Poor Dead Kitty-cat and Reality? LO26492

From: Sajeela M ramsey (sajeelacore@juno.com)
Date: 04/07/01

Replying to LO26447 --

Hello Alfred,

Glad you were able to respond. My comments follow yours ----

On Tue, 27 Mar 2001 13:52:34 +0200 Alfred Rheeder <pvm@pixie.co.za>
>Sajeela writes:
> > When we cease to experience the actuality of an experience, and we begin
> > to believe that the abstraction of that moment is more real then the
> > moment itself, have we lost the beauty of the moment and therefore cease
> > to accurately predict/measure/value that moment? Conventional wisdom would
> > have us believe that the abstraction is more accurate, which is like Truth
> > with a capital T --- it excludes all other truths and therefore is a
> > distortion of reality.

And Alfred replied:
> I'm of the opinion that the actuality of the experience and the
> abstraction of the experience form a complementary pair and is not in
> conflict with each other.

I agree with the caviat that I explained above. Eurowestern thinking
gives far too much credence to abstractions, even and perhaps especially
in the world of scientific sensate "fact".

Alfred goes on to respond to Sajeela's post:
> The moment the abstraction becomes more
> important than the actuality of the experience - something is
> impaired.
> Is the fragmentation of the physical and spiritual not an important
> cause of the lost of beauty?

Approximately what I was saying I believe.

Alfred continues, citing Sajeela:
> > Tertiary Wisdom (Ramsey 1996,1997). [ allows for more accurately gauging
> > the emergent nature of organisations and occurs long before the moment one
> > is recognising and absorbing meaning; is intuited. Learning in this way
> > may allow for dramatic changes in awareness beyond that of double loop or
> > second order knowledge] as I know it is actually not capturable --- or
> > once captured, it ceases to be what it is, and is instead an "image"
> > formed by the perceiver. So I would say this: Tertiary Wisdom can be
> > observed, known, felt, experienced, but probably not contained.

Alfred replies:
> Whenever the surroundings "interrogate" the system, the organisation of
> the system will change! I belief you are right when you say "it ceases to
> be what it is". I am compelled to ask whether we should endeavour to
> "contain" Tertiary Wisdom (as I currently understand it)?

Sajeela: NO NO NO! Not containable --- understandable but not containable.
If it is contained it merely converts over to what it isn't --- because it
is, after all, a purely subjective experience of pure energy unbound ---
once bound it ceases to be unbound and begins to lose energy.

> I have often
> become aware how often we endeavour to capture the emergent nature of
> organisations through quantitative measurements - falsely believing that
> the quantitative measurements will reveal the whole truth.

Yes, yes and yes.

Alfred replies:
> I do not believe that words are necessarily frozen.

Yes, and that depends on if words are part of an oral culture or part of a
literate culture. The Tasaday tribes of Asia pacific believe words are
magical. I so know that as a poet and speaker. Yet words are taken for
granted and become profane in popular culture and in every day
communication. This is somewhat inevitable since words are our original
human technology --- an extension of our bodies.

> I am however of the
> opinion that words often get "frozen" because of the peculiar nature of
> the mental model that you mentioned, the mental model of sensing and
> observing that things are happening by the presence of or in relation to
> things in an exact and iconic way!

Well, actually, it is interesting what you believe, because to me it is
the exact opposite ------ I believe that if one can remain in the present
moment with a given thought and not hang on to it that no word will ever
become "frozen". It is a whole other way of languaging that I am referring
to. But to keep words magical and non-frozen I believe one must be sensing
and observing that things are happening in the present moment in an exact
and iconic way. But that icon or meaning, once constructed, must be
released or it will become frozen. Now this is not very practical, but
perhaps you can understand my point.

Alfred goes on to quote Sajeela:
> > Yes, we have many extensions/technologies that
> > capture moments well, including language. But of what good are
> > these to the human condition?

