Archegon LO26636

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 05/06/01

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to you all.

We had a long dialogue on the concept "archetype" which helped us to to
look at its many dazzling facets.

This morning, in a sermon on Acts 3, I came upon the word "archegon" in
verse 15. The King James version translated this word as "prince". When I
tried to translate it to myself into Afrikaans, I discovered once again
how complex is the job of translating a word form one culture in one era
to another culture in another era.

The word "arche" has many meanings rather one. Two of its more important
meanings are ancient (long ago) and original (authentic). The suffic "gon"
is related to word "genesis" which means evolution or bringing forth. As
usual, to escape the rote preaching of the pastor, I tried to find the
best Germanic (i.e. avoiding words derived from Greek or Latin)
translation for "archegon", trying to use the simple rather than compound
Germanic words.

We have a simple word in Afrikaans for the "arche" of Greek, namely "eg".
For example, when a couple marries, we say that they are connected by the
"eg". When we refer the original work of art of a last master rather than
a copy of it, we say that the art is "eg".

It is when I began to think about the suffic "gon" that my mind took an
incredible journey. It was very difficult for me to find an old word
without prefixes and suffixes lifting out its meaning. We have many of
those words transforming a stem to tell something of "-gon". Eventually I
stumbled on "gaan" which is deraived from the Low Saxon word "goan". My
mental flights was incredible. I began to think of "archegon" as "eggaan".

We use the word "gaan" in the sense of the English "go", i.e, moving from
point A to B. But we may also use it in terms of any progression from a
lower order to a higher order of complexity. For example, when we say
goodbuy to each other, we will say "goed gaan" (good go). When I want to
say that I am concerned about your well living, I will simply add the
prefic "be-" to say "begaan".

The best way in which I can translate the word "archegon" in English is to
say "authentic going". A more common word would be "author", but in this
word the essential "becoming" in "archegon" is lost. It reminds me of the
modern word "cosmology". In the precious centuries philosophers used the
word "cosmogeny" to indicate the dynamical movie of Creation rather than
our static picture of Creation. Yes, "entropy production" is basically a

St Peter (as recorded by St Luke) took a bold step by saying that Jesus is
the "archegon" of life.

It all reminded me that with the word "archetype" we try to say more than
what we know (Michael Polanyi). By using "archegon" we can say something
which we cannot say with "archetype". Is it not strange that as soon as we
try to express liveness ("becoming-being"), we discover how STANDARD
language actually constrains what we know. I discovered the 7Es originally
in terms of patterns on a level lower than a language. It is when I tried
to formulate them in language that I began to dicover how extremely
diffcult it is to know all what I know about them.

I wonder how much the "archetype" of organisational learning is not also a
case of "archegon".

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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