I read his books when I was a student at the University.
One of his books called the Opened Body (Het geopende Lichaam 1959) is about the History of Anatomy.
In this book he shows that it took a very long time before it was accepted that the Heart was divided into two Chambers. Until that time The Heart was a Whole.
Long after the discovery of the two independent circulatory systems by William Harvey the heart was pierced (!) to show the interconnection between the chambers that was not there.
The Old Scientists simply adjusted reality to their theory and nobody complained about that.
John Cage shows the same things again and again. He shows that the experience of Colors changed because artists started to use pigments.
A Color became a mix of Basic colors. Colors changed into Parts that could be Combined.
At this moment almost nobody understands that Colors change by the influence of other Colors in their environment.
Before that time Color was a Field. Colors (and Images) were created by adding Layers.
When you see Colors as a Field you understand why Colors are influenced by other Colors. They look like Music and produce Overtones.
The strange thing is that when you start to experiment with Colors by doing a course in Painting (I did) you recognize immediately that there is something wrong with you’re Think/Sensing-system.
When you Paint with your Mind you will never create what you See. You have to Look without Thinking.
Imagine John Cage, Jan Van Den Berg, Husserl and Heidegger and many others are Right. There are many simple experiments to prove their point.
When you want to do a very simple experiment just do what Goethe did. He wrote a book called Color Theory that contains all his experiments. Goethe used the German word “Schauen” to explain the difference between Seeing with the Mind and Seeing with the Intuition or the Consciousness. You could translate “Schauen” in “Carefull Observation“.
If they are Right you could try to remove your Thinking (your theory about the outside world) when you Observe with Care.
If you do this you’re world will change. You will see Colors and Overtones in your Environment you have never seen before. The World will look much brighter.
“The limits of my language mean the limits of my world” (Wittgenstein, 1921).
In 1979 Andrew Ortony was the editor of the book Metaphor andThought.
The book started a revolution in cognitive science later called “Embodiment“. The embodiment-movement has proven that Metaphors are “the Tools of the Unconsciousness” or the “Foundation of Thinking”.
One of the most important articles in the book is written by Micheal Reddy. Michael Reddy demonstrates that 70% of the English language is conceptualized and structured by the conduit metaphor. This percentage is increasing.
This metaphor incorporates three interconnected metaphors:
Concepts, thoughts, feelings, meanings, sense and ideas are objects.
Words, sentences are containers.
Communication is the act of sending and receiving a container.
The Conduit Metaphor transforms Communication (the Act to Commune, to Fuse) in a Dual Monologue between two Senders.
Later (1988) Andrew Ortony was the author of another collection of articles about the Emotions (The Cognitive Structure of Emotions). The book contains a widely used model of the Emotions.
The model shows that Humans have the tendency to define an Intelligent Agent behind every thing that happens (an Event). The Weather is a person (“the wind blows”) and the Creator behind “every thing” is a person (God).
Computers are seen by Humans as Highly Intelligent Agents that use the Conduit Metaphor to communicate. When a Computer starts to commu-nicate it sends a Message and the User has to respond.
The User creates a Container (“type a sentence”, “push a button”, “click a mouse”). The Computer responds by sending his Containers (text and/or pictures, “CON-tent”) back. Computer and User are participating in a dual monologue we experience as commune-nication but …..
In reality the Computer is not a Human Being and unable to act as a Human Being.
It is unable to Adapt so we have to Adapt.
Internally we believe Computers are Very Smart and when things go wrong we, “the users”, have pushed the wrong button, have send the wrong text or have installed the wrong version of the software.
The Computer is Smart and we are Stupid.
The Computer is not only Smart. He is also unable to understand “Who I Am”. He uses “Stereotypes” and he never adapts itself to “Me”.
I have to adapt to him.
The Computer acts like an Autist.
When we try to commune-nicate with an Autist we get frustrated. But because he is mentally ill we have to accept “he will not change”.
We have to Cope.
Coping is a method to escape problems we are unable to remove. We have to cope with the Computer that Acts like an Autist.
The only thing that is left is to reduce our Stress. We reduce our Stress by discussing the stress with our friends. When we do this we feel a lot better because we discover that we are “not alone”.
