Maturana Seminar LO12972

Lilly Evans (100451.3477@CompuServe.COM)
20 Mar 97 21:08:46 EST

Replying to LO12943 --

This is Lilly Evans. I have been a subscriber to this list for almost two
years, though silent in the last year (in Maturana terms - I did not exist
for you). Incidentally, this silence was mainly caused by the high level
of dedication necessary for the creation of UK-based organisation
(ENFOLD-UK) where corporations and individuals can get together to pursue
questions about organisational learning. It is now at the starting stages
(having received seed funding from corporate sponsors) and if people are
interested those of us on this list (like John Farago), who have been
involved in this enterprise, would be glad to let you know more - at least
as each one of us has experienced the journey so far.

It is the conversation about Maturana seminar that has brought me into
relationship with you again. (Is this commutation, At?). I have waited for
the whole opus before starting to read. This shows you my preference for
holism and integration, a cultural bias that often sets me apart from the
people I work with in the Anglo-Saxon cultures. (I originally come from
Yugoslavia - as it was, and have been in England for over 20 years now).
Arthur, now I am 'outing' myself here. But, as you will remember, at the
LSE seminar you mentioned, Marks&Spencer MD was very clear about the
importance of picking the time and place carefully when to do so. I
digress, again. Please bear with me, I will get to Maturana.

Rick's notes say (in the Epistemology, part I):

>An explanation is
>1) proposition of a generative mechanism
>2) which is accepted by a listener according to the listener's
>informal criteria.

>Generative mechanism: a mechanism such that if you let it
>operate, it would produce what you are explaining.

>We don't know what informal criteria are being imposed by the
>listener, unless made explicit. Very often, we don't know what
>the listener's criteria are. The listener might not be consciously
>aware of their informal criteria.

This passage has been like a gold nugget for me. Here, in Rick's notes of
Maturana's distinctions I find for the first time a clear and simple
explanation of what intuitively Dr Danah Zohar (author of "Quantum Self"
and "Quantum Society"books) and I have been practicing with the Generative
Conversation programmes we run together for our clients in UK. What is
more, we stumbled on the name, and kept it without knowing why it fits -
our client actually invented it in a conversation with me before we ran
the first workshop. As Maturana says later:

>Our explanations come out of the coherence of experience.

Back to more of Maturana and link with our practice

>Learning is a flow of recurrent interactions in which you change.

Now, this is exactly what happens. There is nothing specific we or the
participants can specifically point to and say "At this point and because
of this intervention, I have changed/learnt." Yet, every time all of us
come out of the two day experience richer and with a new learning.
Recently one participant described the programme as "personal
enlightenment". And I see that in part this occurs because we continually
practice and bring theory (from quantum physics mostly in this case not
biology) from Observer Dependant (or Participative) perspective. Namely,
as Maturana points out

>(Certainty/objectivity on the Left and Observer-dependent on the right.)
>When you make a statement from the mode on the right hand side,
>you are making an invitation to discourse. You are never making a
>demand. On the left hand side, you are often making a demand.

Invitation to discourse leads to dialogue. Making a demand leads to
debate. As facilitators, we try to maintain the spirit of dialogue for
two days (and get caught by the attendees when we fail to do so). On the
failure side, Maturana said

>When we consider something as belonging in one domain A and
>later decide that it is in another domain B...

>Mistake is a reflection of what the observer does.

In one of the sessions, an attendee pointed out that an intervention from
one of us in the conversation was a justification. We stopped there and
with the group unpacked what was going on, why each person said what they
did, how they felt, what they meant. It took some 45 minutes. It was
much worse than 'outing', felt more like baring your soul and body and
knowing that you are far from your ideal (let alone anybody else's) yet
have been engaged to lead this group as an expert. Now, the moment this
finished, the interactions changed in a fundamental way. Several people
said that it was at this juncture that they have really got what is
dialogue and that they now have a real respect for us as coaches and
facilitators. Yet, we were trembling inside expecting to be torn to
pieces and not taken as seriously as before. And, we did not apologise.
As Maturana points out:

>When you say, "I made a mistake, I apologize," this does not undo
>what was done, it simply begs respect for one's honesty.

I would say, it also does not create space for either party to learn.

This leads to the next quote. It's relevance to organisational and
even more individual learning is beautifully encapsulated for me by:

>Responsibility takes place in a moment which I anticipate the
>consequences of my actions... and choose. I choose based on
>whether I want the consequences, or don't want them.

>If not aware, then I am not responsible.

>If you are responsible about your responsibility, that's freedom.

As I copied this part, I became aware that the message is getting long.
So, I went to the begining to check my sense. It is getting so. Now, I
can choose to continue and loose the last few of you who are still
persisting. Or, I can choose to stop. I prefer the consequences where
you would wish to read more as this is not finished. I am responsible for
the length of my posting. And, I am also responsible about the
responsibility for keeping your attention. Thus, I am free to stop here.

Hope this gives you a flavour of practical use of Maturana's distinctions.
For me, the notes Rick produced are simply invaluable. And that from
having just scratched the surface.

Unfodingly yours

Lilly Evans
- --

Dr Lilly Evans Dipl. Ing.
Alheri House, Woodlands Road West
Virginia Water, Surrey GU25 4PL, U.K.
telefax: +44-(0)1344-842-418

"The fish is in the water, and the water is in the fish.
There is no separating the two." Arthur Miller (playwriter)


Lilly Evans <100451.3477@CompuServe.COM>

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