I received a message from a high-school classmate commenting very positively on Ed Raymond’s most recent HPR column, Enough to make you puke, on the Parkland school shooting. He is calling for us to rise up and support the students now marching for gun controls. I have recently made a decision to try and change the way our culture influences my well-being. I cancelled Dish Network service so no TV in the house – sad, I had to miss Roseann’s comeback. I still have internet service but it is mainly used for research/writing purposes. However, I still peek into The Rachael Maddow Show, now selectively and without commercials, in order to keep an eye on what Mueller, Stormy, and our Teens are up to. Years ago, I stopped the Fargo Forum but still get Time Magazine, and I only access local TV News for the morning weather report. I had not read the HPR this year and am pulling back from Facebook and YouTube visits, Zuckerberg’s intrusions are most troubling – I hope he and LaPierre soon gets drawn & quartered. Whew, where is this coming from?
It just dawned on me. I was recently identifying a book my son Aaron and I could read and discuss together. I had gone to my bookshelf and taken out Hesse’s Steppenwolf and Thoreau’s Walden for us to consider. The next day an Amazon package arrived for Aaron, it was Walden and he then told me it had been assigned in his NDSU English class for next week. This was synchronistic and we set about reading it together, expecting like in years past I would be able to attend his class.
We prepared reading half the book for the first-class session. I soon realized that as Thoreau was in the process separating from society, moving to his pond, I also was separating and moving away into an upper-room den. Then the professor said I could not attend. Aaron was having some issue with the young professor but this was not why I wanted to attend. Every year I have attended one of his English classes, with no problem. I called the administration and was lectured on the Federal Regulation protecting the civil rights of the other class members. The professor, if agreeing, would then have to follow a maze of regulation. I must admit, I was itching to interact with him – knowing how Aaron was challenging him, he probably wanted nothing to do with a contentious 74 old year old who thinks he the new 24-year-old. I didn’t blame him, at times I can be cantankerous.
I used to read the HPR, published a few essays there and penned a few letters to the editor. After reading Ed’s most recent column, looking at several others, I was reminded of why I had stopped reading his column. Ed is a good Gadfly writer, however, I am not now into his writing style. Ed is good at outlining an issue but not so apt at providing deeper analysis and solutions, if in fact there are any. I know there is a role for Ed’s kind of writing, however, it seems he rarely goes ‘deep’ into the psychoanalytical-state of the issues. Here it may seem to be the ‘deep-state’ in our lives – we know who reminds us of this, however, Trump has no idea of what ‘psychoanalytically deep’ means. Trump himself needs to be on a couch!
My classmate mentioned that one of our high-school teachers Mr. Olson had his students read W. Cleon Skousen’s The Naked Communist, I still have this book and wondered how I came to own it – but I never had Olson for a teacher so, I am thinking, it must have been more widely assigned. What we should have been and now be reading is The Naked Capitalist but not Skousen’s book by this title – a different one, not written by a John Birch Society member, which Skousen was. One has to wonder what Olson’s political views were or who authorized the reading of this book. I see Olson probably to the right of another of our teachers, Mr. Barney, who I see as a progressive. Can you imagine a Native American wife in 1960 Fargo. How about reading and discussing Capitalism and Schizophrenia with the reading notes by Deleuze and Guattari. Yes, I know where this suggestion is going with current Facebook mentality.
I do not think my classmate needed to pull his punches with other classmates supporting the NRA’s gun stance. Mr. Barney, wrestling coach, would never suggest we jeopardize a match by being gentle on an opponent – the take-down is the first and important move. Supporters of the NRA’s position should be ‘shot-in-their-footsies’, preferably in their big toes – taking them right off, let them bleed red-blood like the children of Sandy Hook. I now see my classmate as unwilling or worse not knowing he needs to challenge the system of capitalism – it is more than mental health.
Which brings me to the title for this blog, pause here for a moment and reflect on this title… Read it again… What images comes to you? Sheer Horror? Our children lined-up to enter their American schools (Clara Barton and Horace Mann) as German children lined up to enter Auschwitz. I suspect we now will be having nightmares – oh, the power of nightmares!
Last night I was re-reading Romanyshyn’s book the Wounded Researcher’s Chapter 12 Writing down the soul and this passage on the qualities of writing necessary to write with soul in mind, stimulated this blog title. Romanyshyn writes that, “All of these qualities characterize the metaphoric sensibility, in which the appeal of metaphor is through an image that it evokes, which is neither an empirical fact nor rational idea. To say that “Jefferson Davis is the Lincoln of the South” is not to proclaim a fact. Nor is it just a mental idea. The metaphor presents an image between fact and idea, which invites a way of seeing that opens a world of possibilities that might become a work. Hence, I would argue that the alchemical art of writing inclines one through an image toward a vision of something. The art of alchemical writing is not, therefore, about convincing the reader through facts and ideas about some truth, but rather, of persuading him or her to see, through an image, some issue in a particular way, to look at it from a specific perspective. In this respect, psychological writing, writing that makes a place for the unconscious, writing that keeps soul in mind, is a rhetorical art” (325).
I have been trying to raise images from this title, America’s Sandy Hook is Germany’s Auschwitz. This is frightening, in fact, I actually hesitated using active imagination for what I actually feared it might conger up! You try imagining into this title and see what you experience – “what are the possibilities that might become a work”? Here is GK Chesterton’s outline of sanity that might be part of the possibilities. Does this seem farfetched? The Outline of Sanity.