The Autistic Computer generates many discussions and these discussions are Dialogues. They bring us (the Not-Machines, the Organisms) closer to each other. To solve our problems we start a Path of Mutual Discovery.
We solve many problems by exchanging tips and tricks.
Michael Reddy shows that 30% of the English Language can be described by another Metaphor, the Toolmaker Metaphor. The Toolmaker Metaphor is about cooperation, mutual discovery and the exchange of “tips and tricks”.
The Toolmaker Metaphor is connected to an old “Paradigm” that is slowly fading away in our current Society.
In the Toolmaker Metaphor Humans are unable to understand the other. We are all living in our “own unique private universe”. This Universe is What We Are. In our own universe we develop all kinds of private tools.
In the middle of all of the universes is a post-box. In this box we share pictures (ideas) with other universes. When we find a picture we interpret this picture in our own universe. We understand something because without “knowing” we share a lot.
We are also cooperative because without cooperation we are Unable to Survive.
We need the others. So we send a picture back with adjustments. We are very proud that we have developed a tool that is doing his job in our own Context.
“It really works” and we want to Share our excitement. At the other side the same happens and step by step we develop shared tools.
In the toolmaker-metaphor the Tools are an Extension of the Human. They are an extension of our muscles, our senses, our memory, our emotions or our imagination.
When new extensions are developed we have to integrate the tools with our own private internal tools. We do this by practicing. When we have practiced enough we become One with the Tool.
We ARE our cars, we ARE our Glasses or we ARE our Piano. When the tools are doing their job we even forget that we are using them. We are in deep trouble when our tools fail. Suddenly we are aware of the interdepence between our bodies and our tools.
When we see a computer as a human tool we have to define what part of us we want to be EXTENDED.
When we accept that the Computer is an Autist we have to accept that he is excellent in only one thing. He is an Idiot Savant.
Autists love to Repeat the same Task and most human don’t like repetition.
Let us give the repetitive tasks to the Computers so we can start to PLAY (Simulators!).
When we accept our selves we have to accept our shortcomings.
When we use the Idiot Savant to help us to overcome our shortcomings we are in a complementary relationship.
About ten years ago I was asked to write a book. It was the first time somebody asked me to do this. The person who asked me to write a book was the former director of a foundation called SMO, Wim de Ridder. SMO is a Dutch think tank paid by many big companies in the Netherlands.
Together with Wim de Ridder, Erik Vreedenburgh and Gerard Rijntjes a team was formed. We wanted to explore a concept called Open Form.
Open Form uses the principles of evolution. We organized the book as a process. We started to interview many scientists and artists about evolution and created an interaction between them. People in isolated field of science got together and created new combinations. The book was a picture of a certain state of the process but the process went on after the “book” was published.
Konstapel. J. Vreedenburgh E, Rijntjes G.J.P. De onvermijdelijke culturele revolutie. Den Haag, SMO, 1998.
Open Form became the method SMO wanted to use and the first project was a big one. Big companies in the “Stimulant” Industry like Heineken wanted to start a dialog with the Dutch Government about the prevention of addiction. They gave us a budget to explore an innovative approach. The new approach was based on the theory of Roger Schank. Roger was a friend of mine and he was asked to become an advisor. He adressed the so called Les Indes Meeting in the Hague and the participants were so impressed that they gave us a budget.
What we wanted to build was a game and the inputs of the game were “real life stories”. The story of the project is told in this book “Virtueel Genieten. Diekstra, Drs. J. Konstapel, J.G. van der Leij, Prof.Dr. J.B. Rijsman, Drs. M.A. Visse, K.B. Vos, Drs. N. van Geelen”.
The game was a success. It was such a success that many government paid institutions started to block the implementation of the game. They were producing brochures and employed many researchers. The blocking of the implementation was successful. Strangely enough the researchers never paid any attention at the theory of Roger Schank. Sadly enough they have not done this until now. Researchers always want to re-invent the wheel.
Later a new tool was developed to support people that were un-employed and mentally ill (Virtual Work). The story of the project can be found in this book INTERNETSTURING IN DE ZELFREDZAME SAMENLEVING, Prof.dr. J.B. Rijsman, Drs. N. van Geelen, Drs. T.J. Golder.
