Re: Clinging and grasping LO2061

David E. Birren, MB/5, 608.267.2442 (
Wed, 12 Jul 1995 11:59 CST

Replying to LO2016 --

Responding to Jackie Mullen in Clinging and grasping LO2016:

Whew! Jackie, you said an infinite mouthful. I connect with everything
you said, but in particular:

>... It seems to me that people can get in the way of their own learning when
>too much is at stake for their feelings of self-worth.

Indeed! I recommend the book _Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience_
by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi as a good description of getting past the ego
and becoming absorbed into an activity without losing oneself to it. I
suspect an example of what you're saying is when Mike McMaster's sister
couldn't learn a difficult piano passage until he distracted her by having
her focus on something unrelated to the music (he touched her back). From
my own musical experience I'd say she was self-consciously trying to learn
and couldn't do it until she "relaxed".

Perhaps to be a true learning organization, an org. must become
unself-conscious about its learning efforts - in other words, develop a
culture that just does the right stuff without making a big deal out of

> For me, just as I understand that "eternal truths" are ultimately
>unknowable, that theories are at best approximations...

There's a strong connection here with the recent thread on implicit and
explicit knowledge.

> If we use the metaphorical construct of evolving systems attaining
>greater levels of complexity to imagine ourselves, then, one, there are no
>reference points.

I don't know about this. Meaning comes from how we define and interpret
our place in the world, whether "we" are individuals or organizations.
The reference point is the dynamic balance that always exists among the
components of the universe. Ask yourself how you fit into that balance
and you have your reference point.

Thanks for sharing the quote from "The Embodied Mind" and the comment that
a bookstore need not generate angst. These thoughts will help me as I
navigate the stacks, but I will still wish to read more than I have time

Thanks again, Jackie - your message is a keeper.

David E. Birren                              Phone:    (608)267-2442
Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources         Fax:      (608)267-3579
Bureau of Management & Budget                Internet:
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It is not necessary to change; survival is not mandatory.
--W. Edwards Deming