Types of learning LO7368

Dave Birren, MB-5, 608-267-2442 (BIRRED@dnr.state.wi.us)
Fri, 10 May 1996 11:02 CST

Responding to Ben Compton in Types of learning LO7334:

I took Ben to task for appearing to be cynical about people's desire to
make commitments, and I espoused an attitude of compassion for those whose
best doesn't seem good enough. Ben responded in part (with my inevitable
comments tossed in between):

>My point was that the corporate systems (whatever they may be) generally
>encourage people to do just enough to get buy.... It isn't that I don't
>believe everyone can develop the capacity to become committed to a purpose
>greater than themselves . . . I think it simply that as a society we have
>never asked (or required) people to make such a commitment.

I agree. If we expect people to do their best we have to accept the risk
that they'll go past us. To do this systemically would require a deeply
collaborative culture, perhaps similar to Native Americans or Amish. The
Western ego is simply too big and fragile for this. (Hmm, NOW who's being

>And so, Dave, it isn't that I'm not compassionate.... However, I am frustrated
>at the number of people I have met over the years who simply don't want to
>succeed and don't want to be helped (or coached, or encouraged). I think Senge
>hit it best when he said we should call some people "given ups, not grown

I know you're compassionate, Ben. I'm frustrated at this too. But in my
experience people are taught to give up. It might have happened very
early in life, but it doesn't come naturally. I believe that giving up
goes against the nature of all living beings. It's useful to ask what it
is about the system that keeps a particular person down, and what about
the system s/he still has some connection with that might offer some
leverage to helping him or her feel human. It makes me sad to realize
that these questions sometimes lead down blind alleys, that there are some
people who have been so badly abused that they just aren't amenable to any
kind of help.

On that cheery note, I wish you and the entire list a fine weekend and a
rewarding life.



David E. Birren Wisconsin Dept. of Natural Resources birred@dnr.state.wi.us Phone 608-267-2442 Fax 608-267-3579

* ** *** There is no excuse for being uncivilized. ( D.H.Birren) *** ** *

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