Creativity and Mode of Speach LO22463

AM de Lange (
Thu, 19 Aug 1999 12:10:15 +0200

Replying to LO22418 --

Greetings Bryan,

Welcome to the list.

Your question is very important. It resorts for me in the same class of
questions such as "What will be the mission of our organisation?". Many
people consider this class of questions as academical or fashionable, but
not really vital to the future of their organisation.

As I view the development of human creativity throughout the history of
humankind, this class of questions will become of paramount importance in
the next century and millenium. They signify the transition of the
"adolloscent age" of human creativity into its "adult age".

The transition from the "childhood age" to the "adolloscent age" happened
roughly two and a half millenia ago. In the history of the Bible it began
with the so-called "silent years" between the OT and NT. In the general
history of West Asia and Europe it coincided with the rise of the
Greco-Roman culture, the migration of the Germanic tribes to the West and
the decline of the Egyptian/ Babilonian cultures. In the history of Africa
it is signified, for example, by the migration of the Banthu tribes into
Southern Africa. In the history of the Far East it led to foundation of
Asian thought -- Taoism, Confusianism, Buddhism, etc.

The point which I wish to make is that should we compare the world 27
centuries ago with the world 3 centuries later, incredible changes
happened. Likewise the world of the next century or two will differ just
as drastically from the world a century ago. The key to understand and
manage this immense change will be creativity. Yes, of the thousands of
things we may speculate upon as the possible candidate, even including the
concept of a LO, there is no doubt in my mind that it will be creativity.

That is why the phrase "instills learning and creativity" caught my
attention and made my thoughts wandering.

Yes, I have not yet answered your question because I am not cabable of
answering it definitely. Why? Because people's understanding of
creativity, individualy and collectively, is changing rapidly. (These
rapid changes are typical of any emergent phenomenon, even a paradigm
shift.) Likewise their tools for managing creativity or some of its
outcomes, are changing drastically. Just think about computers to get an
idea of what I mean.

Almost forty years ago when I was a student, I used the Trachtenberg
system to quicken my mental calculations, a slide ruler to replace my
tedious logarithm tables and a "Tacit" mechanical calculator to do exact
calculations. Today these things are museum pieces -- our students do not
even know how to use them.

Therefor, the best I can do under present circumstances, is to suggest
(1) use more than one "performance appraisal system"
(2) allow for rapid changes in whatever tools you use
(3) focus on the minds of your people as the best "tool".

I have noticed that you got many suggestions of the different systems you
may investigate. It is an outcome of point (1).

But why have I changed the topic to "Creativity and Mode of speach? It is
an outcome of suggestion (3). When we use our mind as the "best tool", we
have to make "best use" of this system. In other words, we must focus on
both the "being" and "becoming" of the mind -- the essentiality liveness
of creativity.

We speak (or rather write nowadays) to make our thoughts perceptible to
others. It even applies to our "performance appraisal system". I want to
focus on one particular facet which I have touched upon in some earlier
contributions on communication in creativity, but never had the
opportunity to go deeper into because of different focusses in those

I want to focus on the "mode of speach" in the relationship between
creativity and communication. By "mode of speach" I mean that that we can
classify all sentences of all natural languages into declarative sentences
(statements), interrogative sentences (questions) and imperative sentences
(commands). This classification is based on meaning (semantics) in its
most encompassing sense. These three main classes have further subclasses
each, but we will not go into this taxonomic excercise.

When we communicate IN THE SPIRIT of creativity and not "about"
creativity, which one of these three classes do we use primarily? Work
carefully through ten thousands of contributions on this LO list. Make
sure that the far majority of sentences used are statements. Control your
finding that most of the remaining sentences are questions. Discover that
imperative sentences (commands) are by far in the minority. Also try to
vindicate the (supposed) claim that fellow learners are not creative.

Think about this fact -- that we use declarative sentences most and
imperative sentences least. Now "use best" your mind as the "best tool"
available up to date. Think creatively. Make a significant conclusion
which concerns creativity. Observe how I have gradually increased the
frequency of employing imperative sentences. Listen to your heart -- how
these imperative sentences cause it to beat heavier and faster. Since you
are, perhaps, one of the majority who will reacted negatively rather than
positively to my commands, find the reason for it. Hit the ESC key if it
becomes too much for you.

When we communicate IN THE SPIRIT of creativity, we make use of imperative
sentences. Yes, the spirit of creativity is to command things to happen --
to be a king rather than a priest (statements) or a prophet (questions).
However, one of the most saddest things to have happened to us, all of
humankind, is that when we communicate IN THE SPIRIT of creativity, we
disguise our imperative sentences by statements or questions. We try to
make the becoming a being -- to cut the point off the arrow of time.

Only when we each speak silently to ourselves, we still venture using
commands. "I have to .....", "I must .....", "I can ...", "I will ....",
etc. Have you developed the ability to read these silent commands between
the lines of the ten thousands of contributions to this list? They are
there, but you have to open your mind to them.

