Replying to LO27152 --
Leo Minnigh <email@example.com> writes on the Subject:
Improving Creativity with the 7Es LO27152
>During my holidays I realised that there might be a sixth
>ESC, at least for me there is a sixth one. It is difficult to
>recognise and realise the obvious. Possibly that counts for
>At as well, because that possible sixth ESC is always
>present in At's contributions. Even stronger, it is a way of
>thinking and treating subjects that seems to be in his genes.
>Let me unveil this sixth ESC, then we can think much easier
>on its importance:
Greetings dear Leo,
Thank you very much for this great contribution. It has been for me like
rain in the desert. Your own studies of creativity for many years are
clearly reflected in the depth of your response.
I have changed the subject because structuring-thoughts is something which
humans do since babyhood.
Whereas I myself am intrigued by the ESCs (Elementary Sustainers of
Creativity), others think that they are too trivial to deserve close
attention. I will now try to come into flower as some desert which got
rain. I will structure my own thoughts in a peculiar manner which Goethe
described as "Steigerung"=staggering="opeenstapeling"(Dutch, Afrikaans). I
became aware of it in 1964 and first began to understand it slightly in
Fellow learners Chris Kloppers and Alfred Rheeder recently became very
interested in this "staggering thinking" so that hopefully this peculiar
structuring of my thoughts will be of help to them. Perhaps it will help
others also articulating which they already tacitly know for a long time.
However, I suspect that it might complicate your own proposal.
I also hope that this long contribution will help other fellow learners in
transforming their OOs (Ordinary Organisations) into LOs. The ESCs, when
used together in an organised manner, is a powerful means to accomplish
it. But if the contribution appears to be too long, please hit the ESC key
or shift into any of the ESCs ;-)
The ESCs come a long path with me. For example, it took me some twenty
years just to articulate satisfactorily enough to me the name ESC
(Elementary Sustainer of Creativity). I have used several names for them
in the past, but always felt uneasy with those names. It may be the same
with you fellow learners, even feeling uneasy with the name ESC.
In 1970 I realised that my calling was to become a teacher, giving up a
research career in the natural sciences. But once a mind has learned how
to explore and question the unknown, it is not so easy to give up on that.
So when I began teaching science in 1972 at a high school, I soon became
aware of an immense problem.
Science was compulsory for pupils up to grade 9. Some loved it and hence
learned it. Others hated it and thus seldom could learn it. I could force
them to learn science rotely (parrotry), but I would never do that because
of a number of incidents in my own life. So I carefully observed them to
see what they were doing on the few occasions when they did learn. It
struck me right between the eyes -- they were creating -- to learn is to
create. This was the first "staggering solution" in what later became
clear to me as a "staggering problem" (moncat problem or fractal problem
were other names I gave to it).
I then began to observe what kind of creating they were doing which
enabled them to learn. Two kinds of creating became clear to me: "talking
to each other" and "experimenting". When they did it spontaneously, i.e.
without me interfering, it is almost as if they got into a trance,
forgetting that they actually hated science. This was the second
"staggering solution" of the "staggering problem". I was looking at two
"ESC"s, not being able to characterise them and hence not knowing what to
As a chemist I knew that I could give a group of compounds any name. But
if I wanted to give them a name which makes sense, then I would first have
to characterise that group of compounds. By that time, as a result of my
research into soils making use of irreversible thermodynamics since 1968,
I had become immensely aware of the "becoming-being" complementarity. (It
took me almost another 20 years to discover that this complementarity was
one of the 7Es -- seven essentialities of creativity.) So I became aware
that these pupils were actually "telling-thoughts" and
"experimenting-exemplars". This was the third "staggering solution" of
the "staggering problem". I was looking at the two "ESC"s as two EOs
(Elementary Organisers). In those days I did not call them EOs, but "kinds
I became perplexed. I could observe many "kinds of becoming-being" in the
lives of the pupils, but only two (as it appeared to me in those days) can
transform the pupil hating science into a spontaneous learner. Meanwhile I
was teaching these pupils how to solve problems while learning self how to
transform a problem into a string of smaller problems. Soon I began to
observe that when these pupils were given "elementary" (smallest possible)
problems stringed together, they began to learn spontaneously as with the
"talking-thoughts" and "experimenting-exemplars". This was the fourth
"staggering solution" of the "staggering problem". I was looking at the
third ESC, namely "solving-problem".
