The "ar" of Learning and Art. LO26507

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 04/12/01


Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to all of you.

The topic of art comes up continually in our LO-dialogue. Is it not now
time for us to wonder whether there is a permanent and intimate
relationship between learning and art? In this contribution I will focus
on the relationship between learning and art rather than on learning or
art itself.

What do people think in our universities, the "bastions" of learning? How
many universities have an art unit integrated into each of their many
faculties like education, science and economics? How many students in the
other universities study for a degree spanning several faculties of which
art is always one? Examine any number of textbooks in for example botany,
chemistry or pharmacology to name a few and find out how much art (other
than printer's presentation) figures in them as integral part of the
subject.

>From the answers to these questions above it seems that very few people
toiling in universities consider learning and art to be holistically
connected like the heart and the liver in the body. Will we not then be
wasting our time by searching for such a holistic connection since
universities care so little for it? Will we as members among a diversity
of organisations not be wasting our time by practising such a holistic
connection in every organisation we belong to? If we want our Ordinary
Organisations (OO) to emerge into Learning Organisations (LO), is this
holistic connection not requisite for the emergence?

Can we motivate in terms of a LO the search for and the practice of the
holistic connection between learning and art? No, we have a deep problem
here. The vast majority, if not all, the members of an OO may be learners.
But this does not make that OO a LO! For example, when those learning
members are oblivious to wholeness or care very little for wholeness in
their OO, then that OO cannot emerge into LO, even when its members claim
on other grounds that it is a LO. Peter Senge formulates clearly that
wholeness is an essence of the LO. Then how can the members of an OO in
which wholeness play little role, if any, be concerned about the holistic
connection between learning and art? How can a blind person search for
something which first must be seen to find it?

>From the above we may conclude that we cannot use the LO to motivate the
search for the holistic connection between learning and art. In fact,
trying to motivate this search from any specific viewpoint (which lacks
per se in wholeness because it is but ONE OF MANY viewpoints) is a futile
attempt. A few learners may be fooled by such a motivation, but the
majority will remain indifferent. More learners may be fooled by throwing
emotion, religion or even passion into the motivation. But there will
always be some learners for which the motivation whatever the emphasis
will not work.

Let us try a different approach to motivate this search. In the previous
paragraph the phrase "one of many" has been capitalised. This very phrase
has a variety of meanings depending on the degree of wholeness with which
we think about its meaning. Some of its meanings are:

* one of many and one not depending on the many,
* one of many and one not essential to any whole,
* one of many and one which is whole itself,
* one of many and one which is very alone,
* one of many and one part together with many parts.

Should we use this "one of many" in such a way that merely one of its many
meanings gets lost, we will fail to motivate those learners for which this
meaning is dear. Let us then rather try using the "one" and the "many" in
such a way that it has less different meanings and hopefully only unique
meaning. Let us consider the phrase "one-to-many-mapping".

I have explained a couple of times that this "one-to-many-mapping" is
essential to every kind of art. For example, give ten sculptors each an
identical lump of clay from which they have to create a statue. (Or use
the same lump of clay over and over again should you even deny cloning the
one lump of clay ;-) Compare all the statues together. Do you perceive
this "one-to-many-mapping" in sculpturing? Here the "identical content in
clay" is the "one", the "ten different forms" is the "many" and the
"sculpturing" is the "mapping". Please notice that we cannot conclude
without profound questioning that this "one-to-many-mapping" which is
essential to all art can be used to define art, even though we intuitively
may be inclined to such a definition for art.

Let us see if this "one-to-many-mapping" is also essential to learning?
Imagine yourself to be somewhere in some desert unknown to you. You see at
your feet a succulent plant with a strange form. You stoop down to examine
it closer -- its body, its leaves or spines and its flowers or fruit. You
look ahead and see another one with another strange form. You get up, walk
to it, stoop down and examine that one too. After examining ten different
strange forms in succulent plants you might get very excited. The next
step is to begin studying books on succulent plants. Is this not a
"one-to-many-mapping" in learning? Here the "one" is you, the "different
kinds of succulents" the "many" and the "examining" the "mapping". If
succulents do not interest you, perhaps the insects, pebbles, colourful
scenes or even the climate will do so.

