Members Of The Human Race With Passion LO26315

From: John Dicus (
Date: 03/09/01

Replying to LO26307 --

Dear Learners,

This post was sparked by three messages concerning poetry and measurement.
Let me first say, however, that I respect Yekoutiel Sabah's inquiry with
respect to the measurement of organizational learning and understand the
need for such. That said, here goes....

In LO26287 Hanching Chung writes:
"How about a saying by Confucius, 'Education begins with poetry, is
strengthened through proper conduct and consummated through music.'"

In LO26300 Barry Mallis asks:
"Could a poem be synthesized from our LO imaginations? And what would it
capture, this collective poem of ours, where, perhaps, instead of the
helix'ed ideas so complex, unique, intertwined, we make a titration of the
essence, like...Compassion, let's say? Yeah, yeah, it's off the edge, it's
"romantic," it hasn't the harder symmetry we're looking for in applicable
answers to complexity problems of learning and groups. Don't we have to
leave the agora for a breath of country air now and again? Ah, but there
is a kind of poetics in your contributions, dear LO'ers. Out in the world
it dies of cold.

And in LO26307 (Measuring Organizational Learning) Yekoutiel Sabah asks:
Dear Co-learners, I am looking for tools/questionnaires/protocols for
Measuring Organizational Learning and particularly in Social services. I
looked back at the learn-org archives and find only 2 short threads on
that issue. Nothing conclusive on the net and in libraries as well. I
will appreciate any help on that.

Some of you may remember the segment from Robin William's movie "Dead
Poet's Society" where he began a class session by asking one of his
students to read "Understanding Poetry" by Dr. J. Evans Pritchert, PhD.
Following is the essence of that segment:

The Student read:

"To fully understand poetry, we must first be fluent with its meters,
rhyme and figures of speech. Then ask two questions: one, how artfully
has the objective of the poem been rendered, and two, how important is
that objective? Question one rates the poem's perfection. Question two
rates its importance. And once these questions have been answered,
determining a poem's greatness becomes a relatively simple matter. If the
poem's score for perfection is plotted on the horizontal of a graph and
its importance is plotted on the vertical, then calculating the total area
of the poem yields the measure of its greatness.

"A sonnet by Byron might score high on the vertical but only average on
the horizontal. A Shakespearian sonnet on the other hand would score high
on both the horizontal and the vertical yielding a massive total area
thereby relating the true greatness of the poem. S=PxI.

"As you proceed through the poetry in this book, practice this rating
method. As your ability to evaluate poems in this manner grows, so will
your enjoyment and understanding if poetry."

Robin William's character responded by saying "Excrement!" He continued:

"We're not laying pipe, we're talking about poetry. American Bandstand:
'I like Byron but I only give him a 42. I can't dance to him.' Rip out
this page. This is a battle -- a war. And the casualties could be your
hearts and souls. Armies of academics going forward measuring poetry.
Learn to think for your selves again. Learn to savor words and language.
No matter what anybody tells you, words and language can change the world.

"'19th century literature has nothing to do with going to business school
and medical school,' you say. 'I'll just learn the rhyme and meter and go
about my business quietly,' you say.

"Huddle up -- I've got a secret for you. We don't read and write poetry
because it's cute (fashionable). We read and write poetry because we are
members of the human race -- and the human race is filled with passion.
The harder aspects of life are necessary too -- to sustain life... but
poetry, beauty, romance, love -- these are what we live for. To quote
Walt Whitman, '...what good are you amid these 'hard' things... ...oh me,
oh life... ...that you are here, that life exists, an identity... ...and
the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse.' What will your
verse be?"

Back to me (John).

An LO by Peter Block might score high on the vertical but only average on
the horizontal. A Sengean LO on the other hand would score high on both
the horizontal and the vertical yielding a massive total area thereby
relating the true greatness of the organization.


Indeed. What will my verse be? When I excitedly awoke from my self- and
corporate-induced sleep a number of years ago, I vowed never to get
"comfortably numb" again. Now, time and again, things feel too
intellectual and too hard. Much of the conversation here (and I'm a
co-conspirator) is "in the head." I want to feel -- to experience -- more
deeply than ever before -- what we can "be" in organizations that are
alive. Organizations that are packed with people like you and me that are
fully alive and living life with passion. Maybe that's my measure??

We don't strive toward LO's just because it's fashionable. We are members
of the human race and we are filled with passion. Our words and language
can indeed change the world.

Your fellow sojourner,



John Dicus 2761 Stiegler Road Valley City OH 44280 330-723-0111

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.