We still used the theory of Roger Schank but combined his theory with the theory of Will McWhinney. The same thing that happened with our former project happened again. The government agency that was paying for the tool was unable to use it. Until now they are unable to help people to find suitable work. The main reason is that they are blocking every innovative action of a person who wants to start all over again. There are many rules that prevent this.
The next project was called Time Out. The target of this project was to build the most advanced story-telling-engine ever made. All the experience we had gathered in the former project would be used and the budget was spectacular. Unfortunately the project was never started. SMO decided to do it their own way. This is the game they created: http://www.mazzle.nl/.
This is the book they wrote about the project. MAZZLE, Nieuw perspectief op gezondheidsvoorlichting, Jeroen Duijvestijn.
Many people are now developing story-based websites but developing an effective story based game is something (I think) almost nobody has accomplished.
I will give you a two hints why all of them will fail.
The first thing is the collection of stories. Many people are telling stories but after a some time you realize that 80% of the people are telling the same story all over again. They are the victims. When you want to motivate people to “change their lives” stories about how people are not changing their lives are not helpful. This is also the problem with many self-help-cites. Victims always find places where they find other victims. The victims are entrained by the stories of the other victims. Nothing changes.
So when you want to find people that were successful you have to look elsewhere. This was the real problem with the project Virtual Work. The Dutch Government Agency that is taking care of the unemployed UWV , was unable to provide us with people with a success story. We used our own network to find them and they were rare.
The second problem is the Interview itself. You need a special gift to get the right story out of people. This gift is called empathy. You also need to know all the stories that are already told to know when the real important facts are “coming”.
Will was an expert in the myths and culture of the Ancient Tribes that lived in the Four Corners-area of New Mexico. Every year he organized a seminar in the Ghost Range for his ex-PHD-students. I visited many of his seminars and fell in love with New Mexico and the ancient cultures (Hopi!) that live in this area.
Will tried to write a second book called Grammars of Engagement. The book is about Coupling or Entrainment. For about ten years we discussed many of his ideas.
Unfortunately his book was never finished. The reason it was never finished can be found in Paths of Change. Will was not able to apply his own theory. Strangely enough this proves his theory.
Let me try to explain the theory of Will. The theory of Will is based on his reflection about the Practice of Change.
He did not write the book alone. He discussed his intuition with all his colleagues of UCLA (University of Los Angeles).
What they wanted to resolve was a very strange pattern behind the failures of Personal and Organizational Change.
Will and his colleagues found out that the explanation was simple. Human beings don’t think the same. They are unaware of this. Almost everybody is convinced that all humans think the same. This is the main reason why many people don’t believe the theory of Will. This again proves the theory.
Will discovered four basic ways to think. He named them Mythic, Social, Unity and Sensory. The four ways are completely independent.
The consequence of Path of Change is that You reader when you are not of my world will read this article and think you understand what I am trying to say but in reality you understand something else.
When I meet you you will prove this when I ask you to explain what you think I am trying to say. The only way to explain the theory is to detect your worldview and use your language to tell the same thing.
When I do that you will think I am explaining a different theory. Probably you will ask me why I have changed my point of view (= world-view) and I have to explain you in your language that I did not do that. This will cause the same problem. You will think I am inconsistent.
When you are living in a world with only one world view you are according to all the Best Practises in Mental Ilness (Interpersonal Theory) highly disturbed.
Many people are able to think in two world views. They are able to switch from one world view to the other.
The amount of different combinations of Two of the Four Worldviews is Twelve (4×4 = 16 but 4 are the same x the same = the same -> 16-4 = 12). Will named the 12 Duals Games but you can also call them Apostles (with Jezus at the Center 12+1 = 13), Knights (of the Round Table with Arhur at the Center) or Constellations (of the Zodiac with the Sun at the Center).
Some people are able to switch to all of the world views. When you are able to switch to the worldview of the other you are able to explain the same thing differently. You are able to look at the world with a shared view.
When both our worldviews are the same we will agree on everything but both of us will not see the others. This is the main reason why people with shared worldviews join in all kinds of cooperation’s. They join because they need a secure place that shields them from the strange outside world.