In terms of this "one-to-many-mapping" which is essential to both art and
learning, I may be able to motivate all and not merely some of you to
search for the holistic connection between learning and art. But "may be
able to" and "will" is not the same thing. In other words, I will motivate
only some of you with this "one-to-many-mapping" to search for this
holistic connection. Why will I not motivate all of you? Think of the
desert. I will not be surprised when all the pebbles, the plants, the
animals and the scenery will beg your closer attention because the
wholeness of the desert will leap out at you! With this I want to stress
that there is some extraordinary wholeness in this "one-to-many-mapping"
once you are examining something like the desert of which its wholeness
has not been disturbed by humankind.

But I also want to stress that the wholeness within you should not be
ailing. I have taken many friends to the desert. Far too many of them
rushed, for example, from succulent to succulent plant, oblivious to other
plants, the pebbles, the animals and the scenery. It made me furious as
well as sad beyond description.

>From the above I conclude that this "one-to-many-mapping" becomes
meaningful when the "one" is a whole, the "many" another whole and the
"mapping (from one to many)" the greater whole. In other words, the
"one-to-many-mapping" is meaningful only when wholes join into greater
wholes. Try avoid thinking of a static wholeness, but rather try to think
of a dynamic wholeness in the sense of "increasing wholeness".

Now we come to what perhaps is the best motivation for searching the
unbreakable relationship between learning and art. We search for the sake
of "increasing wholeness". Jan Smuts (Holism and Evolution, 1926) called
this "increasing wholeness" by the name "holism". He stressed that it is
not a philosophy even though it has the suffix "-ism" in the name. He
stressed that it is the "driving force" behind all evolution, whether it
be geological, biological or even personal, sociological and spiritual. He
often said that "holism" becomes "the way of living". So will this holism
motivate you?

Near the end of Smuts' life, after he lost the national election to the
National Party with its ideology and policy of apartheid="anti-wholeness",
he realised that the connection between "holism" and "evolution" is not
enough since he could not convince the South African electorate of the
dangers of apartheid. Thus he began to seek "increasing wholeness"
("double loop holism") in his "holism"==>"evolution" in the last four
years of his life. By then he was an old aged gentleman who should have
retired with grace long ago. However, those four years, relying on a long
life full of experiences, were not enough to solve this incredible
problem. But in what direction did he search? How did his tacit knowledge
guided him? Visiting his library to see which books he acquired in those
last years and seeing which topics occurred in his letters of those last
years is most revealing: learning, art and creativity.

Perhaps he became aware that "increasing wholeness" in a quantitative
manner was not enough. Perhaps he had to seek for an "increasing
wholeness' in different qualities, a "deeper holism" so as to speak of it.
But what would such qualities be when considering wholeness to be one of
them? Would the books on learning, creativity and arts suggest to him the
clue? Are there any other "xxx-nesses" needed besides wholeness so that
all of them as a "deep wholeness" becomes the driving force of evolution?
What about an essence such as openness? Can we create art without being
open to the world in evolution around us? Can we create art when we cannot
connect effectively to the medium acting as contents? For example, can a
sculptor chisel a block of marble without having hands and tools to do so?

Let us contemplate even more complexity. Is this "deep wholeness" (all the
essential xxx-nesses) the driving force self, or is not requisite to
something else as the strange driving force? Is this strange driving force
of all kinds of evolution, physical and spiritual, the necessary
requirement and "deep wholeness" the sufficiency requirement? If
increasing wholeness is, for example, a sufficiency requirement, what will
the necessary requirement be? Is there an "increasing principle" in this
strange driving force also? Assuming that we know all the answers to all
the complex questions above, will such a complexity motivate us or will it
not rather intimidate us into paralyses? Will such a complexity not
actually drive us to disconnect learning and art? Is this not what is
actually happening in our universities?

