Ποιειν Και Πραττειν - create and do

Organizational Structures and Features of Creativity by Hatto Fischer

This paper was written with the intention to comment the paper "On Social Creativity" drafted by Eric Barchechath within the  LOGOS project for DIALOGOS Nea Media: Thanos Contargyris (23.10.1995)


Organizational Structures and Features of Creativity

As of late questions are asked why creative personalities are so rare in politics and society, indeed is there something which is driving 'creativity' out of universities and other institutions of learning (Krippendorff)? Is it true that educational institutions are reducing their functioning to being merely a smooth running machine for making money after having given in finally to political criticism of 'social relevance'? Certainly in the wake of a more business approach to sciences and education, Humanities, the Social Sciences in general have suffered a set back year after year. Industry and the business world demands qualified people for their purposes only and yet claim that they have to invest on top of that still more enormous amounts of money before the graduates are really tailor-fitted for their branch of business activity. Forgotten is almost that knowledge is not a matter of ownership, nor ever complete. Ignored is even more so the fact that business needs are not identical with societal ones, the prime one being to know what is going on in reality independent of the practitioners. After all theoretical reflection means not to succumb to the kind of salesman-like talk trying to convince the buyer that the cupboard is beautiful when in fact it is cheaply constructed with false wood. To see reality and to come to terms with it has always been a challenge, but the fact that the human fields of knowledge are being left aside nowadays is more than alarming. As a result this reductionist approach to knowledge has left 'creativity' outside any policy consideration, may that be of the university or for that matter of the European Commission. Thus given this overall state of affairs, it is certainly invaluable when organizational issues connected with the introduction of new technology tools for learning and training are looked at from a point of view which focuses on 'social creativity' as the case of Eric Barchechath's paper.

A response to his paper is needed for it merits a lot of attention. Given the emphasis upon 'Long and Distance Learning' within many current European projects, i.e. LOGOS, his approach to organizational issues in terms of 'social creativity' is most relevant. Some of the ideas he deduces from Mauss or Polanyi are most familiar from a viewpoint of social philosophy and anthropology. Moreover he comes in his paper to an overall evaluation of the policies persued by the European Commission, an evaluation in need of a debate at all European levels. After all the critique of Eric Barchechath is a useful reminder that policy matters ought not to be reduced to a simple sales strategy of new technology and functionalize resources to create images of dynamism when social practice throughout Europe stands in strong contradiction to that claim. Especially the social issue of not only the 'right to work', but also how to seek employment or rather overcome 'unemployment' has been put by his paper into a contextual framework of critical evaluation. The difference between true learning and training and false policy is according to Eric Barchechath the fact whether or not the promotion of the articulation potential of the individual is persued. This means more than just parking the 'unemployed' by training them up the functional level needed by an enterprise to organize its salesmanship and to have a communication flow within its organization without incurring any problems. Thus given the outstanding nature of this paper, I would like to take up three aspects of his paper and comment upon them further:

- the meaning of social creativity

- consequences for organizational issues

- usage of technology in training and learning

After discussing these three aspects, I will end by trying to relate the question of 'social creativity' to the emergence of key concepts such as 'self-reliance' and 'articulation' as a prerequisite for 'cultural adaptation': the organizational issue when it comes to dealing with new technologies in training and education. Of interest is that Eric Barchechath ends his paper with an emphasis upon 'exit' and 'voice' as two important parameters for such self-reliance. The relevance of his remarks go really beyond any debate about organizational issues and are most perceptive. Since the issues which he raises are discussion points as well within the LOGOS project, the comments will be concluded by making some cross-references to issues and problems faced by European projects.

1. The meaning of social creativity

Eric Barchechath usage of the term 'social creativity' is in need of some further elaborations, in particular because he converges upon this term from an economic-humanistic and from an ethnological-anthropological approach. Consequently he relates the term to the key understanding of enterprises as being 'social constructs' and judges them accordingly as to their embeddedness or not in society (a thesis he develops in reference to Karl Polanyi). Important is the stress upon 'incompleteness' (contrary to the created images by technology oriented entertainment and advertisement / service industries, namely that of completeness or perfection, that is eternal beauty as part of the 'culture of consumption' and which often end up as rituals with beautiful girls around a new car linked to the wildness of nature, i.e. the Jeep). To take this a step further, and it leads already to the question what is understood as being creative or what is 'creativity', the stress upon 'incompleteness' as a measure of what can, but equally what needs to be done is transmitted by market forces quite differently than by human beings willing to learn all the time in the self-understanding that nothing is self-understood (Adorno). It goes without saying that the latter concept of learning is linked to openness in terms of the knowledge sought and attained as being something which can never be complete. The real issue for organizations is thus not to succumb to mere technological induced criteria of completeness or perfection and instead remain open, that is free from such market forces which follow merely that 'logic of completeness' and do not allow for 'creativity' including the learning of new things.

Completeness as a criterion leads to misjudgement of man made artefacts. For this reason Michelangelo let through his art works nature speak as being more complete than what his hands by comparison could ever complete. He set his artworks into that tension and ratio between natural or unworked-upon stone as being more complete than work done by him. According to Michelangelo, his work remains forever incomplete. Yet this artistic measure of completeness has never been fully thematized due to Western Society trying to overshadow the creative impulses emerging out of such a dialogue with materials and which after having been worked on as being at one and the same time complete and yet not only incomplete, but also 'uncompleted'.

The distinction between these two components is important for further considerations as to what can be our understanding of creativity. As every artist will admit readily, the most difficult task in a creative process is not so much the beginning (which was a problem for the philosopher Hegel), as to find the right moment to stop or rather to step outside that creative process. How difficult this is, that became evident in the film about Picasso: everyone else would have said, stop here, the picture is so beautiful, but then he destroyed those lines and equally elevated them to another plane of perception so that all of a sudden other images emerged out of the background, images until then invisible, except for the artist's hands and eyes. Creativity is always an 'intuitive guess' as to what is going on. It goes beyond the mere collection of materials, for the guess means as a 'Deutung' (interpretation of reality) that there is always a great risk of being wrong. Instead of improving the picture, it might be completely ruined and reality 'completely' missed out.

This is why at the highest level of creative expression there is this humbleness as a safeguard against misconceptions of being able to do everything, an illusion of power mistaken for creativity. There is much confusion about the difference of meaning between these two concepts. Negative illusions are created in the world of entertainment affecting already children's' minds by such figures like 'Power Rangers' and thus are devoid of any real meaning. They do not give the mind really something to work on and hence remain superficial at the level of fascination for images eluding the real world. As an escape syndrome it may be compatible to the world of dreams, but due to their negative logic enticing always the worst possible which once overcome makes the heroes involved even greater, it is not. Instead of redemption linked to a differentiated perception of reality, in this fake world of entertainment there is always fight, the struggle with the bad, that reveals an over simplistic schemata for perceiving the world. Yet the technological world needs its false heroes to hide the fact that it is not independent as it claims, but relies as much on mankind as on nature. Thus the technological world wishes always to add something more, create bigger bridges, faster cars, better microscopes as if setting records like at the Olympics is the only goal worthwhile to be persued. Yet true art knows not that kind of progress for there is no comparison possible between Homer's verses and a play by Shakespeare. Each stand on their own within the context they were created in. They touch upon the same questions and reformulate them in terms as understood by their respective times. They reach their greatness through that balance between completeness and incompleteness. Once that point is reached, nothing more needs to be added. The work of art speaks then not so much for itself but becomes a departure point for 'cultural articulation'.

