Dispersing knowledge LO11792

Michael N. Erickson (sysengr@bcstec.ca.boeing.com)
Fri, 10 Jan 1997 08:19:44 -0800 (PST)

Replying to LO11740 --


My personal experience backs up what you say, only I don't believe it's
all that metaphysical. The practical reason giving away your knowledge
and skills are:

- That by explaining something to others, you also explain it to yourself.
This activity focus's your ideas about what you know, and gives you a
better grasp of it-than your student will recieve, so you will always
stay a long way ahead of those you teach skill wise.

- You create a market for your skills. By teaching or passing it on, you
become known as the source of knowledge-or the guru if you like that
terminology, which means that when your students run into difficulties,
they will turn to you for help. If the material is usable by a wide
audience, then a larger group of people will become "buyers" of your
skill set, so even if there are more practictioners, there will also be
more work to do. This increase job security as far as I can see.

- You are released from the entry level usage of the skill. So you can
turn your attention to the more challenging aspects of the work. This
helps your grow faster. With more practitioners, particularly those
you've taught-thus being of lesser skill, One is able to pass the
"drudge work" that any skill set contains to the newbies, who will most
likely be delighted to do it since they obviously are interested.

I am a cartoonist and media designer in the Boeing company. I am very
happy to pass on the run of the mill "boxes and arrows" drawings to
someone else whoI might have trained. The necessary boxes and arrows
drawings get done quickly and efficiently, and I get to push the limits
in my exploration of the problems of the graphical display of
technical/business concepts and data.

Some years ago, I designed and operated a ropes course for a small summer
camp. The more knot and rope information I passed on to others, the
better I got at using my "rigging" skills-to the point that I can now
build anything I might want our of rope (bridges, nets, hoist systems).
I have a working knowledge of around 30 knots, and lot's of experience
hanging in trees, off the sides of buildings and in the rocks and
mountain tops.

My experience says that It doesn't pay to hoard knowledge-in a practical
sense as well as metaphysical sense, and I hope that the metaphysical
dimension is NOT the one we would emphasize (even though it is there) so
we don't scare people off-or have them think we are into some kind of

The cultural changes that will allow free exchange of knowledge-and the
subsequent unleashing of our collective "power" needs to be presented as
a practical, logical and very reasonable next step, or we will get so
much push back that we will end up doing more damage than good. People
seem to panic and retreat to some myopic ideological "safe" knothole-which
in my view more resemble graves than safe havens. Whitness the increased
incidence of political and religious fundamentalist terrorism. A lot of
these folks are stuck in a knothole of their own making, and are really
trying to establish some kind of "safe" place for themselves. Not a
psychologically healthy condition to get into.

I've raved long enough, thanks for your post Linda.

Michael Erickson
(e-mail account being changed to ->michael.n.erickson@boeing.com)

On Wed, 8 Jan 1997 Sinte@aol.com wrote:
> Replying to LO11698 --
> I downloaded a lot of the discussion yesterday that I had not had a chance
> to really think about and spent time reading the discussions about
> dispersing knowledge. It seems that we are all concerned about a topic
> involving transmitting knowledge to others. We have all heard the adage
> that "knowledge is power" and that the central issue that we are dancing
> around is that very idea. No One Wants to give up power and by giving
> away our knowledge, we in effect give away our power and ultimate control
> over others. I think this is why Dr. Demings point on breaking down
> barriers between departments has not been very successful. People do not
> want to give away their power, or perceived power because then they think
> that they loose control and actually mentally create the lose in their
> minds.
> Some where in here is a metaphysical reality that we must first think and
> then we create. If we think we will loose power by giving something away
> we are wrong. We get more powerful by giving it away. Our Western
> Culture has a lot to learn about true reality and our relationship to a
> power greater than ourselves. I think our Western cultural archetype that
> we can control everything should be challenged. Look at the lives of
> people who have given it away, did we consider them without power? Look
> at Martin Luther King, Gandhi, Mother Theresa. If our values remain
> rooted in money, power, and control, where is the value in just living,
> sharing and brotherly love?
> Linda Ortberg
> Email: Sinte@AOL.COM


"Michael N. Erickson" <sysengr@bcstec.ca.boeing.com>

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