Prior Quotes of the Week

October 5, 1997

Quote of the Week (1997.09.28)
Adapting Environment to Process: Structure Wins

"The DesignShop process, in addition to its emphasis on rich information content and processes designed to enhance learning and creativity, is also a supportive physical environment. Just walking into the DesignShop setting makes us realize that of all aspects of our working life, the physical environment is perhaps the most ignored. (Most of us can make this evaluation by comparing our work environments to our home environments, and noting what elements we tolerate at work, but would never allow at home.)

"The nature of the physical space people inhabit and their ability to move, see, breathe, and hear in that space are critical to their full mental and physiological function. Kinesthetic movement--positions and action--are strongly linked to the mind's ability to perceive, function, and respond. You can induce or change a mood by how you move your body. If you are sad, make yourself dance, sing, or smile, and you will feel happier."

Gayle Pergamit & Chris Peterson
Leaping the Abyss
pp. 223-224, knOwhere Press, 1997


Quote of the Week (1997.09.21)
The Ability of New Tools to Transform Work

"As Gail Taylor says, 'You don't solve a problem, you dissolve it.' For the last day-and-a-half, these managers, engineers, and analysts have been resolutely held in an expanded information pool, undergoing accelerated learning, scanning their environment for new knowledge about co-workers, systems theory, the past and the present, and speculations on the different kinds of futures their organizations may face. They've been unforming and reforming a wide variety of paradigms, metaphors, and systems concepts. They have put these new tools to work to solve the various problems posed in the DesignShop work sessions. They still have their old tools, but they now have added a broad range of new ones. And by working together with people from whom they are normally separated, each group has access to a lot more intelligence, knowledge, and experience than they had when they first walked through the door. The names are still the same, but these people now make up very different teams than they did at the start of the event."

Gayle Pergamit & Chris Peterson
Leaping the Abyss
pp. 223-224, knOwhere Press, 1997



Emergent Group Genius

"Leaders like to think they have control over what is going on in their organizations. Of course, this isn't true at all. Organizations are seething masses of conflicting goals and plans pursued by dozens or hundreds or thousands of uncontrollable individuals, most of whose primary agendas have nothing to do with the health of the organization itself. As the saying goes, what is amazing is not how well the bear dances--what's amazing is that the bear dances at all.

"So the appearance of control is always an illusion. But the DesignShop process rubs your nose in this fact. Because you are tapping into the unknown or underappreciated skills of your teammates, and because time is compressed, completely unexpected things can happen fast. Of course, this is why these events are held in the first place--if you knew in advance what the outcome would be, you wouldn't need to go through the process to find out."

Gayle Pergamit & Chris Peterson
Leaping the Abyss
pp. 223-224, knOwhere Press, 1997



Environments of Immersion

"In our recent work for the American Museum of Natural History and the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, we have experimented with ways to activate the total environment, including pathways and transitional spaces, in service of the interpretive experience and communication goals. We look for architectural and environmental metaphors for the key pedagogical concepts behind an exhibition, so that space traditionally left neutral is given voice. This approach casts a broader informational net to engage the the receptivities of different visitors. We feel the results are seen in people's sense of immersion, attention span, and enhanced memory of their experience."

Richard Saul Wurman
Information Architects
pp. 150, Palace Press International, 1996


Listen to Your Own Life.

"In listening to it, recognize that most of the things that have truly changed your life have been the fruition not of elaborate plotting but of coincidental accidents. . .

"How did you do your last deal? By sitting down months earlier and saying, On this day all these random forces are going to come together, all these variables are going to somehow interact in my favor, and gold will gush from the spigots? Unlikely in the extreme because even if you had said that, you couldn't have controlled the variables, and the more you tried to, the more the variables would have controlled you.

