Linear thinking & the Mind LO22998

AM de Lange (
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 09:42:02 +0200

Replying to LO22968 --

Dear Organlearners,

Chuck Wallace < > writes:

>Thanks for the enlightening reply concerning complexity thinking
>and the mind. I enjoyed it immensely! However, your reply sparks
>another question... (actually several).

Greetings Chuck,

Thanks for the appreciation.

It was but my thinking. Complexity is for me the all the perceptions of
all people through all times. Thus, to understand complexity, I at least
least try to understand other peoples thinking. But what do I mean by
understand? I use each of the seven essentialies to trace a course of
understanding. Take wholeness for example. I try to oberseve how that
person relates some topic to every other topic which he/she has mentioned
in a discourse.

>1) Since the basis for LOs are the learning "agents", How do
>we as individuals break away from our structure of language
>which limits our thoughts and ties us with the past? How do
>we transcend, Quantum leap or avalanche through (catastrophe
>theory) our current culture while simultaneously living within it?

This is a very good question. Let us first look at natural languages.

Dozens of languages are spoken here in South Africa. They may be arranged
into three major groups: African, European and Asian. I find that a
person who can express himself/herself in more than one language is
usually less prone to linear thinking. People who can speak more than ten
languages here is an absolute delight to communicate with. Thus, to break
away from the structures imposed by the mothertongue, I would first
suggest studying a second language.

But even when we can communicate in several natural languages, we still
articulate/express ourselves only in terms of natural languages. We also
need to articulate ourselves in at least one artificial language. The best
example which I can think of, is mathematics. Unfortunately, it is with
mathematics very much like natural languages -- excessive training in the
grammer and liitle opportunity for semantics, i.e to express one's own
thoughts. Another example of an artificial language is symbolic logic,
one which I will strongly encourage. Our acquaintance with an artificial
language helps us to think more freely (non-linearly) in a natural

When we communicate in natural and artificial languages, we still
articulate ourselves in terms of a standard token system. Standard here
means that the system has a grammer and ortography which all its users
agree to accept before giving meaning. We also need to articulate
ourselves in a non-standard token system. Examples are the various media
used by the fine arts: music, painting and sculpturing. Here the grammer
is not used to carry meaning, but meaning used to suggest new grammers.
Our acquaintance with an artistic language helps us to think more freely
(non-linearly) in a natural and artificial langauges.

However, after all which I have said, we must try to understand that we
communicate in human-made systems: natural, artificial and artistic. How
about expressing ourselves in systems which are able to function
independently of humans? Consider the cultivation of succulent plants as
an example. I know hundreds of cutivators of succulent plants. I find
great pleasure in observing how a cultivator express him/herself in terms
of succulent plants and how that corresponds to the cultivator's usage of
language and the thinking which underlies it. One really can write a book
on this topic.

You ask "How can we transcend our culture while living in it". I have
given some examples above. But they are all topic related. That is also a
kind of linear thinking. The best way to avoid this linear thinking as a
result of topic based thinking is to jump feet to head into a world
different from the one which we are used to. This is what I think young
people should do while they still can do it. Travel to as different as
possible culture and ecology on your own continent and try to live there
for at least a month taking as little as possible of your own world with
you. Try to travel to different continent and stay there for year or so,
making a living out of what you encounter enroute.

I think that it is here that we can play a great LO role. Tell young
people from another country that you are willing to give them a healthful
place and friendship while they try to make a living in your country. Tell
them clearly that they should not expect or try to make a living out of
you, but pay for whatever expenses they want to have from you. What you
offer them are "healthship" and friendship, the two things which they need
most, but which money cannot buy.

>2) When I am in my most enlightened moments, my mind acts
>more like a "receiver" instead of a producer. That is, I tend to
>intuit or see past my self but it involves listening and non-action
>Vs effort and becoming or pushing. Can our minds learn to
>receive beyond our 5 senses the various other "fields of
>information" that exist? Are we ready to see Bohm's
>"Implicated Order" or Jung's "collective unconscious"?

I know exactly what you mean. A gradual opening up until we communte fully
with the world outside us, thus maximising our experiences. This is
extremely important to gain in tacit knowledge. People are intrigued by
how tacit kowledge gets articulated into formal knoweldge, in other words,
what becomes of tacit knowledge. But few people ever ask themselves how
their tacit knowledge came into existence. It is not something which
appear miraculously out of nothing. Its appearing is like that of a genie
-- it needs some rubbing of the lamp. That lamp is ourselves and we need
to rub against the world outside us. We need to refill our tacit knwoeldge
whenever we use some of it for generating formal knowledge.

Each of our 5 sense deal with great sensitivity to specific entropy
producing force-flux pairs. For example, the ears deal with pressure
differences (entropic force) and volume flows (entropic flux) combined
into sound waves. But there are many more entropic force-flux pairs
operating between our body and the world outside it. We do not have
specific organs to deal with them since they occur in most organs. For
example, electric potential (force) and electric current (flux). Yet they
have an influence on us.

For example, in the desert the air is very dry and thus large static
electrical flieds can be maintained after having been generated by winds.
By walking through these electrical fileds, they induce currents in the
body because of the electrolytic nature of our blood. When I walk from the
dry desert air into the humid air closely around a water hole or river, I
can feel this decrease in electrolyte currents and hence how my body
becomes equilibrated as a result of less entropy production. The result is
desribed by that wonderful word "peace". One can even observe that unusual
peace among animals around such a water source.

Importing (receiving) and producing are two major facets of "becoming".
Becoming itself is together with "being" major facets of the essentiality
liveness. When we think of outcomes such as creations, knowledge, faith
and love, we think of "beings" rather than "becomings". Thus we are
inclined to underestimate or neglect the role of "becomings". For example,
we seldom ask ourselves where/what does knowledge come from and to
where/what does knowledge go. Many people are still sensitive to learning
as the "becoming" which leads to knowledge. But what lies beyond the
learning. What "becoming" is transformed by learning into knowledge? Once
we extend this pattern to the one side, why not to the other side also?
What "becoming" transforms "knowledge" into what "being"?

It is indeed a paradigm shift to think not of "being" and "becomings"
seperately, but of "becoming-being" wholes which commute with each other
to form a web of nested "becoming- being" wholes. To give an example, we
do not think of learning as a "becoming" and knowledge as a "being", but
of learning-knowledge as one "becoming-being" whole. I would simply call
it "deep knowledge", but I suspect that Deming had just such an idea in
mind with his "profound knowledge".

Chuck, thank you for your questions on more receiving with greater

When I studied for a teacher some thirty years ago, one lecturer (dr
Kruger) gave us some very simple advice. He said: "Kids are incredibly
sensitive receivers -- ignore it and you will fail as teachers".

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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