Rose-coloured spectacles LO26266

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 03/04/01

Replying to LO26243 --

Dear Organlearners,

Karen Roles <> writes

>I am an occasional lurker here. I know little about
>the participants here or the content but this
>Rose-coloured discussion has captured my interest.
>Thanks Jack for finally asking the difficult questions.
>This discussion is at the heart of the reasons why I
>am considering a job change.

Greeting dear Karen,

This list is open for all people commited to endless learning. New-comers
and old-timers like sparingly and prolific writers -- all are welcome.

>I am an organizer for an effort that is attempting to
>build a statewide citizenship network. The principles
>that we base our work on have many similiarities to the
>principles that define a learning organization. I am losing
>faith in our effort not because it is not working but because
>it has become to costly to my soul to continue.

Your last sentence has touced my own spirit deeply. Thus I had to reply
to your quest rather than take it easy in recovering from my recent
operation. Your problem is also common here in South Africa. It makes me
wonder -- is it not a problem all over the world?

But before we go any further, may I offer you the wise advice of Jan Smuts
-- the father of holism -- "When in doubt, do the brave thing!"

Up to about thirty years ago the words "spirit" and "soul" were
synonymous. The word "spirit" was prefered to contrast the "soul" to which
we cannot connect with our material sensory organs. The word "soul" was
prefered to refer to the whole of all the "spirit" including such
faculties like energy, creativity, sensibility, mentality, character,
empathy and gentle nature. But since then the word "spirit" began to
replace the word "soul". It is something which I have learned to adapt to
because it even happened in my own mother tongue Afrikaans!

I have often contemplated the reasons for this replacement. Perhaps one of
them is linguistic -- from "spirit" we may form the quality "spirituality"
whereas for "soul" we will have to speak of "soulness". The word
"spirituality" seems to be more touching than the word "soulness". Perhaps
another reason is that orthodox clergy laid so much claim to the "soul"
that it lost its essential meaning. So what is this essential meaning?

Wholeness is just as crucial to the health of the soul as it is to the
health of the body. The body cannot function without any of its vital
organs like the brain, heart or liver. Likewise the soul cannot function
without any of its vital faculties like energy, creativity and the others
mentioned above. Any phenomenon of which its functionality depends on the
whole of its parts is called an emergent phenomenon. The soul (psyche)
like the body (physique) is an emergent phenomenon.(It is sad that nobody
seems to teach in chemistry that all molecules are emergent phenomena.)
Emergent phenomena can be terminated by destructive immergences. Undoing
any one of the seven essentialities of creativity (liveness, sureness,
wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness, otherness, openness) will lead to a
destructive immergence. (It is easy to demonstrate this destructive
immergence in chemistry.) For example, fragmenting the wholeness of the
soul so as to lay claim on any particular faculty of it as if that faculty
should function on its own will cost the soul the immergence into a
"jumbled intelligence".

Nothing can be worth so much to a person that it costs the soul of that
person, leaving behind a body occupied with a "jumbled intelligence". Yet
we are daily confronted with issues which place our very souls in peril.
Karen, you have been very brave to let it be known that you will not
participate forever in a venture which will eventually cost you your soul.
Sometimes I lack that bravery in the academical world. This world has
deteriorated for me into a "jumbled intelligence" consisting of hundreds
of disciplines. In the far majority of these disciplines academical
excellence is measured in terms of the number of papers published
disclosing new information with regard to that discipline. Anything else
not pertaining to that discipline is seldom accepted. Thus wholeness plays
little role, if any, in each of these disciplines. Consequently the vast
majority of the papers published in them are without any soul. (Not even
one in ten thousand papers on chemistry has even the slightest reference
to wholeness.) I myself have managed for twenty one years to lead an
academical life in which I did not have to leave my soul behind. But I
fear, yes, I fear that it soon will come to an end -- I will be weighed
and be found too light for disciplinary excellence.

