Endless becoming of good, right, true, lovely LO26089

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 02/09/01

Replying to LO26077 --

Dear Organlearners,

Leo Minnigh <l.d.minnigh@library.tudelft.nl> writes:

>At has asked me to expose some mindmines
>to you from the geological discipline. I hesitated
>to do this, doubting if these examples will fit in
>your mindframe and the frame of this list. The scope
>of this list is broad, very broad but that does not mean
>that every subject fits in this scope. The examples that
>I have in mind have same general implications, also
>implications to learning organizations.

Greetings dear Leo,

Thank you very much for this beautiful contribution. I specified in my
request that you should focus on Mental Models. As for the rest, you were
free to do what you want. I kept quiet that I want you to include two
facets of "endless becoming", namely time (age) and process. You fathomed
my hunger beyond my expectations. All the food which you prepared cannot
but be eaten.

There is at least one kind of organisation which falls outside your
hesistation -- UNIVERSITIES. If any university wants to become a LO, all
its personnel will have to learn from even the geologists among them on a
LO-discipline such as Mental Models. You have shown with clarity what they
can expect to learn from geologists.

>Geology is a science that is completely based
>on the present. What could be observed now is
>the result of a history. A history based on interpretations,
>deductions, presumptions, etc.

I want to take the bull by the horns. I cannot show you even one science
which is not completely based on the present! Every science has to have
"endless becoming" to qualify as science. (One day I will give you fellow
learners a list of quotes from outstanding thinkers in many subjects of
academy who stressed that the history of the subject is a main facet of
the science of that subject.) The scientist makes use of the scientific
method to sustain this "endless becoming" of that science. The first phase
of the scientific method is observation. The scientist observes IN THE
PRESENT both the object of study and all the information created from PAST
studies (involving past observations) on that object. Up to now I have
never experienced making a direct observation on the past!

The past is gone forever. Time has an arrow, i.e. time is irreversible.
This irreversibility of time is nothing else than "entropy production".
Since time is irreversible, how can I observe the past? I am of opinion
that one of the worsest Mental Models constraining our learning is to
assume that time is reversible.

>So, these observations of the present must be
>used as key to the past. THE past? or A past??
>Do you believe that a specific present situation is
>the result of a unique and defined history? Is there
>only one interpretation of the history that resulted
>in the present outcome?

I am excited beyond words that I have anticipated these questions of you
with my contribution "Parables and Parabolic Thinking". Yes, "THE past" is
the result and furthermore the only possible result with linear thinking.
But "A past" which have more than one possible "THE past" is the result of
parabolic thinking.

>Looking back to the growth of geology as a science
>we could consult the written documents. These
>documents display several Mental Models (MM).
>Let's not blame the persons who had these MMs,
>but let us learn from these MMs.

Let us also read these documents in such a manner that we do not put our
own "endless becoming" into them, but rather create our own "endless
becoming" from them. You will soon see why I make this curious warning.

>Until circa 1700 the general picture of the MM of the
>Christian interpretation of the origin of the Earth was
>based on the Bible. Until then, the Bible was THE
>document that shaped the MM: the Earth was roughly
>6000 years old, especially created as home for man.
>And during these 6000 years the Earth has suffered
>from several supernatural catastrophes.

Dear Leo, we have to walk very carefully when working with the Bible so
that we do not step ignorantly on mindmines. There is not one single bit
of information in the Bible which I as a Christian can use to infer that
the earth is some six thousand years old. There is much chronological data
in the Bible which I can use to calculate the time elapsed since the
"birth" of Adam to the present. But I also need data from non-biblical
documents to fill up some gaps like the silent period between the old
testament books and the new testament books and the silent period between
the new testament books and the present.

Although two silent periods, they together have been the outcome of ONE
interpretation in which I used both biblical data AND non-biblical data.
Should I claim that they are the only two silent periods, then I stick to
this one only interpretation. This is linear thinking. Thus I will not be
able to create a second interpretation which allows for also other gaps
BEFORE the "birth" of Adam.
What I then will do is
(1) to assume that that the earth was created exactly five days before
. Adam's "birth" on the sixth day.
(2) I will become oblivious to the fact that Gen 1:2 says that before the seven
. creation days the earth was already there, with chaos and without form!
(3) I will ignore literary differences between Gen 1 and Gen 2 which may caution
     me not to "add" Gen 2 chronologically to Gen 1
(4) I will enslave me to one of the worsest mental models (name #Mental Model#)
. which has plagued humankind.

I can describe this curios #Mental Model# as follows:
. The complete truth will be known by arithmetic.
Arithmetic is the discipline involving numbers -- creating them, counting
them and calculating them. The defense of the dogma that the earth is some
6000 years old is based this #Mental Model# !

Leo, the saddest of it all is that the Bible in many places warns us
against this very #Mental Model#. We find the first very clear warning in
the oldest book of the Bible in Job 38:5, a warning given almost
sarcastically to stress its importance. (In Job 38:4 God actually
questions Job whether he can make direct observations in the past -- that
very past of creating the foundations of earth!) Even Jesus warns against

It is not only Christians who suffered this #Mental Model#. From
non-biblical sources we know that already all the ancient religions in
Egypt and Asia Minor suffered this #Mental Model#. This #Mental Model#
became rampant after the Renaissance in philosophies like Newtonianism and
Cartesianism in every subject of Academy. However, we should never become
oblivious to the "endless becoming" of true.