I belief that it is impossible for me or anyone else to motivate you for
sure to search for the holistic connection between learning and art.
Only you can motivate yourself, although some of us may be needed to guide
you to this motivation. This one internal motivation is far more superior
than all the many external motivations. Why? Motivation itself is a
profound "one-to-many-mapping". Neither your learning, nor your artistic
toiling, can motivate you to search for this deep connection between
learning and art. Only when the whole of your learning and the whole of
your art become one greater whole will you become motivated. After more
than thirty years of teaching, I am pretty sure that authentic learning
always has an artistic dimension to it just as authentic artistry has a
learning dimension to it. The two are inseparable.

I have now written so much about "increasing wholeness" that you fellow
learners may think that I have forgotten completely the topic of this
contribution. If I now continue to paint a rich picture on learning too
besides the rich picture above on wholeness, you fellow learners might
easily give up on tracing and questioning my thinking. So let us now focus
our attention on art.

The very reason why I focussed so much on wholeness is that almost some
two and a half millennia ago the Stoics considered the WHOLE OF ALL the
outcomes of humankind's work ("ergon") in the physical world as art
("technon"). Is it not surprising that our modern word technology has such
a peculiar origin? The Stoic movement began with Zeno. Zeno broke away
from the Platonic movement by considering actual practice as the
validation of any theory. For him the being of the mind and the becoming
of the body had to unite when producing "technon". But Aristotles who
evolved along the Platonic movement, was not happy with such a broad
conception of art (which we today will call culture in the anthropological
sense.) So he began to separate the "aesthetikos" (which we now call "fine
art") from the "technon". Thus any inclusion of the remaining "technon" in
the "aesthetikos" would hence be ridiculous. This "ridiculous" became one
of the (in)famous values of "aesthetikos"

In my own mother tongue Afrikaans the word for "aesthetikos" (fine arts)
is "kunste" (German: "Kunste"). This German word has evolved from the "du
kannst" -- you can. As such it refers not to what we are actually doing,
but to what we can do so as to transcend our actual doings. Thus this
ancient meaning of "Kunste" (fine arts) corresponds surprisingly much with
our modern concept of learning. We learn to transcend our present
behaviours. Once again this Germanic angle reminds us of a deep
relationship between learning and art.

However there is even more to it. The German word "Kind"=child has the
same root as "koenen"=able. The root "ken(au)" specifically refers to
"begetting the can" -- to create the novel or to let the new emerge. It is
also the root of the word ^—know'. Just as we become transcended by our
children, the artist becomes transcended by his/her works of art. Just as
our children are to us, the works of art are to the artist -- they are the
children of the artist. In my mother tongue Afrikaans we still have
surprisingly this ancient root "ken(au)" in our word "ken"=know. From this
"ken" the word "kentering" was created. This "kentering", when applied in
an abstract sense, means "paradigm shift". How many times have I not read
the confession of a learner how a particular work of art brought a
"kentering" in his/her learning. Does this not indicate that art does play
a role in emergent learning?

Let us examine in the spirit of wholeness the word "art" itself. It
probably comes from the proto-Latin "ar-turum" which meant to ^—plough the
land'. The proto-Greek for the same concept is "ar-ortron" -- unlike the
hunter who take what is available -- to change the soil and to sow the
special seed so as to harvest the best. Hence it seems that this root "ar"
had a most significant meaning among ancient Indo-Germanic civilisations
-- "to make a begetting connection". Here we have our first ambivalence
"hunter versus dirt farmer" -- "take what you can get versus cultivate so
as to get".

