Wednesday, 2 June 2010

DECONSTRUCTION.2. – ‘Embedded Assumptions’

Today’s post sounds quite grand, it could almost be the title for a novel.

One day perhaps!

From yesterdays post we recall that:
Deconstruction instead describes a particular method of literary criticism that seeks to get behind the text to reveal “Embedded Assumptions” another word being our Mental Models.
What are Mental Models?

Models that shape how we act.

The classic thought behind this term comes from work presented by Peter Senge – The Fifth Discipline.

Senge sets out the thought that; The Art & Practice of the Learning Organisation has 5 “competent technologies”
What are Mental Models?

When brilliant strategies fail to get translated into action because they conflict with deeply held internal images of how the world works, images that limit us to familiar ways of thinking and acting.

All penguins do is think FISH!

What are Mental Models?

These are ‘deeply ingrained assumptions, generalisations or even pictures and images that influence how we understand the world and how we take action’ Chris Argyris – Harvard
Our “linear thinking” dominates most of our mental models Senge states that “ the learning organisations of the future will make key decisions based upon shared understanding of interrelationships and patterns of change.”

We need to be people, leaders who have a clear understanding grounded in the cultural and spiritual time frame they were in enabled these people to make correct judgments for their nation. An interesting point here is that this type of understanding has been quoted as being ‘Contextual Intelligence’: The ability to read the forces that shape the times in which they live and to seize in the resulting opportunities. In Their Time, produced by Harvard Business School.

A notable cross reference biblically;

1 Chronicles 12:32 The men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel, should do--200 chiefs, with all their relatives under their command;

The question we must ask ourselves; Do we understand the times and seasons we live in and more importantly do we know what we should do?
In our deconstruction process the “Embedded Assumptions” are deeply ingrained within us, the primary influences being;

• Background

• Education

• Culture

• Values

• Ethics

• Spirituality

Which if that isn’t enough is mixed with the complexity of the 21st century is a major hurdle.

Our task first is to unlearn what we have learned. The futurist Alvin Toffler says ‘ the illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn’L Sweet, Summoned to Lead.

Which reminds me of a scene from the film Avatar, where the Shaman of the tribe says to Jake Sulley “You’re are too full”

The question we must ourselves are we too full?

Tomorrows post. DECONSTRUCTION.3. – ‘Re-Imagining’


  1. So the real question is, if i think the way I'm programed to think by my life experiences then how do i learn to think in a new way? Where do we start xxx

  2. Religion is not about accepting twenty impossible propositions before breakfast, but about doing things that change you. It is a moral aesthetic, an ethical alchemy. If you behave in a certain way, you will be transformed.

    - Karen Armstrong

  3. Good thinking Andy. I think that Isaiah was experiencing a degree of 'decontruction' in the temple (Is 6) when he said 'I am undone'. But God deconstructs us in order to recontruct us, and it seems we must all pass through such an experience personally. The same is true for organisations,a nd for the church at the present time.

  4. i think we start when we begin to ask questions, doing this in a safe environment is crucial.
    nice quote from karen armstrong; the key being that we desire to be transformed.

  5. 'i am undone' for anyone to say this is or can be the start of the journey. a journey where we never arrive!