Which came first? LO20280

Gray Southon (gsouthon@ozemail.com.au)
Mon, 28 Dec 1998 05:32:08 +1100

Replying to LO20275 --

I must respond to At Lange's reponse to John Gungler.

I feel that I have some competence as a person who has studied physics
(with a PhD), have studied the emergence of NMR in medical applications
over the time that it emerged, and am now a student of organisations, the
way people understand and the emerging field of knowledge management.

In brief, my comment is that I find that At's explanation is obscure, and
extremely difficult to gain any meaning from.

This, of course, is as much a comment on myself as it is on At. The reason
for making the comment is to postulate a marked difference in thinking
styles. It is reflected also, I think in the application of chaos theory,
which I have tried to understand the significance of. I realise that many
people see a lot of value in it. However, apart from a release from the
constraints of positive rationales, I cannot see that chaos theory (based
on the study of inanimate systems) has much to contribute to the
understanding of social systems.

I recognise that this may be due to my ignorance and/or lack of ability to
appreciate the nuances of these areas and perhaps I would have a lot to
gain if I did. If I am alone in my views, then there is nothing more to
say. If, however, I represent a significant number of others, then it
seems that there is a communication problem which perhaps needs exploring.

I would be interested in other's comments.

Gray Southon
At 13:03 24/12/98 +0200, you wrote:

>John Gunkler <jgunkler@sprintmail.com> writes:
>>At, I don't understand your (apparent) obsession with
>>establishing a precedence relation. You continue to ask
>>a "which came first?" question - -- as you have elsewhere
>>in this same thread and as you have done in many
>>other conversations.
>>I want to ask you: why does it matter? While it is a matter
>>of longstanding fascination to ask, "Which came first, the
>>chicken or the egg?" I'm not sure we have been enlightened
>>by the attempts to answer. Just so here -- I'm not sure that
>>trying to figure out whether creativity or learning come first
>>is a worthwhile enterprise. I'm not even convinced
>>that it is a sensical question.
>Greetings John,
>I have used the word "first" in order to get the attention of some
>people. Finally it happened. Thanks for responding.
>Please do think in terms of a "precedence relation" (cardinal number).
>Rather think in terms of an "ordinate relation" (ordinal number).
>Think of any two things A and B where B has emerged from A as
>substratum. If this is the case, then there is an ordinate
>relationship between A and B.
>Let us assume that there is an ordinate relationship between C
>(creating) and L (learning). What can we then expect from such an
>relationship? Will C influence L in the same manner as L influences C?
>What can we expect? Here is an example. Consider a plant as substratum
>and its flowers as the emergence. Does the plant influence the flower
>in the same way as the flower inlfuences the plant? Not even by a slim
>>What I am pretty sure of, from my own experience with
>>other people (and with myself,) is that both directions
>>happen. I have experienced learning coming from creativity
>>-- in the sense that creative activities produce learning.
>>And I have seen how learning can generate creativity -- in
>>the sense that new knowledge causes a person to make
>>creative connections with "old" knowledge.
>But do you see any ordinate relationship?
>>Since both directions happen I don't see how it is useful
>>to argue about the precedence of one or the other. Am
>>I missing something?
>One of the most powerful analytical techniques of modern chemistry is
>NMR (Nuclear Magnetic Resonance) spectroscopy. The tomograph (that
>tunnel through which they push your body to make "magnetic
>dissections" of it) is based on NMR spectroscopy. The tomograph has
>already surpassed both x ray and sonar technology. The only reason why
>it it is not in common use, is because it is so expensive. The whole
>of NMR spectroscopy hinges on the back action of the emergent (the
>molecule) on the substrate (the individual nuclei of the atoms and how
>they spin).
>Let us now think of NMR spectrocopy as a metaphor. Which one of
>learning or creating will function as the molecule and which will
>function as the individual nuclei? Will it possible to use the one
>(say creativity) as a spectroscope of the other (say learning)? What
>will you say when somebody announces someday that he/she has succeeded
>in using the one as a spectroscope (not necessarily by way of NMR) for
>the other? What will you say when fiction has become fact?
>>Perhaps it is time to stop discussing precedence and start
>>talking about mutual causation -- and how to enhance both
>>learning and creativity, what do you think?
>John, how right you are. But are we ready to study the mutual
>causation in an ordinate relationship? Will such discoveries not shock
>us beyond our wits? How did my NMR metaphor really affected you? Will
>we not behave exactly like the world behaved when Copernicus announced
>that the sun is the center of our solar system? Are we prepared for a
>paradigm shift, whatever it takes?
>At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za>

Gray Southon
Consultant in Health Management Research and Analysis
15 Parthenia St.
Caringbah, NSW 2229
Ph/fax 02 9524 7822, mobile 0414 295 328
email gsouthon@ozemail.com.au, web page http://www.ozemail.com.au/~gsouthon/


Gray Southon <gsouthon@ozemail.com.au>

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