Yes, it seems farfetched because as Pinky suggests to overcome structure, power, and agency in our way of living, we would need to commit class treason and this is a very challenging task! Pinky begins by stating, “A child dies every 5 seconds from not having enough food to eat.” Oh, is it time for our class lunch by the lake. Enjoy, however, next time let’s be thinking and discussing what does it mean to commit class treason. This clip ends with a university professor (hitting close to home) telling his wife he is planning to commit class treason, giving up his position, and then comes to the conclusion with their mortgage payment due – this needs more thought!
Some interesting news on the MSNBC Morning Joe Show 7/18/17. Elon Musk issued another warning against runaway artificial intelligence, stating “AI is an existential risk to mankind”. Even more than Trump? Here is Musk’s warning …
And here is Musk’s full interview. “Musk on Regulating Existential Threat of AI Robots”
Wikipedia’s entry for “Existential risk from AI” is this. “The argument for the existence of the threat is that the human race currently dominates other species because the human brain has some distinctive capabilities that the brains of other animals lack. If AI surpasses humanity in general intelligence and becomes “superintelligent”, then this new superintelligence could become powerful and difficult to control. By way of example, just as the fate of the mountain gorilla depends on human goodwill, so might the fate of humanity depend on the actions of a future machine superintelligence.”
I then remembered “The good-ol days – when people killed people” from the movie I, Robot, where I think Musk’s AI programing challenge is described. The year is 2035, only 18 years hence, when robot technology has created “trusted beings” in our homes, schools, offices, and can we hope in government. However, something is going wrong when a renowned robot designer, Dr. Lanning is found murdered. Robo-phobic police detective Del Spooner, robo-psychologist Dr. Calvin, and Sunny a prototype robot with human emotions team together to stop Musk’s existential threat to mankind – a real terminator.
In this interrogating scene from I Robot, before detective Spooner enters the room to interrogate Sunny, he winks at another detective, which Sunny immediately registers and then askes Spooner what the wink means. Spooner says “it is a sign of ‘trust’ that robots would not understand.” Sunny responds that his father, the murdered scientist Dr. Lanning, tried to teach him human emotions – they are very difficult, Sunny says. Something like passing health care legislation – you thinks? Sunny says he was hiding at the crime scene because he felt frightened – Spooner says robots do not feel fear, they do not feel anything. Sunny says “I do, I even have dreams”. “No,” Spooner says, “you do not dream, human beings dream, even dogs dream, but not robots.” Then Spooner tries to put Sunny in his place by challenging him, that he can not write a symphony, to which Sunny asks, can your write a symphony – of course Spooner cannot and begins to realize he is being challenged by new level of robotic intelligence.
Spooner still probes the case with his assumption that Sunny is ‘simulating human emotions’ and killed his farther, designer, Dr. Lanning. This pushes Sunny to slam his fists onto the metal table they are sitting at, denting it 3 inches. Spooner recovers from the outburst and says, “That emotion is called anger.” Sunny insists that he did not kill Dr. Lanning and wonders if it was something he did, self-reflective, that caused his suicide? Then Sunny reveals that Lanning was troubled about something and had asked Sunny to do something for him. Spooner is now very curious, sits forward to learn more as Sunny asks, “When you love someone you have to help them, don’t you?”
So, here is a project, it seems, Elon Musk, son Aaron, and other programmers are working on. How to program anger and love into a robot? I think we begin with what are the origins of human anger and then how love next is evolving. We need to understand that this evolution is occurring now? What makes us angry and how does anger evolve into love? A nice day-project for the 70s some – before the Terminator arrives. Seems the Terminator evolved, how so? Science fiction leads reality is many ways – the challenge is tracking this.
When news broke that John Bolton was to be appointed by President Trump as his National Security Adviser, I had an intuition in watching Adam Curtis’s documentary The Trap: What Happened to Our Dream of Freedom that Bolton had appeared in it. So, I re-watched the documentary which has three parts. Part 1 – Fuck you buddy examines the rise of mathematical modeling of human behavior called Game Theory developed by John Nash who won a Nobel Prize for this work and was depicted in the movie A Beautiful Mind. The central issue underlying game theory is that human behavior is selfish and so ‘fuck you buddy’ – only I win. Nash’s theory was behind the mutually assured destruction strategy in the Cold War. So, a question as this strategy filtered into economic/management/administrative theory & practice is what was assuredly being destroyed? Bolton as a person was not present in part one, however, I began to understand why his appointment triggered my intuition – he assured my family’s destruction!
Part 2 – The Lonely Robot continues developing the theme of selfishness but takes a different slant and presents the rise of the drug culture introduced with drugs like Prozac, which were being prescribed to normalize human behavior to a standard of ‘normalization’ we were being told to desire – corporations wanted human behavior to be more predictable, like their machines. Curtis suggests that this is not a conspiracy, “but is a logical outcome of the market-driven culture of self-diagnosis governed by check-lists of every-day symptoms of human emotion”. I question this and one has to only watch Curtis’s documentary The Century of the Self to see how Corporations and The Trump Presidency manipulates, lies about truth. Now, I clearly see Bolton in the person of economist James Buchanan, whose ideas underlie the neoconservative strategy that is presented.