Now, in terms of 'creativity' there is also a need to get away from the overloaded notion of the genius. Alone the fact that Andrι Breton put Picasso at a higher level than what he demanded in terms of the Surrealist Manifest issued 1929 shows that creativity is a matter of morality. Some ignore that and as Chagall said after returning to Paris once Word War I was over, he was astonished to see so many painters continue to work as they did prior to 1914 as 'if nothing had happened'. Morality means thus to be affected by changes. Not keeping reality out nor to portray a reality that is not there, counts for the artistic freedom of expression, but a true description. Creativity comes in terms of morality about by becoming truer to reality even though the attainment of that truth will be always incomplete and uncomplete. Creativity is linked to a human knowledge of the reality to be lived and experienced. It means equally freedom from manipulation and from false creations of images which do not exist nor prevail in life.

The understanding of that has governed the arts throughout the centuries and yet little of that understanding has been perceived as relevant as to how not only life, but work is being and ought to be shaped. The latter is really the domain of organizations involving at the same time political strategies, to say the least. Thus the relevance of Eric Barchechath's paper can be perceived that he brings the question of creativity into what he calls the 'relationist perspective', in order to be able to point out that this perspective "converges with the analytical works on culture and the accounts of articulation among cultures". (p.2) The term 'articulation' and even more so 'cultural articulation' is here crucial for the understanding of creativity.

As said above, the question of creativity has not and cannot be easily defined. Creative is already the mother who instead of screaming at her child, finds an answer by which she manages to unlock the fears of her child and thus bridges over differences between perception (between what needs to be done even though the child is crying) and understanding (what can be done in the concrete situation). Indeed, most of the creative works are linked to comprehension: the understanding of the situation in which we find ourselves in. Thus from a writer's point of perspective it is quite often said that literature can only give us much identity to people acting in reality as they themselves are willing to take on real identities. Creativity is, therefore, very much linked on how people perceive themselves, their abilities and thus do not succumb to reductionist categories or even labels like 'the stupid guy', 'the prostitute', 'the businessman' etc.. Identity in a differentiated sense is always a matter of 'cultural articulation'. It goes beyond what is being done at the moment, in particular in terms of work in order to exist, for a human being cannot be explained only through the fact that he works at the gasoline station. Since the latter reflects a structural dependency upon a type of transportation system relying heavily upon the private car using gasoline, naturally the man's identity within that narrow framework of existence is secured. However, the need to be responsible over and beyond the mere earning of an income to others, including the environment in which everyone lives in, makes the question of survival into a need to become creative, that is to step out of false dependencies in order not to go through one's own work against life. Thus masses of people have to be given time to work through solutions in this creative manner. It becomes an organizational issue for until now masses have been treated only in such a way that 'energy' can be obtained from them without them able to take on an identity, that is the ability to organize themselves (Sartre).

The relationship between identity and masses has many political implications. For instance, masses of people cannot be understood in the way both Heidegger and later on R. Bahro meant it, namely that people in general are reluctant to take on concrete identity because that is linked to taking on responsibility in the sense 'I said it' or 'I did it' as opposed to 'one says that...', in other words a negative sense of identity (Heidegger, Time and Being, 1929). Heidegger discarded the masses of people because he was of the opinion they would never take on responsibility and thus justified the need for the leader who takes all the risks and who must be given, therefore, 'special rights to make mistakes'. That lead Heidegger to support Hitler. Bahro's 'The Alternative' was really stepping out of the Marxistic constraint that the workers are the avant garde of societal change. Rather he saw them like Heidegger pushing away responsibility when the pressure was upon them to act and thus remaining without that 'extra energy' to take on tasks which go beyond the mere existence of oneself. He saw more the Middle Class, including teachers, as having that extra energy while the real task was according to his theoretical perception to find an alternative to both Capitalism and the Asian mode of Production. The latter was designated in Marxistic terms as a highly centralized form of government due to technological needs and costs being so great that no individual unit, whether farmers in need of costly water irrigation systems, nor business enterprises wishing to have technological research facilities, could raise the necessary capital, in order to facilitate that kind of technology.

Thus the blame for blocking changes within any organization cannot be put simply on the shoulders of the workers or in the lap of top management (see here Barchechath's reference to R. Bahro), but impediments in the way of organizations enter usually by needing two very different, even contradictory forms: one for the actual work being done, the other for raising the capital. The contradictions are usually side stepped or not seen in terms of loss of conscious concepts in tune with the knowledge needed to do the work. The moment concepts are sacrificed and the influence of money is felt everywhere at all levels, independence and with it a clear perception of reality is lost. The loss of 'social creativity' is the consequence of reality no longer been seen in a politically responsible manner open to problematizations. Too often the mistake is made that something appearing as useless is thrown out, discarded or in the case of educational institutions not taken to be a part of the curriculum or even worse dismissed by firing the creative personalities which do not fit into any straightforward category, administratively speaking, or never hired in the first place since the threat to the ways of doing things is usually felt immediately and interests in protecting established privileges provoked by the potential newcomer(s).

Bringing about concrete identity within organizational patters may also be conceived in the sense that Dubcek and certainly R.Dutschke understood it, namely a concrete identity with a human face and, if one follows through the arguments of Eric Barchechath, with a 'human voice'. The latter is a component he mentions in relation to the right to exit or even more so the usage of the right to exit despite working in an enterprise which keeps up hierarchical, command-like structures of authorities.  despite the images being created around new technologies as forces of dynamism and subsequently improved human relationships. Here he plays upon a certain irony in the system, but means in terms of concrete identity or not that the terms of 'exchange' should be embedded in a social environment making everyone participate and become creative. The final outcome is that the 'collective self' becomes active and creative.

Now this leads back to the question what is creativity. First of all, Arthur Koestler in his book 'The Act of Creation' tried to show that creativity measured by models of scientific developments  brought about by people like Einstein, Niels Bohr, Heisenberg and others was always a leap, but not one into the unknown. Rather it is like stepping stones in a pond. This example was used by Arthur Koestler to demonstrate that if you want to find your path across the water it is like finding stepping stones or as children would run bare footed along a stony coast. These leaps were always risks but within a safe margin. Turned around, creativity means then filling gaps and bridging these gaps so that all of a sudden interesting linkages can be seen and developments become possibilities. There is always this urge to extend the self beyond the limiting sphere of self-interest as defined by family, community and state. It is not accident that the issue of 'universality' has been raised in the LOGOS project due to an intervention from the highest European level. There is a struggle going on to find out the means of adapting current societies to the challenges of the future.

Models of survival are linked to equally trained thoughts educated to perceive things by which to overcome the  really impossible. There are many real discrepancies between what these educational institutions claim and what they really live up in terms of what their graduates finally do or succeed to do in real life. As a sort of caution and not at all some relativization, society does live of the 'truths of successes' as much as failures. No one can really survive if he or she does not find a partner if not for life, then for moments of truth that belong exclusively to the sphere of human relationships. Merely politics and other strategies think that they can transcend these human relationships formed at very immediate, equally complex levels. Any separation from that means always an attempt to establish power. It is interesting that Hegel, for instance, tried to negate the local binding force when people speak in their own dialect. He supported, philosophically speaking, much more an abstract way of speaking by which the identity becomes attached to a state over and beyond the immediate circumstances. Always the organizational level has to pay attention to this differentiation between local concreteness and abstract self-proclamations of being an entity by itself. This self-sustaining power is the myth of modernity. It matters most on how it is understood within circumstances not easily defined nor brought about by some clarification of thought. The present social reality is elusive as evasive when it comes to level with a conceptual form of self-critical analysis. In general, there is a kind of cynicism which prevails over any kind of discussion about possibilities to affect changes in favour of not only a direct problem, but also to uplift the spirit of the entire community towards a more democratic ascertainment of truth. The real dimension of that is clearly one which over demands everyone in their daily life.

