Creating a Passion for Learning LO17372

Dr. Steve Eskow (
Tue, 10 Mar 1998 11:39:49 -0500

Replying to LO17368 --

At asks:

>But how do we measure complexity in general - and not necessarily that of
>a jig saw puzzle? Stafford Beer says that we measure it in terms of
>variety. However, variety is but one of the seven essentialities of
>creativity. The other six must also be used to express complexity in
>full. Thus the measuring of complexity becomes a complex procedure. As
>such it can quench our passion for learning about complexity, especially
>when we still have no desire to manage complexity.

As you know, At, I am one of those who has difficulty with large and
universal schemes for explaining the world's phenemona--and my difficulty
extends to your invoking of "entropy" and "entropic production" and your
"seven essentialities."

So: I begin by doubting the value of "measuring" complexity "in general."
For most human purposes I also doubt the value of measuring or trying to
be precise "in general" about such nouns as "beauty," "love", "faith",
"hope," and "charity."

Or, to bring it home to LO, of measuring "learning."

Now, there is a certain social value in "measuring" learning, as when we
put numbers on a student's exam paper and say she has learned 68% of her
History learning. As strange as this practice is, we admit that it has the
advantages as well as the limitations of all "ranking" systems.

Suppose we wanted to "measure" the "complexity" of the paragraph of yours
that I have quoted. What weighting would we give to your reference to
Stafford Beer? Little? A great deal?

Suppose we let the mind wander and entertain a hunch that Beer may be one
of the great influences on the development of your own system. If we do
that, and many of us do that kind of wandering all the time, are we
finding complexity inherent in your paragraph, or are we creating it by
injecting extrinsic elements of complexity? Is one aspect of "creativity,"
perhaps this random and undisciplined form of mind wandering that suddenly
leads to Eureka!, to epiphany?

So: I would tend to hold that since there are no rules for complexity and
creativity, there is no valid way of measuring them. There is little
point, in thiw view, of applying ordinal numbers to Rembrandt and Jackson
Pollock: or rating and ranking them.

Over the years, however, creative people have left accounts of the paths
to creativity they have pursued--like leaving time for undisciplined and
unruly mind wandering--that we can try for ourselves to see if they work
for us as they have worked the creative people we might like to emulate.

Steve Eskow

Dr. Steve Eskow
President, The Pangaea Network
288 Stone Island Road
Enterprise, Florida 32725
Phone: 407-321-8770; Fax: 407-321-4861


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