Systems Thinking vs Belief? LO19978

AM de Lange (
Tue, 24 Nov 1998 08:50:55 +0200

Replying to LO19948 --

Dear Organlearners,

Terry Priebe <> writes:

>At de Lange on 11/18 (Measuring Organizational Learning
>LO19908) talked about the cyclical occurrence of a problem
>( I guess we could substitute "idea" here, as well ). He said
>there were two reasons for this cyclical nature:
>1. The ablative immergence of existing emergents.
>2. The repetitive pushing towards bifurcations for a new order
>to occur.

Greetings Terry,

Yes, you are fast catching up by opening up to "idea" as another candidate
for this cyclic occurances. But is the "idea" not a key element to the
dialog? If it is, then two of the five elementary sustainers are
candidates for this cyclic occurance. What about the other three? If they
are also candidates, then we have one of the reasons why they are
"sustainers of creativity". In other words, they keep up popping time and
again to sustain cases 1 and 2 above.

>He then went on and talked about the five elementary
>sustainers of creativity:
>1. Problem-solving
>2. Dialogue
>3. Game-playing
>4. Exemplar-studying
>5. Art-expressing
>Now, I'm no expert in the completeness or even
>correctness of what At has said. However, it "feels" right
>in my experience - I've experienced or know of first-hand
>observation of each of these sustainers.

Terry, I actually did something above which destroy the "elementary" (or
"innocence") of the five sustainers. I have placed them in a theory of
creativity which involve "cyclic ocuurances", "immergences" and
"emergences". Some may see this as an "expert opnion". But this defies the
"elementary" value of the five sustainers. They are already operative at
our experential level of knowledge, as you have observed. They can also
operate at the higher levels (tacit, formal and sapient). For example, our
present dialog on them is in the formal level.

I now have to do the same thing again -- destroying the "elementary" (or
"innocence") of the five sustainers. Nobody needs an expert opinion
before being able to participate in these five sustainers. These
sustainers exist independent of any theory. They existed long before we
even became fluent in theorising. They act like organs (heart, lungs,
liver, kidneys, stomach) of our body -- we may not even be aware of them
and yet they do their work. Even young kids in a nursery school can easily
participate in any one of them, although then we cannot excpect any
sophistication. In fact, these kids are not even able to identify these
five sustainers for what they are and yet they know how to use them. Say
to these kids any of the following five sentences and they are ready for

"Let us try doing the following."
"Let us tell a story."
"Let us play this game."
"Come and look what I have brought along."
"Let us sing (or paint or model)"

(I write "Let US tell a story" because if you really want these kid to
enjoy a favourate story, allow them to tell the story by conducting them
with questions.)

The really sad thing for me is that when we become adults with serious
businesses, we begin to view these five elementary sustainers of
creativity with suspicion. How much do they figure in our systems thinking
or beliefs? How much do we try to keep our organisations healthy by
purposefully employing all five of them within and integral to the
organisation? Will we allow them without any reason or a staring of the
eyes in the organisation -- for example, a typist playing Solitaire?

I am of opinion that a LO cannot function without these five sustainers of
creativity. Peter Senge has already drawn attention to the importance of
the dialog in the functioning of a LO. But what about the other four? Do
they figure in our systems thinking or beliefs?

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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