Karl Popper in his emphasis of the 'method of falsification' rather than in a theory claiming to be true meant really the same thing: creativity in terms of fruitful hypothesis is linked really to the ability to overthrow them and hence to the possibility to replace them with more simple, but more powerful theoretical explanations. In other words, creativity depends upon creating a context within which ongoing activities become meaningful through the knowledge of what everyone is looking for. The expectation for a specific answer and hence the increased possibility of rejection is really the method of refutation. Popper said only then conjectures thereafter can become interesting hypothesis. It may not be that kind of epistemological approach in the complete sense of Popper that Eric Barchechath spoke about when talking about 'social creativity' for that goes far beyond any scientific community, but it does follow that both creative scientific communities as much as active artistic circles of the past have to be re-created, if this outgoing twentieth century will leave its mark as did Picasso and Einstein. The interesting note is, however, that these explorations into the scientific or artistic mind still beg answers to the question of creativity.

There is another possibility to reflect upon the usage of creativity for industrial purposes, something which Eric Barchechath talks about towards the end of his paper. 1971 Paul Matussek of the Max Planck Institute for Psychoanalysis in Munich was beginning to do research into creativity. As a psychiatrist trained to perceive social models of ill adjusted behaviours in special people - they may be called patients, victims, silent ones, etc. - Matussek's studies were linked to questions about human aggression as much as depressions, schizophrenia and other mental illnesses etc.. He was most knowledgeable about 'mental dispositions' having become ill-adjusted due to 'family' circumstances, e.g. a mother telling her son in secret never to become like the father while siding with her husband once it came to an open dispute between father and son. Conflicting models of behaviour are transmitted within the daily politics of family life and have a span of tension which can cover an entire life.

To take but one example, that of ill adjusted children, this became later a model for testing school children, that is whether they are super-intelligent or just mentally retarded. In these tests the focus was upon the unusual, that is what makes children stay outside the societal norm? Judgements thereof are, of course, related to the dispositions of society reflected in what the community wanted its individuals to become. If the community depended for its survival upon fishing, not everyone was accepted as one and the same kind. Some made this process of socialization quite peacefully and went with the elder fishermen out to the sea until they could have a boat of their own and live likewise. It is, however, equally natural that someone wants to break out of the narrow confines of traditional life and seek some livelihood, indeed experience to live outside the confines of the local boundaries. That is when conflicts begin to be thematized as equally indications of social change. They can be perceived even by the local preacher who on Sunday will tell the elder population to listen to the younger ones going to school where they learn on how to use technology in farming. The introduction of the new, including technological tools, needs always a social response. That response is not always given just as Eskimos responded differently to the invasion of Western Civilisation than did the Indians who nearly lost their own identity and hence ability to survive.

But to come back to creativity research, it was understood by myself 1971 as a new turning point in organisational schemes and strategies to exploit not so much the labour force of the worker, but the creative potential of a human mind having become aggressive. The method of exploitation was simply this: after having made the person become aggressive, the objective was to find out what it takes in terms of interventions into the 'psyche' that the person becomes creative rather than let this aggressive force come out either destructively of others (or objects) or of oneself. The model of intervention had to transform that potentially negative force 'just in time' (like the later copied Japanese models of organization) into a creative act. The objective of the research was, therefore, not so much 'creativity' as it was linked to the interest to increase productivity through the exploitation of psychic energy released due to aggressive forces. The implications of such creativity researches have not as of yet been really fully understood, but it must be said here from an ethical standpoint that they are as dangerous as researches into the atomic bomb or into genetic engineering. For the conversion of aggression into creativity begins already from the wrong premise, namely that the human being is by nature aggressive or can be made into that by falsification of his or her reality, feelings therefore. That needs to be explained in terms of creativity for even things intended in a good way may, structurally speaking, turn up to have the opposite meaning when put into practice without anticipation of 'structural contradictions' (see here M. Foucault, l'histoire de folie, Paris 1969).

Michel Foucault in his amazing account of the history of insanity cites one good example that can illustrate this point. He describes how Pinel as a humanistic doctor tries to reform the still outdated psychiatric practices which include the usage of chains to tie insane people to the wall. Everyone is afraid of these 'wild beasts' who use their chains to bang them against the wall in order to add to their frightening sounds of anger when they open their mouths. Pinel in an attempt to institutionalize reforms within these psychiatric prisons instructs all of the nurses and other people working at the hospital that the chains are to be taken off, but under one condition, namely that no one responds to the 'wild man'. Pinel's orders are followed and within two weeks that 'wild man' is a broken man. Why? Very simple. He got no 'feed back' but rather was covered by a blanket of silence. No feed back! The Austrian writer Robert Musil said in his book 'Man without Attributes', 'the worst thing for a young man when he sends out his ideas to the world is not criticism, but to receive no response at all'. It is by the way also the best way of breaking any person at the place of work. By leaving the person guessing as to what his or her functioning in the organization out to be either that person will very soon lash out and endanger his or her surroundings or else in a desperate attempt to stay alive 'create' a 'social construct' as a replacement for the lack of information about reality. Hegel in his model 'master and slave' recognized that hierarchical relationships are based on the ability of the master to control the slave. The latter gives more than what is needed for himself and guarantees that the master can survive without doing anything. The simple truth is that he who does nothing, reveals very little or no information about himself whereas the one forced to move provides the other with insights into his or her 'psyche'. Thus the person's behaviour becomes predictable, that is subject to control and to the influence of power. The master gains power through a greater knowledge about the person than what the person thinks to know about him- or herself.

In order to become truly creative, what is needed most is 'feed-back' for otherwise there is no knowledge about what is relevant, what is important to look at things more closely and what is really linked to a social need. Eric Barchechath's paper is, therefore, an important reminder that creativity without the social component and feed-back from others is a loss of perspective and hence a reality  impossible to live. It goes without saying that this means stepping out of such highly exploitive situations prevailing in enterprises whose 'social practices' can be identified as being that of the former East German-style and which leaves people working there but the option to 'exit' as quickly as possible. Creativity is after all connected with the discovery of having a human self-consciousness which can never be categorized, let alone be subdued by any form of power. For some it may, however, only exist on the eighth day of the week, but there comes this challenge not to give up this 'self' still in touch with humanity even when everyone around oneself seems to deny that other reality in which it is possible to feel human as part of the basic right to exist in dignity.

However, to return to the core arguments of Eric Barchechath, his concept of creativity is connected to his perception of the human being having 'a collective self'. Consequently there is the need for a more anthropological/ethnological approach than a mere economical one, in particular if based only on "methodological individualism", if the issue of 'social creativity' is to be understood at the level of organizational issues. This emphasis reminds me of a valuable book by James Clifford called 'Predicament of Culture' (Harvard U. Press, Cambridge Mass. 1988) who started off stating that in Western Societies the individual artist is known as the creator whereas in African societies the artists are unknown, e.g. the wood carvers. Yet once the African mask is placed beside Picassos 'Avignon' painting, then the viewers realize that both have their unique complexity and beauty. In other words, both are equally artefacts of culture and hence are art works in their own right, but the distinction to be made is that while an individual artist tries to manifest over and beyond the act of creation also his style as being recognizable by the art market, the unknown artist does really things to keep up the 'creativity' of the society. This latter aspect has to be really understood and I think Eric Barchechath is trying to get at something important when he links 'social creativity' to a 'collective self'.

