Shared Vision or Shared Cliches? LO26811

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 06/12/01

Replying to LO26792 --

Dear Organlearners,

Alfred Rheeder <> writes:

>I would like to share some of my experiences
>regarding "empires".

Greetings dear Alfred,

You have shared some rich experiences with us. Thank you very much. I will
not be able to connect to all of them. But I want to connect to two things
which you wrote:

>The first 20-30 min was spent to establish and
>communicate the impeccable credentials of the
>persons involved and the university. What bothered
>me was that they communicated their credentials in
>such as way as if to say that you can only take
>people with credentials serious.

Goethe stressed that studying plants and animals among other things was
most important to him so as to improve his own artistry.

The more "intelligent" (evolved) fishes exhibit a behaviour which is
called "establishing the pecking order". Destructively interpreted it is
as if they are establishing a hirarchy -- an order of dominance or
intimidation. Constructively interpreted, we may go back to Darwin and say
it is natural selection so that the fittest will breed and thus the
species will survive. But we may also go forward and try to articulate our
tacit knowledge in a manner which was never done before.

The first 20-30 minutes were spent in "establishing the pecking order".

Is it really necessary? If we observe much more "intelligent" (evolved)
animals than merely fishes, we find that some species have almost phased
out this "establishing the pecking order" by having developed a complex
social system for doing what this "establishing the pecking order" also
do. I am thinking here of, for example elephants and meercats.

You fellow learners have all seen a picture of elephants. They are the
biggest animals on land. They are herbivores. But I wonder how many of you
have seen a picture of meercats. They are small like a mongoose. They are
omnivores. So size or eating habit have nothing to do with phasing out
this "establishing the pecking order". I can try to describe to you the
complex social system which each species has developed.

I actually burn to do describe these different social systems because they
are very interesting as "animal learning organisations" . But I will
merely mention one thing which they all have in common. They all have an
intricate discipline of "caring for their young" so that not even one will
suffer because of the other doings of their society.

Why do formal-public educational institutions get by law the right to
certify learners, i.e issueing credentials? Why have the business of
informal-private education surpassed in many parts of the world the
formal-public education? Are there still such a thing as "impeccable

My own present understanding of these "impeccable credentials" is that
they very much have to do with trying to articulate the LRC (Law of
Requisite Complexity) and LSC (Law of Singularity of Complexity). These
two laws are some of the major manifestations when all 7Es (seven
essentialities of creativity) are taken together.

With a certificate of learning we try to signify that a learner has
reached a certain level of complexity (competency, if we are sharing
cliches ;-) Whoever should then employ that learner, would use these
certificates as assurances that a certain level of complexity has been
reached by the learner => LRC on paper. Since fewer learners reach a
higher level of complexity, the highest certificates involves the most
singularity => LSC on paper.

Sadly, what happens is the "establishing the pecking order" on paper. It
tells us little how the learner actually copes with the LRC and LSC in
life. So society has invented CVs to extend this "establishing the pecking
order" even further. Only yesterday I have seen the abridged (not full) CV
of a person (applying for a much sought after job) which is more than a
dozen pages long!

Last month I met a person who is the executive works manager of a
multidisciplinary operation which is the largest of its kind in the
Southern Hemisphere and perhaps one of the top ten of its kind in the
world. As for "impeccable credentials" on paper, he would have to stand in
the back of the row. But as for doing his job so that this massive
operation works like a well oiled clock, he stands right in front of the
row. His nightmare is those few higher up in the hirarchy of their
organisation who with their "impeccable credentials" keep on making his
job more troublesome than all the workers who he has to manage.

I had not the opportunity to question him during our formal meeting. But
afterwards I fathomed his TACIT knowledge of the LRC and LSC with some
questions. These questions were not intended to let him articulate the LRC
and LSC, but to show how he applies the LRC and LSC in articulating
answers to these questions. He was smiling all the way, even with his
eyes. He knew tacitly what was going on.

