Balancing Quantity and Quality LO22657
Fri, 10 Sep 1999 03:40:06 EDT

Dear Learners,

I believe the successful negotiation toward our collective future resides
increasingly in our ability to resolve the dilemma of and within our
understandings of quantity versus quality in almost every respect. What
follows is prompted specially in part by Winfried's remarks in relation to
the thread about notions of virtue. It is moved also by an undercurrent I
sense going on everywhere.

"A human being is part of the whole, called by us the universe. He
experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings, as something separated
from the rest-a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This
delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal
desires and to affection for a few persons nearest us. Our task must be to
free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to
embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty."
Albert Einstein

People with balance and poise in their 'total life' are rare. It can be
expressed in one form by saying '-my life is my work and my work my life.'
In such a life it can occasionally be impossible to see where the 'joins'

This implies a lack of boundaries and a willing openness. A welcoming of
and in diversity. A sign of virtue? A sign of growing toward wholeness? A
commenced spiral, open ended. Not the circle with its gestalt bound 'law
of closure'. Another symbol? A serpent devours its own tail. Meaning. Deep
creativity. LIFE and LOVE able to face DEATH. Depth psychology teaches
LOVE/DEATH are twins (EROS/THANATOS). Exemplified in artist's lives and
work by among others Michelangelo, Rilke, Goethe, and Jackson Pollock and
by such authors as Freud, Jung, Robert Graves, Marion Milner and Anton

In the esoteric traditions of eastern cultures the highest point of love
is a word translated as ' the small moment of death'. ENLIGHTENMENT.

This is significant since it speaks of the embodiment of an ideal. To work
as nature works.

"Knowledge of nature's patterns, -let's put away all the accounting and
economics books, discovering life as actualisation, discovering and
embodying nature's patters. That's what our work is." Thomas Johnson.
(S.o.L) Visionary and 'reformed' accountant.

Nature's joins are subtle indeed.

It is said that Christ's clothes were 'seamless'. This signified a
certain wealth. These garments were provided, so it is said, by women who
were 'sympathetic' to his vision.

What kind of 'wealth' is signified by a 'seamless life'?

A 'form' of empathy? Maybe a Confucian 'reciprocity'?

This speaks to me of integration. Symbols are integrative. Symbols are
multifarious in form and meaning. Symbols are of a ONE to MANY nature, as
are METAPHOR and PARABLES? Women are in my experience generally
integrative influences upon society and community.

All life (fruitful and diversifying change?) is a movement. Becoming
leading to Being.

A friend asks, "Have you ever wished you could be still for a moment?"

All human life is wrapped in a sense of ego.

A friend asked about getting to a place, "-beyond self and where self is

All human life it seems desires to continually escape itself.
Paradoxically the more fully existentially realised a human life is the
more it seems able to transcend itself. Remember Michelangelo?

I think there are two kinds of 'self'. The 'SIMPLE SELF' and the 'COMPLEX

SIMPLE SELF is (self) conscious and COMPLEX SELF is un (self) conscious

They are seamless opposites, but when we are at our best we can integrate
them. When we do this we transcend 1 + 1 , and move instead, as At de
Lange once put it, to a creatively different equation 1 + 1 3.[?? ..Host]

Time, self and life alike are to me rather like watercourses, brooks,
streams, tributaries, rivers, deltas and lakes. They are also rather like
currents of air, breezes, winds, gales, hurricanes, tornadoes and calms.

One CONTENT (MOVEMENT) wrapped or contained in many FORMS (STILLNESS).

"Stand still, let the wind speak; that is paradise." Ezra Pound. Isn't
this an expression of DIGESTIVE LEARNING?

Mankind as one 'content' (essence) desires, seeks and assumes many

His essence seems to be a change-ability within en-durability. When not
seeking a form of change he is all but dying to life's abundant and
enriching possibilities. Sensing this moment of 'stillness near' is one
signal to will oneself to some movement, any movement becoming / being
sufficient to initiate the possibility of re-newal. One can live for a
long time in this kind of 'suspended moment'; it can be a re-gathering or
re-kindling of the soul if we just keep breathing on the embers.

In order to do justice to each author's idea I need to offer two longer
quotations here. One by Peter Senge on the subject in the round of
'generative learning' and the same subject, but in a different form by
Vincent van Gogh written by that whirlwind of creative energy, desiring to
wrap the 'cosmos' into his little canvases and pen drawings as he skirted
the ragged edges of his opening and closing mind before he had woken up..

Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline The Art and Practice of, etc.

"People think they are free because of the absence of external
controls-but in fact they are prisoners of a deeper more insidious form of
bondage- they only have one way of thinking. Freedom to, rather than
freedom from is the freedom to create results, the results we truly
desire. It is the freedom that people who pursue personal mastery seek. It
is the heart of the learning organisation, because the impulse to
generative learning is the desire to create something new that has value
and meaning to people." "-The impulse towards openness is the spirit of
love. Not romantic love; that which underlies openness has little to do
with the emotions, what the Greeks called agape, a willingness to
vulnerability in the service of assisting others, a full and unconditional
commitment to another's completion, to being all she or he can be." "It
is in the suspension of certainty and prejudice in each other's presence,
which enables openness. A willingness to be changed and influenced; so
gaining access to depths of understanding not otherwise accessible. Such
qualitative relationships (of dialogue) lead to learningful relationships
which, among key members of staff can have extraordinary impacts on larger
organisations." (Reflective openness is a key counterpoint to
participative openness.) "It's not what the vision is, but what it does"
(Generative learning happens only when people strive to achieve something
that matters deeply to them, generative means in this sense creative,
expanding your ability to create.)"

