Greetings to all of you.
I want share the following with you. It has to do with the essentiality
liveness ("becoming-being"). I want to share it especially with Charlie
Saur and Chris Kloppers. Charlie has to care for the becoming of his son
Dan who lives differently to that of other children. Chris has to
facilitate on the other extreme for the becoming of a global corporation.
Whether involving one child or tens of thousands of workers, both have to
understand "becoming-being". Perhaps the following may help them to
question their own thoughts further.
I am in the process of trying to find the best words in my mother tongue
Afrikaans to name the seven essentialities of creativity. Why I did not
name them in Afrikaans before, is itself a long story which I will tell
You may think that it is easy -- just consult an English-to-Afrikaans
translation dictionary. It will also save me trouble because then I will
not be frowned upon by Afrikaans speaking people for using unfamilar
words. However, I want to translate something having to do with
creativity. Thus it may easily happen that creativity may get impaired
because of the translation!
I have shared many moons ago with you the following. We would ask our kids
in Afrikaans "Wat wil jy word?" rather than "Wat wil jy wees?". With the
"wees"=be and "word"=become it translates into English as "What do you
want to become?" rather than "What do you want to be?". Interestingly,
although we have the two Germanic words "syn"="wees"=be, we also would
never ask our children "Wat wil jy syn?". It seems that we deliberately
avoid using the "syn"="wees"=be when enquiring into the future of a
person. Here is another case.
Gerunds in English are created by adding the suffix "-ing" to verbs. These
gerunds stress that the action of the verb has to be viewed like an
ongoing movie whatever the time slot in which it is happening. Thus for
"to be" and "to become" we will have "being" and "becoming" as the
persistent movies of these verbs.
Creating these gerunds stems from the ancient Germanic heritage of English
via Old English (Anglo Saxon). In my mother tongue Afrikaans we also form
gerunds in the same manner for the same reason because the bottom
substrate of Afrikaans is also Germanic. Thus for become="word" we will
have becoming="wording". This word "wording" does exists and is often used
to indicate the movie. For example, we will say "die wording van die
skepping" when meaning "the becoming of the creation". Here the "skepping"
itself is the gerund of the verb "skep"=create. One remnant in English of
"skep" is in the suffix "-ship" like in leadership. Another remnant is in
the noun shop, a place where creations are sold.
Guess what? We do not have in Afrikaans the gerunds for "syn"="wees"=be.
In fact, forming the gerunds "syning" and "wesing" would sound completely
alien to the Afrikaans ear. Should I use anyone of "syning" or "wesing" to
translate being, I would become mince meat in a very short time. My fellow
Afrikaans speaking people would immediately retort with something in the
manner of "Here in Africa you cannot afford the luxury 'to be' because
you have 'to become' day by day."
Well, I am going to do just that. I am going to introduce them to the
luxury of the movie "to be". This reminds me of the days of Apartheid and
the strict control of the Publications Board. It was forbidden to have
books like "Das Kapital" or movies like "Lady Chatterly's lover".
Posession of communistic literature or pornographic movies would land you
in jail with the keys thrown away. So some clever entrepeneur decided to
market a "blue movie" for some $20 (in those days) each. This entrepeneur
made a fortune by selling a movie showing blue on the screen for the
entire movie. This is how "wesing"=being works! Nobody could sue the
entrepeneur for even a cent, neither could the state take civil actions.
But how will I introduce my fellow Afrikaans speaking people to the gerund
of "be"? Remember that I have two possibilities and that both ("syning"
and "wesing") is poison to the ear of anyone living in Afrcia and who is
sensitive to the essentiality liveness. (By the way, did you check your
Oxford -- the word liveness, unlike a word such as wholeness, does not
exist.) Which one will I choose?
I now have to go back many years ago. My dear wife and I could just afford
the payments on our first house. My eldest child Corine was only a baby
then. Close by was an orphanage at which I gave religious classes on
Sundays. Within a couple of months these orphans came to visit my wife
during the day. To her consternation, they only wanted to sit on the
kitchen floor staring at her doing her chores. Their staring made her very
uneasy. So I had to beg with her: "Do as you have done in the past. Think
of them as pictures on the wall paper. They are drinking in your doing as
a mother with chores because they are thirsty for it."
What I wonderful wife I have. She kept on doing her household chores
despite their lurking. This reminds me of the many lurkers on this list.
Were it not for them, I would have stopped contributing so much long ago
because it consumes my free energy far more than most can realise. Anway,
after a couple of months an orphan would stop lurking in the kitchen. When
I contacted their school principal afterwards, he would often say "I do
not know what happened, but this kid's school work improved."
Alicia (my dear wife's name which is derived from the Greek
"aletheia"=truth), I thank you before the world for what you have meant to
me. You are not only a mother to our children, but have been a mother to
many an orphan. You have taught these children and ours that life is an
endless becoming. All these children live the endless becoming of
liveness, suffering the pain of breaking out of rigid being. I must add
that when our children (Johannnes and his twin sister Ilse-Marie) and then
Alicia visited our dear fellow learner Andrew Campbell in England, this
"becoming" of them shocked him more than anything else. Andrew, last week
our granddaugther Jessica told me "Oupa(=Grandfather) you have to make
money so that I can visit England and tell Oom (=uncle) Andrew what art we
kids needs. I have learned English well enough to tell him all."
