Self-organising complex marketing systems LO26702

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 05/21/01

Replying to LO26693 --

Dear Organlearners

Chris Klopper <> writes:

>The marketing that I think can usefully be thought of
>as a self-organising complex system includes all the
>visible and/or measurable manifestation(s) which become
>evident as a result of a way of looking at the whole system
>(SY) in the context of and interacting with its surroundings
>(SU). The only way I can describe *it* at present is to think
>of *it* as a holographic image which appears in a
>multi-dimensional organisational space. It is not a holographic
>puppet and there is no single puppetmaster. My experience
>has brought me to the belief that among other things *it* has
>the potential for PERSISTENCY or (to use Bergson's term)

Greetings dear Chris,

Yes, that potential is like a movie, but with a difference -- it cannot be

It seems to me that your mind is actually working towards the world wide
marketing system of all goods and services -- the mother of them all. Is
this "Global Marketing System" (GMS) self-organising? Perhaps you will
have to fasten your seat belt because I am going to cover a wide panorama.

When I think about of the history of economy the past three millennia
(since the first "great civilisations" sprang up), it has grown incredibly
complex. Up to four centuries ago we could speak of "continental marketing
systems", but since then they gradually fused into the GMS.

When I want to make sure if any system is self-organising, I look at its
content and form. As for its content, the "self" of "self-organising"
indicates that it acts spontaneously rather than acting by external force.
But what does "spontaneous" means? A plethora of things!! Most important,
the system has to organise in terms of its own free energy F rather than
being driven by the free energy of any system surrounding it. This free
energy sustains whatever entropic "force-flux pairs" the system needs for
"entropy production" and thus change in its organisation. (In terms of
Hegel's dialectics -- the system must have its own dialectics.)
Furthermore, the system
(1) must have the capacity to recharge its free energy
(2) has to buffer itself against an external inundation of entropy

As for the form of the system, the "organising" of "self-organising"
indicates that certain patterns are essential to the system's
organisation. I myself use the seven essentialities to search for these
patterns. In human made systems I often find the following. In terms of
liveness, the system is often constrained in its becoming. As for
sureness, the system often does not harmonise with its field. As for
wholeness, the system often lacks association. As for fruitfulness, the
system often fails to make effective connections. As for spareness, the
system often estimates its limitations wrongly. As for otherness, the
system often avoids diversity. As for openness, the system often ignores
its environment.

With this view on the content-form of any self-organising system, let us
then contemplate the GMS. Does the GMS have content? Yes, it acts
spontaneously. It is not forced to act by, for example, politicians or
religious clergy. In fact, it is capable of using so much of its free
energy that it rather forces people to act non-spontaneously in politics
and religion. People sense a huge source of free energy in the GMS to be
tapped. They will use this free energy to sustain tensions of wants
(entropic forces) and flows of commodities (entropic fluxes) without
thinking about how much complexity or even confusion they produce. They
will ride wave upon wave from the one crest of chaos through the valley of
equilibrium to the next crest, up like a bull and down like a bear.

Does the GMS have form? Yes, people participating in it do change
(liveness), seek clarity (sureness), incorporate unity (wholeness), make
deals (fruitfulness), calculate quantities (spareness), honour qualities
(otherness) and provide for external influences (openness). For example,
let us go deeper into wholeness. Money (whatever the currency) and
information (whatever the language) reach into the remotest regions of the
GMS. Goods get transported by sea, air or ground from any place on the
globe to any other place. Hence the GMS is actually throbbing with

Chris, what about subsystems of the Global Marketing System (GMS). Are
they self-organising too or is it only the GMS which is self-organising?
You took the cellular phone industry to introduce the topic of a
self-organising marketing system. It is a novel subsystem of the GMS.
But why the cellular phone industry and not for example the meat industry
(which includes farmers, abattoirs, butchers, processors and consumers). I
think that you was struck by how much the cell phone industry imbettered
your own consultation business in terms of form (liveness, sureness,
wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness, otherness and openness) as well as in
terms of content (utilising your free energy most efficiently for whatever
emergence or digestion). But for me, having to cope with diabetes and an
allergic reaction to insulin, the meat industry as part of the protein
industry is far more vivid than the cell phone industry!

