Blind to Wholeness LO29555

From: Jan Lelie (
Date: 11/22/02

Replying to LO29543 --

See here, reeder,

Thank you kindly for your reply, dear At, you spotted some flaws in my

You wrote:

>I wrote:
>>>I would like a dialogue on this "blindness to wholeness"
>>>very much.
>and I, Jan Lelie <> responded with:
>> I would
>>suggest that we're not blind to wholeness, but just rather
>>slow in our perceptions. We're myopic. And no wonder,
>>we're small and this is a big universe. It takes time for us
>>- and for the universe - to learn how to behave, to deal
>>with wholeness.
>Thank you for beginning this dialogue. I have changed the erroneous
>"blindness to wholeness" into the better "blind to wholeness".

I used blindness on purpose, i likes the two 'nesses'. I thought about
writing "blindness 2 wholeness". But your remarks sparked an even better
title: "eye less to wholeness".

>I find it significant that you write that we are myopic. It means that we
>are near sighted so that we have to bring our eyes close to an object
>before we can see it with focus. But when we do that, all other objects
>recede out of our angle of vision. Is it because of wanting to see a part
>that we cannot see the whole, nor its field (context)? Is it not our
>disciplinary thinking which makes us blind to wholeness? Or is it because
>we lost our identity and forgot where it probably happened.

Nothing of the kind. We can experience wholeness, at least i can and so i
assume others can too, but not with our usual sense organs. We have no
eyes for wholeness, no ears, no nose and - important - no tongue, no
language. The word wholeness is a poor sign for the richness of the
phenomena. I assume that we - as a species- have no eyes for wholeness,
because it served no immediate purpose. Like we have still a very poorly
developed sense for art and artistic expression.

And here is another thought that crosses my mind: the feeling of wholeness
also might imply a terrific responsibility. When one experiences
wholeness, one also feels inadequate, sad, perhaps even "bad'". This is -
in my experience - no problem. We are small, limited, inadequate. But
somehow we've been infected by a viral thought: you should not feel
wholeness in a world that so obviously lacks a sense of wholeness.
Furthermore, there seems to exist a notion, a feeling, that you shouldn't
feel wholeness, because that would imply that there is noting left to
strive for. The basic message of the story of Genesis might be: do not
even try to think godlike. Wholly inadequate. There is no necessity to
strive for wholeness for all before experiencing it for yourself. It will
come to others or not, that is not our business. Survival, somebody once
said to me, is not imperative.

>You suggest that we are slow in our perceptions of wholeness rather than
>blind to it. Perhaps you are right because in 1964 i began to make my
>first decisions in terms of wholeness, but only twenty years later could i
>really tell what wholeness is about. All those 20 years i had few with
>whom i could talk about wholeness. I think that should i had many more
>dialogues on wholeness, i would have had much sooner clarity on wholeness.
>My search for greater wholeness had a major influence on my personal
>evolution, what i am today and what will become of me in future.

I never used "evolution" in the context of a person or group. I think of
evolution as a process of procreation: mutation, selection and retention.
An individual being mutates metaphors, but does not evolve.
"Development" perhaps suits me better.

>Blind to wholeness, myopic or slow of perceptions, the transformation of
>ordinary organizations into learning organizations will suffer as a result
>of it. This wholeness is needed for the learning individuals to join in a
>learning organization which is more than the sum of them.
>Jan, the last sentence above appears to be very dogmatic. It is even more
>so when compared to what you wrote:
>>And is it a necessary condition for survival? Do we need wholeness
>>in the here and now, hear and wow? Nope, so understanding is
>>slow in developing and there was no priority to develop the wholistic
>>sense organs.
>Is wholeness really not necessary for survival? I wonder. Let us think of
>physical wholeness. Consider as example the human body. The blood
>circulatory system connects all the organs into one whole. When the heart
>stops beating, the first organ to die is the brain because connection is
>lost with the lungs supplying it with oxygen. When the brain dies, so ends
>thinking. Abstract thinking is one of the things which makes the whole
>more than the sum of the parts. Unlike other animals humans need to think
>to survive.

Don't agree. Even trees "think", or perhaps better "thrunk", but not in a
way we can perceive or experience. They do grow into the direction of the
light. Smart. They do protect themselves from winter - here in Holland -
and they know how to turn to every season. Very smart. In fact, wholeness
feels as it everything, the whole universe "thinks", or "sings". For ever
entity there is a required level or order, complexity, a
"wholeness"-number. The further away from chaos, in order, the higher the
complexity of thoughts, feelings, notions, senses.

>About the wholeness of the sense organs, i began to think of my own. When
>in a desert, i rely foremost on my hearing. I can hear sounds coming from
>all directions, unlike sight, smell, taste and touch. If something moves
>and makes the slightest sound, i hear it. I can react faster to hearing
>than any of the other four sense organs. Does this not point to much
>wholeness in hearing?
>Last Saturday evening i was listening to several of Beethoven's piano
>sonatas which he composed when already stone deaf. He lost the wholeness
>of physical hearing, but his mind was so immensely tuned to it that he
>gave us unprecedented wholeness of physical hearing in his compositions.
>Blind to wholeness? What about deaf to wholeness?

