Essentiality - "identitity-categoricity" (sureness) LO17823

Mnr AM de Lange (
Fri, 17 Apr 1998 20:14:25 GMT+2

Dear Organlearners,

Let us first refresh our memory:

"becoming-being" (liveness)
"identitity-categoricity" (sureness)
"associativity-monadicity" (wholeness)
"connect-beget" (fruitfulness)
"quantity-limit" (spareness)
"quality-variety" (otherness)
"open-paradigm" (openness)

If you want to know more about:

The history of the discovery.of the essentialities, see:
"Creating a Passion for Learning LO17474"
< >

The general nature of the essentialities , see:
"Essentialities of creativity LO17576 -Introduction"

How to learn these essentialities self, see:
"Essentialities and self-learning LO17610"

Complexifying the first essentiality, see:
Essentiality - "becoming-being" (liveness) LO17651

This contribution will be on the essentiality
"identitity-categoricity" (sureness)

Why does a speaker often use a joke to tune the minds of his
audience? The body of the joke leads us away from a facet of
creativity. The punch line of the joke confronts us with our tacit
knowledge on that facet. Here is a joke (Job Applicants) concerning
the essentiality "identitity-categoricity" (sureness).

A mathematician, a statician and an economist apply for the same job.
The interviewer calls in the mathematician and asks "What do two plus
two equal?" The mathemetician replies "Four." The interviewer asks
"Four?" The mathematician looks at the interviewer incredulously and
says "Yes, four, exactly."

Then the interviewer calls in the statician and asks the same
question "What do two plus two equal?" The statician says "On
average, four - give or take ten percent."

Finally the interviewer calls in the economist and poses the same
question "What do two plus two equal?" The economist gets up, locks
the door, closes the shade, sits down next to the interviewer and says
"What do you want it to equal?"

Let me use myself as an example because of the sensitivity of the
discussion and not because I want to blow my own whistle. Later on we
will discuss other creative systems than the self.

If somebody claims that I am a racist because I am a white male who
lived all my life in South Africa, it would disturb me very much. I
do not want to live as a racist. The identity given to me is
logically false because not all white male South Africans are
racists. However, the wrong identity (racist) and the logical error
(generalisation) are not the disturbing issues.

What is disturbing to me is that the categorical identification of a
racist did not play any role. Here is a definition. Any person,
irrespective of colour, gender and nationality is a racist only when
that person believes that one race is superior to all the rest and
thinks and acts accordingly. It seems as if this definition allows a
categorical identification because the words "one race" is used. But
it does not. The words "only" and "superior" are the culprits. What
about a person who believes that one race is inferior to all the
rest and thinks and acts accordingly! In other words, the definition
should have used the phrase ".... believes that one race is EITHER
superior OR INFERIOR to all the rest....". Furthermore, observe how
important the last phrase " and thinks and acts accordingly" is to
the catgoricity of the identification.

Let us continue with the example of a racist. Let us assume that I
was a racist up to a certain point in time, then had a change of
heart and afterwards became a non-racist. Did my identity change?

In the eyes of the government my identity is established by means of
an Identity Document (ID). The ID contains a description and picture
of me and an ID number allocated to me for life. To circumvent the
change of my appearance over the years, two fingerprints of me can
also be included in the ID since they do not change. In the eyes of
biologists my identity can also be established by my genes which are
fixed for life - should we exclude modern genetical engineering.

It thus seems that my identity has to be established in terms of
those properties which do not change. In other words, it seems as if
identity concerns only being and no becoming. Those who use this
cirterium for identity would argue that my change from a racist to a
non-racist did not change my identity. It is this type of argument
which fires racial conflicts all over the world.

However, should I use this very criterium of "constant being" for
identity, then in the eyes of a psychologist my identity would have
indeed changed. Consequently we have a contradiction here - some
will claim on physical grounds that my identity did not change while
others will claim on psychological grounds that it did change.

The contradiction can be resolved as follows. The contradition
resulted from using parts of me (genes or social behaviour) to
establish my identity. Since different parts have been used, the
identifications may differ. A partial identity can never be a
categorical identity.

Change is categorical to my identity. To know my identity for sure is
to know the few things which did not change as well as the many other
things which did change. My categorical identity has to be
established in terms of "becoming-being". Here we have the first
clear indication in terms of two of the seven essentialities how they
mutually depend on each other. Let us use "becoming-being" (liveness)
further to uncover more details of "identitity-categoricity"

The axiom of identity is basic to all mathematics. This axiom amounts
to the following. Consider any system of numbers (natural, integers,
rational, real or complex). Any number stays the same when we "add
zero" to that number. Similarly, any number stays the same when we
"multiply one" with that number. For example, 4 + 0 = 4 and
4 x 1 = 4. The number "zero" (0) is called the additive identity
element and the number "one" (1) is called the multiplicative
identity element.

