a student's perspective LO6954

Chau Nguyen (chau@rhonin.corp.sgi.com)
Wed, 24 Apr 1996 09:34:27 -0700

i'm a student of learning, spending the many years searching for a
teacher. but so far, i have only found instructors. i signed on to this
list, because i heard the music from afar, the music is beautiful, it
fills my heart and my whole body, so i ventured to join in the hope that i
would find a community in which the music is heard by all, that people in
the community learn to listen to the music before they learn the dance
steps. instead, this is what i found:

i walk into a room, the room is dark, and in the middle of the room, there
is a huge dance floor. in every corner, i see people dancing. but they
all dance in different steps, starting at different points. they are
either busy teaching someone else the steps they knew or learned from
others, or criticizing other's steps. occationally, someone who is more
advanced, glides into the center of the dance floor to show off new steps.
but no one is listening to the music that filled the room. everyone is
preoccupied with the mechanics of dancing. granted that the good dancers
know the beat, and they have to listen to the beat in order for them to
move with the music. BUT THE BEAT IS NOT THE MUSIC . perhaps if we can
only take a moment of silence and listen to the music, all of us. at that
moment, nothing is in our minds but the music itself. at that moment, the
desire to implement a fancy step so that we can be in the middle of the
dance floor , is absent...for that moment, the music is the shared value
for us all. once we can achieve this,, then everyone in the room will
move in such ways that they won't step on each others feet, and at the
same time, continue to listen to the music, and the dance floor will be
the ultimate picture of a harmonious community, a true learning community.
the music never stops, it is always there, just waiting for us to listen
to it... it is not just for the educated ones, or the illiterated ones.
it belongs to the human race.

i remember, a long time ago, when my father was alive, he liked to teach
his children (boys and girls alike) to dance. my father would take us to
the dancing hall and tell us to just listen to the music. he said
"sometimes, you don't have to know the dance steps, because the music is
not just for dancing. it can create peace and serenity, and one can
surrender one soul to a higher realm" he told us to sit and observe. he
told us to close our eyes and imagine any steps we wanted, just as long as
we can listen to the music. then slowly, he taught us the dance steps.
we were very nervous then, being beginners. to help us overcome our
nervousness, my father said to us "there are stages in dancing. when you
first learn how to dance, you worry about the steps, that you will misread
the beat, and that everyone will look at you and laugh. then you get
better, now you want to move in to the middle of the floor so that
everyone can see your movements. at this stage, you may think that this
is joy, but it is not. it is pleasure. it is the feeling of your ego
being fed. for joy has no pressure to perform, no applause, no curtain
call. then one day, you will master the dance, when your movement is only
your expression of your innerself which is filled with the music. you will
move around the room, when ever there is space for you to move, and
sometimes, when the floor is too crowded, you will step out and just watch
people dance. for dancing is only a mean to the end, which is the music"
. i have not found many people who mastered the dance in life. most of
us are stuck in the second stage.

i often think that in western culture, the reason that the music is not as
important as the dance steps, is because the instructor's earning is tied
into the mechanics of the dance. the students in this culture seek
instructors that will show them the steps, outdated steps that were
created long ago, by people long since expired. for society only accepts
thoughts that have been certified, regardless of time and space. the
students will then repeat the steps, for that is how they will earn their
living and find their pleasure. sometimes i think that we're just like
parakeets. we learned what others said, then repeat it, and add minor
alterations to the same basic steps. very seldom i found authentic
thoughts, and that depresses me.

occationally, i think (in my dark moments of life), that LO becomes a
theme in business because CPI and BPR did not really work well, CMM does
not prove its value or people are tired of it. corporate america always
needs some thing, just like the world always has a war somewhere, so that
we can sell weapons and people can have job and purpose and so on...right
now LO is the biggest play in town, so companies are buying tickets. but
for how long? corporate america is a consumer looking for new products
all the time. LO is a hot product now, but if the LO practioners out
there can't deliver, and corporate america can't profit from it, LO will
soon fade and other things will replace it... who knows what will replace
LO, but something will. LO practioners should not get carried away and
think that we have a marriage lisence with corporate america. we are
merely having an affair with corporate america. corporate america is
already married, to its profit. Perhaps everyone already knows this is the
cycle, so we all wanted to cash in before it's too late.

my personnal belief is that organizations can not be compared to
communities. organizations are tied to earnings, communities are tied to
living. these are two different things. teachers can be found in
communities, instructors can be found in organizations. for teaching
often requires a one on one approach, not mass production and grading.
for teachers must share the students pain, as well as their success.

my learning leads me to believe that in western culture we often seek
pleasure, and not happiness. they are not the same. with pleasure, you'll
want more and more, with happiness, you don't. for happiness is an
instant, is free and brief. you can't repeat it, you can experience more
if you allow yourself to do so. pleasure is associated with things that
begin to decay the moment they were created, like a ferrari, a mansion in
seatle, or an armani's black label suit...happiness is associated with
things that are always there, just waiting for us to come to it. it is
true when people say you can not buy happiness. you certainly can buy
pleasure, though. you can give pleasure to someone, but you can not give
happiness to someone. it is drawn from within. pleasure is drawn from
external sources, and it creates a dependency thread. happiness is
internal. happiness is the point of connection between your being and the
universe, whether it is the song of the bird, or a lone flower in the open
field. not until we can make that connection, we risk living a life that
is emptied and meaningless. when you seek pleasure, you form a
relationship between yourself and the thing that gives you pleasure.
next, you'll have to work to maintain that relationship. happiness does
not involve relationship, it is a one to many and many to one at the same
time. it has to do with connection. when i look at the sunset, that
sunset is available to everyone on earth, but it is also available just to
me, for who i am at that very moment connects me to that very sunset. a
blink of an eye can take away the connection. when you listen to a bird
sing early in the morning, it brings you the feeling of openness,a clear
sky, a quite forest... you don't have to buy that bird out there, they're
just there. all it takes is for you to take a moment and listen to it..
sitting by the river, you will find your peace... how many of us take our
children to an afternoon sunset, show it to them and help them learn to
draw peace and joy from the sunset alone? how many of us teach our
children that you don't possess things in the universe, things that bring
you happiness and joy? that possession is not an be-all and end-all?
instead, we take them to the toy stores, have them pick and choose what
they wanted, then we buy those for them. by doing so, we draw our
pleasure from our children, and we train our children to seek pleasure.
then as they grow older, they will need to buy better and bigger things,
just for the pleasure of having them...when will we learn to stop? (TBC)

phuoc-chau nguyen(chau@corp.sgi.com)
Silicon Graphics, INC.


"Chau Nguyen" <chau@rhonin.corp.sgi.com>

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <rkarash@karash.com> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>