Symbiosis in LOs LO11296

Mnr AM de Lange (
Fri, 6 Dec 1996 14:22:50 GMT+2

Durval de Castro wrote in LO11261

> This is a beautiful illustration of the change from a 'society' to a
> 'community' relationship. Martin Buber says that humanity emerges in
> community, thus a happy life can only happen in community. I have an
> impression that Peter Senge is putting more emphasis on the community
> aspect of LO in his latest writings and speeches. Maybe this is the most
> important aspect of LO!

I hoped that my reply to Ben on how to get people shifting their paradigm
was the last one before I go lurking. However, Durval has touched on a
subject which I find extremely important. I will feel very sad if this
subject does not receive further attention. Maybe it is more than a
coincidence that Durval is from Brazil and I from South Africa. We live in
countries which by far is not rising to their potential. Maybe Durval is
as worried about it as I am.

Durval stresses the 'community relationship' in a LO. But you all will
agree that there are many relationships in each community, too many to
list here. Which one is it then? Durval furnishes a second clue. It is
that relationship which is vital to the emergence of humanity in a
community. Is this clue enough to identify the relationship? Will the
identification of the relationship start a 'war' on which term should
actually be used?

Let me give a few other clues to see if we can arrive at the correct term.
This thread is named 'Symbiosis in LOs'. Let us think about the usual
application of symbiosis in ecosystems. Human culture plays a varying part
(minute to major) in this matter. Thus the term 'community' does not apply
in its human sense anymore. In other words, we have to think of something
which we provisionally will call 'deep community', ie. transgessing human
communities. I think it is this 'deep community' of symbiosis which Durval
and I are thinking of.

But let us bring a computer network specialist like Ben Comption into the
picture. There is up to now very little of life (human and otherwise) to
be seen in the physical part of computer networks. Yet the networker may
intuitively understand what we are thinking of. I dont think the networker
will be much satisfied with phrases like 'the computer network becoming a
community' or 'the computer network becoming a symbiotic ecosystem'. Yet
the functioning of the computer network in this manner is necessary for
the emergence of virtual life and intelligence in cyberspace. In other
words, the networker may think about the same thing as Durval and me,
namely 'deep community' and its contribution to emergence. What do you say

In chemistry we have very much the same thing. A very curious relationship
ensues between atoms when they come together in order for a molecule to
emergence with new properties while their own properties are changed. The
typical chemist will be horrified at phrases such as 'the molecule
becoming a community of atoms' or 'the molecule becoming a symbiotic
ecosystem'. Yet the chemist may think about the same thing as Durval and
me, namely 'deep community'.

Now what is this 'deep community' thing which we find in the world of
elementary particles, the chemical world, the biological world and the
anthropological world? Is it communion or communication? What other
comxxxxx might it be? I have struggled with this problem for many years in
chemistry. Important facets of it is 'mutual', 'sharing', 'changing',
'influencing', 'emerging', etc. Eventually I have chosen the word
'commute' with derivatives such as commuter, commuting, commutative,
commutation to describe what I want to say about 'deep community'.

I have programmed a CBT lesson in VisualBasic 3 for MSWindows 3 which
concerns this concept of commutation in chemistry. The lesson uses Lewis
structures to show how an increase in commutation leads to the emergence
of much of chemistry (rather than humanity). For example, increasing the
commutation leads to the emergence of chemical bonding, sigma bonds, pie
bonds, covalent and electrovalent bonds, delocalised bonds, the formation
of large string and cluster compounds, acid-base and redox chemistry, etc.
The lesson is free to work through.

Unfortunately, there will not be many in this forum who have some
background in chemistry. Thus they may expereince difficulties working
through it. Maybe I should send a copy to Ben Compton who can work through
it with the assistance of his wife who have a background in chemistry. He
can then prepare a report for this forum on what he thinks of commutation
(deep community) in chemistry and probably also how he envision it for
computer networking as well as symgnosis in LOs. He can probably also make
the lesson available for others through FTP since it is a pain to FTP
something between South Africa and the rest of the world. (The
commutativity stinks.)

Today, in terms of my own experiences and framework of thinking, it makes
a lot of sense. Commutation is necessary for molecules, computer networks
and human communities to function effectively in promoting emergences. We
often experience failures in our communication because we did not observe
that the underlying commutation was faulty.

To finish off, my interpretation of what Durval said, is that 'a society
becomes a community when it begins to commute and hence foster the
emergence of humanity'. This commuting is precisely what I percieve in
this forum LO more than in any other forum/listserve or in any of the
newsgroups. There are some wonderful commuters active on this forum. Thank
you all very much for this commuting.

Best wishes


At de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre for Education University of Pretoria Pretoria, South Africa email:

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