Archetypes LO26486

From: J.C. Lelie (
Date: 04/04/01

Replying to LO26482 --

HelLO-listeners, dear At,

Your mail is a raiser, questions and answers too, a two step,

"AM de Lange" <> wrote:
... snip ...
>I like your suggestion. Should we translate the Dutch word "steig"+"er" (tool
>for raising) into English in both meaning and form, it would be "raise"+"er" or
>Thus, what hinders me in your fine suggestion is not the functioning of the
>caffold, but what we do with the scaffold itself. Should we keep on constructing
>with it, your fine suggestion becomes a lovely metaphor. But should we throw it
>away afterwards so as to pollute the mental environment with other discarded
>construction tools, then our minds will suffer. I think that this what Gavin Ritz
>had in mind by speaking out against the proliferation of managerial junk.

I do not know what Gavin had in mind, but I do have in mind that the
deconstructed construction tools are on the one hand recycled and on the
other hand are "polluting" our environment. Altough polluting has a
negative connotation. The former raisers have left their impression, like
fossiles, like rudiments.

One of the major rudiments, a raiser we're still dealing with, is belief
in God, a God as Raiser, creator. To me the belief - any belief, including
this mail - was and is a necessary step in the development of thought,
meaning, law and order, a means to an end: a meaningfull life. A kind of
experiment in learning, a raiser of doubt and security (my motto is
"securitas in dubio", security in doubt, "zekerheid in twijfel"). But
precisely because these scaffolds support our thinking, we have trouble in
getting rid of the parts we no longer need. Some of the parts have become
our worst enemies, or at least of some other people living - and fighting
- not far from here. Although the beliefs were meant to do support us, as
a people, for the bigger good - and they did - we have come to a point, a
counter point, an appointment, a turning point, a strangely attractive
bifurcation were we have to incorporate an enlightend belief and must get
rid of this scaffold. And then the next and the next and the next....

In and on a way, we have to destroy in order to construct. As you pointed
out in another mail: the library, the encyclopedia, the scaffold of our
culture was partly destroyed - and i agree with you that i too would
rather have seen it another way - but it also made people stop and think
and discuss and write again. As a result of the destruction of the written
words, we now have these achetyping machines... The Raiser is death, long
live the Raiser. What if the second resurection - any second now according
to some - is only metaphorical? But let me return to the subject at hand.

>>Every form, content, derives from another form.
>>But these precursors of forms or processors of
>>content have a different content, just like a scaffold
>>is not the building, but it is a building for building.
>I am not sure whether we think the same here.

I'm sure we do.

> As I see it, think of any level of
>complexity which has content and form. When going to the next higher level,
>all the content&form of the first level becomes the content of the second level
>which develops its own first Order Form (1st OF). Likewise all the content&form
>of the second level becomes the content of the third level which again develops
>its own second Order Form (2nd OF). So what we have, is
>. "PC"&"1st OF"&"2nd OF"&"3rd OF"....
>where PC is the Primordial Content.

As i see it, complexity grows: the 1st Order Form is a kind of state
transition from the PC. It has its own form and content, of course derived
from the premordial* content, but not containing it - at most stained by
it. 2nd order form is the next stable stage in complexity and might use
some tricks from the previous stages, but it is, in my opinion, a
different form and content developed but different. But i think that we
only differ in the meaning of becoming and the meaning of contending and

>I think that Leibnitz with his notion of "monads" tried to tell us something of
>this "primordial content"

Dunno, sorry.

>I think that Jan Smut's idea of "holism", i.e. "increasing wholeness" so that
>"the sum of the parts is less than the emerging whole" is in a similar direction
>too. Here, in the pattern
>. "PC"&"1st OF"&"2nd OF"&"3rd OF"....
>we have
>. "PC"&"1st OF" = "Innumerous 1st OWs"
>. "PC"&"1st OF"&"2nd OF" = "many 2nd OWs"
>. "PC"&"1st OF"&"2nd OF"&"3rd OF"= "fewer 3rs OWs
>where OW stands for Ordered Whole.

I think I agree, but as I understand it, the ordered wholes get more and
more complex.

>Perhaps most compelling is that in the quantum mechanical construction of
>the atom (nucleus in the centre and electrons surrounding it) we again get this
>pattern that the less complex electronic configuration is encompassed by the
>more complex electronic configuration in complexer atoms. The next level of
>complexity is the electronic configuration of the molecule.

The quantum mechanical construction, I like that notion, because it is a
construction in our minds, not an actual construction. The fundamental
particles leave their polution behind in the tracks and spores of the
cloud chambers - and we construct, mentally, some theories to explain. But
at the ad fundum, the fundamental particles have no "notion" of us and
neither have we of them of what is or might have happen on their level of

>>Any archetype, in my view, is neither contentless
>>nor formless.
>I want agree with you, but let us move cautiously ahead by questions. First of
>all, what you say using alternative denial is logically equivalent to "any archetype
>has content and form". Do you understand it like this? I do.

I also want to agree with you, but the double negation was intentionally
used and the logical equivalent you mention is true but not what i mean. I
wanted to imply the digital (yes/no logic) and the analogue (both)
reasoning, to point out that any archetype is experienced on the level of
archetypes and discussed on meta- level.

>Secondly, what you
>say applies to each level of complexity of the material world from subatomic
>particles to galaxies. But what about the abstract world?

abstract worlds are like the world of ideas, bottomless and endless. The
material world has its own limits. And not only that: the world of ideas
derives its meaning - if any - from the material world. So the raiser of
the abstract world is the material world. Having said this, i do think
that when we develop our knowledge of the abstract worlds, we'll find that
it somehow implies the concrete. But i doubt that we'll be able to find
out if this is a result from reasoning from the material to the abstract
or the other way around. Here we'll have to use a double negation again:
paradox rules.

