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Thread: The word Clean

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK

    Default The word Clean

    For me, making the stand-alone noun Clean from the adjective was a useful distinction. I think it was Judy Rees who did this - am I right?

    Elsewhere I talk about one meaning where it is shorthand for 'Clean Language, Symbolic Modelling and Clean Space'.

    Even more useful to me, making Clean a noun enables the separation of the principle of Clean from Language and Space. It makes it easier to think about doing or being clean as a principle and a philosophy and how and where else being clean could be beneficial. This may also have been part of Judy's intention?

    Not that we ever get away from language or space, of course. I am talking about being Clean in other contexts than the particular therapeutic and coaching contexts of CL and CS.

    For example Clean Thinking - the practice of accepting into our minds the world views of other people, without necessarily saying anything or doing anything to communicate it. As Annemiek puts it in this post:

    The respectful I talked about is that Clean means that all of our views of the world are acknowledged, and we don't have to abandon them by taking on someone else's view. It might mean that we build on the different views and come to something new. But then I was part of the process of creation, and it will link to my view, will be part of how I experience the world.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2005

    Default clean-not doing not saying

    and....not saying and not doing,might that/they be 'not'-Clean in certain contexts ?

    Stephen C
    (or am I thinking ethics?)

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jun 2005
    Columbia, Missouri USA


    Well, Steve, thank you for waking me from my posting slumber.

    Me thinks Lear spoke in error. "Nothing shall come of nothing" has a nice ring to it, but that's as far as it goes. As I remember, Shakespeare's play continues on with several unclean acts. I think recent world events demonstrate that non-doing/non-saying can indeed have a powerful impact. Of course, sometimes we don't realize what the impact of "not saying" is.

    Can we control how clean or not clean our silence is? If so, how?
    I suppose context is all.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Dec 2003
    Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, UK

    Default Thomas More or less

    In the play and film 'A Man for All Seasons" by Robert Bolt, Sir Thomas More loses his head (physically, not figuratively) because of his silence over the vailidity of Henry VIII becoming head of the church (as I remember).

    Here, he's on trial for treason in the House of Lords and the Chancellor, Cromwell (not Oliver Cromwell) is his prosecutor:

    So, Sir Thomas, you stand on your silence?
    I do.
    But, gentlemen of the jury, there are many kinds of silence.

    Consider first the silence of a man when he is dead. Suppose we go into the room where he is laid out and we listen.

    What do we hear? Silence.

    What does it betoken, this silence? Nothing. This is silence pure and simple.

    But let us take another case. Suppose I were to take a dagger
    from my sleeve and make to kill the prisoner with it. And my lordships there, instead of crying out for me to stop, maintain their silence.

    That would betoken! It would betoken a willingness that I should do it. And under the law, they would be guilty with me.

    So silence can, according to the circumstances, speak.

    Let us consider now the circumstances of the prisoner's silence. The oath was put to loyal subjects all over the country who all declared His Grace's title to be just and good! But when it came to the prisoner, he refused!

    He calls this "silence."

    Yet, is there a man in this court, is there a man in this country who does not know Sir Thomas More's opinion of this title?

    Yet, how can this be?

    Because this silence betokened, nay, this silence was not silence at all, but most eloquent denial!
    Not so. Not so, Master Secretary. The maxim of the law is "Silence gives consent."

    If, therefore, you wish to construe what my silence betokened, you must construe that I consented, not that I denied.
    Is that in fact what the world construes from it? Do you pretend that is what you wish the world to construe from it?
    The world must construe according to its wits. This court must construe according to the law.
    I think when we are being Clean with clients, our 'silence' certainly betokens something (note the 'token' aka 'symbol' in the metaphor).

    My own intention in doing Clean is to facilitate time and space and opportunity for the client to express themselves and self-model, without having to deal with my metaphors or manage their response to my opinions and interpretations of their stuff.

    However, a client may perceive my being Clean differently: 'being unhelpful', 'having no suggestions to offer me', 'they don't care, they're not engaged'.

    So for Clean, there's some 'silence' and also some 'presence' required. Anything else?


    PS In another great exchange from the play, Cromwell is talking to the King who is portrayed as a bit of an oaf:

    But he's silent, Master Secretary, why not leave him silent?
    Your Grace, not being a man of letters, you perhaps don't realise the extent of his reputation. This silence of his is bellowing up and down Europe!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Dec 2003

    Default A human doing

    Shakespeare's probably best-known (at least to an illiterate in English literature, Dutch girl like me) quote is the one from Hamlet in Act III, Scene I(56-87):

    "To be, or not to be: that's the question:
    Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
    Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
    And by opposing end them? To die: to sleep;
    No more; and by a sleep to say we end
    The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks
    That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation
    Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep;
    To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub;
    For in that sleep of death what dreams may come
    When we have shuffled off this mortal coil,
    Must give us pause: there's the respect
    That makes calamity of so long life;
    For who would bear the whips and scorns of time,
    The oppressor's wrong, the proud man's contumely,
    The pangs of despised love, the law's delay,
    The insolence of office and the spurns
    That patient merit of the unworthy takes,
    When he himself might his quietus make
    With a bare bodkin? who would fardels bear,
    To grunt and sweat under a weary life,
    But that the dread of something after death,
    The undiscover'd country from whose bourn
    No traveller returns, puzzles the will
    And makes us rather bear those ills we have
    Than fly to others that we know not of?
    Thus conscience does make cowards of us all;
    And thus the native hue of resolution
    Is sicklied o'er with the pale cast of thought,
    And enterprises of great pith and moment
    With this regard their currents turn awry,
    And lose the name of action.

    According to Maturana in 'Biology of Cognition' (1970), the 'being an doing of [living systems] are inseparable'.
    Ilya Prigogine ('Dissipative structures in chemical systems', 1967) realized that dissipative structures maintain themselves in a stable state far from equilibrium. A living organism is characterized by continual flow and change in its metabolism, involving thousands of chemical reactions. Chemical and thermal equilibrium exists when all these processes come to a halt. In other words, an organism in equilibrium is a dead organism.
    Living organisms continually maintain themselves in a state far from equilibrium, which is the state of life.
    Dissipative structures are islands of order in a sea of disorder, maintaining and even increasing their order at the expense of greater disorder in their environment. In this way order 'floats' in disorder while the overall entropy keeps increasing in accordance with the second law of thermodynamics.
    Thus, self-organization processes in far-from-equilibrium conditions correspond to a delicate interplay between chance and necessity, between fluctuations and deterministic laws. (Quoted from Fritjof Capra, 'The Web of Life', 1996.)

    To do or not to be, that's the answer.

    Paul Watzlawick's main axiom of communication is that it is impossible to not communicate, every behaviour (in a social context) is communication.

    So, what would 'Doing Clean' be like?
    Last edited by Corrie van Wijk; 04 September 2006 at 05:20 AM.

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