State of Montana
Department of Natural Resources
and Conservation
1520 East Sixth Avenue
Helena, MT 59620 2301

Aug 16, 1994

Mr. Rod Welch
The Welch Company
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111 2496

Subject:   New World Order (advocating SDS)
Review and Comment

Dear Rod,

The NWO article generally makes some sense to me, although I freely admit that I cannot with any degree of certainty describe how "information becomes knowledge" in my own case, having never really thought about it and perceiving that the process is transparent, for the most part, to my own conscious thought.

It is even more difficult to confirm that "hurrying" the information integration process leads to confused "knowledge", since a fair degree of time decisions based on that knowledge turn out satisfactory and the rest of the time, it is pretty easy to rationalize that the outcome was tainted by some radical bit of information that I couldn't have known about.

In any case, I generally do not critique the aritcle, so much as I offer the religious viewpoint you requested on the analogies to "Old Time Religion". I have inserted my comments into the text as a basis for redrafting the article, but I will let you make that decision. If I get into the realm that Morris' wife already covered,, just tune my comment out, since it sounds like she is more an authority on this stuff.


Director's Office

Wayne Wetzel, Ph.D.
Deputy Director

The Welch Company
440 Davis Court #1602
San Francisco, CA 94111
415 781 5700

New World Order" needs old time "religion

by Rod Welch

This responds to the Editor's request for comments on John Bing's principals for managing projects, Pmnetwork January 1994, p. 38. His remarks in spire a new vision of "knowledge work," and a new business practice linked back to the original meaning of "religion."

Mr. Bing's article reflects the wis- dom from thousands of years doing projects; yet, other voices urge it is time to "re-engineer" project manage ment. Two points are overlooked by practitioners and theorists which can produce better results: (1) the mind innately summarizes complexity, i.e. it "discriminates," and (2) human life is becoming more complex. Since the genetic capacity of the mind is constant over thousands of years, it must be come less able to deal with the accelerating pace of its own creations: highly regulated endeavors, and automated information. The solution lies in a curious combination of old ideas with new in-sights, which might be called: "automated thinking," or even "automated religion"!

Today the specifications and laws governing projects comprise a host of new objectives that compete for time and resources with the historic focus on putting work in place. This reflects the faster pace of information, comprising a more complex environment that diffuses management. There simply is more to think about than ever before.

This New World Order means more mistakes. A mis-machined part in Hamburg, causes disaster in Tusca- loosa. An error in New York harms an investor in New Caledonia. Entrepre neurs are creating faster and cheaper ways to create information, and man agers try TQM, MBO, CPM, etc., to reduce mistakes. These efforts, how ever, overlook a key biological fact: evolution is slow. The capacity to "think" is constant relative to the accel erated pace of information in the mod ern era. This comprises an increasing burden on the practice of management, which, if unresolved, will reduce pro ductivity under the rubric of Murphy's Law.

Clearly if the capacity to "think" is constant, and the demand for "thinking" increases, then more mistakes will occur with less time to recover and with wider impact. In effect, the human mind is creating a world for which it is not well suited.

Every day the disconnect grows between the sea of details that com prise the modern work day, and the decisions which drive them using tradi tional "project" methods, set out in Mr. Bing's article. The demand to hear the "bottom line" and to see the "big pic ture" are common pleas for help in coping with too many details. If we continue using the same mental process of summarizing complexity that has carried man to the brink of escaping his worldly environs, we cannot but conclude that the correlation between time and information, i.e. absorbing more information in the same time, increases the chance of error. This portends a management imploding upon itself, spending more time correcting mistakes, than on moving ahead.

The rush to embrace the Informa tion Highway warrants a "Caution" sign. For project managers swamped by too many meetings, documents, calls, faxes and E-Mail, the New World Order means "information gridlock." More information means less produc tivity unless a faster way is found to convert information into knowledge. This requires nothing less than a new technology to lift human capacity to think, remember and communicate. Instead of simply absorbing informa tion, and hoping our mind will convert it into knowledge, we need a way to make sure that the "bottom line" and the "big picture" are linked back to the correct details. Otherwise the cries will grow louder blaming Murphy about the "devil in the details." The conflict between the impulse to summarize and the expanding complexity of human life is the central challenge of the New World Order.

