A child's mind LO22625

Wed, 25 Aug 1999 10:32:27 EDT

[Host't Note: Sorry, I delayed this msg accidently after putting it aside
to clean up some special characters in the text. ...Rick]

"I am Chyldhod, in play is all my mynde"
Sir Thomas More.

The Life of Thomas More, Peter Ackroyd. ISBN 1-85619-711-5

Dear Learners,

In response to LO22447 Beauty is Fitting in the Art of One to Many
At de Lange writes of,

>The search for spirituality.

And Thomas Muirhead wrote that he felt,
>No one cares.

I was reminded of the life and times of Sir Thomas More. He would have
read these words in the library at Charterhouse, 'Thou makest thee to kiss
his cheek by devotion and ghostly prayer' but failing to participate in
the world, 'thou treadest upon his feet and defilest them'.

Thomas More chose not to retreat to the monks cell or monastery (One to
One) but chose rather to practice participation in/of what Walter Hilton
had called, THE MIXED LIFE. (One to Many), '-for it is speedful that we
know the gifts which are given us of God.' could he not have written,
'given us of deep creativity?'

Thomas More, He dreamed an emergence of a kind; an island-state called
Utopia. Of course it could not work, it was too ordered, not enough
complexity, though full of eloquent and beautiful argument against among
other things, cruelty to animals. A preoccupying undercurrent I find in
such diverse men as Ghandi and Einstein.

Such a seemingly inconsequential CARE of course until one sees the complex
and tangled noose of the 'manipulative' sciences returning unintended,
uninvited as the circle of BSC for an example closes itself upon the
chains of life and to learn, as I have just done this morning that the
coral reefs of the Great Barrier reef are under threat of extinction
possibly in just 20 years due to ecological (heat build up) stress.

I have sensed a certain stress often to do with heat in the undercurrents
of this list. I think we have to pay attention to them. Peter Senge has
written somewhere very beautifully that 'the background is becoming the
foreground'. I wonder if we can CARE to wonder what the nature of that
revolving movement is.

Let me imagine for a moment that all organisations, but especially a LO
can become envisioned like a great city. By great I do not mean large, so
I am invoking quality and not quantity.

I see this city as a living thing above and beyond any other quality in
which people will to do good things. Alas, it will be a city in which
people in failing to do good things are free to do bad things too. Imagine
a worthy city without a cathedral and innumerable churches? Without public
and private gardens, trees or animals? Without sight and sound of water?
Would anyone design a city thus? I know, we have, we did, we do, but for
the others, yes? Not for us, no. Oh no!

>My work is concerned with cities. I feel it's very important we should
>make our cities as conducive as possible to the kind of experiences
>described in that posting.
>Sometimes I feel no one CARES about it.

The ancient Japanese created an image that can be linked to the ever
changing, morphing world of Thomas More, and our own as we see and live it
now described as like. 'A floating world, wonderfully constructed and
designed in the full knowledge of its eventual demise: there ceases to be
any private motive in collaborating upon this infirm beautiful project,
but rather an awareness of a common inheritance and destiny'.

Don't we see a reflected world of our own there, built upon something like
nothing, like a hologram of what we call soft-ware and wet-ware, like an
entire economy flying through the stock exchanges within a virtual world
on gossamer wings made of next to nothingness? Thomas a Kempis wrote, '-
every man must find his own cross and bear it willingly into the valley of
(our) nothingness'.

And what we now call THE CITY OF LONDON is a moneymaking machine full of
ghosts and burned out people, valleys of nothingness.

Thomas More shared his learning/life space with a man called Martin
Luther. Together they were like complementary opposites in the colour
scale of life writ large, aka CHANGE.

Take a beautiful deep red pigment, alizarin crimson is good. Take an equal
measure of a deep dark green pigment, viridian is beautiful. What do we have?
A living, sonorous black -like some bright/dark chord played on a massive
cathedral organ. But lay them side by side, transparently so light reflects
through them and back again, off the paper or canvas surface underneath,
placed so they just touch at the edge and what happens? They sing, they
exclaim their 'doubled intensity'. They vibrate.