It is the "add zero" (+ 0) and not merely zero which introduces
additive identity. Should we multiply the number with zero rather
than adding zero to it, the identity is not preserved. For example,
4 x 0 = 0. The same applies to "multiply one" (x 1). Identity is not
preserved by "add one" because 4 + 1 = 5.

But there is more to 4 + 0 = 4 (or to 4 x 1 = 4) than that which
meats the eye. The "add zero" (+ 0) can be used to create an inverse
becoming called "substraction" such that X - X = 0 for any number X.
Now consider 4 + (X - X) = 4. Rearrange it to ( 4 + X) - X = 4. The
"add X" (+ X) transforms the number 4 into another unique number,
depending on the value of X. But the "substract X" (- X) transforms
that unique number back into number 4. It is called an inverse

When a transformation has an inverse transformation, that
transformation is called an isomorphic transformation. Isomorphic
transformation are very important because any one labels all its
inputs in a unique manner to its outputs. And since we use labels so
easily to adentify things, it will be fortuitious to go deeper into
isomorphic transformations.

The isomorphic transformation and its inverse may be called a
self-referential pair. When the isomorphic transformation is followed
by its inverse transformation, both together may be called a
self-referential transformation. The "add X substract X" (+ X - X) is
thus an example of a self-referential transformation.

The same sort of idea can be applied to 4 x 1 = 4. However, there is
one remarkable exception. The transformation "multiply X" (xX) has
the inverse "divide X" (1/X), except when X has the value zero. We
may use this exclusion is a metaphorical reminder of emergences.

We make frequently use of isomorphisms to establish categorical
identities. For example, a telephone directory sets up an isomorphism
between telephone numbers and the instances who hire telephone lines.
When the instance branch by a local switchboard into many extension
lines, an additional isomorphism is required. Another example is in
the world of computers. When we want to store a computer file in the
RAM (active memory) on the hard disk (static memory), we make use of
a unique path and file name. When we want to restore the file from
the hard disk to the active memory, we have to use the same path and
file name.

But we make far less of self-referntial pairs to establish
categorical identities. Let us try to understand why.

The electric field and the magnetic field form one of the most basic
self-referential pairs in the world of physics. When an electric
field changes it transforms into a magnetic field and when a magnetic
field changes it transforms into an electric field. This is what the
first two of the four famous equations of Maxwel for electromagnetism
say. The other two equations set up an asymmetry between the
electric and magnetic fields. (We will soon go deeper into the
asymmetry of self-refernetial pairs.)

When the changes in the electric and magnetic fields are balanced
harmoniously, the result is electromagnetic waves (radio waves,
infrared waves, light, x-rays, etc.). These elctromagnetic waves are
the fundamental way in which energy is transmitted through the
cosmos. These electromagnetic waves, if they are of hign enough
energy (> 102MeV), may be "freezed" into matter. This is known as the
Compton (pair) production of matter. The inverse is also possible,
namely Compton anhillation. Thus we see how one self-refernetial pair
gives rise to another self-referential pair.

Another self-referential pair is analysis and synthesis. This pair
plays an important role in our lives. However, it has become fashion
to denounce anything which has to do with analysis, for example
analytical thinking. Why?

The main idea of any analytical method is to determine exactly the
constituent parts of an enitity. There is nothing wrong with this
idea. However, the related idea that the identity of the enitity may be
labeled in terms of its parts is a myth. We now know that when we
synthesize the parts back into the enitity, the the resulting enitity
has by way of emergences more properties than that indicated by its
parts. In other words, we cannot establish the identity of an enitity
in terms of merely the analytical method. Should we do so, we are
guilty of analyticism. It is analyticism we should denounce, not
analytical methods.

We must also use the synthetical method to obtain the enitity from its
constituents parts, keeping our eyes open for emergent properties.
Only when we employ both analysis and synthesis as a self-referential
pair of transformations, can we claim that we are proceeding towards
a categorical identity of the enitity. When we begin to do so, we have
to comprehend something very important. To synthesise takes far more
time and is far more difficult than to analyse. In other words, a
self-referntial pair of transformations is not symmetrical!