It is also the reason why people with different world-views leave a cooperation in due time. They feel the others don’t understand them. Clusters of shared world-views become highly inflexible when the outside world changes.
When you are a Sensory you will say “what I read until now is highly theoretical. I want to see facts and prove. Is the theory of Will tested?”.
Although Path of Change is Best Practice you will not accept what he is writing. You want to experience the theory yourself and perhaps 20 years later you will write a book telling the same thing. You will write a book full of examples because you love examples. You will be convinced it is telling something very different Will was telling. Happily Will has also written a book that uses examples and cases to help You.
When you are a Social you want to know the opinions of important social scientists and others you feel are of importance. You believe important people are telling important things and you have never heard of McWhinney so his theory is not important to know.
When you are a Unity you want to know the Rules. You want to be told what to do and most of the time you do what the Rules tell you to do. The book Will has written is without Rules it contains concepts and ideas. You think concepts and ideas are not concrete. You even don’t like some of his concepts because they are not according to the concepts you think are true. They are violating your System of Thought. You believe in absolute truth.
When you are a Mythic you believe everything is possible. Life is full of opportunities. You generate ideas and concepts all the time. A Mythic creates his own unique theory and his theory is really a theory about himself. A Mythic is unaware of this. To become aware of this he has to face the facts. He needs to switch to a Sensory world view or accept the view of an other who is able to see the world this way. This is very difficult for a Mythic because a Mythic is very Will-full.
A Mythic is convinced he is the only person who understands the World and some day the World will understand what a genius he is. This will never happen when he is alive. Mythics become a Myth when they are dead.
A Mythic is also an artist. He produces paintings, poems and even theory but his theory is mostly incomprehensible for others just like poetry.
Only Mythics understand Mythics. They feel the Field of Meaning. A Mythic does not understand that the others don’t understand him because his poetry is `the way it is`. It tells everything there is to say.
Will’s basic patterns were Mythic and Social. He was also able to switch to Unity. His blind spot was Sensory. Although many people were very enthusiastic about his book he did not see the facts about his success.
As a Social he focused on the recognition of important social scientists. At the end of his life he was very sad about this. As a Mythic he was convinced his theory was simple and easy to understand. This created even more sadness. Sadness and depressions are the mental illnesses when a Social becomes too Social.
Why was Will unable to finish his book? A Mythic is a highly creative person. He was constantly generating new ideas and concepts. The book was changing and changing and changing because Will wanted to create the perfect book about Engagement. Every version of the book he created was a jewel of poetry and insight. Will wanted to create the perfect book and striving to perfection is again an act of a Mythic. Will was falling in the trap of his own world-view.
What Will also did not realize that he was really writing to understand himself. Path of Change and Grammars of Engagement were a personal quest to understand the real Will McWhinney.
In the last year of his life somebody asked him to write his life-story. He tried to do this. He became aware of the fact that his whole life was centered around one personal quest. He wanted to find harmony. He never found harmony because a Mythic is on a Quest and the Quest never stops because every time when he has found the Grale he will start to look for a new Grale.
In Grammars of Engagement he started to write about Harmony.
A few citations out of his unpublished manuscript:
“All communication arises through coupling. All communications are dances that coordinate the rhythmic processes shared among the engaging systems“
“Communication is not a transmission of information, but rather a coordination of behavior among living organisms through mutual structural coupling. Coupling, the instrument of coordination, is established by the physics of exchange and by traditions that associate both human relations and communications with music: harmony, rhythm, tone and tune”.
‘Just right’ communication work because it allows systems to exchange energy, thus information, through entrainment. They dance to a just right message. The communication follows from exchanges that take place as the systems draw each other toward a common resonant mode. Systems communicate in the process of being more similar, approaching a harmonious state at least in the domain of the communication. Entrainment stops short of perfect harmony. With perfect harmony there is no exchange. ‘Just right’ is becoming close to harmonizing”.
What Will is describing is a dialogue. Will was always playing with his own thoughts. He was busy with an internal dialogue called Reflexion. Intense reflexion is a Mythic Process. When you only talk with Your Self there will be no difference. You are similar with yourself and the internal dialogue stops. You are in harmony.
