107-108-image January 30 we’re organising with Marc van Seeters an event called HSD Live in Den Haag with Judy Tal. I was reading about HSD Institute. HSD is founded by Glenda Holladay Eoyang and based on her model called CDE, Container (containing “agents”), Differences (between agents) and Exchanges (between the differences between the agents). It shows how adaptive behaviour can be influenced more effectively. By facilitating, off course.

I was reminded of the model Varela puts forward in “The Creative Circle1)”: based on M.C. Escher’s picture of the two hands drawing each other (= outline, container), he proposes that any living system does the same. I looked up his article and found a reference to Spencer-Brown (he is hardly ever referred to) and noticed that Varela had added to this logic / arithmetic a third element, he called “autonomy”. It is interesting to note that this autonomous state is both invariant to the system and an attractor (or result). Watzlawick – i had completely forgotten about this – adds in his epilogue: “The world we know is constructed in order to see itself”. But in order to see itself, it must cut up itself and therefore can only partially (interesting word) see itself. Varela concludes:

“the observer draws distinctions wherever he pleases. … We, observers, distinguish ourselves precisely by distinguishing what we apparently are not, the world”

I would have said “reality” in stead of world, Wirklichkeit, but this suffices. Watzlawick also concludes that the autonomous state results from the paradox between object and subject.

The funny thing is, a few weeks ago I had a conversation with Ceciel and Daria and there we concluded that the “autonomous” results from the paradox between “female” and “male”, accepting and giving, the whole and the part. As autonomous also refers to “its own laws”, it hides also at the centre of every religion, as this (re)makes the connection between the world – the whole – and its part. It also neatly ties in with Nietzsche’s idea of “übermensch”,

On a site,, they’ve exchanged “creativity” for “exchange” and added Human to the CDE model, “the autonomous”. Technically, this is a tautology. Off course, the same is true for the use of words: I can choose my own words but, unlike Humpty Dumpty, I cannot make them mean exactly what I want. The listener is alos an author. However, by “paying” enough (attention), we might make some progress.

Four times, there is a pattern here.

1) Watzlawick, P. ed. (1984) The Invented Reality

Over Jan Lelie

Loves to facilitate groups in complex situations
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