This is apparent from reliance on pictures and dialog. People like pic tures and talking because sound and sight seem to impart immediate know- ledge. Instead our eyes and ears impart instant impressions that lead to pre- cipitous action. People have beliefs but do not know why. They are unable to trace the source of their views because visual and auditory perception occur instantly without intervening analysis of competing information and values as occurs in processing symbols into words and paragraphs through reading and writing.

Recent work in biology indicates that real "thinking" occurs beneath the conscious mind. This is where informa tion is linked to objectives, history, documents, people, and time. These linkages settle into patterns of "under standing," called "knowledge," that are compared with innate life structures comprised of deeply held personal values founded in genetic needs to sustain life, and cultural influences from family, community and education.

Culture embodied in religious tradi- tion assuages the genetic drive to com- pete for resources (i.e., take what we want--stealing) with an intellectual construct that cooperation yields better results. This leads to the accepted rule: "thou shalt not steal."

Wayne Comments

The problem with the above statement from a religious perspective is the use of several implied underlying premises that may be flawed. I'll try to tackle them as I see them. First, you have to understand that in the view of many religious people, God actually exists and is not some construct of a universal human cultural need to be psychologically assuaged by a knowledge of, fear of, respect for, (or whatever) some higher power. In that sense, "religion" is a set of rules, a blueprint, if you will, that God has given to man, not necessarily something that has evolved for the good of society through millennia of trial and error. To be sure, that blueprint has been altered to suit the needs and opinions of men (without God's permission), giving rise to a great many religions with some similarities and many differences. From an LDS perspective, the important point is that God still communicates with man (through his prophets) and our religion is spared this cultural drift afflicting other religions by constant correction and admonishment from God. Truely the essence of linking to original sources.

Second, is another note on the theme that "thou shalt not steal" is something that society will automatically resolve itself to, recognizing that cooperation yields better results. A number of American Indian tribes may or may not have had a taboo against stealing from someone else in the tribe, but had no qualms whatsoever about stealing horses, wives, etc. from other tribes. At least insofar as stealing wives was concerned, the resulting genetic diversification was probably a big plus, proving again that crime does, in fact, pay. More importantly, it suggests the premise that society will necessarily reach a taboo on theft is not a "given".

Finally, the "thou shalt not steal" was given by God, through his prophet Moses, as part of a body of law, again a blueprint for personal actions, to a group of his covenant people that, through generations of living under Egyptian dominance, had lost its cultural identity and its ability to govern itself without Egyptian overseers. Moses literally, for a time, had to tell people (about 2 million of them) what to do on a daily basis. Since "thou shalt not steal" is one of the Ten Commandments which you refer to latter in the article, which were given at this specific time and for this specific purpose, it is probably not a particularly good example of a religious concept that gradually evolved because society was better when it was practiced than when it was not.

Paradigms filter personal experience by summarizing details into decision rules for taking safe actions relative to values and culture. The need for safety impacts "understanding" when threats are perceived, by adding emotional jolts to hasten the search for a best fit action rule. Once we settle on what information means, once we "under stand" it within a framework of para digms, then we have "knowledge." If we make the wrong connections, then we are mistaken about what we "know." The core meaning of "reli- gion," to link back to original sources, reflects the idea of knowledge as infor mation linked to history and objectives.

Wayne Comments

It appears that you have to accept the definition of religion as postulated in the article to carry through the idea that "old time religion" is what the "New World Order" needs. Unfortunately, many readers will not necessarily accept that definition, even though one of the possible root derivations of the term "religion" is the Latin "religare", which means literally to "bind back", with the implication that religion provides the means to bind man back to God. From the LDS perspectice, which you have asked me to provide (understanding that I am offering only my own perspective and do not presume to provide an official Church viewpoint), the concept of limiting religion to a "binding back to original sources" is so restrictive as to be a distraction when analogies are drawn from that definition later in the article. Some of the tenants of Christianity found in the Bible, but not suprisingly very loudly heralded by mainstream Christianity are:

  1. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. From this one can infer that the requirements of religion (or binding of man back to God) are essentially unchanged through the millenia and that by knowing the requirements and passing the test, one can return to God's presence. The multitude of Christian religions would indicate that somewhere along the way they produced an owners manual (Bible), but it was in a foreign language and through an unfortunate set of misunderstandings all the Owners Representatives (Apostles and Prophets) that could tell them what the owners manual really means were stoned, beheaded, fed to the lions, etc. The Christian world is faced with the dilemma of having a perfectly good original source which no two people can read and come up with exactly the same interpretation.

