Homework and contrails

I’m trying to remember how it all started now. I think it was Sociocybernetics… No! It was something from one of Alan’s comments here!Moor light Alan uses Sara’s blog as his URL when leaving comments, but I know he has another web site without much on it as yet. And when I visited that site last night I discovered Ishmael. So far so good. It was late at night, right, I’d arrived late after a train ride from Devon, I’d uploaded some photos onto Flickr; it was late. I searched on Google for “sociocybernetics” and “Daniel Quinn”.

I found work by C. A. Hilgartner, and from his references, discovered Alfred Korzybski and General Semantics; and now I’m back to NLP. And not only NLP, I can see Non-violent communication here too. A little more searching and I found this quote from Marshall Rosenberg:

The tribe I have had some contact with is Orang Asilie tribe in Malaysia. I’ll never forget what my translator was saying before we got started. He was going over how he was going to translate. He pointed out his language has no verb to be, like [you are] good, bad, wrong, right. You can’t classified people if you take away the verb to be. How are you going to insult people? You take away ninety percent of my vocabulary! So I say what are you going to say if I say “You’re selfish”?

He responded, “It’s going to be hard. I’d translate it like this: Marshall says he sees you are taking care of your needs but not the needs of others.” He says, “In my language, you tell people what they are doing and what you like them to do differently, it would not occur to us to tell people what they are.” He then paused and he looked at me in all sincerity and said, “Why would you ever call a person a name?”

I have remarked to a few people lately that when I did my research into software theory there was a period of expansion, when I read papers like an undergraduate medical student drinking beer, and then a period of condensation and contraction when I could identify the area where my work would be (Perhaps the young doctor discovers a taste for fine wine or a particular type of ale). The transition between these phases was marked by “saturation” of the area: where the new papers I read contained an increasing number of references to other of the papers I had read or, at least, references to papers by the authors of the other papers I had read. It starts to feel like this is the case in my new field of interest.


  1. Tygger Says:

    Orang ‘Asli’ = ‘original people’ ie indigenous. That was an interesting excerpt … I’d never known that about the language, but now I’m curious and I’m going to try and find out if its true. Did he mention what tribe of Orang Asli? Its a generic term meaning indigenous – could have been any one of several different languages including Kadazan and Sumazau …

    Also, this thing that you mention about ‘saturation’ of information is something I identify with quite a lot – its mentioned in many texts about ‘creativity’ including Betty Edward’s ‘Drawing on the right side of the brain’ and others. Also described in ‘The Creative Brain’ by Ned Herrmann. I have both – you’re welcome to have a read when you visit (in a couple of weeks?)…


  2. Jacqui Says:

    Hi there Mark, your new course sounds fascinating, quite very different from NLP.

    I have to say I agree with Nik re the final afternoon, I felt deflated that it was over although as Ian said it was just the end of the beginning.

    I’ve started browsing your little world here, good to see other facets that were otherwise not revealed during the last 5 months.

    Take care the pair of you and keep in touch.


  3. Mark Says:

    Good point Tygger, I don’t know what tribe he was talking about, all I found was the page that I linked to. Marshall’s stories always seem to get “re-told” over time to suit his audience but I cant really comment on how much actual truth there might be in the story.

    Bonjour Jacqui, Welcome to BJ.c There is a lot of stuff here of varying quality. I wonder what other facts you are thinking of that we have not shared over the last few months in breaks between NLP courses…?

  4. Jacqui Says:

    Salut a toi aussi!

    good question but I need to do a lot more browsing before I can supply an answer to that one…

    thought you might like to drop in my niece’s blog, I have directed her to yours notably to the shumacher content.


  5. Jacqui Says:

    I see you have paid a visit to sweetepistemology, I had a feeling there would be points of interest 😀

  6. evangineer Says:

    Regarding the Marshall Rosenberg quote, you might like to check out Toki Pona which is a constructed language with some interesting constraints http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Toki_Pona

    And remember, “The map is not the territory!”

  7. Mark Says:

    Thanks for that ref Mamading, fascinating motivation for a new langauge.