Technology and Values LO11675

ray evans harrell (
Mon, 06 Jan 1997 01:31:06 -0800

Replying to LO11652 --

Cross Pollination: with Music, whole systems, whole self wrote:

> Rol observed recently that even on this list we find it difficult to
>find common values. Admittedly this is bewildering, especially since it
>seems to me that at least a majority of us value learning. But,
>perhaps, there is a certain type of check-and-balance in the diverse
>moral beliefs that exist around the world. At the same time, however, I
>cannot help but feel that this diversity also divides us and keeps us
>from working together effectively as a global community.

Hello Everyone,

I hope that I'm not jumping into this thread in a disruptive fashion, I've
been following/reading the past excellent discussions on values, Learning
Orgs, and now technology as well as the issue of values in Utopia on
another thread.

I would however like to point out that there was a cross over in the
discussion of LO "group" movement, what we in music call "ensemble" and I
believe Peter Senge does as well in the last half of the 5th D. A Machine
or a system, is by nature passive or as Jim Durkin writes poetically about
in "Music, whole systems, whole self LO11653" "Yin-Tao". When a chorus
is an ensemble it is in the hands of an expert leader who is an agreed
upon tyrant for an agreed upon activity as well as, within an agreed upon
amount of time. They give up their "diversity" and limit their attention
to a specific project and fit within, anywhere, from four to eight groups
who will all do the same thing (within the group) at the same time in the
same fashion until it is perfectly performed. Performance in this
situation means making an agreed upon message clear to a general group of
people who agree to pay for tickets and attend in the further passive role
(or so it seems but that is another post) role of experiencee/emotional
participant and critic.

Within the chorus as Jim Durkin makes beautifully clear in his poem post
"Music, whole systems, whole self LO11653" the performers who at one point
"seem" to have given up their "diversity" (JD's "Yang-Tao) have really not
given it up at all but have simply agreed to do this highly focused
aural/vocal expressive task in an intensely together fashion. Like riding
a raft in the rapids they have given their being to the system of the
river in the process of the individual boat and it matters not who they
are or where they were born or what they do for a living or whether they
are married or single or have children or don't believe in it. The only
thing that matters for that time is the "process" (boat or in the chorus
the musical score) they either have the expertise to inhabit the process
and arrive safely or they are unsafe.

It has been my experience, and I don't mean this as a law, that the key is
the "limitation of task and time"; with "agreement before you begin" as
the door that you walk through. Diversity, individuality etc is, in my
experience, nothing more than the "experience account" that you draw your
expertise from as it is needed to accomplish this limited task. In music
there is always that "stage fright" that comes as the adrenaline rises and
you focus on the task just before you perform. It is that moment when the
ensemble itself is the most dangerous, for woe be to any member who does
not, for diversity, individuality or whatever reason, deliver the goods.
You learn to put another "face", usually the face of pleasure on that
adrenaline and not the face of "fear of loss of identity" through

This months "Fast Company" mentions an example of the danger involved
around an ensemble when there is a lack or respect or belief in one of the
members delivering the goods. It is in the article on Jazz ensembles and
management techniques. FC commented on the NYPhilharmonic's response to a
former Principle Conductor who hailed from India and has a huge
reputation. The member's talked out loud and read the paper during
rehearsals. Something that the present conductor from Leipzig would never
allow. (The orchestra does seem to play better under the German. He
evidently is very clear about the "ensemble issues" before he begins.
The only individuality here is the soloist who is required to be supreme
in his perfection and individuality when he has a solo task, otherwise
he's a part of the group. Stress tests for orchestras rate with Jet
Pilots as being the most stressful jobs in the world. The basic issue is
the agreement before they begin, when that is fuzzy then all hell breaks
loose, just like Washington D.C. in 1968 and L.A. after Rodney King.

If I have not made my point by this time let me just say that in my work
everyone is an individual and comes from somewhere and plays one of a
limited number of roles (singer, violinist, composer, conductor etc.).
When they play French music they have to be French in outlook, and when
they play Jazz they have to have been born in New Orleans and know the
meaning of "soul." Diversity is wealth to the arts as are languages.
("English only" is nuts to a musician who must deal with the whole world,
"Transnational") Excellence is the point. Without that you can feel out
of place and you are. Excellence and completetion of the job is the only
way that one is empowered in my work. The point is to be able to move
between diversities, consider them as "places" that you inhabit and raise
a family but not a place of enslavement. It is the ability to stay
"centered" in your identity but escape that for a few moments with your
expertise in work, play, love etc. The final word that follows that is in
music, "sensitivity" in the regular world it is called "empathy".

TEKHNOLOGIA: (Greek) "systematic treatment of an art or craft."
tekhn=E9, skill

JOHNSON AND WALKER 1828 American Dict. the Samuel Johnson is the oldest
English Dictionary
TECHNOLOGY: A description or discourse upon arts.

TECHNOLOGY: 1) The knowledge that deals, with industrial arts,
applied science, engineering, etc. 2) The terminology of an art,
etc. technical nomenclature. 3) A technological process, invention,
or the like.

TECHNOLOGY: 1a. The application of science, especially to industrial or
commercial objectives.
b. The scientific method and material used to achieve a commercial or
industrial objective.
2) Anthropology. The body of knowledge available to a civilization that
is of use in fashioning implements, practicing manual arts and skills,
and extracting or collecting materials.

The computer expert for the NYTimes who also is the chief music critic and
has written books on Mathematics is Edward Rothstein: In the Sunday Times
12/29/96 he wrote an article on "trends" or "fashions" which was a rather
futile "Cry in the Wilderness" about trendy ideas, words and Futurists.
As I have demonstrated above, even the meaning of a word that starts with
the "systematic development of skill" which is a pedagogical term can end
up in a completely different position as a result of buzzing and fuzzy
diction over time. Maybe I should sign this post, the crotchety, old
elocutionist but instead I will just say,

Ray Evans Harrell


ray evans harrell <>

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