Greetings to all of you. And excuse me once again for this lengthy
I have used the word "maps" because the metaphor I have in mind is that of
a map left by a pirate to where all his riches were buried. Walk a
specified distance in a specified direction to find a specified object.
Then do it again for another distance in another direction to another
object. Eventually, following all the instructions perfectly, the final
object to be found will be the treasure. By the way, such maps always have
to be bought at a price.
Why do I use this metaphor and what do I have in mind? I have in mind
anything which had to emerge in the "world-inside-me", but which I now
must buy from someone more informed than me in the "world-outside-me". I
do not want you to waste your physical and spiritual resources like I did
self on what cannot come from the "world-outside-me". I became gradually
sure that buying maps to treasures inhibited my creativity immensely.
Perhaps the most luring map to riches is a lottery ticket. Its
instructions are very simple. Select a set of numbers among a set of given
numbers. Pay a small amount. Any number of sets can be bought, sometimes
too much than what can be afforded. The lucky person will win at the draw
of one set a large amount of money.
Another very luring map to riches is the pyramid scheme. Send fixed
amounts of money to the small number of persons in the top row of the
list. Remove their names. Then add your name to the bottom row of list and
send copies of the list to a fixed number of others people. Eventually,
when your name reaches the top row, money will come pouring in.
Or what about less obvious schemes like the invitation to consolidate all
your debts at a small handling fee, the setting up of your private company
to become afterwards sequestrated, lending your bank account so that dirty
money can be transferred to it, letting the right person invest your
savings on the stock market, or sitting at home while making bags of money
with your computer and its CD-ROM connected to Internet.
Several weeks ago I got a spam through E-mail advertising: "Buy a CD with
100 million E-mail addresses on it for $99." I said to myself: "Oh no, not
that again. This very information on the CD was used to contact me." Since
then I have been overflowed with such a diversity of money making schemes
-- maps to treasures -- which defy all the E-mail filters. Even the
vendors of pornography get more clever by the day to get past these
filters. However, when a few came through offering certificates for
training to apply for better paid jobs, I thought "What is enough, will
soon become too much."
The "too much" came sooner than expected. A respected university (not of
my country) offered through "E-mail training" a sought after
qualification. The course is divided into thirty units. Each unit costs a
small amount to download. At the end of each unit is a task to be
completed. The task should be sent back and will be marked at a small
amount. When all thirty tasks have been marked, the qualification will be
I have not downloaded and studied any of the units. I do not suspect even
one unit to be of sub-standard. In fact, looking at the topics I said to
myself that the course is indeed tough and complex. But what worried me
immensely is the way in which the student will be trained. There is no
mention of provision for counselling through feedback loops. The student
either makes or makes it not. Furthermore, it seems as if the experiential
and tacit levels of knowledge from the "world-inside-student" play no role
in the training. The information which the student will have to draw into
his/her mind will apparently have to suffice as the "knowledge" on the
subject. Theoretically all seems to be very sound, but no practical work
other than the tasks on the theory is involved. All talk, no walk.
I am reminded of wise advice of the father of holism: "When in doubt, do
the brave thing."
What was offered to me, is nothing else than some pirate's treasure map
with 30 complicated steps to it.
I see all over the world several universities positioning themselves for
global training in cyberspace or virtual reality as it is also called. I
want to plead with the professors in each of them. Are you going to become
the postmodern world's pirates offering treasure maps with "pay as you
train"? Or are you going to make sure for the future generations to come
what is the difference between information and knowledge as well as where
knowledge comes from principally? Allow me to describe and not to
prescribe how it is with me.
I myself can only feed upon the information in the "world-outside-me" when
I have in the "world-inside-me" the "requisite cell of knowledge" to
digest it. This "requisite cell of knowledge" emerged within me as a
result of a complexity of inputs from all five senses. My senses allow me
to sensations because of a difference in qualities between the
"world-inside me" and the "world-outside-me". Goethe would have called
such a difference in a quality a "Spannung" (tension). The emergence has
several emergent levels to it: experience, tacit knowledge, formalised
knowledge (which I can transform to outer information) and wisdom. Goethe
would have called it the "Steigerung" (staggering) of my knowledge. I
cannot learn anything from any other person without this "requisite cell
of knowledge" acting as the "umlomo" (interpreter).
