Re: Outliners/agenders LO2852

Sun, 17 Sep 1995 08:09:25 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO2812 --

On Thu, 14 Sep 1995 wrote:

Kent writes:

> I gave a presentation yesterday that turned out very well, partly because
> my plans for making it serial and orderly were thwarted. I didn't have
> time to make overhead slides, and conversation just before the
> presentation induced me to insert contextual material. What I had to work
> with was a marvelously huge white board. I wrote notes as I presented
> segments, and interesting connections started bouncing around between the
> segments. I was learning things as I talked. The academic systems
> thinkers in the audience loved it, but I suspect the others were disturbed
> by the untidiness and uncertainty. Perhaps that's not bad.
> Richard S. Carson Assocs, Falls Church, VA

Kent, it appears that you are a Virginia taxpayer, who helps indirectly to
pay my salary. I am happy to tell you (and the list) that I am giving a
paper in Phoenix at the annual meeting of the Association for Integrative
Studies on September 30, titled "Procrustes is Alive and Well, and is
Teaching in the English Department", or something close to that.

You probably know the story of the ancient inkeeper called Procrustes, who
provided overnight lodging. If the traveler was larger than the bed,
Procrustes trimmed the traveler down to fit the bed. If the traveler was
too short to fill up the bed, Procrustes stretched them to make them take
fulluse of his facilities. (In this way, he felt he was delivering full
value, I suppose.)

In this paper I point out that the linearity of prose is iterative,
applying erqually well to individual symbols, words, phrases, sentences,
paragraphs, sections, chapters, books, encyclopedias, and any higher

I show some typical patterns involving "problematiques" (structures
showing how members of a set of problems interrelate) as examples of the
kind of communication that is required to help people comprehend patterns
of complexity. Such structures are real-life versions of the small
graphics appearing in THE FIFTH DISCIPLINE.

The struggle is on. Force universities to teach graphical communication
that is attuned to complex patterns, as part of their work in trying to
help people learn how to communicate about complexity.