The "impeccable credentials" of the management team of any organisation
tells me little. What tells me vastly more is how the management team are
creating an organisation in which most, if not all its members are not
bashing frequently their heads against LRC and LSC as impenetrable walls.
To share a cliche -- all the "talk", not even on paper, can match the
"walk the talk" ;-)

Alfred, you also wrote:

>I was asked to negotiate our yearly contract with
>one of the largest retail chains in SA (South Africa).
>Well they are notorious for their conduct.

I have nothing against any organisation because of its size. But it was
not always like this. In my much younger days I had a great dislike for
very large organisations because it seemed to me that the bigger they are,
the more they bully and roughen up the little organisations.

In the desert of Damaraland and Kaokoland there are small mammals like the
small desert mouse weighing less than 6 grammes and the large desert
elephant weighing more than 6 tonnes = 6 000 000 grammes. They are small
living organisations and large living organisations, each having an
impeccable social organisation.

These small desert mice live in what I call "sand palaces". They will dug
in sand (which has become partially hardened into a solid mass) a vast
network of tiny tunnels to live in. From above the only thing which the
eye can see, is that the surface has taken a "bubbly" shape with a few
holes among the tiny domes. The desert elephants see these "sand palaces"
too and take care not to step on them. But I have seen on occasions the
tracks of a 4x4 vehicle going right through a "sand palace". Who has
"character", the desert elephant or the human with his 4x4 seeking kicks?

What is most important for me, is the "character" of an organisation,
small or large. I expect more "character" of a large organisation than of
a small organisation. The reason is that a large organisation can do much
more damage to humans because of is size. Its restraint against doing so
is reflected in the evolution of its "character". An organisation which
has become larger while its "character" stayed the same or even
deteriorated, is more like the 4x4 tracker than the roaming elephant.

Unlike in my younger days I now know of large organisations with superior
"character" who live like the desert elephants of Damaraland and
Kaokoland. It is possible to build the image of any organisation, small or
large, with letters of character. But it is also possible to see with
X-ray eyes through that image what lives behind it. The only problem is
that we think of these X-ray eyes as something of the imagination. It is
not. More and more people are emerging into a way of living which enables
them with such X-ray eyes to look through the clever images.

Alfred, you also write:

>After these experiences I came under the
>impression that we should never become
>slaves of our material world. If this is the
>case then human kind will be in dire straits.

I will only add "or our mental world". Being a "slave of the mental world"
is just as devastating to the "character" of an organisation as being a
"slave of the material world".

History taught me that slavery, whatever form it took, whether material or
mental, always evolved into disastrous rebellions undoing that slavery for
good. History also taught me that next form of slavery is always complexer
than the form which it superceded. Finally, history taught me to look
carefully at the slaves and their masters. The undoing of the slavery was
because the slaves learned more authentically than their masters.

The masters in every kind of slavery so far had one thing in common. They
were "free energy vampires".

Alfred, you have been very wise to have returned from America to live
further in South Africa. I have been exposed much longer than you to the
defamation of Nelson Mandela. I have never met him personally so that I do
know of what character he was before his imprisonment. I was also too
stupid those days to know what to look for. But I have experienced how
much the character of a leader can do to an organisation as large as a
nation. I will be surprised if you did not experience it too. It seems as
if such many years of imprisonment can do much to the character of some of
the prisoners. But it is not.

One thing which we should never forget, is that the "character of
somebody" (person or organisation) is never a GIVEN. This is why it is
impossible for sure to establish the "character of somebody" by GIVING
"impeccable credentials". It is not imprisonment which shape this
"character of somebody". It is shaped by the forces and patterns of
evolution (morphogenesis) just like anything else. Jan Smuts, one of our
past leaders, thought that holism (increasing wholeness) is the force of
evolution. He was on the right track, but I think it is far more complex.
Anyway, I would have enjoyed beyond description a dialogue between Smuts
and Mandela on merely "increasing wholeness"

Nevertheless, merely by using Smuts' holism, we can get one of these X-ray
eyes to fathom this "character of somebody" and how far it has evolved.
Having such an X-ray eye makes the "establishing of impeccable
credentials" an archaic habit, does it not.

When I look at the vision of any organisation, I search for this
"character of somebody" behind it. Its like looking for a desert mouse or
desert elephant. You will know when you have found 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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