"The truth is that any life is proof that reason and linear time don't apply, and they don't apply most dramatically in the things that matter most. The new model isn't planning. The new model for the oxymoronic future that lies ahead is opportunity. It is responding to coincidental accidents--accepting events as they occur, not as you want them to occur. The new model is letting it happen and having within you the set of values that gives you the confidence to make a choice. Bring your intuition and opportunity will follow. And always keep your eyes open. . .

. . .so long as you focus simply on making the best car, assembling the best PC. . . you will be managing your business and yourself to entertain new discoveries along the path. Ignore new discoveries, and the path itself will turn into a maze constantly doubling into itself. . .

Simplify your focus, and you become the guardian of the future, not the champion of the past. Simplify your focus, and you make the past--what you have learned, where you have been--coexist with the future, with where you are going."

Jim Taylor and Watts Wacker with Howard Means
The 500 Year Delta: What Happens After What Comes Next
pp. 250-251, 266, Harper Business, 1997


The Artist in the Transition Manager

"The artist must have something to say, for mastery over form is not his goal but rather the adapting of form to its inner meaning.

"The artist is not born to a life of pleasure. He must not live idle; he has a hard work to perform, and one which often proves a cross to be borne. He must realize that his every deed, feeling, and thought are raw but sure material from which his work is to arise, that he is free in art but not in life.

"The artist has a triple responsibility to the non-artists: (1) He must repay the talent which he has; (2) his deeds, feelings, and thoughts, as those of every man, create a spiritual atmosphere which is either pure or poisonous; (3) These deeds and thoughts are materials for his creations, which themselves exercise influence on the spiritual atmosphere.

"That is beautiful which is produced by the inner need, which springs from the soul."

Wassily Kandinsky
Concerning the Spiritual in Art
pp. 54, 55, Dover Publications, Inc., 1997



Enfolding the Universe

"The word 'implicate' means to enfold. . . In the implicate order, everything is folded into everything. But it's important to note here that the whole universe is in principle enfolded into each part actively. . . Now this means that the dynamic activity--internal and external--which is fundamental to what each part is, is based on its enfoldment of all the rest, including the whole universe. . . The order of the world as a structure of things that are basically external to each other comes out as secondary and emerges from the deeper implicate order. . . .

"The usual way of looking at things is, therefore, turned upside-down. . ."

David Bohm
Unfolding Meaning: A Weekend of Dialogue
pp. 12, 13, Routledge, 1995


"At present we are snowed under with an irrational expansion of of blind data-gathering in the sciences because there's no rational format for any understanding of scientific creativity. At present we are also snowed under with a lot of stylishness in the arts--thin art--because there is very little assimilation or extension into underlying form. We have artists with no scientific knowledge and scientists with no artistic knowledge and both with no spiritual sense of gravity at all, and the result is not just bad, it's ghastly. The time for real reunification of art and technology is really long overdue."

Robert M. Pirsig
Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance
pp. 294, William Morrow, 1974



The Rules of Design and Architecture

"Here are my rules: what can be done in one substance must never be done with another. No two materials are alike. No two sites on earth are alike. No two buildings have the same purpose. The purpose, the site, the material determine the shape. Nothing can be reasonable or beautiful unless it's made by one central idea, and the idea sets every detail. A building is alive, like a man. Its integrity is to follow its own truth, its one single theme, and to serve its own single purpose. A man doesn't borrow a piece of his body. A building doesn't borrow hunks of its soul. Its maker gives it the soul and every wall window and stairway to express it...

"The Parthenon did not serve the same purpose as its wooden ancestor. An airline terminal does not serve the same purpose as the Parthenon. Every form has its own meaning. Every man creates his meaning and form and goal. Why is it so important--what others have done? Why does it become sacred by the mere fact of not being your own? Why is anyone and everyone right--so long as it's not yourself? Why does the number of those others take the place of truth? Why is truth made a mere matter of arithmetic--and only of addition at that? Why is everything twisted out of all sense to fit everything else?"

Ayn Rand
The Fountainhead
pp. 24, Signet, 1952



Where Does the Vision Come From?

