When boundaries collapse LO23006

AM de Lange (amdelange@gold.up.ac.za)
Tue, 26 Oct 1999 13:47:43 +0200

Replying to LO22987 --

Dear Organlearners,

Andrew Campona < ACampnona@AOL.COM > writes on

>What moves me?
>The sheer beauty of this,
>>For me one of the greatest tasks of all members of any LO
>>is not to break away impermeable walls prematurely, but to
>>help each other to become prepared for the day when the
>>breaking of that wall cannot be prevented any more. In other
>>words, the task of the LO is not to remove the boundary most
>>impermeable to it and thus to make it effectively boundaryless,
>>but to prepare people by creating learning, believing and loving
>>for the day when that boundary ceases to exist. Should we
>>have no love for each other when the wall breaks up, we will do
>>the vilest of things rather than serve each other with love as our
>>helmsman and bridel.

Greetings Andrew,

Shame on you for putting Rick in dispair -- what subject name to select.
But also congratulations for not selecting a subject name because names
creates boundaries!

[Host's Note: Somehow, I get by... Rick]

I hope that the name which I have selected, will not create too much of a
boundary, yet still allow us to do key word searches.

You find that paragraph sheer beauty. I was intensely aware of something
else -- describing the immense predicament of South Africans as a result
of doing away with apartheid. Most South Africans, white (some claim it
is a lie) and black (some claim it were all of them) wanted to get rid of
apartheid. But few on all sides were sufficiently prepared to transform
South Africa into a new civilisation. Why?

Because of apartheid we had so few LOs operating during the last years of
it. (Little, including LOs, can emerge when wholeness is will fully
impaired -- apartheid is a willful impairing of wholeness.) Furthermore,
those years were prior to Senge's publication of the Fifth Discipline.
Now, with apartheid gone and too little prepration before and after its
collapse, we have one of the highest crime rates in the world. As a result
foreign investment is at a record low. People wonder how much love there
is still left over in South Africa.

How do I know that it is a lack of LOs before and after the collapse of
apartheid which brought South Africans in their present predicament? How
many ordinary folk know about LOs and the five disciplines? I do something
which some people will judge as the worst kind of distortion of ideas
possible, but which I see as a kind of translation ("systemic
translation") I do it as follows when reading a in depth report or
listening to an actuality program.

(1) What these people are doing, is to articulate their intuitive
knowledge into explicit knowledge. Everybody assumes
that everybody else is doing it so perfectly that any
possibility of failure in doing it can be ignored. They use a
system of definite tokens (like picturesque words, colloquial
phrases and metaphors) to express it.
(2) Actually these people are trying to emerge from their
individual tacit knowledge to shared formal knowledge.
Their emergences are seldom mature and frequently
even fail to emerge. Thus they cling to tokens which
they believe will transform and carry a deformed message
into one perfectly understandable.
(3) Since it is not possible to go into dialogue with them, try
to fathom what tacit knowledge they really wanted to
articulate and communicate. In other words, let their
actual translations collapse and then try to translate
their frequently used tokens into the terminology of different
systems dynamics to see which system fits best.

The dynamics of Learning Organisations and somewhat also Soft Systems
seems to give the best translation. An example of a frequently used token,
is the word "democracy" (not the actual one, but the idea). People will
often describe the patterns innate to the "democracy" they need. These
patterns usually correspond remarkedly to that which we observe in a LO.
When they discuss the pattern which has to do with Team Learning, they
will often use words like "consultation" and "grass-roots".

So Andrew, when you figure me to ask:

>'All that I have written, eh? So, in all that I have written, tell me
>if you read best the black or the white parts!'

and then reply with

>'Ah, yes. Indeed! I have always found that it is the white parts
>that enable the black parts.'
>They understood each other and the vision collapsed for another
>to take its place.

you are very close to when I "listen deeply" to what the people of South
Africa are saying. Again I have to stress that it is how I translate what
they are trying to say. To know for sure what they are saying and whether
it corresponds to my translation, I have to go in free dialogue with them
and establish a common system of understanding. This "common system of
understanding" changes from dialogue to dialogue, depending very much on
every member participating in a particular dialogue.

>Now the both are too twogether (;-) and beside the deathbed of
>one who had collapsed in some form of envisioned reality. The
>living one kissed him. He then closed his eyes 'To keep the visions

What a powerful metaphor to describe what happens when we allow our formal
knowledge to collapse back into tacit knowledge.

>When he was good and gone I approached, with due caution
>and asked his ghost for a gift.

Yes, it is a rather a ghostly business when we let form collapse into
content so as to arrive at new form -- the gift. (Andrew, do you still
remember that I have written that this is what the art of mathematics is
to me?)

>I thought that extra-ordinarily FITTING.
>The FORM is the VISION.
>You cannot [I think] keep visions within, they are by nature

Yes, visions depict all the INTERaction between SY (the system) and SU
(the surrounding). Any symbolic expression which depict a vision should
have a token refering to SY and a token refering to SU. On the other, does
any symbolllic expression which have a token related to SY and a token
related to SU not beg a translation into a vision?

To show again an example of the "systemic translation"
which I have used above, but now with respect to your
"vision without/within", let us observe the symbolic expressions
/_\E(sy) + /_\E(su) = 0
/_\S(sy) + /_\S(su) > 0
How are they different? Let us allow their technical meanings
to collapse and thus look at them naively. The "E =" of the first
expression gets replaced by the "S >" of the second
expression. It seems as if the E got replaced by the S and
the = by the >. We are lured into assuming that both
expressions tell one and the same thing. Yet we know that
they are completely different. I have often told their messages
and I know that few fellow learners have grasped it. So let us
allow these unsuccessful formalities collapse.

So, if they tell different things, what do they tell? Here is a possible
"systemic translation". The first one tells about "being" (the E) and
"protection" (the =) while the second one tells about "becoming" (the S)
and "production" (the >). The first one is about accountancy as viewpoint
while the second one is about economy as viewpoint. They say that every
business SY in a market SU needs an accountancy [E,=] viewpoint and an
economy viewpoint [S,>]. The accountancy E conserve the assets of the
business through protection while the economy S promotes the assets
through production.

Andrew, is this not fantastic -- by preparing ourselves for a collapse of
an impermeable boundary, we get a vision of relationships which astound
the mind -- the opportunity to ask the ghost a gift. Should we rub the
lamp long enough, the genie may not appear, but its side wall will
eventually collapse by wear and tare, releasing the genie.

I want to end by telling about a strange feature scattered around in
Africa with its many kinds of big animals. They are not plenty, but they
are impressive to see once you allow yourself to think beyond the obvious
formalities. We call them in my mothertongue "lunsklip". The literal
translation is "luns"=arse, "klip"=rock. The big animals (like elephants,
rhinocerus and buffalo) need to rub themselves like all other animals
because of irritating parasites, especially at the back side. But they
need big, strong things to take that rubbing. A sheer rock sticking out of
the soil like an obelisk and at least six feet high is the perfect thing
to rub the back against. Big animals know where these "lunsklippe" are
and will pay them a visit when necessary. After millions of rubbings
through thousands of years the lunsklip loses most of its form, except its
obelisk shape and smooth surface.

When I stumble onto a "lunsklip" in the wild, now in disuse because of
human boundaries excluding the roaming of wild game, I stop, gase at it,
touch it and try to sense its deeper meaning. I often ask myself. "Are our
love so great that we will allow ourselves to become a lunsklip for others
to relieve themselves from their irritation?"

What is a LO without a "lunsklip"?

Best wishes


At de Lange <amdelange@gold.up.ac.za> 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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