Knowledge and Information LO30721

From: AM de Lange (
Date: 10/17/03

Replying to LO30706 --

Dear Organlearners,

Philip Keogh <> wrote:

>I think it is significant that when one is active and one searches
>for knowledge and this search has associated with it some
>"passion" or reason to search, then the internalization of that
>knowledge is successful.

Greetings dear Philip,

Thank you very much for your reply

I do not want to split hairs. But as for myself, i am daily in search of
new information (not knowledge) articulated by people who had the
knowledge living in them to do so. I am very much aware of the
internalization of this information by a process which i call "digestion".
What i do is to break this information into its bytes and fit them firmly
on my own knowledge "kernels". These knowledge "kernels" have emerged
because of my practical experiences.

>Conversely, if one receives information, "learn by rote", become
>a depository for information without understanding it, and not
>having a care for its existence (past, present or future), the
>learning does not take place - memorization only.

How right you are. The most vexing of it all is that once a student has
fallen into this habit of rote learning, it is more difficult to get free
from it than from drug addiction.

>You can no doubt identify where most of my thoughts have
>originated from (Polanyi), but the more I read of his works the
>more I appreciate them. But more than this his ideas are so
>pragmatic. Perhaps this is because of his scientific background.

Undoubtably yes! I think i can pinpoint it closer. Polanyi was a physical
chemist. Physical chemists distinguish carefully (tacitly in most cases)
between "theories espoused" and "theories in action". The very nature of
physical chemistry is such that only "theories in action" will let you
advance in the subject. It is too complex to let "theories espoused" take
you on psychodellic trips.

>Reading the threads of this series of interchanges, I would like
>to point out to fellow readers his works. I am not a philosopher
>by any means and found them a difficult read at first, but with
>perseverence and the help of others I have come to a better
>understanding of them.

May i suggest something else. Study also the works of AN Whitehead. He was
a brilliant mathematician who turned to philosophy. Whitehead and Polanyi
complement each other extraordinary. Both place utmost emphasis on the
values which keeps society civilised. Both sees education as the key to
unlock these values. Had they known about Senge's formal articulation of a
LO (Learning Organisation), i think they would have championed the LO as
caretaker of these values.

Einstein was no philosopher. But should you include him with these two
gentlemen, the result is a formidable trio. Unfortunately, in the case of
Einstein we have to rely much on his private correspondence and the
documentations of others who have talked with him. It says much for the
inner resilience of these three men that as the world became crazier, they
became increasingly bastions for sanity.

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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