To make a difference you have to introduce others like your wife or your mother. People talk internally and externally with many voices. Most of them do this without noticing. They are not aware of the many personalities they are. They are not similar to themselves and therefore “out of balance”.
To become balanced they need to talk. A huge amount of conversations (gossip) are aimed at creating an internal balance. To find internal balance people look for people that are similar. Again they need a secure place that shields them from the strange outside world.
When people are constantly moving in similar environments they will never find their Kernel, The Self. It will be watching unable to interfere in the many dialogues that are taking place.
When the Self is unknown, people will not accept the theory of Will. They will be switching from one theory to the other without finding rest.
When they find themselves they will not need the theory of Will because they will be able to play with all the world-views. This is a paradox. It also proves the theory of Will because Will tried to explain that Life is a Paradox.
Another citation: `The process of coming close to harmonizing is visible in an old example. Automobiles and farm machinery once had clutches. These clutches consisted of two plates, one attached to the driver motor, the other attached to the wheels, thrasher, or rotary saw. When the operator ‘let in the clutch’ the two plates moved flat up against each other. As the clutch ‘comes in,’ the driver plate begins to transfer energy to the follower plate getting thus it to turn. At first, the clutch slips and most of the power goes to grabbing, which produces heat. Increasingly the driving plate turns the follower. With full ‘letting in,’ the two turn together. There is no more heating; they form a unit with no further visible communications. The coupling established at the molecular level joins the material of the driver and follower plates in transmitting power to the wheels and cutting blades. This clutching sequence is a model of entrainment. We can recognize similar entrainment sequences in many other situations: a spoon stirring batter in a bowl, cellular protein molecules latching onto antibodies, two persons entering into conversation, and 100,000 people being captured by Marion Anderson singing God Bless America at the Lincoln Memorial”
Will was unable to operate his own clutch. This was really visible when he was driving his car.
He was a staccato person. He loved to work with steel and stone. He was a sculptor. His art was concrete. He loved to practice what he preached but he always practiced his theory in the outside world. He loved to help others but never wanted to be helped. This is the sad consequence of a Mythic/Social-combination.
Will showed that all the combinations are games and the Mythic/Social-game is the game of creating new games. A Mythic Social is an innovator. He is always on the front-line.
He does not see that his inventions wil be taken over by other World-View combinations that are highly practical like the Unity/Sensory-combination, The Expert.
Expert always think they have invented things themselves and never give the Mythic/Social the credits. This is a fact of life but Mythics don’t accept the facts of Life.
His books are wonderful pieces of English words I never heard of. He was a child of a highly educated family in Boston. His mother and father did not love him. They wanted him to become somebody. At the end of his life he was convinced he had failed to satisfy the ambitions of his parents. He told everybody this was the fatal trap in life.
Will was not only a Mythic but also a Social. Socials are highly influenced by Others. Of course parents play the most important role because a young child is incapable of resisting their influence. The Self of the young child is watching.
In the internal dialogue of Will his mother plaid a very important role. In his external dialogue he looked for a similar person and his wife plaid that role. He was unaware of this. He was constantly fighting the mother in his wife without noticing she was a different person. His wife plaid the same game. Will was her father and she did not notice Will was really looking for love and harmony.
Will promoted ”Just right” because ”With perfect harmony there is no exchange”.
Another citation:”Too Large—Overloads. Highly energetic perturbations overload a system, tearing apart the autocatalytic loops that hold its definition. Too much energy bifurcates the stable basins of a system’s memory and ultimately violates its autopoietic identity. The overly energetic perturbations leave open non-reflecting fragments of nodes: neurons, bits of stories, and social customs. These fragmented networks are no longer able to hold meanings or link to memory traces. Short of total destruction, strong perturbation will wipe out the fine structure of a receiving system, leaving it only able to operate in those sequences enforced by the invasive perturbation. To protect the networks of connections, electrical and mechanical systems have features to handle ‘over-modulation.’ With appropriate design, they digitize signals to compress the spectrum, thereby allows the message to be accepted. Human systems have a variety of means to block or censor invasive signals that violate our senses and psyches. Some at the physiological level block the energy that carries the messages; others receive, understand and reject the overwhelming impact. Blocking and the use of censorship disconnects us from the environment and preempts the discrimination they would our systems had more capacity”.