Thomas More studied on many levels, transdisciplinary.

We might think we are either into creation or renovation, whether we talk
of/in our deep inner self, our wider local community self or our greater
civic self as a citizen of a nation or the world.

Collective and individual renovation could, if we wish or desire it become
new creation if we are only prepared to build from the ground up.

More lectured at St. Lawrence's in London on the topic of 'The City of
God'. In his orations he articulated the concerns, both expressed and
unexpressed - of the wider populace, some of whom attended, - ' to learn
new things, others out of a desire to seem intelligent, and certain people
stayed away because they wanted to pretend they already knew all about the
subject.' What lay at the centre of this very real contemporary concern
was something espoused since the time of St. Augustine, a man whose
learning lay in More's passion. A question, 'Do we wish to live in the
Earthly City OR the Heavenly City?'

At writes,
>However, each time, as soon as I began to investigate spirituality, I was
>told that it was a private and not a public issue. In other words, using
>post-modern terminology, I was told that spirituality is for Learning
>Individuals, but not for Learning Organisations.


Another question of the time, 'Is the true state of a congregation of
believers ruled by the intervention of grace and divine law, or was it an
association of men ruled by national law and positive law?' In other words
was it 'a corpus mysticum or a natural human grouping?'

Either/Or, and Either/Or.

Augustine's view was that they may BOTH exist 'side by side, -distinct but
not entirely separate. Together and experiencing the vicissitudes of time.
The Heavenly City existing WITH/IN the Earthly City in separate
individuals or in the communities of believers, so that it is possible to
see within the Fallen City, an image of the Heavenly City. The vision
alluded to earlier of a 'floating' city of churches can become
constructive of reality if only the vision is widened to become a more
integrative, a more deeply creative one. One could then, so it was
believed become both citizen and fellow of the 'City OF/IN the Earth' by
aspiring to the 'condition' of the 'City OF/IN God.'

'-Divers new enormities were sprong amongest the people.'

Thomas More knew full well his London was not an abiding city, and anyway
he believed himself to be part of a larger community incorporating both
the living and the dead. More was a master of seeing 'the very pattern'
(in people) of action and belief. Compare that with this, 'Discovering and
embodying life's patterns. That's what our work is' Tom Johnson. S.o.L.


In More's time it was 'not the duty of the artist to add to knowledge,
only to reveal it.' We are all potential artists.

We might reflect usefully upon this FITTING of MANY among MANY.

"In late polyphonic (15th & 16th Century) music the central aspect is the
delicate interplay of voices without any single one taking precedence- the
emphasis rests upon the intricate melody of many voices. The character and
abilities of the individual are only of consequence as an element within
the harmonious organisation of parts."

Compare with this of Bohmian dialogue,

'The spirit of the inquiry involves an open space- it begins with the
premise that there is an implicate undivided wholeness, it consists in a
flow of meaning that requires a shared field of experience and attention,
and there is need to have a container built that respects the differences
and enjoys and cultivates the energies between the diverse elements.'

Sounds like a good hymn to me.

More might serve as a model privately and/or publicly with these two
worlds. Many think they should be kept apart and/or kept away. In a world
where everything is connected to everything down to its subtlest part, I
cannot imagine how. I cannot imagine why. Thomas More spoke and treated as
a lawyer to the most wretched of Londoners just the same as he treated
ambassadors and Princes. The proper administration of the world being
praised for its efficacy in supporting the 'uncouth and the uncunning'.
(He even gave wise advice to a woman who sought it as he took to the
scaffold for his beheading.) A fine example of Walking the Talk?

Much has been written recently of 'living organisations' and the CEO of
Scania who listens for the music in his organizations. Well we might read
these words below about Thomas More and ask if it fits. "More's great
theme was of mutability and transience, animated by a fervent desire to
'bere his body in erth, his mynd in heven,' deepened by the knowledge that
life passes 'as doth a dreme or a shadow on a wall.' This is the music
More carried within him always".