  2. The Bible also states One God, one faith, one baptism. This means that everyone cannot be right, but that one interpretation of the owner's manual is correct. Again, from the LDS perspective, since God remains the same today as in the past, we believe he communicates with those whom he has called as prophets. Hence, we can and do get clarification on the original source from the original author. In a sense, our religion demonstrates true POIMS technology. That is, we do not have to rely only on linking back to an original source to know we are doing the right thing (although we acknowledge such links are valuable). We can link to God in the present and know we can also in the future and as long as we follow the counsel given by God to his mouthpiece, the prophet, we and our religion will prosper. Of course, those who either do not believe in God or have some misguided, uncorrected notion of who God is and how he operates generally fail to understand this concept and end up explaining religious behaviour through their own set of rose-colored (societal, behavioural, anthropological, etc.) glasses.

Managers sense they are burdened by a growing avalanche of information. They seek technology that produces more pictures (e.g., fax, CPM), and adopt practices that require more dialog (TQM, MPM), hoping to gain know- ledge faster that will correct mistakes of prior false impressions. Since more information causes more false impres- sions, particularly from pictures and dialog, lawyers grow rich and Murphy becomes famous as management im- plodes on itself, frantically acquiring tools of self-destruction. Managers need tools that convert information into knowledge faster and more accurately; they need automated thinking.

This idea is missing in Mr. Bing's prescription for project management. It is overlooked because the mind links information automatically. Meaning is given to everything we experience, and is organized rightly or wrongly for action. Because it occurs automatically, "thinking" is considered to be an im mutable genetic trait that cannot be improved. Since this worked well under the Old World Order of few objectives, low information flow, and segmented populations that contained damage from mistakes, managers strive to improve the externals of information creation, storage and transfer. They have been alarmingly successful.

Automation and other modern pro ject methods feed the mind raw materi als, information, but do not improve its ability to make the detailed links to objectives and history. Managers will continue to feel betrayed by technol ogy, until it is effectively applied to their primary task: creating knowledge. How can we improve the ability to "think"?

We have to think about time and information. It appears that the mind "remembers" by drawing on similar parts of disparate events, rather than assembling all elements of each event. Its only rule is to assemble a consistent "story." Thus, we feel "confused" when the mental story we conjure up seems inconsistent, i.e. all the parts don't fit. "Confusion" is a function of time. If there is enough time for reflection, the mind can recognize confusion, and respond cautiously to avoid the harm of error. However, the mind is equipped to function without complete accuracy by summarizing complexity through paradigms. When time is short, it forces a best fit "understanding" in order to react immediately.

This is crucial at times of personal peril, but causes failure in management when we act with conviction on incor rect understanding due to a hectic schedule. When there is a lot going on, the mind overlooks mistakes, rather than recognize confusion that alerts us of danger. Like an actor on stage, we feel a rush of adrenaline charged by accolades from colleagues for handling a lot of difficulties with confidence and dispatch. The New World Order of more meetings, calls, E-mail, docu ments, budgets and schedules, means there is not enough time to become confused, so we feel good while falling prey to the malady of false knowledge, commonly called Murphy's Law..

Cultural hierarchy further impedes knowledge. If we feel we should under stand, then social pressure makes us think we do, or impedes inquiry if we don't. "Just do [this]," is the precursor of "Just do [that]," comprising an endless cycle of correcting corrections, spawned by the need to summarize and supported by a fear to question author ity. Thus, organization and technology are evolving in the modern era to actually impair the key component of success: knowledge! This is the source of the mysterious "Murphy's Law" that is more and more the scourge of mod ern management.

The concept of knowledge as dis tinct from information, originated thousands of years ago with the devel opment of writing and the consequent invention of perhaps the first manage ment technology: to link back to origi nal sources, derived from "religion" meaning to "bind back." The ancients found that while the human mind is well suited to deal swiftly with the vagaries of nature, it needs assistance with the complexity of civilization. They discovered that once hard won experience showed the best approach, it was necessary to provide a path back to that information in order to insure that at a future time, the passions of the day would not lead them down the wrong path.