Let us quickly take a look at "deep creativity". The spirit of creativity
owes its commanding nature to entropy production by means of a source of
free energy. In other words, creativity is the result of entropy
production -- irreversibility. It means that creativity and the two
manifestations of entropy production, namely chaos and order, are closely
connected. Furthermore, we can expect the order relation
/_\F < W
and thus non-linearity with one-to-many mappings to play central
roles in creativity. But let us not digress to far into "deep

Why do we cover up commands when we talk with others? Why do we become as
mad as a raging bull when somebody speaks in a commanding mode to us,
using the wrong body language? Have we ever questioned these fluctuating
emotions in terms of our own level of creativity? How much have our
responses to do with the digestor phase of creativity? Are you one of the
people who feel very uneasy in the company of artists or innovators? What
can you learn from your own creativity when trying to answer these
questions? How will you react to a "performance appraisal system" which
operates in a commanding mode of speach? How do you react to the MD of
whom the majoirty had only the mind to use as the "performance appraisal

My own mother and late father were very fond of using the imperative mode
of speach. They grew up very poor and had to be remarkably creative to
imbetter their lives. I always admired their astounding creativity, but
hated their commanding way of speaking. They made foes much easier than
friends, much to their distress. Their agony was greatest when I, their
child from whom they expected so much because he used statements and
questions so eloquently, began to talk back in a commanding voice. It was
only much later, after I had learnt to disguise my creativity in terms of
fuzzy statements and funny questions, that I could talk with them freely,
but the damage was already done.

Let us call al these techniques to cover up our creativity by CC (Creative
"Correctness") in lieu of the term PC (Political "Correctness"). Using
statements or questions to cover up commands is one of many CC techniques.

I now know better -- I want to confess openly in public that my behaviour
towards my parents, although in ignorance, was wrong. I am truely sorry.
Obviously, they were very honest about their creativity by using
imperative sentences -- they cared far more for creativity than CC.
Furthermore, as parents they had to use commands to draw the guiding lines
for us kids. Yet they did not try to dictate and control our creativity,
although as a kid I thought so. They tacitly knew that each of us kids
could only change ourselves. They gave their best efforts to assist us,
but we, especially as adollocents, reckoned they were meddling in our

When I observe the behaviour of my own children, adults by now, I can only
smile. Learning is an activity for life. My grand children now teach them
what they once taught me. What depth is there not to the commandment
"honour thy parents"? Is the commanding mode of speach used by our parents
really the same as someone who want to subdue our creativity because of
fearing it?

Bryan, when you have a number of "performance appraisal systems" to choose
from, paper based or computer based, you might look into their mode of
speach. The good ones may employ CC to cover up their inherent creativity
which require commands. But there are also bad ones, composed by questions
and statements whithout the deeper commanding spirit sustaining them. They
will succeed in only one thing -- frustrating your people by inhibiting
their creativity. Stay far away from them.

I think it must be wonderful to have so many creative people working
together. They are princes and princesses, all from the imperative
lineage, often causing heated issues among themselves, enough to drive
their MD crazy when this person cannot match their creativity with a
superior creativity self. Should the MD be as foolish as to override
their creativity with a command style devoid of the spirit of creativity,
I would prefer to keep far away from such an unhealthy organisation. But
the Learning Organisation provides the kind of caring environment which
your royal people will appreciate.

Before I stop, here is a valuable tool for fellow learners. If you have
trouble in getting creative results from some person in some organisation,
for example your advisor at the bank or a teacher at school, stop using
CC. Use plain, simple commands in a friendly and civil manner. Avoid a
demanding or dictatorial style. Focus your commands towards empowering
that person's creativity despite whoever that person has to deal with --
even the MD or you, the client. That person may confuse his/her surprise
with fear. But both of you will be surprised at the results so obtained.
Make that person a king or queen in creativity. You all will be happy with
the results.

How many books on leadership did any of you fellow learners read which
tell the leader to avoid CC and switch to direct commands to get creative
results? Its a pity that militarists use direct commands to get any but
creative results.

Do yourself a favour. If you are a member of a LO, stop using CC
incessantly. Explain your actions to anyone and not only those who demand
it :- "From today I will use simple commands where I want creative
results". Yes, begin commanding yourself in things which you have
concluded that no progress is possible. At first the progress will seem
to be a miracle, but eventually you will realise that it boils down to "to
learn is to create".

Here is a simple test to make sure that your organisation is not a LO.
Begin to use simple commands to get creative results. Observe how other
members of the organisation react to your imperative mode of speach. Be
ready to defend yourself from all sides. If you are a MD, do not assume
that their fear for you will prevent them from attacking you under all
sorts of cover.

By the way, one of the great lessons which I had to learn in my first year
of active teaching is that a teacher who uses CC is begging for a
catastrophe. My late uncle Phillip, my midwife in teaching, saved me in
the nick of time from such a catastrophe. I was surprised that getting
rid of CC was much more difficult than acquiring it.

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 -- <>