I began to wonder why I had to transform problems into "strings of
elementary problems" before they could act as an ESC for the pupils. I was
beginning to learn tacitly the LRC (Law of Requisite Complexity) which
took me some 20 years more to articulate it with these very words. Take
each step along the "tightrope of complexity" (as I thought metaphorically
in those days) and all goes well. Try to jump a number of steps and fall
off that tightrope of complexity. This was the fifth "staggering solution"
of the "staggering problem". I was looking at the LRC, realising that I
myself was failing the LRC because I could not make out what these three
things are other than "they had magic" and that they are "kinds of
Then I was promoted from senior teacher to senior lecturer in the CEFT
(College of Education for Further Training). My job was to teach teachers
who were forced to teach science how to become better science teachers. I
was relieved from the incredible stress as a science teacher self (a
rarity even in those days) who had to serve too many pupils coming from a
society which itself had the weirdest notions about science. Hundreds of
pupils a day became replaced by a dozen or two teachers. But having been
forced by their principals (head masters) to teach science made many of
them hating science too. I began to realise just how much pupils and
adults behaved the same when forced to do something. This was the sixth
"staggering solution" of the "staggering problem". These teachers who
hated science and who now had to learn it, needed something to fire their
creativity just as pupils.
Once again I began to explore the use of "talking-thoughts",
"experimenting-exemplars" and "solving-problems" among these adults of
which the majority had a NO mentality. Again they worked like magic. It
struck me that the diversity in age, training and general culture among
these adults were far more complex than among the pupils. Furthermore, my
own children were at nursery school so that I had ample opportunity to
observe a diversity of children at a pre-school age. The
"talking-thoughts", "experimenting-exemplars" and "solving-problems" had
the same magical spell upon these very young children of whom few, if any,
had a NO mentality. This was the seventh "staggering solution" of the
"staggering problem". I was looking at three elementary patterns of
creative learning which not only had the peculiar magic of transforming a
NO person into a spontaneous learner, but were open to any human for use.
I became very excited. I could distinguish many other "kinds of
becoming-beings", but somehow they did not have this peculiar magic which
I have experienced so much in teaching. By then I also had increased
considerably in my wholeness. Among other things I have explored several
deserts just to get my "batteries charged". These deserts are not devoid
of life, but rich in life unaltered by human intervention. I became aware
that "talking-thoughts" are common among desert animals like birds,
meerkats, foxes, etc. One day I gazed in the Naukluft mountains at baboons
"experimenting-exemplars". I was laughing silently at them. They were
behaving just like humans. Suddenly it struck me like a bolt of lightning.
This "talking-thoughts" and "experimenting-exemplars" were magic for the
baboons too. This was the eighth "staggering solution" of the "staggering
The ninth "solution step" of the "staggering problem" was to create
deliberately elementary problems for wild animals "unknown" to them so
as to see whether they were also capable of "solving-problems". But God
had other plans for me. A South African friend, two Brazilian friends and
I went together with some dozen other South Africans on a "bundu safari"
for ten days in Botswana. ("Bundu" means zero luxuries included.) It was
an unique experience for all of us. Those ten days I was looking at more
"talking-thoughts" and "experimenting-exemplars" as well as
"solving-problems" than the whole of my previous life. Hyenas, baboons
and elephants solved problems (which arose because of interactions
possible with us as humans) which astounded my mind. Hence, as the
ninth "staggering solution" of the "staggering problem", I was looking at
three elementary patterns which each has the characterestics of
(1) "becoming-being kind"
(2) common to most humans,
(3) common to some other kinds of animals
(4) working like magic by releasing free energy.
I knew that this characterisation would enable me to search for others in
addition to the three elementary patterns which I have already found. But
I did not know how long it would take to find the fourth and the fifth
patterns. One day (by then I was employed by the university and also
transferred from the Department of Chemistry to the Goldfields Computer
Centre for Education. I noticed how students loved to play a certain game
designed for PLATO (an educational system running on a CYBER main frame).
The idea of the game was to teach them some inorganic chemistry.