Does my mother tongue Afrikaans, although the youngest of all the
languages, still retain this ancient root "ar" as it often does in other
roots? Yes. Once again we have in Afrikaans the word "arbei"="ar-bei"
which means ^—to work in connection with' or ^—to work by connecting two
things unexpectedly'. In other words, what Arthur Koestler finally
discovered and named "bijection" after questioning many creative people
including artists and scientists, has already been expressed by this most
ancient of roots "ar"! For Koestler this "bijection" was the key to all
creativity, so much so that most modern definitions of creativity relies
on this insight of Koestler -- creativity is the ability to make an
unexpected connection between two seemingly unrelated things so that
something novel emerges. In other words, creativity is usually defined as
"ar".

Should you have a dog or a cat or a parrot, try to make the sound "ar"
while trilling the tongue like a Sottish person will do. My own dogs, cat
and parrot become crazy with delight when hearing this sound.

The Stoics were not welcome among the Greeks. Hence many emigrated to
Italy where their philosophy found fertile ground among the Romans. This
philosophy played a key role in the making the Roman empire. But it was
Cicero himself who took the Stoic philosophy one step backwards, setting
up a domino effect which still runs today. Although art is the harmonious
unison of theory and practice, Cicero divided it into two domains: art as
the being of the mind and art as the becoming of the body and other
material objects. The former he divided once more into the "trivium" and
the latter into the "quadrivium" which much later became known as the
sciences. Consequently the Roman fine arts began to suffer in liveness
because of this Cicerean ambivalence between the being of mind and the
becoming of matter. The Roman arts also lacked in other qualities such as
spareness, otherness and openness when compared to the fine arts of the
Greeks.

For more than a millennium Western Europe began to dogmatise the Cicerean
and Aristotelian viewpoints of art. They began to contrast art to nature.
Whereas Zeno taught that ordinary people learn from artists while artists
self learn from nature's superior art, the mediaeval philosophers began to
teach that true art opposes nature. They used the fine arts to pick out
constraints in nature rather than to blend with nature. They sanctified
technology (bodily skills as if happening mindless) as the unqualified
means to rule over nature. They claimed humankind to be the master and
nature its slave. Thus they extended the ancient ambivalence "hunter
versus farmer" and the Cicerean ambivalence "mind versus matter" in the
new ambivalence "art versus nature". The ancient, the Cicerean and the
mediaeval began to exist side by side as something complicated.

By claiming that art was opposing nature, the "dark agers" had to take
"mind" out of nature. Thus their excessive struggle against animism
ensued. In animism every living creature is a godhead having its own
domain. To take the godhead out of the creature they had to claim that
even God was "outside" such creatures rather than also "inside" them. The
body was an empty container to be filled by God in the case of the elect.
Worse, God opposed nature rather than also acting as the "Mind" of nature.
Hence nature was devoid of art so that only humans (having both body and
mind) could create art from nature. God ruled from heaven those humans who
professed God whereas Satan ruled the rest of the earth. Any person who
dared to speak of nature's art was soon accused of as a sorcerer or witch
practising the devil's art.

It is no wonder that all this fragmentation caused those long period in
Western civilization known afterwards as the Dark and Middle Ages. Greek,
Roman and even Gothic art became so distorted through diminishing
wholeness that the fine arts collapsed while the art of human living
became dreary. Last, and not the least, learning almost disappeared except
in monasteries, palaces and guilds among ordinary people. This ensuing
material and mental poverty begged for the birth of the mediaeval
universities of the fourteenth century like Bologna, Paris, Krakow,
Heidelberg and Oxford. In these universities a fertile ground was prepared
for new explorations in matter and mind. But this fertile ground had to
wait for the appropriate "ar".

This "ar" was the invention of printing, the "technon" for making many
copies of one book. One after another the books of ancient civilizations
became many copies. Plenty and diverse "mental seed" were sown and the
harvest would be once again greater wholeness of art and learning -- the
Renaissance. Think of Dante, Da Vinci, Cervantes, Rabelais, Shakespear,
Erasmus, Reuchlin and Doerer who restored for themselves the holistic
connection between learning and art. For them learning was art and art was
learning.

