Expressing creativity with language. LO26610

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 05/02/01

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to you all.

We communicate on our LO-dialogue by using the English language.

Why is it English and not, for example, German, Russian, Japanese or even
my own mother tongue Afrikaans? Allow me to answer the question for
Afrikaans. Very few of you fellow learners know Afrikaans sufficiently to
be able to express the thoughts which you are creating second by second in
Afrikaans. Think of English for the same issue. Do you know English
sufficiently to express these thoughts which you are creating?

Some of you fellow learners like I do not have English as mother tongue.
Perhaps most of you will answer with "no" as I will surely do. The reason
for my "no" is as follow. While creating a thought, I always try to
articulate it simultaneously in a language so as to be able to communicate
it. My teaching profession requires me to do so. However, my experiences
in creating thoughts with English are not universal, but restricted to
some walks of life. As soon as I have to do it in a walk of life of which
I have little experience doing it with English, but much experience doing
it with Afrikaans, I get extremely frustrated and "verlee".

In the case of writing I have the opportunity to look up in an
Afrikaans-English dictionary the English word for "verlee", namely
embarrassed. Morphologically the word "ver-lee" means "ver"=making
"lee"=empty. But when I do not have such a dictionary at hand while
writing, I experience an acute constraint. In the case of speaking I do
not have the opportunity to look up in a dictionary the English
translation for "verlee" because speech have to reflect the seven
essentialities (7Es) of creativity. Should I stop in the middle of a
speaking a sentence, the "becoming" of liveness fails, the identity of
sureness fails, the unity of wholeness fails, the connection of
fruitfulness fails, the limit of spareness fails, the variety of otherness
fails and the transmission of openness fails. Although my own mind will
rush while looking up the word, that of my English hearers will have to
idle until I have found the correct word. Will they not become frustrated?
Do I not try to avoid causing frustration in somebody else?

It will be like enduring the advertisements inserted during a movie on TV.
Because of my sensitivity to how vital the 7Es are to creativity, such
advertisements frustrate me extremely because they brainwash me, the
viewer, to become more insensitive rather than more sensitive to the 7Es.

However, should I be able to create in English as in Afrikaans, both when
writing or speaking, the word "for-empty" where the prefix "for-" will be
understood perfectly by the readers or hearers as "making" that whatever
it is prefixed to, i.e. "forempty"="making-empty", I will not feel
frustrated and "verlee" (embarrassed) any more. Consequently the creating
of my thoughts OUGHT TO harmonise better with the readers or hearers
create their own thoughts.

I have capitalised the OUGHT TO rather than using the word "will" because
from my experiences as a teacher I know that as soon as I write or speak
thoughts which the reader or hearer has not created self before, the
receiver has to be given ample time to first experience creating similar
thoughts self so as not to become confused. If not, the receiver will soon
get frustrated and then will eventually respond in one of many ways (like
insult, contempt or intimidation). Each response will be intended, even
though tacitly, to impair one or more of the 7Es within me so that my own
creativity gets stopped, thus not causing confusion in the receiver any
more. But as a teacher I also know that giving the hearer enough time is
not enough. Time is necessary, but it is not sufficient. Should the
receiver not be able to create thoughts similar to my own by using my
thoughts as the example from which to work, all that time given will be in

As I have said before, while creating thoughts, I force myself to
articulate them simultaneously in language. I really have to force myself
because when creating thoughts, I also can do it by simultaneously
imagining things which I can see, touch, smell, hear or feel like pictures
or sound patterns. In fact, I cannot create any thought while also not
imagining one or more of the five sensory inputs, using past memories of
them. This is the artist within me which gets so much constrained when I
have to create my thoughts with language. When I am alone in the desert, I
am able to let go of language and rather create thoughts together with
images of all five senses. This does not happen immediately. I takes me a
couple of days to shake off the constraint of language so as to create in
terms of raw sensations.

Why did I wrote "the receiver has to be given ample time to first
experience creating similar thoughts self"? I do not believe in the mind
as an empty container which can be filled up with the thoughts of others.
Already in primary school I became frustrated when I had to use my mind as
a memory device for storing the thoughts of other people. So I began
tacitly with a strategy of my own. Since I wanted to score good marks,
after I had created my own thoughts using sensory images, I would
reformulate them as if they were memorised verbatim. But often it took so
much time that I simply had to emorise rotely the thoughts of others to
gain enough marks. It means that I had to act as an empty container so as
stay close to the 75% level which I knew would keep most people (family,
friends and teachers) happy.

But gradually within myself a deep tension arose which finally erupted on
the day when I wrote my last examination paper for a MSc in physics. As I
walked out of the examination hall, I knew that I will get that degree cum
laude, but I felt extremely disgusted about the way I got it. I then
decided never to do it again in my life.

