Systems Thinking vs Belief? LO19817

AM de Lange (
Thu, 12 Nov 1998 14:56:32 +0200

Replying to LO19788 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Deijmann < > writes:

>I think we have a problem with semantics here. You have
>misunderstood me At. A judgement -in my view- is, among
>other things, a result of a prosess that connects outer
>observations with inner thoughts. Both the inner and outer
>judgements you describe are indeed dangerous. I prefer to
>speak of them as condmenational beliefs. I am just pointing
>out the awareness and directing of the PROCESS.

Greetings Winfried,

Thank you for the explanation. Now I understand you better.

I am all for the "connecting".

But calling the connection a judgment according to the definition of
"judgment" given by the English dictionaries does not work for me. Maybe
it is a semantical problem because of our languages (Dutch and Afrikaans)
which are closely related. In Afrikaans "oordeel"=judge whereas
"beoordeel"=adjudicate, review, value, assess, apraise, decide, resolve
and categorise. In other words, "beoordeel" (categorise) is "oordeel"
(judge) WITHOUT the slightest possibility of condemnation.

Allow me to say something more on the connecting.

In chemistry we learn that when one molecular species (atom, ion or
molecule) react with another, we must carefully distinguish between the
reactive and inreactive parts of both. Both molecular species can have
many reactive and unreactive parts. But they can connect effectively only
through their reactive parts. The more reactive parts each have, the more
difficult it becomes to have an effective connection. (It is a nice
metaphor why it is do difficult to connect two different paradigms.) Most
effective connections result when at least the one molecular species is
very simple with only one reactive part and only one unreactive part. In
biochemistry the other moledular species can become very complex with
hundreds of reactive and unreactive parts.

So there seems to be some duality involved with connections. But it is
definitely not a "dialectical duality" such as in the case of judgments.
It is a complementary duality. Why?

Again chemistry gives some answer. The unreactive part(s) of a molecular
species have a great influence on the reactivity of the reactive part(s).
It takes students in organic chemsitry many months (years?) to understand
this truth, but once they understand it, organic synthesis becomes an
exciting study in its designing of reaction strategies.

>I wont get deeper into it here. There is a paper
>accessable on my website that describes completely
>the judgementprocess I am referring to:

I have studied it and have prepared my reply also in terms of that

>But what puzzles me is the returning pattern of
>increased complexity in all these subjects and
>threads. The invention of new 'conceptual frameworks'
>with supreme high levels of abstractism.
>Why? To what purpose? What objective is served?
>To who's benefit?

Well Winfried, in terms of my own systems thinking, mySELF have to work
for the emerging of one level of mySELF knowledge into another. (Pardon
me for bending the English to get the idea accross.) When this happens I
have to struggle in articulating a tacit thought of mine with words known
to me into formal knowledge. It seldom happens that my (the learner's)
first articulation is correct in terms of what that I (the learner)
already know. You have observed this learning process happening on the
list and now have commented on it.

But you are doing it yourself and I must make you aware of it. You
yourSELF articulated an extraodinary statement with "The invention of new
'conceptual frameworks' with supreme high levels of abstractism." Then
you hammer this statement with questions which you have articulated
yourSELF. These articulations (statement and questions) are not the tacit
thought itself which you struggle to articulate formally. (But because you
articulated them, they helped me to see what is going on.) They belong to
the bifurcation and not to its outcome -- either a constructive emergence
or a destructive immergence. I am so excited that I can hardly prevent
myself in answering these questions for you. But I will not for very
definite reasons.

But what I can do, is to encourage you to continue hammering that
statement with questions, trying to find constructive rather than
destructive answers. Try to find the YES - GOOD answers rather than the NO
- BAD answers. Yes, we are now dangerously close to "judgment" because of
the very nature of a bifurcation. The fact that you keep returning to the
bifurcation tells me that you have not yet fallen in the "judgment trap"
because you keep on pushing for the emergence. You have articulated this
fact yourself by writing:

>But what fascinates me and keeps me reading
>and contributing to this list is the fact that it newer
>stops! I am always amazed that somebody has
>managed again to re-phrase the obvious.

