Practice in At's Emergent Learning (1) LO17546

Mnr AM de Lange (
Wed, 25 Mar 1998 16:52:04 GMT+2

Replying to LO17441 --

Dear Organlearners and especially Winfried,

Winfried Dressler <> writes

> It is now a week ago that I suggested to learn some more about At de
> Langes seven essentialities. Meanwhile I got a lot of encouraging mails to
> proceed with this issue, so I hope for not only eager listeners (of course
> you are very welcome as well) but also for many contributions sharing
> experiences with whatever you understand to be "emergent learning" -
> either success or failure.

Your refenece to only "emergent learning" made me sad. Let me

I wrote recently to the list Complex-M the following paragraph:

The father of holism namely Jan Smuts (1926, "Holism and Evolution")
was in a similar predicament as me for saying and doing too little.
He was often chastened for what he did not say or done on a
particular occasion. Everybody wanted from him one "big bang" of
words and deeds. The question is not whether he could give it, but
whether they could take it should he give it in full blast. They did
not even had the tenacity to study his "Holism and Evolution" in
trying to understand what holism is about.

(Just for the record. Firstly, my personal philosophy is much more
complex than holism because it involves, among other things, all
seven essentialities and not merely "wholeness" as one of them.
Secondly, I do not even have a published book to which I can refer
you to. It seems as if I will have to publish my manuscript privately
to provide a coherent and consistent context for my writings.)

What I call "emergent learning" is the one phase of "creative
learning". The other phase I call "digestive learning". These two
phases complement each other. This means that the one without the
other will eventually become a failure. That is why I wish to caution
you - emergent learning is not enough.

When I speak of "creative learning", it is in the sense of the tenet
"to learn is to create". It is also possible to speak of "creative
learning" as self-learning because it involves the self-organisation
of learning. Prigogine discovered that self-organisation in the
material world depends on "entropy production". This is why I
introduced "entropy production" into our discussions. I have
discovered that "entropy production" also happens in the abstract
world of mind. Thus an exciting extension of Prigogine's discovery is
possible, namely self-organisation in the abstract world of mind. One
of its outcomes is "creative learning".

Self-organisation, despite its exciting possibilities and whether it
happens in the material world or the abstract world, is an incomplete
description of what happens in reality. It is incomplete because of
its constructivist outlook. The sad thing about reality is that
constructions and destructions can happen because of "creative
bifurcations". Reality has both the narrow path upwards and the broad
path downwards - both God and the Devil operating. Even our best
intended constructions often become major destructions.

How can we manage these creative bifurcations?

God has given us the sacred wisdom: we must command ourselves to
love unconditionally. But humankind wants to know more. Thus He gave
the Israelites His Ten Commandments. But still humankind wants to
know more. He even gave His Son, but still humankind wants to know
more. Why? Because humankind has tasted the fruit of the tree of
knowledge in paradise, but not the fruit of the tree of life. Thus
many humans from several millenia have contributed to this knowledge
of how to manage creative bifurcations. Simply take one topic such as
medicine or jurisprudence and see how much such a topic involves.

Anyway, I also acquired knowledge on this hottest of all problems
"How can we manage creative bifurcations?" My knowledge involves,
among other things, the seven essentialities of creativity.

The seven essentialities allow me to home in on constructions and to
avoid destructions. They help me to manage creative bifurcations much
better. Although they work for me, they will not necessarily work for
all of you. Why? I must be very frank with you. Firstly, God lit the
flame of unconditional love in me long ago. It is because of that
flame that these essentialities work for me - without that flame they
lose their power. Secondly, the concept "entropy production" had been
part of my life the last thirty years. It helped me to discover the
essentialities and become knowledgeable in them. You have to work
from a different context - your own context. You cannot rely on my
learning - you have to make use of your own "creative learning".

The seven essentialities also make me very afraid. Knowledge of them
also gives me the power to destroy on a scale as never has been known
before. It is like the knowledge of nuclear power - we can use it to
make a nuclear generator of electricty for constructive purposes, but
we can also use it to make a nuclear bomb for destructive purposes.
Were it not for the flame of uncondional love within me, I would
certainly have misused my knowledge of them - I have certainly been
tempted to do so.

