Faith Communities and Learning Organizations LO21943

J.C. Lelie (
Sun, 20 Jun 1999 23:49:43 +0200

Replying to LO21930 --

Greetings At,

As always, i'm delighted by your posts. Thank you for sharing your
thoughts. I'd like to add some of my own.

1. The causes behind diversification, creating ever complex entities
from bacteria to people, reducing "cycle times" from the slow paces in
the eaons of bacterial life to rapid change of tomorrow, are the
interacting processes of imperfectly replicating oneself (imperfections
caused by random changes), selecting the fittest replication through
competition and cooperating and choosing what seems best from available
options. This is my idea about the processes of evolution. (Evolution
should be explained through a derivation from the models on energy
conservation, principle of least action and generating entropy, i think.
Or do we have to add it?).

2. These evolving processes also work for religions, organisations,
cultures and not only from the phenoma you descibe, i suspect we're in a
transition phase, a kind of hyper critical state, like a super-saturated
solution. And, keeping to the word solution, i think that the
re-solution of our issues is already with us: the elements, the building
blocks, the processes, the units, the principles, the idea. We're just
having to wait for the condensation kernels, the strange attractors i
like to say, a strangly attractive word. And religion or spirituality or
learning organisations will turn out to be these kinds of attractors.

> The consequences of this possibility are staggering. The mainline
> religions are declining because of gradually becoming replaced by a
> much greater diversity of religions. This means, assuming that the
> principle of causality holds, that some force (simple or complex) is
> responsible for this diversification in religion. In other words, the
> diversification in religion corresponds to the diversification in
> other major walks of culture such as science, technology and arts.
> These cultural diversifications also correspond to the diversification
> in nature. Thus one cannot close one's inner eyes to the possibility
> that all these diversifications in reality (nature and culture,
> physical and spiritual) have one common cause.

3. As i know transitions, paradigm changes, transformations in our
cultural reality, it has to do with meaning. Meaning is like giving a
meaning, a word, an explanation without changing the underlying physical
reality and laws. For instance: the sun used to be a horse drawn
carriage, a god, a heap of burning coals and is now a thermonuclear
reactor with an aging problem. And all the time, the sun in principle
didn't change. The laws of motion were not changed, not by Newton, not
by Galilei, not by Chinese physicist or Australian aboriginals inventing
a boomerang.

My intuition tells me it is the same for the laws of psychology, the
meaning of mind. My suspiction is that the great masters, the great
teachers of every religion used these laws to give meaning. They in a
way exploited what was already there: a certain kind of meaning, certain
physical laws, principle, rules, experiences.

This looks like a strange loop: the laws of nature are outside us, so
giving meaning to them only indirectly affects us. The laws of
psychology however immediately feeds back on us. One of these laws of
psychology is to avoid pain, sounds physically and psychologically
sound. But what when the truth is painful? In the works of Chris Argyris
i found one of the big problems in organisational change: ""we always
tell the truth, unless the truth is painful" and (immidiate feed back)
cover up this painful process of not always telling the truth." (In
Holland we have a saying that you only learn from your mistakes ("pain")
and at the same time we're learned to avoid mistakes (don't do that or
else you'll feel pain))

So in every religion, i suspect, there is a hidden truth, a hidden law
that is psychological painful and at the same time a truth that is the
very essence of that religion. Depending on circumstances one religion
makes more sense, more common sense, in one environment than in another.
Perhaps the only difference between the great religions is the way they
treat the painful truths. One of the painful truths maybe is becoming an
adult, a transformation from girl and boy into woman and man. Another
one is living with what Jung calles your shadow, the ways and means to
live with the side of you you don't want to acknowledge. Organizing is
another painful truth, as we have no algorithm of sharing equally wealth
created in organizing. (Sure, some people say that this is done by the
invisble hand of free market economics, but it would be too painful to
expose this as a foma (meaning "harmless, comforting untruth", did you
read Kurt Vonnegut?))

