Replying to LO26490 --
Greetings to you all.
Upon my introduction of the topic "Homo sapience amans" to our LO-dialogue
and sending a private copy to Andrew Campbell, he sent me back a copy of
Humberto Maturana's (1997) "METADESIGN -- Human beings versus machines, or
machines as instruments of human designs?" Maturana ends that study with
the phrase "Homo sapience amans". Thank you once again very much Andrew.
Rick, is it possible that we can store a copy of METADESIGN somewhere in
the LO archives without infringing copyright?
[Host's Note: this article is at
Also, there is another article based on Maturana's seminars for a business
audience at the Society for Organizational Learning meeting of June 1998,
"Biosphere, Hoomosphere, and Robosphere: what has that to do with
Business?" This article literally brought tears to my eyes, I thought it
was so important and insightful
I have not read "Metadesign" but I expect that it makes some of the same
As usual one must study Maturana in terms of the context which Maturana
provides. What I mean is that Maturana, although a seasoned biologist, did
not use terminology common to conventional biology to express his
thinking. The reason is that his thinking involves a paradigm shift
summarised by the word "autopoiesis". In METADESIGN he spent much time and
words to articulate his basic idea of the "plastic structure" of living
In my own contemplation I think of "organisation" rather than "plastic
structures" since for me organisation involves both "being" (structure)
and "becoming" (process). The essentiality "liveness"of creativity made me
aware of structure ("being") and process ("becoming") as a complementary
duality. Becoming rings changes to being. Plasticity is for me rather a
change in form without loss in its essential patterns.
Once again Maturana affirmed that the autopoiesis ("self-making') of living
systems depends primarily on their "plastic structure" consisting of
"coordination of coordination of relationships". In terms of LEP (Law of Entropy
Production) and my interpretation that the entropy of a system is a measure
of its "organisation" (structure and process as well as order and chaos), it
seems as if he is saying that the system has to produce self its own entropy
in terms of its present organisation in a coherent manner. For example, he
wrote in METADESIGN
. Living systems have a plastic structure, and the course that their
. structural changes follows while they stay alive is contingent change
. modulated by the structure to their own internal dynamics of
. structural changes triggered in them by their interactions in the
. medium they exist as such.
Here the "the structure to their own internal dynamics of structural
changes" seems for me to point to the "entropic force-flux pairs" existing
in any non-equilibrated system. The organisation of a system unfolds in
intensive (scale invariant) and extensive (scale dependant) quantities.
Any difference along this organisation in intensive quantities give rise
to entropic forces whereas any change in extensive quantities give rise to
entropic fluxes. These "entropic force-flux pairs" produce entropy
irreversibly in the system SY, indicated by /_\(irr)S(sy). However, the
system SY is also open to an inundation, if not a sheer deluge, of
reversibly transported entropy /_\(rev)S(sy). I think that Maturana can be
linked to this /_\(rev)S(sy) by his remark "their interactions in the
medium they exist as such".
Maturana then made an important claim:
. In fact, this is a general condition for structure determined
. systems, namely: the conservation of the operational
. congruence between a particular structure determined system
. and the medium in which it exists in recursive interactions,
. as well as the conservation of the system's identity (its defining
. organization), are both at the same time conditions for the
. spontaneous arising and spontaneous conservation of a
. structure determined system, and the systemic result of its
. actual existing in recursive interactions in the medium
. while its defining organization is conserved.
Let us translate what he is saying in terms of LEP dancing on LEC. The
spontaneity of any system SY depends how it interacts with its surrounding
systems taken together as SU. What he stressed by this "defining
organization is conserved" is that /_\(irr)S(sy) has to determine
primarily the evolution (long term autopoiesis) of the system SY.
Obviously, Maturana does not say a single word on "entropy" (the picture)
and "entropy production" (the movie). He merely paints by words a movie rich
in pictures upon pictures. Thus my "translation" of his thoughts into the
viewpoint of "LEP dancing on LEC" is speculation based on my intuition.
However, when he writes:
. Moreover, since what we think forms part of the network
. of conversations that constitutes our living, we become
. according to our emotioning interlaced with our doings
. in the flow of our languaging.
I am sure that he will not mind such a "translation" since it is part of our
Furthermore, since he wrote:
. I want a cultural change, I want to contribute to a work of
. art in the domain of human existence, I want to contribute
. to evoke a manner of coexistence in which love, mutual respect,
. honesty and social responsibility arise spontaneously from
. living instant after instant such configuration of emotioning because
. we all cocreate it in our living together. That configuration of
. emotioning cannot be imposed, nor can it be demanded without
. denying it, it must be lived spontaneously as a matter of course
. because that is the way we learned to live in our childhood.
. Violations of such manner of living will be legitimate mistakes
. that can be corrected because there will be no intrinsic shame in
. them, they will be only errors. If indeed we were to live such a
. cultural change, what would be most remarkable, is that the
. configuration of emotioning that such a manner of living entails,
. would arise in us without effort as we begin to live in it by living in it.
