Dealing with complexity LO6490

Manuel Manga (
Sun, 7 Apr 96 17:35 EST

Replying to LO6398 -Dealing with Complexity.

Rick Karash asked for clarification between the "Natural world" and
the "Human world", based on the distinction that I made earlier about
those two worlds. Rick also asked for an example of "Simplicity"
in contrast to Complexity.

Rick, Let me start with a little philosophical history. The Cartesian
legacy gave us the dualism of subject and object, body and mind, human
beings and the natural world. Given that dualism, people like
Francis Bacon were able to see the natural world as "Object/resouces"
to be exploited and made into good products. In that sense Descartes
has been given credit as one of the founders of Capitalism. The earth/
natural world was perceived as this huge "Treasure Chest" from which
human beings could extract the resources and unlimited goods.
More and More we are beginning to recognized how entrenched our
civilization is into that Cartesian worlview.

So, we are also beginning to recover our connection with the natural
world. At this time we are also fortunate to have some new scientific
insights into the biology and cognition of human beings. H. Maturana
in his book The Tree of Knowledge, explains the closure of the nervous
system, our cognitive blind spots, so our perception reveals and conceals.
Now, we can all agree that the sky is blue, that we are connected to
the biosphere, that we are part of the evolutionary natural drift.
As far as our "human world", our biology and nervous system shows that
our uniqueness of being human is in our social structural coupling
that occurs through languaging. Maturana & Valera say " Every human
act takes place in language". "Every act in language brings forth a
world created with others in the act of coexistance". So for us human
beings there isn't just the world as if there was one "Objective "
the world. For us human beings there are many worlds that we bring forth

Rick, in your message you say "Perhaps I should have said ...".unless
we can better understand our complex world" since I don't mean to
imply that it can ever be understood fully. " So by complex world
do you mean the Human world ? the Natural world ? or a combination
of both ? because you go on to say " When I say world I am talking
about the world in which we live, and also the peculiarities oh human
perception and how we think ".

I have presented a distinction between the natural world and the human
world. For some Observers, The world may show up as complex for some
other observers the world may show up as simplicity.

Rick, you asked for an example of a phenomenon that Flores may describe
in the context of observing simplicity. For me , an example of that
simplicity is the phenomenon of organizations. We in this digest spend
a lot of time sharing our observations of what is this phenomenon called
organization . Minztberg subtitles one of his book " Inside our
strange world of organizations " , many in this digest share their
interpretations of what is an organization. Flores' observation was
to see "Organizations as networks of commitments". to see business
"Like any organization is constituted as a network of recurrent
conversations". To me that is simplicity, and is coherent with
Maturana's observation that "Everything human takes place in language".
Ed Schein, in his famous paper "Back to the vision of OD" I believe
tried to offer a profound simplicity of the discipline of OD. which
in his opinion had become trapped in techniques and jargon.
If, we begin to observe organizations as networks of commitments and
recurrent conversations" a different world shows up.

Manuel Manga


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