Global Sensemaking

Tools for Dialogue and Deliberation on Wicked Problems

Praxis ... can't actualize it without _techne_.

Teche, as Heidegger used the term in this essays on technology.

An example / case in point (Shows how dealing with the concrete conditions ratiocination?):

I know that one of the promised benefits of E2.0 is "emergence" in the sense that it "surfaces" (active verb!) innovative thinking.
That "surfacing" function is, for me, key to a sense-making system. Take a typical good thread in, say, ... "Why are Americans in denial about empire?" was created almost three years ago (2yrs, 47wks to be precise). It's still active, with 2 extreeeeeemely long pages carrying a total of 105 comments.
"The Power of Nightmares "was created over 4 years ago ... 342 comments. "McCain-Palin: A winning ticket for the GOP" was created only 11 weeks ago but already has 287 comments.

Who will notice the gems scattered throughout those bulky aggregations? How can we not feel a pang at the amount of effort, good will, and clear thinking that's being ... well, frittered away.
Or, better, how can we provide a better method, if we cannot harvest / re-purpose what has gone before?

How to counteract this linearity without abstracting? What came to mind immediately while mulling this over was the absence of a term ... what to name "counteract this linearity without abstracting"? I thought about dynamical systems and the way they're re-entrant. (Feed-back/feed-forward, yaa?)
And it occurred to me that the "line" was, if not salient, most probably a necessary component in the set of processes that lead to the generation of subsequent salient points. So it's not dead space ... the intervening items are not mere noise, even if all they do is impose a creative pause.
So instead of two star points, there was a thread along which two points suggested themselves as salient.

A Koch curve!
As though a julia set ... a multi-pointed star, where the tips of the arms can be arbitrarily close together and the line (surface?) in between can be impractically long.

Not islands in a sea of noise ...
... eruptions from a dynamic mass.

So: that's what my "ParDelib" system generates because of it's operational basis.
"If it doesn't matter, then it isn't important ... regardless how much fun or how interesting it is."

Views: 22

Comment by Ben Tremblay on November 15, 2008 at 19:05
"The Scale-free nature of the Web"; Tim Berners-Lee; 1998
"I have discussed elsewhere how we must avoid the two opposite social deaths of a global monoculture and a set of isolated cults, and how the fractal patterns found in nature seem to present themselves as a good compromise. It seems that the compromise between stability and diversity is served by there the same amount of structure at all scales. I have no mathematical theory to demonstrate that this is an optimization of some metric for the resilience of society and its effectiveness as an organism, nor have I even that metric."

I guess over all my years on the web my material gets not comments because it's just basically wrong? (After all, we principled practitioners support a true meritocracy ... right?)

HeyHo, and so it goes.
Comment by Ben Tremblay on November 15, 2008 at 20:29
"the desktop publishing team in the bank would log amendments which the bankers (people like me) wanted to make on our presentations." Nice! I did a very large R&D tech_docs project where change management was key (A truly formative experience, that was.) so this is interesting.

"they abstracted those amends in linear ways simply because they themselves did not have the strategy or banking context to understand the amends they were making." A nice case study! What can seem like agreement on the face of things can actually be at variance ... confounds in action, where two people "say" the same thing but "mean" quite otherwise. And that's why I stress praxis: it comes down to actualities. Or, at least, it should. (I have a fave Confucius quote that deals with what happens when "what is said is not what is meant".)

"At the ultimate level, it's the DNA meme molecule itself and how we can program code to proxy this" ... that's interesting, but "the solution"?! You lost me there. We aren't facing financial, ecological, and political catastrophe because of this or that molecular model. Nor, for that matter, because we lack coding protocols or best practices in energy production.

The monoculture/cults continuum ... that's Tim Berners-Lee's formulation. One of the things that moved me to a dialectical approach was that I had collected a whole set of such opposing pairs. (That document and a flock of others was lost in a 2004 HD failure ... the only one I've ever suffered and it couldn't have happened at a worse moment!)

"diverse and holistically connected in a unified synergy" ... what concerns me is that phenomenal world is never otherwise. But the structures we impose upon it (monoculture silviculture, for example), they reflect how we believe we can act with actual impunity. Which, let's face it, is just plain insane ... especially when coupled with hubris and sense of entitlement.

My point is that the environment is never other than global and inter-operable, tied together in any number of ways subtle and gross ... the Gaia metaphor is the way to go.

I enjoy modeling and all that ... the closest I got to understanding AI was by applying a primitive system to population dynamics with animals (i.e. biological forces w/o societal super-structure) ... but that's for others do push. I look to them for well-informed conclusions on specifics. My engagement is with decision making on matters of public policy, i.e. "participatory deliberation".


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