So how will I translate "being" into Afrikaans? I will create the word
"wesing"! The reason why this word sounds so alien is because we have in
Afrikaans the word "weeskind" for orphan. Here "wees"=be and "kind"=child.
Hence the morphological equivalent for "weeskind"=bechild in English.
Interestingly enough, we do not have in Afrikaans "wordkind"=becomechild
to complement explicitly the "weeskind"=bechild. It is tacit knowledge to
us that kids get in a home and family that nourishing environment to
become="word" daily rather getting stuck on be="wees". But perhaps it is
not so much tacit knowledge any more. We have translated the English
'street child' (orphan who does not even have an orphanage to live in)
into "straatkind". Should we have known Afrikaans better, it should have
In Afrikaans it is easy to form new nouns from known nouns. One manner is
to add a known verb in front of the known noun. With "trek"=pull and
"klavier"=piano, we will form the noun "trekklavier"=accordion. Should we
do this morphologically in English, the outcome would be
pullpiano=accordion. The word "weeskind"=bechild=orphan is another
Now let us create a few words in the same manner. With "mens"=(hu)man we
can create "weesmens"=be(hu)man and "wordmens"=become(hu)man. I have put
the 'hu' of '(hu)man' into brackets to show that word 'man' in English
had two meanings, namely 'human' and 'male person'. However, because of
chauvinism and feminism, the meaning 'human' of man="mens" began to
wither away. Perhaps importing the word "mens" into English will solve
this problem ;-) In that case we will have "weesmens'=bemens and
"wordmens"=becomemens. Otherwise we will have to use "mens"=person so that
we get "weesmens"=beperson and "wordmens"=becomeperson.
A child has to live in a family as a "wordkind"=becomechild rather than to
live on its own as a "weeskind"=bechild. How would it be for a
"mens"=person=(hu)man? In what kind of organisation has that person to
live as a "wordmens"=becomeperson rather than a "weesmens"=beperson? What
kind of organisation will provide the nourishing environment for all its
members to become="word" rather than to be="wees"? What kind of
organisation will gradually make the gerund (movie of a verb)
being="wesing" sound alien and the gerund becoming="wording" attractive?
With "lede"=members, what kind of organisation will have
becomemembers="wordlede" rather than bemembers="weeslede"?
I am not going to spell out the full name of that kind of organisation.
Writing the acronym LO is more than enough.
Do all the becomemembers ="worldlede" of the LO know that there is
something which can express the being="wesing" of any system SY as well as
something else which can express its becoming="wording"? In other words,
rather than using the words 'being(sy)' and 'becoming(sy)' for the
system SY, we may use the symbols of these other two things. I am not
going to spell out the full names of these other two things. Writing the
symbols S(sy) and /_\S(sy) are sufficient. Thus being-of-SY=S(sy)
describes the system persisting with its act as a picture. Further,
becoming-of-SY=/_\S(sy) describes the system persisting with its act as a
By fixing the S(sy), the system will run down into an equilibrium. Here
the parts="gedeeltes" of the system will persist as
beingparts="weesgedeeltes". But by promoting the /_\S(sy), the system will
shuttle between the valleys of order and the ridges of chaos. Meanwhile
the parts of the system will persist as becomingparts="wordgedeeltes".
Let us now think of the orphan=bechild="weeskind" and
???=becomechild="wordkind" once again. By fixing the S(sy) of the systems
SY in which our children are involved, many a child will end up as an
orphan=bechild="weeskind" for whom being="wesing" is the only future.
However, by promoting the /_\S(sy) of the systems SY in which our children
are involved, many a child will still end up as an
orphan=bechild="weeskind" rather than become a
We should never confuse the systems SY in which our children are involved
with our children as systems SY self. Therefore it is better to
distinguish the systems in which our children are involved as the
surroundings SU. Now we can understand better that many a child will end
up as an orphan=bechild="weeskind" by either fixing the S(su) or promoting
the /_\S(su) of the surroundings (environment) SU. We have been looking
at S(su) and /_\S(su) and not S(kid) and /_\S(kid) self!
The child for whom S(kid) stays the same has ended up as a
bechild="weeskind". But the child for whom /_\S(kid) shuttles between the
valleys of order and the ridges of chaos, has become a
becomechild="wordkind". When the surroundings SU forces with its /_\S(su)
the child to a ridge of chaos whereas the child's own /_\S(kid) at that
moment had to move to a valley of order, the child may easily become a
bechild="weeskind" by impairing his/her liveness or any other essentiality
of creativity. Only when /_\S(su) of the surroundings SU harmonises with
the child's own /_\S(kid), will the child persist as a
Plants and animals 'know' that this harmony has to exists between their
"children" (fruits or babies) and the surroundings SU. Thus they will make
"children" at that time of the year when the harmony is best and refrain
from doing so when the harmony is least. But it seems that humankind does
not know any more how crucial the harmony is between /_\S(kid) and
/_\S(su). Adults produce /_\S(su) like crazy, expecting children to
harmonise with it by their own /_\S(kid). Thus humankind has the highest
persentage of orphans=bechildren="weeskinders" in its entire history --
several billions of them.
Let us stop with this madness of making a child into a bechild="weeskind".
Let the gerund 'being' become as alien in English as the word "wesing" is
in Afrikaans. Let our /_\S(su) harmonise with the /_\S(kid) of our
children rather than them having to cope with the madness of adults.
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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