Systems Thinking and Personality Types LO22543

AM de Lange (
Wed, 1 Sep 1999 12:57:11 +0200

Replying to LO22515 --

Dear Organlearners,

Jan Lelie <> writes:

>All people can be divided into two groups: those that divide
>people into two groups and those that don't.

Greetings Jan,

What you have said is true.

But there is also a hidden paradox in it for that group who does not
divide people into two groups. By not dividing people into groups, they
distinguish (not divide) themselves from the people who divide people into
groups. By creating such a distinction, they may supply fuel which the
group (who groups people) will use for their own fire.

As for myself, I defy the LEM (Law of Excluded Middle) with a
smile and peace in my heart. Why?
# I am the lumper of lumpers.
I think of all people as one group (called humankind) with no
human outside this group.
# I am the splitter of splitters.
I also think of every human as q "one person group" (called
individual) with no other human belonging to this group.

Thinking of each person as an unique indivdual AND as a common human helps
me to avoid judgements. It is more important to me to avoid judgements
than to avoid difficult and complex ways of doing things. Why do we want
to group people? Is it not to do things easier and simpler? Is it not
difficult and complex to avoid judgement when grouping people?

To consider any person as a unique individual and a common human has
helped me tremendously in guiding pupils and students to learn creatively,
to function best as irreversible self-organising systems.

It fits consistently and coherently into the ONE-TO-MANY mapping of
entropy production. I begin to think of each person as a human -- the one.
Then I command myself to observe what are all the qualities of that person
which makes him/her different from all other humans -- the many. Once I
have established this one-to-many mapping in being, I then try to
understand the mechanism of it, the one-to-one mapping in becoming. I know
it sound incredibly complicated, but it is not that complicated.

It is very much like any theory of evolution. All the theories
of evolution has two parts:
Part 1
Establishing the being, i.e. the one-to-many-mapping of
species (one species at an earlier time evolves into many
species at a later time)
Part 2
Establishing the mechanism (cause) for the one-to-many

Examples in biology
(1) Lamarck's theory (1802)
Part 1. Accepts one-to-many-mapping
Part 2 Proposes "environmental factors" as the cause
(2) Darwin's theory (1859)
Part 1. Accepts one-to-many-mapping
Part 2 Proposes "natural selection" as the mechanism
3) Smut's theory (1911)
Part 1. Accepts one-to-many-mapping
Part 2 Proposes "whole" as the mechanism
4) Prigogine's theory (1979)
Part 1. Accepts one-to-many-mapping
Part 2 Proposes "entropy production" as the cause

By the way, even Genesis 1 in the Bible tells about this
one-to-many-mapping. One God Creator maps (creates) Self into many
entities in six days which makes up Creation. Like any great detective
story, the Bible does not tell us about the actual mechanism. But it gives
us some valuable hints (clues). The most important clue is that the
mechanism is crowned by love -- agape.

Other instructive examples may gained from etymology, the history of the
development of ONE certain word in ONE old language into MANY words in
MANY newer languages.

In other words, every person is like a unique word to me and humankind the
language to which that word belongs. Knowing the word without knowing the
language is impossible. Knowing more than one language (not only humans,
but also other kinds of organisms) is a great advantage. But trying to
know the word by dividing the language into sublanguages (dialects) and
then placing the word in some dialect is often the cause of severe
language conflicts. The same happens when working with people as
personality types.

>And i think that this is also the case with any organisation.
>It is the expression of self, self-realization. That is why we
>sometimes admire the great enterprises. To boldy go were
>no one has gone before: perhaps that is why big
>organizations nowadays like shining towers with thousands
>of mirrors.

Thank you Jan for this beautiful comparison between people as individuals
(which I had to snip) and people as organisations. One thing shines
through it all -- irreversible self-organisation for individuals, small
firms and gigantic organisations.

>Now, nature likes simple designs, so there will be only
>a limited amount of different personality types, questions,
>elements, what have you.

I differ from you. There is nothing simple in the design of, for example,
any living cell. There are far too many correspondences between a living
cell and a mega-metropolis in which millions of people live. Taxonomists
in biology knows that for every classification scheme there is at least
one exception. For example, we may think of living organisms as either
plants or animals. However, there are hundreds of monocell organisms which
are both plants and animals! Another example, all living organisms
consists of one or more cells. But what about virusses which are less
complex than a cell? Some virusses are pathogenic so that we easily throw
all virusses out of our classification scheme, but what about those which
are essential just as any other organelle in the cell?

It is not nature which likes simple designs. Nature has no classification
scheme. It is humans (perhaps all of them) who likes simple designs and
who never stops offering new classification schemes so as to, hopefully,
simplify their designing of things.

