Greetings to all of you.
We entered the third millennium with the Systems Thinking of the second
millennium. It happened less than two years ago. But suddenly, less than a
month ago, unprecedented terror and tragedy struck the USA. It began to
reverberate through the whole world. Now all countries are feeling it
economically, politically and socially. People thought that their brand of
Systems Thinking was sufficient. But now people suddenly realise how
inadequate all these brands are for the third millennium.
I want to introduce fellow learners to spontaneity as one of the
deficiencies of present Systems Thinking. Spontaneity has two faces. The
one face is that a system changes spontaneously by driving itself from
within. The other face is that a system is forced to change, driven by an
agent outside the system. Oh, there At de Lange begins again -- how
abstract can this man not become! OK, let me do it differently.
On 11/09/2001 people in the USA woke up, ready to work as usual. Except
for 19 men, nobody had even a thought that on this day something would
happen which will change the world forever. Here in South Africa up to
Europe of the northern hemisphere people were already into the afternoon,
many rushing to finish their work. Nobody had even a thought that before
sunset the world will change forever. Further east like in Pakistan and
India people were already into the evening, preparing for dinner. Nobody
had even a thought that before getting into bed the world will change
forever. In the Far East like Korea and Japan people were sleeping. Nobody
had even a thought before sleep that when they woke up the world would
actually have changed forever.
How can this be possible? Is the world not changing from minute to minute?
How can we speak of an event which will change the world forever when the
world is actually changing continuously? Well, it will be the case when
nobody, except for 19 men, had any thoughts on what might happen on
11/09/2001. Then it happened. In Manhattan people were looking stunned at
what was happening before their very eyes. All over the world people were
looking stunned at their TVs showing what was happening. Why were all
these people over the world stunned? Their entire consciousness, whether
we call it systems thinking, world conception or philosophy, did not make
provision for such a cataclysmic event.
Since 11/09/2001 people all over the world are asking all kinds of
questions. But how many ask the following question: "How could I have
foreseen such a such a cataclysmic event?" I do not mean with this
question like looking into a crystal ball or like finding the clues in the
prediction of a clairvoyant person that the two WTC towers and the
Pentagon will be attacked. I mean with this question looking at the
cataclysmic event happening without being stunned by its happening. I mean
with this question a mental preparation which sustains an understanding of
the cataclysmic event while it is happening. I mean a mental preparation
which sustains wise responses soon afterwards rather being stunned for
hours and then following it up with irresponsible talk for days.
The world has changed forever because most people who had been stunned
will begin to change their entire consciousness. This change has been
initiated by the very stunning itself. And as their entire consciousness
begins to change, they will do things which they have never done before
and stop doing things which they usually did without questioning. The kind
of leaders which they were used to in the second millennium will gradually
be replaced by leaders promoting what they now want to do or not do.
While you fellow learners were gazing at the cataclysmic event, did
any dualistic thought similar to the following crossed your mind?
bravery and brutality -- divine and demonic -- friend and foe
-- glad and gloom -- honour and hurt -- idyllic and ignobly
-- joy and jihad -- kind and cruel -- living and lashing
-- mercy and misery -- nice and nauseous -- peace and pain
-- respectful and ruthless -- sacrificial and sacrilegious
-- temperance and terror.
Even should merely one such a fleeting thought have passed your mind,
then you are conscious of the two faces of spontaneity. For example,
the brave person acts spontaneously while the brutal person forces
somebody to act. Mercy is given spontaneously while misery results
from applying force.
However, to be conscious of a concept and to comprehend the entire meaning
of a concept is like the difference between a seed and the mature plant
which bears that seed. Up to 11/09/2001 billions of humans had been
conscious of the concept spontaneity in the manner of fleeting thoughts.
Up to 11/09/2001 only millions had proceeded to the level where they could
articulate the concept with a word like "spontaneity" in English. Up to
11/09/2001 only thousands could apply the concept "spontaneity" with
dexterity in a particular domain like chemistry. But up to 11/09/2001 few
were aware how the concept spontaneity was crucial to their entire
consciousness as well as the spirituality of the rest of humankind.
In pristine nature where humankind has not yet interfered, everything
happens spontaneously. We think of pristine nature as paradise. The
American people were to a large extend oblivious to spontaneity. Almost
everything in the USA seemed to happen spontaneously. America was like
paradise for most of its people. The majority of humankind in the rest of
the world also thought that America was paradise. Thus they copied the
American way of life wherever possible. But on 11/09/2001 they were
stunned into the stark reality of spontaneity.
The attack on the two WTC towers and the Pentagon were forced upon the
American nation. The American nation would never have done it
spontaneously self. Soon many became aware by few courageous commentators
how the American nation forced their way of life upon people in other
parts of the world who did not want it. They forced others to behave
non-spontaneously whereas they would never force themselves the same. They
did to others what they not would do to themselves. They caused hurt so
much that it brought forth terrorism among some of their victims.
Forcing any system to change non-spontaneously when that system is not
able to adapt or respond constructively, leads to destructions. What
clearer example can we have than the two WTC towers and the Pentagon.
Animals are examples of adaptive systems. If the two towers were like
gigantic giraffes, they would simply have jumped out of the way. If the
Pentagon was like a gigantic ray fish, it would simply have glided away.
Any system has to have "free energy" (two words, one concept) so as to
adapt or create constructively. A living animal has such "free energy" F.
When an animal does not have nor cannot release spontaneously "free
energy" F any more, it dies. The lack of "free energy" F causes death. The
only life in the two WTC towers and the Pentagon on 11/09/2001 was in the
living people in them on that terrible day. The buildings were lifeless as
all the furniture were. The machines like computers and fans seemed to
have life. But they were merely forced by electricity coming from the
mains supply as external agent to change non-spontaneously. On their own,
disconnected from the mains supply, these machines would have been
More than 6000 people became lifeless on 11/09/2001.
Non-spontaneous death was forced upon these victims. I saw a few
people jumping out of the towers. Suicide? Afraid? No, truth came to
them in the last minutes by which they decided to end their lives
spontaneously. So cataclysmic was the destruction that family and
friends are grieving at an empty grave or searching for a miracle.
Whether an empty grave or a miracle, they have to grapple with the
horror which had been caused non-spontaneously.
Dear fellow learners, to avoid such a cataclysmic event happen again, you
will have to adapt by creating constructively. You will need within
yourself the "free energy" to do so spontaneously. This had been called
inner motivation in the second millennium. You will also have to avoid
motivating externally the rest of the world since it will lead to
non-spontaneous changes there. Only a few people will be able to adapt by
constructive creativity. The rest will respond by trying to motivate also
you externally. Some will do it fanatically by causing another cataclysmic
Next time it will not be 6000 dead, but may easily be 6000000. I am not a
prophet of doom as many would judge me. I am a teacher and I want you to
learn spontaneously because you can do it. Please, in the name of the rest
of the world I beg you to do it.
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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