Maturana Seminar LO12943

arthur battram (
Wed, 19 Mar 1997 20:12:20 +0000

>Subject: Maturana Seminar #3 - Humanness
>Maturana Seminar #3 - The Origin of Humanness
>This is the third and last day of a three day seminar by Prof. Humberto
>Prof. Maturana introduced the program with a plan for the three days:
>Day 1: Epistemology
>Day 2: Biology
>Day 3: The Origin of Humanness
>The material is very dense and very demanding. I hope that these notes
>will provide a starting point for discussion. I've tried in the material
>to stay close to Prof. Maturana's words, but it's likely that I'm
>unconsciously substituting some of my own words for his. For this, my

Rick, congratulations on a magnificent job of capturing a lot [but
inevitably not all] of M's words and much of his ideas. I'm on holiday
now until April 7th, but I'll be reading the l-o if not contributing much.
So this msg is by way of encouragement.

I also attended the event, where I was very pleased to meet Rick in 'the
real world' -using the term in a non-maturanoidsense, obviously :-) , and
was also mildly suprised that he had come all the way to the UK just for
the seminar.

To bemused other l-o readers: M's ideas are of great potential
application to organisational learning, but that application is not easy.
There are resources on the net which may help- try searching for
autopoiesis/autopoeisis [people often mispell it] or Maturana or Varela,
but even these are quite difficult.

I will be producing a set of autopoiesis links on the LGMB organisational
learning website, <http//>
[some are up there already on the complexity links page, but we haven't
made them userfriendly or checked that they don't 404 yet]. Please visit,
but bear in mind that it is a very rudimentary site at present consisting
of little more than promo and good intentions- if you visit PLEASE use the
suggestion box!]

[Maybe you could list some of the other websites in the meanwhile, Rick.]

Rick, perhaps you could further stimulate discussion here by saying how
you think M's ideas might be applied to organisational learning [or to any
other aspect of an organisation ]?

Another angle might be this one... At the seminar you said that [ I'm
paraphrasing here, if I misquote you, please acknowledge my honesty, as M
would say :-) ] you had difficulty getting the ideas to people without it
all sounding weird or crazy. You are not alone: I was at a seminar at LSE
here in London recently where an MD of Marks and Spencer was talking about
the way that new science had influenced his work; he said: "I have
colleagues who make a 10% loss and they know exactly why it happened; I
keep making 20% increases but I can't tell you why because I don't
understand what it is I'm doing..." He talked about 'outing' himself
slowly, within M and S, as someone who used new science ideas in his work;
several of us in the audience knew exactly what he meant, including
myself- local government in the UK is very very resistant to what might
get called 'weird science'. What I'm saying Rick, is that this process of
'outing' is one that you appear to be either about to start on or you have
already started to do it. It may be useful to think about the 'telling
others about it ' problem from the 'outing' perspective.

Remember M's words "I invite you to..." It seemed to take almost 3 days
for some people at the seminar to accept his invitation. for me this
stuff is some of the hardest thinking/feeling/being I've ever done- it's
like not only learning french, its like trying to think in french, rather
than thinking in english and then 'translating' into french before
speaking: you can't experience frenchness until you think/feel/be in

Remember readers, this is an invitation to try a new way of
thinking/feeling in/about the world/our experience in it. If you don't
wish to try it then ignore it, but 'anti-postings' arguing about the
nature of reality and objectivity are of limited appeal, I humbly suggest,
to most readers. It's an 'as if' thing. try it on... as if it is an
amazing set of revelations...see what happens...

I'm really enjoying the way this one is unfolding...

Best wishes

Arthur Battram


from Arthur Battram, organisational learning adviser, helping local authorities to 'learn from complexity '. The 'Learning from Complexity' pack is now available. It is relevant to other sectors outside of the 'local government' sector. Email me for details .

***my mission- to expand possibility space. A participant said recently "you're just feeding off the group" I take that as high praise***

Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <> -or- <>