Today I have reached that level of consciousness that I am aware of what I
call the elementary sustainers of creativity. They are
language-articulating (dialogue), exemplar-studying, game-playing,
problem-solving anknbatadr art-expressing. I call these ek entary because
at least humans cannot create without them. Try to live without makingbig
trf any of them any second of the day. You will become like a big dog
lashed onto a short chain day and night -- when breaking lose it becomes a
mean killer. When I write that somebody else ought to create similar
thoughts using my own thoughts, I mean that they may use many things for
exemplar-tudying. But do they know how to study exemplars in general and
not merely my thoughts articulated with language? I would love them to go
further and use my thoughts with any of these five elementary sustainers.

Sometimes, in the "sponsored environment" of close friends and family, I
will dare to direct and employ our thoughts in game-playing or
art-expressing. However, playing games or expressing art with somebody
else's thoughts is a most dangerous game to play or art to express.
Without the "sponsored environment" the game or art will erupt like a
volcano into misunderstanding, hence slinging ill feelings into all
directions. How I wish that all around me were Learning Organisations
acting as these "sponsored environments" to do so.

As for problem-solving, it "appears as if in many societies there are now
an acceptance of using problem-solving to create the future. But I think
it is not the case once we distinguish between authentic and rote
problem-solving. With rote problem-solving I mean that a problem gets
solved by using patterns of an already known solution for apparently a
similar problem. In other words, the problem is treated like an empty
container which has to be filled with a known solution.

Most societies are friendly to rote problem-solving. But very few
societies have peace with authentic problem-solving. It will often let the
society explode once again as a volcano, slinging ill feelings into all
directions. Afterwards, when things begin to settle because society begins
to study the authentic solution as an exemplar, the rote problem solvers
will create an environment in which the next authentic problem-solving
will become once again an erupting volcano!

I have discussed the last four elementary sustainers somewhat for us to
grow in the 7Es, but I want to come back to the first one with which my
contribution began, namely language-articulating. As for myself, I have
said before that when I create thoughts, it happens primarily as/during (I
am not still sure which case) imagining one or more of the five sensory
inputs relying on my memory of past experiences in terms of them. I see,
hear, feel, smell and taste my thoughts when not creating them in
language. Thus it is possible for me to translate these
"sensation-imaginatively" created thoughts into language, using words
corresponding to the imaginary sensations which I experienced when
creating these thoughts.

However, I have to be extremely careful when doing this and often refrain
from doing it because this is also a gigantic volcano ready to erupt. We
each use our senses to avoid destructions AND to create constructively.
When I feel something spiny, I will involuntary pull my hand away because
a destruction may follow. In other words, I feel danger and act
accordingly. But I have handled tens of thousands of spiny cacti pricking
the hell out of me, sometimes wondering why I keep on doing it. I then
become aware that I am also seeing (using one of the other four senses)
that I what I am touching is a spiny cactus. This other sensory input will
then trigger my mind to create constructively thoughts on cacti and
subsequently on many other things. Because these thoughts had been created
"sensation-imaginatively", the imaginary sensations usually dampens the
actual sensation of touch, sometimes so much that with a shock I became
aware that I were not feeling the pricking.

Here is another example. When I smell something awful, I will involuntary
turn my head away because a destruction may follow. In other words, I mell
danger and act accordingly. But I have handled hundreds of flowering
asclepiads bearing their beautiful and awful smelling carrion flowers. I
then become aware that I am also touching this (usually) smooth bodied
asclepiad. Again this other sensory input will trigger my mind to create
constructively thoughts on asclepiads and subsequently on many other
things. Since also these thoughts had been created
"sensation-imaginatively", again the imaginary sensations will dampen the
actual sensation of smell. Again the damping was often completely so that
with a shock I became aware that I were not smelling the carrion.

The desert and its wonderful inhabitants and climate taught me to use all
five my senses and not only one upon a time. It commuted with me through
my sensations and I responded by thoughts imagining additional sensations.
The desert also taught me to think what my sensations are signalling. Will
a possible destructive event follow or do I have the opportunity to create
constructively. The desert also taught me the insanity of trying to
overcome a possible destructive event by responding self destructively.
For example, it is insane to kill a snake when seeing it close by. Just
wait and it will sail away. Also, it is insane to push a loose rock down
when unexpectedly stepping on it. Just step on the next firm rock. All
these insane actions not only waste my own free energy, but also do also
irreversible harm to the environment. With no snakes the desert rats will
eat the little which grow there. A rock rolling down will crush many
plants and animals on its way down. I will not participate in such

However, I have to live with the fact that never ceasing signals from my
five sensory organs have to be created into thoughts which concern
destructive or constructive creativity. I have to live with the fact that
when I use a word to describe the sensation I imagined while creating a
thought, that word may cause a different sensation at anybody else who
reads or heard it. For example, I may use the word "rough" to describe the
roughness which I felt when creating that thought.

