Replying to LO26890 --
Winfried Dressler <Winfried.Dressler@Voith.com> writes
>>Who has "character", the desert elephant or the
>>human with his 4x4 seeking kicks?
>I have counted your use of the word "character". You
>wrote 7 times ""character"" (in brackets), 4 times "character"
>(without brackets) and 5 times ""character of somebody"".
Greetings dear Winfried,
I tried to use "character" without quotes when refering to any person. I
used "character" with the qiotes when refering to an animal. I used the
"character of somebody" when refering to a living system, consisting of
one or more individuals, whether humans or other animals.
I am aware of the fact that I am beginning to use the concept character
increasingly more. It is because I become deeper under the impression that
all the qualities (otherness) such as true, good, right and lovely are
knitted tightly into one (wholeness). Should we focus merely on one
quality while neglecting the rest, the character becomes extremely
Science, for example, focus on finding out what is true in nature. Many
true facts about nature have been uncovered since WWII. Consider for
example the recent fact that genes can now be manipulated (Genetical
Engineering -- GE). But is GE also good (ethical), right (moral) and
How will we begin to answer any complex question like this one above?
Well, I think that we will have to begin by first exploring the essence of
character. The word character comes from the Greek "charakter" and means
"an engraved mark on a rock", something which cannot be undone.
>Isn't "character" one of those words, which are
>usually not applied to oneself but mainly to others
>and then in order to judge them as good or bad?
>(Like in Shared Vision which is good and Shared
>Cliches which is bad?)
One of the things which worries me, is that should we keep liveness
("becoming-being") out of character, then we begin to perceive character
as something rigid exactly like a mark engraved into a rock. It is not.
The character of any person can grow endlessly in each of its qualities.
Hence character is for me rather like a statue becoming sculptured. During
that process it is actually foolish to judge the outcome which still has
The distiction between Shared Vision versus Sharing Cliches has been
difficult for me. But using the metaphor above I can now articulate that
what troubles me is that Sharing Cliches are like sharing marks engraved
into rocks. It is almost like the Ten Commandments engraved into the two
tablets of rock. Despite this, every prophet afterwards had to stress that
having the Ten Commands in the heart is far more valuable. This is how I
would like the Shared Vision to behave -- not engraved into rock, but
weaved into the heart.
This brings me to a most crucial issue. Where does character begin -- by
fixed engravings on rocks outside or in the heart keeping the body alive?
I have brought your attention to the fact that with respect to logic (the
quality "true" of character), there are two streams of thought. The one
massive stream is that a formal (explicit) objective (independant)
system of logic will determine ultimately what is true. The other minute
stream is that all decisive changes to the the formal objective system has
been made because of relying on (intuitive) tacit knowledge when in doubt.
In other words, true emerges from within rather than getting imported from
So what about the other qualities of character such as good, right and
lovely -- are they each determined by an own formal, obejctive system
operating on the outside of the person or do they also emerge from within?
In my mother tongue Afrikaans we have two words for character, namely
"karakter" which comes from Greek and "inbors"="Gesinnung"(German). The
"inbors" is from Dutch-Saxon origin. The "Gesinnung" comes from the
ancient "sin" which means mental exploring ("Erfahrung"=experience)
derived from sensations like feeling, hearing, tasting, smelling and
seeing. The "inbors" translated morphemically into Englsih is "in_breast".
Compare this to "in_head". In other words, character="inbors" begins in
the breast (or gut ;-) rather than in the head. This is a powerful way of
refering to what Polanyi called the tacit dimension of knowing -- "in
>And I am wondering whether a shared vision of
>a good character can avoid to be a cliche in fact?
Only when we begin to learn how to write between the lines rather than in
>>The masters in every kind of slavery so far had one
>>thing in common. They were "free energy vampires".
>"free energy vampires", what a bad character - yet,
>"they" are we, all of us, each of us. Ok, with a few
>exceptions, maybe including you (any reader). I am
>not supposed to put my finger so directly on this high
>voltage. But this is what I have come to feel.
By articulating your tacvit knowledge into formal knowledge, you become
complexer in knowlegde. Furthermore, what you have articulated, has a back
action by enriching what you know tacitly. However, the best of it is when
you create with your formal knowledge information which we then can study.
If this is high voltage, then so let it be.
If you refer to the high voltage to your tacit knowing that you were
ignorant to what you now recognise as "free energy vampire", let me jump
first in the row and admit that I also were tacitly sucking "free energy"
from others, although not knowing that it could be articulated as "free
energy" and that its final effect was to leave others as if dead. But I
now try not to do it, although it is not easy to succeed.
>>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.
>And we are not masters of evolution, as you
>have put it in another mail: emergence is not
>a skill. This means also that character is not
I wonder. If we keep the "becoming" of liveness out of character, then at
any point we can declare that it has merit (has become an award). But when
we contemplate the endless "becoming" of character, then what has been of
merit yesterday is common today and trite tomorrow. So there is sense for
me to seek the merit of character, but no sense to keep it as if more
merit cannot be found.
>Is there any hope for a vampire to become human again?
This is a very difficult question to answer.
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <email@example.com> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa
Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <Richard@Karash.com> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <http://www.learning-org.com>
"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.