Protection LO22652

Leo Minnigh (
Wed, 15 Sep 1999 14:24:54 +0200 (MET DST)

New subject, but cordially linked by many strings to other contributions.

Dear LO'ers,

Various contributions have progressed from different positions towards a
common focal point. It has relations with content/form, competitors,
inside/outside, love/agape, etc.
All those different themes in a variety of contributions seem to sketch a
picture of a MANY -> ONE relationship: all focussing to a central theme:

The Many -> one relation is probably another definition of systems
The issue of 'protection' was already for a long time breeding in my head.
There are so much former contributions to link with, but I decided to
start it as a new subject.

Protection is an issue that plays a crucial role in life, thus in
organizations too. But the issue is so complex and so much lines towards
oher topics radiate from this central keyword that I realise that I cannot
oversee this whole spectrum. How shall we call this way of thinking: one
-> many? Is this divergent thinking?

So let me first exclude one side of this spectrum: all those lines which
have to do with "attack is the best defence"- theories.
No, I rather like to restrict myself to passive protection.

I shall first mention some types of protection that we could find in the
living world around us. In the same time I will mention some parallels
with (business) organizations. Then I will say some words on the
relationship between outside and inside. And finally, I touch the
sensitive theme of love and agape.
This latter subject is related to the invitation of At de Lange in his
contribution LO22626 (Confucianism: String theory and the Net):
>Yes, the wonderful interaction between the "world-outside-me" and the
>"world-inside-me". I wonder what Winfried Dressler and Leo Minningh
>(should be Minnigh) would say about it because they have indicated on so
>many occasions how much they contemplate this interaction.

The link to this contribution is only one of the strings that form the web
(net) of this subject.

The jelly fish
Like all 'primitive' life forms, the jelly fish has seemingly no
protection against the cruel world around them. I have hyphenized the word
'primitive'; is the life of e.g. a unicellular organism so primitive, if
this organism is able to survive with all its functions, wheras we - human
beings - need billions of cells to struggle forward? And mind you, the
jellyfish has already various organs, a nerval and muscular system, a
digestive tract, etc; some of the organs five fold, others unique.
The beauty of the jellyfish is fabulous. It is an animal consisting of a
bunch of cells without a tough cellular walls as plants have, there is no
bone inside, or a shield outside. Only transparency. And that is one of
its means of protection! The mimicry with its surroundings. The
invisibility. The other means of protection is its poison. Scavengers will
experience this. The jelly fish, seemingly unprotected and vulnerable, but
it is able to survive.
The jelly fish is able to propagate, but its ability to influence its
direction is very limited. Fleeing is not possible. No, its colourlessness
and way of movement is in perfect balance with its surroundings.

If we look around us, we are able to find the 'jelly fishes' under our
colleagues and under various organizations. They are difficult to observe,
colorless, because of their mimicry and because of their extreme
flexibility. However they 'float' passively on the currents of
progression; they are hardly able to find their independent way. But don't
try to attack them. You may be poisened.

The tree
Plants do have a strong protection. Their cells have strong walls of
cellulose. However, plants cannot flee. They are immobile. But is this so?
One of the other ways of protection is that the tree is elastic. It could
survive very strong wind forces. It is a nice example of 'give some, and
take some'. It is able to bend with the wind. Very rigid trees have hard
times during strong winds.
So flexibility, but no mobility.
They have little or no protection against the knive of the boy who cut a
heart-and-arrow in the bark of the tree. The chain saw of the forrester is
deadly. Fire is deadly for all life forms. But there is only fire, when
there is wood.
Can we find the people and the organizations that use flexibilty as their
way of protection and survival (but immobility as their vulnerability)?

The rose
Cilche for love and beauty. It attracts the attention, no mimicry; on the
contrary. Flexible and immobile as the tree. But they have an extra
protection: thorns. Like the jelly fish, the rose will wound the
scavenger. Don't attack, the prey has its passive defence system.
Like the hedgehog and porcupine, and the sea-urchin.
Can you immagine the people and organizations who say: "don't come too
close to me, otherwise you will be wounded"?

The elephant
The only obvious means of protection of the pachydermata is the thick
skinn. Flexible, somewhat mobile, no defence system that will wound the
scavenger. Nearly all these animals use also their size as means of
protection. If one is very big, one is not a attractive prey. But the
great size hamper the mobility. Lots of multi national organizations fall
in this catagory: difficult to penetrate, but heavy, clumsy, cumbersome.

The colony, herds
As we have seen, size might be a good protector, despite the decrease of
mobility. Clustering of small individuals into a organized group is a
common phenomenon. The individual buffeloe might develop a larger speed
than if it is part of a herd.
In organizations we see this way of protection too. Cartels are an
example. Also the European Union falls in this catagory.

