Education Reform LO9882

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Tue, 10 Sep 1996 20:45:36 -0400 (EDT)

Replying to LO9761 --

On 5 Sep 1996, Barry Mallis wrote:

> Just the way politicians never speak to core issues because they and their
> occasional handlers sense that the masses can't deal with thinking at that
> level--that indeed the masses DON'T WANT TO THINK deeply about much, so,
> too, are most of us working within environments where we or our leaders
> skirt substance in favor of something else (Is the the propriety that is
> social interaction?).
> We have to talk openly at conferences, on this list, in our schools and
> factories, about this Janus-like nature to society and its endeavors. I
> don't know how to answer the cynic who says that such openness won't get
> us anywhere, because you simply can't have people en masse confront their
> acquired, societal behaviors which prevent improvements on multiple
> levels.
> Well, I'm rambling. Better, I'm writhing like an electric wire torn from
> it's stanchion.

Barry, I'm right in there writhing with you. Something in your message
leads me to ask "how many different ways are there of group and individual
communication?" Take a simple pair of communicating entities, either
individual humans or groups; we have

1 individual <-> individual
2 group <-> individual
3 individual <-> group
4 group <-> group

...with the convention that the right-hand term always identifies the
relatively more articulate participant. Under that convention, a "real
leader" would fall into the second class, and a politician, of the sort
you're referring to, in the third: one whose entire vocabulary and
"principles" are supplied by or borrowed from the *group* he is attempting
to influence -- so that the *real* direction of information flow is from
the group to the individual politician rather than vice versa.

Where the political talk you are referring to would fall into the third of
these classes.

It's interesting to think about how single individuals communicate with
"groups". Obviously we're not limited to questions of oratory, like
Lincoln delivering the Gettysburg address. Look, for example, at the more
colorful and flamboyant of the Old Testament prophets, undertaking
sometimes lurid symbolic actions in the city square so as to
*unforgettably* communicate some truth to the community around them. Not
merely an "emotional" or "spiritual" truth, but some more-or-less
confirmable proposition about the the state of the world.

Likewise, how do groups communicate with individuals? Articulately, in
written statements? The new hire absorbs a corporate culture, let's say.
Let's take that as a paradigm of group -> individual communication. How
is the communication accomplished? Is it governed anywhere by any
deliberation? Is it entirely tribal, unspoken? Is it determined to be
such by the will of the group, or by the sensitivity of the individual?

We could almost certainly find cases of each possible answer to these in
stories that have been told on this list within the past six months.

     Jim Michmerhuizen
     web residence at
--------------------------------------------------- ---------------------
. . . . . There are more different kinds of people in the world . . . . .
 . . ^ . .             than there are people...                . . . . .

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>