Although they restored this holistic connection for themselves and thus
set example to others, the Renaissance did not stop or consumed the
ancient, Cicerean and mediaeval views on art. It rather gave rise to the
modern view on art. Again these three views from the past and the modern
view began to exist side by side. Thus to the earlier ambivalences of
"hunter versus farmer", "mental versus material" and "artificial versus
natural" we can now add the new ambivalence "art versus science". All four
ambivalences exist up to the present as one complex ambivalence. Art would
concern all things which please humans independent of their intellectual
capacity whereas science would concern all things which can be accounted
for in terms of evaluations. Hence the grace of art and the accounts of
science would exclude one another for a long time. Is it not now time for
us to put an end to this complexity of ambivalences?

Since both the artificial and the natural can become pleasing, art began
to cover both nature and culture. Since there are truths to be found in
both the artificial and the natural, science likewise began to cover both
nature and culture. This new ambivalence "art versus science" began to
create much stress in disciplines like architecture and agriculture. How
should a building be created, either artistically pleasing or
scientifically sound or both? How should a plant be cultivated or an
animal be bred, either artistically pleasing or scientifically sound or
both? The more industry and business began to acquire suitable
technologies, the more they explored this ambivalence between art and
science -- produce and sell to some consumers what is artistically
pleasing, to other consumers what is scientifically sound and to the rest
who seeks both.

Now why are we not able to see through these incredible divisions for what
they are doing to our physical and spiritual health as well as the health
of nature? Why, despite all the pleasures now afforded by art and all the
accounts now afforded by science, are we deeply unhappy and worried about
the course along which humankind is steering itself and nature? I think
that it is because we are not aware how the decreasing wholeness in what
we are thinking and doing is causing an ever increasing complexity of
ambivalences.

The second best evidence for such a lack of awareness is to use
dialecticism to eradicate these ambivalences. (The one valence of an
ambivalence is the thesis which has to consume the opposing valence as
antithesis so that a synthesis can ensue.) It is evidence because more
than a century of dialecticism proved that it could not resolve these
ambivalences. It is second best because capitalism provides the best
evidence.

Although capitalism is much older than dialecticism and even continues
after the fall of dialecticism in socialist countries, capitalism has not
yet resolved this complexity of ambivalences. It rather use this very
complexity of ambivalences to further its own cause. Art (like the movie
and pop industry) and science (like the medical and biotech industries)
have become big business.

We have even reached the ludricous situation where we now make a
scientific theory based on fine art (called aesthetics) and artifacts
based on science (like spending billions of dollars to plant a flag on the
moon or to create a theoretically predicted elementary particle). It is
ludricous because we are merely oscillating between the two opposites in
the ambivalence "art versus science" while assuming that they are divided
from each other. It never occurs to us to ask whether this division
between art and science is beautiful and truthful. Humankind and its
artifacts have become so plentiful that it is easy to learn science and
make a living out of it independent of art or to learn art and make a
living out of it independent of science. Yes, we have reached the age
where we can easily "learn" and with "decreasing wholeness". But is this
easy "learning" sustainable? Is there any art to it?

Let us examine aesthetics somewhat closer. The human character has many
qualities which it seeks to evolve in. The four qualities true, good,
right and beauty had already been examined by the Greeks more than two
millennia ago. But there are also many more qualities like gentle, ardour,
solicitude and humour which received far less attention. Aristotle began
to study beauty (lovely) as if it could exist independently from the other
qualities of character. >From this study developed the subject which we
know today as (western) aesthetics -- the science of the fine arts.

It is often said in western aesthetics that when a person judges the
beauty of a painting, statue, dancing, musical performance or poetic
recital so as to derive pleasure from it, that person perceives beauty as
a property of whatever has been judged. This is often called the
philosophic or metascientific foundation of western aesthetics. Beauty is
a manner of perception which involves pleasure. It is made possible by the
capacity of humans to endow human artifacts with the property beauty -- to
imagine subjective beauty (a quality of human character) into an artifact
as its objective beauty (a property of human creations). It is made
possible by thinking of the artifact as an empty container which can be
filled with some facet of human character. Is this really possible?