It reminds me of my Brazilian friend Miotto with whom I explored the
Amazon about a dozen years ago. He is a business broker (someone who
brings producer and buyer into contact with each other). A telephone (and
family!) is indispensable for him. I wondered how he would ever cope in
the deep Amazon. Well, Miotto simply took a parabolic disc along and
focussed on a telecommunications satellite almost like a religious person
praying several times a day. Like a general commanding his army, he
managed his family business each day during the entire tour. When we were
back into civilization, it was as if nothing happened to upset business as

But what about, for example, the meat industry? Is it a self-organising
marketing system too? I wonder. As we went deeper into the Amazon, we had
to rely more and more what nature provided us with than what humans could
produce and market. Eventually we had to eat capibari (gigantic river
rodents), anaconda (gigantic river snakes), rare armadillo and even
precious parrots to stay alive. Once Miotto convinced an Indian women with
a pile of money to part with her only chicken. I was deeply under the
impression that his satellite phone went deeper into the Amazon than the
meat industry. Does information helps wholeness to increase? Why did the
Indian woman not bred and kept several chickens to sell them to crazy
tourists like us?

The cellular phone and meat industry are examples of specific
self-organising systems in the material complement of our universe. But
what about examples in the mental complement? Will we find irreversible
self-organising marketing systems here too? Let us take one example,
namely the world of learning which is my personal passion. Is it
functioning better than the cell phone industry or worse than the meat
industry? Measured in terms of producers (papers and text books) and
consumers (lecturers and students) there is indeed a massive industry. But
is it spontaneous (the "self" or content) and is it rich (the "organising"
or form) to qualify as a self-organising system? Is it not perhaps a case
of 1% self-organising in the world of learning while the remaining 99% are
busy with pseudo self-organising?

I think that the bottom line whether any particular marketing system is
irreversibly self-organising or not, is it making a profit or not! We
usually think of profit in terms of an individual business in a particular
marketing sector. When such a business keeps on making a profit with an
occasional hiccup, it is considered (on a tacit level) to be
self-organising. Otherwise it goes bancrupt. But when all the businesses
in a marketing sector fail to make a profit, that sector ceases to be also
self-organising. For example, up to the end of the 19th century carriages
drawn by animals was a lucrative market. Today it is almost non existent,
having been replaced by the automobile industry.

Chris, let us consider the Global Marketing System (GMS) once again
because I now wish to draw your attention to something most important. I
have mentioned in the beginning that the GMS emerged some four centuries
ago out of "continental marketing systems". The age of sea-fearing the
wide oceans was already a century old. But massive investment was needed
for the kind of sailing ships capable of intercontinental voyages. Only
the richest of kings could afford such investment. But once the idea of
selling shares (stocks) in a sailing ship emerged, the wealth of the whole
nation and not only its king could be tapped. Hence stock markets emerged
where trading is done in terms of shares. After ships followed factories,
etc. It seems as if the GSM (Global Stock Market) is the heart of the GMS
as irreversible self-organising system.

The basic idea of a stock market is to let stock holders share in the
profits of companies. The money initially paid for stock certificates
issued, has been used by the company to organise its business. The profits
of the company is then shared as dividends among its stock holders.
However, it soon became clear that two operations are possible in the
stock market itself. The front room operation is trying to make money by
buying shares at a low price and then selling them later at a higher
price. A minority make profits while the majority burn their fingers with
losses. But as a whole there is no profit to be made, except for the
dividends declared by the companies who issued the stocks.

However, it is the back room operation I wish to draw you attention to.
This is to get hold of a big enough portion of a company's stocks so as to
control the management of that company. The expensive way is to buy openly
enough of that company's stocks so as to have a decisive vote on share
holders' meetings. The far less expensive way is to get C&C (Control and
Command) over important stock holders through bribery and blackmail. Such
C&C through stocks and upon stock holders allow the secret masters to all
sorts of back room operations like creating wars, monopolies, money
laundering, smuggling, etc.