All organisms, other than humans, which I have encountered in my life,
never, never showed any preferance to a simpler way of life or finding a
simpler way of doing things. The next grand paradigm shift in human
thinking is looming. Should we not think in this new paradigm like the
rest of nature is creating? Should we not think in this new paradigm like
the Creator of Creation is creating?

Why does humankind want to demonstrate that it is different from the rest
of Creation and the Creator? Such a demonstration will result in eternal
damnation, the only outcome possible for this demonstration because it is
a one-to-one-mapping.

>In the search for the meaning of life, we'll inevitably be
>confronted with what Jung calls our shadow, the opposite
>of what you are or want to be.

I agree.

Sometimes I get the feignt idea that God looks at us as becoming
potentialities, not AT us in the present, but TO us in the future. This is
the arrow of time. The shadow of this arrow is to look back into the past
AT us, to judge us as wasted beings with as little future as in hell. What
a confrontation do we not have when we reverse the arrow of time to see
our past shadow.

This is not how light works. Light destroys shadows. It is an object which
cast a shadow by preventing the light to propagate further than the
object. God is light which propagates through all Creation, except when
humans place themselves as objects in the path. Perhaps they like their
shadows more than the light. Sadly, they have to cast that shadow in the
rest of Creation.

>Also, and that is the nice thing with systems, the
>interpretation will be different for different people. Systems
>in Systems Thinking, are kind of neutral to projections, so
>everybody will read, will see, will get whatever he or she

Aha, again the one-to-many-mapping! Is it not strange that so few people
wonder what is its mechanism (cause)?

>Altough at first i resisted strongly against personality types,
>i must say that i use them more and more. As a metaphore,
>of course, but none the less.

The older I become, the more I realise the need for complementing the
classification of personalities into types. Such a classification is a
many-to-one-mapping disguised as a many-to-few-mapping -- a human is far
more than only a person of a certain type. When I was jounger, I also
strongly tried to resist this classification of any property of an
individual as a certain type.

But then I realised that I actually cause resistance among those who
classify people into types. So we are back to the beginning of this
contribution, the hidden paradox -- the fire and the fuel which feed the
fire -- setting people apart by trying not to do so. The worst thing of
apartheid in South Africa is that the majority of those in the past who
engineered apartheid were not there in the future to finish off their
engineering task. Many were dead and most of the rest found a way to
escape the scrutinising light.

>I could add some more topics, like that we'll have to learn
>to appriciate, accept, respect differences, to treat others like
>we want to be treated ourselves, that we'll have to (re)learn
>to work from our core, to reach our spiritual goal and that
>this will lead to the next fad in organizational theory:
>"the art and pratices of the compasionate organisation"
> - but i won't.
>Adios, comrade,

Well Jan, I took up the que and added to it many seemingly disjoint topics
as they fit into my world view. People are free to judge that I have now
revealed myself as a strongly against personality classifications.

How can I judge anyone making use of personality classifications?
Personality classifications are a part of reality just as people are. Some
people use personality classifications with good effect. What I wish to
point out is that personality classifications often result in bad rather
than good outcomes.

I myself rather try to understand each human as an irreversible
self-organising system. The more complex such systems becomes, the less
the number of identical systems. The species "Homo sapiens" is so complex
that not only has the genus "Homo" only one species (all the other species
like "Homo erectus" are dead), but each of all the specimens of this genus
form a monotypic genus of ist own.

Yes, "Karash rick", "Lelie jan" "Dressler winfried" and each other fellow
learner of this list is a species on its own. For, example "rick" is the
only living specimen of the species "Karash", "jan" is the only living
specimen of the species "Lelie", etc.

Those of you who have anything to do with living species, know about the
Washington Convention and the Red Data List. This RDL contains the names
of all the living species of which a couple of hundred or less specimens
are still living. When only one living specimen remains (like
Encephalartos woodii) it is a grave concern because its future is almost
certain extinction. It is as if the name is not printed in red any more,
but in purple, the colour of mourning.

For me every human is a name in the Red Data List on the edge of
extinction like Encephalartos woodii. But I try to write their names in
white rather than red or even purple. White is the richest in all
colours, the most complex colour. Painting in white on a white background
is not the easiest thing to do. One seldom see with the eyes the strokes
of the brush called mind. Thus, like a blind person with fingers one has
to feel them with the heart. The heart knows no colours, but strongly
feels textures.

The spirituality of a person is the texture of that person's personality.
The day when people begin to group people in spirituality types to make
life easy is day when it is better to live in the dessert for good.

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

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