Creating and preserving the right "path" is the process of converting information into knowledge. This was the seminal recognition of the interplay between time and information, called "circumstance," where the correct decision is hidden, or, is known, but seems incorrect, because interceding events create new paradigms from which the mind's inherent need to summarize produces false knowledge. Long experience showed that the great est harm comes from acting with abso lute conviction of an incorrect belief, due to the passage of time. "Religion" evolved as a practice to meet this concern by providing consistent application of perceived truths. This gave practical form to enlightenment.

Wayne Comments

Again, going back to the end of my last comment, "religion" , in the sense I know it, did not evolve from anything. It was there, in the beginning, explained to the patriarchs of the Old Testament who happened to also be prophets (Adam, Noah, Moses, Elijah, etc.) It has always been constant in its simplist form, but with more added as practitioners were able and willing to submit to God's law. As explained earlier, the Mosaic Law which governs Jewish and (and Islamic) religious practice to this day, was very direct and to the point and infractions were punished without deviance or a great deal of mercy. This was necessary because the people had lost their identity, had co-mingled their religion with that of the Egyptians and others and was necessary to bring a relatively stubborn and unbelieving people back to God's standard. When Christ came, he declared "I have fulfilled the Law", in essence saying we will still keep the Mosaic Law but will institute the additional principles of justice and mercy embodied in the Atonement of Christ. (you will have to study up on that, since it takes some explaining) At other times, even higher Laws were kept. Enoch, in the Old Testament coined the term "Zion" to describe his city where the people were "of one mind and one faith, and there were no poor among them"; describing a somewhat utopian, communal society such as has existed only a few times in human history.

The point is, that religion is a constant, and man's ability to understand it and apply it is the variable function, not the other way around. God tells us what we ought to do, never wavering. We do it to the best or least of our abilities, wavering all the time.

The model of converting informa tion into knowledge works well when the flow of information and the rate of decision making is low, such that the preponderance of time is devoted to implementing decisions, i.e. applying knowledge. That is the environment which over millions of years shaped the evolution of the human mind. For most species the ratio of time applying physical effort, to the time for creating knowledge, favors the physical side of implementation.

Applying the same knowledge over and over develops skill in hunting, throwing a rock or shaping a spear. With little information and few choices, the mind has ample time to settle on the right connections, and to give an alert when connections seem to fail. So, if we do not "understand," our mind can report being "confused," which, if unresolved, causes "frustra tion" from fears about safety.

This is the best state for project managers, because then they can obtain more information and analysis to make the connections needed to remove the confusion. Savvy managers realize that when frustrated, it is essential to think more carefully, to check sources and premises; they know they must slow down in order to succeed faster. Oth ers, however, lash out with the de mand:

Tell me what I need to know in 25 words or 30 seconds.

This extreme though often heard demand for summary evolved from historical notions of "leadership" when it was critical to convey orders quickly that "expedite" response. Speech re mains the primary medium for manag ers, reflecting the fundamental impulse to tell people what to do. It is moder ated today by democratic mores to persuade, rather than to direct (e.g. MPM). This works when the field of knowledge can be readily grasped for basic projects like gathering nuts, fighting a battle, or building a pyramid, and where management centers on directing people to do things, rather than on figuring out what to do, when, methods, materials, coordination, safety, fairness and the thousands of regulations impacting the modern work day.

Though founded in notions of im- mediate action to support survival, the habit of giving orders for longer term projects was effective in former times because there was usually enough time to see the effect of decisions, and adjust course. Thus, the specter of Julius Caesar managing the entire known world with a staff of six. Today things are different. Physical labor has been automated to the point that in many cases, management makes up a much greater share of labor. This means managers, i.e. "decision mak ers," are the "workers." Raw materials are detailed information and the prod uct is "knowledge," which directs machines instead of people, to create and distribute "stuff." Service industries are labor intensive, yet even here there is greater emphasis on information in sales, insurance, law, engineering, medicine, government. The main product is knowledge rather than actual "stuff."

As the time devoted to information increases, better productivity requires better information management. Since information is only of value after it is converted into knowledge, and since this occurs in the human mind, it seems axiomatic that the New World Order portends a new vision of "knowledge" work, and a new practice of "Com- munication Metrics" to optimize pro ductivity.