People often conclude that since the majority of members of an
organisation have to learn continually for that organisation to adapt and
survive, the organisation itself has to be a "learning organisation". This
is like concluding that the body is living since each of its organs is
living. However, were it not for wholeness, the living organs would never
have emerged into a living body. Likewise, should some of the learning
members of an organisation be oblivious or indifferent to wholeness, that
organisation does not constitute a Learning Organisation. In fact, should
merely one member of a so-called "learning organisation" have to give up
his/her soul to remain a member of that organisation, that organisation is
factually not a Learning Organisation despite all its claims. This is
actually the acid test for me whether an organisation is a LO or not. The
soul of every member of a Learning Organisation is most precious to every
other member of it, including the managers.

Karen, when you write "it has become to costly to my soul to continue", I
wonder what of your soul has been put to such peril. Is it any faculty of
your soul, or is it one or more of the seven essentialities which are the
"sufficiency condition" for these faculties to operate as the soul? For
example, is it wholeness which you have to give up so as to succeed with
the "citizenship network"? I use the strange term "sufficiency condition"
because the emergent soul operates as a result of both the "necessary
condition" and "sufficiency condition". The "necessary condition" is
something which you perhaps never even have heard of before. It involves
the meandering of entropic force-flux pairs from the edges of chaos where
new orders of the soul emerge to the valeys of equilibrium where these
orders mature. What are these entropic force-flux pairs?

Nothing can change without entropy production. Entropy is produced by
force-flux pairs. Sometimes these force-fluc pairs and thus the entropy
production are beneficial to us . But at other times they can become
detrimental to us. In the quote below you speak of "values", your own
values and the values of the group. You mention two "values", grace and
accountability. When we have to decide between two parts, this pending
decision always sets up a detrimental entropic force when these two parts
belong to a greater whole. For example, when a child has to choose
between a mother or father, it sets up a derimental entropic force since
the mother and father as a whole operate as the parents of that child. On
the other hand, when the father and mother act in harmony, they also set
up an entropic force, but in this case beneficial to the child. Likewise
grace and accountability have to harmonise so as form a beneficial
entropic force. A detrimental entropic force in the spirit is usually
called a stress (tension). A beneficial entropic force is usually called a

The entropic flux corresponding to this force is your thoughts concerning
accountability and grace. The greater this force, the more chaotic your
thoughts on these two values. It will even spill over into your thoughts
on other issues. You may often have wild (way out) thoughts on any other
issue trying to cope with it. You may seriously question standard
practices. You may wonder why it is that you seem to be the only one aware
to inconsistencies. All this is necessary so that your emerging thoughts
eventually can focus on a solution which will satisfy you. You may even
long for someone to take a firm standpoint, for better or worse, so that
you can organise your own thoughts. This is where I wish to come in to set
up a beneficial entropic force.

I can now speak only in terms of my own understanding. In other words,
what I have to say apply to me, but need not to apply to anyone else. The
reason why I tell my viewpoint is to help creating a beneficial entropic
force so that other learners can find out what applies to each of them. An
entropic force is always a difference between two instantitiations of a
quality. I supply the one instantiation and the learner will supply the
other one from his/her own tacit knowlege. Please be careful -- to demand
in advance conformity (zero difference) is to deny the role which entropic
forces have in physical and spiritual development. Thus I have no
greviance at all when you will be differing from me. You may differ as
much as what will suite you. This is how it is for me.

Grace and accountability form a most extraordinary complementary dual. In
my spirituality I distinguish a complex hirarchy of levels. Deep down I am
aware of my creativty as a level and high up I am aware of my
unconditional love as a level. In accountability there is progression of
lowers to higher orders. For example, my creativity is accountable to my
learning as a higher order while my learning is acountable to my believing
as an even higher order. But in grace there is a progression from the
higher to the lower orders. My unconditional love (love-agape) extends
grace to my believing (faith) as lower order while my faith extends grace
to my learning as even a lower order. To summarise -- accountability is to
climb up (front-action) in the ladder of spirituality while grace is step
down (back-action) along the ladder of spirituality, bringing richness
along with it. So if I have to decide between accountability or grace, it
means that I will not be able to move in both the higher and lower
directions of my spirituality. This will be most detrimental for me
because the upward climbing has a pushing character whereas the downward
climbing has a pulling character. My creativity pushes my caring love
whereas my caring love pulls my creativity. To have the one without the
other will place an immense constraint on my wholeness.