Part 3 – We Will Force You To Be Free is the final part and presents Isaiah Berlin’s concepts of positive and negative liberty that he introduced in a 1958 essay. Curtis describes this episode as explaining “how negative liberty could be defined as freedom from coercion and positive liberty as the opportunity to strive to fulfill one’s potential”. Somehow this does not hit the nail on its head. It seems positive freedom can be seen as the US’s “manifest destiny to democratize the world”. Berlin defines it as the answer to the question “What, or who, is the source of control or interference that can determine someone to do, or be, this rather than that?” While negative liberty is the individual’s right to be left alone to live his life as he/she chooses. Berlin defines negative liberty as addressing this question: “What is the area within which the subject – a person or group of persons – is or should be left to do or be what he is able to do or be, without interference by other persons” (Two concepts of liberty).
What is so depressing in Part 3 is seeing these two liberties never being understood. Curtis says that “It is this outcome that summarizes the entire series, contextualized both by the emergence and convergence of the ‘New Left’ (epitomized by the current age of individualism), with the right’s pursuit of “personal liberty” on a global scale with disastrous consequences.” Wars more wars everywhere there is killing!
In part 3, I recognize that Bolton soon to be Trump’s chief executioner follows in the footsteps of Elliot Abrams, President Reagan’s Assistant Secretary of State 1981-89. Reagan’s Project Democracy lead by Abrams is about to become President Trump’s Project Democracy with North Korea first in Bolton’s sites – bomb North Korea into submission. It was recently reported that “Abrams was Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s first pick for Deputy Secretary of State, but that Tillerson was subsequently overruled by Trump. Trump aides were supportive of Abrams, but Trump opposed him because of Abrams’ opposition during the campaign.” It now appears that Trump will get an even more dangerous henchman in Bolton, to carry out bloody murder in the name of US democracy.
In this documentary there are several clips of John Nash explaining this involvement in designing the US’s nuclear strategic strategy. At one point Nash says he realized that his idea of selfishness is wrong, saying this was a “personal enlightenment”. Here from the movie A Beautiful Mind is the moment of Nash’s peak experience, when he realizes Adam Smith idea of doing what is best for only one’s self is incomplete and needs to be modified to “doing with is best for oneself and for one’s group”. “If we all are going to get fucked by one of these beautiful young ladies, we cannot all go for the blonde – “governing dynamics: ignore the blonde”. Donald, you should have ignored Stormy Daniels! Can you still feel the spanks she gave you?
I close with this idea. My initial intuition was how John Bolton, as Trump’s National Security Advisor, might advise him and how this will affect the World? I suggest that if we look closely at James Buchanan, Elliot Abrams, Ayatollah Khomeini, others, and World history here in The Trap, we can begin to psychoanalytically understand the ‘trap’ we have set for ourselves. We need to deeply understand what is going on? Why are we not understanding the ‘Other’! How does one begin doing this – Hacking into the Trap?
I picked up copies of the HPR on Friday, 9.8.2017, when I went for lunch at Tailgators Bar & Grill with classmate Terry Steinweg (FCHS 63) where we ran into Tom Olson (FCHS 62) who was having lunch with his handball trophy winning friend Denny Tallman. At one point, I passed them the latest issue of the HPR calling attention to Ed Raymond’s The Gadfly column, “Arpaio vs Kaepernick: Who will win out?” However, the HPR column I had first read was Faye Seidler’s Trans Corner, “A love letter to Lana Wachowski”, on her encounter with Wachowski’s (Matrix writer/director) Sense8 Netflix series. I also really like Sense8 and am currently watching Season 2 Episode 8. I will return to Ed’s column and my meeting with Tom, when i again visit the topic of synchronicity.
Faye’s Trans Corner column focuses on sexuality, an important element of Sense8’s story-line and Faye writes specifically about the transsexualism of Nomi Marks, a computer hacker, played by Jamie Clayton, a transgender woman. Faye asks “What makes ‘Sense8’ so powerful? What about it calls so many people to action?” She answers, “Each person has their own reason, but I suspect it has to do with the show being about the celebration of life and what it means to be human. It does this by inviting viewers to see stories, cultures, and lived experiences beyond their own”. And then Faye, nails it writing that Sense8 … “bears witness to the live births of eight people of different backgrounds and cultures”.
I agree with Faye’s statement but will add another element that attracts me, present tense, since I will watch for the first time S2E8 when I finish this Morning Page. The excitement for me is witnessing these 8-diverse individuals coming together to form a sensate/intellectual/support team pitting as Faye’ points out “an evil corporation that drives the story’s main conflict”. If I was back at UND teaching team-management, this would be an assigned series to watch. In most classes, I would assign a currently playing movie, relevant is some way to our unfolding theories, and attend together with the class – I bought the popcorn. At Concordia College, we went to The Social Network depicting Mark Zuckerberg’s rise to his now billion-dollar corporate empire – here is an“evil corporation”. Interesting, Zuckberg’s corporation is now part of the investigation into the Russian’s “hacking” of U.S. elections! We are tuned in!