. Moreover, such configuration of emotioning will be conserved
. generation after generation as our manner of cultural living if our
. children live it because we live it with them.
It does not matter anymore whether I perceive "entropy production"as tacit
to his thinking. What I do perceive is Maturana's love for human
civilization in general and in particular humans caring for each other.
Although Maturana admits that lower order emotioning is driving us as
humans, it is love as the highest order which steers him. It is the same
with me. For me it means that although our emotions as great entropic
forces are driving our changes into the future, our "configuration of
emotioning" will determine what sort of world will our children be living
in and thus what they will be experiencing. This "configuration of
emotioning"of Maturana is for me nothing else than the evolution of my
spirituality through all its orders and the manifestation of this
evolution in my personality.
Maturana took a bold step by writing:
. We live a culture centered in domination and submission,
. mistrust and control, dishonesty, commerce and greediness,
. appropriation and mutual manipulation ... and unless our
. emotioning changes all that will change in our lives will be
. the way in which we continue in wars, greediness, mistrust,
. dishonesty, and abuse of others and of nature. Indeed, we
. shall remain the same. Technology is not the solution for
. human problems because human problems belong to the
. emotional domain as they are conflicts in our relational living
. that arise when we have desires that lead to contradictory
. actions. It is the kind of human being, Homo sapiens amans,
. Homo sapiens aggressans, or Homo sapiens arrogans, at the
. moment in which we have access to a new technology,
. either as users or observers, what determines how we use it or
. what we see in it.
It seems as if Maturana concludes that a person's "configuration of
emotioning" will lead to a particular kind of human being that person will
manifest through all his/her actions, including technological actions.
I am sure that Maturana does not intend the stereotyping of humans here by
the creating the subspecies "Homo sapiens amans, Homo sapiens aggressans
or Homo sapiens arrogans". In fact, he stresses that humans will have to
change their emotioning spontaneously otherwise humankind will not evolve
any further than what its now, namely "Homo sapiens" -- notice the absence
of subspecies, i.e distinguishing labels . With some six millennia of
documentation of human history we may conclude safely that "domination and
submission, mistrust and control, dishonesty, commerce and greediness,
appropriation and mutual manipulation" as well as "continue in wars ...and
abuse" have not lessened in the least.
As I understand the problem, we must find ways how to overturn any
possible classifications such as "Homo sapiens aggressans or Homo sapiens
arrogans". In other words, we must find ways to make it possible for a
human to change from "Homo sapiens aggressans" into "Homo sapiens
constrings" or "Homo sapiens arrogans" into "Homo sapiens pertinens".
Whatever these ways, they will have to be spontaneous changes, i.e. driven
with inner entropy production /_\(irr)S(sy) using inner sources of free
energy /_\F(sy). Or as Maturana will say it, they will have to be
autopoietic ("self-making") changes.
My own solution to the problem had been to search for one and one only
property of Homo sapiense which has this devastating dialectical nature
AND which maps from this ONE property its dialectical nature to the MANY
properties of human character so that we have to manage dialectics such as
true vs false, good vs bad, right vs wrong and lovely vs ugly. I often
wanted to give up this search because of getting nowhere. But then I had
to accept the Bible's viewpoint that this property is sin which would be
too much rote learning for me. Not that I deny "sin" -- I do believe that
the Bible express it validly as "sin". But I also believe that I have to
question my understanding of the Bible's messages endlessly. I furthermore
believe that every key message in the Bible is reflected somewhere else in
Creation too, even in its rocks and deserts! So, to escape the prison of
rote mental behaviour, I kept on searching in the dark.
It is only after I have discovered the "seven essentialities of
creativity"(7Es) that the solution became clear to me. At that time I have
not yet managed to articulate these seven complex patterns by the name
"seven essentialities of creativity". The way in which I have discovered
them all together would make Maturana's description of "coordination of
coordination of relationships" extremely fitting, yet again I tried to
avoid rote learning (even from Maturana). This avoidance was crucial
because it suddenly dawned on me that human creativity was that unique
property which I was searching for. Human creativity had this Janus face
(dialectical nature) which I was searching for. But I also knew from
studying much literature on creativity that by identifying its Janus face,
I would set out on a lonely journey. I was, as far as I could ascertain,
the only one to become aware of this Janus face of human creativity.
Everybody else thought of creativity as light. I seemed to be the only one
perceiving its shadowy actions in war, corruption and infidelity.
Human creativity could manifest itself either constructively or
destructively. The 7Es make the difference. For example, the more we
increase in wholeness, the more we prevent destroying parts belonging to
the whole and rather try to create constructively the parts at hand into a
whole. The more we increase in otherness, the more we prevent destroying
variety and rather try to create them constructively as qualities into the
system at hand. As I began to learn how the 7Es are tightly knitted into
each other, I perceived how focussing on one essentiality while neglecting
the rest caused some of the most catastrophic events in human conduct. For
example, focussing on sureness (contextual identity) while willfully
fragmenting wholeness, resulted in the ideology of apartheid. As soon as
one or more of the 7Es are impaired for a certain level of complexity,
i.e. as soon as one or more of the 7Es are not up to the requisite level
of complexity, our creativity immerges destructively rather than following
its constructive course.