Again I saw on their mesmerized faces that magic was operating here. But
the strange thing was that each student was playing a game with apparently
the computer (but actually the programmer separated in space and time). I
suddenly remembered how often I observed pre-school children, pupils,
students and adults played games without me noticing how they were also
learning. What an ignoramus I had been. Furthermore, the previous
afternoon I had been playing games with our dogs. Later on they played
games between themselves. What an ignoramus I had been.
This was the tenth "staggering solution" of the "staggering problem". I
was looking at the fourth elementary pattern of creativ learning which
also had this peculiar magic of transforming a NO person into a
spontaneous learner. The students who had to work on PLATO failed their
ordinary courses in chemistry 1. They were given the opportunity to study
the remarkable chemistry lessons available on PLATO. Afterwards they had o
write the same examination papers as ordinary students. The majority of
these students had a lot of NO feelings like an inferiority complex,
antagonism towards natural science and sometimes even a hatred towards
But the abundance of the "talking-thoughts", "experimenting-exemplars",
"solving-problems" and "playing-games" in those PLATO chemistry lessons
again did the magical trick. None of the other PLATO courses on physics,
mathematics, biology, etc. had this richness in ESCs. Somehow the
designers (Stanley Smith of Illinois taking the lion's share) of the
chemistry lessons were determined to overcome the immense negative image
which chemistry has over the entire world. They used every trick up their
sleeve to get the students interested. And many of those tricks were
nothing else than the four ESCs "talking-thoughts",
"experimenting-exemplars", "solving-problems" and "playing-games".
The eleventh "staggering solution" of the "staggering problem" for me was
to develop a consistent terminology for these four patterns as well as
fitting them into my entire Systems Thinking. Thus I developed the terms
"elementary organisers" and "elementary sustainers of creativity". I would
arrange the two words in an EO like "cooking-food" in the typical manner
of first the "becoming" and then the "being". But in an ESC I would write
them the other way around like "food-cooking". Is this EO "cooking-food"
an ESC? No, because only humans cook their food, animals don't.
The twelveth "staggering solution" of the "staggering problem" was to find
the fifth ESC. I was becoming deeply under the impression how
"expressing-art" mesmerised people and helped them to learn spontaneously.
But I was also sure that some animals would also have to manifest it
before I could designate this EO as an ESC. Yet I could not find any
manifestations of art among animals. I felt disappointed. One night I was
looking at a video made by David Attenborough on the Paradise Birds (a
sparrow family) of Papa Guinea. I became mesmerised, feeling the goose
flesh running up and down my body many times. These fabulous birds were
the animal artists I have been searching for several years.
So, dear Leo, you will now have to make sure yourself if
"thought-structuring" is an ESC or not. Your speculation is fabulous. But
as I have indicated with my long exposition above we have a "staggering
problem" here which is already at the twelveth "staggering solution". It
seems to me that you are close to making the thirteenth "staggering
solution". I am also close to it, wanting to announce another EO as the
sixth ESC. Last Saturday during a conference on church revival I got the
last bit of information which I needed. But somehow my mind is still too
much confused by this potential ESC since it is indeed a curious one. That
is why I have not spoken up yet.
Allow me to structure some more of my thoughts which may be of help to
you. Firstly, I think it is crucial that for an EO to be an ESC, some
animals should also manifest that EO. We can do so much research on an EO
(think of solving-problems) and uncover such complex information on it
that we may easily forget its elementary character. For example, if an
animal can solve a problem, why cannot a human solve problems also? The
advantage of the ESCs is that reach deep into the tacit dimension of a
Secondly, humans have developed that curious capacity to force
non-spontaneous processes to happen indeed. Non-spontaneous means that
these processes (during which free energy has to increase) would not
happen on their own. Humans force them to happen by doing work on them so
that the free energy along the processes can increase.
Humans can also force other humans to follow an EO for which they do not
have free energy. Thus they may develop a NO mentality. But humans cannot
force animals to do for what they do not have free energy for. Thus an EO
which is also an ESC, even should it have been forced upon a human, has
still some spark left over in that human to become a burning flame if
Thirdly, humans are thinking animals and thus have much memories of which
a lot are thought baggage. This baggage causes learning disabilities which
may prevent the development of even EOs, including those who are ESCs.
