Re: Chiasma verses Integration LO223

Michael McMaster (
Fri, 24 Feb 1995 08:24:13 GMT

Replying to LO161 --

In response to the dialogue between Palmer and Bellinger:

One way through the dilemnas being talked about here is via Hiedegger's
approach which Kent has said in a fairly simple and elegant way. Another
is via deconstruction approaches borrowed from postmodernism. The latter
inquires into the assumptions and the meanings of the original statements
to get beyond the meta-narratives which contain the dualism. (This is an
approach that a successful French executive of a multinational reported

>From the exchange between Kent and Gene:
> > >From a business perspective suppose there is a way to integrate the pursuit
> > of short-term profits and long-term growth and development, or growth and
> > stability, decentralize and centralize, desire for change and desire for
> > continuity, etc.
> I think we need that. Americans are so short term oriented they are
> always shooting themselves in the foot. The japanese perhaps go to the
> oppostie extreme.

The assessment that "Americans are so short term" and "Japanese perhaps go
to the opposite extreme" is perpetuating the duality. It is possible to
use these terms without any duality, conflict, either/or, etc. These
appear to me to be terms of a meta-narrative that goes unchallenged even
by those who are lamenting the results.

How you go about this deconstruction, in simple terms, is that you ask,
"What do we mean by short term, profits, long term and growth?" When
each of these become richer, then you look again at the statement and see
how its meaning or significance has changed and then you ask new questions
of the same type - even the same ones. Because the meaning and
significance of each term will have been changed by the preceding dialogue.
If you conduct this long enough on the issues presented, one of the likely
outcomes is that those engaged in the dialogue will begin to see that
short-term and long-term are not separate in the ways previously thought
and that they will begin to integrate "of their own accord".

The French executive referred to above used the example of deconstructing
(she called it "explication de texte") with the mundane area of working
capital. She said, "Instead of telling them to improve the situation or
asking immediately 'What are you going to do about it?', I simply asked
them to talk about the details of what it was, what each part meant, how
it all fitted into other things." BY the time they had finished - about a
day she reports - the group had come up with very creative solutions. Part
of the point is that they now understood something newly and had "solved the
problem" without engaging in problem solving.

On another matter:
I preferred "Flow" to "The Evolving Self" but, in my experience, the
author has a very effective way of introducing the workings of complex
adaptive systems to learning, development and psychology.

Mike McMaster <>