Archetypes LO26477

From: John Zavacki (
Date: 04/03/01

Replying to LO26469 --

Gavin has an interesting and convincing position:

> Whatever the case is Systems Thinking Archetypes in my opinion are not
> archetypes. More like patterns of process. (call them
> archetypal process
> maybe).
> > What's the difference between a label and the
> > container it labels, Alice?
> Very large this is one of the key issues that bedevils many
> people they confuse the label with the real thing.

There is an pattern of behavior (an archetype??) which does just that.
The label is, to many, the thing. It's interesting, because many words
used to label concepts or physical entities are derived not from the thing
in itself, but from something analagous to the thing from which it was
deduced, or induced. Jungian archetypes describe kernels of behavior.
The manifestations of those behaviors may not be the same as the jester or
the wise old man in literature after whom they were named, but the
behaviors themselves contain enough elements of the characters' behavior
to have identity for analogy's sake. Many of the kernels in psychological
theory are more molecular in nature than atomic. That is, they are
clusters of behaviors rather that singular behaviors. The same applies in
most other social science, with the exception, perhaps, of linguisitics.
There, a kernel is more atomic, but atomic in the sense that it may stand
alone (action may be a kernel, as a fundamental property of certain kinds
of verbs, in certain kinds of sentences). The problem with thinking about
kernels or archetypes (which are, indeed, from the way Gavin has described
them, patterns of process) is the assumption which is often made that they
are universal. Herein lies the container:contained rub.

It is this issue which makes me think the Essentialities of deLange, the
10 commandments, or any other list of behaviors starting points rather
than endpoints. I like archetypes. They make me think about behaviors
and give me an associative base from which to start. But, for purposes of
growing and sustaining organizational learning, they are only starting
points which give me the questions to ask myself daily:

What do I need to learn?
What do I need to teach?
How should I act to foster learning and teaching?

Thinking, without manifest behavior is intellectual narcissism. Writing
without practice is partial teaching. It is behavior that proves the

John Zavacki

 The more original a discovery, the more obvious it seems afterwards.

--Arthur Koestler


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