One person who referred to this was already Rosa Luxembourg who spoke of masses becoming creative when freed from all sorts of bondages and able to express themselves. Political failures to sustain such free, equally creative moments of inspirations have to be equally understood, but the main point is a political truth: sometimes in the light of a lack of solutions there has to be created 'collectively' a force to work for solutions, for otherwise life will become impossible for everyone. Creativity is, therefore, linked already to a kind of personality making possible life for others. That is why I would prefer to modify the concept of 'collective self' by emphasizing much more the possibility to participate in the collective process of creativity, something the psychoanalytic researcher Mitscherlich asked consistently as to why there can be culture, but not many participating creatively in the sense of being both the recipient of culture and of being active in a creative sense, adding as it were to the collective sense of culture? It goes without saying that this is linked to finding one's voice vis-a-vis others. For creativity has also to do with listening to others by giving them a voice worthy to be listened to. It is a matter of interest that Eric Barchechath turns towards the 'voice' at the end of the paper. In German philosophy this search for the 'human voice' has become related to both music and poetry (Ernst Bloch and Adorno) whereby a word of caution is needed. For instance, Bloch would say that Bach came very close to letting us hear through the Fuge this human voice everyone is searching for but which is so rarely heard. That means our very own voices are but layers of experiences covered over by many sounds and indications of what it may be like if we would find our own, that is the human voice but we should not have that illusion of having found that unique voice. Still, the voice is the closest to our 'memory track' for sound and time connects here in the most precise and equally most differentiated manner (Kant). It is also the closest to a fleeting moment of the present in which we have to step into constantly, in order to experience any feelings coming up. S. Freud said that merely living within a system (of consciousness), we would not experience these feelings. The true creativity is, therefore, possible only in this freedom to step outside any norms or system but by keeping alive the morality of following these feelings - the intuitive guess of reality - 'cultural adaptation' becomes possible and with it a specific way to live and to think. It is like finding a complex position in moments of great change.

However, the question of creativity in relation to the self cannot leave out the question of work, that is the substantial basis of existence within a specific value reference system. As Homer already demonstrates, Odysseus goes on a huge voyage as a measure of time in order to make the transition from a hunting society to one which relies on agriculture. Since then work and pleasure have been separated into different spheres of experience, here the artist, there the worker. In other words, the juxtaposition of here creativity, that is pleasure and there work, that is no pleasure but only pain, is unsatisfactory and leads only to wrong expectations that magic like solutions can or indeed have to be found. Nothing is further from the truth. Creativity is really the result of much work with a clear concept beginning to take shape until the stepping stones (Koestler) are found or an experience suddenly high lights in a metaphorical sense that what was the missing link, i.e. Einstein going up an elevator and seeing the light between the doors streaking past him which all of a sudden he could translate into his relativity theory because it was the visible, equally visualizable linkage between details in need of being perceived and the overall way of perceiving the theoretical assumptions as to what kind of linkages are involved. The metaphorical perception was in the case of Einstein equally a revolution in thought for the world was no longer regarded as a matter consisting merely of causal relationships ('Anschauung'), of great important when aside from nature there is also the need to take human beings into consideration. The experience of Einstein illustrates that without theoretical work, that is search for the missing linkage, no creativity would be possible. Adaptation means here finding exactly the immediacy of a special, that is non-causal thought to a reciprocal material in the 'outside' world, that is the non-made nature. In making such a connection all of a sudden between theory and reality both object and subject worlds become independent from one another. That marks a sudden jump in level of quality of perception when it comes to conceive phenomena until then not really understood nor really believed to exist. Einstein felt that the ethical demand upon the scientist must be, therefore, to ensure that scientific objectivity is reached through the self-understanding possible to communicate to everyone while nature, the world retains both a tension and the status of being self-independent from mankind. He underlined this with his search for the 'unity of the field theory of experience'. While respected for his earlier discovery of the relativity theory in physics, he was, however, ridiculized by other scientists when they saw that he was not giving up a search everyone else considered to be impossible. Heisenberg's redefinition of the relationship between the parts and the whole was a first, equally fatal compromise of the scientific community and made it move away from this overall demand of truth as having to fulfil both conditions, that of being self-understood as well as self-independent. Since then not only the discrepancies between scientific practice and social truths have become more than apparent. The 'creative personalities' have also left science behind leaving the field more to administrators of knowledge rather than to pioneers like Kepler, Galileo or Newton (see the book by Arthur Koestler, 'The Nightwalkers' about those three). It is a phenomena which Anna Freud observed equally within the socialization process of psychoanalysis for once the pioneers like her father had gone, the second and third generations were already so onesidedly institutionalized as they could but only prevent creative thoughts from potentially upsetting their established practices. It goes without saying that Einstein's interest in maintaining non-arbitrary terms in the theory so that the social practice to follow was self-understandable, that is within the ethical understanding of the meaning of the theory, meant really a uniqueness of human life and human consciousness should guide in the end any adaptation of theory in practice. This was already a concern of K. Marx on how to link categories of productivity with those of creativity for only the two together were in his mind able to make possible "human self-consciousness", that is the ability to do things in a human manner.

Thus to conclude in but a few words, 'social creativity' as making life possible is not only sustained by outstanding artistic achievements, but also by a mother unlocking the pain of her child and thus freeing it to express itself. That is why it is most important that Eric Barchechath connects 'creativity' to 'cultural articulation': the way to find a voice in a maze of complexity. His paper is really a start of an analysis as to the reasons why societies fail to achieve this.


2. Consequences for the organizational issues

In brief, Eric Barchechath's paper states that the overall organizational level is below what individuals or groups of people interacting could really do. By being below 'par', a term used in golf games, he refers to impediments to change within enterprises. Here he cites among others R.Bahro's thesis about top management being resistant to change, while the promotion of technology as a tool of change fails to introduce dynamism into enterprises when they continue to rely on command like top-down structures without allowing for the active participation of the workers or employees. He links this critique to certain features derived from his concept of 'social creativity' and hopes in the end that the European Commission no longer gives in so easily to pressures by industrialists. Rather he wishes the creation of enterprises which are truly 'social constructs' (a term derived from Bergmann) and allow individuals to become creative. The latter is a potential to be exploited. I add this last aspect with a critical note in reference to what was said about exploitation of the 'psyche' under the term 'creativity' research. Given the structural contradictions turning the best intentions easily into their opposites, justification for a shift in policy must be given free of such a term like 'exploitation'. For the latter term suggests that despite changes affecting the possibility of reaching the level of 'social creativity', there continues the old style of exploitation of new resources made available. In fact, the entire value system leading up to exploitation for the sake of producing wealth (since Adam Smith at least a concern of national economy) has to be re-examined critically in light of environmental and human constraints. A weakness in anticipating negative political developments linked to exploitation means really a perpetuation of a kind of blind adaptation to reality. It explains also why Eric Barchechath does not ask about the contradiction between images of dynamism being created with the introduction of the new technology as proclaimed ideology of modernization and outdated political practices within organizations which continue to dominate human and labour relationships despite this technology. Of course, he points out, factually speaking, that there appears to be an overall lack of interest that people become active, that is creative. Yet Eric Barchechath's descriptions are not 'intuitive guesses', interpretations bringing the naming of reality to a critical theoretical level of reflection. Hence they still beg for further answers, indeed explanations and means of looking at reality. Perhaps he is of the realistic opinion that 'exploitation' possibilities must be given as form of justification if anything is to work in the kind of society, its value system included, we live in. To overcome the latter would require a still more optimistic force, as if Nelson Mandela could become a spirit of redemption everywhere while clarity, the true naming of reality, is not left out in the political approach to things. It is interesting to note that towards the end of the twentieth century South Africa and Yugoslavia have become opposite poles in the way of thinking about political differences in approaching inherent social conflicts and how to let dynamic forces work for true, that is human solutions.

