Morality in Learning Organisations LO18079

Winfried Dressler (
Tue, 12 May 1998 08:59:56 +0100

Replying to LO18048 --

Richard Scherberger asked:

>How do you balance what I see as a possible disconnect/conflict
>between the principle of honesty and the principle of confidentiality?

This is how I deal with values (I found this scheme in Schulz von Thun
"Kommuikation", but it has an older origin, which I don't remember):

- Take any two values which seem to be contradictionary.
- Ask for both: To what un-value would it degenerate without the other?

Now the example:

honesty <-----> confidentialty values (complex)
! !
! !
naiv openness ---><--- mistrust degenerates (simple)

With this scheme and different values, you can write any sort of real life
stories: success stories, learning stories, tragedies...

Someone who values honesty often fights mistrust. This may be an
indicatition that he shows in fact naiv openess. With this attitude, he
will attract his "enemy", someone who is proud of his confidentiality,
which in fact does only cover his mistrust. This person will blame the
naiv openess of the first one.

This setting can lead to tragedy (hold the position) or to a big learning
experience (view oneself through the mirror of the other). In the positive
case, the complexification or emergence of "higher" value takes place,
where honesty is balanced by confidentiality and vice versa in our

I think this is a practical guide to the ethical "impossibility" of "love
your enemy", which in fact is just a prerequisite for unconditional love.

With this, I hope I could contribute with something helpful for many of
you again. But I cannot resist to mention, that with the seven
essentialities, my favorite toy these days, you can build 21 such schemes,
and this is just the beginning of complexifying them by means of pairs.

Liebe Gruesse,



"Winfried Dressler" <>

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>