Hold on ...let's think LO11573

Fri, 27 Dec 1996 11:17:46 -0500

Replying to LO11561 --

Winfried asks of me:

> Now you certainly have "tickeled my toes" with this one!
> Thank you very much for your honest way of sharing your inner live.
> Sometimes that's a risky buissiness!

In my experience, not sometimes; most of the time.

> With a little shame I dare to ask you this:
> "How deep does this experience and similar experiences go? How long do they
> last for you?

I think I'd like to hear what others have to say about this too, but for
me these types of experiences are rare and usually last quite a long time.
In this instance, the movie itself is not the object of my thinking; it
simply showed me an alternative view that I had never considered on my
own. In fact, I've hardly thought about the movie since I saw it.

I grew up in the middle of a huge paradigm shift. My PDA has more memory
and operates faster than the computers I used when I was a kid. . .and it
fits into my shirt pocket. The computer I'm typing on is more powerful
than the one used to send man to the moon, and it sits neatly under my
desk. And the miracle of communication, as we're experiencing it, has
allows us to redefine "how" we know people, and "how" we are able to share
our lives.

What disturbs me, however, is the lack of moral maturity around the globe.
While I'm fascinated by computer and telecommunication technology, that is
not the "worst" or the "best" of what I've learned in the last week. As
I've read about Nanotechnology, I've begun to think an entirely new set of

- Are we trying to become gods through science?

- What if we gain enough knowledge to qualify as a "god" but our moral
system doesn't mature?

- Will we be "gods" in the sense of the Greek gods? Will we be at war with
each other, seeking greater power and position? (Why shouldn't we, given
the current structure of corporate and political dvancement: Move up the
ladder, gain more power, and create your own little kingdom?)

- Is our technology our own rendition of the "tower of Babel," which so
aggravated God that he confused the languages (I'm assuming so He could
impede their capacity to learn together?)

- Are we working toward scientific discovery to improve mankind, or simply
because we can and its interesting?

Eric Drexler, one of the nanotechnology researchers in San Jose, feels
that nanotechnology could solve world hunger and global poverty. I can see
that it has that possibility, but only if the political and economic
systems of each nation allow it to do that.

Third-world nations have not flourished during the Industrial Age because
their political and economic theories failed to value human creativity and
volition. I don't see how rapid advancements in the Information Age will
change their condition without a change in their theories. As we know the
world right now, nanotechnology would bless the richer nations, and
continue to trample over the top of the third-world nations.

Frank Vhoel said it best, when he said that what we're doing is really
about theories. Our theories need to advance as quickly as technology,
IMO, if we're to have a safe and secure future. Otherwise I'm afraid all
we'll do is destroy one another.

Look at what Hitler did with new technology? And look at how long it took
the UK and the US -- along with other nations -- to catch up to their
technology so we could actually wage war. Out of that war came Radar,
Atomic Bombs, Rockets, and the basic building blocks for Computers. Here's
what came out of that war:

- The US and Soviet space program. Within 20 years of the war we would go
into space, and eventually go to the moon. We now use space for satellites
(which we can use to watch TV), scientific exploration (i.e. the Space
Shuttle proram), telecommunications, spying, geographical surveys, and on
and on.

- Jet airplanes, which has expedited world travel, essentially "shrinking"
the size of the globe.

- Computer technology, that is continuing to evolve at an incredible pace.

- Atomic research that has led not only to weapons of mass destruction (a
very unfortunate side effect), but also to nuclear energy and

- All of these advancements have coincided -- if not fed -- medical
research. Our life expectancy continues to rise, and I suspect by the time
I'm 70 I'll be expected to live until I'm 100 or older.

But the question still remains: What moral lessons have we learned in the
same period of time? How much has the world be "brought together" through
all of these remarkable discoveries? Is the world a safer place because of
what we've discovered? Why do we spend so much time talking about
technology and so little time talking about morality?

It's almost as if we think that technology will be the source of our moral
beliefs. Or perhaps we, by that I mean our global community, thinks that
morality will take care of itself.

But I still don't know how I feel. I'm going to think about this stuff for
a very long time. Someday I'll reach a conclusion. In the meantime,
however, I'm going to begin to think about conversations of morality as a
critical part of Learning Organizations. And I'm going to think about how
I can help change the way people in society feel about "advancement" so
we're not so "hooked" on moving up the ladder and more focused on building
meaningful and safe communities in which everyone can prosper and live

> Are they gone and forgotten by the end of next week and are you on to
> something new and more exciting then the last experience?

No, not really. Deep learning experiences seem to stay with me for a long
time. I can't say "the rest of my life," because I have so much life to
live. But I suspect they'll be my constant companion.

> What do you think is necessary to be done to prevent that people in
> organisations forget what they've learned?

Everyone is going to get tired of me saying this, but I'm going to say it
anyway. Art Kliener and George Roth have created Learning Histories that
serve this purpose very well. This is a significant discovery/creation,
and I think the entire LO community would greatly benefit from their
research. After I read the AutoCo case, I've been determined to learn all
that I can about Learning Histories, and effectively use them wherever I

At Novell I've told them that if they don't take this seriously, that
after we're ISO certified I'm going to find someone who will take this
seriously. So often I hear questions on this list about how to measure
learning. . .if you're faced with this issue, look into the work they've
done. It is really quite remarkable.


Benjamin B. Compton bbcompton@aol.com

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