I do not wish to go into this back room operations further, except to note
that should you be interested in what has happened so far, there are books
available to give you an idea of how almost incomprehensibly immense these
despicable backroom operations are. I rather want you to focus how it
became possible at all -- by dealing with shares in a self-organising
system! I want to stress emphatically that I do not think that this very
"dealing with shares in a self-organising system" is of poor character
(false, bad, wrong and ugly). But I believe firmly that should we not
understand this "dealing with shares in a self-organising system", it
opens the door wide open for questionable characters lurking in the
shadows to take C&C of such a self-organising system, thus forcing it into
working for their own sinister ends.

I am now going to make a large jump from the GMS to democracies. Up to
four centuries ago, the government of countries was in the hands of a
monarch or oligarchy (aristocrats). Then, just as the monetary wealth of
the peoples was unlocked by sharing stocks in public companies, the
political wealth of the peoples was unlocked by sharing votes in public
administrations. Although it happens in the political rather than
economical walk of life, it is for me personally nothing else than once
again "dealing with shares in a self-organising system". Again we have
frontroom and backroom operations in these "political shares", i.e. votes.
How much did we not experience this in our own country?

Allow me now to jump like a cat on a hot tin roof. Not only did
democracies emerge some four centuries ago, but also a proliferation of
Christian churches. As a result of the Bible becoming available to common
peoples, the religious wealth of the peoples was unlocked by sharing seats
in the governing of their local congregations. The stronghold of the
clergy on religion finally became broken. Let us next contemplate the
proliferation of the sciences. As a result of being able to publish papers
on minute topics among pears, the intellectual wealth of the peoples was
unlocked by sharing papers in dedicated academical journals. The
stronghold of the philosophers on science finally became broken. Let us
lastly contemplate education. As a result of being able to obtain a
certificate of competency, the knowledge wealth of the peoples was
unlocked by sharing certificates issued by official institutions. The
stronghold of the professors on education finally became broken.

All these "shares" in various self-organising complex marketing systems is
for me very much like the cells of a complex living organism.

In all these walks of life as well as many more which I do not have time
to comment on, all this wealth became unlocked as a result "dealing with
shares in a self-organising system" where such a system is any of these
walks of life which I have referred to. I want to stress once again that
only when we do not understand how this "dealing with shares in a
self-organising system" work and thus are not able to manage it, will
questionable characters with sinister motives take C&C of such a system in
terms of the various "shares" which allow us to participate in such a
self-organising system.

In other words, whereas the system ought to have functioned spontaneously
(using its own free energy) with well formedness (exhibiting the 7Es), it
now begins to function under force so that it unlocks destructive
creativity increasingly. Why? Because a "share", whatever walk of life it
refers to, is not an automatic guarantee for constructive creativity. It
is just a symbol which can represent many things although it was intended
for a one-to-one-mapping. This reduction of the one-to-many-mapping
(ordering) of a symbol to an equality also began to grow hand over hand
some four centuries ago when semiotics (in those days practised as
linguistics) became a continuous, conscious mental activity of many
humans. But among the ancient Greeks, for example, the word "semeia"
always had a dual meaning -- symbols and wonders. The working of a symbol
was a wonder and a wonder became a new symbol to work for.

How will we protect our "shares" in every walk of life? I once wrote that
in the desert I learned that life their protects itself by production
rather than conservation. Dwig found it stunning, but otherwise it seems
to have caused no ripple. Protecting our "shares" by laws as had been done
for so many thousands of years seems to fail increasingly as the
complexity of it all increases. Perhaps we have too much conservation and
too little production in our laws. Well, let me share some of my mental
production with you how we may protect our "shares".

For me any "share" in any "self-organising complex system" has a complex
one-to-many) rather than a simple (one-to-one) meaning. I have to guard
continually myself against reducing its complex meaning. Consider, for
example, an educational certificate as a "share" in the system
"education". What complex meaning would a Bachelors degree signify in
terms of sharing in education as a "self-organising complex system"?
Should it signify on behalf of the system's "self" that the learning was
spontaneous rather than forced? Should it also signify on behalf of the
system's "organisation" that the learning was holistic (one of the 7Es)
rather than fragmentary? Or should it signify merely signify that a number
of disciplines have been mastered?

