Re: Leadership Can Be Taught? LO2244

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Wed, 26 Jul 1995 21:40:57 +0059 (EDT)

Replying to LO2169 --

On Thu, 20 Jul 1995, Andrew Moreno wrote:
> Replying to LO2134 --
[ I had written... ]
> >Oh yes I do like that. This observation of yours ties together
> >a surprising range of things, Andrew, from Aristotle's definition of
> >comedy to that little side-thread of a week or so ago on the "Feast of
> >Fools".

[ ... and Andrew replied: ]
> Can you specify what those things are that I've tied together? I
> want to flip through each of the books on them. I haven't studied
> Aristotle yet so I don't know what you're referring to.

Oops. Sorry. Aristotle had pointed out that, in drama, we experience
tragedy primarily through our _identification_ with the protagonist,
whereas we experience comedy primarily as a _distancing_. In this
context, I connect the comedic distancing with "seeing ourselves as other
see us" -- from the outside, objectified. And I'm seeing that, in turn,
as a crucial necessary stage on the way to naming our individual and
collective patterns of conduct. This "naming", as I see it, is a
component of each move from one of those learning levels to another.

It might even be reasonably argued that this distancing, objectification,
that Aristotle associated with comedy and humor is critical in a learning
organization. Look, for example, at the different kinds of systemic
feedbacks that Senge describes in the Fifth Discipline. Picture _any_
group of people seeing their own conduct, for the first time, as
instancing one of these loops. The more vividly I imagine this, the more
certain it seems that the moment of their mutual insight will bring
laughter, jokes, wit, and good humor. It is _impossible_ to imagine such
a moment as consisting of solemn notetaking, outlines, handshakes, and
parliamentary procedures.

     Jim Michmerhuizen
     web residence at
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