The Social Network – Hacking scene
Faye’s psychoanalytical analysis of Nomi in Sense8 is deep and important she says for LGBTQ+ people! Her analysis can be applied to all team-members, but for me it is being applied to the “evil corporation” and its role in ‘globalization’. I saw this theme emerging in S2E4 when we are told there are other Sense8 groups in the world that are now coming tougher. I am looking to see how this theme ends in Season 2, for we are told that this is the last season. So, I join Faye’s disappoint in that the Netflix Sense8 series looks to be ending. I wonder about writing script for a Season 3.
Let me end with a scene where Capheus “Van Damn” Onyango matatu driver in Nairobi, a fan of Jean-Claude Van Damme, meets an English educated Nairobi woman and is told by her office mates, he has no chance with his big dick because she like girls. When they next meet, Capheus mentions this news and she responds “Yes, I had a relation with this woman, however, I fall in love with the person not the genitals”. The next scene they are entwined in passionate loving. Kind of invites one to join in – yes? Of course, this is the deep message of Sense8!
Sense8 Capheus Speech “Love is not a Wall but a Bridge”
Ed’s column was not as interesting as Faye’s, da, but what caught my attention is Ed beginning with, “Sometime in the future we may teach real history, not reality history, not fake history. The truth is that 8 of our president staffed their White House with slaves personally owned by them – and ran a government from a capitol building mainly built by slaves.” This morning I recorded this dream: I was following a sequence of ideas, situations from left to right, past to present, and when I got to now, I woke up. I am now ‘sensing’ that ‘the power of now’ begins Sense8’s Season 3, Episode 1.
A cottage industry of analysis has grown up around the Matrix movies and this documentary Philosophy and the Matrixx – Return to the source is one of the best. You can enjoy it at your leisure as you consider a similar philosophical analysis of Sense8 in The Philosophy of Sense8 | Emotion and Connection. Let’s get Sense in the new year! What does this mean? What are New Year Resolutions to commit to? What does commit mean? Happy New Year!
“I think, therefore, I am” has long been man’s distinguishing characteristic. But, exactly where does thinking take place? Early ideas located thinking in the heart, the gut and along the spinal cord. The Chinese ideogram for think, xiang, has the ideogram xin, meaning heart, as part of its construction, which in the past may reflect the Chinese location of this function. Today, most scientists locate the function of thinking inside the brain. And the way man’s brain “thinks” or to use psychological terminology “processes information” has become a major concern to psychologists and managers.
The Mind in Everyday Affairs
Bell Telephone executive Chester I. Barnard, over 40 years ago, recognized the importance of the “mind in everyday affairs”. In the appendix of his book, Functions of the Executive, he identifies the logical process of the mind as conscious thinking, which utilizes words and symbols, and is referred to as reasoning. The non-logical process is unconscious (intuitive) which is built up from experience and the surrounding environment. Barnard identified the thinking styles of different functional managers, but maintained that the effective manager will have access to either process depending upon the situation. His estimate of the balance of these two processes is: “Logical reasoning process is increasingly necessary but is disadvantaged if not in subordination to highly developed intuitional process.1 Executives such as Alfred P. Sloan of General Motors and Conrad Hilton of Hilton Hotels have made similar endorsements for the role of intuition in their decision-making processes.
Approaches to Human Information Processing
Since Barnard’s recognition, psychologists and management scholars have conducted extensive studies on human information processing, HIP. Three approaches can be identified: The first approach develops a heuristic model describing how an individual makes a decision in a complex situation.
The second approach to HIP focuses on the cognitive complexity of the individual’s conceptual system. Four decision making styles have been identified based on (1) the use of a single or multiple focus and (2) the amount of information utilized. The four styles are: decisive (single focus, low usage), hierarchic (single focus, high usage), flexible (multiple focus, low usage), and integrative (multiple focus, high usage). In addition, an individual’s interaction with environmental complexity is analyzed in order to understand the most efficient combination of information processing configuration. An important application of this approach is the matching of managers to decision situations.
The third approach emphasizes the dual nature of HIP and identifies styles that are qualitatively different from each other. Decision-makers using logical routines are classified as analytic or systematic and those using more non-logical routines are classified as unsystematic or intuitive. The duality of HIP is extensively supported by neurological evidence and also has a well developed philosophical/ psychological foundation, which suggests we consider this approach more closely.
Substantial neurological evidence indicates that the left hemisphere controls the right side of the body and the right hemisphere directs the left. Roger W. Sperry and his associates have tested patients who have had a surgical operation in the treatment of epilepsy, which severs the corpus callosum connecting the two hemispheres of the cerebrum. These tests clearly illustrate the hemispheric specialization. For example, an object, such as a key, placed out of sight in a person’s left hand, cannot be named. The left hand communicates to the right hemisphere that a key is being held, but this information cannot be communicated to the left hemisphere where speech is controlled. The person knows what is being held with one mind, but is not able verbally to express it with the other. Later, when the person is given several objects, including the key, and asked to select the previously given object with his left hand, the key can be identified, although the person cannot state verbally just what he was doing.2
In another experiment, a woman is shown a picture of a nude woman in a series of otherwise routine pictures by only showing it to the left side of each eye, which registers in the right hemisphere. At first she reported seeing nothing, but simultaneously blushes and seems uncomfortable. Her “conscious” left hemisphere is only aware that something has happened to her body, which the “unconscious” right knew and triggered the body reaction.