Ear less, nose less, tongue less. What about fearless? Isn't fear, angst,
anxiety the very reason we do not admit this feeling of wholeness? It
might seem a complicated story: we're telling or have been told stories to
believe that we can not, should not become whole in this world. I can
think of several reason why this would seem "logical", "smart",
"rational". But it only results in feeling inadequate, unhappy,
dissatisfied. And because we feel inadequate, we act, we organize, we
hunt. So the story reconfirms itself. But it is not the truth. It is not
real. We are whole, we've always been whole, everything has always been
whole but in order to perceive wholeness we have to split. The issue is
how to treat the negation and experience how life and death are two
distinct and separate parts of the same phenomena: wholeness. Like
walking: we have to become unbalanced to be able to walk. You can not try
to walk. You either walk or not. But resting and walking are two distinct
and separate parts of motion.

>>Evolution is an opportunistic force without vision and purpose.
>Then why can we think of all life as a tree? Why are humans mammals? Why
>is there so much similarity between humans and the great apes? Vision and
>purpose are about the future. Looking from every major punctuated
>equilibrium in evolution to its future (closer to the present), evolution
>took a definite path in each case, clearly linking with its past path. It
>is the path of new life forms with more organization in them. Can we think
>of this path as opportunism? I do not think so.

'xcuse me, but the tree of life is the core of evolution theory. And only
because producing entropy is faster in ordered systems, but entropy itself
doesn't know before hand - or works randomly - how to create order the
first time right, it looks to me as if it has no purpose. In retrospect
one might suspect that it looks as if there was purpose. So be it. I've
been taught that the existence of randomness is unprovable. There is no
prove for the existence of randomness. Nor of is non-existence. It is a
Gödel - ever wondered why - what coincidence - somebody named Godel (my
spelling checker suggests: godless) found the key to truth and provability
- proposition: the world makes sense with AND without randomness.

>>Perhaps we should write a book: "The Sixth Sense -
>>The Art and Practice of the Evolving Organisations"
>>And off course a Fieldbook.
>I could not prevent smiling for your creative allegory. But on a more
>serious level. Will that book improve organisations when the majority of
>their members are blind to wholeness?

Making you smile was the purpose of this sentence. Who would ask for more?
What do you want to improve when somebody smiles? If others choose to be
blind, it is there choice. If others do not smile, why weep?

>While browsing the web for some more thoughts on this "blind to
>wholeness", i came upon the following article by Lloyd Fell which has
>a refreshing originality to it:
>"Seven Aspects of Knowing
>Quality of Life for Individuals and Organisations
>A contribution to the science of wholeness" at
>< >
>The author identifies in each of these aspects a "blind spot". A quick
>summary of these seven blindspots can be found at
>< >
>This made me wonder. Should i speak of the "blindspot to wholeness" rather
>than "blind to wholeness"? Its like the semantical difference between the
>Afrikaans (or Dutch) "sien"=see and "kyk"=look. They see wholeness, but
>they do not look at wholeness. They see something, but they are not aware
>that they are looking at wholeness with all its significance.

right. It is the awareness that is lacking. We had it - when a child - ,
but in order to perceive it, we had to make some splits. We had to split
between feelings and thought. It is being blocked by all kind of
attributions, negative feelings, perhaps even taboos. Perhaps because
making a split - like noticing that you and your mother are two different
persons - is painfull. So (lack of) wholeness becomes associated with
pain. All major religions - this is perhaps to big a statement, perhaps
except budhism - are based on the notion that wholeness can not be reached
in this life and only through pain. Even if this life is all i have! Even
if this means that i'll have a painful life. Make me a martyr and i'll be
whole again! It makes me laugh and weep.

>It has been very hot the past few days here in Pretoria. We need rain
>because life is beginning to suffer. (I myself feel dead tired and as if i
>cannot think clearly -- so forgive me.) Our rain comes a long way from the
>hot Indian ocean in the east, traveling right over central Africa in the
>west, then down south over Angola, Namibia and Namaqualand before it turns
>north east until it reach the former Transvaal. Any break in the wholeness
>of this long path (some 10 000km) causes heat waves like the present one.
>With care and best wishes

Hope it will rain soon, mossoon soon. And if not, it is not your business,
it is not my business, it's Gods business.

There. Smile. Love,


Drs J.C. Lelie (Jan, MSc MBA) 
facilitator mind@work

mind@work VOF - ondersteuning besluitvorming van groepen LOGISENS - bedrijfsverbetering

tel.: + 31 (0)70 3243475 mob.: + 31 (0)65 4685114 (auto) web.:

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.