Rose-coloured spectacles LO26256

From: Magic Circ Op Rep Ens (
Date: 03/01/01

Replying to LO26252 --

Bill Harris said: (snip)
> I also read the occasional "Harmony" (see, where they
> highlight breakthroughs specific orchestra organizations have made in
> becoming LO's (or, more in their terms, in adopting advanced work
> systems). If those breakthroughs are so noteworthy, I strongly suspect
> it's because many orchestra organizations aren't LO's. The material I
> read there indicates that many orchestra organizations are afflicted with
> many of the same human challenges companies are. Many of those challenges
> affect the non-musical aspects of their existence most directly, I admit.
> Any comments on how these two views fit together or if they do?

Hi Bill,

It's been many years since I read the Fifth Discipline but I found these in
my computer and so they seem a good place to start.
After each law I just added a thought about it from the musical perspective.
I realize telling is a poor way to communicate such things but anything else
wouldn't work here. REH

and some thoughts on how they relate to a musical ensemble or a soloist
which is a physical ensemble.

1. Today's problems come from yesterday's "solutions."

There are no real solutions, there is only art.
Art is the Psycho-physical pursuit of values in a given medium, culture,
time and place.
That pursuit involves the structures of all of life's issues (Truth, ideal
to iniquity) & (Beauty, development that begins with perfection, some
simply say it is the "best of its kind.")

2. The harder you push the harder the system pushes back.

All movement demands balance or you become a pendulum.

3. Behavior grows better before it grows worse.

The blossom is beautiful but fertilizer is the real thing. A Critic must
be able to stand the heat. Telling is not the same as helping. All of
life eats. You must be able to maintain your space.

4. The easy way out usually leads back in.

Running solves nothing unless you are finished.

5. The cure can be worse than the disease.

There is no cure, only life.
You may as well accept it and get on with it.

6. Faster is slower.

Unless it is balanced with depth.

7. Cause and effect are not closely related in time and space.

It takes time and much practice to master performance .
A Master is only so if consciousness has been raised through practice to
intuition and instantaineous response.

8. Small changes can produce big results--but the areas of highest leverage
are often the least obvious.

Practice is both common and boring.
Practice makes perfect.
Perfect begins the construction of an artistic product that embraces both
success and failure equally in the pursuit of the Truth of the product.
A product is a Universe with integrity.

9. You can have your cake and eat it too-- but not at once.

"...the paradox is now fully established that the utmost abstractions are
the true weapons with which to control our thought of concrete fact."
(Whitehead) substitute, banal, derivitive drivel for "concrete fact."

10. Dividing an elephant in half does not produce two small elephants.

A "trusel" is an idea or a finding that is widely perceived to be true,
but which is largely useless (or even of negative value). A 'Magnificent
Academic Trusel' is one that has been widely acknowledged for its
intellectual content (explicitly or implicitly), but without a
corresponding amount of attention being given to its utility or even to
its potential negative value for society. (John Warfield , Essays on

11. There is no blame.

Nothing is complex to those who know how to do it. (Warfield, same)

Bill, for me a Learning Organization is a Universe that contains an
integration of all of the elements of life in a way that supplies the
needs of both performer and product. It pursues values and explores ideas
because to do so gives both pleasure and completion. Money is necessary
for both sustenance and the development of an audience (consumer base). It
is also necessary for the basic materials from which the product grows.
But unless the art is an exploration of the pursuit of indulgence and
opulence, an excess of money usually means the artist is lazy.

We learn because it brings both enlightenment and pleasure and is
important for the future identity of our descendants. That is the reason
an artist or a group of artists(ensemble, team, org.) pursue answers and
knowledge. It is a pursuit of Mastery because anything less is
insignificant. We are the mirrors and keepers of the ideals of excellence
in a culture. That is why our gatekeepers are called Critics. That is
also why the best in any other profession are called Artists.

Art has both performers and management. Creating the world of an
orchestra should be the purpose of management. If life is not possible in
that world then management is not deserving of the title, for an artistic
organization. They must be artists of management. The artists of the
orchestra must be masters of their expertise while the conductor must see,
hear and know everything. The scientific world recently tested conductors
and were surprised to find that they were the perfect multi-taskers.
Seeing, hearing and organizing many things at once while subtly
manipulating the qualities in ways that created a unique and insightful
performance of products from every culture and time. Being a Master or
Maestro at that is the requirement to get past the gatekeeper and begin.
It is a lifelong mission as is the individual study of both instrument and
score of the individual player. Years ago, stress tests were given to
most of the professions of the world. The two highest stress positions
were Airline Pilots and the Berlin Philharmonic.

The LO part is really very simple in that sense and more of a borrowing
from a real artistic organization than a goal for one. If an orchestra is
not and cannot create an integrated perfect Universe both as ensemble and
product then as Arturo Toscanini said at one point to a very famous
conductor. "You, my friend, are NOT an artist!" Nothing is complex to
those who know how to do it! That is what practice is all about and most
companies and market forces just mess up the waters and make it too
difficult for real art and artistry to grow. They are concerned with the
production of wealth only as an end in itself and therefore know little of
Mastery. That is a psychological issue rather than an artistic or even
professional one. Sort of like getting high on gasoline rather than using
the car to drive someplace exciting.

We hear a lot about education and three Rs but my daughter was reading
J.D. Salinger in the 8th grade. I suspect the three R folks would be
horrified if their 8th grader knew anything about Franny and Zooey or
Holden Caulfield. But they want their children to read but only to read
what doesn't threaten their parents. It was difficult for me to accept
that my daughter had taken the same geology course in middle school that I
had in college but geology was FOR something, not a goal in itself and my
only sensible response was pride. Money, Reading, Walking, Talking are
all FOR something. They are not the ART but tools in the Art and the
learning that evolves the art.

There is a loss of will in the culture at large that the Military has not
gone along with. They know about muscular bonding and the power of even
the most banal ritual. The rest of the world is still concerned with
separation and individuation. Any artist who hasn't done that already and
tasted the gall of his individuality has not even begun. It is not hard
to be alone. It is hard to live together as one ensemble, each going into
that brain state that all musicians in great ensembles know like the back
of their hand. But that is the only way to reach the other side.
Together! The artist knows that often the door is really an accident or
worse, a mistake. But in the Artistic LO being right or righteous is
often to be banal, limited and dumb.

Ray Evans Harrell

P.S. 2:00 in the morning brings out my pedant. Hope this wasn't too dry.


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