Creating a Passion for Learning LO17248

Mnr AM de Lange (
Mon, 2 Mar 1998 11:28:33 GMT+2

Replying to LO17047 --

Dear Organlearners,

Tom Christoffel <> wrote two weeks ago under
the Subject: Employee Ranking Systems LO17047

> I've been drawn to the learning organization idea, but am mystified as to
> how to implement "a passion for learning" in a small organization.
> Learning for me is its own reward, but life is more complex. Down the line
> there may be a correlation to financial success. Without internal bench
> marking against personal goals, what really motivates people to learn and
> perform? I believe an external system that lets you know where you are in
> somebody's opinion can wake some people up. What is done with the
> information depends upon the options.

Tom, I have waited for somebody else to take up the important lead offered
by you in the paragraph above. It seems as if other topics were of greater
impotance than this one. But not for me. One of my passions is to help
others to create for themselves a passion for learning.

You asked "what really motivates people to learn and perform?". This
issue of motivation has often surfaced on this list - leading to many
discussions. Maybe it will do so again under the present subject. But the
present subject speaks of motivation with a special quality, namely

Both the words "passive" (adjective) and "passion" (noun) come from the
Latin word ["patior"=suffer]. But somehow they have acquired opposite
meanings. The word "passive" means a state of rest, an unresponsive
quiescence, an abscence of vitality or being the object of action rather
than its subject. On the other hand, the word "passion" means an
overpowering emotion of the mind, fervid devotion, ardent affection or an
eager outreaching towards unique objects through enthusiastic actions.
Thus, should we draw a scale for expressing the meausrement of motivation,
a passionate person would fit at the top end of the scale while a passive
person would lie at its bottom end.

How do we then create a passion for learning? The Latin root word
["patior"=suffer] gives the clue. It has to with the "edge of chaos" and
what may happen there. The "edge of chaos" itself is at one end of a scale
of which "equilibrium" lies at its other end. Movement along the scale is
affected by entropy production - the higher the rate of the entropy
production, the closer to the "edge of chaos". At the edge of chaos itself
a bifurcation will happen, either an emergence to a higher order of
structure or an immergence to lower ordered structures.

The entropy production itself can happen either internally or externally.
In the case of an external entropy production, the system has to be
inundated with it to have any effect. External entropy production usually
lead to immergences whereas the chance for an emergence is much better
when the entropy is produced internally. Up to now we have made no
distiction between entropy production in the material/physical world to
which the brain belongs and the abstract/spiritual world of mind. Let us
assume that entropy production is also possible in world of mind until we
can substantiate or refute this assumption by empirical evidence. Let us
see what then happens in this world of mind.

Whatever the case, the bifurcation is not without pain or suffering. In
the case of an emergence, the pain is quickly surpassed by the adjoints of
the emergence such as happiness, pryness, fondness and eagerness. These
adjoints derive from the higher qualities in the emergent new order. But
in the case of an immergence, the pain and suffering are prolonged and
intensified. Because of the lack in higher qualities, there are no fitness
and resilience to ward off further immegences, whether they are ablative
or implosive.

Each of the adjoints of the emergence such as happiness, pryness, fondness
and eagerness represents a whole range of values. For example, happiness
may range from comfort through pleasure to bliss. The higher the order of
the qualities of the emergence, the more these adjoints reach out to their
limiting values. Taking them all together, we may then say that the
emergence has lifted the person into a passionate state of mind. However,
we should never forget that the emergence was caused by entropy production
- enough of it fast enough.

We cannot create a passionate state of mind in other persons by inundating
them with our own entropy production. We each can only create our own
passionate state by producing our own entropy through force-flux pairs
until something of higher order emerges. However, by setting an example
through these higher order emergents, we may help others to produce their
own entropy through force-flux pairs. These entropic forces will arise
within them when they compare themselves with our emergents - the greater
the differences, the larger the entropic forces. The entropic fluxes will
arise when we share freely what we have gained through our emergences
rather than keeping it to ourselves. We should take special care to share
for each entropic force its corresponding entropic flux.

All the above appears to be very complicated. It is complicated because it
is complex and we lack the experience of working with terms such as
entropic force-flux pairs, entropy production, equilibrium, edge of chaos,
bifurcations, emergences and immergences. What then can we do in the

Accept one thing, namely emergent learning and promote it wherever you
can. Emergent learning means to create knowledge from within rather than
trying to acquire knowledge by a transfer from somebody else. One of the
most important processes in emergent learning is to learn from one's own
tacit knowledge - to express one's tacit knowledge into a higher form of
learning such as the linguistic, scientific and artictic forms. Tacit
knowledge itself concerns topics such as intuition, conscience, foreboding
and foreshadowing.

It is incredible that modern society is so hooked on knowledge transfer.
Where does all the knowledge come from in the first place? Emergent
learning and nothing else. The trouble with knowledge transfer is that we
cannot transfer that which was adjointed to the original emergent
learning, namely happiness, pryness, fondness and eagerness. It is because
they are contiguous adjoints rather than "ad-ons". We mean by "contiguous
adjoints" that they are unbreakeable properties of the whole body of
knowledge spanning its experential, its tacit and its formal dimensions.

What happens with "emergent learning" is that it affects the whole body of
knowledge of a person and thus also these "contiguous adjoints". The
"emergent learning" works like a hydraulic jack, lifting the mind along
the scale of motivation from passiveness at the bottom to passionateness
at the top. Each learning emergence is like giving the jack one pump - it
creeps upward with one tiny step. But adding up thousands of such almost
imperceptable steps will become one giant step into passion.

Best wishes

At de Lange
Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education
University of Pretoria
Pretoria, South Africa

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