Motivation to Learn when in Despair. LO28594

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 05/24/02

Replying to LO28585 --

Dear readers, lovely Andrew,

Thank you for speaking out. Living seems unfair and it is, fundamentally.
There seems to be no fair distribution of wealth, knowledge, power,
happyness. And, in my view, there is no algorithm, no resolution, there
are no laws, nor possibilities to solve this. Managing issues and
resolving problems in organizations - from the small to the large - all
are about the distribution of wealth, power, knowledge, happyness.

Organizing seems to me a response to this pressing, acute, continous
problem of distribution of inadequate abilities. Out of despair, motivated
by deprevation, stimulated by hunger we learned to organize. Scarcity:
scarcity might well have been the driving impulse to start organizing. So
we now still frame our organisation in terms of survival. The internal,
personal problems we have with ourselves and others we used ot define a
group that was different from another group. We set aside our differences
to compete against others in the race for survival. This context is so
overpervasive, our stories, our cultures are about survival that we do not
even notice it any more, except in the extremes: extreme wealth and
extreme poverty. These are the clouds on the horizon of the paradigm of

In the struggles to survive, to control the environment, our ancestors and
us have made a situation were survival on one side of the system is an
immediate necessity and on the other side a problem of not having enough
time to spend the money. As organisation are the means, the organisation
have become riddled with the paradoxes of belonging. We must, we have to,
we need to belong to a group of survivors, and in doing so, we loose our
souls to the group. The stronger the intergroup processes of survival,
competing for scarce resources, the harder we work, the better results,
the more we loose ourselves. The process of individuation - living with
the shadow, developing our own spirituality - becomes threatened. In one
site because lack of resources, in another site because too much wealth.
Success to the successful and "too bad" for the loosers.

Does it have to be like this? Yes, it is a straight forward result of our
own behaviour. Is there a solution? No, never, not if we do not change our
behaviour. And we have no experience with another way of life, we have no
other stories, no other system, no other ethics. We can not go back, that
is called fundamentalism - for every religion - and we can not go forward
- more McWorld.

We're stuck, because

  1. nobody dares to admit that this is the case - better avoid the issue -,
  2. no leader dares to facilitate the tensions and explore the situation of
     stuckness - understanding opposing forces that we have generated ourselves
     can be misunderstood as weakness - and
  3. groups are constrained because a group defines itselfs as the opposite of
     the other group.Groups will more and more tend to "solve" their problem by
     the annihilation of the other.

And the alternative is far worse: immersion, living with anxieties,
exploring our resistances ("Learning is in the resistance"), acknowledging
that others are just like us, penetrating our shadow to look for light. We
might loose our status, might have to regress, we fear the courage to
speak. In the end, we might have to rewrite our history and accept that we
have been telling ourselves stories all along... .And above all, we suffer
the most from the suffering we fear.

Let's invent tellavision in stead of television: invent tales, draw
pictures, create drama, express ourselves in dances in order to better
know, understand, be aware, live our lifes.

Again, thank you for sharing,

Jan Lelie wrote:

> Dear At,
> You write,
> > Perhaps this is one of the secrets of May's success, even though
> > it seems to be so insignificant to European standards. Her good
> > deeds are encapsuled in teaching and learning so that they do not
> > get punished.
> My friend Jeff Gates has made a wide and intense study of idiots like Bill
> Gates and Warren Buffet, their minions and their cronies as sub princes.
> In case any minioned sub princes want to challenge the assumptions here
> are the figures --> the top 1% of households exceeds the combined wealth
> of the bottom 95%. Said another way, in case the point gets lost, the
> wealth of the richest four hundred families (in the USA) increased each by
> an average $940 million each (1997-99) whereas, the net worth of the
> bottom 40% of households plummeted by 80%. Did the worlds most vociferous
> democracy vote for that? Jeff asks.


With kind regards - met vriendelijke groeten,

Jan Lelie

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