The inspiration to become a LO. LO30388

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 07/17/03

Replying to LO30358 --

Dear Organlearners,

Greetings to all of you.

I am now having a dialogue with myself to prevent this topic from dying
off ;-) (Right at the bottom you will find the real reason.) I wrote

>Where do the members of an organisation get their inspiration
>to become a LO (Learning Organisation)? Can the executive
>manager give them that inspiration? Can a consultant give it to
>them? I wonder.

Before i go any further, i have to tell the following. I have found a
website dedicated to inspiration. It is a fantastic site rich with
information. See
< >

The etymology of inspiration comes from Latin: "in"=into "spirare"=breath

Synonyms of inspiration are ardor, devotism, eagerness, ecstasy,
enthusiasm, excitement, extravagance, fanaticism, fervecy, frevor, frenzy,
intensity, passion, rapture, vehemence, warmth, zeal.

Antonyms are calculation, calmness, caution, coldness, deadness, dullness,
indifference, lukewarmness, polite, prudence, timidy, wariness.

I have used the word inspiration and not one of its synonyms because for
me it signifies an extraordinary commitment in acting. Since knowledge can
be described as the capacity to act, is there any connection between
inspirtaion and knowledge? What in knowledge would lead to that
extraodinary capacity to act? Would the answer to this question help us to
transform an Ordinary Organisation (OO) into a Learning Organisation (LO)?

Inspiration is a concept often linked to religions since ancient times. It
was believed that certain humans became inspired by their god(s) to do
what their god(s) want(s), thus doing what normal people never would do.
The Greeks, long before the Christian era, seems to have been the first to
recognise the power of inspiration. Sometimes they described inspiration
by the word "mania"=madness. Today we use the word "mania", often together
with a prefix such as for example "klepto-mania", in a negative sense. But
is there something positive to be learned from this "mania"? Is an
inspired person in some sense a maniac. I think so.

Perhaps the most important distinguishing feature of LOs is that they have
"metanoia" -- profound thoughts beyond the common thoughts
("orthonoia") of an OO. Something must have triggered these "metanoia".
Can it be the "mania" of some members of that OO? What would such
"mania" be? At present i can think of the following:-
* Let us begin acting in manner which we all will enjoy.
* Let us stop behaving in a manner which will hurt many.
* Let us protect and promote what is beneficiary to us.
* Let us become a unity drawing strength in our diversity.
* Let us create a new order, even through chaos, from an old order.
* Let us honour the act of learning which makes humankind
   different from all other animals.

They are all reasons why an OO should emerge into a LO. You fellow
learners can certainly extend the list. I for one would very much read
your extensions.

But let us not be ignorant. The path of inspiration is "besaaid met
duwweltjies" (sown with small devils). This is a saying in my mother
tongue Afrikaans. These "duwweltjies" (tiny devils) are the thorny seed of
several South African weeds. Walking with bare feet through a patch of
"duwweltjies" is an ordeal. It requires "vasbyt" (clenched teeth) and a
will to reach the other side beyond them.

The history of inspiration in the Christian church is a remarkable example
of this "vasbyt". The Hebrew Old Testament ended with a silent period of
some five centuries. The lineage of inspired prophets had ended. Then
suddenly the inspired prophet John the Babtist appeared, pointing the way
to one which he was not worthy to serve -- Jesus of Nazareth. And did this
Jesus not upset the normal behaviours -- love rather than hate, serve
rather than dominate, understand rather than dogmatise, heal rather than
kill, etc. Such was his madness that he had to die on a cross while many
of his followers in several generations became martyrs.

However, inspiration goes far beyond than merely religion. People like
artists, actors, teachers, scientists, farmers and even children can
become inspired in what they want to do. So where does this inspiration
comes from?

The etymology of the word given above suggests that it comes from outside
a person -- breath into. But is this really the case? I think that
although something outside the person can trigger the inspiration in that
person, the actual upwelling of this inspiration happens within that

But the etymology of the word may also lead us closer to the truth.
Ancient people did not know that air contains oxygen, that this oxygen
dissolves in the blood, that it then reacts in the mitochodria of cells
with glucose to release physical free energy and this free energy is
needed to do work. This piece of biochemistry is for me a metaphor what
inspiriration is about.

Inspiration is for me the release of immense mental free energy which is
then focussed on a definite action to sustain it. While using that mental
free energy, mental entropy is created. It is first manifested as chaos of
becoming, but once the bifurcation point has been reached, it may then
emerge into a new order of being. That chaos is the very reason why the
ancient Greeks sometimes associated inspiration with "mania"=madness.

Please study the bottom definition (American Heritage Dictionary) of
inspiration on the page
< >
See how many of the six facets given fit into my description above in terms
of "free energy" (two words, one concept) and "entropy production" (again
two words, but one concept).

A person suffering starvation becomes gradually weaker until that person
cannot move a limb. It is the same with the mind as with the body. A
starved mind cannot get inspired. The mind has to grow with emergences and
digestions. It means that the mind requires creativity for this growth.
Thus a creative mind will often have inspirations.

What in the mind is responsible for these inspirations? I think that it is
knowledge gained through creative thinking. As such this knowledge has to
exhibit the 7Es (seven essentialities of creativity) -- liveness,
sureness, wholeness, fruitfulness, spareness, otherness and openness. The
less the knowledge exhibits these 7Es, the less the inspirations to be
derived from it.

How can people from an OO get inspired to transform that OO into a LO? Get
them together in a dialogue through which each can share and compare
his/her personal knowledge with that of the others. Help them to stay
focussed on what they really want to become such as the "mania" which i
have listed above.

The inspiration for this essay has been triggered by a managing director
who contacted me in private. He wants his organisation to become a LO. I
think that he will have to keep this issue of inspiration in mind
otherwise nothing will become of his plan.

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.