Although each hemisphere shares the potential of the other, they do tend to specialize. The left hemisphere specializes in logical-analytical thinking, especially utilizing verbal and mathematical functions, which exhibit sequential information processing. The right hemisphere is more holistic/relational and is responsible for orientation in space, body image, recognition of faces, responsibilities requiring a simultaneous information processing. A number of opposites have been proposed to distinguish the left vs. right hemisphere models: Logical vs. non-Logical; sequential vs. simultaneous; objective vs. subjective; deductive vs. inductive; ‘analytic vs. synthetic; active vs. passive; yin vs. yang..
The philosophies of the West and the East also reveal the duality of HIP. Western philosophy’s Greek heritage views nature as dark, chaotic and in need of human control and rationality. This has led to the Western scientific method characterized by action, encountering, manipulating, dissecting, which aligns with the left hemisphere of rational processing.
In contrast, Eastern philosophy considers nature to be in harmony with man and the human response is to flow with its rhythm. The “emphasis” here then is to consider how disorder arises and can be avoided, which aligns with the right hemisphere of non-logical processing. The Chinese, “wu wei” or “taking no unnecessary action” expresses this attitude. The Taoist circular symbol of overlapping dark and light, yin and yang symbolized the unity of hemisphere differentiation and represents a goal to be reached in our individual development.
A number of psychological theories could be presented in order to represent this foundation, but the work of Carl Jung provides a particularly useful one, since he was keenly interested in the Chinese Tao if[ . Jung’s personality theory identifies two HIP dimensions.3 These are perception (receiving information) and judging (manipulating information). Perception can be via the senses (S) which is a conscious process or via intuition (N) which is unconscious.
Additionally, there are two modes of judging; thinking (T) which is rational inference and feeling (F) which is value oriented discriminations. Either mode of perception can pair with those of judging, resulting in four distinct HIP styles: sensing-thinking (ST), intuition-thinking (NT), sensing-feeling (SF), and intuition-feeling (NF). Although all four styles are present, and considered to be inherent in the individual, each person has a constitutional propensity toward the utilization and development of a superior perception-judgment pairing. This constitutional determinant in combination with environmental opportunities and demands is responsible for shaping the individual’s superior function.
However, individuals are potentially capable of two auxiliary perception-judgment combinations and one inferior pairing. These are usually dormant and underdeveloped. The auxiliary modes share one of the functions, either perception or judgment, with the superior mode, while the inferior mode is the opposite combination of the superior pairing.
Consider the characteristics of a person with an ST processing style. This person tends to utilize sensing for gathering information and rational thinking for judging. He would attend to facts with an impersonal analysis. He is more practical and matter of fact and develops abilities with technical skills in working with facts and objects. One likely occupation would be that of a technician, i.e. an accountant.
Taggart and Robey describe how different managers might respond to a subordinate whose performance has been rated marginal. For example, “An ST manager responds with ‘Improve your performance or you’re fired!’ (factual, impersonal, practical). The NT manager’s attitude moderates a bit with ‘If your performance does not improve, you will be transferred to another position.’ (possibilities, impersonal, ingenious). The SF manager approaches the problem with ‘You need to change, what can we do to help you?’ (factual, personal, sympathetic). And the NF manager suggests ‘You can improve you performance, let me suggest an approach.’ (possibilities, personal, insightful).”4 Any of the approaches might be successful depending on the circumstances and a flexible manager, one whose auxiliary styles are not too rusty, will be able to respond appropriately.
Measuring HIP Styles
A number of approaches to measuring HIP styles are being utilized in research studies and managerial training sessions. One, which is quite new, is the measurement of physiological state indicators (electro-encephalograms and electrical skin resistance). Doktor’s studies of business executives and operation research analysts, who solved two different types of problems (one analytic the other intuitive) found that executives tended to use more right brain processing on both tasks.5 A second measurement approach infers HIP styles by observing a subject’s problem solving behavior. This approach tries to determine what a person actually does in a certain situation. The third approach infers HIP style from self-description inventories which measures a person’s preference by asking him what he would do in various situations. The Mayer-Briggs Type Indicator; which has had extensive validation, identifies the lung personality types.6 Each of these approaches has advantages and disadvantages and research effort is continuing to improve their reliability and validity.
Implications of HIP for Organizational Functioning
Understanding HIP theory and its research findings has a number of implications in every aspect of organizational functioning. The areas of HIP’s impact can be represented by a series of concentric circles beginning at the center with the ancient Greek motto “Know thy self’. It goes without saying that the effective manager is one who knows his strengths and weaknesses. Reflecting on past decision-making situations is helpful, as well as individual testing to analytically identify one’s style. With this knowledge, effort can be taken to develop one’s auxiliary and inferior styles. Consider Abraham Maslow’s (a Western educated psychologist) call for an Eastern way to understanding one’s self, which emphasizes the right hemisphere process. Maslow states, “….one of the necessary methods in the search for identify, the search for self, the search for spontaneity and for naturalness is a matter of closing your eyes, cutting down the noise, turning off the thoughts, putting away all busyness, just relaxing in a kind of Daoistic and receptive fashion. . . . and just wait to see what happens, what comes to mind. This is what Freud called free association, free-floating attention rather than task-orientation and, if you are successful in this effort, and learn how to do it you can forget about the outside world and the noises and begin to hear these small, delicate impulse-voices from within, the hints from your animal nature, not only from your common species-nature, but also from your own uniqueness.”7
A second application is the identification of subordinate styles, which can greatly assist interpersonal interactions. For example, the delegation of responsibility to different subordinates requires “fine tuning” in the way you explain what is to be done. Barnard states the challenge: “It requires discerning the mental state and processes of the person to be convinced, adopting his mentality, ‘sensing’, what is valid from his point of view and meeting it by apparently rational expression. . . . . .”8 Knowing your subordinate, peer or superior’s cognitive style should direct you in structuring your interactions.