> Christianity, like all
> other religions (mainline and sideline, historical and postmodern)
> will have to respond to the "increasing complexity of reality".
> Unfortunately, most people still shut their inner eyes for complexity.
> Sadly, the majority of the relative few who now study complexity
> formally, do it with major deficiencies in the seven essentialities.
> For example, wholeness is seriously impaired by reductionsim and
> fragmentarism so that those who study complexity in economy have
> little care for complexity in, say, chemistry. There are not many
> complexities -- complexity is monadic.

4. As we develop ourselves in our (physical and mental) environment, as
we transform, we're confronted with our body, our own psyche, our own
mind, being. Sometimes the elements are in sync with the beliefs we've
learned, sometimes they are (painfully) not. Right (or left), the idea
of transformation, creative transformation appears and the laws of
becoming apply.

I sometimes think of these as a way, a path, a journey, a destinity. I'm
strongly influenced by Will McWinney's Paths of Change (or, you may say,
i was intuitively drawn to his works). He explained to me how we keep
having issues about how we experience a problem. And there are at least
four. Moreover, a problem solved creates new problems, sometimes the
same kind, but also problems of different kinds, kinds which cannot be
solved by the same methods as the first time. Here we need resolutions,
not solutions.

Problems solving is our great gift and at the same time our very
weakness. Now, what has this to do with travelling and religion?
Just perhaps, the six ways we can experience a problem (in short:
who-why, why-how, who-what, who-how, why-what and what-how?), is the
road we must take to explore our strengths and weaknesses, to develop
our personality AND they are reflected, are mirrored, have an analogy in
the great religions. One supports better answers to "who am i - why am
i" problems, another to "what am i - how do i make"-problems. So a
pilgrim progresses through these worlds of different beliefs, serving no
other purpose than to enlighten you.

> Many Christians have the following great worry:-
> If I transform and adapt myself as the creative course of
> time proceeds, will I eventually become someone who
> Christ will say to "I do not know you"?
> My answer is very simple -- NO. Why?
> The same forces according to which we have to transform
> and adapt to for life in general also applies to our lives as
> Christians. We cannot expect as Christians to have a
> different deal than other people. God the Father treats all
> humans the same. These very forces are a grand gift from
> Him to help us to become more and more like His only
> begotten Son.
> Again, I want to stress that this problem of the relationship
> between faith and transformation is not peculiar to Christians.
> As my connections with people from other faiths grow, I
> become increasingly aware that many of them have exactly
> the same problem:
> If I transform and adapt myself as the creative course of
> time proceeds, will I eventually grow out of my faith and
> thus disqualify myself.
> his is why I am so excited about the topic "Faith Communities
> and Learning Organizations" -- let us have a dialogue on our
> faith problems despite our differences.

5. Don't worry, or, as i said the other day: see worrying as a way to
experiment, to visualize, to create by making "Gedanken" experiments,
use it as a tool to experience.
Using language as my tool, and some aspects of English that i like: i
want to re-solve my problem. I think that the re-solution of our issues
lies in as well applying the action-re-action tension mechanism which is
grounded in the unescapable physical laws - as also applying a
creation-re-creation tension mechanism, which is firmly connected to our
psychological laws (which have perhaps only meaningful through the
physical laws, we found in the process of giving meaning). To put it
into other words: we've travelled the four corners of this planet, it is
now time to travel to the four corners of our mind. After all, somebody
must have already noticed that the processes of recreating are
benificial to people and that you can earn oodles of money with it.

> I cannot solve their problem because they have to do it
> themselves. But I can surely point out to them that it is
> indeed a very important problem, precipitated by the transition
> of humankind's creativity from the adolloscent age to the adult
> age. I can also tell them of my own experience -- that it seem
> to be a hot problem without solution until I made the paradigm
> shift from creativity to "deep creativity". Lastly, I am willing to
> offer my help, promising that I will honour their choices and
> not trying to make converts out of them.

Take care, kind regards

Jan Lelie


Drs J.C. Lelie CPIM (Jan) LOGISENS - Sparring Partner in Logistical Development Mind@Work - est. 1998 - Group Decision Process Support Tel.: (+ 31) (0)70 3243475 or car: (+ 31)(0)65 4685114 and/or taoSystems: + 31 (0)30 6377973 -

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