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Some Notes on Logos,Word and Deming's Teachings(1999/05)

By Hanching Chung

Here my powers rest from their high fantasy,

but already I could feel my being turned--

instinct and intellect balanced equally

as in a wheel whose motion nothing jars--

by the Love that moves the Sun and the other stars.

Dante The Paradiso Canto XXXIII

(John Ciardi translation)


This report is a speculation for Deming's various 14 points and a trial in extension of using Deming's teaching tool-box for modeling social relationship or systems. The readers are asked to think about if we think in the spirit of Love in this articles, what are the new philosophy and actions we can adopt and take on the funnel rules and red beads experiments.


Deming is a scientist and professional consultant with a religious heart. The original orientation of his teachings can be explained as the realization of The Spirit of Love with Nisus or urge toward a still higher quality.

I studied his development of various 14 points in management, leadership, red beads experiments*. I think his preference of 14 can be explained in two ways. One is humorous, that is, he was telling us don't be too serious about any number, including his famous 14 points for the obligation of managers (see chapter 2 of Out of The Crisis). The second way is like the approach of Joseph Campbell's A Skeleton Key Finnegans Wake, finds the particular meaning of 1132 in various parts of the book in Romans 11:32.What is 14 means in this context? Fourteen is a common unit in western culture, say, the 14 points of president Wilson. In Hebrew, 14 is David (see genealogy).This is just a speculation. This tells us the power of the word might be a key to understand Deming's teachings. I'll use some other great students of words to extend my points.

I think Lewis Thomas is a man with profound knowledge. We can learn a lot from his Notes series. For example, his advice on the medical inspections and processes are very important for the quality of service. He also gave good comments on Lord Kevin's famous quotation on the measurements.

I admire this word-watcher very much. His system concept is very touching and profound.. Since one of my recent articles is on the Ethical Organizational Transformation through Deming's System of Profound Knowledge was inspired by his

trace the meanings and the relationship of my self and ethics in The Medusa and the Snail whichl I think is very relevant and profound here.

Self is an interesting word…The original root was se or seu, simply the pronoun of the third person, and most of the descendant words, except "self" itself, were constructed to allude to other, somehow connected people; "sibs" and "gossips," relatives and close acquaintances, came from seu. Se was also used to indicate something outside or apart, hence words like "separate," "secrete," and "segregate." From an extended root swedb it moved into Greek as ethnos, meaning people of one's own sort, and ethos, meaning the customs of such people. "Ethics" means the behavior of people like one's self, one's own ethics.


Let's move to" the most puzzling, ambiguous and mysterious of all words…When John wrote his tremendous Greek sentence: In the beginning was the Word, he used Logos in a larger sense than any word in itself, or any se of words. He intended, I take it, even more than the word as speech. Logos combined the meaning of reason, thought, discourse, all the events in human mind that are set in action by language, the source of word order and comprehensibility. In the Gospel of John, Logos was the thought and wish of God, a member of the Trinity. The word was holy."

It is no wonder that Roman Jaobson quoted Constantine's Slavic verses the remarkable prologue(proglas) to his translation of the four gospels. Jaobson said " through an eloquent chain of metaphors, he looks for and finds the summit of human essence in the word that is heard, read, and understood:


Then hear now with your own mind,

Since you have learned to hear, Slavic people,

Hear the word, for it came from God,

The Word nourishing human souls,

The word strengthening heart and mind,

The Word preparing all to know god,

As without light there can be no joy--

For while the eye sees all of God's creation,

Still what is seen without light lacks beauty--

So it is when every soul lacking letters,

Ignorant of god's law,

The sacred law of the Scriptures,

The law that reveals God's paradise.

  • For the evolutionary or the learning processes of Dr. Deming's various 14 points, the readers are advised to compare the final versions in The New Economics for Industries, Government and Education(Deming, MIT CAES, !993) and Deming's notes, for example in Henry R. Neave's The Deming Dimension( 1990, SPC Press ).


Major References:

Roamn Jakobson and Krystyna Pomorska (1983) DIALOGUES, The MIT Press ,p.154

Lewis Thomas(1990) ET CETERA, ET CETERA - Notes of a word-watcher, Little Brown, p.48

Lewis Thomas( 1974) The Medusa and the Snail--More notes of a biology watcher, The Viking Press, p. 2. And Lewis Thomas's writings: The Life of a Cell; The Youngest Science; Late Night Thoughts on Listening to Mahler's Ninth Symphony; The Fragile Species.

J. Campbell and Bill Moyers( 1988) The Power of Myth. Chinese translation p.200-201.

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