Now, should my thought had been created on anything else than another
person's thoughts, the word "rough" would either have helped the receiver
to create an image or would have been unnoticed. But should my thought
had been created on another person's thoughts expressed in whatever way to
create one or more of the five sensations within me, the volcano may erupt
once again. That person may easily interpret my use of the word "rough" in
a destructive rather than constructive sense -- a judgement on that
person's thoughts. The more the 7Es are impaired in that person, the
easier it becomes to interpret me in a destructive sense and thus for the
volcano to erupt.

For example, after regaining my consciousness after my recent operation, I
talked for several hours in a rough manner. I had been through a rough
four days and the operation, the first I ever had, was also rough. I was
not aware of my rough speaking until a nurse said to me: "Mr de Lange,
stop speaking roughly." Only then I became aware of it. For a moment I
began to question myself: "Why did you speak roughly?" In less than an
hour I worked most of the trauma away by questioning my ordeal and finding
answers to them.

There is no better medicine for destructive creativity than creating
constructively, to say yes rather than no, to connect rather than exclude.

The sending of language rich in sensational (or should I write sensory)
words requires a receiver who will create constructively with such
sensations to avoid possible conflicts. Have we learned how to create
constructively with the language in the standard manner? More important,
have we learned how to create constructively with the language in the
non-standard manner? With the "standard" I mean using the language in a
way which can be described by grammar and dictionary. In other words, I
mean using the language in way as it already had been created self by the
receiver as well as been studied by linguists. But with the "non-standard"
I mean creating the language while we are creating constructively our
thoughts. In other words, I mean creating the language in a way which the
receiver had not created it self before and thus creating novel examples
which linguists still have to study?

One of the things which struck me in my desert journeys, is that the
people who live there often create constructively with language in a
non-standard manner. In other words, they create new grammar and words as
they create their thoughts constructively. Some of my linguistic friends
rather think differently. They say that these people also communicate in a
standard manner. The only difference is that they use a language of their
own which these linguists call a dialect, a pidgin or creole version or
whatever they can label it with. In other words, they think that some
desert people of the past created the differences while those using the
language now simply follow them rotely. Thus these linguists think of
language evolution as something of the past, a "being", whereas I am
observing in these desert people language evolution in the present, a

To actually observe this present "becoming" of language evolution, I have
to provide a "sponsored environment" for them to do so, otherwise they
will simply stick to the standard usage of their dialect or whatever else
it may be called. To create a "sponsored environment" may take several
hours. What I basically do is to appreciate their constructive creativity
in all things and all ways which they are comfortable with. Hence I often
have to distinguish which ways of appreciation to follow and which ways to
avoid. One way which they are very comfortable with is to question them on
the desert in essences which they have experienced much as well as which
they are able to articulate. As they create answers freely, they begin to
understand that I want to be part of them and thus that I am part of their
"sponsored environment". It is then when they open up creating language in
a non-standard manner which is sheer bliss for me to study.

Sadly, I have only experienced this "non-standard" communication in my own
mother tongue. I wish I had the time to travel in the deserts of North
America to experience it there happening in English. But I think I know
too little of English to be able to observe it. I wish I knew more than
rudimentary Spanish to do the same in the deserts of South America. But I
know for sure that I will not be able to observe it. I also know for sure
that when any English or Spanish linguist want to observe it, it will not
merely a case of travelling to the desert and observe it. This linguist
will first have to learn how to become an authentic inhabitant of the
desert. That takes many moons of lonely explorations, learning creatively
how to harmonise with the desert in a constructive rather than destructive
manner. The Law of Requisite Complexity stands between whoever wants to
observe the creative evolution of a language in the present -- the endless
becoming of that language.

I will now end my roaming in this contribution with two questions:

(1) Is language beneficial to creativity or can it also constrain

(2) Do we need the LO as the "sponsored environment" for people to create
both language and thoughts in a non-standard manner?

You may answer these questions freely since I think that in our
LO-dialogue we have that "sponsored environment". I also think that few
answers to these questions are available so as to suppress authentic
learning with rote learning. I even think we are mature enough to suspend
our judgement of any answer indefinitely and rather use such answers as
examples to create our own thoughts with. Lastly, I think that we are
becoming sufficiently aware of love-agape, that it does not insist on
conditions and that it is always ready for one-to-many-mapping.

I long for the day when we will playing games and expressing art with each
others thoughts without volcanoes ready to erupt. I long for the day when
we create the English language as the desert peoples readily do in their
own languages when the thought to be created and transmitted requires it.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> 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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