It is because of this asymmetry that we are tempted to identify an
enitity in terms of the easy one of the pair, namely analysis. Once
we fall into the habit of following this myth, the ramifications are
ghastly. One serious consequence is that we try to categorize and
identify information in terms of simplicity rather than complexity.
Another consequence is that when we ask for opinions on how to
resolve an issue, we usually follow the simple opinions than the
complex ones.

It is especially in chemistry where we are confronted with the
asymetry between self-referential pairs and thus have to battle with
the myths that we carry with us. For example, consider isomerism
which manifests itself in bewildering ways. Isomerism is the
phenomenon that two compounds (species) appear to be identical in
terms of some properties always available for identification, but
differ in other properties which are often not available and thus
cannot be used universally. Consider structural isomerism as an
example. The chemical formula of a coumpound is alswys available. The
formulas CH4, C2H6 and C3H8 correspond to only one compound in each
case. But for the formula C4H10 two compounds are possible (buthane
and iso-buthane).

Isomerism do not occur only in chemistry. The world around us is rich
in isomeres. All the seeds in a berry are isomeres. They have the
same genetical makeup, but under a microscope we can see that they
have slighly different forms. Human "identical" twins form another
example.of isomerism. Although it is often very difficult to
distinguish between them, we must do so if we need to be sure
(categorical identification). The leader and the manager is a fine
organisational example of isomerism. And what about religion and

Emergences are the basic reason for isomerism everywhere in both the
material and abstract realms of reality. We cannot have sureness if
we remain ignorant to isomerism.

In the last chemical example of the previous section, the
essentiality "quality-variety" (otherness) plays a role. At the end
of the section "Identity and change", we have seen how the
essentiality "becoming-being" (liveness) plays a role.

Sureness entails the ability to identify the role which each of the
other six essentialities plays in sureness. Should we be ignorant of
one or more of the other six essentialities, sureness becomes
impaired. It means that we will not be able to identify categories,
nor to categorise identities.

Let us take as illustration the third essentiality in the list,
namely "associativity-monadicity" (wholeness). In the previous
section we have seen that we need both analysis and synthesis
to proceed towards categorical identity. However, by taking
a holon (becoming-being), first analysing it and then synthesising
it, we have only covered half of the course. We have established the
"internal" identity of that holon, whether it involved emergences or

What about the "external" identity? In other words, what about taking
synethesis initially and trace a path for that holon through the rest
of reality? In order to complete the circle of self-reference at
some stage of the complex emergent, we have to stop and begin to
analyse it until we arrive at the original holon again.

Unfortunately, since synthesis takes far more time and is far more
difficult than analysis, we seldom set out on a course to establish
"external" identity. It is this lack of categoricity which lies at
the root of much of our problems in human organisations. For
example, we can descibe exactly what competencies we require from an
employee ("internal" identity), but we can say very little about
what competencies ("external" identity) are required for that
employee to function in wider society and its organisations. We
shrug this off by saying that we only have to care about the
"internal" identity - the "external" identity is of no concern to us.

Let us take the fourth essentiality "connect-beget" (fruitfulness) to
see once more what sureness entails. At the end of the section
"Identity and change" I have written "To know my identity for sure is
to know the few things which did not change as well as the many other
things which did change". I have used these very words to introduce
the essentiality "becoming-being" (liveness). I now also want to use
them to introduce the fourth essentiality.

Our sense organs are very important for this fourth essentiality. I
use my eyes to make visual contact with light (the visble spectrum of
electromagnetic radiation). It would be utterly foolish trying to use
my ears, mouth or nose to make visual contact. They are visually
unreactive. However, to identify only my eyes as being reactive
to electromagnetic radiation, is definitely not categorical. My skin
is also reactive to electromagnetic radiation, specifically to the
infrared band of the spectrum. Similarly, my ears are my main sense
organ to make effective contact in the audible band of sound (20Kz
-20kHz). But it is not the only reactive part of my body. Organs like
the liver and pancreas are extremely sensitive to subaudible sounds,
often causing sever shock when excited such as when a bomb explodes
or during an earthquake.

Categorical identification in terms of fruitfulness thus entails
all those parts of my body, as with any other creative system,
which are reactive to each possible connection from the outside. Even
more important is the sureness that in a complex system an expected
reactive centre did not emerge. Again, to use the sense organs as
illustration. It is more important to know that another person may be
deaf and what it entails than to know exactly how normal persons
react to sound. It is trivial to make audible contact with a hearing
person. The real test for this essentiality is to be able to make
effective contact with a deaf person despite the deafness. This
sureness of fruitfulness is the essence of compassion!