As for science itself, I think that Goethe was tacitly very aware of the
#Mental Model#. In most of his investigations in biology and his
experiments in optics he has persistently avoided that which could be
quantified by numbers. No wonder that he grew so much in wholeness
himself. Should Faraday bowed to this #Mental Model#, would he have
discovered and filled up so many gaps in physics? However, I think it is
Heisenberg who got the clearest glimpse of them all in his Uncertainty

As for mathematics and logics, only Kronecker seemed to have been aware of
this #Mental Model# in the 19th century. But in the thirties of the 20th
century one Kurt Goedel in his famous incompleteness theorem (so as to
explain his most difficult work) "used this very #Mental Model# to
demonstrate the absurdity of this #Mental Model# in its outcomes". Soon
afterward Turing discovered this #Mental Model# from another angle
involving decision making using machines.

Polanyi argued convincingly that the awareness to an Authentic Problem
emerge in the tacit level of knowledge. I want to stress that likewise the
awareness to a Mental Model also emerge in the tacit level of knowledge.
Thus Goedel as well as Turing who describe this #Mental Model# in their
own terminology, knew more than waht they have told. In their telling they
did not even used the technical term Mental Model or Mindset. It is us who
will have to make connections between what they knew and we now know,
telling some of it by describing this curious #Mental Model# as:
. The complete truth will be known by arithmetic.

Should I want to have the second interpretation which allows not only the
two silent gaps between the OT and NT and between the NT and NOW, but also
the silent gap before the "birthday" of Adam, I will have to transform my
linear thinking into parabolic thinking.

The first extra line to bring in is to search for all information in the
Bible self on this silent period before the "birthday" of Adam. You fellow
learners will be surprised by how much such information there is. I will
also have to question thoroughly the use of numbers in the Bible since
numbers are involved in this #Mental Model#. How did Moses knew how old
Adam became and what happened to Adam (e.g. eating of forbidden fruit)?
Did God dictate all this information to Moses or did Moses get some (or
perhaps all) of it by oral tradition? In the latter case Adam must have
been a remarkable person to invent within his first year of living both
the system of Natural Numbers and the system of Naural Langauge so as to
keep record of his experiences since his "birthday". How can two become
three, i.e whom did the sons of Adam had as wivese to get children? Their

Secondly, I can also seek for information outside the Bible. I can seek
for such information in the artifacts of ancient cultures. I can also seek
for such information by a geological study (geomorphogenesis) or by a
biological study (paleontology). Leo has given as a fantastic overview of
the "endless becoming" in the knowledge of this gap in time before the
"birthday" of Adam. I wish someone would do it for archeology and for
biology too, showing the Mental Models which operated there too and
especially those which may still be operating.

Anyway, how serious is the effects which this very #Mental Model# has on
organisations? Consider universities. It gives rise to the "publish or
perish" syndrome and thus the explosion of information in refereed
journals. Consider public institutions of education which have the task to
certify officially the true knowledge of the learner. The curricula of
most have become notoriously abscent in those training topics which are
difficult ot even impossible to quantify.

One of the biggest of South African corporations dealing in a particular
kind of technology and making a profit, is now laying off several
thousands of workers. Why? They calculated the ratio of the number of
technological units they service to the number of workers they have. They
have copied this arithmetic from similar corporations in other (mostly
first world) countries which did it too. Their own ratio is far higher
than in the ratios in the other countries. Despite the profit which they
make, they now put back thousands of people in the market for jobs while
the unemployment in our country is almost 50%. This #Mental Model# have
such a hold on the exequtive team that in an unprcedented move they even
sacked junior and senior managers.

Because of this #Mental Model# good, right, true and lovely people have
become unwanted humans because overnight their work has become bad, wrong,
false and ugly. The worst of it all is that this #Mental Model# entails
that the arithmetic cannot be bad, wrong, false or ugly.

>Then in England James Hutton (1726-1797)
>published in 1788 his 'Theory of the Earth' and
>he proposed - based on numerous observations -
>an important new insight: uniformitarianism.
>However, the MM of Hutton was not completely
>broken from the Biblical MM.

Leo, do you know exactly what you have done here? You have associated the
"uniformitarianism" of Hutton with a Mental Model. I think it is the
creative stroke of a genius. For me almost every "-ism" has at least one
Mental Model peculiar to that "-ism" and often many Mental Models common
to other "-isms" too. The suffix "-ism" is used in English to indicate
(1) the name of a specific philosophy
(2) that a specific process or its outcome has a severe, constraining
. or abnormal condition on the mentality of a person.

I have formulated #Mental Model# in such a manner that we can now clearly
give it the name "arithmeticism". The $Mental Model$ of my previous
contribution that the mentioning of a property of character automotically
entails judgement may thus be called "judgementalism".

>For me this whole story contains a strong
>lesson. MMs change and therefore I am very
>careful with judgements.

Yes, it is almost as if MMs (Mental Models) have an "endless becoming" in
themselves. Some change into others, some disappear completely and some
just persist for millenia. Judgementalism seems to go as far back as the
days of Adam and Eve. Arithmeticism (based on archeological records) seems
to have been rampant already in ancient Mesopotania during the times of
Abraham and Job. Whether they go so far back or not, they have in present
times most destructive outcomes on the learning and thus character of
individuals and organisations.

>Another lesson for me is that the present is a
>very, very complicated key to the past. For sure,
>the processes of the past are different from those
>of the present. It is now the time to study the
>evolution of processes (content). The time of
>studying *** the evolution of forms is coming to an

Amen, except for the *** where I would have included "exclusively".

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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