a student's perspective LO7025

Jacqueline Mullen (J.Mullen@agora.stm.it)
Sun, 28 Apr 1996 21:30:32 GMT

Responding to LO6954

I hear what you're saying, Chau Nguyen. Lately I find the list a
bit like eating a peanut butter sandwich without jelly and a glass of
milk. Sure, it's still nutritious and it tastes great, but my tongue
tends to stick to the roof of my mouth and it's kind of slow going down.

It seems that these days there is much more discussion about
'mapmaking' than 'frolicking around and exploring the territory.' However,
I think the problem is far from a lack of awareness of the more mystical
side of life, but rather it is coming right smack up against the
limitations of communing digitally. Personally, I'm swamped. I used to
handle quite well reading all the entries and, being a generalist
kind-of-gal, I would wade in every now and again with some no frills blurb
that I intended to respond to, let's say, the gist of a few threads during
the preceding week of entries. (You might say I like broad themes.) But,
the list has grown, and having to use the delete key so much affects my
creating a "list aesthetic." It becomes more fragmented, taking much more
time than I can give to create the "personal syntheses" which I enjoy so

The missing metacommunication of on-line discussion is a killer.
There are no glazed over face expressions to tell you that you're boring
the group to tears. No nagging significant other to give you the "honey,
you're-talking-too-much-again" nudge. No nodding heads and smiles saying,
yes, yes, more. No encouraging gestures to favor the inclusion of all
participants. No palpable energy level arising from the physical presence
of the group members.

I think it's fair to say that on-line discussions are in their
infancy. Thanks to Rick and the openness and respect of all here (so far,
at least ;-) ), this is a darned good, innovative list. By definition,
the ineffable is quite difficult to achieve through verbal communication.
It's the stuff of ceremonies and rituals, whether public or private. What
role will on-line communities have in creating harmonious off-line ones?
Good question. Let's work on it...

Yes, I would have to agree the "West" does have a certain tendency
to 'pray at the altar of codified knowledge.' Historically speaking, the
'West' has been pretty lousy in the listening to and respecting "other
ways of knowing" department. Being particularly less than kind to those
who represent non-verbal, non-codifiable, intuitive, modes of learning and
knowing. Oh-so-uncivilized, you know. Can't tolerate multiple visions of
the world, now, can we? I suppose having everything important already
"revealed" to us and written down two thousand years ago, instilled a
certain predilection for the concrete. An absolute fear of alternate
states of consciousness, too, I might add.

I'm plucking three favorite items out of Holger Kalweit's book on
shamanism: "Dreamtime and Inner Space." Certainly, I think anyone trying
to create a better work environment and increase innovation might take
these to heart ;-)

The first is this Haitian adage: "When the anthropologists arrive,
the gods leave the island."

The second is by Lame Dear: "You understand that there are
certain things one should not talk about, things that must remain hidden.
If all was told, supposing there lived a person who could tell all, there
would be no mysteries left, and that would be very bad. Man cannot live
without mystery. He has a great need of it."

It's a wee quite difficult to dream when all the steps are all
laid out cut and dried in front of you.

The next was written in 1912 by Edward Carpenter in "The Drama of
Love and Death" describing a shaman-like experience:

"Of all the hard facts of science, I know of none more solid and
fundamental than the fact that if you inhibit thought (and persevere) you
come at length to a region of consciousness below or behind thought, and
different from ordinary thought in its nature and character - a
consciousness of quasi-universal quality, and a realization of an
altogether vaster self than that to which we are accustomed. And since
the ordinary consciousness with which we are concerned in ordinary life is
before all things founded on the little local self, and is in fact
self-conscious in the little local sense, it follows that to pass out of
that is to die to the ordinary self and the ordinary world.
It is to die in the ordinary sense, but in another sense it is to
wake up and find that the "I," one's real, most intimate self, pervades
the universe and all other beings - that the mountains and the sea and the
stars are part of one's body and that one's soul is in touch with the
souls of all creatures...
So great, so splendid is this experience, that it may be said that
all minor questions and doubts fall away in face of it. And certain it is
that in thousands and thousands of cases the fact of its having come even
once to a man has completely revolutionized his subsequent life and
outlook of the world."

I like this because it reflects a need to not only ponder our
theoretical base, our presuppositions, but also the need to experience
life WITHOUT them. Yes, I think one can theorize about the mechanic of
dancing and directly experience the music of life, just not at the same


Jackie Mullen J.Mullen@agora.stm.it

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