For 'the man for all seasons' as Erasmus called him, life was deep but a
game (one of the five sustainers of creativity) of sorts. Never the less
seeing in the corner of one eye transience and in the other eternity the
wider sense of BOTH visions enabled a powerful dynamic to occur within
him. The steering of a course both of self, royal court and nation that
could only be enhanced by the real and everyday view of London from south
of the river Thames that '-looked like an island of steeples'. -'He kept
in finely tuned balance,' like some proto Sengeian creative tension these
dual complementary vistas, '-the hollowness of the world and the delight
in the game. Out of that awareness and duality springs what was called,
the persistent doubleness of his vision'.


I sense a real undermining fear of the 'complexity within' as an
undercurrent to the organisational world, whether reflected here or
elsewhere. Yet on the other hand there is a real yearning toward something
un-namable but something faintly and fittingly 'sacred' that underpins the
great collective project that goes on here and elsewhere whatever we wish
as individuals, however beautiful or ugly we think our own song and dance.
The truly new is often found ugly, even by it's own creator making
acceptance of creative change doubly difficult. The tension of opposites

I think the world will have to clear itself of all traces of our human '
infirm projects' before this tension is slackened since, as More coined
it, -beware " Ye that put your trust and confidence/ In worldly joy and
frayle prosperitie."

"Qui nihil sum" (Thomas More)

We are told '-the poor will always be among you.' There are many ways to be
impoverished and poor. It may be found WITHIN/AMONG OURSELF as easily as
The wisdom of humility often realised among the past 'giants' it seems to me
is often in recognizing one's own 'smallness' and then one's own place is
more fitting to the whole.
In this willing diminution may lay dormant the seeds of potential growth,
even to greatness. I think it was Sir Isaac Newton who first said, " If I see
further it is only because I have stood upon the shoulder of giants."
(Bragg). I think this is in appreciation of past masters and our need to
attend to the wisdom we inherit from them.

Is not growing smaller growing just the same?
"I who am nothing."

As for being angry, Socrates said that being angry is not wrong but that the
art and practice of life is to know who to be angry with and why. Few have
the wisdom for that.
I reckon we ought to get most angry with/in ourselves first and we have more
reason for that than to get angry with others.
These things needs must run deep, no less a man than Dr. Sigmund Freud wrote,
" At bottom to say I hate you means no less than to say I love you."
We need to work this out among ourselves/PUBLICLY and within
ourself/PRIVATELY because otherwise I reckon we just keep designing and
building anger (UNFITTING/UGLY) somehow into the artifacts of life, family,
city, institutions and organisations right up to nations alike.
If I could build a house Thomas, I would do it for my family, my children. I
will CARE how I build because I care for whom I build; it is built with
bricks, timber and concrete though mostly in/out of LOVE. That is what
sustains it. That is what it would sustain.
It would be a place for children to grow. The word children becomes the word
kin, same root, leads to branching kindness, of a kind. -Mein kind/ My child.

Possibly, when we take CARE to build for OTHERS as we would care to build for
our OWN kin/children/kinder that is - all things out of COMMON KINDNESS for
COMMON GOOD -we may become able to reinstate the 'CRAFTS man SHIP' to create
a different kind of 'City on/in Earth' and we shall have created FITTING and
OPEN spaces, wherein we 'per pro' all our children do not fear to find the
ANGER we have left there waiting for them in the DARK and EMPTY spaces.

There are many kinds of cathedrals and churches in a living city. Martin
Luther had a vision that he spoke of, it was of a great cathedral with
vaulted roof but no visible or tangible pillars to support it. Maybe it was
held aloft by something greater than stone and mortar it was called FAITH and
it was invisibly suspended from above by LOVE, ONE to MANY. AGAPE.

A 'kinder-garten' on earth, that sounds familiar. You work it outŠ

No, let's 'work it out together' here, NOW, in the possibility space of the

Is that not a KIND of FITTING cathedral TO and FOR a new millennium?

Best wishes,

Andrew Campbell



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