Dignity in LOs LO21794

AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Tue, 1 Jun 1999 15:08:24 +0200

Replying to LO21726 --

Dear Organlearners,

Winfried Dressler <winfried.dressler@voith.de> writes:

>The first article in the german Grundgesetz (constitution) states:
>The dignity of humans is untouchable. (Die Wuerde des
>Menschen ist unantastbar.) So this is the base of all laws in
>Germany - as well as the basis of all court judgements.
>Whenever behaviour is accused to violate this dignity in a trial,
>I notice, that exactly this article, on which the argument is
>based, is not taken serious. The article does NOT state: "Do
>not violate the dignity of humans." The article does not state
>something one could do, but must not do. The article states
>an impossibility, something that cannot be done.
>At, we agree that it is possible to hurt or even to distroy the
>creativity of humans. My claim is, that such hurt does not
>touch dignity. How do you view the relation between creativity
>and dignity?

Greetings Winfried,

This is my third reply to your lovely contribution. The first one was
on quantum mechanics and the second one on irreversible
thermodynamics -- hard physics. I used them as examples to motivate
that diginity should not be examined unless it disintegrates. I now
regret that I have used them as examples because by doing so, I have
caused the attention to move from diginity to hard phsyics.

Winfried, as I see it, I cannot ever destroy the dignity of someone
else. The actual destruction is accomplished by that person and nobody
else. But I can contribute to the destruction of that person's
diginity by making it easier for that person to do so. This
contribution is in my eyes a hideous deed whereas the actual
self-destruction of dignity is a most sad deed, but not a hideous

Is the phrase "contributing to the self-destruction of a person's
dignity" not an oxymoron? It seems to be illogical that person A can
contribute (constructively or destructively) to the self-organisation
of person B. No. It is our logic which fails us. For example, every
plant and animal is a self-organising (autopoietic) system. Yet a
farmer can make it easier or more difficult for plants and animals to
live. They do it day by day -- it is their job. Every human learner is
a self-organising system. Yet a teacher can make or break a learner.
They do it day by day -- but it should never be their job to break
learners. This is my prime issue with formal education at large -- the
breaking of learners.

In what way does our logic fail us? We fragment the part from the
whole. We fragment the system from its surroundings. We even fragment
logical thinking from all thinking. In our dialogue on logic of
lately, we focussed on logic as system. I have not read a single
contribution or even sentence focussing on the logic of the
surroundings. But I have read many hundreds of lines which make one
fatal assumption: the system and the surroundings follow the same kind
of logic.

How can we correct our logic? In my opinion we must think of the
universe as the system and not of any system in the universe. This
universe UN consists of two sub-systems, the one which we call the
system SY and the other one the surroundings SU. The system SY is the
object (text) of our studies text and the surroundings SU is the
context in which the text has to harmonise. The deeper meaning of the
system SY is not itself, but how it relates to its surroundings SU.
For example, a business is the system which we have to manage.
Everything else is the context in which the business has to operate
meaningfully. There is no deep meaning for a business in itself.

The next step is to view creativity not as a property of an individual
such that this property has nothing to do with anything else.
Creativity is a systemic property which operates in the surroundings
as context. Creativity without an environment in which to operate is a
futile myth. It is like a general without an army or a CEO without a
corporation. It is through this context (surroundings) of creativity
that positive or negative contributions can be made. Since this is the
case for creativity, it is likely also the case for higher order
emergents of creativity such as learning and believing.

Dignity, for me, is a specific article of my faith. It is through the
emergent act of believing that I can conceptualise dignity. Without
the act of believing I will never be able to perceive even a dim image
of the dignity of humans. As a unbeliever I will certainly create an
environment which will make it difficult for other people to believe
in the dignity of humans. Even the concept of sin do not undo the
concept of dignity. That is why some believers can say at all that
although God hates sin, God loves the sinner.

Winfried, when you write "My claim is, that such hurt does not touch
dignity", I want to say yes. Despite the hurt dished out to me, I
still believe in the dignity of all humans. However, such hurt have
forced me dangerously close to the abyss of immergences, haning by a
finger or two, in which I will destroy my own diginity through hurting

>>This is what made Mandela such an outstanding leader.
>>He accepted every person as a source of light. This is also what
>>we must do if we want an organisation to emerge into a LO.
>Please add a few words, to make clear, that this statement, to
>which I fully agree, does not mean that the attempt to create
>learning organizations is a hopeless and helpless attempt. I
>think this is very important, because I can imagine many
>organizations, which became allergic with respect to many
>of LO-values, we are trying to hold high.

I am tempted to explain the metaphor that dignity is like "a source of

But I will rather try to explain why we have to accept all members of
the organisation as sources of light to emerge into a LO. I have
written so many times that creating, learning, believing and loving
are a series of connected emergences with the seven essentialities
prerequisite to each emergence that it sounds like a "afgesaagde
deuntjie" (literally: sawn off tune) to me. So let me formulate it
differently by using the concept of authority (seal).

The authority of creativity is learning. The authority of knowledge is
believing. The authority of faith is loving. Love is the greatest
authority of them all. It is on the authority of love that we
recognise the dignity of other people.

A LO has a far greater authority than an ordinary organisation.
However, authority does not come with the name, but comes with the
deed. Each of us will rise to a level of authority according to our
deeds and not according to the name or office which we bear. Likewise
the LO authority of an organisation comes with the deeds of each and
all its members. Without the necessary deeds, those members cannot
have authority. Any person with authority based on deeds have no
problem in matching with other authorities. However, it is when people
cannot emerge to authority by their deeds when they begin to undermine
the authority of others.

The classical way of undermining the authority of other people is to
question their dignity rather than to accept their dignity
unconditionally. It happened in South Africa through apartheid. It
happened in Germany through nazism. It has happend so many times in
the history of humankind that we can write a whole book on this theme.

Best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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