LIFT notes Originally uploaded by dgray_xplane. Dave Gray, founder and CEO of XPLANE, has shared on flickr his index card sketches from Lift07 from where I have blogged the one above. They are not to be missed! To me these have provided excellent notes and a refresher of what was presented and discussed, somehow it brought back all the enthusiasm and abundant inspiration that the conference was. On a personal note, I am tickled pink to see quite a few sketches from the "Creativity Workshop" that Henriette and I led and in which Dave participated with enthusiasm. This one sketch here is from the workshop. One of the insights that one wins from looking at creativity in the way that Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi looks at it is that creativity has something to do with the interactions at various levels between people and subject matter. Interaction however does require relationship of some sort. Ah! Yes, I could go on, and I will... more later. Cross-posted to tensoriana.org Update (5.5.2007) I am always stunned by how many orthographic and spelling errors I make in my posts, to say nothing of word omissions and errors caused by changing sentence structure midway while writing it. If there is one profession that I truly admire and whose services I need is that of editor.
I have been going through the notes that I made in the three months prior to Lift07 while giving it some thought to what had inspired me to look into knowledge ownership from a logical point of view beyond what I already knew about it. Being in Rome recently and facing a strong differential culture current that can be felt just in the air that one breathes, and discussing the use of knowledge and parenting with friends threw in a few new questions into the equation. If culture is the cohesive expression of human behaviour, and as Mihaly Csiksentmihalyi puts it in his seminal book Flow, culture is also the set of defensive constructions against chaos designed to reduce the impact of randomness on experience. That having been said, then one can conclude that culture is an adaptive response to complexity. Thus, if complexity is increasing, and we are led to think that complexity is increasing with increased population and technology densities, then culture is the continued adaptation to this progression that contrary to what rational man would like to think, is indeed random, discontinuous, and unpredictable. What is perhaps misguiding and perplexing is that this evolution gives us the semblance of continuity and linearity, and does lead many to linear extrapolations where none are possible. Those so inclined would like to put all of this in nice mathematical models and start predicting the consequences of it. For all my profound admiration and fascination for that other more formal and abstract language of ours, mathematics, I caution that mathematics may be too limited for the task of long range prediction. Mathematics is a language that confines us, and does not unbind the confines of our reality. In my view there is one universal characteristic to language and that it can be both used to limit or expand reality. That is to say that this characteristic has a dual nature that in itself appears paradoxical at first sighting. I am at best a very mediocre student of history, however I have always been fascinated by it as it has always evidenced some of the greatest peculiarities in human behaviour that clearly point to man's lack of rationale. In itself this statement is a paradox. To claim that man has behaved in the absence of rationale throughout history is tantamount to claim that man has been behaving contrary to its believes. After all, when one tries to be rational, what is it that serves as a guideline in the rationalization? If That is so, and for the sake of argument let us consider that it is so for a while, how would you balance this paradox? Taking another quantum leap, let me ask what is the role of games in culture? I can also phrase the question in another domain: In what areas of human development is the next evolutionary step going to take place?
I have been in a ranting mood these past weeks. It could just be that having put myself on a weekly diet of 10'000 words of newly written fresh words of storytelling never-told is doing strange things to my mind, or it is doing strange things to the revelation of lack of mind!