>For example, mathematicians have defined a point as being circular but having
>no diameter and a line as tracing a form but having no thickness. These "forms
>without content" (points, lines, surfaces) kept mathematicians happy for three
>millennia until Brouwer began to ask his famous topological questions. Today
>some mathematicians (called the categorists) think of points, lines and surfaces
>as things each enclosed in a "topos" (space) as content outside them.

I have only a rudimentary idea of Brouwer and our mathematrics*,
metamagical games, metamatemaforically speaking.
>The traditional mathematics of more than two millennia (but not postmodern
>categorial mathematics) do not differ from other abstract subjects. The general
>idea is that "form is like an empty container which has to be filled up with
>content". We know that in the physical world this is absurd, unless former
>content is displaced by latter content should they not add together. This was
>discovered already by Archimedes more than two millennia ago, making him to
>run naked through the street crying "Eureka" (I have it).

Uncovered ;-).

>To overcome this "form without content" restriction in thermodynamics,
>Prigogine complexified /_\S(sy) -- the change /_\ in entropy S of the system SY
>-- into two parts:
>. /_\S(sy) = /_\(rev)S(sy) + /_\(irr)S(sy)
>The part /_\(rev)S(sy) refer to a displacing (if not adding) of content&form with
> with some other content&form. But the part /_\(irr)S(sy) refer to the content of
>the system SY which stays the same while its form changes irreversibly from
>form to form.


>You write that the archetype
>>It is a pre-shaped form and like any figure,
>>it cannot exist without a ground.
>>Figure and ground. Why? Because we cannot
>>think, read or write without a pre-existing form.
>I would rather say "pre-existing" content&form. This "pre-existing" content&form
>is nothing else than which the Law of Requisite Complexity applies to. For me
>it means that this "pre-existing" content&form IS ALREADY COMPLEX and not
>simple. That is why we encounter topics such us "becoming-being",
>"identity-context, "unity-associations" in dialogues on this "pre-existing"


>I would also add that "we cannot think, read or write without a pre-existing
>content&form". It corresponds with what has been for me one of the most powerful
>rules of creativity -- "nothing can be created in the void". Or to put it in different
>ords, everything has to be created upon a requisite content&form.

I have some doubts. "nothing can be create in the void" is true, but
nothing can be created in the void is not. I also do not know if
everything has to be created upon a requisite content&form. For one thing,
i can not know everything and also i assume that some opposites are
created just by splitting "nothing" or at least some not prerequisite
content&form. That we cannot think otherwise is because our thinking -
perhaps with the exclusion of the intuitive notion of "wholeness" - is

>>So I was enlightened when Ad came with the
><suggestion of "grondvorm". It created with me
>>the thought (theSotS (South of the Sahara)) of the
>>archtypical landscape of the African
>>Savanne. Wonder where that came from.
>When the European settlers of Dutch, Lower German, German, French and
>English origins had to settle them in South Africa with its immense diversity
>and rapid changes, they had to adapt even their languages to speak effectively
>of such a vastly different world. Afrikaans emerged as the common language.
>Prior to the days of dictionaries, Afrikaners could create new words in terms
>of their tacit knowledge on language. One way of creating new words was by
>effectively connecting "noun" with "noun" without any restrictions what-so-ever.
>The word "grond-vorm" ("ground"+form") is such a connection. It is the
>recognition of an archaic pattern which involves both "form" (vorm) and
>"content" (ground).

These types of languages - called pidgin or someting like it, papiemento
belongs also to them - are interesting just because they seem to be
derived more directly - or again - from our common archetypical source.
They reflect the grondvorm of languages, tongues As you might know one of
our Dutch ministers of foreign affairs - Luns - once remarked that of all
the animal sounds, the Dutch resembled a language the most. He barely
survived in the parliament.

>I am not sure how old this word is, but I suspect it goes back a few centuries.
>The people of South Africa (San - Bushmen -yellow, Khoi - Hottentots - brown,
>Banthu - black people and European settlers - white people) soon became
>aware that although they differ in most things, they are similar in some things.
>These things in which they are similar were called "grondvorme" (ground forms).

If it is derived from "grunt form", it must be very old indeed, ;-).

>Sadly, the ideology and policy of apartheid undid many of this intercultural
>understandings. Furthermore, the coming of dictionaries of Afrikaans caused
>many speakers to lose their ability to create a new word on the spur of the
>moment to articulate what they tacitly know.

I once heard a theory that Afrikaans might have been created by children.
The adults had trouble understanding each other - and still have, by the
way - and had no a common tongue. The playing children assimilated what
they found into a simple communication tool, no meaning intended. It seems
that sometimes twins start to develop a language of their own in much the
same way. Afterall, a language is just a consensually validated grammar of
interlocked behaviour to reduce equivocality. Wonder what gave me that
impression. It is late, i have to stop now.

take care, with love,

Jan Lelie

>Some Afrikaner educationalists used the word "grondvorme" in the sense of
>the term "essences" of Husserl's phenomenology. This connects their concept
>of "grondvorme" to the much older concept of "Uhrphaenomen" of Goethe.

I got what i asked for, and more. Thank you.

Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM
LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development
mind@work - Group Decision Process Support + 31 (0)70 3243475


"J.C. Lelie" <>

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