Eric Barchechath's paper has many strength, but I think that the weakness in his theoretical approach is due to remaining with a system, even though a different one of exploitation. That weakness becomes more apparent in the second half when he merely states a social fact of contradiction and develops a possible answer. Rather than developing a political theory about organizations, he resolves this issue by stressing both 'voice' and 'exit'. These terms are important but not a sufficient political answer to organizational issues. For the true consequence with regards to the unresolved organizational issues is the problem of change within such organizations. By seeing no longer any chances to reform those contradictory structures, Eric Barchechath states that the only chance to change these organizations or enterprises is to exercise the right to 'exit' or to vote by the feet as a saying goes about those who left East Germany prior to 1989 and the collapse of the regime. He does not offer any solutions within a given organization, that is which ones are still worthwhile to work within and which to leave. The identification of hopeless cases is not self-evident. Furthermore, by using the term 'social creativity' he gives only a vague orientation, since the term goes really over and beyond every single enterprise or organization which are 'social constructs', that is temporary expressions of that overall 'social creativity'. His reminder is useful in heuristic terms, but not sufficient as reference to innovation in the paper by Phil Cooke could indicate. Indeed, the industrial restructuring going on in regions which used to be dominated by steel and coal and were powerful in the past until technology and the increase of service industry altered the economic landscape, could be taken as a model of 'cultural adaptation' undertaken not by individuals or few enterprises, but involves the entire region, including the interaction between the institutions. Phil Cooke would say 'social creativity' levels are reached when there prevails again an atmosphere of 'industrial excellence', an atmosphere of openness, trust, eagerness to improve the quality of work.

Still Eric Barchechath's paper can be taken really as a call to identify those enterprises in Europe which operate on similar premises as did the former East German state and hence should be left rather than be reformed from within. It makes the mapping of European enterprises into a clear political identification as to which contradict in their organizations the social practice of facilitating a flow of human energy towards self-emancipated individuals able to articulate themselves in such cultural forms that are to the benefit of all. A critical reading of Eric Barchechath's paper is really this: present forms of organizations which do not allow for this 'cultural articulation' and hence are not akin to the kind of work to be expected made possible by using new technologies should be left behind.

This critique means opening up the social perspective to an evaluation of enterprises which do not change in a consistent manner towards democracy and thus ought to be left behind as outdated 'social constructs' for the sake of seeking a 'voice'. Voice stands here for more than just a mere metaphor; it becomes an important criteria for the evaluation of organizations in terms of what voices they allow to speak up and to be heard. Voice seems to be at the core of 'social creativity' according to Eric Barchechath's critical understanding of change and democratic practice. He overcomes thereby the weakness stated above partially and it is worthwhile to re-enter the debate about organizational strategies from a viewpoint of 'creativity' as involving complexity, including the ability to deal with complexity in all honesty. After all, Eric Barchechath's position follows out of a rejection of both economic and sociological reductionism. His argumentation is in line with the two approaches he mentions at the outset of his paper when discussing the "economy of conventions" and the "anti-utilitarism" standpoint as relevant approaches, that is in need of further considerations when coming to organizational issues.

Thus prior to dealing with the prime consequences for organizational issues, a brief discussion of his major points can facilitate an understanding of my critique that the "economy of conventions" is itself a reductionistic approach to social and hence economic organizational forms. I will try to show this especially by a wider interpretation of Karl Polanyi for the search of creativity is really a search for a just society in which everyone lives a truer life in terms of the 'self'. This is not a self proclaimed criterion of interest, but rather a philosophical method of getting at some hard core truths, that is still unresolved problems such as the continual existence of hierarchies within organizations.

A first observation made in the context of the "economy of conventions" is that 'pure market logic" is insufficient since "non-merchant institutions are necessary for the real implementation of the market" (Eric Barchechath, "On Social Creativity", p. 1). Two questions can be related to this:

a. why use the term 'non-merchant' when 'non-market' institutions would provoke still another debate about the institutionalization process accompanying any economic formation and decision-making process. Habermas, but also C. Castoriadis (the latter especially due his usage of the 'imagination') have linked creation of institutions to social structures in which 'technology' becomes more than just a tool, for they perceive it as a logic of organization and hence as a 'theory of society'.

The problem of creativity in connection with such a 'hard logic' is that the imagination in relation to 'empathy', that is human understanding, is left out and thus Habermas' statement that with the exception of psychoanalysis all scientific knowledge produced is really brought about and used without any possible recourse to 'self understanding', means that many things are really done without any human understanding, hence the possibility of becoming creative is lost even prior to trying to understand the way this organization works. Many depend upon the latter as a means of survival, but that is not enough in terms of 'social creativity'. Finally it means that ongoing activities within organizations has to be put into this context of critical evaluation.

b. the linkage between 'collective self' and 'self reliance' is really the debate about how to relate pure economics once more to culture. At the Fifth Seminar "Culture, Building Stone for Europe 2002" which took place June 1994 in Athens and which was organized with the help of DIALOGOS and Touch Stone, an international group of poets living in Athens. At that seminar Prof. L. Baeck from the University of Leuven spoke about the 'Atlantic Tradition in Economics' as opposed to the Mediterranean culture. Only the latter had economics integrated with society, its cultural life. As a matter of interest, this question pertains to what kind of thinking predominates for no other reason than a rather strange divorce from life viewing it rather like a spectacle than as a human being going through the stages of development. It is clear that some clear thoughts about basic economic forms are needed.

Prof. L. Baeck refers as well to Karl Polanyi and whom Eric Barchechath cites when speaking about 'enterprises as being embedded in society or not':

"Karl Polanyi argued that in modern societies economic activities were 'disembedded': since price-fixing only depends on supply and demand, the market determines economic activity paying no attention to other dimensions of social constructs." (op.cit., p. 3)

This remark of Eric  Barchechath goes back to when he quotes the new school of thought centred around Alain Caillι who stands for the central thesis of 'economy by conventions', that is "agreements between individuals depending upon a common framework, that is common conventions".

Since as of late a great deal of attention is given to 'framework', a remark here might trigger off still another kind of debate. Do frameworks guarantee agreements within a limit set precisely by this framework? There is a tautological usage of the term involved in such a theoretical assumption while in reality the term is more of a method for lack of a theoretical perception as to what ought to be agreed upon.

It is important that we think about the organizational issue on how prices are set, for it has become obvious this can no longer be done merely by market forces, but after the failure of the Communistic types of economies which had left out the 'law of value' in their attempts to institutionalize a more conscious, indeed planning type of economy distortions and great discrepancies in productions of wealth and distribution thereof were incurred. Prof. L. Baeck denotes a lack of a 'moral base' in such cases.

Now the question can be: are 'framework' and 'moral base' identical or is not the former term a more or less heuristic device without any theoretical precision? The discussion about 'moral base' of an economy differs, however, from the 'value issues' which economics tries according to Eric Barchechath to solicit from 'human sciences' even though psychology, sociology, ethnology etc. have all succumbed to a positivistic approach by which they can avoid the value issue or if not have been pushed outside the institutions of education and learning. As stated at the outset, economics cannot really draw upon the Human Sciences for they hardly exist.

Furthermore, value issues, that is at the core of everything, that is where personal values are intertwined with social ones, are not easily discussed, let alone allow themselves to be affected to change. The impossibility of change leads more to violence. Lack of language and of 'human' distance are reasons for break-downs in communication. They create those 'cultural gaps' not so easily to be bridged even by a technology making possible a kind of universal communication network via e.g. Internet. It was already Cornelius Castoriadis who cautioned that 'values are not discussed, but simply set'. As value premises, indeed 'prejudices' (even Marx called them the healthy reactions of people because it allows them to react without thinking too much, that is to risk loosing themselves in doubt) they enter the mainstream of thought in society. Hence mechanisms as presupposed and pre-given value premises like the 'free market' setting the prices with the claim that this is the most effective way of doing things for otherwise there will be too many distortions have to re-examined critically. It is precisely Karl Polanyi who takes up this claim that money within the capitalistic society is the most sophisticated form of a decision carrier. That needs some explanation. In a barter society nothing concrete is given if not some exchange takes place in another concrete form, i.e. apples for shoes. Money means the exchange still takes place, but the return for something given does not have to be concrete. Money as such is the potential of making decisions to spend that money later in different ways. It is not tied to something concrete, but an abstract potential.