We have now reached the point where almost every walk of life is ready to
break down along all its seams because of the complexity of life. I cannot
help but to think that all our participating through "shares", whatever
walk of life having its own kind of "shares", has much to do with the
coming catastrophe. Again, it is not the "shares" which have a
questionable character since they can have any complexity of meanings. We
rather should question ourselves whether we know what they mean and how to
work with them in the COMPLEXITY which they have unlocked. I believe these
SHARES can still be comprehended, but only in manners specifically
organised for the very complexity which they entailed.

One such a manner is nothing else than the SHARED VISION, one of the five
disciplines of a Learning Organisation (LO). To "deal with shares in a
self-organising system" without a Shared Vision for that self-organising
system is to invite all the forces of destructive creativity to gradually
take C&C of that self-organising system so that it cannot act
spontaneously any more in terms of its own free energy, nor act with well
formedness in terms of the 7Es. Consequently it ceases to act like a
self-organising system. It then becomes a robot to work for the secret
agents operating in the back room. They have only one goal in life -- to
make a profit for their secret masters lurking in the shadows, come heaven
or hell.

Chris, I think that despite their despicable behaviour, these secret
operators have perhaps more tacit knowledge on the Law of Entropy
Production (LEP) than any other section of society. LEP says that the
entropy of the universe in each of its physical and spiritual complements
has to increase endlessly. It is as if deep down the universe makes its
own profit and that profit is entropy. But this profit of the universe
never stays at the level of entropy. It never stays a secret, but comes
into the open. In other words, the "entropy profit" also gets manifested
in the higher levels of organisation of the universe. One of them is human
creativity, i.e. creativity is the result of entropy production.

However, the "entropy profit" most dear to me is unconditional love. Thus
rather than to seek out these back room operators in "dealing with shares
in a self-organising system", judge them and then "burn them on the
stakes", let us rather learn self to understand how to "deal with shares
in a self-organising system". Sooner or later these back room operators
will take notice of our understanding and hopefully they will also learn
to evolve further than profitting only in money. Of one thing I am pretty
sure now -- we cannot overcome destructive creativity through destructive
creativity. Six millennia of documented human conduct has convinced me of
that. War cannot bring peace, but when war ends, peace resumes so that we
again have time to repair all the broken 7Es and recharge our free energy.

Let our "dealing with shares in a self-organising system" be in the manner
of a Shared Vision. Let us share our visions with one another in a
learning dialogue so that we can create together our Shared Vision for
humankind itself. For if humankind fails as a Learning Organisation, will
there still be a future for it? When a manager of your organisation tells
you: "This is our shared vision, follow it without questioning", has your
organisation emerged into a LO? When humans try to force each other how
and what to organise, has humankind emerged into a LO?

Can we question unconditional love? Of course yes! Can we resist acts of
unconditional love? Of course yes! But sooner or later we begin to
question our resistance since unconditional love does not mind
questioning. In fact, it demands questioning so as to make sure that
Love-Agape even look beyond our failing in free energy and the 7Es. For
any system to be irreversibly self-organising is one thing, but for
one-to-many-love to show what the future has in stall for us, is another
thing of much higher order. Love-Agape does not set up any account, nor
does it seek profit since it is at the crest of all kinds of profits. It
simply sets people free from any system enforcing them to organise.

Is it possible to think of Love-Agape itself as an irreversibly
self-organising complex marketing system? Is it possible for Love-Agape to
become a GMS? It it possible to unlock the Love-Agape of all peoples by
issueing shares in it? What would this shares be called? Shares are called
in economy stocks, in politics votes, in religion confessions, in science
papers and in education certificates. But what will they be called in
Love-Agape? I think we may call them GRACE. Grace has a radiant spectrum
of meanings. As a noun among others it means refinement, presence,
dexterity, harmony, virtue, compassion, forgiveness and benediction. As a
verb it also means adorn, beautify, enhance and dignify.

Let us serve the GMS of Love-Agape by sharing deeds of grace with whomever
comes our way.

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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