Furthermore, when a person judges a natural object and perceives beauty in
it too, is not anthropocentrism rather than aesthetics? It is said that
humans cannot endow natural objects with the property beauty because
humans have not created them. Thus the human character is not reflected in
them since there is no creative causality between the subject and the
object.

This metascientific foundation causes a number of problems. One problem is
that we may derive exactly the same pleasure when finding natural objects
like pebbles, plants and animals as when sensing a great work of art.
Children show us clearly how these pleasures are one and the same thing.
So why is a work of art beautiful, but a natural object not? Why is the
beauty of character restricted to humans and their works of art? Is it
because we fail to perceive the essence of work beyond human activities?

Another problem is that in the western judgement of a quality of human
character leads to a degree in that quality. For example, in judging
beauty to derive pleasure from it, beauty gets a degree which ranges from
the sublime, pretty, ugly to the ridiculous. What is sublime to one judge
may be ridiculous to another judge. Various solutions to the problem has
been proposed like "measuring beauty objectively", "denying the subject's
imagination of beauty into the object" and "admitting that the artifact
acquired an independent character as if a mind of its own". Hegel in
particular tried to derive the categories of the sublime, pretty, ugly and
ridiculous by dialectical arguments so as to shift intuitively the focus
of the problem to the judgement itself. As usual his arguments confused so
many that few noticed his intuitive feeling for the problem.

The viability of this very "judging a quality of character" (like beauty
in the case of aesthetics) was seldom questioned. Sometimes intuitive
adjustments in degree had been made by using words like estimating,
evaluating or measuring rather than judging. However, this judgement
itself, whatever its degree used, always employs the equality sign
. Degree-of-beauty = x
. where x is one of sublime, pretty, ugly or ridiculous
I now firmly believe that this "=" (judgement) hinders further evolution
in that quality of character and its property of the artifact. For
example, when we judge by even the meekest word "measure" a person's
character as ugly, then we will "measure" the property of beauty in an
artifact of that person most probably as ugly too. We know far too little
of the order relationship of becoming symbolised by "<" to avoid such a
one-to-one-mapping.

Should we assume an order in the degrees of beauty like
. ridiculous < ugly < pretty < sublime
we should take extreme care not to transpose this ordering into three
equations by taking, for example, the sublime as the unit and then equate
. ridiculous = least sublime,
. ugly = lesser sublime,
. pretty = less sublime
. sublime = sublime
It would be like saying
. 1 = least 4
. 2 = lesser 4
. 3 = less 4
. 4 = 4

Such equations tell us nothing about the evolution of 1, 2 and 3 into 4
like for example Peano's famous axioms do. Again, had Hegel not some
curious premonition by trying to establish his four categories
dialectical? I have explained in the past how the dialectical dual is a
primitive articulation of an "entropic force". Is this what Hegel was
trying to uncover?

Upon the metascience of aesthetics we find the science of aesthetics. The
goals of this science have to with descriptions, systematics and
problem-solving in aesthetics. For example, under the descriptive goal we
may, for example, make an inventory of an artist's work. Under the
systematics goal we may for example, try to reclassify the various kinds
of fine artifacts when a new kind emerge like computer graphics. The
problems to solve in aesthetics are many. For example, how to develop a
common aesthetics for a multicultural society.

The following is a profound dilemma. In philosophy art is generally
considered to be of a higher order than science. A novel development in
science usually opens up a new kind of art. This scientific development
may be quite primitive such as somebody discovering by experimenting that
the tone of a vibrating string depends on its length. The artist then use
this development as a new mode to give expression to his/her soul. The
artist transcends the patterns typical of scientific knowledge by
expressing patterns to which science is indifferent. Afterwards scientists
will scrutinize these new patterns by their scientific method.
Consequently, we expect to find upon the science of aesthetics the art of
aesthetics. But there is nothing of this sort. We also expect artists to
benefit from studying aesthetics. But many artists produce magnificent
works of art by expressing in a manner compelled by their tacit knowledge
gained from personal experiences. They are often ignorant of aesthetics as
a science.