Polanyi criticizes this exchange form and claim of complexity as not being sophisticated enough in an overall sense. The importance of his argument is that capitalistic society as such neglects the real value issue, namely that of a fair distribution so that everyone can live. For aside from the 'right to work' there is the 'right to live' and this goes without saying only if a human being does not have to externalize the living substance in order to survive. Exploitation means always the loss of that substance without any return in terms of means of survival. Thus the argument of Polanyi goes in the direction that he begins to compare different economies in terms of the degree of complexity they can reach and yet remain unified enough in order to satisfy that what has become a popular term within the European Commission, namely social cohesion. He argues in the end after comparing archaic, primitive and modern economies that only the reciprocal economy is more complex than the modern economy based on exchange. This argument needs to be understood in terms of every individual giving resources, information and indeed energy too others without the precondition of getting something in return; others look after him that he has enough to survive. In other words, everyone participates actively in formulating through constant activities and giving (not exchange) the basis of a just society.

The latter depends at all times upon a just distribution. This is not the aim of the modern economy so that the evaluation of being embedded or not can only be fruitful if brought to bear upon negative forms of exchange at the disadvantage of certain actors while favouring constantly others.

These observations by Polanyi are worthwhile to consider since many seem to refer to him once economy becomes also a matter of articulation in terms of culture. The focus upon 'exchange' as the institutionalized form of capitalistic economy is most important, but it should be taken as the main concept of economy. After all management of resources have an impact upon the kind of values which underlies any kind of governance. Here there is not yet reference made to different kind of political systems, but just in the way resources are handled and what political style emerges within the given constraints, institutional, financial, human ones etc.. To remind Marx made himself an explicit analysis of the exchange system within capitalism and focused very much upon the discrepancy between the need to know on how to make a product, e.g. out of wood, and the buyer who forgets about all these preconditions needed to be fulfilled prior to having a ready product. Marx calls it the 'loss of memory' the moment something is purchased. This observation is of relevance to any kind of democratic practice relying upon both memory and subsequently differentiated viewpoints in order to sustain valid opinions about the direction in which to develop in as being the most desirable one. The graphics of politics is really an imaginative map having been drawn by real needs and given constraints. Like an artist these constraints, if posed in a human way, bring really about creativity. Economy in that sense was always the art of knowing limitations or as Keynes even put it, "once affluence has been reached it should not be forgotten that economization is needed for others have still not found the possibility of satisfying their basic needs". Now, the recognition of basic needs is equally a culturally controversial subject matter relying most heavily upon human experience and means of perception. Since technological developments have given rise to 'virtual realities', this means that the visual orientation as a predominant feature of our societies has become less and less pronounced (Martin Jay). Instead, orientation is sought in quite another way: the de-institutionalization of some common values due to the ideology of 'privatization' has led in turn a loss in the "dynamics of interaction in the production of a 'common meaning'", something that Eric Barchechath emphasizes in conjunction with his thesis that there is now a need for a "convention and creative framework for human actions, as it allows to understand why change occurs" (op.cit., p.2)

His main argument is, therefore, the following:

"Nowadays the challenge concerns less the better organizational disposals ensuring diffusion of innovation through a better capillarisation of circuits in both companies and Society, than organising companies and Society in such a way that they could globally be source of social creativity: that is take advantage of the interaction potential of human beings who are forming them. Social creativity appears to be the only foundation on which to build an answer to employment and economical development, which both form the collective stakes correlative to social dynamism."

op.cit., p. 3

Yet even before this thesis is examined both in terms of content and as a possible political slogan subject to misuse, as 'creativity' always has been, the most important gap between the analysis and the answer given is that 'creativity' by itself as motor of change does not necessarily guarantee the understanding of change which appears to be equally important to Eric Barchechath. One good example comes to my mind in order to distinguish between creativity and understanding, for once I visited 'Jeu de Pommes' in Paris where all the Impressionists are housed and met a man making a copy of Renoir's 'Woman on a swing with a girl and two men looking on'; the man said "Renoir had to hurry through his paint strokes without really having time to enjoy what he created and only when he repaints those lines without time pressure does he not only get this deeper sense of pleasure when things are no longer merely arbitrary, but he develops an overall sense for what painting is all about". In short, affecting change, working with change, reacting to change, falling behind change etc., all these social components are not identical and should not be equated all at once with creativity or not. Still, the mark of open cultures is that they are not hostile to new ideas but rather play and indeed test them to find out their value prior to adapting them into their own practice. That remark, however, would lead to still another discussing about cultures in terms of historical differences rather than merely differences between cultures in a contemporary sense, that is within contemporary Europe.

I think that Eric Barchechath's paper has a valid point by focusing thereafter upon more straight forward organizational issues. The points he makes can be briefly reiterated but just before doing that a word of caution is needed since he seems to dismiss to quickly the overall notion of 'innovation' (see at the top of page 3) and, therefore, side-steps a major decision as to what comprises afterall the confusion, but also the intricacies of modern organizational models affected as much by peculiar forms of localism as much as by global strategies persued by Salamon Brothers and other major investment companies. The latter is a case in point. As Schofield in his analysis of 'Late Capitalism' has shown post-war Germany was not very much affected by attempts of the Allied Powers to prevent in future similar economic monopolies from creating the wrong power base and assumptions about politics, for it had not altered the interrelationship between institutions and banks. That is an important case in point for here is not people and institutions who make up that "negotiated projection" (op.cit., p.2), but rather inter-institutional relationships perjure modis vivendis whether people like it or not. Creativity has to be understood here as creating efficiency or some meaningful exchange in favour of power acquiescence and transmitted power from the shareholders through the banks to management. That is why such companies interested in 'profit making' have really another capital risk taking at another level which is less accessible to the public. Like the deficit spending of the government, credits can be obtained only from the banks when expanding; by law this forces the companies to expand while at the global level there is a constant rearrangement, depending upon competitive forces, but also needs to finance huge projects, so that not one single company can stand a chance to capture the entire market. IBM is a case in point. The moment innovation no longer worked satisfactorily from the bottom up, the younger and more dynamic managers left the company to open up new branches in California from where they had both assistance from Japan as much as an easier route to the Pacific market. This observation needs to be made since Eric Barchechatch in his critique of 'immobility' at the top underestimates really the dynamic forces within capitalism and thus favours a kind of social critique at the expense of some real analysis. What can be said, however, in his favour is that to a large extend his references are European based and then even further within the Small and Medium Sized Enterprises involved with Learning and Communication Technologies.