"Let's say you get an idea--or as Pooh would more accurately say, it gets you. Where did it come from? From this something, which came from that something? If you are able to trace it all the way back to its source, you will discover that it came from Nothing. And chances are, the greater the idea, the more directly it came from there. 'A stroke of genius! Completely unheard of! A revolutionary new approach!' Practically everyone has gotten some sort of an idea like that sometime, most likely after a sound sleep when everything was so clear and filled with Nothing that an Idea suddenly appeared in it. But we don't have to fall asleep for a few hours for that to happen. We can be awake instead-- completely awake. The process is very natural."

Benjamin Hoff
The Tao of Pooh
pp. 150, Penguin Books, 1982



Health, Meaning and Collective Spirit

"Likewise, the subtle energy of the body may be important not so much as a material manifestation but in the way its information or "field of meaning" acts to orchestrate the body's functioning.

"When you are faced with a daunting physical task you pull from somewhere within yourself the intention to act. You know an instant before you begin if you will be successful or not, for the result does not so much depend on your own physical strength as on the power of that inner will, that 'energy' you feel within you. Just as within a laser a small energy can have a tremendous effect, so, too, by coordinating the body's forces one can, in an emergency, lift incredible weights or walk great distances. Likewise, when a people are filled with 'spirit' they are able to do great tasks and overcome great obstacles.

"Healing is the activation and renewal of spirit in the individual and the group. The operation of spirit may, in some way, be connected with that experience of power we all feel within ourselves, with recovery to health that sometimes comes about when we discover a new meaning to our lives, and with the way in which a small group of individuals can perform great tasks."

F. David Peat
Lighting the Seventh Fire:
Spiritual Ways, Healing and Science of the Native American
pp. 136-137, Birch Lane Press, 1994



"What, No Learning Curve?"

"The two-week revolution will not happen that way. Development will occur gradually after the first [molecular] assembler works. Using the development of computers as a parallel, we can see that design and construction must go hand in hand. If we accumulate a backlog of designs, they simply will not work at first. Steady and magnificent technological progress has been the hallmark of the last half century. It is a testament to the power of the product development cycle: design something, test it, learn what needs to be changed, modify the design, and repeat the cycle. The learning curve for computer chips shows that the price of a given chip falls in relation to the total number of units shipped since the product first came out. The ability of an industry to learn how to make a product depends very strongly on how many units have been made. Hundreds of little corrections and small tricks help lower the price of a unit in the next production run. Sheer experience is the most important factor. Many products from VCRs to photocopiers exhibit the same kind of learning curve and attest to the power of feedback and gradually modifying the design."

BC Crandall, editor
Nanotechnology: Molecular Speculations on Global Abundance
pp. 53, MIT Press, 1996



Equilibrium, Evolution, Games and Learning

"For another thing, it bothered Holland that Fisher kept talking about evolution achieving a stable equilibrium--that state in which a given species has attained its. . . optimum fitness to survive and reproduce. . .

"To Holland, evolution and learning seemed much more like--well, a game. In both cases, he thought, you have an agent playing against its environment, trying to win enough of what it needed to keep going. In evolution that payoff is literally survival, and a chance for the agent to pass its genes on to the next generation. In learning, the payoff is a reward of some kind, such as food, a pleasant sensation, or emotional fulfillment. But either way, the payoff (or lack of it) gives agents the feedback they need to improve their performance: if they're going to be 'adaptive' at all, they somehow have to keep the strategies that pay off well, and let the others die out.

". . .An agent can learn to play the game better--that's what adaptation is, after all. But it has just about as much chance of finding the optimum, stable equilibrium point of the game as you or I have of solving chess."

M. Mitchell Waldrop
Complexity: The Emerging Science at the Edge of Order and Chaos
pp. 165, Touchstone, Simon & Schuster, 1992


Other Prior Quotes:

April 6, 1997 through June 29, 1997

copyright © 1997, MG Taylor Corporation. All rights reserved
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iteration 3.5