And then Alfred responds:
> I belief we do allot worse than we tend to think. Just think for a moment
> about the LO dialog that we are all participating in. We are often not
> very "successful" capturing the moment through language.

Sajeela is quoted:
> > This is the crux or issue of Value. If we focus on
> > capturing the moment and harnessing this to predict drivers of future
> > business wealth, how are we shaping the future? In whose
> > interests, and why? With what longterm impacts on which stakeholders?

Alfred replies:
> Yes, yes! The questions you have raised are extremely important. I
> suspect the answer to the questions asked and the implications
> thereof is
> staggering - almost beyond our comprehension. I have contemplated the
> questions you have asked in the past and the conclusions I reached
> shocked
> my out of my wits. I would like to share my thinking regarding these
> issues.
> The nice "old' issue of value. Well, we use this word Value to
> describe
> so many situations and we extract so many meanings from it. What is
> the
> value of the company? What is the value of the assets? On what
> values do
> you base your existence? We can go on and on.... As far as I am
> concerned there's two dimensions to Value that complements each
> other - a
> physical and abstract dimension (We could probably even name them
> "physical value" and "spiritual value").

I would agree with you Alfred on the above. And I would add to the
dialectical observation that value has a spiritual and physical dimension.
I believe every thing on the physical plane has both and then some. I
believe there are many dimensions to every entity, real or imagined. AND
most importantly of all, I believe, as anthropologist Victor Turner has
said, that Beauty is the value of all values, and has a morphogenetic
place in evolution. That is to say it is needed for us to survive as a

Alfred goes on to contemplate:
> I belief that the complementary
> duality of these values are imbedded in the organisation of any system.
> The complementary duality of these values play a crucial role in the
> organisation of a system/s.
> We have become extremely adept at focussing on moments - a snapshots. We
> often use a snapshot to predict the future with disastrous consequences. I
> really contemplate going to the local cinema in order to stare at a
> "frozen"/ paused frame for two hours...Have you ever seen such an
> intriguing "movie". Imagine the review of the "movie" in the "movie
> review" column!
> I would like to explore the movie metaphor further. When we refer to a
> movie do we not merely refer to the change in snapshots in a continuum of
> time and space? Yip I believe so. The change of the frames/"snapshots"
> in a continuum of time and space constitute a movie. I am convinced that
> the "movie" is extremely important and we are often not looking at it!
> Does the importance of the "movie" mean that the "snapshots" are not
> important? I do not think so. They must be complementary. Try to think
> away the snapshots - will the movie still exist? Try to think away the
> movie - will the snapshots still exist?
> I believe that focusing on the snapshots alone thus excluding the movie
> (pattern/trends etc) is a manifestation of a paradigm of simplicity.
> Focusing on the movie and snapshots as a complementary pair is a
> manifestation of a paradigm of complexity.

I agree Alfred, although apparently in complexity theory simplicity does
not nessecarily connote non-complex. That said, then perhaps simple
notions are not nessecarily positivist. I haven't figured this puzzle out
yet, though I suspect that at least socially speaking, and paradigms are
cultural/social phenomenon, that pluralistic or complex thinking would
include a much larger or whole focus on the entire movie and its snapshots
simultaneously, as opposed to a focus on the single frame. But I may be
overly simplistic in my thinking on this. Even so, the movie is in the can
so to speak. Same moveie, frame by frame, over and over again. It is a
time storage device, as all technologies of communication. Therefore it
"freezez" particular moments in time and space by encapsulating them and
cloning them over an over again!

Alfred says:

> As an example I would like to share an important experience we had.

(snip) Alfred shares a story about his company's very successful
community-based development project which is not validated or valued by a
loaning bank because it shows no "proper" ROI:

> We did not only "spend" allot of
> money on the mentioned program but we also didn't "invest" in resources in
> order to market our "unique" involvement with the community.
> I belief that the merit of our application was exclusively judged in terms
> of the physical dimension of Value and solely in terms of what could be
> quantified by means of "dollars".
> There are so many other compelling examples.

