Continuing from LO28146 --
Part 2 -- Knowing ourselves further.
Dear Organlearners. Let us go on with what
Daan Joubert <firstname.lastname@example.org> has to write
>Something that has gradually become apparent in the
>posts I have read here is that there is a quite strong
>focus on the LO itself - either in terms of the LO list
>itself, the LO methodology or then in the application
>of LO to an organisation. In a sense the
>LO-methodology+LO-organisation has become an
>isolated and for practical purposes a closed system
>- in a sense a self-referring system.
Daan, I have read what you wrote and I think deeply. I hope that fellow
learners have discovered the crucial importance of your information. You
come in as stranger and you find strange things happening.
Much of what you refer to in the quoted paragraph concerns the
essentiality openness. I think of this 7E as the joker among the pack of
7Es. Each of us has to evolve in all the 7Es. In six of them this
evolution can be described as an increase. But in openness we have to
become more open in appropriate times and to become more closed in other
times. In other words, our "valves" have to function more harmoniously
with the rhythm of our creativity. Motor mechanics will say that the cam
shaft (of the combustion engine) must be optimised. Cardiologists would
say the beatings of the heart have to match the exertions of the body.
To become too open in the bifurcation phase of entropy production is
fatal. The system will lose its produced entropy to its surroundings. No
animal and no plant advertise the formation (birth or seed setting) of the
new generation in the open. It happens in seclusion. On the other hand, to
become too closed in the digestive phase of entropy production is also
fatal. Eating too little leads to under weight. No animal and no plant
even try to propagate itself in times of famine or drought.
Now, should our LO-dialogue be in the bifurcation phase of creativity, the
isolation is OK. The system SY rejuvenates itself as if becoming a
universe on its own. Then it opens up again to digest with the new
emergent order. But when our LO-dialogue is in the digestive phase of
creativity, such an isolation will starve it to death. The system SY needs
to eat on its surroundings SU. In other words, it all depends on what we
want. If we want in this LO-dialogue to become the world's first cyber
LO, then we will have to focus inwards, stop eating and begin producing
what we want. Hence, Daan, what you observe as a new comer, is what we
want to become with the LO-list -- either a cyber organisation for
learning or a cyber Learning Organisation. Neither me nor you or any other
individual can decide the future. All involved have to decide collectively
by knowing what each wants.
That which troubles most fellow learners, is how a system closing itself
more during the bifurcative phase can have a bifurcation at all. We know
from many experiences that when a system becomes isolated, equilibrium
will gradually step in. Equilibrium is that state where no further
irreversible change is possible since no free energy from the outside can
be used to drive such a change. The only way the system can still have a
bifurcation, is by utilising the free energy which it gathered from the
outside during the previous digestive phase during which the system was
open. The system now has to make a Houdini act, something which appears as
a miracle to us.
It is decidedly not a Houdini act. That gathered free energy is not free
any more in the system itself. It became bonded into the organisation
(structures and processes) of the system. The system can liberate that
once gathered free energy, now bonded into organisational energy, by
giving up selectively some of its organisation. I call it a creative
collapse, although Derida and Heidegger before him called it a
deconstruction. (Some modern system thinkers call it re-engineering.) This
liberated free energy must then be used to drive the system to the
bifurcation point on the ridge of chaos. Any other use of it will
definitely be fatal to the system, something which the re-engineering
system thinkers are oblivious to.
The concept of a creative collapse (or whatever we may call it like
deconstruction or re-engineering) is not that new. For example, two
millennia St Paul often wrote that he gave up everything to gain in
Christ. But even million of years earlier even insects began to do it. A
worm has several definite internal organs (structures), each with its own
functions (processes). When mature, the worm becomes a pupa by closing
itself as far as possible. It may seek a sheltered hole do so. Others may
even spin a cocoon out of silk or build an adobe out of clay.
Nevertheless, this Houdini act begins to take place in the pupa. It gives
up almost all of its internal organisation. It becomes a plasmodial liquid
out of which the new organs begin to emerge. Upon completion out comes the
I hope this answers your first sentence in the next quote.
>I have a problem with this in the sense of 'being'.
>I can perhaps best explain this conceptual problem
>by asking: If one were the only person left in the
>world, would the concept 'I' still have any meaning?
Yes, I think it will not have any meaning. A LO cannot function with only
Personal Mastery (I learn alone in the organisation so does each one
else). It also have to function with Team Learning ( I learn with others
in the organisation.) Fellow learner Leo Minnigh once said that this, the
"I&We", is for him the beginning of wisdom.
