Strength-Comparing LO27358

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 10/08/01

Replying to LO27342 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Dressler < > writes:

>Your autobiographic essay on your long and difficult
>staggering path towards identification of ESCs made
>me aware what it takes to make a claim like "here is
>another one". Does the most difficult part, namely to
>identify elemenal organizer (EO) also in animals behaviour,
>provide for a shortcut? Namely to observe animal
>organizing behaviour, name it in the becoming-being
>manner of EOs and check it's role in humans creativity?
>Wouldn't be such EO's most intriguing which are settled
>close to destructive creativity? We would employ this EO
>without special training as part of our evolutionary heritage,
>yet become most easily trapped in destructive behaviour.

Greetings dear Winfried,

Thank you very much for your authentic thinking on EOs (Elementary
Organisers) and ESCs (Elementray Sustainers of Creativity).

I love your phrase "employ this EO without special training as part of our
evolutionary heritage" very much. This is exactly what an ESC means for me
-- reaching back beyond our human conditions into our natural condition --
to redicover our wholeness with the rest of nature so as to restore that
wholeness in the human condition too.

I must admit that these ESCs are far more complex than what my battered
mind can make out of them. Let us use your suggestion of taking a shortcut
by looking for EOs among animals and then identify them among as an EO
general to humankind too. Your suggestion imply a symmetry between going
from animals to humans and going from humans to animals. On the other
hand, I myself are deeply aware of the asymmetry of any emergence. This
assymetry also became essential to the human condition when Homo sapiens
emerged from Homo erectus.

Perhaps the most common seemingly "elementary organiser" among animals is
"eating-food". This "eating-food" is also a very common among humans,
except the billions who live in poverty and the millions among them who
die each year of hunger. But does this commonality make "eating-food" an

I think it would have been one should humans, despite the labels we could
give them, would think more about "eating-food" among other humans when
eating food self. I think we should not forget that human creativity is
influenced by the back action of the entire human mind. Unfortunately,
"eating-food" has become a plain physical activity among most humans
without any connection to the mind and thus creativity.

When the first white settlers in South Africa moved from the Cape
eastwards, they came into contact with the Xhosa (a Banthu) people who
were moving westards. Some thought the Banthu to be of lower civilisation.
However, the Banthu have developed and immense culture among eating food.
For them it was indeed an ESC "food-eating".

Yes, "eating-food" in the sense of a mental dimension connected to it
does indeed occur among animals. The best example for me self is
among an animal species which we call "meerkatte" (Meerkats). They
occur in the dry savannahs of Southern Africa and especially the Kalahari
desert. Have a look at the following sites to learn more of these delightful
and loveable critters:
< >
< >
< >
Did you know that Timon in the movie The Lion King is a meercat. Should
you have observed meerkats in the wild, you would have loved Timon
even more!

Unfortunately, under the influence of first the culture of the white
people and then especially in the 20th century the cultures of the Western
and the Eastern civilisations, much of this culture on "eating-food" among
the Banthu peoples had been lost. Hence today, except in remote rural
regions, the "eating-food" is not the ESC "food-eating" anymore.

I do not want to let this contribution too long. But some other day I hope
to sketch just how much "food-eating" was an ESC among the indigenous
peoples (Banthu, Xhoi and San) of South Africa.

Can this "eating-food" become an EO (physical activity with a mental
dimension) and thus and ESC once again among humankind. It can because
with the Reformation four centuries ago it became an ESC once again among
many Protestant communities. Thanksgiving Day among the Americans also
points to this possibility. Saying grace before dinner is a symbolic
gesture, but how many people follow these words up with deeds?

Here in South Africa tens of thousands of people are increasingly
suffering starvation. Some days I seriously contemplate to stop writing on
Internet to spend my time, energy and mind on "eating-food". In a ward of
our parish to which I am their elder, there is a family focussing with
deeds on serving the hungry. In other words, "food-eating" has become an
ESC for this family. The complexity of "food-eating" which they have told
my wife and me boggles our minds. How to find money to buy food. Where to
buy the best food at the lowest prices. How to find hands willing to
prepare the food. How to find feet willing to distribute the food. How to
make sure that someone along the line do not corrupt the process. Their
biggest problem, bigger than all the other problems together, is the lack
of mentalness in general and commitment in particular among those willing
to help.