The third concentric circle represents group decision making. The concept of “operations research” originating in England during WWII, combined individuals with different educational background so that different viewpoints would be brought to the decision-making process. A manager with knowledge of individual cognitive styles can select group members to complement each other and thereby be assured of a more effective and efficient decision-making process. The over reliance on left hemisphere rational processing needs to be counter-balanced with the right hemisphere intuitive processing.
The fourth circle is that of the organization and the knowledge that different departments in an organization tend to have different cognitive styles. Lawrence and Lorsch have identified differences between production, personnel, marketing and R & D departments along the dimensions of time, interpersonal and goal orientation and formal structure.9 Such differences invariably lead to inter group conflict, which can be reduced by sensitizing groups to the differences in cognitive styles.
In considering the final concentric circle of society, the work of Geert Hofstede can be cited. Hofstede defines culture as “the collective mental programming of the people in an environment.”10 Cultural mental programming is a result of the common life experiences and education a group of people share. Hofstede was particularly concerned with the influence a national environment has in producing a national characteristic.
After extensive study and research in one large multinational corporation with subsidiaries in 40 countries, Hofstede identified four dimensions along which nations can differ.11 The four dimensions are:
Power Distance – the extent to which a society accepts the fact that power in institutions and organizations is distributed equally.
Uncertainty avoidance – the extent to which a society feels threatened by uncertain and ambiguous situations and tries to avoid this situation by providing greater career stability, establishing more formal rules, not tolerating deviant ideas and behaviors, and believing in absolute truths and the attainment of expertise.
Individualism-(Collectivism) – Individualism implies a loosely knit social framework in which people are supposed to take care of themselves and their immediate families only, while collectivism is characterised by a tight social framework in which people distinguish between in-groups and out-groups; they expect their in-group (relatives, clan, organizations) to look after them, and in exchange for that they feel they owe absolute loyalty to it.
Masculinity-(Femininity) – High masculinity societies are those in which the dominate values are assertiveness, the acquisition of money and things, and not caring for others, the quality of life or people.
Using the data collected from this one corporation, Hofstede constructs three diagrams by plotting the dimension results two dimensions at a time, i.e. Power Distance X Uncertainty Avoidance; Power Distance X Individualism; and Masculinity X Uncertainty Avoidance. These three diagrams represent what Hofstede calls “a composite set of cultural maps of the world.” The implications drawn from these three maps relate to a nation’s optimum organizational structure, motivation patterns, and leadership style.
Of particular interest to us are the results obtained from the Hong Kong sample. Hong Kong’s results are as follows:
. On Power Distance at rank 33 out of the 40 countries (Measured from below) it is above average.
. On Uncertainty Avoidance at rank 4 out of 40, it is below average.
. On Individualism at rank 9 out of 40, it is low, indicating a collectivist orientation.
. On Masculinity at rank 24 out of 40, it is slightly above average.
For comparison purposes the rank’s of the United States are 15, 9, 40, 28 and those of Great Britain are 10, 6, 38,33.
Hofstede’s findings have many applications with respect to management practices in differing cultures. For example, a society with a large power distance would not likely accept the low power distance implied in Management by Objective schemes. Or a society with low uncertainty avoidance would not adapt well to a highly formalized organizational structure. Or in more collectivist societies there may be a higher propensity to remain loyal to the organization rather than calculative. And in societies with a high masculinity index, motivating employees would take the form of achievement rather than social incentives. It should be apparent from these few examples that understanding a society’s mental programming is a pre-requisite for effective and efficient transnational management.
A final example at the societal level is drawn from the world of science fiction, since yesterday’s science fiction seems to have a habit of coming true. This can be illustrated with the example of science fiction movie hero Flash Gordon of the 1930’s becoming Neil Armstrong walking on the moon in 1969.
In this same light Isaac Asimov’s science fiction novel Foundation Trilogy may give us a glimpse of how differing societies may come to a mutual understanding of one another; an understanding dependent upon the cognitive development of its leaders. The necessary development is expressed by the First Speaker saying to the First Citizen: “Emotional contact such as you and I possess is not a very new development. Actually, it is implicit in the human brain. Most humans can read emotions in a primitive manner by associating it pragmatically with facial expression, tone of voice, and so on. . . . Actually, humans are capable of much more, but the faculty of direct emotional contact tended to atrophy with the development of speech a million years back. . .. A million years of decay is a formidable obstacle and we must educate the sense, exercise it as we exercise our muscles.”12
The more one experiences the differences between the “East” and the ”West” the more one “feels” the need for a new integration. The development of western rationality, with all its accomplishments, needs “wu wei” of eastern intuition and vice versa. The obstacle to finding the lost keys to management is our own “habits of thought”, which prevent us from following Lao Tz’s suggestion, “one often wins over the world through non-action.”13
The above suggestion of Lao Tz may seem “beyond” the active-analytically trained manager and academician until we review the solid medical evidence showing differences in left/right brain wave occurrences. This fact should attract us into considering more closely how our mind works and what some of the “far out signals”, from ZEN, MEDITATION, ESP, Bio-feedback, Dream Analysis, etc. are signaling. The development of man’s total mind ought to be the goal.
