Re: Distinctions LO1199

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Sat, 13 May 1995 20:13:54 +0059 (EDT)

Replying to LO1055 --

On 4 May 1995, Doug Seeley wrote:

> ...Making
> distinctions is a process which as it refines and becomes more subtle, it
> goes deeper and deeper within and without.

Yes. This is one place where, lately, I always picture zooming in on a
Mandelbrot-set graphic. Of _course_, I say to myself, there is no end to
the distinctions we could make. And they're all really there to be made,
too (at least if we're good at what we do). The distinctions are not
imaginary. But they may possibly lie beyond most everybody's threshold of
intellectual perception. They may lie beyond the threshold of what is
practically necessary too. But that is a different issue from the issue
of whether they're objective.

This is an exciting prospect.
Ultimately, there are
> fundamental distinctions which can be made (although this sounds
> reductionistic like some Theories of Everything,...

Rest easy as far as I'm concerned. Doesn't sound reductionist at all.
The fundamental distinctions are (keeping to my mandelbrot-set image) the
shapes that are left when you squint your eyes and all the detail has
dropped away. The fundamental ones are the _inescapable_ ones.

> really isn't); these
> are distinctions between what and who We truly are as ultimate individuals
> (not to be confused with what the Buddhists warn about which are the
> sublter aspects of the ego). Which brings me to your "(almost ex-) wife"
> and the learning organization....
[ ... snip, down to another topic... ]

> ...conventional organizations...
> iv) believe that averaging and
> aggregation is always a valid method to achieve an overview of the
> organization's performance.
> It is in iv) especially, that the misleading distinctions which are
> generated by conventional measurement and accounting practice ignore the
> importance of the individual's contribution to the organization. In times
> of recession and minimal growth, this practice does irreparable damage to
> people without really accounting for the bottom line. It seems to me that
> this is analogous to the situation where I think that my intellectual
> distinction is more important than contact with the individual actually
> facing me.

Note that the problems associated with "making distinctions" are
antisymmetric to the problems of "information flow" in organizations. In
the one case we are trying to understand how ideas become complex; in the
other how they become (or are rendered) simple.

Jim Michmerhuizen
: : : : : : : Ideas are cheap; : : \ : : : :
: : : : : Good ideas don't cost any more than lousy ones. : : : : :
: : : It's distinguishing them that's expensive. : : :