Although I had wanted to make this into a mere brief remark prior to reflecting upon Eric Barchechath's main arguments, there is still another, more serious objection related to the issue of innovation; that is how to organize one's activities in order to become a part of an innovative process. In a position paper given at the conference "Myth of the City" which took place 9.9-15.9.95 in Crete, Phil Cooke from Cardiff, Whales talks about "Urban and Regional Innovative Systems: Designing for the Future". Already design departs from mere institutionalization as a concept. In this paper Phil Cooke examines the reasons why certain regions are more innovative than others, looks at their supply-chains and even more importantly to what extend externalization of innovative production link-ups are possible. For example, Mercedes-Benz was for a long time successful, equally dominated by its engineers who considered themselves as being pioneers in terms of technical innovations. However, more successful companies in the contemporary sense located already many supply functions outside their own enterprise and this leads naturally to a loss of power of those who had dominated traditionally in that branch. One important remark in reference to Eric Barchechatch's own approach is that not so much 'common meanings' count in external supply-chains, but 'trust' within an overall cultural climate which can be called according to Phil Cooke 'industrial excellence'. Thus he finds that certain regions are more competitive due to their cultures providing a necessary background or let us say 'framework' although it is not quite the right word for that when we speak about cultural values being shared, so that the necessary trust is a given. The organizational issue at hand is then how to focus upon the new policy objectives so as to allow "institutional borrowing and corporate learning, thus further setting in train the process of advancing a new, more flexible economic order" (Phil Cooke, "Urban and Regional Innovation Systems: Designing for the Future" at the Myth of the City Conference, 10.9.95, p. 2). For the main theoretical question becomes to what extend "institutional learning" facilitates "learning processes embodied in interactive innovation". Like Eric Barchechatch, Phil Cooke emphasizes 'interaction between people' while stressing that "change usually requires getting new, but also forgetting old knowledge. / Innovation involves assessing such knowledge and translating what is usable into projects with innovative intent." This goes not merely by creating innovative or even High-Tech Parks for without such a cultural environment based on trust and openness, that is willingness to change, such knowledge needed for innovative products cannot be pushed through. It was always the major obstacle for the Soviet type of economy with its largely centralized management in direct liaison with an even more centralized governmental system.

But to return to the main argument of the paper on "social creativity", Eric Barchechath stresses following valid points:


His main point is this: "it is easier to train people to gain competencies, than to train them to express their aptitudes, to have them learn on how to build on these aptitudes, to offer them a learning environment where they are put in position of relying on themselves as well for job taking as for creating new activities." Rather than speaking first of all about the trust between various individuals within different types of institutional linkages creating an active "supply chain" (Phil Cooke), Eric Barchechath refers to a "surprising lack of confidence in the dynamism of ...civilization" for "as may be seen from the structure of expenses in the different European countries, it seems harder to think of the creative potential of people for job creation than to organize financial support for unemployed, as if their situation of unemployed was felt both insurmountable and final." He touches here really upon a civilisational crisis and cites as a case in point among others R. Bahro on the German case. Now I do not agree with Bahro's analysis nor that the innovative, creative personality can be brought about through a fitness course for managers so that they are more open to change. The structural deficits in terms of articulation by all those working and even more so out of work, that is a means to survive, cannot be reduced to mere 'social psychological' components even though modern management methods have even included 'civic values' of an entire community as a new means of exploiting extra resources for the sake of making profits, e.g. BP projects in Austrian villages by focusing upon local environmental resource issues and thus developing a strategy of company management which involves everyone to the point that volunteer work is done on the basis of 'civic values' and hence has not to be paid by the company. It is another elegant manner of externalizing costs while still making the profits, that is direct incomes only accessible to certain owners within the company's internal structure. This is why after an overall discussion of the consequences for organizational issues on the basis of an evaluation of Eric Barchechath's paper, I would suggest more cross-references to similar debates, in order to link creativity with this key concept of 'self reliance'. The latter seems to be a natural outcome of the type of work done with specific tools, i.e. computer, so that the social constraint for organizational strategies seems to be not to impede or even to limit, if not to damage this self-reliance component. That by itself throws up many philosophical questions, including and especially the one about the concept 'self' of which Adorno once said Kant used it so many a times without ever really defining it that he is still unsure what is meant by 'self'. In turn, any argument based upon a 'collective self' making up the confidence in civilisation and self-reliance in terms of its individuals faces similar problems, but they are in need of being reformulated as open questions to be discussed for they do carry weight in future arguments for options to be faced and even more so decided upon.


3. The usage of technology in training and education

The introduction of 'technology' in education can be viewed like society's response to an ongoing activity so that it becomes natural that learning tools change as well. By natural it should be understood as a kind of 'second nature' (Adorno); like the good violinist, only after much training and experience does he or she play the violin so well that it seems 'natural'. Yet there is a distinction between something being natural, akin to mankind and something taking mankind further without any certainty that this is still natural. For instance, people impressed by models of modernisation left their stone houses in preference for the cement or concrete buildings which could be build at a fast speed. Little did they understand nor anticipate that this direction of development meant in the end still another kind of urban squalor when compared to the kind of poverty which used to be associated with stone houses. Thus aside from the actual material used, images as to what may be desirable for the future dominate in the minds and bring about decisions that people may end up regretting after much money, time and effort has been spend to construct that kind of reality. A similar dilemma may be denoted nowadays when it comes to introducing technology not only as a tool of construction or production, but of learning and training. There is not as of yet a clear enough distinction between what is really an improvement and what is merely a matter of image as being fast, efficient, readily available. The practice of learning and the situation of education will tell soon enough to what extend that distinction is fictitious and merely a contradictory usage of these new learning tools will be the outcome.

Technology in general has a tendency to go beyond human limits; the lack of knowledge as to limits brings with it a crisis not only in human relationships, but due to a loss of a sense of proportion 'social creativity' will not come about nor find adequate forms of expressions. There are different degrees of possibilities involved. A business man may very well aspire to build the highest skyscraper in the world; technically and financially he is in a position to do so, but in terms of human adjustment to city dwellings this drive to the sky will be like the tower of Babylon. The moment this new skyscraper dominates everything going on in the street, life there, in-between all the cars becomes impersonal and intimidated by this symbol of power. A similar effect can be experienced when walking through the financial district of London called the 'City'. They are not akin to keeping cities alive but rather drive life out of cities and thus empty the very localities or places of 'social creativity' which in the past had been connected with diverse, pluralistic and multicultural places supported by democratic urban structures giving people the freedom to go beyond the limits of a village and its restricted outlook, value system and confinement in traditional social relationships. Nowadays the question of 'cultural adaptation' has become a problem of 'ambivalence' (Andrι Loeckx) while people have changed their needs. Instead of wishing a theatre down-town and a public place for discussion, they are happy with a suburb dwelling to be reached only by car while inside their dwelling they network with people or entertain themselves via satellite with programmes made far away, the CNN programme but one outstanding example of different forms prevailing for obtaining news and information. That means the pivot points, that is when people find their 'turning around points' by no longer developing in an one-sided, negative direction, but learn to readjust and to return to the human centre of a city, that they are neither secure nor a part of the organizational concerns of modern enterprises. Yet everyone knows a system which does not recognize early enough its mistakes and draws out of it practical consequences, such a system is unable to learn, to adjust and to adapt in the long run to a still uncertain future, but certainly one in the making. 'Social creativity' here is also to facilitate that kind of adaptation making possible transitions and changes without major ruptures in human relationships, friendships included, in order to avoid Brave New Worlds of the kind Huxley and Orwell.

The critical point is that it appears that the lessons of 'materialism', philosophically speaking, no longer apply to the usage of technology, hence the kind of terminology in use no longer has as orientation and critical evaluation a 'data base' called the sense perceptions of the human being. Once completely devoid from nature and from sense perceptions that look upon the 'matter' quite differently, the perception and thus the outlook for the future changes due to a lack of reflection possibilities. Martin Jay goes as far as saying that the visual orientation, a distinction of Western culture, has disappeared and with it the reliance upon forms for perceiving things. It is interesting that someone like Umberto Eco in his discussion about 'virtual realities' in American museums indicate this overall effort to outdo, even to out scream the authentic by trying to be more real than reality. Sounds and imagines produced by modern equipment go certainly beyond any human capacity, but when does such an alienation effect set in that there is no longer any recognition of the human being in the products brought about by these equipment's? It is interesting that one of the most important criterion of recognition is the 'human voice': the reliance upon what can be not only said, but also trusted for in the voice and through the articulation of sounds there is created a dialectic between perception and trust. It is how human beings establish their relationship to the world. Now if that precarious relationship is damaged or even worse severed, then the problem is more than just alienation. It is a loss of reality and hence cultural orientation. As said without these two components no 'social creativity' is possible. Subsequently organizational issues have to be seen in the light of how these technologies are used. It is not merely a matter of introducing them, but equally of utmost importance that their usage is positioned within such structural features as they allow the setting of human limitations in all incompleteness without ignoring ratios between man and nature that really bring about the unfoldingness of mankind, namely the possibility to do things with 'reason'. The answer to that need is the human spirit. It should not be left out by any organization even though claims to the contrary would argue especially in the tough business world there is no room for such sentimentality.