Steven Arvid Scherling, BS, MBA, DBA
Lecturer, Department of Marketing & International Business
The Chinese University of Hong Kong
Scherling, SA. (1984, March). The lost keys to management. The Hong Kong Manager. Vol.20, No.3, pp.19-22.
I have read Ed’s Gadfly column, Crazy like a fox, several times and there is something “not quite right” with the essay. Of course, not with Ed’s syntax, especially knowing and then reading that he spent 36 years, 8 in teaching English and Journalism, and then 28 years is school administration. Ed knows how to diagram a sentence and “enforce” the curriculum! I am thinking Ed is “sly like a fox”, however, that may be giving him too much credit. How can Ed, who participated and contributed to the questionable state of our schooling system, now criticize Secretary of Education for deconstructing it – without first presenting her “deconstruction logic”, providing she has one. I think Ed may be worrying his 36-year investment might be exposed as a “sly trick” he has been playing on us.
I recently re-discovered in my library Ivan Illich’s small book “Toward a history of needs” containing five of his essays and started reading them. The essay “In lieu of education” helped to focus my attention in reading Ed’s crazy fox column. It is like reading in tandem two essays on the same topic but on differing planes. Ivan’s deeper analysis suggests that Ed is unaware of Ivan’s deeper probe. The objective of this musing is to examine Illich’s ‘invariant hidden structure’ in our educational system that I suspect is hiding from Ed (Illich: In lieu of education, 1971).
Bruce, your 1960 encounter with Ed was interesting and also motivated me to look closer at what he had written last week. It seems not quite right to cite Michael Fox’s manifesto and not see the “hidden structure” underlying his chosen profession. Consider Fox’s metaphor about a professor filling a pickle jar with golf-ball size rocks and then asking the class if it is full, which of course it is seen to be, until sand and Coors beer (our favorite Bruce?) are added. Then the professor instructs the class that this “jar is your life and make sure the ingredients are the big stuff, your family, your work, your career, your passions. The rest is just sand, minutiae. It’s in there. It may even be important. But it’s not your first priority.” What is this, ‘it may even be important’ – how so, if it is important?
This is where Michael and Ed both seem not right! The by now sandy beer is the most important ingredient – this is Jung’s individuation and Maslow’s self-actualizing need, “Self-Stuff” making the biggest most important rock the family stick-together. If we do not get individuation right nothing works together smoothly. When I first read this, I did not see the jar finally full and thought what else could be added – of course, it is one’s imagination. The other jar ingredients, your work, your career, are the focus of the Illich’s “invariant hidden structure” that we are investigating. Ed seems to not to realize this.
The theme of Fox’s book “A funny thing happened on the way to the future: Twists and turns” is similar to Illich’s essay “In lieu of education”, both reflecting Ed points out Mark Twain’s statement that “I never let my schooling interfere with my education.” Fox complies a list of other school dropouts like himself, actors and businesspersons, and get this Ed writes, “have overcome (emphasis added) the lack of formal education to make their mark in the world.” And what is Ed’s and maybe Fox’s criteria for “marking this world” – you guessed it, money, as Ed goes on to point to billionaires that have made their money without formal education. Our society’s criteria of success, money, is not right and ultimately will kill us. Illich’s analysis takes us deep into school-logic that underlies our educational system, which he reminds us was established and is still supported by Kapitalism. It is the State that incorporates The Corporation, which should not be forgotten. If we have issues with Corporations, we have deeper issue with the State.
I am now writing, it appears, following along in Ed’s essay with Ivan’s hovering above in a DeLorean. Ed justifies why our society can place students in his professional hands by detailing his 36 years being educated, teaching, and administrating, and finally moving up to a director of district personnel, a crowning event justifying Ed to proudly state, “I feel I have some credibility.” Yes Ed, as Ivan points out, you were fully indoctrinated and successfully deployed: “The more education and individual consumes, the more ‘knowledge stock’ he acquires and the higher he rises in the hierarchy of knowledge capitalists. Education thus defines a new class structure for society within which the large consumers of knowledge – those who have acquired greater quantities of knowledge stock – can claim to be of superior value to society. They represent gilt-edged securities in a society’s portfolio of human capital, and access to the more powerful or scarcer tools of production is reserved to them” (Illich, In lieu of education, in Toward a history of needs, 1977: 84). Ed really is a good marine.
After commending Fox’s decision to go-his-own-way despite the warning of one teacher that “You are making a big mistake, Fox, you’re not going to be cute forever”, Ed acknowledges that Michael’s decision to follow his talent and not books was a right decision, after all Michael is a millionaire – what more proof do we need? But then Ed challenges Trump’s selection of Betsy DeVos as Secretary of Education as someone “never having entered a public classroom at any level as a student” prompting Ed to surmise that “the Republican Party has the goal of destroying America’s public education system.” In the remaining part of this section, Ed presents in detail the “damage” he thinks Republicans have done and are still doing to the public-school system. Ed then asks this key question, which is an important aspect of Illich’s analytical framework, “How can students learn to read, write, and learn how to use computers and laptops if they don’t have supplies and equipment to do so?” The issue of technology is central in Illich’s analysis of schooling (in 1971 he foresaw the impact of the internet) and Ed ends this section not exploring or at least indicating its importance – he seems to accept technology as a benign entity.