> And I got some suggestions, also from Rick and At, on how to deal with
> this subject and it may be helpful to make some of them explicit here:
> Let's look at the subject line: "Practice in At's Emergent Learning (1)":
> - We are going to exchange on emergent learning within the frame of At's
> insights.

Merely use my "insights" as beacons or anchors among your own
"insights". Like the late dr Spock, famous for baby care, I have to
remind you to follow your own intuition (tacit knowledge).
Remember, it is your self-learning (emergent and digestive) which is
at stake.

> - We seek for new insight in our own past and present experiences and
> want to see how At's frame can help to overcome certain restrictions to
> create a bigger or smaller "Aha!" while connecting unrelated aspects of
> our life to gain a more whole picture of ourself and our environment.

It will be very good if you also try to FALSIFY EMPIRICALLY (the
spirit of the scientific method) what I have to say. It is through
empirical falsification that scientists discovered how to become
closer to the truth, how to deal effectively with dogma.

I responded in the past to dogmatic falsification of what I had to
say. I responded for the sake of other learners and not to defend
myself. I will not respond to dogmatic falsification again.

Do not make the error which many scientists have been making. It is
good to falsify that which already had been created, but is deadly to
falsify that which has not yet been created. Fallibalism, like
all other negativities, is part of destructive creativity. Sometimes
we have to destroy certain things, but we can never afford to
destroy constructive creativity.

> - Thus we need some guided practice. This means for this media to share
> some specific experiences - to offer them as material for case studies -,
> to get the response of other participants and to listen to At's comments
> which he promised to make as he feels they may be helpful - dialogue -. We
> may also find or get suggestions for tasks to work on that might help
> learning.

It will give me great joy to help where I can. But I am sure that
others will have similar joys in helping. This is what a LO stands
for - to experience the joy of learning together. Thus I am ready to
learn as much as you do, although it will be different to your

> - By the time we may gain some understanding of what the seven
> essentialities are about and how they interact to enable emergences to
> happen.

OK. I will begin the project with my next contribution. Its subject
will be "Essentialities of creativity, introduction". All other
subjects emerging from it will also begin with the word

> - "1": I hope this thread will accompany us for a while. From time to
> time we will notice that we proceed to a new chapter. The number is just a
> count for such chapters and should facilitate a review later or to refer
> to earlier chapters.

Let us rather keep your "Practice in At's Emergent Learning" as
something in its own right. It will frequently intertwine with the
"Essentialities" project - that I can promise you. Just to give you
an indication of what I mean:

My pleading not to neglect "digestive learning" is in terms of the
essentiality "quality-variety" (rangeness). My pleading not to
neglect destructive creativity despite the pain which it involves, is
in terms of "associativity-monadicity" (wholeness). My pleading not
to neglect your own self-learning, is in terms of
"identitity-categoricity" (sureness). My pleading not to neglect the
fact that the essentialities can also be used to destroy people and
their creativity/learning, is in terms of "open-paradigm" (openness).

Winfried, I enjoyed your account of your personal mastery very much.
Few of you might have noticed (in one of my contributions) that I
also have MSc in physics. Thus I know of many post graduate students
in physics who found themselves in the same boat as you. I might have
been in the same boat, were it not for the fact that I made a firm
decision to get of the wagon of traditional physics. I had a passion
for creativity and complexity and traditional physics denied me that
passion. When I jumped off that wagon, I prayed to God to let my feet
land in a sensible complex thing. I landed into soils of all things.
That is why, after 18 months, I made connection with "entropy

Maybe you will find it strange, but for me the cherry on your cake

> Then my
> father-in-law visited us and forced me to think about my/our future (my
> wife was pregnant at that time). He did it in a great manner: Not saying
> "you ought to do something" (which I knew very well myself) but "lets see,
> what you are good for, lets find what you really want to do." It gave me a
> kick.

He knew the key to YOUR "emergent learning", namely YOUR "passion".
It is like that for all of us. I myself have saved many a student
from the very jaws of total failure with this key: "Now, for once in
your life, begin to learn about those things for which you have a

Best wishes


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

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