Wills communication was Too Large.
He was a genius and his wife a normal person. He did not realize this.
His knowledge and experience was so enormous that he overwhelmed everybody.
He was looking for a dialogue but in every dialogue and project he became the leader.
He was a guru but he did not want to be a guru.
He was a child longing for his mother but he never wanted to be touched.
He cared for everybody but not for himself.
He was fighting but he wanted peace.
He wanted to create a better world but the outside world was moving into the wrong direction. He did not accept the Cycle.
He always wanted to cure himself. He wanted to find the eternal youth and searched the whole world for new treatments and medicines. He did not believe in the medical system but at the end of his life he needed the system desperately. He never listened to the experts so they left him alone.
He preached meditation but he could not calm himself.
Will was the prove of his own theory.
He was a living paradox.
The personality and the vision of Will McWhinney attracted many Mythic people. All of them started to play with the theory of Will in their own way. Soon it became very clear that Will had re-discovered a very ancient theory of Life.
A pastor found a relationship between the World Views of Will and the Four Apostles (see pictures in this blog). He discovered that the Four Books of the Evangelists where written to adress one particular World View of the believers.
We discovered a relationship with the very powerfull psychological theory called Interpersonal Theory, Game Theory, Conflict Theory, the Cycles in History, the Tarot, the Four Humors, the Zodiac, the Four Forces of Nature, the Archtetypes of Jung, the Myers Briggs test, the Big Five, the metaphors of George Lakoff and many many other ancient and modern theories.
Paths of Change has proved to be the perfect meta-theory to map and understand all kinds of different physical and social sciences. It shows without any doubt that a theory of everything is possible.
The most interesting find was the self-referencial nature of the theory. It is possible to map the theory on itself.
This website contains many examples of the remarkable power of Paths of Change to understand what is happening in the World. Use the tag Will McWhinney to find them all.
At the Rommelmarkt in Delft I bought the book Carl Jung and Soul Psychology.
In the book I found an article of James Hillman called Soul and Spirit. The article gave me a lof of insight so I started to look for James Hillman with Google.
I found the following: “Hillman’s 1997 book, The Soul’s Code: In Search of Character and Calling, outlines what he calls the acorn theory of the soul.
This theory states that each individual holds the potential for their unique possibilities inside themselves already, much as an acorn holds the pattern for an oak, invisible within itself.
It argues against the parental fallacy whereby our parents are seen as crucial in determining who we are by supplying us with genetic material and behavioral patterns.
Instead the book suggests for a reconnection with what is invisible within us, our daimon or acorn and its calling to the wider world of nature.
It argues against theories which attempt to map life into phases, suggesting that this is counter-productive and makes people feel like they are failing to live up to what is normal.
This in turn produces a truncated, normalized society of soulless mediocrity where evil is not allowed but injustice is everywhere—a society that cannot tolerate eccentricity or the further reaches of life experiences but sees them as illnesses to be prescriptive and argues against the idea of life-maps by which to try and grow properly.
Instead, Hillman suggests a reappraisal for each individual of their own childhood and present life to try and find their particular calling, the seed of their own acorn.
He replaces the notion of growing up, with the myth of growing down from the womb into a messy, confusing earthy world.
Hillman rejects formal logic in favour of reference to case histories of well known people and considers his arguments to be in line with the puer eternis or eternal youth whose brief burning existence could be seen in the work of romantic poets like Keats and Byron and in recently deceased young rock stars like Kurt Cobain.
Hillman also rejects causality as a defining framework and suggests in its place a shifting form of fate whereby events are not inevitable but bound to be expressed in some way dependent on the character of the soul in question”.
The citations speak for themselves.
What was my insight?
In the article Hillman shows the development of the symbol Soul.
Soul is an ambigouis concept because if it was a well defined concept it could not exist.
He showes that because of the process of definition the soul degenerated in time. The soul was wiped out of the Earth.
Soul is not a concept but a perspective, a mediator. Soul is a reflection of ourselves in streaming water. It deepens Events into experiences.The Soul is the creator of metaphor, dreams, images and fantasies.