Vincent van Gogh. Letters, (July 1880), several years prior to his birth
as a painter.

'On the other hand, there is the idle man who is idle in spite of himself,
who is inwardly consumed by a great longing for action but does nothing,
because it is impossible for him to do anything, because he seems
imprisoned in a cage, because he does not possess what he needs to become
productive, because circumstances bring him inevitably to that point. Such
a man does not always know what he could do, but he instinctively feels, I
am good for something, my life has a purpose after all, I know that I
could be quite a different man! How can I be useful, of what service can I
be? There is something inside of me, what can it be? One cannot always
tell what it is that keeps us shut in, confines us, seems to bury us;
nevertheless, one feels certain barriers, certain gates, and certain
walls. Is all this imagination, fantasy? I don't think so. And one asks-
My God! Is it forever; is it for all eternity? -And the prison is called
prejudice, misunderstanding, fatal ignorance of one thing or another,
distrust, false shame. -What frees one from this captivity? It is a very
deep, serious affection. Being friends, brothers, and love, that is what
opens the prison. -Without this one remains in prison. Where sympathy is
renewed, life is restored.'

Hmmm. So, really, beneath the surface what is the difference in the
messages and is there so much distance between them? Can you see the join!
Look, look carefully.

Wherein does personal integration lay? Is it openly and freely sleeping or
it is awake but imprisoned?

Andrew Wyeth, the celebrated modern American painter and draughtsman knows
to use one term, LOVE. "-One's art goes about as deep as one's love goes."

"DEEP". I do like that word. When we go 'deep' we play off disintegration
against integration.

DEEP is beyond social standing, age, colour, creed. DEEP is HUMANE. It is
a shared domain where we are all EQUAL.

We are preparing for an age of LEARNING and DEEP CREATIVITY in and out of
DESTRUCTION. Both in my understanding spring from the same PASSION.

As I view it organisationally we have to learn to play and swim deeply in
the twin streams of QUANTITY and QUALITY.

There was a time in the nineteen twenties and thirties when the arts and
industrial commerce joined on a deep and meaningful level. One artist who
benefited from living and working during that time was Paul Klee. A
poetic genius and a truly great 'painting master' and teacher. In his own
words he accounts creatively for the integration of the numerous duality's
including ONE and MANY, LI's in LO's, man and manKIND is set out clearly
as a creative credo.

"It is the aim and the will of humanity somehow to control its own
destiny, to know itself and clearly to establish its position in the
confusion of chaos. Finally, to save itself, if this expression still
means anything when confronted with an empty void. Nothingness, which
stretches beyond the horizons of life, impels man ineluctable to find a
solution here and now, within the uncertainty of the particular state of
his society and of the individual within society."

And then this signals for the creative artist (personality) the search for
qualitative values amongst quantitative experience (sense
perception-forms). What is this quality he speaks of? And how might you
or anyone obtain some first hand experience of it? Quality for Paul Klee
was expressed as, 'the ultimate product of the individuals unrepeatable
experience, -" (A higher order emergence?) "-One achieves it by
descending into the depths and by clarifying the secret springs of one's
actions, the myths and recollections lurking in the unconscious which
strongly influence consciousness and action." (Cross reference Confucian
teaching and Jungian insight?) " -The world we leave behind in this
descent, (which is also an ascent to higher spiritual forms), is the world
of quantities, the dead world of forms already used, the world of logic,
of positive science, of the masses of politics, the three dimensional
world, in which everything assumes proportional and quantitative
relations, the world of social classes characterised by degrees of power.
The world of qualities which then opens out the more one descends into the
unconscious depths, is not the world of already dead forms, but the world
of nascent forms, of formation, it is a world of unending organic
relations which are born of real encounters and are measured by the
effective strength with which each image (vision?) develops in particular
condition in space and time. In this way freedom is accomplished through
the creation of these images. The image will continue to live in the world
as a representation of the moment of the individuals authentic existence
in the world. It will be the password among individuals, a vital link
amongst members of a community." C. 1930's. Bauhaus, Germany.

It sounds like it ENTAILS us to enjoin BECOMING and BEING?

A leap of faith?

A friend once wrote of, '-integrating all parts of oneself so you can be
(come) truly who you are.' It seems much the same thing to me.

COMPLETE, COMPLEX and COMPLEXIFYING, like nature. Like a deepening life.
Like a deepening love. A beautiful double helix comes to my mind.

Einstein, Senge and van Gogh ask us to choose between FREEDOM and PRISON.

I wonder, is LIFE the FREEDOM we DESIRE or is DEATH the FREEDOM we DESIRE?
Is LIFE a PRISON that DESIRES us, or is DEATH a LIFE that FREES us? WHAT
is the attraction of a DEATH in LIFE that FREEDOM may desire it so much
and what is the attraction of a LIFE in DEATH that FREEDOM desires so very

I am sure the answer is lain deep in LOVE- CREATIVITY- AGAPE

Best wishes,

Andrew Campbell


Learning-org -- Hosted by Rick Karash <> Public Dialog on Learning Organizations -- <>