It is often the same in any organisation which involves many members.
Lower ranks are accountable to higher ranks while they are accountable to
even more higher ranks. At the top is the CEO who is accountable for the
whole organisation. Whereas this upward pushing of accountability is
usually very clear in an organisation, the downward pulling of grace is
often just a fleeting perturbation. The CEO might excuse managers from the
highest rank for not performing as they should have, encouraging them to
do better next time. Higher ranks may encourage lower ranks to strive for
a better future rather than reprimanding them for past behaviours not up
to standard.

I know that this "upwards reaction" and simultaneous "downwards reaction"
sounds most confusing. But think of it as a chemical reaction which always
consists if two reactions going in opposite directions --
. A + B => A:B
. A:B => A + B

The "free energy" of each reaction (forwards or backwards) determines the
ratio of the one to the other. (In chemistry the ratio is expressed by the
so called equilibrium constant K.) The direction with the most availble
"free energy" will dominate. These forward-backward reactions in chemistry
are most confusing to most students. Thus it is foolish to expect lesser
confusion for the much more complex upwards-downwards reactions in
spirituality. Despite this confusion, one thing can be stressed. The
spirituality of the person or the management of the organisation has a
clear disposition (tendency) towards accountability or grace. Thus it will
act according to this disposition because it has the "free energy" to do

Karen, having said so much self in seemingly mystic terms, I have immense
respect for your honest articulation as follows:

>We have organized around our own religion - a set
>of values that we call the civic organizing framework.
>This is very ironic because I happen to work for the
>institutional church. The problem arises when you get
>beyond your initial core group of believers...when you
>run into people who don't quite buy into the religion you
>are preaching. Then the orthodoxy has a decision to
>make. Do we allow people to come into our organization
>and disrupt it with their 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 that we must insist on the orthodoxy. That if a person
>is not "buying-in" to our view of the universe then it is not in
>our best interest to maintain that relationship. But of course
>this ends up working against us in the end. I am struggling
>with the spiritual question about the balance between grace and
>accountability. Our network believes much more in accountability
>than grace. I however am a believer in grace. 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.

The key to the solution of your problem is your most remarkable admission
" I am struggling with the spiritual question about the balance between
grace and accountability". What you have discovered is that your own
equilibrium constant K is displaced far more towards grace than to
accountability whereas those K's of your collaborators are more to the
opposite. It means that you derive much more "free energy" from grace than
from accountability. In fact, you articulate it as "Our network believes
much more in accountability than grace. I however am a believer in
grace.". It means that whenever you have to act, you can change the world
along the course of grace whereas the network assumes that it will change
the world along the cource af accountability.

Why do I say "change the world"? Entropy production is necessary for all
changes. However, to produce entropy requires "free energy" F. The "free
energy" F of any system is the remainder of its "total energy" E not
locked up to preserve its present organisation. When most of the system's
energy is needed to preserve its present organisation, very little "free
energy" remains to change that organisation. I am often surprised at how
much "free energy" God has to extend grace to us. God is infinite. He is
not bound to the present as the condition to enter the eternal. In fact,
He urges us to give up the present organisation which is temporary to gain
in the everlasting organisation which is eternal -- to shift from what is
patently human so as to inherit what is godly -- to emerge from from
pleasure seekers to authentic friends of God who know that grace rather
than accounatbility is God's signature. (For me this infinite capacity for
"free energy" is a most profound characteristic of God.)

Saint Paul teaches us clearly that God places a high premium on
accountability. This premium is so high that only in Jesus of Nazareth it
had been fulfilled. Jesus was the only sacrifice worthy to sastisfy God's
insitance on accountability. Why? This insistance (upwards progression) on
the accountability of Jesus was necessary to open up God's grace
(downwards progression) to all of us. It was God's demonstration of the
peculiar "one-to-many-mapping" so typical of all creation, for example
evolution. But St Paul also teaches us, and forive my profane rticulation,
that God's equilibrium constant K is displaced far more to grace than
accountability. Yes, God wants each of us to evolve upwards to God in
accountability, but for that God extends far more grace down to us.
Without God's gracefull pulling (back-action) little will become of our
accountable pushing (front-action).