The gazelle
Very vulnerable if immobile. But thanks to its ability to develop large
speed, it is able to flee. Fleeing to a save area.
Sometimes these animals use also the herd-technique.
Maybe we can compare these way of protection with the 'job-hopper'. As
soon as it becomes too dangerous in one place, they move quickly to

The ale
Simmilar to the former example. But here it is the grease, the slippery
behaviour that characterize the protection. Fleeing is not necessary,
these creatures are intangible.
Do we have 'ales' in our organization?

The inkfish
These animals make themselves unfindable by fleeing in a cloud of mist. It
is something else than mimicry (becoming one with the surroundings). No
the inkfish is not invisible, but untraceable. Like the Awac. The
my(i)stifying technique is a common technique of protection.

The skunk
Making oneself unattractive is another technique for protection. It is the
soft harnasse. The good thing is that flexibility and mobility are still
in use.

The sea shell and the crab
A harnasse and the shield are maybe the best known ways of protection.
Here too, the mobility is bad, but flexibility too. We have seen this in
the old wars in the old continent: the knights in harnasses, the tanks and
armoured cars. The sea shells and cockles protect themselves against the
armoured pincers of the crab. If the protection breaks, they are lost. The
crab is somewhat mobile and could hide itself.

Well, so far some ways of protection.
Protection is necessary because of the interaction between organism
(arganization) and surroundings, the inside and the outside; the system
and the universe.
Protection is needed for survival. It is the battle between order (inside)
and chaos (outside). Order itself does not need protection a priori (see
the Digestor LO ), but since the outside disorder because of its volume
has power as well, extra protection will be necessary.

The keywords above are: flexibility, mobility, detectability and size.
Most of these individual principles have influence on eachother. For
instance, size has negative influence on mobility and detectability.

But did we not forgot another completely different way of protection?
Yes we did. Together we are stronger than separate. Thus making friends.
In some way this looks like the colony or herd. But it is different. The
herd is mainly build on the principle of enlargement of the size,
friendship has the principle of neutralizing the potential enemies through
giving and taking (love). It is the active interaction with the
surroundings. The activity to maintain a flow from the outside inward, and
vise versa. This flow will cause on BOTH sides emergencies. If the flow is
only in one direction, one side will lack emergencies. A good thing to
mention here is that an emergency only developes at the side towards the
flow progresses.
How to maintain a flow?
Last year we had on this list a very interesting discussion on push and
pull, rejection and attraction. Push forces will spread, pull forces
concentrate. See LO20246 and the very interesting reply of Jon Krispin
(are you still there, Jon?) LO20307.
Back to love. Love is a strange thing. It is mainly maintained by the
attraction on the out-of-me. A flow runs out of your body. If it is a ONE
to ONE love (eros), this flow could be unidirectional. No flow comes back.
Only the arrow of Amor will hit you in the heart.
Why could this happen? Because you opened yourself, no protection could
save you. Opening-up makes you vulnerable. Only if this arrow is the flow
of love from out-of-me towards you, emergencies may develop within you.
So, the shields and harnasses are destroyed by the flow running out of you
towards the other. But you may become a victim for arrows.

With agape (unconditional love, ONE to MANY) it could even be worse. You
may receive the arrows from all sides. If your love, generously flowing
out of you is not resulting in love flows backward from the out-of-me,
than it could be your end.

And this is what puzzles me. As soon as you open yourself to let the love
flow run out of you, you become a weak creature, pray for the arrows. How
to protect oneself against this? I think I found part of the answer. Your
own produced flow, escaping towards the outside world could only be
maintained of it is permanently feeded. Your free energy must be kept on a
certain level. A healthy live is one answer. But how to feed the thoughts?
Game playing, art expression, dialoguing, etc.? The sustainers of
creativity. Are these enough?

It is a serious question. Because this may happen in organizations as
well. How do they keep the balance between openness and protection? Do
they keep some secrets of their production methods? Do they protect
themselves against business intelligence from the outside. Do they protect
their employees against the scavenger compatitors? Is this not against the
principles of a LO, an open organization?

Agape sounds very nice. However, give me some help to keep myself in
order. To live as a jelly fish seems nice: flexible and one with the
environment, the seemingly perfect way of balance between
the-world-outside-me and the-world-inside-me. But I hardly see this as
agape. And although I love onions and garlic, I refuse to eat these
permanently to become a skunk. I have no hesitation to open myself, but to
be hurt by arrows is a painful experience.

dr. Leo D. Minnigh
Library Technical University Delft
PO BOX 98, 2600 MG Delft, The Netherlands
Tel.: 31 15 2782226
Let your thoughts meander towards a sea of ideas.


Leo Minnigh <>

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