This is especially true for the "art" of managing. The knowledge managers need is derived from the "stuff" that unrelentingly comes in the door and over the phone and the airways every day. Managers need a way to quickly and accurately integrate new informa tion with what has come in previously, to organize it, and link it with objec tives. They need automated religion!

That so simple and powerful an idea has become lost in the eons of time, should alert the unsuspecting to the need for vigilance in linking back to original understanding. Today reli gion means going to church, prayer and faith in a transcendent existence. If we look closely, however, at the practice of formal religion and one of its branches, the law, we see the continu ing power of the original idea. Attend ing church services, or reading a reli gious text, one is struck by the gener ous use of references to other sources that support assertions of meaning. The clear message from this tradition is that to understand what is before us today, we must consider its genesis, i.e. its cause. This tradition is applied in the law, which emanates from religious tenants (e.g., Ten Commandments). Legal decisions are prodigiously linked back to related cases, called "citations," in order to insure consistent application of "sound" reasoning. In effect, legal precedents merely recycle human expe rience. A similar process is used in publications where a bibliography links to original sources.

This gives credence to the primary text, since it is assumed the writer has listed correct citations. What is less apparent to the reader, however, is the benefit to the writer of creating cita tions, by forcing greater consideration of critical points than would occur in the absence of linking back. In other words, the exercise of linking lifts "understanding" which is another form of the idea that religion brings enlight enment.

Most of us miss the phenomena of being alerted to think more carefully by looking up related sources, because they appear in a published text. Readers just passively accept what is printed. Biblical citations have appeared for thousands of years, and so are a given, like the sun and moon and rolling waves on a beach. We feel as powerless bystanders in a mystery solved long ago by wise forbears. Acceptance has become a cultural imperative. Citations in legal text are equally remote. The high cost of lawyers under-scores the sense that their work is disconnected from the needs of daily life.

However, even lawyers and religious scholars who use linking in their work, are unaware of its profound power. Awareness of this power has lan guished, because until now (1) it was not critical to routinely supplement innate mental capacity; and (2) it had taken a lot of time to create links. People have limited time.

So, is converting information into knowledge practical for the fast pace of a manager's daily life? Do managers have time for research? Managers are paid to get things done. This means "expediting" the work, not looking up dusty recollections of yesteryear!

Since the human mind has created technology that exceeds its capacity to convert information into knowledge, it is now essential to automate this pro cess so it can be done faster and more accurately. Linking time and informa tion gives rise to the idea of integrated scheduling and reporting that empow ers people to look forward and back ward in time with equal speed and accuracy. The derivative of linking time with information is automated linking to original objectives, sources and understanding, which then provides instant access to knowledge and ideas. The synergy from this cyclical dynamic lifts fundamental capacity to think, remember and communicate that makes the human mind the most powerful force on earth.

The power of religion has carried civilization to the dawn of a New World Order that now overwhelms traditional management, as people reach for the "fools gold" of more information, absent a corollary increase in the capacity to create more knowl edge. The solution is not "artificial intelligence," but rather to automate real knowledge. This paper argues that knowledge is an integrating process that was figured out long ago in the meaning of "religion." It is the lever Archimedes envisioned to move the world forward. Archimedes might have called it "automated religion." Today we would say: "automated integration empowers managers to navigate the Information Highway.

A prototype has been under devel opment for about 12 years, to integrate time, information, people and docu ments into a smooth process that emu lates the dynamic harmony of the human mind. Only within the past year has the component of linking back to original sources been fully automated; it seems even more helpful than ex pected. These benefits are not free. Automated management is harder to learn than wordprocessing, because "management" is more complex than typing. It is easier to learn than the alphabet, which has been the core means of capturing knowledge for the past 5000 years. Automated integration brings enormous power to "get things done," and so may warrant consider ation by Mr. Bing and others seeking to improve productivity. After 5000 years, its time for a change.

Wayne's Comment

As a final note, lest you think I am being critical, I don't really have any problems with the article, if I accept your definitions and premises. In fact it makes some sort of sense. It is just that religion as you see it and define it is simply different from the way I see it. And with God on my side, I, of course, am right!