The Unlearning Organisation LO10052
Wed, 18 Sep 1996 20:46:40 -0400

Replying to LO9952 --

> From: Frank Billot <>
> On attachement in the Buddhist sense of the term, you make emerge the
> concept of clinging to ideas as a means to reinforce (or protect) one's
> identity.
> (BTW it may be one of the root causes of the cultural pressure to conform
> stated by Bob


I like your focus on "identity". This fits with my sense that personal
learning involves a complex system, and that changes which happen in one
part of the system will reverberate throughout the system. (I previously
used the psychoanalytic term, "working through", to describe the process
of the system settling into a different pattern set up by new learning.)
You've highlighted what would be labelled psychoanalytically as
"resistance": the active rejection of changes implied by new information.
Such resistance can result from relatively "superficial" (meaning close to
the surface, rather than "unimportant") concerns, such as not wanting to
feel a particular emotion, but resistance can also come from our core,
when our sense of who we are is somehow threatened.

> This represents a valuable key for me. One of my main concern about LO,
> change, ...
> is "what makes it possible to favour insight over our representations,
> shadows and so forth". Attachement to ideas as a protection for identity is
> a gross (not subtle) hindrance, that can be overcome by untightening the
> idea of self. Strangely enough, to me the world seems to be divided in two
> (an hypothesys I still question !) :
> - - those who don't question their identity and relation to the world
> - - those who can take some distance with their persona ("caracters" in
> Jungian terms).

Your two categories are just one distinction (one level of "maya"?) that
differentiate individuals:

Some people don't question their perceptions - they assume that their
perception and understanding of events _is_ reality. Under this
assumption, anyone who has a different perception or understanding is
either hallucinating, delusional, or deceitful.

Some people don't question their emotional reactions - they assume that
their emotions "just happen" to them, that's who they are.

Some people don't question their personality styles - they assume they are
"shy", or "aggressive", or "hot-tempered", etc.

> In some threads, people question the means to foster systemic thinking,
> especially among managers. I want to extand this question to the fostering
> of insight.
> ....
> Underlying there, is the belief that each one has its own ripeness pace,
> and that until time/circumstances have come, the magic can take place....
> Yet, can't we be the
> circumstances that favour the ripening?

I think that this "ripeness" exists within a feedback loop, such that new
information can lead to (given the specific circumstances) either
increased or decreased openness to more information. Someone who is
paranoid, for example, has learned to be vigilant, and incoming
information will be scanned for possible threats, with a very low
threshold for perceiving a threat. Such a person has great difficulty
changing their perspective because of the felt danger of letting down
their guard. As the individual learns to trust a specific person (and
then people in general) he/she becomes more aware of the different facets
and possible interpretations of incoming information. Then the person can
begin to see that most people are more benign than he/she originally

I think we can foster our own "ripeness", and this has been labelled
"learning to learn". Objectifying the process of learning (i.e., seeing
it as something we can have control over rather than simply a part of
ourselves) allows us to actively manipulate the process and learn to
control it.

> Hoping that it is readable and not boring
(Don't worry, your English is much, much better than my French, believe



Jeff Brooks (

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