The rose of spectacles LO26262

From: Sajeela M ramsey (
Date: 03/02/01

Replying to LO26243 --

Beloved Karen,

Your dilemma is paradoxical and exemplary, and I empathize with you in
your pain over this situation. I entered the field of Organization
Development with high ideals, and have often been dissapointed in the
reality of unfulfilled potential in the face of what I know could be
possible. A major learning for me has been that change cannot always
happen in a radical way. That it is often gradual. For me, however, in the
final analysis, this is often too little too late. Which is why, over
time, I am turning away from traditional interventions (which I am forced
to do to make a living), and presenting on my preferred interventions,
which are radical and in many cases too cutting edge for the average

With regard to your complex situation, my sense is you have a lot of
clarity around choices you will be destined to make. And you may even
find, in hindsight, some benefit from being forced to re-invent the way
you have constructed meaning in the past in order to belong to a
particular group. And this may not be altogether a bad thing. Spectacle
lies in the rose of the beholder. Or something like that. Meaning that
beauty, as the old saying goes, is in the eyes of the perceiver. I have
re-capped below (please forgive the snips) those particular phrases of
yours Karen that focused my eyes and heart, and on which I'd like to


On Tue, 27 Feb 2001 18:30:47 -0600 "Karen Roles" <>
We have organized around -- - a set of values (snip) ....The problem
arises when you get beyond your initial core group of believers....
(snip). Do we allow people to come into our organization and disrupt it
with questions about our set of values and beliefs or do we insist that
they must share our values and beliefs to enter into our organization?
Our group has decided (snip)that if a person is not "buying-in" to our
view of the universe then it's not in our best interest to maintain that
relationship. But of course this ends up working against us in the end.
(snip) Now I have a personal ethical decision to make. Do I compromise
my own values in order to honor and live by the group's values. I think
this might be the question at the core of every collaborative effort and
maybe every learning organization.

Karen....I believe issues of value are indeed at the core of learning
organizations, at the core of every group endeavor, and, at the core of
all human conflict. Individuals and groups organize their social
constructs and meaning-making around core values. Each group holds values
and perceptions, individuals hold values and perceptions. In order to
explain my thoughts further, please indulge this excerpt from an article
based on a presentation of my doctoral research delivered to an
international learning association (Ramsey ©2001):

Aesthetic Interventions (TM), Culture, and Activism (©2001)
 - presented by Sajeela Ramsey for SIMWIG
 - article by Megan Larson of SIMWIG

"As individuals, we exist in a field of kaleidescopic flux (Hall & Lewin)
that is our own little reality 'bubble' of personal perspective. When we
come into contact with another individual's differing perceptions and
worldview, the result can be 'bubble burst'. This bubble burst involves
pain, frustration, and withdrawal from that which we don't understand. We
can minimize the traumatic impact of this bursting of our own perceptions
and beliefs by engaging in a process of greater self-awareness in order to
incorporate new constructs into our sense-making or world view.

The process of learning begins with our existing beliefs. Beliefs
influence what we learn and vice-versa. When we receive data from the
world around us and take it in without questioning our belief structures,
that data simply reinforces how we see the world. This type of learning is
cited by Argyris and Senge as "first loop learning". Ramsey encourages
individuals to pursue a "second loop" of learning (Argyris & Senge), which
involves being open to and accepting different values then one's own.

The goal of learning in this way is to shift one's paradigm. A prevailing
or dominant cultural paradigm is always ethnocentric in its orientation in
that it reinforces the view that all people should look and act according
to the dominant paradigm. This orietation characterizes an "either/or"
world view. An alternative and perhaps optimal paradigm is to incorporate
an ethnorelative (Bennett) orientation, in which individuals understand
that there are many ways to look and act. An ethnorelative paradigm can be
charecterized as a "both/and" perspective.

The beauty of an ethnorelative mind-set is that, in terms of encountering
differences, it allows you to accept others' values because you are able
to embrace your own values without being threatened by another set of
values different from your own. AND this does require a significant
paradigm shift into more paradoxical, emergent kind of meaning-making, so
that your bubble is not burst by different data so much as it is able to
merge with new data and recede as it needs to, much like a cell interacts
with its environemt."