However, the ESCs have some instinctive (animal like) dimension in them
which, when used frequently, allows a learner to shred this thought
baggage stepwise and thus overcome the learning disabilities gradually. It
is as if we can think of these ESCs as ways of authentic human living. The
authenticity is not in the fact that any human can follow them, but that
some animals can also follow them.
Fourthly, the ESCs provide a learner to explore the 7Es intuitively
because the 7Es are implicitly ordered (in the sense of David Boehm)
within each ESC. Thus they have the implicit potential for constructive
creativity. That is why they are so beneficial to learning as the first
emergent from constructive creativity. But in other EOs which are not ESCs
it seems to me that the 7Es have more to be ordered explicitly into them.
As soon as the resulting organisation on an EO lacks seriously in some of
the 7Es, it has the explicit potential for destructive creativity. In such
a case it will not be beneficial to learning.
Fifthly, it seems as if some of the ESCs had already been known to
others before me in some or other manner. I remember that during my
training as a teacher in 1970, I learned in the subject didactics of
"didactical ground forms". There were three of them: conversation,
investigation and task ("opdrag"). Perhaps they were derived from the
three kinds of sentences: statements, questions and commands. But
perhaps they also meant:
I would not know for sure because some of the subjects (including didactics!)
I had to learn like a parrot, not allowed to use what I now recognise as ESCs.
This was no fun, but I had to do it to obtain my teachers diploma.
Sixthly, there is a strange complexity in an EO which may be a potential
ESC which often confuses me when trying to identify it as an ESC. This is
the main reason why it took me so long to come up with 5 ESCs after almost
thirty years. The E in an ESC stands for "elementary". This means that the
ESC is readily available for use rather than requiring extensive training.
But somehow my mind keeps wandering from its "elementary" nature to its
foundational patterns and how they fit into my system of thinking. It
also often strikes me how the ESCs can blend into each other so that it
becomes impossible to say which ESC is actually used.
Sevenly, especially since WWII, there is a strange development among many
humans to align their lifestyles on one of these ESCs. Think of chat
events ("thoughts-exchanging"), sports ("game-playing"), research
("problem-solving"), eco-tourism ("exemplar-exploring") and pop-culture
("art-expressing"). It is as if in a world which is becoming increasingly
complex, billions of humans seek intuitively refuge in some or other ESC.
Some simply judge this clinging to and ESC to be irresponsible hedonism.
But I think it is rather a sign telling that humankind is struggling to
sustain its creativity. Humankind is at some ridge of chaos having to with
Dear Leo, in terms of the above seven points I find your suggestion too
complex for me to give presently self a clear answer whether
"structuring-thoughts" is an ESC or not. I also have the gut feeling that
we might have to use known ESCs to identify ESCs not yet known. For
example, are we not using the ESC "thoughts-exchanging" (the dialogue!)
right now to discover the sixth ESC? Furthermore, is the presentation of
my reply as a "staggering problem" having several "solution steps" not
indicative of me using the ESC "problem-solving"? On the other hand, is it
safe to use the known ESCs to identify unknown ESCs? Will it not lead to
"mental inbreeding"? My mind is still too much in chaos to say that I know
the answers. This reminds me of what you wrote:
>Creative thoughts cannot sprout from a chaotic mind.
Ordinarily I would have questioned it because of the well-known technique
used in creativity and known as "brain storming". Strangely, brain
storming on the ESCs does not work for me. I think it has to do with the
very nature of the ESCs. They reach deep down through all the levels
(wisdom, formal, tacit and experential) of our knowledge not only into our
creativity, but seemingly even deeper down into the animal dimension of
us. Shaking them has not the desired effect.
Finally, what strikes me profoundly about your suggestion that the EO
"structuring-thoughts" might be the ESC "thoughts-structuring" is that it
poses an immense problem. How can we know that animals also structure
their thoughts? This question throws us deeply into topics such as
creativity, anthropomorphism, animalism, communication, intelligence,
consciousness and spirituality.
This question also makes the topic of a LO acute. Can an OO (Ordinary
Organisation) emerge into a LO if some members are indifferent to human
disturbances in ecology as they are indifferent to "structuring-thoughts"?
If only we could know the "thought-structuring" of animals. To alter
Polanyi's words: animals know more than humans can tell.
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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