Furthermore, the fine artist is frequently in conflict with articulated
aesthetics because of doing what is neither expected nor is sanctified in
aesthetics. This conflict had been the undoing of many a fine artist,
resulting in insanity and even suicide. Why does so little fine art emerge
from aesthetics itself? What does the real artist knows which the
professionals in aesthetics are oblivious too? A study of the biographies
of many artists who did not excel in the aesthetics of their day helped me
to make a startling discovery -- their sense of wholeness was profoundly
superior to those who judged them aesthetically.

I have glanced cursorily over what aesthetics involve so as to come to my
main concern. My soul is deeply disturbed by the claim that aesthetics
(what is beauty) can be studied independently from ethics (what is good),
morality (what is right) and logic (what is true). For example, when
studying Rosser's book on logic for mathematicians, I was immensely struck
with the artistic way in which he wrote the book. The human character has
been fragmented into independent subjects with each subject specialising
on a quality of human character. Furthermore, each such subject has been
fragmented in a diversity of topics which each can be pursued
independently. The result of all this fragmentation is that the character
of humankind has been shattered. Humankind is not Homo sapiens (the wise
species) any more.

Gone is the great accomplishments of a Dante or a Da Vinci -- to create
art from the interaction between all the qualities of human character.
Gone is the wholeness of our soul and thus the health of our spirituality.
Gone is the magnificent examples from which we could learn what it is to
evolve in humanness. Gone is the fine artifacts as the children of the
artists. Gone is the future of our own children because the shining light
of art has been distinguished for them. How can they ever learn without
artists paving the way? How can artists pave the way without increasing in
wholeness. When Jan Smuts perceived "increasing wholeness" in Creation as
the art of the Creator, how can we justify "deep apartheid"="decreasing
wholeness in all of reality" to fix the course which humankind now
follows?

I now dedicate this contribution to Jan Smuts, the "Oubaas". Dear
"Oubaas", what went on in your mind after the majority of the South
African electorate decided against your holism for apartheid? ("Ou"=old,
"baas"=boss -- endearing name for Jan Smuts or any old sage who emerged
into the level of sublime wisdom.) What "ar" were you searching for? The
"ar" of learning and art".

I have travelled somewhat in the remote regions of Southern Africa
studying "caudiciform" plants. A plant has leaves, a stem and roots. In a
"caudiciform" plant the succulence is in the stem or the root. These
"caudiciform" plants are incredible works of art in nature. While
searching for these "caudiciform" plants, I have encountered many poor
people trying to sell something. Invariably they tried to sell their own
fine arts rather than a technological breakthrough. Few tourists buy any
artifact from them. One day I found a man selling fire wood which I
needed. I asked him whether he has any work of art made out if wood. He
produced a small statue form his pocket. I bought it and a bundle of fire
wood. When I paid for both, ten times as much for the statue than the
bundle, he cried with tears in his eyes. He then ran to his village,
screaming with delight that finally he has sold an artifact, not a bundle
of fire wood. It reminds me of what Maturana wrote:
. We humans live aesthetic experiences in all the relational
. domains in which we dwell. It is due to the biological
. foundation of aesthetic experience, as well as to the fact that
. all that we live as human beings belongs to our relational
. existence, that art intertwines with our social existence
. and our technological present at all times.
To burn wood is an ancient technological accomplishment, but to carve a
statue from wood is a source of joy for all humans of all times.

Dear fellow learners, you like Andrew, John and Sajeela who excel as fine
artists among us, guide us through the mysteries and the miracles of
creating art so that we can learn authentically. Learning without art is
like food without an aroma. We need to "ar" learning and art so as to
become one with the rest of the universe. The future of Homo sapiense
depends on it.

With care and best wishes,

-- 

At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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