Note how this section and the previous section also form a
self-referential pair. The one section is an inversion of the other

The only essentiality we have treated in detail up to this point, is
"becoming-being" (liveness). Thus most of my comments will be on this
essentiality. In the discussion on that essentiality I have stressed
how important it is to have a "harmonious balance" (resonance,
commutation) between becoming and being. Three very important
questions have now to be answered from the viewpoint of sureness.
I find these questions very diffcult to answer because we have to dig
at the edges of our present consciousness. But if we do not attempt
to answer these questions, then we definitely impair the essentiality
"identitity-categoricity" (sureness). Since an emergence is then not
possible, we will pay the price in terms of some coming immergence.

The first question is: "Are becoming and being two separate entities,
or are they two properties of "one thing"?" As my own understanding
grows, I see them more and more as two sides of the same coin. What
will we call this one thing? We might use the seminal name
"becoming-being" as its nominal name, but that would not be such a
wise thing to do. However, we have two names to select from - the
name "whole" (or holon) of J Smuts and the name "monad (or one) of G
Leibniz. Should we use the name holon, we can say with respect to
liveness that the holon has two properties to it: becoming and being,
or process and structure, or whatever you wsh to name these two

The second question is: "Do the two properties becoming and being
manifest themselves with the same ease?" We should bear in mind our
predisposition to being rather than becoming - the fact that we tend
to think ontological - that we think in terms of snapshots (points in
time) rather than movies (intervals in time). I am of opnion that our
disposition has very much to do with free energy. Without the
necessary free energy, a being cannot become. It remains a being for
an indefinite length of time. Too low free energy will afford a
horrible movie in which nothing happens. As my granddaughter would
say, nothing keeps on happening. Why?

The free energy to affect future becoming, depends on the past
becoming. If the past led to a richness in high order qualities, then
more than enough free energy is avalaible for future becoming thorugh
these qualities. But such higher order qualities can only emerge
provided the seven essentialities are not impaired. It means that if
destructive immergences were common in the past, we will not
have enough free energy to reap anything else than what was
sown. Most of you have seen it happen in an organisation on the
downhill road.

The third question is: "Is there an order between becoming and
being?" You will notice that I usually refer to them in the order
"becoming-being". In terms of any present and past holons (any holon
not from the future), the order is first becoming and then being.
The free energy of any present and past holon is unlocked by means of
entropy production into a "variety of becomings", something we tend
to think of "chaos" when we think ontologically. By increasing this
"variety of becomings" or "chaos" to the saturation point, a
bifucration point is forced. This can lead to a higher ordered being
with its own becomings in the case of an emergence, or lower ordered
holons in the case of an immergence. However, should we find
ourselves amidst this "chaotic phase", the order will shift to
"being-becoming" - first the emergence/immergence of being before any
new becoming.

We should never allow one essentiality to impair the other six
essentialities. Let us touch slightly upon one of the other
essentialities to see how "identitity-categoricity" (sureness) may be
used to impair it. When we employ "identitity-categoricity" (sureness)
for its own sake, we fall into that black hole of exclusive thinking.
We here in South Africa have vast experience in exclusive thinking
and immergences, seldom realising how closely the two are connected
to each other. If we employ "identitity-categoricity" (sureness) to
understand more about "quality-variety" (otherness), we open
ourselves to inclusive thinking (or what Edward DeBono has described
as lateral thinking). Inclusive thinking is not a sign of weakness,
but a sign of more complex thinking.

We can make all sorts of combinations in our thinking between
sureness and one or more of the other six essentialities. But we will
soon run out of names for all the combinations possible - a few
hundred of them. Thus we have to reserve one of these names for that
unique case when we open ourselves to an interaction between sureness
and all six the other essentialities. There is, in my opinion, no
better name for this case than "creative thinking".

I have often stressed in numerous contributions that the bifurcations
at the edge of chaos (far from equilibrium) will not automatically
result in constructive emergences. The emergence are highly
contingent. The contingencies are the seven essentialities. If they
are too immature or impaired, the emergences will not happen, but
rather immergence.

The only thing which prevents these immergences to happen as soon as
the edge of chaos is reached, is the stability of the holons
involved. The less stable the holon, the easier the immergence will
happen. It thus seems as we have to avoid instability at all
costs. Again this is an uncategorical identification. Those places in
the holon where the instabilities are found are also the reactive
sites for future becomings!