The notes that follow have a complex structure, if you get lost, do so at your own risk.Yes, I do like self-referential contradiction, and self-referential contradiction is not oxymoronic, it is more a ying-yang duality characteristic. I like to think that to translate ying-yang to terms that our culture can better relate to, is to translate it to the conjugate pair of freedom and respect. Conjugation is appropriate here to designate the relationship between these two ideas of respect and freedom. In our society I would conjecture that we do value these two very much, or at least claim to value them. We, and I do mean we the whole of society, value these so much that we start wars to defend these values. In case that you have not yet noticed it, in the XXI century there are wars going on while some of us indulge in the debate of what digital technology is bringing society in the form of challenges and opportunities. The conference called Lift, and happening in Geneva now for two years in a row, has changed my life, twice. It is a welcome change, and it is uncomfortable change. Although the realm of personal reflection is one that I prefer to indulge in the next, when it comes to action research, I would like to think that this blog is more the place for it since it can be filed under the categories development and intellectual. But are the following reflections on communication, an issue that I return to again and again, to be considered as action research? One can consider them as such, or one can also consider them exploration and reflection on what has been said, and how that impacts my own life. Impact is a good word to think about. After LIFT07 I did get my chance to go air out my mind in the tepid temperatures of the eternal city, be pampered by caring friends, while for some irritating reason keeping Calvin's city present in the background. What would Steinbeck have done in my place? My supercilious old ego, arrogant in nature, has no idea. Communication has always been a challenge for me, however the circumstances surrounding this challenge have very peculiar singularities and I have lived most of my life in the false belief that it was so for everybody. It is not, and I am surprised that in the process I have learned more about communication than I had ever hoped for. The study and exploration of the nature and practice of communication is an intrinsic aspect of my own life. But why am I even surprised? A writer, be it novelist or non-fiction scribe, spends a lot of time either reading, or starving and then writing. In the time interstitials of these solitary activities one gets to brush one's teeth, sleep and perhaps on a good day, there is time for family and friends. An observation is that we are all so busy with productivity, or making our dreams reality, or just dealing with fate's generosity or indulging our own very healthy egoism, so that most of the time friends and family do get the short end of the deal. We are hedonistic, solitary and we barely know how to reach out and ask for help. I know that I am an hedonist. I can not understand what anybody as a self-sacrificing self-declared or otherwise, not an hedonist, has to offer to those around them other than to induce guilt, pity or righteousness depending on how the others are inclined. But it simply is not that simple, not really. I am the kind of hedonist that engages in the ascetic practices of fasting and meditation, submits to demanding hierarchies, and has not quite given up on meritocracy. Is an hedonist a simple pleasure seeker, and if so, what is pleasure then? For those reading between the lines, you have by now figured out that indeed, my insistence - in spite of many self generated distractions and foreign inducements - in doing what I want to do, has caused a few serious breakdowns along the way. I have been thinking about the saving grace that ambiguities in communication provide us in social situations, and the ever so benefactive white lie, or why complete knowledge of another - that is total transparency - is an obstacle to satisfaction at any level, regardless of what consists satisfaction, or how you define it. There is however a fallacy intrinsic to the expression of complete knowledge, and that is that complete knowledge is at best a chimera, but certainly not anything attainable. When would you know that you have complete knowledge of anything? Here lies the first, if not the fundamental problem with what is often called transparency and the ungodly beast of identity. My intimate experience of the the arab world taught me the value of that precious stratagem, the white lie or shaving the truth, or just allowing the other and yourself to both keep face. Indeed, in the face-to-face world, keeping face is the name of the game. It is the social game, the only game that we ever endeavour to master is keeping face. Game theorist here or there, humans are gamers, and some players are just better than others. So when will we face the fact that it is all a game anyhow, and that some are better with the rules, the roles, the strategies or just the invention of the games? Another way of looking at it is to consider the possibility that to keep face, is just another expression for respect and that it includes self-respect. Ah... these are just a few loose thoughts left out in the wild of my machinations, or expectorating fantasies. I think that the present day geeky social web applications are way far off the mark and at the same time right on track in terms of empowering the world of relationship technology that allows for social evolution. While checking out how the reboot wiki site is evolving I stumbled on the idea of ambient intimacy. This is interesting, and it is part of the story. I also like to think that one psychological ingredient that makes Twitter so popular is the considerable amount of insensitivity space that it allows. I can at any time decide to respond or not respond to something that somebody whom I may know or not know shares within the twitter timeline. In short an interaction is not expected, and it is at the same time possible to interact. These options are the equivalent of giving me my personal space and privacy, and I am the one in control. I can consume twitters, or I can turn it off. Nobody in their right mind expects me to stay glued and attentive to the chatter on twitter or twittervision. I may have an interest in following the noise, and then I may not. My hedonist needs this much space, your mileage may differ. I also happen to think that there are a few fundamental flaws in the thinking around science and how to use it, but then... how many of us have a really deep insight on how human beings function and interact? Yes, I think that values are important, but I also think that the name of the game is called power. If that is so, tell me, what is power?
Technorati Tags: challenge, culture, evolution, exploration, floccinaucinihilipilification, lies, lift07, lift08, liftconference, opportunity, philosophy, power, public man, questions, reboot 9.0, reboot9, science, social architecture, solitude, theoretical man, truth, war, white lie
by Dannie Jost at 15:04