Is learning our earnest? LO20624

AM de Lange (
Wed, 10 Feb 1999 12:39:00 +0200

Replying to LO20616 --

Dear Organlearners,

Tricia Lustig <> writes:

>I wanted to say how much I have enjoyed the story about
>Jessica. It is absolutely perfect. We need to become
>simplifiers, not complicaters and she says it perfectly.
>I wish to keep this; it is a lovely reminder.

Greetings Tricia,

After that conversation with Jessica, I almost felt like Jean Jacques
Rousseau when he wrote Emile. In it he championed that children should
learn about life, free of complications. I do not want to create the
impression that Jessica is a faultless oracle. I merely want to offer
her pre-school development as an example of self-organised learning.

The dictionaries consider "complication" as a close synonym for
"complexity". But I would like to see a greater difference between
these two words. Complexity (for me) is the consistent and coherent
organisation of innumerous different entities. When this consistency
and coherence of complexity get destroyed, the result is a
complication. We cannot avoid the complexity of reality, but we can
certainly avoid to add to the complications of reality. Reality is
complex, but it should not be complicated also. Maybe there is a
better word to use for the word complication, but I still have to find

Jessica already recognise these two concepts slightly. When she draws
pictures with many entities, she distinguishes between "deur mekaar"
(complicated) and "met mekaar" (complexity) pictures. The literal
translation for "deur mekaar " is "through each other" and for "met
mekaar" it is "with each other".

If we are not complicators, then what are we? You say that we should
be simplifiers. But this word is in conflict with the word complexity.
Trying to simplify complexity is another way of complicating
complexity. I think that the word "actualise" articulate our
uncomplicated interaction with complexity better than the word

When I observe Jessica, I see a little actualiser rather than a little
simplifier. She is now at the stage where she, for example in numbers,
actualises all sorts of patterns, trying to make each pattern more
complex. After three weeks in school her teacher thinks she is perhaps
hyper-active. The teacher mentioned on the quiet that a few other kids
get Ritalin to make them more compliant to class teaching. I had
difficulty to control my temper.

>P.S. The translation is perfect!

Somehow it does not sound so sincere as in Afrikaans.

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

Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>