In the "lurkers" thread, it has been interesting to watch how others
interpreted Keith's original comments. I am one (of apparently only a
very few!) who did not make meaning of his remarks as being negative or
condeming. I agree with Rol that the overwhelming negative response to
Keith are evidence of some shared values we hold--be that "unjust
criticism" as Rol offered, or simply the need to honor and respect others.
Also as has been pointed out, the highly emotional response is evidence
that our values, principles, beliefs, moral behavior, are not rational
acts but instead hold extrarational significance to us.
[Is something of a puzzle to me, then, why there is also an overwhelming
tendency within the "values" conversation to approach our sense of values
as though it were something that could be addressed through purely
rational discourse--by segmenting them out somehow, categorizing "types"
of values, etc. Am also somewhat surprised to see little discussion of
the role of our moral/ethical development (a la Kohlberg or Gilligan,
etc.) either as individuals or as a collective within the workplace.]
Going back to Rol's comments on the lurker conversation: It is true IMO
that we must try for clarity and responsibility within our communication.
But . . . what others see and hear, how others make meaning of my (or your
own) actions, is also partly a construction of the see-er and hear-er, the
knower. Our actions contain our own meanings, but it is not as though we
were handing our meanings out to others, and that others then receive our
meaning (this has already been made clear). Rather, I may as easily
construct an Other's meaning through my own projections, rather than
anything the other person has said or done.
This consideration makes problematic something Michael (LO8217) recently
stated when he said, "What is exhibited in action is the basis on which I
make patterns for understanding, prediction and affinity." This seems to
assume that what I observe in others by way of their actions is indeed
reality. I then base my judgments on that sense of reality. This
implies, though, the idea that reality is something "out there," that can
be readily understood through careful observation; the essence of the
Cartesian/Newtonian worldview. If I consider the possibility of my own
projections, or stop to consider my own schemata or meaning schemes, then
I might be brought to different conclusions (obviously, I am a firm
believer in the idea that knowledge and meaning are fluid constructions
rather than something that is given or received--an idealogy that is
consistent I think with LO's).
Clarity and responsibility within communication, it seems, is not the sole
concern of the speaker/writer/actor, but also a concern for the knower.
Particularly when an action or declaration of value strikes a strong,
affective chord, there is cause for me to stop and consider, How am I
making meaning of this, and why might I be doing so?
Just an alternative framework for some of you to chew on for a bit ;-)
Terri Deems email@example.com
Learning-org -- An Internet Dialog on Learning Organizations For info: <firstname.lastname@example.org> -or- <http://world.std.com/~lo/>