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Theodore Zeldin on Inspiration

Posted to Gurteen Knowledge-Log by David Gurteen on 2 February 2004



Theodore Zeldin on Inspiration
WeblogGurteen Knowledge Log
Posted DateMonday 2 February 2004 11:00 GMT
Posted ByDavid Gurteen
CategoriesAction; Knowledge Sharing
PeopleTheodore Zeldin
CountryUnited Kingdom
Related LinksThe Oxford Muse, Oxford University

I have just been browsing the web trying to catch up on the work of Theodore Zeldin as I admire his work tremendously and feel his work with 'conversation' is central to what KM is all about.

I have also recently been starting to put together a series of KM educational modules that are going to form the basis of a series of workshops that I have in mind. One of the early modules that I have been working on focuses on the need for people to be internally motivated to make the most of their knowledge and to become 'knowledge networkers' as it is through other people that they not only learn but gain the inspiration to be innovative and do new things. So I was fascinated to come across this piece from Theodore ... that I had missed before when reading about The Oxford Muse.

"So what I'm starting is a new kind of - I don't want to call it an institution, because institutions always end up as bureaucracies.

I wanted to invent something different, and I called it the Muse, the Oxford Muse, because I live in Oxford.

The Muses traditionally were females of legendary ancestry who inspired people.

They did not teach, they did not require to be worshipped, but they were a source of inspiration which enabled people to do something above the ordinary.

They taught you how to cultivate your emotions through the different arts in order to reach a higher plane.

What is lacking now, I believe, is something which we cannot find anywhere, somewhere where you can reach, and get that stimulation - not information, but stimulation - where you can meet just that person, or find just that situation, which will give you the idea of invention, of carrying out some project which interests you, and show how it can become a project which is of interest to other people. "
I hate the non-permeance of the web - I only found this page yesterday but already it is no longer indexed by Google and I guess not available

The idea that we need other people to get stimulation not just information I believe is key to being an effective knowledge worker and I am beginning to see more and more where Theodore's work overlaps with my own.

Theodore interestingly goes on in the article to talk about the need for individuals to create detailed biographies of themselves so that other people can understand them and thus open up the possibility for such conversations.

I know Theodore is doing a lot of work in this area but he does not make it publically available so I am not too sure of the form of his biographies but what does strike me is that "weblogs" are a form of biography ... if I really want to get to know a person well then their weblog is a very accurate reflection of them and one of the best ways in which to find like-minds.

Lots of food for thought here ... and ideas to muse on :-)

If you are interested in Knowledge Management, the Knowledge Café or the role of conversation in organizational life then you my be interested in this online book I am writing on Conversational Leadership
David Gurteen

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