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2005-03-17 - 8:55 a.m.

Larry mailed about Heraclitus – as luck would have it the same point cropped up in the bit of Deleuze I was reading on the train an hour or so later.

‘The being of knowledge before oneself in consciousness’ – this is the image of living thought as primary – esp relative to any sign of that thought which would be secondary. The sign of the thought might be a sentence or formula. Deconstructionists call this logocentrism and believe it to be an error.

“A soul can read in itself only what is represented distinctly. It cannot at once open up all its folds because they extend to infinity.’ Thus Leibniz provides Deleuze with the title of the book I was reading on the train – The Fold. Our self-knowledge is infinitely folded so that there is a great gap between what we actually know – in that logocentric sense – and what we might discover in ourselves – by unfolding ourselves. Or being unfolded. Our individuality is the peculiarity of how we are each folded. The present unfolds into the future.

Leibniz thought that different individuals fitted together because of harmony. I was reading the last Ch of the Fold last night to get some purchase on how DL saw this. He refers to Boulez and Debussy – but I couldn’t get it. However I did get the image of jazz – how the harmony integrates different contributions – but the contributions arise autonomously. (Actually I was studying Leibniz when I wrote The Aesthetics of Improvisation.) (Subsequently I thought that Nicholas Gebhardt might be onto even more than I imagined in his Going For Jazz.)

Logocentric knowledge isn’t the whole story, especially theses days. There is also tacit knowledge. Some people even think that it is the tacit knowledge which transforms information into knowledge. Tacit knowledge facilitates application – doing. The gap between knowing and doing is big business these days.

The harmony which integrates individual unfoldings can also be a grand narrative - one which overcomes the individual narrative of self advancement or the narrative of skeptical disengagement. For example:

‘Corporately led engagement programs run a real risk of feeling “done to” despite rhetorical promises of listening, involvement and feedback. People spoke about a V-shaped effect in which those at the top experienced what was promised, whilst those at the bottom of the V often ended up with a “two-hour spectator show” in which they were the spectators. If you find yourself designing an engagement process with head office functionaries, it is time to reach down to the people.’

OR

‘There has never been a more difficult time to be responsible for a company’s public speech: Disclosure requirements are becoming increasingly complex, NGOs and public oversight groups more aggressive, and the public – investors, consumers, and employees – both more cynical and more demanding of transparency. It has led many executives to wonder if it is safe to say anything at all anymore.

In short, the rules of corporate speech have changed -- and continue to change – making life turbulent in the executive suite.

How do you craft a strategic approach for navigating the new terrain? How do you gauge and meet the new expectations of your customers, investors, employees, and other stakeholders? How do you present a “glass house” to your constituencies without opening yourself to attacks by your competitors and critics? How can you best prepare your executive colleagues to meet the challenges and seize the opportunities that are emerging?’

Steve came back to me on the site that yielded these quotes. We went up to Lichfield and did some stuff on tacit-knowledge-business. Unfolded a bit more

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