer
lets the other molecule stagger away. The internal vibrational energy of
the boxer becomes converted into external kinetic energy of the receiver.
This extra external movement is also known as an increase in thermal
energy. The macroscopical effect is that the temperature increases. Any
compound with an H -- O bond in it (like some fats, sugars and plastics)
reacts like this and not merely water.

It is with the "how of own knowledge" that we transmit our internal
becoming energy (vibration) to the external becoming energy (kinetic) of
other person's knowledge. But some of this external "becoming energy"
(kinetic) in the other person has still to be converted into internal
"becoming energy" (vibrational) to complete the process. This is called in
educational literature "internalisation" or "interiorzation". This is
exactly where the Mental Model of rigid structures becomes such a
devastating constraint. A rigid structure may indeed have "becoming
energy", but all of it is on the outside as "kinetic energy". But none of
this "becoming energy" can enter the inside as "vibrational energy",
unless the structure becomes less rigid.

When I write on liveness ("becoming-being") because of my internal
"becoming energy" (my "vibes" ;-), it is like a boxer or the H atom in a O
-- H bond hitting fellow learners. They stagger backwards with more motion
because of the external "becoming energy" which they received. Their
temperature eventually increases. In such a case they will say "At tells
...". (See how it happened on the topic "To become or not to become" ;-)
However, unless some of that "becoming energy" becomes converted into
"vibes" ( ;-) within, the whole excercise is defeated. But should those
internal "vibes" emerge, they will not say any more "At tells ..", but
rather "Let me tell ... ".

Without the awareness to the Tacit Dimension, that conversion of "becoming
energy" from external kinetic energy to internal vibrational energy is

Fred, I think you are showing these internal "vibes" clearly to fellow
learners ;-)

With care and best


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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