Karen, we have to try and understand why the orthodox clergy places so
much emphasis on accountability rather than grace. For me it has to do
with the profound difference between Authentic Mental Behaviour (AMB) and
Rote Mental Behaviour (RMB). AMB is godly whereas RMB makes the godly
banal by habit and conformity, the two most serious outcomes of judgement.
The most clearest manifestation of AMB and RMB is in authentic learning
versus rote learning. In rote learning we have to faithfully trace and
reproduce the past learning of others But in authentic learning we have to
faithfully trace the godly within us -- to create self while making sure
that our creations are beneficial to others. Questioning has no role in
rote learning -- only submission is required to the creativity of those
who have preceded us. They define the standards to which we become
accountable. But in authentic learning questioning becomes the very key to
our understanding. I myself was surprised to learn from the Bible that God
pleads with us to question Him endlessly so as to learn authentically..
Why was I surprised? In my church questioning God is considered as the
ultimate sin, much worser than judging God.

Today I know that questioning God involves also questioning what others in
the past learned from God through their own questioning. Questioning their
learning is dangerous whereas questioning God is to our benefit. I know
this by experience. Often I have to struggle self against the urge "to
make mince meat" of someone who questions me. I think it has to do with
our predisposition towards judgement. Somehow we interpret questioning as
the means to make a judgement raher than as the means to learn
authentically. I suspect that a complementary pair is acting here too with
an equilibrium constant drifting towards judgement rather than
questioning. Perhaps it has to do with our general ignorance tosards tacit
knowledge. The only way which I know of to delve in my tacit knowledge is
by questioing it incessantly. The reason is curious -- every question has
already some part of the answer to it. This part is exactly that fraction
of our tacit knowledge we are able to articulate.

Nevertheless, Karen, I cry with you when the wholeness of my soul is
endangered by bowing to the authoriry of the past learnings of others.
This becomes the worst for me when it has to do with issues of faith when
I have to submit to these past learnings as the dogma of the church. You
say that that "That if a person is not "buying-in" to our view of the
universe then it is not in our best interest to maintain that
relationship." Shutting a person out is for me a very painful thing. But
is for me even far more painful that when a person actually inclined to
our view of the universe is questioning that view to make further sure of
its authenticity, then that person is reckoned to worsen our viewpoint and
weakening the relationships which we value so much. For me citing any
dogma rather than questioning it is like waving a red cloth in front of a
bull -- rebellion is in the making.
Is this rebellion against dogma significant of the the godly within us or
of the demonial within us? It is a question which I honestly cannot
answer. But even worser, it is a question of which its answer by others I
cannot accept as my own answer. I am now a grand father. I find it most
compelling that my two grand children like my own children before them and
like many other kids, resist this unconditional acceptance of rote answers
to their questioning. If they cannot create the answer self, they rebel
against the answer provided. They would gladly suffer the perils while
searching self for the answer rather than following the safe and easy
option of copying the condoned answers of others in the past.

Perhaps it has to do with a crucial aspect of our human becoming -- we
live for the complex future rather than for the simpler past. We adhere to
the arrow of time (one of many manifestations of "entropy production")
rather than trying to reverse it. We honour the uniqueness of our
spiritual evolution rather than subjecting ouselves to common claims. Bur
we are not less human and certainly not demonial for doing it. We merely
act as learning humans despite our age. Do we learn because we have too
little godly in us or do we learn because of the very godly within us? I
honestly do not know. But I suspect that we advance in the godly through
authentic learning.

>Jack, I am printing out your message where you listed
>five questions. These questions are a gift to me as I try
>to sort out the mess I am in the midst of. Thanks.

Is this not what authentic learning is about -- to sort out the mess we
are in? Is this not what Learning Organisations are about -- to provide us
with an environment in which we can succeed in sorting out the mess?

It is good to have as much people as possible who are ready to give
account of their walk and talk. This makes society safe. But it is far
better to also have people who extend grace in their walk and talk. This
makes that safe society more than bearable -- it makes us at home in

Karen, may the grace of the God of grace be with you along your meandering
path of learning. Continue to be brave in following the path of grace to
help making all of us at home in the universe.

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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