7Es -- The Seven Essentialities of Creativity. LO26932

From: AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Date: 07/02/01

Replying to LO26880 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <janlelie@wxs.nl> writes in:
Subject: What is THE problem? LO26880

>Please feel free - as you did - to contribute.
>I've never read Goethe or Polanyi - and still
>do not understand the seven essentialities

Greetings dear Jan,

I applaud your invitation to Mark Spain and every other fellow learner.

As for the 7Es, I am reminded of Tom King
< trking@radicalteacher.com > who also asked:

>I'm sure that the 7Es have been discussed at some
>point on the list; would someone please point me to
>those messages? I would like more specific information
>on these terms.

I supplied him in
>Shared Vision or Shared Cliches? LO26800

with the main URLs by which the 7Es became introduced to our LO-dialogue.
But it disturbed me how that reply looked like a homework assignment -
Ghrrr. This is for me not what the LO-dialogue is about. Hence I decided
to write about the 7Es from my present space-time slit. This morning when
I opened my email, a short note from Rick convinced me to finish this
contribution and mail it.

Perhaps the following comments may be of value to you and fellow learners.
But please bear in mind that it is only my own understanding. It is
senseless (in terms of the LRC and LSC which I will comment later on)
trying to clone my understanding into anybody else. I think that the best
which we can do, is to articulate our tacit knowing of them to each other,
although even I find such articulation still very difficult. In such
articulations we may then recognise some of our own tacit knowledge.

Dear Jan, I cannot write that I do not understand the 7Es. I also cannot
write that I do understand them. I can only write that I am still learning
every day more about them so that my understanding of them is still

For example, the topic "What is THE problem?" from which I have forked,
brought new insights on the 7Es to me. I became long ago aware that I was
looking at problems from three different viewpoints. I had great
difficulty in articulating these viewpoints. Later, after having
discovered the 7Es:
 liveness ("becoming-being")
 sureness ("identity-categoricity")
 wholeness ("monadicity-associativity")
 fruitfulness ("connect-beget")
 spareness ("quantity-limit")
 otherness ("quality-variety")
 openness ("open-paradigm")

I knew that these three viewpoints were the first three 7Es above. The
other four 7Es thus helped me to look at problems from four new

Jan, when I think of your contributions to "What is THE problem?", it
strikes me how strongly you approach problems from liveness as viewpoint.
I find the same in Fred Nichol's contribution. Gavin Ritz, on the other
hand, seems to approach problems strongly from the viewpoint of sureness.
But before I begin to label your approaches, I will rather leave it up to
all of you who contributed to the topic "What is THE problem?" trying to
find out for yourself from what viewpoint(s) you are approaching problems.

Allow me to shift focus from "What is THE problem?" to the 7Es self. I
have listed them above. The names of each ending in "-ness" I call their
nominal names. I do hope that these names will become conserved for
reference purposes. The double barrel names in quotation marks I call the
seminal names. These names can be changed as your own tacit knowledge
suggests to you. For example, I think that Gavin Ritz might want to change
the ("becoming-being") of liveness into ("process-structure").

I only discovered all of the 7Es together in one vast undertaking. They were
in fact the very solution to the following curious problem:
. Find a another bridge between the
. material and mental worlds of reality.
Why this problem? I discovered empirically a couple of years earlier what
I perceived as the first ever bridge between these two worlds. This
discovery was so fantastic that nobody would believe me. Even I would
not have believed it should somebody else had made this discovery.
But to test my sureness about this discovery, I set myself the task to
discover another bridge.

However, I did not discover any one of the 7Es on its own so that my own
contribution is but minute. In fact, I learned later on that each of the
7Es were discovered by many others in the past going back many centuries.
The essentiality which illustrates this best is wholeness. I also learned
that those who discovered one (usually) or some (seldom) of the 7Es seemed
to have difficulty in articulating the internal patterns of what they
discovered. It corresponded with my own experiences -- what a nightmare!

