Challenging our own thinking LO11812

Michael McMaster (
Sat, 11 Jan 1997 20:46:05 +0000

By the accident of being interrupted twice just as I began this message, I
was struck by the first statement that Scott makes in the following
response to Ben Compton's LO11655.

> My experiences say that some hierarchy is a necessity

What strikes me is how we are caught in our own interpretations - those
things we call experiences - by the idea that they tell us how things ARE
and how things MUST BE.

Experience in any but the most immediate sense like getting burned
touching some hot coals does not tell us how things are and must be.
(Even such experiences turn out to not the way it MUST be - i.e. after an
experience of fire walking, one's interpretations are altered.)

In the domain of learning, it seems to me that experiences tell us what
CAN be but not what MUST be. One of the great values of dialogue like
this list provides is that we constantly have our interpretations
challenged both by theory and by reports of experience of others.

Your experience suggests what is possible to me. It never tells me what
is impossible or what must be.

This suggests to me a learning point regarding the attitudes (or maybe
even "first principles") of a learning organisation. That is, shifting to
a view that is looking for what might be possible and challenging all
constructions of "must be".

Michael McMaster :
"I don't give a fig for the simplicity this side of complexity 
but I'd die for the simplicity on the other side of complexity." 
            attributed to Oliver Wendell Holmes 

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