Hold on ... Let's think LO11635

JC Howell (orgpsych@csra.net)
Thu, 03 Jan 1997 00:23:08 +0000

Replying to LO11533 --

I read Ben's original message and a fair number of the responses.
I've been away from this list for a while and there's too much to take
in all at once. Still, I wanted to offer a few thoughts of my own to
this thread.

One of the problems with LO thinking and efforts, for me, is the
fascination with technology ... the "toys." Ineveitably the people
with the toys start to expound at great lengths on what their toys can
do for us. Unfortunately, these same people have oftenb m,issed the
point of what is desired. The focus of effort becomes how we can
build a better database and link all computer systems into that
database, or at least make it accessible to all, without a thought of
WHY the database might be needed. At this point I conclude that we
have, again, lost our way.

I am working for an Internet Service Provider (ISP). This company is
starting a tremendous growth surge and experiencing some predictable
growing pains. As soon as I hit the ground I saw a need for a tech
support manual that covers and common the basic problems for the
operating systems and software packages we support. This is
especially true for me when I am a MAC user and the vast majority of
our customers are PC users. We have managed to create a "beta"
version of a MAC manual so I can start training the other employees on
MAC operations and such (I am the primary MAC specialist). The energy
to create similar manuals has been seeded and the other types of
specialists will soon be brought into the effort.

I, obviously, support the use and proliferation of technology.
Without it we would be out of business. Still, we deal regularly with
people who are using MAC II's and LC's as well as 386-based PC's and
2400 baud modems. Not current technology by any means ... but it
works for those users. Then I, too, think of those many people who
can't even conceive of the "information superhighway," much less surf

Then I spend time in a newsgroup that is similar to this list in that
many of the same principles appear to be espoused only on a personal,
more spiritual level. I have proposed that many of the same
techniques used in this list be applied in that group, as well. The
response was a general (although, perhaps only initial) reluctance to
talk about building, or even developing an idea of what a community in
that realm would be like. The political dynamics are so very familiar
as various individuals and factions within that area vie for control
of the ether and, presumably the hearts and minds of those who read
that group. We have, again, missed the point and have gotten bogged
down in the dynamics, tools, and techniques ... the "toys."

The comments about the have's versus the have not's are being echoed
in many quarters. There is genuine concern that our society cannot
accomodate the widening gap and resulting tension. One shouldn't have
to be reminded that the French Revolution was basically about this
type of conflict.

I AM a trek fan and I share some of Ben's concerns about what type of
world we are creating. As I attempt to project from today and see
what would be required to create the world of Star Trek: TNG, I am
astounded at the immensity of the social. spiritual, and political
obstacles that stand in the way. Not the least of these involves what
technology should be involved.

We daily engage in the PC vs MAC banter that is so common. Being the
"MAC guy" I am, of course, an easy target. I can understand that this
is merely good-natured play. Still, there have been times when the
play has not been so good-natured. I have been in work environments
where both platforms were being used. PC users openly derided MAC
users for not have the ------ to use a REAL computer. MAC users
openly derided PC users for being neanderthals who resist progress. A
small thing, but an indicator of many trends.

If we are to create something meaningful and not a borg-like world, we
have much growing up to do. Even within this list there is great
pressure to conform to certain ideals and thought patterns. Those who
resist are not received well. There is a balance between freedom
without responsibility and extreme conformity without passion that
leads to creativity and growth. Most of us would agree that this
balance is different in many different situations.

The question to me is: Are we mature enough to allow this difference
to exist? As for me, I was scared (heart pounding and sweaty palms)
both times that I saw First Contact. The speed and efficiency with
which the Borg "culture" overwhelmed those being assimilated was too

Anyway, for what it's worth.


Clyde Howell orgpsych@csra.net

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