I had been trained in the hard natural sciences where the concept of
"independence" figures very strongly like in a set of orthogonal base
vectors or the more than 100 chemical elements of matter. Thus it was a
difficult problem for me not to think of the 7Es as independent of each
other. But the discovery of the 7Es self convinced me that I had a mind
set (Mental Model) to overcome. I had to solve this problem by making
peace with the fact that they are tightly woven into each other. Only then
my understanding of them grew rapidly. They are like the colours (7? ;-)
of the rainbow which have to blend into white light so that we can see the
complete picture. For example, look at a picture illuminated by red light
and many parts of it will be simply black, having lost much of its

It is possible to combine the 7Es into less than seven "hypercomplex
essences" of creativity or even to divide them into more than seven
"hypocomplex essences" of creativity. I then speak of essences rather than
essentialities because I think it would be wise to conserve the word
"essentialities" for the seven patterns as I discovered them. I also think
that it is wise to combine the 7Es as well as to divide them so as to
learn more about how they are woven into each other. For example, the two
main patterns in wholeness for me is monadicity (unity) and associativity.
People often think of wholeness as merely unity. This is not wrong, but
when people stick to wholeness as merely unity, they sooner or later get
into serious trouble as they find themselves in too complex situations.

Jan Smuts, the father of holism (="increasing wholeness") often thought of
wholeness as "the whole with its field". I will not say that he was wrong.
But I will say that for me "the whole with its field" describes sureness
rather than wholeness. In that case I would rather say that Smuts went
deeper into wholeness by combining wholeness with sureness -- a result
aikin to integrity. When we combine all six the other 7Es with wholeness,
we end up with what I call "deep wholeness". Among all thinkers I find
this "deep wholeness" is the most profound in the thoughts of Goethe. It
is also possible to do the same with any of the other six 7Es. For
example, I am still making up my mind who had on "deep liveness" (the
other six 7Es combined into liveness) the most profound thoughts.

Soon after discovering the 7Es, I became aware that I was beginning to
think differently about creativity. Before their discovery, I thought of
creativity as a pure mental capacity situated in knowledge or perhaps even
faith of a person. But after their discovery, I became aware of the "layer
between the physical and spiritual worlds" which connected as the "umlomo"
(mouthpiece) these two worlds. This "layer" had both the material and the
mental dimensions as its two complementary duals. Creativity belongs to
this "layer" with its two complementary duals. So do the 7Es and also the
first bridge which I discovered.

I was getting into deep conceptual misunderstandings when talking with
other people on creativity. The far majority assumed creativity to be a
purely mental issue of high ordering like I also once did. They thought
that Goethe and Einstein had much of this highly ordered creativity
whereas we ordinary people had little of it. I actually began to perceive
that all we ordinary people have much creativity in this lowest of mental
levels (and also highest of material levels because it belongs to the
"layer"), but that it does not get enough nourishment from our higher
mental levels (as well as lower material levels). Once again I had to
learn to live in peace with these conceptual misunderstandings.

Obviously, I may be completely wrong. Creativity may be something purely
mental or something purely material. However, my own difficulty in
articulating the inner complex patterns of each of the 7Es began to make
sense to me. Its like a tree trying to tell with its leaves how its roots
look like. Only a little bit of it can be done. For example. Should the
leaves be a dull green and smaller than usual, they tell that roots are
underdeveloped because of a phophate deficiency. Should the leaves be
curled too much to the upper side with deformities, they tell that the
roots are too soft because of a boron deficiency.

The 7Es helped me much to understand the "ordinate bifurcation" better.
The "ordinate bifurcation" is that forking event at the ridge of chaos
which will result into either more or less complexity. When the result is
more complex, it is also called a constructive emergence into a higher
order. But when the result is less complex, it may also be called a
destructive immergence into a lower order. When one or more of the 7Es are
seriously impaired, the ordinate bifurcation will not result into an
immergence. For example, when two wholes cannot connect effectively
(impaired fruitfulness), a complexer whole cannot emerge. Depending on how
much energy with which they collide into each other, at least one of them
may be shattered into smaller pieces. Hence the result is an immergcnce.

