Systems Thinking vs Belief? LO19865

AM de Lange (
Mon, 16 Nov 1998 11:54:55 +0200

Replying to LO19829 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Deijmann < > writes:

>Why does human kind create different languages for
>every scientific system, for every religion, for every
>system, for every country. And it hasn't stopped yet.
>Why do we keep on putting our efforts into creating
>differences, boundaries and barriers instead of developing
>one overall language, based on a 'System of Systems' or
>something like that? Wouldn't that make learning easier?

Greeting Winfried,

Yes, there is nothing like languages (natural and technical) to reflect
the increasing diversity in human culture. What I think you are asking, is
something like "Why do we have this increasing diversity in culture?"

If we observe through all the ages all the living organisms (natural and
breeded) in nature, we find the same increasing diversity (except for the
last couple of centuries). Thus we can ask a similar question "Why do we
have this increasing diversity in nature?"

The last couple of centuries humankind is not assisting nature in the
emergence of new spcecies, but actually causes the immergence (extinction)
of species at an increasing rate. I think that the same sort of thing is
happening in culture. We merely have to look at natural languages. In
Southern Africa there are approximately 1500 Banthu languages. Rather than
each developing to reflect the world of its speakers, they are gradually
eroded into trivialities. Whereas it was the business of the universe to
create more diversity in nature and culture since the beginning of time,
humankind is succeeding the past couple of centuries to reverse this

Is humankind now finally on the good road -- or the bad road? Is this a
question of Belief, or is it a question which we will have to answer in
terms of our Systems Thinking? If we bring "entropy production" into our
Systems Thinking, then a remarkable message becomes clear:- "Diversity is
favourable for creating more diversity."

>It seems to me that all our efforts to understand
>ourselves and the world with the purpose to create
>a unified world (Global Community) result in the
>opposite, more boundaries, more barriers, more
>lonelyness. Don't we use more words to check each
>other's understanding than coming up with an
>universal concept that helps overcome barriers?
>According to Victor Keegan from the Guardian,
>every day more than 20 million words of professional
>literature is pumped into the world. Does it help???

Winfried, you ask very important questions here. Basically, it boils down
to one fundamental question: "How do we understand?" In a certain sense it
is at the very heart of the topic "Systems Thinking vs Belief?". I BELIEVE
that should we have a Systems Thinking which could organise (explain) the
evolution in NATURE, CULTURE and UNDERSTANDING in a consistent and
coherent manner, then we have no reason for excusing ourselves from the
responsibility to live in harmony with the Creator, fellow humans and
nature. I myself try to contribute to such a Systems Thinking as best as I

>Let me emphasize that I am not better than any of you,
>but even worse is, that I realize myself at this moment,
>that I am also taking part in this whole dance. Perhaps
>I better stop here.

Winfried, it is really interesting that you have said it in this way.
Many students have complained to me that once they begin seriously to try
and understand life in general and themselves in particular, their fellow
students begin to think that they want to be better than them. I have
observed the same thing happening in other diverse organisations. It is
difficult to even formulate this behaviour without using words with a
judgemental meaning. But let me try to do it as best as I can: "The
syndrome of judging the learner."

Peter Senge decribes in chapter two of his book ("The Fifth Discipline")
seven important learning disabilities. Maybe this syndrome is not such an
important learning disability in your countries. But here in Southern
Africa it is important. It works like a two edegd sword. On the one side
it makes it very diffcult for those who want to learn to persist with
their learning. On the other side it makes the judges more insensitive to
learning and its powerful results. This syndrome is detrimental to
personal mastery and team learning and hence the emergence of a LO.

I also want to use your words for myself: "Let me emphasize that I am not
better than any of you." By judging the learning of others in tems of my
own learning, better or worse, I will wound my own learning fatally.

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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