Yes, it is tragic that your activities cannot be accounted for in terms of
incentives for investing into community. That in my mind is deleterious
accounting --- not good for the entire system. Everyone suffers because
this is the FIGURATIVE rule of law in acoounting: Dollars only please; no
human beings need apply.

Alfred then says Sajeela further wrote:
> >So I am wondering Roger about who gets to define what is valuable, and what
> >may get left out as a result of a given process being frozen by
> >conventional wisdom.

He replies:

> As previously mentioned I belief that the complementary pair - physical
> and abstract dimension of value - (snip) (Maybe I should rather refer to
> value as wealth/health).

Sajeela's comment: Great! I like that Alfred. That works for me. i think
you are right in my camp with that thinking.

Alfreed then speaks of his:
> shock when I realised that the future
> of a specific system - meaning the future of the current organisation of a
> system - is not determined by the organisation of the specific system! But
> what is "valuable" and what is left out is determined by the organisation
> of the system as a whole (the biggest of the biggest system).

Sajeela then liberally snips and interprets that Alfred reasons that this
pattern he describes above influences:
> The value's of the system as a whole (and) will determine what is valuable
> and what gets left out (via) the Law of Requisite Complexity, where the biggest
> of the biggest system eventualy determines the changing of said
> organization to a different >organisation in the future- yes the
> value's of the specific system >imbedded in the organisation of the
> system will change too!

Alfred cites the example of a Democratic system where we:
> exercise our democratic rights by voting on specific
> issues. Lets for e.g. say we vote via a referendum regarding the issue of
> genetic engineering. What if a certain frame of reference, is a
> prerequisite in order to make an informed decision regarding genetic
> engineering? What if this frame of reference is lacking? Lets assume we
> are in South Africa and over 50% of the population is illiterate in fact
> 75% of the population has never even heard of genetic engineering.
> None than less the name of the game is "democracy" and we exercise our
> individual democratic rights to vote on the issue of genetic engineering
> even though a frame of reference as an prerequisite is lacking. What will
> be the outcome of the decision making through the democratic process?
> Devastating!

Yes, I agree Alfred. Democracy as a Westernized system is very
literate-based which is hegemonious by default because it excludes people
of orality from influencing decisions about who gets access to resources.
The Dominant culture thus prevails and the "underclass" hasn't a prayer of
getting ahead unless they conform to a literary society which holds a
completely different set of values then theirs, and is not inclusive of
any set of values other then their own, nor do they need to adapt to
anyone elses values because they hold access to resources and have no need
to. So those whom we think of as "simpler" actually think more complexly
then do those whom we think of a sophisticated because they have literary

Alfred cites another good example of a frame of reference that precludes
one's current reality --- that is to say if one has been diagnosed with
type II diabetes whose seriously symptomatic onset takes years to
manifest, will one actually change their habits (food values) in the
current reality? Which is like saying will a smoker quit today because
they are told they can die of lung cancer in 50 years? Of course we know
the answer in both cases: not always that people change habits (values) in
the "now" based on what may happen in the future. Alfred also points out
that we leave our fate in the hands of few --- and that this is a system
that lacks requisite complexity. "What can we do?", Alfred asks. Then he
has the following thought:

> Should the Law of requisite complexity be a reality, which I believe it
> is, then
> the requisite complexity of systems are not equal! The requisite
> complexity of system A does not equal the requisite complexity of system
> B. Yes Equality is not a reality.