Consciousness is a collective phenomenon among individuals. This is what
Eugene Marais discovered and tried to articulate with his fantastic book
"Die Siel van die Mier" (Afrikaans for The Soul of the Ant). The human
become a humane "I" because the major part of that human becomes in all
his/her fellow humans rather than him/herself.) A human growing up since
birth among apes can become only an "apian I", not the Tarzan. The system
SY without all its surrounding systems taken together as the surroundings
SU, cannot have any evolution. It is the case of both the SY&SU rather
than either the SY or the SU.
LEM (Law of Excluded Middle) cannot be used here to cut wholeness into
something less. For example, should I become merely in terms of either
African becoming or merely in terms of Western becoming, I will not become
as many great Afrikaners did become in the past before apartheid put an
end to it. Perhaps you have met some Namaqualand Afrikaners (those living
in the deserts of Namaqualand and Bushmanland) where also Xhoi people
live, but not Bantu people. Think of TV personalities like Jan Spies and
Polla van der Merwe. Their greatness for me is in their Western as well as
Xhoi becoming. The same applies for Afrikaners who has become together
with the Malaysian people in the Cape. All these many different cultural
faces of the Afrikaner made Alan Drury wrote the book "A Strange Society".
He wanted to undo apartheid, but the multi-personality of the Afrikaner
people fascinated him just as much.
Yet, once we acknowledge openness together with wholeness, LEM gets into
operation as I have explained above. The system SY has to close down
rather than open up for a bifurcation. It has to open up rather than close
down for digestion. Once in the bifurcative phase, because of having
closed down, it has to go for that bifurcation above all else. Speak of
purpose! The same goes for the digestive phase, but here it has to open
In my opinion the problem of the Afrikaner people began with apartheid
when they closed themselves from the non Western peoples (Xhoi, San,
Malaysian, Indian, Bantu and mixed) born in South Africa and thus part of
their nationhood. They did this to digest Western culture. The crucial
question which we should ask ourselves, is whether they were in a
digestive of bifurcative phase in 1948, four years after WWII. Jan Smuts
did ask this question in 1933 in parliament. He answered it clearly by
showing that since WWI certain nations began to serve their own interest
rather the well being of humankind. They were driving the world into
chaos. After WWII it became even worse. It is now at its worst. The
problem of South Africa after WWII is now clearly a problem of many
nations all over the world. Should they digest or should they bifurcate.
>Internal changes can be observed, so that the
>'becoming' would still be relevant [I think] as one
>introspectively observe what is happening - as
>individual or as group/organisation - but in the
>final essence 'being' may well become irrelevant
>when I/organisation is completely isolated.
Daan, as I have said above, closing down for that one only bifurcation (to
become born -- emergence) is as necessary as for opening up to many
digestions (to get mature). This makes openness the joker among the pack
It is also the joker because it is so often used in the place of any one
of the other six 7Es. For example, after the recent bankruptcy of Enron,
almost every body is calling for transparency. A synonym which they also
use for transparency is openness. But was too little openness responsible
for the downfall of Enron? I do not think so. For me it was a case of too
little sureness ("identity-categoricity"). The audits on Enron's financial
status had too little sureness in them for others to know what was going
on. All the opennness cannot substitute this lack of sureness
Likewise we ought not to confuse openness with liveness.
>One needs a reference space - defined for the
>individual and the organisation by the environment
>in which it exists and functions - in order to
>achieve the status of 'being' to have an own
>identity and to be fully aware of that identity.
>And to a certain degree - if not fully so - that
>identity is defined by the nature of the relationship
> with the environment, which, as discussed
>previously [One hand clapping] can range from
>predatory through to the silly altruistic.
Now we are again deep into the essentiality sureness. The sureness of any
system depends on its relationship with its environment. A succulent
plant cannot maintain its identity in a rain forest and likewise an orchid
cannot grow in a desert. Our context (surroundings) help us to become sure
of our identity. It even help us to become sure of what becoming among
many possibilities we should follow. For example, when it does rain in the
desert, the succulent will soon flower and set seed. The orchid, on the
other hand, has to flower hen the correct insects are available to
pollinate its intricate flower.
Likewise a baby cannot be born in the open subjected to all the elements
and likewise a prisoner will wither away in a jail with only water to
drink. In your "One hand clapping" I think I saw much tacit knowledge
because any person who connects predatorism (having to do with degenerated
digestion) and altruism (having to do with degenerated bifurcation) must
have at least some tacit knowledge of the meandering between the digestive
and bifurcative phases of creativity.
