Re: Change vs. Development LO101

Jim Michmerhuizen (
Mon, 13 Feb 1995 20:49:47 +0001 (EST)

On Thu, 9 Feb 1995, Stever Robbins wrote in LO54:

> By softening our language to "honor" the past, past decisions,
> etc., we run the risk of allowing ourselves to believe that _all_
> those intentions and decisions were good. In fact, a lot
> of them probably *were* dysfunctional, short-sighted, and wrong.

And not only to believe that they were good, but to believe that this
"goodness" was their most important attribute. My primordial model of how
to learn is the child learning to walk and to talk: adjusting strategies
constantly on a dozen different hierarchical levels of generality, all at
once, never looking back to find "justifications" for mistakes.

> Especially when it comes to learning, it's important to recognize
> when your decisions/intentions are wrong, so you know you have more
> learning to do.
> Would you rather fly with a pilot who has good intentions and has
> done a lot of hard work to learn to fly, or fly with one who has
> passed a certain high competence test? When it comes to helping
> someone move further than they've done in the past, I like
> "development." When it comes to evaluating whether our movement
> is in the right direction, we need to be able to say
> "No, my last set of decisions was plain WRONG."

Yeah. The thing I keep coming back to - which your commentary here also
alludes to - is that along the temporal dimensions, threads, of our life,
we need continuities and discontinuities. "Wrong" is one of the utterly
basic _Logical Primitives_ of this discontinuity. "Wrong" is _HOW_ you
leave a syndrome or set of conventions or habits _behind_ you.

> This verbal whitewashing seems quite prevalent in business, where
> unethical behavior and incompetence are often cloaked in sugary
> language that lets us quietly avoid grappling with hard issues.
[...snip snip...]
> I would rather create a culture in which we can say "I was wrong,"
> realize it's just another part of learning, and move on.

> Summary: "develop" is a nice stepping stone, but I want my ultimate
> culture to be one in which change, being wrong, and making mistakes
> are thought of as daily, acceptable occurrances in how we live and
> learn.
Once again, dead on. Shouldn't we measure what we've truly learned, in
any space of time, by the number of times we saw we were "wrong"?