When we distinguish in any system increasing levels of complexity, an
ordinate bifurcation at a higher level of complexity requires more of the
7Es than at a lower level. This brings me to what I understand as the Law
of Requisite Complexity (LRC). Working through all the levels of
complexity is like walking a staircase. To go from one step to the next
step requires a certain complexity in the 7Es. To go from that next step
to the step behind it, requires even more complexity in the 7Es. When the
requisite complexity of any step has not been reached, the LRC becomes
like a closed door to that step. But when it has been reached, the LRC
becomes like an open door beckoning the next step. I have learned that it
is foolish of me to trying to skip one or more steps. Each step provides
part of the complexity required for the next step.

A typical application of the LRC is in teaching -- begin with what the
learner knows best by way of experience to proceed what is yet unknown to
the learner. In this sense this whole contribution will be a failure for
most fellow learners because I have not begun with what their experience
and tacit knowing. But let me offer an example to those having experience
of it. Any person who have cultivated several generations of a plant
species or have bred several generations of an animal species, knows the
danger of inbreeding. This inbreeding leads to a loss in genetic
diversity. The progeny may exhibit deviations in morphology or lack in
some physiological processes.

This inbreeding is nothing else than a decrease of otherness on the level
of genes. The same can happen in knowledge with what is known as a "school
of thought". The mental inbreeding with the information supplied by the
leader of that "school of thought" can also lead to stark deviations in
mental structures and processes. That is why I frequently have to warn
fellow learners not to take my articulated thoughts for granted. Use them
to question your own thoughts and use your own thoughts to question my
articulations to prevent mental inbreeding.

The 7Es have also helped me to understand the Law of Singularity of
Complexity (LSC) better. There are many kinds of systems where each kind
of system is represented by a number of that kind. As the complexity of
any kind of system increases, there are less numbers of its kind.
Furthermore, there is also more kinds of systems at any higher level of

For example, the numbers of protons, neutrons and electrons are highest in
your body and in mine. There are only three kinds of subatomic particles
in our bodies. But when we move to the level of compounds and say amino
acids, there are 22 kinds of them in our bodies. The numbers of each are
far less than the numbers of subatomic particles. These amino acids make
up the various cells in our bodies and these cells make up the various
organs. Thus you have only two eyes and only one heart which differ widely
from each other -- few in number and very singular (unique).

The LSC is for me a very clear reason why it is futile to categorise and
label people according to certain traits. It is usually done with matrices
and for some or other reason square matrices are favoured. However, when
such a labelling is done, for example, that person has a KLMN personality,
it inhibits the possibility that a person's personality can become more
complex and thus more singular. Try to fit the personality of Goethe or
Einstein in such a personality matrix and see how far it can be done! That
is why we ought to respect our authentic leaders so much -- it is
difficult to appreciate their singularity of complexity from a less
singularly complex position.

The LSC makes the taxonomy (classification) of higher plants and animals a
tough job, if not a never ending work. It is especially so in desert
animals and plants. For example, there is a genus of succulents indigenous
to the deserts of South Africa and Namibia. The genus is known as Lithops
-- the stone or pebble plants. See if you can find with the search engine
Google any pictures of Lithops. Trying to decide to which species a
population belongs of Lithops growing at a certain locality is a
nightmare. Many taxonomists nowadays become lumpers. They lump many
original species as new varieties into one complex species. They do the
same to genera and even families. Thus, oblivious to the LSC, they end up
with far less kinds and more numbers to each kind. They do not bring order
to what is known, but merely cause confusion and consternation.

