Metanoia in LOs - Part 1 LO30248

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 06/11/03

Replying to LO30234 --

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to all of you.

In the introduction i wrote:
>I suspect that far too little is made of these metanoia. But
>let me first check with Google's advance search engine at
> < >
>With the phrase
> learning organisation
>in the 2nd window I got 31600 hits. What a lot! But with
> metanoia
>in the 1st window too, I got merely 44 hits. Thus it seems
>that my suspicion is correct.

I have mailed a copy of my study to Artur da Silva. He wrote that he is
still subscribed to our list, but too busy to contribute! He also warned
me that the Americans spell organisation with a "z". What a silly, stupid
mistake i made. So i used Google once again, but with the phrase
   learning organization
in the 2nd window. I got 90 900 hits -- three times as much! But with
in the 1st window too, I got merely 192 hits -- about in the same order
as before (four times as much).

I worked through several dozen of these hits to see what each wrote about
metanoia. It was very much the same as in my first search -- a mere
paraphrasing of what Senge wrote. I wish i had the tenacity to work
through all of them and perhaps find the proverbial needle in the

I also wrote:
>* In
>"Business case for diversity management"
>the transformational changes of double loop learning
>are compared with metanoia.
I should have thought further.

Last Friday i had a talk with a friend and colleague on problems which the
students at our university experience when learning. The moment when he
used the term "meta-learning" i knew what connection i should have made.
This term is used predominantly in Northern Europe. It means "learning how
to learn". It involves what is known in America as the second and third
loop of learning -- multi-loop learning.

So i have used Google once again and with
in the first window i got 1 740 hits. Then adding
  metalearning metanoia
in the first window i got 0 (zero) hits. Nobody else seems to have made
the connection which the Australians did. (See URL ".au" quoted above.)
But just to make sure i also used
in the first window and the descriptive phrase
   change of mind
in the second window. I stil got 0 hits.

Is this connection between metanoia and multi-loop learning (or
meta-learning) valid? I do not think so in the sense of an equality. But i
am very much aware that when exploring meta-learning, the conditions
become more favourable for metanoia themselves to emerge. What are these

I find that i can articulate them by means of the 7Es (seven essentialities
of creativity). They are
liveness ("becoming-being")
sureness ("identity-context")
wholeness ("unity-associativity")
fruitfulness ("connect-beget")
spareness ("quantity-limit")
otherness ("quality-variety")
openness ("paradigm-transform")

For me the first loop -- WHAT -- is concerned with sureness. The second
loop -- HOW -- is concerned with liveness. The third loop -- WHY -- is
concerned with wholeness. The fourth loop -- WHEN -- is concerned with
fruitfulness, etc. This means that as we explore each of these loops, we
became tacitly aware of one of the 7Es involved in that loop. Only when we
gain in tacit knowing on that 7E, the condition for metanoia improves.

Of all the 7Es, wholeness (its nominal name) is perhaps the best known.
So let us see with Google how far meta-learning has developed in
promoting the conditions for metanoia. With in the first window
   metalearning wholeness
i got merely 2 hits out of originally 1740! Both sites (one from Spain and
one from Norway) had some interesting things to say. So then i tried
   metalearning openness
for which i got 33 hits -- slightlly better. One of them, although not even
mentioning metanoia, namely
"Introduction to brain dancing" by Patrick Magee
< >
made me think -- metanoia are very much a dancing of the mind rather
than a sluggish crawl.

To search for otherness, i set Google up as follows:
first window
   metalearning quality
third window
   diversity variety
I got 228 hits, many of them seemingly interesting, but none telling how
a shift of mind gets promoted.

The 7Es may be considered as unfolding constructivism into seven
dimensions. So i did a last search with Google using
in the first window and
   constructivist constructivism
in the third window. I got 149 hits.

One of them
"Personal Construct Psychology, Constructivism, and Postmodern
Thought" by Luis Botella
< >
is a scholarly treatment of constructivism, but only mentions metalearning
and does not tell how constructivism can aid it. Another one
"Chemistry lessons for universities: a review of constructivist ideas"
by Keith Taber
< >
does much better. But as for fostering metanoia, it is as quiet as a bedlamp.

While reading through many of the metalearning documents, it struck me
how the two academical groupings (those of meta-learning and those of
multi-loop learning) can live isolated from each other. This made me think.
Should we not also search for other terms rather than only metanoia?
For example, should we see metanoia as
metanoia = "profound change of mind"
exactly what is the main feature(s) of this change? I am reminded of
the term "epigenesis of mind" made fashionable in the book
"The epigenesis of mind: Essays on biology and cognition"
by Carey and Gelman (1991) in a sort of Maturana-Varella tradition.

Can we say
metanoia = "epigenesis of mind"?
What is epigenesis? It is theory of development espoused by William
Harvey (1651) that all the parts of an embryo are not present at the
start of its development, but that they emerge in sequence during its
development. Does multi-loop learning not suggest such sequences?

What about
metanoia="chemistry of mind"
I had yesterday the opportunity to observe the emergence of metanoia
during a dialogue in a small LO. I came under the impression that it
was very much like chemsitry.

Or is metanoia = "dancing of mind" after all not a more intuitive

As a last note, if you fellow learners are interested in a large collection
of "meta-topic"s, have a look at
< >

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

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