What is an emergence? LO20256

Winfried Dressler (winfried.dressler@voith.de)
Tue, 22 Dec 1998 19:01:22 +0100

Replying to LO20237 --

June Main cited from A Simpler Way by Margaret J. Wheatley and Myron

>"How do we support our natural desire to organize and the world's natural
>desire to assist us? It begins with a change in our beliefs. We give up
>believing that we design the world into existance and instead take up
>roles in support of its flourishing. We work with what is available and
>encourage forms to come forth. We foster tinkering and discovery. We
>help create connections. We nourish with information. We stay clear
>about what we want to accomplish. We remember that people
>self-organize and trust them to do so.

Thank you, June, for the quote. A simpler way is definitely one of the
books I miss in german language. The quote is worth to appear a second
time and I use it to link some thoughts I arrived at the last days.

These thoughts deal with emergences struggling for acceptance in the field
of past emergences.

They are about problem solving and conflict of generations. I like to put
them in the context of "support flourishing", "encourage forms to come
forth", "help to create connections", "self-organization" and "trust".
This helps to remember that love is stronger than hurt, although
"struggling" is dangerously close to hurting.

To formalise these thoughts, I will use At de Lange's concept of levels of
knowledge: experiental, tacit and formal (I am not going to use the
sapiental level as well). Another big influence on these thoughts had At
de Langes Primer on Entropy, especially the twin syndrome, which discribes
such a struggle of emergences for acceptance.


Lets imagine a situation prior to a major emergence: There is a big
problem - the further growth of wealth of those experiencing the problem
depends on solving it. While the experience grows for many people, some,
who manage to focus their attention on these experiences develop tacit
knowledge on the causes of the problem and in which direction a solution
may be found. And suddenly, within a few years work one or a group manages
to formalise the problem in such a way that the solution is a natural
outcome of this formalisation. The emergence happened.

(If you need examples to follow, think of any major technical innovation
(like steam engine or electricity or the transistor) or cultural
innovation (like money or book keeping or cost accounting - to only
mention those vital for most of our organisational life)


The matching of this new formal knowledge with the prior tacit knowledge
is nearly instantly visible (within a few months) for those who already
had developed the according tacit knowledge. Now this new emergent
solution has to grow, it has to be set in practice and need to be digested
by many, many people - such a powerful solution finds its way into the
curriculae of universities and schools. Why do I say powerful solution?
Because in my setting, the further growth of wealth depended on it. While
such a solution grows to maturity, the wealth of those who profit from
this solution grows simultaniously.


By the time, the mature solution looses its roots to tacit and experiental
knowledge. Why? Because the original energising problem (or shall I better
say entropy producing force-flux-pair?) - is solved! It cannot be
experienced anymore! The tacit knowledge will last longer: If we give up
that solution, we will come into deep trouble again.

Now imagine all those, grown up with the problem, the solution and the
grows of wealth associated with the solution. They know - experiental,
tacit and formal - what they rely on. They have learnt their lesson. And
they keep on praying: If you give up that solution, you will come into
deep trouble.

What trouble? It becomes difficult to remember troubles which are
un-experience-able. And students and pupil find it difficult to motivate
themselves to learn their lessons, which are only based on formal
knowledge without roots to their experiences. Or only to indirect
experiences: If they do not learn that formal knowledge and work according
to it, they will not get promotion. What an insipid motivation compared to
the original emergence!


Besides the necessity to learn a lot of formal stuff unrelated to
experience, the new generation does experience the new world: the new
system, structure, processes, organisation - with the incorporated
solution. It is not any more the world how it became (as for the older
generation who worked on this becoming) but the world how it is (the
solution as a mere being). And with this experiences, the circle starts
anew: Where are the growth of wealth limiting problems? and develop tacit
knowledge on how to solve them.

What if the new generation recognises (still on a tacit level) that the
causes of their problems lie in their parents solutions? They probably did
not learn to appreciate those powerful solutions as such.


Now we come to something that can really be called a bifurcation point:

EMERGENCE: Will the new upcoming formalisation reflect the power of the
old solution and build up on the existing strength to come up with an even
more powerful solution, strong enough to lead to further growth of wealth?

IMMERGENCE: Or will the new formalisation disrespect the existing solution
by attacking it and throwing it over bord, disorganising whatever was
built up on it. In this case, the old problems will occur again and
history will have to be repeated.

Dear At,

so far my understanding of the dynamics of "creative learning", as you
call it. While writing, I found lots of possible sidewalks to explore and
historical examples that would be interesting to analyse within this
framework - until all the powerful solutions we rely on today and their
roots are identified and made sure to be respected on the way to create
new emergences that may help to make this planet sustainable for humans.

But I did not use or need "entropy production" which I understand you to
think of as the central concept to understand all this. So I conclude:
Either I missed the real point about the dynamics of creative learning -
then please teach me again. Or the concept of "entropy production" is not
necessary to learn about and understand what you mean with "creative

Reviewing the past year of my LO-list participation, your series on the
seven essentialities is the absolute highlight. There we dealt in midst of
a world full of danger for immergences (and probably not only danger) with
what is needed to support emergences. But suddenly, there was a break. I
don't know where it came from, but I think it started with "It hurts" and
went on with your experiences on the trips you had. May be the theme
changed from "support emergences" to "avoid immergences". And with this
you decided that it is necessary to teach us more about the dynamics or
content of creative learning.

Content! Entropy production, entropy saturation, conversion of free
energy, chaos and order... the dynamics are equal for emergences and
immergences. In order to be able to act as the content of creative
learning it needs the form of creative learning - the seven
essentialities. Without this form, the produced entropy is poured away.
You started to help us to create this form on my request after Easter
1998. But a few months ago you started to pour content into this form
before it was completed and stable.

At least this is what I sense while writing these lines. You asked me
privately a few weeks ago, why I am so quiet. I couldn't tell you -
formaly I just had no time (I hope my busy-ness was not the reason to
interrupt the series on the seven essentialities and to wait for me !?)
But really why? I think these lines reflect some of my unease with the
developments of the past months.

May I ask you with all my heart to continue with the series on the seven
essentialities? To teach your formal knowledge and to share your
experiences and to help us to connect with our own experiental and tacit
knowledge on how to become a midwife for creative learning?

When we have the form completed, we can fill it up with content. And then
we may start to cook up this content to higher levels of creativity such
as faith and belief.

Liebe Gruesse,

Winfried Dressler

P.S.: I definitely didn't write the mail I intended to when I started
this morning. But I just reread the first paragraphes, discribing what
I intend to do, and I notice that it fits perfectly.


"Winfried Dressler" <winfried.dressler@voith.de>

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