Thus Eric Barchechath comes to following conclusions:


Eric Barchechath comes to this conclusion of a "collective hypocrisy" being really at the base of most of the Commission policies because the two sides of the coin predominate in the usage of technology within spheres of training and learning. He describes very aptly the role designated to technology as follows:

"Among these means, open and distance learning is requested to support the promotional discourse of the organisational 'revolution' on the side of technology: computer networks, databases, and consequently self-training, collective knowledge stored and accessible to everyone, flexible management of time and resources, active role of employees, indvidualisation and autonomy. Computers are presented as tools for modernisation and employee's empowerment, they are supported by multiple fantasies on power, knowledge, transparency, ubiquity and autonomy." (p.7)

As if all the hopes of mankind are put into this technology, as if it could overcome all the problems which could not be resolved until now. Its basic credo is really that everything appears to be possible. As one poetess Heike Willingham states, however, while everything is done to strengthen life in that direction, the human glance recedes inside, frightened by so much strength, wisdom or power around oneself that the poor and frail human soul hardly dares to exist in comparison with that. The intimidating power of perfection is another dimension of social reality often overlooked especially when images of a one-sided nature in favour of these technologies are created to convince society ought to develop in that direction.

As a sober counter-picture to that world of absolute strength, with space robots and super computers regulating life not only on this planet, but throughout the universe, Eric Barchechath is wise to return to earth in a humble manner:

"Reality of facts is actually more trivial than the dream could let hope: most of the time, when one goes to see concretely how technology is integrated in the workplace, or how open and distance learning is practised, one can only notice the abysmal gap between social practice and promotional imagery. The organisational features of enterprises still rely mainly on archaic systems of human inter-relations and classical schemes of authority, common and control." (p.7)

Eric Barchechath stresses that he does not oppose open and distance learning and technology development, but wants to emphasize that their introduction and usage requires a "proactive environment", one which allows the individual to go beyond mere usage and puts people into a position in which they wish to assume responsibilities and "assume options they take collectively and that may raise a mortage on possible future" (p.7). This going beyond he calls quite rightly the practising of democracy. It requires "a minimal level of adhesion of women and men to the values of the Society where they live and also a minimal level of self-expression accessible to every one". That latter has to be understood as 'cultural articulation' allowing the participation of everyone in the formation of the expression. The positive outcome should be 'social cohesion': the moral base of European integration.

Once this critical position of Eric Barchechath has been understood and accepted as a measure of evaluation, European programmes may turn out a bit too hollow in terms whether or not they reflect really the interest of promoting that kind of 'cultural articulation'. For instance, when the position paper on "European Strategy for Encouraging Local Development and Employment Initiatives" speaks about "improving training and qualifications to make the new activities more long-lasting", then that paper speaks about the need of an "occupational framework which is geared to improving skills and making the new trades better known. What this means, in turn, is adding to conventional forms of training such elements as communication, listening and counselling skills; familiarising young people, women and workers undergoing retraining with the use of telematics; or protection of the environment." (European Commission, Information Pack on Article 10 of the ERDF, Second Programme of Inter-regional Co-operation and Innovative Actions within the Structural Funds 1995-1999, p.20). Of interest is that the position paper speaks about the need to give recognition at 'national level' to attained qualifications. In an attempt to avoid a debate about this tendency to relocate central authority away from the Commission and back to the nation state, the paper continues to restate the conditions of recognition in more general terms:

"Recognition by society also takes the form of a system of social guarantees. It is also up to the social partners to extend the habitual scope of collective bargaining so as to take in (and keep) young professionals in such new jobs by showing appreciation for this adaptability, better suited to new technologies and customer's needs."(op.cit., p.20)

Of interest is that these 'needs' as mentioned by the Commission are well below the minimal level as specified by Eric Barchechath's paper on 'social creativity' which has to be reached before 'cultural articulation' can begin to facilitate equally 'cultural adaptation' of technology to the needs of people and to recognize that customer's needs are only specifications within a much larger learning environment on how to use new things, including computers to communicate about needs.

Organizational issues become in such an environment as created by inadequate funding as much as reduced programmes in terms of both aims and content demanded even more important to be debated at all European levels. 'Social creativity' as a critical term for evaluating European programmes as much as the practices which have followed their half-hearted implementations can reveal even more deplorable conditions in terms of real working conditions, but also why so little has been really achieved with regards to overcoming 'unemployment'.

In my brief conclusion, I would like to make some cross-references to similar discussions incurred within the LOGOS project dealing with cultural adaptability to the new technologies in the fields of education and training. After reading many case studies and research papers, what has emerged to my mind as a most important linkage between potentialities and reality is that a new prototype of learner is required, if he or she is to deal with all these complex issues. Eric Barchechath used already the term 'self reliability'. Indeed, it seems that the real implications of the new technologies have not been so far understood as requiring users who base their judgements on 'self reliance'. As Stefan Zweig said about an officer who had until Waterloo and the final historical battle relied solely on following orders of Napolean, he was in no position to disobey in a historical moment orders and hence save the general from defeat. For that officer had been put in a position of responsibility which he had never exercised until then and hence he had no practice in self-reliance, that is listening to his own voice rather than just following merely strictly orders. This is most important for listening to one's own voice requires quite another strength. It is not individualism, but more a distance to social conformity with reason waiting to be recognized when it finally speaks up. This reason speaks often in voices not recognized by society as being reasonable, when in fact these voices convey a wisdom which society has rightly or wrongly chosen to ignore for too long by now, e.g. when it comes to treating the environment. The cited passage above taken from a position paper written on behalf of the European Commission states almost usage of telematics and protection of the environment as being apparently at the same level, almost as something compatible, side by side, when in reality this is not so. Such a casual side-step to satisfy some voice of conscience in a brief remark made more like a concession which does not cost very much, that is not the 'voice of reason'. Yet self-reliance does not only require the strength of wisdom to follow that voice, but also must learn to appreciate that nowadays the usage of the new technologies requires quite something else from each individual user. What used to be a collective attempt to reach truth, here scientists, there the practitioners while politicians and others decided upon the laws to be made in favour of business (see here Kant's 'Dispute of the Faculties'), today the ascertainment of truth has to be fulfilled by every individual. In other words, he must become a team of scientists practising intersubjectivity, the method of critique, and a practical philosopher, in order to make sure that the items he communicates still fulfil the criteria of truth. All that means self-reliance: a collective wisdom expressed in the process of doing and of using technologies.

Organizational issues which are linked to 'social creativity' should not be understood as social-psychological paradigms. Creativity is too complex a phenomena as it would be possible to reduced it to mere psychological conditions. Nor is philosophy in terms of a 'proactive atmosphere' possible to be developed. Atmosphere is needed but very difficult to express in words, let alone induce through words. That is why recourse is taken to 'framework' even though most elusive in terms of theory needed to name reality.

Eric Barchechath's reference to exit and voice at the end of his excellent, indeed stimulating paper must be taken within these critical connotations. As an attempt to reformulate organizational issues into a critical evaluative tool of organizational strategies within Europe it sets a new tone in the debate about the usage of technologies in education and training. It would be positive if this paper would set the stage for a general debate at all European levels.

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