So the pivotal point here Karen is the ability to hold our own set of
values steady even while encountering others' values, in order to be able
to remain in a learning stance. And this is what you are encountering it
seems. So what's new here in what I am saying? Really not much! I suppose
that enhanced learning is the very reason for endevoring to create a LO in
the first place. And of course, to sustain a LO requires the ability to
continuously share values. That is straightforward enough. And yet, we
struggle and struggle with that piece. We have wars over our values

What to do to create those paradigm shifts that in theory seem so
sensible, but in practice feel so chaotic and threatening? How can we
sustain a stance of flexibility and learning? How can we actually attain
the ideals we imagine are possible for groups of humans struggling in what
are worthwhile endeavors? There are not straightforward easy fixes to
these questions. Or we'd all be out of work tommorrow. Still, idealist
that I am, I keep pressing forward with the rose spectacles firmly placed
on the tip of my imagination, convinced that history (and for that matter
herstory) emerges from dreams:

Continuing from the article:

"Ramsey theorizes that Aesthetic Interventions (TM) can be used to induce
paradigm shifts in order to move consciously and more frequently toward
ethnorelativity. As coined and defined by Ramsey, Aesthetic
Intervention(TM) induces cognitive/paradigm shifts that can move
individuals along a continuum from ethnocentricity to ethnorelativity; to
an emergent and more fluid construction of reality. In such a receptive
state one is more naturally apt to avail themselves of second-loop
learning and beyond, into what Ramsey terms 'Tertiary Wisdom©'. Tertiary
Wisdom involves a third, deeper or liminal [below the threshold of
consciousness] loop of learning. It is intuition and imagination, an
Apriori cognition that parallels second-order learning, but at higher

Ramsey recommends the use of Aesthetic Process© to enhance self-awareness
and invite ever deeper learning. In this way it becomes possible to build
invisible bridges between cultures where the value-bases are significantly
different. These processes include a range of intuitive technologies;
contemplative conduits that can help groups heal otherwise irreperable

I hope Karen in sharing the above that I am lending some value to your
difficult dilemma. Although I am still developing these ideas, it is
becoming clearer to me with each group I work with that the application of
aesthetic practices frees up rigid either/or constructs and allows
both/and creativity to emerge. This impacts learning and culture and
meaning-making like nothing else I have seen.

I have no idea if it is too late to work with your group in this way
Karen, but if it makes any sense to you to try an Aesthetic Intervention
of some kind then I would be willing to help you design one. If your
values (and values, in my book are literally a measure of one's sense of
beauty) are not engendering the beauty you seek then you might want to
re-evaluate them! Which is what, in your response to the great but never
wanted wisdom of circumstances forced upon you, you seem to be in the
process of doing anyway. Surely you will discover the renewal you so
deserve, and you will have learning of ever greater measure. This may be
value enough!

Night bird calling, day birds singing,


Argyris, C. (1984) in Asahi, M. and Levinson, N. S. (1995).
Cross-national alliances and interorganizational learning. Organizational
Dynamics. Autumn. 50 -63.
Bennett, M.J. (1993). Towards ethnorelativism:A developmental model of
intercultural sensitivity. Education for the intercultural experience.
Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural Press.
Hall, E.T. (1956). The silent language. NY: Doubleday.
Lewin, K. (1935). A dynamic theory of personality. NY, NY: Mcgraw Hill
Lewin, K. (1951). Field theory in social science. New York, Harper.
Ramsey, S. (1996). Searching for Home in the Marketplace. The New Bottom
Line: Bringing Heart and Soul to Business. NL Press. SF, CA.
Ramsey, S. (1997). Aesthetic Interventions. OD Practitioner, 28,
Ramsey, S. (1998). Aesthetic Interventions. OD Practitioner, 29,
Ramsey, S. (1999). Aesthetic Sense. Journal of AU/TL Association.
Ramsey, S. (1999). Overlay: DMIS. Bennett, M. (1993). Towards
ethnorelativism: A developmental model of intercultural sensitivity.
Education for the intercultural experience. Yarmouth, ME: Intercultural
Ramsey, S. (2001). Intercultural communication: Tacit wisdom, Aesthetic
Process and marginality. Ph.D. dissertation in progress. For publication
in 2002 by TUI Press. OH.
Senge, P. (1994) in Asahi, M. and Levinson, N. S. (1995). Cross-national
alliances and interorganizational learning. Organizational Dynamics.
Autumn. 50 -63.
Sajeela Moskowitz Ramsey
OD Specialist/Culture Generalist
2432 Villanova Drive/Vienna, VA. 22180
703 573 7050/ SajeelaCore


Sajeela M ramsey <>

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