And there you have the basis of all arguments around racism, sexism and so
on. Equality is a value-laden concept; a subjective perception that is
DIFFERENT for each individual. And this is DIFFERENT then a mathematical
constant as we abstract it, even though taken in its whole context a
mathematical equation is very valuable and worthy of consideration. But to
base all of my decisions about resources on a mathematical conclusion and
think that's fair and real? I don't think so. It's like saying "well, your
frames in this movie are nice but they don't equal the frames in the movie
we have and so we aren't going to lend you any money so you can improve
the frames in your movie, and no, we don't even bother to look at the
movie as a whole in order to make this determination". So I agree
completely Alfred when you say:

>I have to contemplate what was said> during the French Revolution.
>Liberty, Equality and Freedom? I am> convinced that a mental model of
>Equality will prevent Freedom - it > will> be destructive!> I believe
>that we are tacitly aware that the requisite complexity of> systems are
>not equal. Yes I am aware of the fact that I will not > be able> to run
>in the final of the 100m in the coming Olympic games! What is>
>devastating is the awareness of "things" not being equal within a
> paradigm> of simplicity!

Well, in topographical sciences as applied to non-gravity advanced physics
anything is possible! Simple or complex may be the same after all!?!?

Alfred continues:
> I have witnessed on numerous occasion how the
> awareness of
> "things" not being equal manifests into:
> "Things are not equal" + judgement. Yes the notion that equality
> does not
> exist immediately give rise to the idea that one system is therefore
> superior to the another system (which is inferior). We are infact
> doing
> the following (2 systems called System A and System B):
> System A + (adjustment for superiority) = System B + (adjustment for
> inferiority). Yes we are indeed trying to reverse time! Are we
> trying to
> reverse our ingorance concerning the awareness of differences?

Yes, and for good reasons if I am on the side of being superior i will
defend that perception to the hilt because I am not interested in being
inferior. And the inferior person who some how manages to assimilate into
the superior will have to play the same game or lose their position of
priviledge. Which is why I don't buy into the illusion of these two ----
which I believe are on a continuum anyway, and do not exist without
eachother. And by not buying into this I mean literally because the laws
of capitalistic economics and measuring things is what reifies the whole
illusion of superior/inferior/dominant/subordinate.

> Is this mental model - Systems are not equal = Judgement (inferior and
> superior) - not a root cause of the rise of so much hatred etc. Consider
> the rise and demise Nazism. Consider the rise and demise of Apartheid in
> South Africa. Consider the harm of imposing a specific system organised
> around the systems requisite complexity, on another system with a
> different requisite of complexity.

Yes if you want to put a Platonic spin or logical deduction spin onto
these phenomenon. But to think in that way may be the very kind of
thinking that prolongs the "illusion" of difference. And I am NOT in favor
of denying differrence, but I just want to point out that it is an
illusion of the physical plane of existence and does not exist outside of
our human perception/cognition.

Alfred continues:
> Why are these systems often plagued by
> rogue learning, regurgitation and memorisation of information?
> Should we not allow systems to develop spontaneously from within the
> system.? What harm will be done, to what systems and with what
> implications? What systems will benefit and for how long will they
> benefit? If we interfere with a system how should we proceed to
> prevent destruction?

Good questions and I think the trend to apply chaos theory to
organizational systems is an effective approach to "resolving" these
issues. I like to think of the Zen Koan about the Goose in the bottle and
the Zen teacher asks the disciple how the goose who is raised in a bottle
and becomes full grown inside the bottle can get out without breaking the
bottle. the disciple becomes enlightend when they realize that the goose
IS out!
> I belief that within a paradigm of complexity we cannot but
> recognise that
> the organistations of systems are not equal BUT neither can we
> regard/interpret the differences in the organisations of the systems
> as
> indications of superior or inferior statuses of system/s. Is it not
> exactly the recognition of the differences without judging that
> "allows"
> for authentic and emergent learning?

YES YES YES YES YES!!!!! very good Alfred!

> Still dancing on the edges of chaos.

Yes, I do the chaos boogie myself --- at the margins, of course! And I
even look good---see you there babe!

Birds and windchimes singing in the breeze,

Sajeela Moskowitz Ramsey: President, Core Consulting
Center for Organizational Renewal and Effectiveness
Senior OD Consultant/Culture Generalist
2432 Villanova Drive/Vienna, VA. 22180
703 573 7050/ SajeelaCore @Juno.com


Sajeela M ramsey <sajeelacore@juno.com>

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