In the last section of his column, Ed presents a flood of polling statistics from the Pew Research Center to criticize “the richest country in the world for refusing to fund education at all levels”. I am reminded of the book “how to lie with statistics” we read as college students. However, more to the point Illich makes – it makes no difference if the right or the left control schooling, their approaches on the surface while different, both lack awareness of what is “hidden” – they both remain unconsciousness or indifferent to what is going on. Ed ends his column with the interesting awareness of Michael in comparing his life experiences with that of the curriculum from Hunter College finding them to be very close, prompting Michael to reflect that he “fulfilled the requirement for each particular course – while having absolutely no idea I was doing it. I might have skipped class, but I didn’t miss any lessons.”
While Michael’s lack of formal education is similar to other successful movie stars and business types, society still needs educated workers. In a previous comment, I suggested Ed’s columns lacked depth but did not defend this statement. I started defending my position here and then in ending this introduction to Illich, he reminded me this about Ed and myself, “In order to see clearly the alternatives we face, we must first distinguished learning from schooling, which means separating the humanistic goal of the teacher from the impact of the invariant structure of the school. This hidden structure constitutes a course of instruction that remains forever beyond the control of the teacher or all of the school board. It necessarily conveys the message that only through schooling can an individual prepare for an adulthood in society, that what is not taught in school is of little value, and that what is learned outside of school is not worth knowing. I call it the hidden curriculum because it constitutes the unalterable framework of the schooling system, within which all changes in the visible curriculum are made.” (In lieu of education, 82).
Wow, as I read Illich, I recalled my past teaching experiences and took note of what had been ‘hiding’ from me. I remember teaching and using management textbooks, now fetching $200 a copy, presenting Maslow’s “Needs Hierarchy Theory”. It may have taken 2 out of 300 pages for these PhD authors to cover Maslow’s Theory, leaving a few paragraphs for Self-Actualization, which they defined as doing all one can for the corporation, building one’s career – being the good worker. Seldom do they address the “deep unconscious work” needed to approach individuation, self-actualization. I came to realize that students are not being taught to care about the deep Self-stuff – the real challenge in business schools is mastering the “mathematics of finance” not the “mathematics of psyche”. There was no time to properly address this math, there are 298 pages I had been told must be covered. Even advanced management classes do not go deep. My attempt at committing class treason is now hovering – preparing a new attack, yes, it has started!
I should not be so hard on Ed – how we go about understanding and addressing the “invariant hidden structure” is tough! To uncover this hidden structure, we have to investigate all the ingredients in our pickle jar – our family, our work, our career, and our passions. Illich states “the economic system” is hiding something. What and why are corporations hiding this knowledge? Why are we, the State, allowing them to hid this knowledge? Illich’s essay examines how schools have turned education into a “commodity”. Pinky’s “class-treason” dialogue is an attempt to reverse this process but as this clip ends, realization hits – more work on this project is badly needed!
I looked for video clips on Illich and there are not many but this one is interesting. Illich was a speaker at the 1984 Water and Dreams Conference sponsored by Dallas Institute of Humanities and Culture addressing city life. Illich begins with William Harvey’s discover of the circulation of blood and follows this idea into other circulation of water in cities. (The heading link below is more compete but still illich’s full address is missing.)
Ivan recounts that understanding water circulation made possible city life, noting cities were quite stinky until we got the technology right – today 42% of city water is used to flush waste down, out, and in Fargo’s case up the Red River to Grand Forks. Fargo is in the midst of replacing its water and sewer system and over the weekend, we learned that Garrison water will soon be piped to Grand Forks. Then we witnessed hurricane Harvey’s assault on Houston and are learning now the its water circulation is not right. I liked Michael Fox’s saying at one time he showered with his dishes – wonder if he still does? How about you Bruce? After living with you for a year, I know you drank in the shower – ha!
The weekend before last, we welcomed Ken Harvey a Fargo classmate into the FSHC Class 62 FB Group. I started writing “sly like a fox” and listening to Illich’s clip on William Harvey’s blood circulation discovery and then Hurricane Harvey sinks Houston. Then a new born emerges from his sack of water and is named Harvey. Four Harvey’s in a week – hum… . Ken, is there a song here?
One more weekend experience. In surfing TV channels, I re-watched the end of “Back to the Future” where Doc drops Marty back at home and then sets his time dial to visit the future 30 years out. Marty wakes the next morning to find his family’s life has significantly changed –economically and socially better off. Doc and Marty’s effort not to influence the future had failed. Then Doc suddenly returns with knowledge from the future – Marty and his girlfriend have to see something that is not right with their children. Doc then says he needs more fuel for the DeLorean, opens the fuel chamber, reaches into a near-by trash-can, throws in a banana peel, empties a can of Bruce’s Miller beer, throws the can in, closes the lid and takes off – “technology and the Soul” Wolfgang Giegerich; “Technology with Soul” – Bernard Amadei. Past and future circulations to continue …