Homo sapiens evolved from less complex life forms because of its superior
constructive creativity. But simultaneously Homo sapiens put itself and
the rest of Creation under immense stress because of its superior
destructive creativity. As a result of this immense stress (entropy
producing force) Homo sapiens has pushed its own existence to the edge of
chaos. All systematical biology tell what will happen at this edge. Either
"Homo sapiens" will become extinct together with many other complex living
species, or "Homo sapiens" will emerge into a higher order with both the
subspecies "Homo sapiense sapiense" and "Homo sapiens amans" living
together during the transition period. The choice how to bifurcate is
What will we have to take into account so as for us as "Homo sapiens" to
emerge into "Homo sapiens amans"? Love-agape as an one-to-many-mapping
because it is the perfect law of freedom guiding us! We need this guidance
because lower down we are driven by the one-to-many-mapping of entropy
production in its many levels of complexity. For example, sometimes our
rational thoughts drive us as entropy producing force flux pairs, but most
of the time it is our emotions lower down and our responses to them which
drives us in the same entropic manner. So we need to learn more of
We can learn from the parables created by the Teacher of Nazareth to lead
us along the path of love. I will list seven of these parables. Below each
parable I will write one (of several) of the 7Es of which I learn more
from that parable:
Parable of the watching servants = Luke 12:35-40
Parable of the wicked tenants = Mark 12:1-10
=> sureness ("identity-categoricity")
Parable of the great banquet = Luke 14:15-24 =>
=> wholeness ("monadicity-associativity")
Parable of the sower = Mark 4:1-8
=> fruitfulness ("connect-beget")
Parable of the rich fool = Luke 12:13-21
=> spareness ("quantity-limit")
Parable of the lost son = Luke 15:11-32
=> otherness ("quality-variety")
Parable of the lighted lamp = Mark 4:21-25
=> openness ("paradigm-open")
Thus, in addition to Paul in 1 Cor 13, I want to cry out:-
How can I love any being while not loving its becoming?
How can I love any identity while not loving its categorical context?
How can I love any unity while not loving associations in it?
How can I love any connection while not loving what it begets?
How can I love any quantity while not loving its limitation?
How can I love any quality while not loving the variety it entails?
How can I love any paradigm while not loving its future transcendence?
Oh, God-Love, teach me endlessly Your stewardship of Creation despite my
ignorance to Your all encompassing, unconditional love.
I woke up in the early hours of this morning with the following burning
thought. Should the bifurcation at the edge of the chaos of Homo sapiens'
present existence begin next year or next month or next week or even
tomorrow, would we be ready to guide this bifurcation into a constructive
emergence of "Homo sapiens amans"? I switched on the TV with a channel on
an international news network. Within five minutes shivers were running
down my spine and gooseflesh was forming on my skin. Are we ready for the
greatest cultural change in the history of "Homo sapiense" since times
immemorial? This is what Humberto Maturana has to say when ending his
. If indeed we were to live such a cultural change, what
. would be most remarkable, is that the configuration of
. emotioning that such a manner of living entails, would
. arise in us without effort as we begin to live in it by living
. in it. Moreover, such configuration of emotioning will be
. conserved generation after generation as our manner of
. cultural living if our children live it because we live it with
. them. Indeed, such a manner of living is what we all want to
. live in our desire for material and spiritual well being.
. Utopia? yes because it correspond to a way of living that has
. been ours in our evolutionary history, and most of us know it
. as an experience or as a yearning of our childhood. Anyway,
. to do that would be, no doubt, a magnificent work of dynamic
. art, and a responsible creative act as well if we want to live
. as Homo sapiens amans.
Nature conserves through production. Can we do better in conserving our
"configuration of emotioning"? But how will we produce this "configuration
of emotioning"? How will we each complexify our spiritualty so that we
each become a unique personality able to guide others in their learning
too? As for me, I have discovered in the 7Es a guiding strength which
lasts into the ultimate level of love-agape. They made me aware that the
DNA of love is indeed evolving. The constructive emergence of "Homo
sapiens amans" is indeed happening. How I wish I could force you along.
But whatever has to happen, it has to emerge spontaneously from within so
that we can become authentic friends to God-Love. This is how God created
Creation - spontaneously from within God Creator.
O God Creator, please have loving mercy upon us so that we all can share
in the emergence of "Homo sapiens amans". Help us to overcome our Mental
Models so that we can Share the Vision which You have for your Creation.
Guide our Team Learning so that our Personal Mastery can benefit from it.
Make us aware of that Systems Thinking which we need so as to organise not
only wisely, but in encompassing love. Although time is running short,
Your Grace will enrich our learning sufficiently so that we can meet the
demands of the future.
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <firstname.lastname@example.org> 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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