Both the LRC and the LSC are for me ways in which the 7Es manifest
themselves together. At present I am not so acutely aware of other manners
in which the 7Es manifest themselves together, although I search
diligently for other laws beside the LRC and LSC too. The closest I may
perhaps be to a third law, is that of my notion of "deep" like in "deep
wholeness", "deep creativity" or Capra's "deep ecology". However, my tacit
knowledge is too little to articulate what is knocking at my mind. The
closest I perhaps may be to a fourth law, is my understanding of the
cyclic meandering of any creative between the ridge of chaos where
bifurcations happen and the valleys of equilibrium where digestions

The LRC, LSC, "deep" and "ridge-meandering-valley" bring me deeply under
the impression that the 7Es are not at stake, but the increase in each of
them. Jan Smuts stressed that holism is not wholeness, but "increasing
wholeness". I have not found anyone who so clearly expressed with respect
to any of the other six 7Es as what Jan Smuts did to wholeness with
"increasing wholeness". For example, I do not know of anybody who stressed
for otherness that its increase is at stake, for example, using the phrase
"increasing diversity" or "diversism" in analogy to holism. (Thinking of
the desert story of the ass (donkey) leading the team while marking the
road at regular intervals with a dropping, we may perhaps in a humoristic
manner refer to "increasing spareness" as "fecism", not "fascism" ;-)

I hope that from the discussion above the message has come through that
for me the 7Es cannot stay the same. They each and all together have to
increase (complexify). Why this "increase"? Although the 7Es are patterns
in the form of creativity, the creativity also has content. This is where
the first bridge in the "layer" comes in. The content of creativity
involves "total energy" E and "entropy production" /_\S. Just as the
entropy of any physical system has to increase so as to become more
complex, the entropy of also my creativity has to increase to become more
complex too. The most extraordinary manifestation of this is the
increasing complexity of each of the 7Es within me.

Perhaps the joker in the pack is "increasing openness". The propensity to
become into the unknown compels me far beyond any other increasing
essentiality. Thus, how strange the articulations of a fellow learner may
seem to be, as the unknown it is for me food from heaven. I often
contemplate that were it not for stepwise increases in openness, how would
I ever be able to meet God "face to face". I imagine this was among the
deepest thoughts of Moses when he had to face the Holy God in the desert
as the "burning bush".
Allow me a last comment. Whenever I look at any news bulletin on TV or
read any news paper, I am frequently reminded of the 7Es. Although I do
not wish to judge what I observe, I cannot help to understand how a lack
in one or more of the 7Es caused a "news worthy event". It seems to me
that with such "news worthy events" all over the world humankind is
searching for both the question and answer behind them. Perhaps humankind
is indeed searching in such "news worthy events" for the "essences of
creativity", whether it be the 7Es or anything else.

What worries me deeply is that these "news worthy events" are far more
concerned with immerging events where one or more of the 7Es were lacking
rather than emerging events in which they were up to par. Such immerging
events have a destructive and negative influence over the minds of most
people. Sooner or later they cause psychological trauma in many who are
involved with them. We will have to counteract this negative spirit by
focussing more on emergences and articulating them to others. This is
where the elementary sustainers of creativity like art-expressing or
game-playing comes in. But then we will have to participate in them rather
than dealing with them as spectators.

Allow me a last piece of advice. Do not get involved with the 7Es as a
spectator, but try to act with them. Experience them by creating before
trying to portray them with words. What you create yourself and thus learn
authentically, is far more important than all my articulations on the 7Es.
I am deeply under the impression that with the 7Es I articulate complex
patterns which will defy complete articulations. But fool as I am, I try
to teach fellow learners what defies even language. So please have
patience with me and have patience with yourselves. Only your own
authentic learning will make the difference.

If any of you fellow learners want to articulate your own understanding of
any of the 7Es (in part or combined), please do so. I will never even try
to criticise what you are trying to express because I have experienced
self how extremely difficult it is. I will rather smile from ear to ear
because of your bravery in doing it.

Should you have any questions to ask on any of the 7Es, please do so while
never ever thinking any question to be silly. I cannot promise that I will
be able to answer them. First I will have to understand your question and
here you will have to help me by telling what you know tacitly. Then I
will have to try and tell what I know. In many cases it will also be tacit
knowing. Because we all can know more than we can tell, we will have to be
patient with each other.

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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