Is learning not an amazing activity?

>What it gives me though, is better understanding,
>appreciation and respect for the person behind the words

That is why "learning individual" and "learning organisation" are
complementary duals!

>It also confirms my belief that learning to read and
>speak a particular language is unavoidable if one
>wants to survive, live, and be respected in a specific
>culture. But aren't we contributing to a new Babylon
>if we keep on inventing new vocabularies to rephrase
>the obvious?

Babylon? Yes. That is why in subjects like chemistry and biology
(=botany+zoology+phsyiology) in which millions of objects are studied,
nomenclature systems have evolved. If Lavoissier can be considered as the
"father" of chemical nomenclature and Linneaus as the "father" of
biological nomenclature, then (suppressing my testerones) we may soon have
a "mother" for the nomenclature of systems thinking.

>>I then began to realise that these "inner judgements"
>>are just as dangerous to me as "outer judgements"
>>are to other people. Today I try to avoid all
>>judgements, inner or outer.

>Opposite of At, I have stopped ignoring my judgements,
>I don't avoid them, I include them in my live. It has saved
>many a relation because I am aware of them and because
>I express them to others. By taking my own (pre-)judgements
>serious I open up for acceptance of other judgements
>expressed by other persons. By expressing them I give
>others the opportunity to correct them, accept them or what
>ever and vice versa. It includes taking risks, because I am
>never sure how they will be received, like this

I have read your message over and over. I have read some of your earlier
messages again. I have read your website. I am sure that you have
"something definite" in mind. But I am still not sure that you mean
"judgment". In fact, when I wrote

>>Each judgment (to which a condemnation is associated)
>>destroys life in a lesser or greater degree. I do not want
>>to participate anymore in hurting or destroying life as its
>>final outcome.

you replied with

>>I also avoid condemnation at all costs, this is where At ,
>>me and anyone else on this list agree.

Maybe the problem is with me. I think of "judgment" as "assessment and
condemnation depending on the outcome" -- as "verdict and sentence
depending on the outcome" -- as "free or guilty". This is how "judgment"
is used in law and theology. Maybe it is my etymological sensitivity
because judgment comes from the Latin "judicium" where "jus"=law and
"dico"=say. Even though "natural laws" play a fundamental role in the
world of science, the word "judgement" is never used in this world to
reflect on the outcome of a natural law. But when the word gets used in
the world of science, it is mostly in a negative sense like "your
judgement is false" or "your judgement is bad". I seldom have heard or
read the word being used in a "neutral" sense as you do. But in your
favour the English dictionaries also give a neutral meaning -- an act
affirming or denying a conclusion -- an act accepting or refusing a
result. However, your own sentence "It includes taking risks, because I am
never sure how they will be received..." tells me that others have not
reacted neutrally to your neutral usage.

Are we now way off our topic "Systems Thinking vs Belief?"? I do not think
so because the etymology of judgment as ["jus"=law+"dico"=say] brings the
very concept of "law" into systems thinking. This gives me an opportunity
to make an observation very fundamental to Systems Thinking.

Systems Thinking (up to now) does not have even a single law.

I ought to stop here, but I cannot help to think of Winfried's most
remarkable sentence "I also avoid condemnation at all costs, this is where
At, me and anyone else on this list agree." First we must assess if
everybody agrees to that sentence. Let us assume it is the case. Is it not
possible that her sentence is intimately related to the statement above?
How would her sentence look like if it is formulated with positive words
for "avoid", "condemnation", "all costs"? Let us hammer the statement with
Winfried's questions. Why? To what purpose? What objective is served? To
who's benefit?

Maybe Systems Thiking does need at least one law. Can anyone of you
imagine what paradigm shift will happen to Systems Thinking when this
first law ever gets articulated? Think of what happened when Newton did
the same thing for "scientific thinking" a liitle bit more than three
hundred years ago, articulating his Laws of Dymanics and his Law of
Gravitation. Will the world again change as much?

Best wishes


At de Lange <> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa

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