Smoke signals in the dark LO26035

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 02/01/01

Replying to LO26020 --

Dear Organlearners,

Andrew Campbell < > sends some clear smoke signals about
smoke signals made in the dark:

>Here are some more wise words that may help
>offset the slide in the US, and this morning I am
>thinking especially of someone I know who worked
>for a global IT company that lost it's own way, got
>eaten by Lucent and then it seems is about the be
>'excreted', the 'headline' reads something like
>"Lucent to shed 10,000 jobs."


>My friend tells me "English" could do with some
>improvement, I agree. " ---'elutriated' --- it means
> --- (to become) purified ---. It makes me think of
>lucidity and electricity combined."
>So, Mr C.E.O. of Lucent, where is the 'elutriated
>nature' of your organisation ...?

Greetings dear Andrew,

Oh, how much do we not need the power of transdisciplinary thinking! How
much do our Afrikaans speaking students not have to battle with the
intricasies of academical English?

Words like elute and elutriate are used in wet analytical chemistry. When
a solid (like sand or sugar) and a liquid (like water or oil) are mixed,
two outcomes are possible. In the one case (like sugar and water) the
liquid (water) becomes the solvent, the solid (sugar) becomes the solute
and the mixture (sugary water) becomes the solution. It is also called a
homogenous mixture ("homo"=same, "genesis"=origen). It means that wherever
in the mixture a portion of whatever size you take, it looks the same.
Water and sand will become a heterogenous ("hetero"=different) mixture.

A solution (homogenous mixture) has many properties characterising it as a
solution. Perhaps the most important of them all is that the solution is
transparent (not opague) whatever colour it may have.

Often, when two solutions (identical solvent, but different solutes) are
mixed, they become a heterogenous mixture. It is because the solute (or a
part of it) in the one solution react with the solute (or a part of it) in
the other solution to produce a new compound. In this case the new
compound is insoluable in the common solvent. This is a principal
phenomenum made use of in "wet" analytical chemistry. The analysis can be
either quantitative or qualitative.

In quantitative analyses the newly formed solid will be needed. The first
step is to let it precipitate (which is not that easy as said ;-). The
next step is to filtrate it. The solid remian behind and that which runs
through the filter is known as the elute. The elute is the remaining
solution after reaction, containing the solvent as well as unreacted
solutes still in the solvated state. Obviously, some of the remaing
solution is still caught up in the pores between the sold particles. Thus
some pure solvent (which does not dissolve the solid) is used to elutriate
(wash) the solid clean from any remaining solution. Eventually the solid
will be free of any solutes, yet wet only with the pure solvent. Finaaly
this solvent is removed by drying out the precipitate.

To know what will or will not dissolve what, the chemist must know the
solubility rules. To memorise them is dreary. To learn them by experience
is great fun. To predict them by calculations using chemical
thermodynamics is sheer horror ;-) Whatever way we choose to learn them,
we have to choose one of them because not knowing these rules leaves the
chemist completely incapacitated.

Let me now apply all this chemistry with transdiciplinary thinking to
business. I will connect to your smoke signals. I will try avoid making
judgements. Yet I will try to make as clear as possible observations. Let
us not confuse these two.

I will use the name "busitry" for the "chemistry of business". The person
who does this "chemistry of business" will be called a "busist". This will
not only spare me a lot of typing, but also form a smoke screen -- making
it dark ;-)

When big brother merges with small brother, it tells everybody concerned
how transparent are entirely both big brother and small brother. Yes, one
property of every solution is its transparency -- a consequence of being a
homogenous mixture. But the "busist" in some big brother knows two things
which everybody else is oblivious to. Firstly, mixing two transparent
systems may produce a heterogenous outcome because one component produced
is insoluable in the common solvent which both systems employed. Secondly,
knowing the solubility rules, this precipitate can be carefully planned
and executed. Afterwards, all left to be done by the "busist" is to
collect the solid by filtration (accountancy), clean it by elutriation
(using the very solvent before the very eyes of those involved), then
discarding the elute into the environment (new poor) and finally dry out
the precipitate so as to move it elsewhere.

When it is done with simplicity (and therfore necessarily under cover) it
is known as "money laundering". When it is done with complexity as
described above (and therefor it can be done openly because who
understands complexity), we may very well call it "money elutriation".

Both "money laundering" and "money elutriation" are rampant in South
Africa. With the fall of apartheid, South Africa opened up to global
economy once again. Since then big brothers from overseas have stepped in
with astonishing either obscurity or transparency. Those working under
cover now do here their "money laundering" which would have got them into
deep trouble elsewhere. Those working transparently do merger after merger
with little borthers, washing away the unsuspecting workers so as to lay
their hands on the solid (transportable) wealth aqcuired by mergers. The
"busist" tells everybody that it is transparent that any business has to
cut its workforce so as to remain in business when profits become less.
Obviously, few search for the reason why profits become less.

