All posts for the month October, 2002

Peter Drucker Foundation. Some interesting stuff about management of non-profit organisations setting future trends of business management including this interview with Charles Handy. Some good recommended reading lists too, including ….

The March of Folly by Barbara Tuchman (Ballantine, 1992), ….. the follies of humankind in bringing about …. disasters that could have been avoided …. the best and the brightest can blithely and arrogantly march into colossal blunders. (Warren Bennis favourite text).

Mary Parker Follett, Prophet of Management (Harvard Business School Press, 1996, orig 1920’s). It makes one wonder why the rest of us bothered to write anything at all! Read and Admire says Charles Handy.

Ishmael by Daniel Quinn (Bantam, 1995) [actually a trilogy] …. elegant inquiry into deep cultural assumptions that shape how we think in the industrial era. and Synchronicity by Joseph Jaworski (Berrett-Koehler, 1996). ….. leadership grows from how we think about reality …. our Western scientific view of reality is being turned upside down this century … says Peter Senge.

Uncertainty About the Uncertainty Principle. Can’t anybody get Heisenberg’s big idea right? By Jim Holt in Slate (via Apothecary). Not even Heisenberg apparently. Strange when I read Heisenberg’s Physics and Philosophy I posted earlier that I was puzzled as to why he seemed to imply the “measurement disturbance” view of uncertainty in his many examples. Not just me then.

[Post note: Seth picked-up on this link and suggested identity and expressivity as conjugate information variables. Neat idea, I think this equates to my “reification kills knowledge” mantra. The more information is defined by tight syntax / ontologies (identity? ) the less knowledge (expressivity ?) it actually captures. Less is more !]

Conspiring to Mis-inform. New page from Robot Wisdom with this quote resonating with the summary statement of my manifesto in the header above. [Quote] Defining a universal ontology will require defining explicit categories for every variety of human experience, and every step in this direction must tighten the noose around the conspiracy of self-deception.[Unquote]. My earlier words were … “models which continue to rely solely on scientific rationale conspire to misinform”.

Sir Robert Winston interviewed on Breakfast BBC this morning, plugging his new TV Series (and obligatory book of the series). Several interesting and relevant tidbits. Firstly, echoing the previous post, the instinct (genetically inherited and socially conditioned) that allows us to recognise friend or foe from first impressions (fractions of seconds contact even) is an ancient survival mechanism. Interestingly Winston also has views on the extent to which such behaviours are innate and are subsequently conditioned, which include the belief that there must be some fundamental basis of instints that have a “moral” aspect, and examples of survival vs sacrifice behaviours. (See Chrucky items blogged earlier – moral insticts by tacit agreement etc.). Winston admitted candidly that as a scientist, some of these beliefs were pushing the boundaries of what his peers might consider scientific, but they were seriously held intuitions.

Just a little anecdote I found myself re-telling last night. Sylvia and I have a tacit understanding that allows us to agree with a nod or a wink about individuals we encounter in any service industry context – teller, check-out, waiter, barman etc. whereby we instantly know if this is an individual we would employ “if I were Richard Branson”. ie the success a person brings to any role has more to do with the qualities of the person, than the specific industry or job emplying them – skewed at least 80/20 IMHO.

Still reading Eco at the moment, though finding only brief moments to do so, but still looking very good and building on Nietzsche, Kant and Peirce. Obtained Steven Pinker’s latest last night – The Blank Slate: The Modern Denial of Human Nature. If the introductory chapter is anything to go by this is right on message. (Makes seemingly positive references to Searle too, which augers well.)