Now what will the essentiality "identitity-categoricity" (sureness)
appear like when we impair it as far as possible? This is a very
important question because if the essentiality is so much impaired,
it "surely" will prevent emergences and easily cause immergences. Our
first thought would be to call it ignorance. But ignorance applies to
all the seven essentialities. Thus we have to try and identify in
ignorance that thing which is lowest on the scale of
"identitity-categoricity". I think that it is demarcation. You may
very well find an even worse case to the botom end of the scale of

Demarcation in its simplest form it is to draw a line and then to
classify entities into one or the other side of the line without (at
all) taking into consideration the identity of the entities.
Stereo-typing or pidgeon-holing are more complex. A number of types
or holes are prepared in advanced and each specimen has to be fitted
into one of them, come hell or high water.

Far too many people use unconciously demarcation as a weapon to
prevent emergences among other people. One example is the social
class (upper, middle and lower) system. You can cite many examples
from your organisational experiences. However, there are also some
people who use demarcation on purpose as a Backroom Operation. They
are the demarcationists, unceasingly trying to improve on their

Christains are very conscious of the number 666 as the final mark of
demarcation. Almost all of them think that only they will suffer this
mark. Well, I have a surprise for you all. This is again an
uncategorical identification. All those who do not want to carry the
mark on their hands or their foreheads will suffer - christians and
non-christians alike. It does not matter what reason a person offers
for not accepting the mark - that person will suffer. Not even making
that reason the very essentiality "identitity-categoricity"
(sureness) will make any difference!

Demarcationsim is a vile outlook on life because its sole purpose is
to prevent constructive creativity for selfish reasons. However,
there is another most ironic outlook on life which in the long run
also causes much immergences. It is when we elevate the essentiality
"identitity-categoricity" (sureness) far above all the other six
essentialities. This happens when we come deeply under the impression
how important sureness is to emergences. Thus we may define this
outlook as "sureness + emergence". What is the answer?
sureness + emergence = positivism

The age of positivism came to an end early in this century. Yet we
are still struggling with the immegrences it left us. We are now
entering a new age. More and more people begin to identify it with
wholeness + emergence = holism
To do with wholeness what has been done with sureness, is foolish
once we know that there are seven essentialities we have to
consider for emergences.

By now I may have indulged in too much for many of you. In other
words, I have to keep my eye on the essentiality "quantity-limit"
(spareness). However, allow me try and answer this last question:

How sure are we humans that we are the only creative species in this
universe? In other words, what definite reasons do we have for making
creativity a property of humans only? When I think of this question,
I do not have in mind the fictious creative aliens from outer space
which we read about in novels or see in movies. What I have in mind
is the biodiversity of our world - our coinhabitants of this world.
How sure are we that our pets and farm animals are not creative? How
sure are we that our wild animals are not creative? Are they aliens
to us? Are they not the reason which inspired our imagination about
extraterrial aliens?

I can keep on asking questions such as these. I can answer you
with my own desert experiences. But there is a video which I will
refer you to. It has been made by David (not sir Richard)
Attenborough. I am not sure about the title, but it concerns the
paradise birds of Papa Guinea. I have seen it only once. But it has
left me speechless and thoughtless for quite a while. The first words
which I mumbled to myself afterwards were: "At de Lange, you are
still a toddler in your knowledge of "identitity-categoricity"
(sureness)". Here we have a whole family of birds consisting of many
genera and species, all who have developed in such a manner that
their creativity has emerged into artistry!

How, for example, do our pets express and employ sureness? Are we
open enough to become surprised by them? Let us go lower down the
ladder. How do plants or even lower forms of life like virusses
express and employ this essentiality? How do even the inanimate world
like soils or the atmosphere express and employ this essentiality?
What about the other essentialities? Do you visualise the vast
network we have to become conscious to? Do you visualise how each
essentiality has to complexify - that none of them can ever remain

I have given you my contemplations on the essentiality
"identitity-categoricity" (sureness). I have encouraged you to
develop you own insights by way of emergent and digestive learning.
But at the end of the day, the total of it all will merely be that
expressed by normal adult humans. This is by far not enough.

How do our children and grandchildren express and employ this
essentiality? My granddaughter Jessica surprises me day after day.
But let us not forget the people, young and old, who are different
from us because of irreversible immergences such as deafness,
blindness, motoric disability, mental disability, etc. They have
their own identities which we have to respect with the highest degree
of categoricity possible. We must stop pidgeonholing them into our
world. We must move into their world. If we do not, our sureness will
not advance to that level that it can sustain the emergence of
unconditional love.

Best wishes


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

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