Therefor it is most important to study creativity in all its facets. When
the majority in the surroundings cry for digestion and many of them have
developed obesity, it is for me a sign that the digestive phase in the
surroundings went too far by becoming a mental model. Thus we get the
"eternal consumerist" incapable of making a creative collapse. But when
the majority in the surroundings cry for bifurcation and many of them have
developed anorexia, it is for me a sign that the bifurcative phase in the
surroundings went too far by becoming a mental model. Thus we get the
"eternal revolutionist" incapable of letting a new order digest into
Putting a damper on anybody's creativity and intuition in times when the
two phases of creativity lost their synchronisation and harmony, is to
hinder any constructive solutions to our problems in general. How will we
know that we are in such times? When society have little appreciation for
living artists and over appreciate the artifacts of dead artists. Here I
am not thinking merely of the fine arts. I think of all arts, even like
the art of discovery (science) and the art of living.
>The above come across as statements, but they
>are more like questions in that I am searching for
>the proper place of both the individual and the
>organisation in its relationships with others. To me
>it is that aspect of life that contributes to 'being'
>and may even make it possible.
Let us bow to all artists of all genres. They are our indicators
("measuring meters") of showing how healthy we are.
I also agree to what you wrote. Goethe described this relationship between
the inside and the outside as the truth to the indignation of his
Like you I have searched and I will still be searching. I have tried to
articulated some of which I have learned. Should it make sense to you or
any other fellow learner, I will be pleased. Not because I wrote something
novel worthy some prize, but because you recognised some of your own tacit
knowing in some of my articulations. When this happens, it shows that my
becoming is not my own, but that part of it is your becoming too. This is
for me the very soul of teaching and learning. Eugene Marais wrote The
Soul of the Ant. Perhaps we on the LO-dialogue is writing The Soul of the
>(Perhaps I should say "Ouch!" in advance.
>Just to be on the safe side)
Does the pupa have to say "ouch" when it becomes the butterfly?
Thank you Daan for questioning the Golden Rule in terms of liveness
("becoming-being"). I think that your questioning has benefitted many
another fellow learner. Please keep up with this questioning because in
the ensuing dialogue the creativity of each of us will become sustained.
Thank you for so clearly articulating your concerns. Your exploring into
liveness has not gone by unnoticed. Michael Polanyi, father of the concept
"tacit knowing" also used to say that we ought to become a society of
authentic explorers. You have set an example as others also now are doing.
Please continue to do your exploring.
I ought to have stopped long ago. But I still have to say this. What
happens in the majority of our universities world wide, is for me a matter
of grave concern. There is very little relationship, as far as humans go,
between the "world-inside-them" and the "world-outside-them". For example,
many academics inside universities want to live in luxury while not caring
one cent for those living outside universities in shocking poverty. Is the
Golden Rule operating here?
>Looking for a Dunce cap that will fit!
I just had to look up the etymology of this word. It was taken from the
name John Duns Scotus (1265?-1308), probably born in Scotland at a places
called Dunnes. His followers were called Dunses or Scotists. John was of
the Franciscan order. He studied at Merton College in Oxford and was soon
made a fellow because of his scholarly work. Later the Franciscan order
sent him to Paris where he obtained a Doctorate in philosophy. He soon
became the most famous professor in the university of Paris. Then the
Franciscan order sent him to Cologne (Keulen) to begin a university there,
but unfortunately he died to soon to see his work become realised. The
epitaph of his grave says: Scotland bore me, England took me, France
taught me and Cologne holds me.
After the burning of the gigantic Biblioteca at the school of Alexandria,
medieval scholarship in Europe was flung into darkness while in the Arabic
world it began to bloom. Only when Arabic writings began to filter back
into Europe, scholarship began to awaken again, but in a curious manner
known as Scholasticism. In it two sources of knowing were upheld, the
reason of great thinkers of the past (like Aristotles) and personal
revelation. This culminated in the Dominican order of the Roman Church
(RC). The Franciscan order, on the other hand, maintained that revelation
often had the lack of logic in it which could not be made up with logic.
Scholasticism began to develop in a strict system of rote learning until
John Duns Scotus, the Franciscan, appeared on the scene in Paris. His main
opponent was Thomas Aquinas, the Dominican. In a brilliant dissertation he
defended the Immaculate Conception by refuting one by one more than two
hundred objections of the Dominicans by using their own logic against
them. This gained him the title of Doctor Subtilis. This was the beginning
of the decline of Scholasticism during the next century. The scolasticists
were so mad about this decline that the called anyone who dared
questioning traditional logic not only a fool, but a Dunses. The spelling
was changed many centuries afterwards to Dunces by Alexander Pope.
Daan, perhaps you may want to where that Dunces cap ;-) I do not mind
wearing it self because I am wearing it!
By this I hope that we have crossed the muddy river once again. Thank you
for allowing me to poke with the long pole! Poke and peek always seems to
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <email@example.com> 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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