Here in South Africa the cry for transparency of all from whatever corner
trying to get a slice in the business pie is incredibly loud. It is as if
transparency has become the catchword for morality in business. However,
when things get so transparent as is longed for, the people involved need
utmost imagination to see what cannot be observed. When sugar get
dissolved in water to become a transparent solution, can you still observe
the sugar as such? Not in your life. You will have invoke a suitable
becoming like evaporating the water to observe the sugar once again. This
is one of the reasons why Systems Thinking is needed, to see with mental
becoming what cannot be observed with bodily being.

That which may be used to predict the outcome when mixing two transparent
systems, is like the solubility rules of wet chemistry. Knowing these
rules requires thousands of different experiments/experiences. Afterward
knowing these rules, others can memorise them which is dreary or figure
them out by "entropy production" which is horrible. Whatever way of
knowing is used, that knowing is needed to prevent the stripping of a
business from CERTAIN assets. Obviously, learning these rules by
experience is not fun any more like in chemistry. But to learn them, one
has to connect with those who suffered. They are, despite their pain,
gentle teachers.

I have capitalised the CERTAIN assets. We all know that it is
predominantly money itself and only those skilled workers required
elsewhere. This is definitely not all the assets of the business which
became elutriated. The most valuable asset lost is the workers who want to
work, but afterwards have no job any more. (I can take you here in
Pretoria alone to dozens of sites where hundreds of once proud workers
sit, waiting in vain for the miracles of being offered a job. Talking to a
few of them will shatter your serenity.) The unions here try to prevent
it, but with all their either opposition or cooperation they play right
into the hands of the "elutriation busists". The workers themselves strike
to show their anger or vote for political parties with empty promisses,
but also they play right in the hands of the "elutriation busists". So
what can be done.

All the workers of every little brother will have to learn endlessly.
Furthermore, they will have to focus their learning on the "essential
organisation" of little brother. Every worker of each little brother (and
not only a few) needs to understand its "essential organisation". The most
powerful way for this to happen, is for little brother to become a
Learning Organisation (LO). The endless learning of all the workers in
little brother will self never make little brother a LO. This reasoning
plays right into the hands of the "elutriation busists". Each worker will
rather have to learn exactly how and why every other worker in little
brother is indispensable. Once this (described by the previous sentence)
is happening in little brother, it can be said that little brother has
truely emerged into a LO.

Do not try to go forward with the reverse gear (unless all the forward
gears are broken ;-). To use the five disciplines to transform little
brother into a LO, is like using the reverse gear to drive forward. The
five disciplines can only be used to monitor little brother after it has
emerged into a LO. Its like driving a car. We can only use its five
forward gears once the car is pointed into the right direction. Before
that we have to use the low gear and reverse gear to maneuver the car into
the right direction. So we have to find out the what, how and why of these
two gears (low and reverse) so much needed. (Should you ever venture into
a wasteland, make sure that these two gears work perfectly ;-)

Andrew, I myself think that these two maneuvering gears are emergent
learning with its two manifestations. The low gear forwards is to plan for
an emergence in terms of the present "essential organisation" of the mind.
We may call it a "creative inflation". With this emergence the "essential
organisation" becomes inflated. The outcome is novel, but minor. The low
gear backwards is to plan for an emergence by first letting go some of the
present "essential organisation" of the mind. We may call it a "creative
deflation", but I prefer to call it a "creative collapse". The creative
collapse then completes itself with an emergence. With this emergence the
"essential organisation" becomes of different character. The outcome is
also novel, but major. Words like "rejuvenation", "rennaisance",
"transmutation" and "paradigm shift" then applies, depending on what has
collapsed creatively. These two kinds of emergent learning are necessary
to produce such crystal perfection that digestor actions can be withstand

The explanation in the last paragraph is too technical to be of any help
to most workers of most little brothers. Perhaps we may call these two
kinds of novel (i.e. emergent) learning by "take-up" learning (inflation,
take on, minor novelty) and "take-under" learning (deflation, give up,
major novelty). But I am not sure since names can easily lead to wrong
interpretations. Neverless, workers need these two kinds of novel learning
to prevent that they self become eaten.

Andrew, do not worry too much about us in South Africa. It is people in
the countries north of us in Southern Africa like Angola, Congo (DRC),
Rwanda and Uganda who are suffering immensely. The "elutriation busists"
have done their jobs long ago. It is now sheer exploitation and
corruption, all engineered with precision by certain big brothers
operating in the safety of the world which you offer them. To try and get
rid of them by making your society less free would be insanity. Society
has to be as free as possible so as to explore as much as possible with
learning. These certain big brothers cannot operate in an environment rich
in Learning Organisations. Their bluff with their transparency magic will
soon be too evident. There is also a thing like justice. If someone from
some big brother commited hidious crimes in an African country which self
cannot deliver justice any more, is it not high time for the host country
to deliver the justice self? With hidious crimes I mean murder, arson,
bribery and rape or being an accomplice to it, not something still so
vague such as "money elutriation". Please speak up.

Thank you Andrew for making smoke signals in the light.

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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