This I want to say to fellow learners. If you really want to experience
the destructive face of western civilisation and not merely boast of its
constructive face, make "food-eating" an ESC in your life. Use the
dialogue (another ESC) to find out what caused this starvation in your
city or one close to you. You will soon wish that you belonged to another

I think that should executive managers of organisations (business,
politics, education and even religion) have made "food-eating" an ESC in
their lives, they would have made far different executive decisions.

>The pattern seem also to repeat for another three
>EOs (ESCs?), which have been identified and
>stressed by Kepner and Tregoe and which together
>with problem-solving form a system of operational
>management according to them:

Wow, now you have blown a storm into my mind! Are the other three not also
part of problem-solving?

>I started to wonder how close I could come
>with EOs which in themselves do not include
>judgement but which in their use are often
>hardly distinguished from judgemental thinking.
>It is here where I think that a close look at the
>animals world is most necessary, because in my
>mind I take animals as non judging creatures - to
>interpret specific animal behaviour as judging
>would need to be questioned as anthropomorphism.

Wow, now you have also opened another can of worms! What all are involved
with judgemental thinking? Yesterday's sermon in church was on the lessons
of Jesus given on the mountain. (Matthew chapters 5-7). In Matt 7:5 he
warns the people to be not like the hypocrites who, because of their
judgemental thinking and thus failure to learn, cannot remove the beam
from their own eyes. The Greek word which Jesus used is "hypokritees" with
"hypo-"=under and "kritees"=person-who-judge -- (see Matt 5:25) This
"kritees" is related to words such as as "krisis"=judgement (see Matt
5:21), "kriterion"=judging-rule (see 1 Col 6:2) and "kritikos"=descerner
(see Heb 4:12). It ought to be interesting to note that the Greek word for
an actor on a stage is also "hypokritees" ;-)

Going through all of chapters 5-7 and the many examples which Jesus refer
to, I was struck once again how judgemental thinking has to do with
impairing each of the 7Es (seven essentialities of creativity).

Animals may not have proceeded as far on the road of the 7Es as humans,
but they certainly do not deliberately fork form this road into decreasing
the 7Es like many humans do.

>I wish to offer to the list strength-comparing
>(competition) as such an EO (ESC?). Constructively,
>the outcome of this EO could be the development
>of learning couples like master-apprentice or
>teacher-learner with the philosophical schools of
>ancient Greece or the medieval guilds as examples.
>Destructively we would think in terms of winners
>and losers.

I think that this something which you will have to explore yourself. I
myself have also had thoughts on this "comparing-strengths" as an EO, but
I thought intuitively of it as part of the ESC "game-playing". I will now
have to give it much thought as a possible ESC itself. It does occur among
animals, but for me it seemed to be part of game-playing or selecting the
"alpha" breeders (male, female or both) among a flock/herd of animals.

Perhaps a third reason why I find it so tedious to identify an EO as an
ESC is that the ESC turns out to be immensely complex once I begin to
fathom in its innate elementary nature its tangible fundamentals. It takes
a lot of time with so much complexity involved.

Winfried, my personal problem with "comparing-strength" has been my
training as a physicist and chemist. I see it as a rather simple action
involving two measurements with a standard. Furthermore, I actually
dislike competition because of the stress on the win-lose facet. I suspect
that this may be an impairing in my own thinking and thus ability to trace
"strength-comparing" as a possible ESC. But then you have been trained as
a physicist self. Might it not be the case with you too?

What about fellow learners who had little training in science and who are
fond of competition. Do they think that "strength-comparing" is an ESC?

With care and best wishes


At de Lange <> 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 <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>

"Learning-org" and the format of our message identifiers (LO1234, etc.) are trademarks of Richard Karash.