I have not only one "requisite cell of knowledge", but several different
cells. Although they are different, I am aware that they all have the same
"genetical makeup". They are different because they had to specialise for
different functions. Some of my "requisite cells of knowledge" are still
solitary. But others have multiplied into what I now perceive as under-
In this development of all my "requisite cells of knowledge" I am not
alone. I need the authentic learning of fellow learners just as much as I
need my own authentic learning. I need the information coming from their
"knowledge organs" (whatever the level of development) just as I still
need the sensations of my 5 sense from a world in which humans not
necessarily have a role to play.
It is because of this organic living in the "world-inside-me" that I find
the selling of treasure maps increasingly alien. These treasure maps are
either oblivious to what is happening in the "world-inside-me" or intended
to get my money rather than care for the "world-inside-me". In the case of
ignorance, these treasure maps suffocate my creativity like a coffin. In
the case of profiting, these treasure maps enslave me so that my
creativity dwindles to that of a programmed robot.
I live in Africa south of the Sahara. This sub-continent has become
shockingly poor. One of the main reasons is the selling of treasure maps
on all walks of life by pirates from abroad using corrupt inhabitants to
clinch the deals for them. I live in South Africa. My own people designed
and sold a treasure map which brought our beloved country and its peoples
to the brink of a cataclysm. We called it Apartheid. But as Ostwald
Sprengler once said: "History teaches only one actual lesson and that is
that humankind does not learn from all the potential lessons of history".
Apartheid was a deliberate attempt to undo "increasing wholeness" in both
the "inside-world" and the "outside-world" of people as well as between
these two worlds. Wholeness is one of the 7Es (seven essentialities of
creativity). Likewise deliberate attempts are made to undo the increase
each of the other six 7Es too. All these attempts are sold as treasure
maps. However, the actual price paid for such treasure maps is a loss in
the LRC (Law of Requisite Complexity) and LSC (Law of Singularity of
Complexity). Loss in LRC will make it easier for pirates and their cohorts
to fool us. Loss in LSC will make us more the same as well as poor beyond
Thank you Rick for hosting a dialogue among learners where the selling of
treasure maps is a relatively non-descript activity.
Dear fellow learners, in my opinion the best thing for you to do is to
question this contribution also as the possible selling of a treasure map.
Although I do not ask money for it, it is quite possible that I am selling
it for other riches like fame or glory. Nevertheless, only time will tell
what will become of me sticking out my neck like this.
Last Saturday another yearly Comrades, the world's greatest ultra-marathon
race, was held in South Africa. Some fifteen thousand people took part in
the this year's Comrades. A few hundred of them were professional runners
who train the entire year for this mother of all marathons. They came from
everywhere like the USA or Russia. But at least ten thousand were ordinary
citizins like you and me. And to make sure that nobody makes a fool of
him/herself, the LRC is applied strictly -- they had to have completed
recently a standard marathon in a minimum time.
As again in the previous years, the TV coverage of the Comrades kept me
spell bound. But this year it was something different. It was for me the
match between "selling treasure maps" and testing the harmony between the
"world-inside-me" and the "world-outside-me". As before, those "selling
treasure maps" did their best to gain from the TV coverage given to the
best runners. But later on, after the first few hundred athletes completed
the Comrades, the "testing for harmony between the inner-outer worlds"
spoke decisively when more than ten thousand runners completed this most
I became very excited. Few people may understand my pathetic articulations
on "selling treasure maps" and "testing for harmony between the
inner-outer worlds". Hence any comparison of them will fail dismally in
any talking referendum. But the Comrades as the running (and sometimes
walking or even crawling when the body could give no more) referendum
voted clearly ten to one for people seeking that harmony and putting it to
test rather than seeking "selling treasure maps".
That is why I am sticking out my head like this. The Comrades voted with
their feet and I am telling it with words. The feet of many thousands
would be so sore that even today they cannot walk with ease.
Unfortunately, words cannot get blisters or ever burst open to let blood
flow freely. That is why the "selling treasure maps" will never stop.
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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