Communities of Practice LO27083

From: Don Dwiggins (
Date: 07/30/01

Replying to LO27063 --

Fred> Organizations don't learn, people do.

Andrew> Or for balance...knowledge doesn't happen between our ears but
Andrew> between our noses ;-)...geddit?

>> [Host's note: No... I don't geddit. ..Rick]

Winfried> What I got is that people learn in organizations. Between our ears
Winfried> is the brain. Between our noses is ... the organization. I like
Winfried> this: The organization is what you can smell. Nice balance of
Winfried> emotion&intellect ;-)

I've recently read a couple of books by Ian Stewart and Jack Cohen ("The
Collapse of Chaos" and "Figments of Reality"); one of their key themes is
evolution as a contextual process (considering, for example, the
co-evolution of species in an entire biome). One of the ideas they put
forward is that human intelligence co-evolved with human language and
culture. In effect, the "big brain" became exploited and enhanced in the
context of the "ur-community-of-practice". (Maturana makes a similar
point in his description of us as "languaging animals".)

Cohen and Stewart have an interesting term, "complicity", to describe the
complex dynamic interaction of two or more complex dynamic processes; in
this case the evolution of the individual mind and of what they call
"extelligence" -- the processes and structures located between (or among)

In this view, it's not too much of a stretch to say that much, if not most
human learning is in fact organizational, woven on the strands of
individual learning (or the dance of mitsein on dasein, perhaps?).


Don Dwiggins "How can we remember our ignorance, which our growth requires, when we are using our knowledge all the time?" -- Henry David Thoreau

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