Great Chain of Distinctions LO1130

Doug Seeley (
09 May 95 11:42:14 EDT

Replying to John Snyder in LO1083, 1084, 1085....

... on your responses about the Shadow, the Great Chain, and Overcoming...

I feel like there is another trickster at work here, cunningly contrasting
levels and opposites so that we might become more conscious of the

(parenthically (sic) I have not read Argyris, but will search him out)

John says... " It is the great error of the Sophists and the Philosophers
(in our time, especially the dominant British/American/Australian school
of "analytic philosophy," and, ironically, their worst enemies the
"deconstructionists.") Uncritical adulation of elegant distinction-making
falsely absolves us of the responsibility to test our distinctions in
action and to discard those that do not contribute to our survival and the
enrichment of our lives. "

I think it very important what You have said about the multiplicataion of
distinctions, and in my paraphrase of "uncritical adulation of elegant
distinction-making", the intellectual's narcissistic self-indulgence of
distinctions as a reflection of Mom's "Oh, what a clever boy/girl are
You." This perception of the Shadow role of making distinctions,
identifies it as the very thing which screws up relationships for

John says... "Success in practical matters (e.g., building learning
organizations) will go not to the one who can weave the densest and
subtlest web of distinctions, but to the one who knows "the right stuff"
-- that economical, precise, and illuminating set of concepts and skills
that get the job done. That is what we must seek....."

Making Distinctions about Distinctions...

As I think Tim Sullivan might have been getting at, and what I was groping
around about, is that there are a) distinctions which just further more
and more identification, and hence more distance from our shared
Wholeness, and b) distinctions which are useful in the Occam's Razor
manner which You have pointed out, which can really lead us to the
transcendence of distinctions. However, as often, I believe that there is
an ultimate paradox to be faced in this, which leads me to your Great
Chain of Distinctions....

Seriously, John are You really nudging Us to go down this Babelian path
which is probably at least as complex, intertwined, and seductive as the
Genome project?? Or are You trying to get Us to see the Cosmic Joke behind
the hide-and-seek of distinction making??

Anyhow, I enjoy the play, and have spent a enjoyable few years with this

The Chain which I have come to know starts differently, but with the
paradox alluded to above... It starts with the ancient's fascination with
the One and the Many, which became amongst others I am sure, monotheism
and polytheism, and more in our Systems context, the Part and the Whole.
The unnameable, unspeakable and direct "Final Freeing Forever" as You (and
Lao Tzu) have reminded Us, is the ever-returning source...

1st: is the One / Many (without time, space, energy, bodies..)

2nd: distinguishing the many... Oneness / Uniqueness ... the emergence of
Space & Consciousness

3rd: indirect connection... Spirit / Physical ... the emergence of Time
& Order


Hence John, working backwards from the Final Freeing Forever for me, gets
into metaphysical categories, consciousness and mind before it gets into
incarnation in bodies, and all of our useful human distinctions... but
these distinctions are just more gloss on Narcissus' reflection in the
mirror of the lake, unless I ground the process of reviewing the Emergence
of Distinctions in my direct and present awareness (mindfulness).

Thanks for the nudges and evocations...

P.S. in addition to Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form, I have found the
following to be useful source material in this area..

Francisco Varela.... Not One, Not Two (Co-evolution Quarterly.. many years

Louis Kauffman... Self-Reference and recursive forms..
J.Social.Biol.Struct. 1987 10, 53-'72

Douglas Flemons... Completing Distinctions.. Shambala 1991

Doug Seeley:  compuserve 100433,133... Fax: +41  22  756  3957
	InterDynamics Pty. Ltd. (Australia) in Geneva, Switzerland
	"Integrity is not merely an ideal; it is the only reality."