In world of infinite overlapping possibility and multiple, irreconcilable differences, what does #education mean?

  • the world
  • my organisation
  • my clients
  1. The world as we understand it is unending nebulosity and potentially infinite pattern
  2. Our understanding is progressing neither linearly nor spirally. Instead, it is unfurling, unfolding: greebling, to be precise.
  3. Education in this context is continually contested and fractally ramifying sensemaking.
  4. This has many implications, but that main one is that we should judge education by the value created for stakeholders (laudate Tom) — this is fittingly complex and circular.
  5. My humble submission is that education:
  • All rationalism is contextual
  • People who think they operate in the world of facts make me sad. Establishing facts is one thing; adducing meaning turns out to be important in most decision-making involving people. The only meaningful world(s) are the worlds of meaning. This is more power to the scientists, not less.
  • both rational and non-rational, embedded judgement
  • society, traditions, habits, embodiment,
  • language
  • framing
  • perspective
  • intent
  • context
  • interpretation
  • memory
  • level of hierarchy and level of abstraction of of focus
  • understanding
  • ‘mere reason’
  • Greebling
  • ‘The world is not a theorem’ — Kauffman and Roli https://bit.ly/3nHSNUe which, broadly, argues against a deterministic/mechanistic view (or the competence of such) through the point of view of affordances (affordances from Gibson — https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Affordance): “affordances elude a formalization in mathematical terms: we argue that it is not possible to apply set theory to affordances, therefore we cannot devise a mathematical theory of affordances and the evolution of the biosphere.”
  • And his KLI lecture here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EWo7-azGHic which goes further, talking about preadaptation as a comparable mechanism (still with the anti-mechanistic focus; but if we compare ‘unfurling’ to the rolling-out of a fern, we can see that there will, of course, be one level of description at which a mechanistic analysis is possible — and, as always, it will describe not explain)
  • (And, obviously, Godel’s Incompleteness Theorem, or perhaps better Tarski’s undefinability theorem)
  • I work in management consultancy, public services, and with systems/complexity/cybernetics approaches.
  • In these contexts, you are dealing with multiple perspectives, multiple dimensions, fractal realities, and incommensurability of goals — truly the ‘swampy lowlands’ (Schon)
  • This is debatable, even if it is reality: the Total Perspective Paradox (Douglas Adams) and the importance of reductive science are critical — we don’t want people to realise we’re flying through space at 1,000 miles an hour held to the earth only by a mysterious force called ‘gravity’, they might panic and fall off (Bill Forsyth’s Gregory’s Girl https://twitter.com/antlerboy/status/1406748710508371971?s=20)
  • Nevertheless, this implies adult or vertical development (I prefer Torbert) is part of the picture — but this is not solely individually-oriented, along the lines of Marv Weisbord’s concept of moving from ‘experts solve problems’ to ‘everybody solves problems’ to ‘experts improve whole systems’ to ‘everybody improves whole systems’ http://www.marvinweisbord.com/wp-content/uploads/2010/04/Techniques%20to%20Match%20Values.pdf
  • ‘to understand is to know what to do’ Wittgenstein
  • ‘I can only know what I should do if I can first answer the question: of what story, or stories, do I find myself a part?’ Alasdair MacIntyre
  • “Bongard games really illustrated the fact that organisations can be complex and made up of lots of different “patterns”. Its important that individuals within organisations are able to think about context to see and understand these patterns and how they impact across our different systems. Without finding the links to patterns, it becomes impossible to fully understand the full context in which we are working in and the situations which we are addressing.”
  • “Meta-contextuality shows the possibilities of parties understanding the context of their own world as well as the circumstances others are working and living in. This is where the role of the consultant is key in terms of helping people to make sense at this level. It is also crucial that we understand the situation from our service users point of view to truly understand what works and where the complexities are.”
  • Rationality operates through decontextualization –stripping, isolating, formalising, understanding situations abstractly — metarationality adds all that context and purpose back (which has some parallels to to Nora Bateson’s ‘warm data’), and looks at how the formal structure is concretely relating to the context etc…
  • You can see this in Lipsky — the street-level bureaucrat, or any ethnography of science or other ‘rational’ practice.
  • Rationality abstracts from context and therefore is more likely (apparently paradoxically) to be constrained/controlled by context. Metarationality is more humble with regard to context, and therefore potentially more empowered (like de-centring humans/the world/the sun or other supposed paradigm shifts)
  • By recognising it is locked in to framings, it becomes freer
  • By being humble, it becomes more powerful
  • sets the frame of reference for the system (but does so knowingly and intentionally)
  • identifies the implications of emergence from the system
  • balances future and present to maintain identity
  • Threshold concepts, or gateway ideas, are ideas that, once you get them, change your way of thinking permanently. There’s no going back. And you’re stuck with it.
  • But they open up and create new realities
  • Realising that ‘you’re not the child your parents had in mind’ (as Peter Block says) is a big one.
  • Deep systems insights like power+systems dynamics or the Viable Systems Model are very much in this category.
  • Understanding that aggression often comes from being wounded and attempting to protect that wound.
  • “‘Threshold Concepts’ may be considered to be “akin to passing through a portal” or “conceptual gateway” that opens up “previously inaccessible way[s] of thinking about something”
  • This doesn’t mean they are Eternal Truths For The Ages — it means that they change something in you — and as Marshall McLuhan said, ‘every extension is an amputation’. Good threshold concepts empower, inspire, and transcend and include.
  • I think that my RedQuadrant tool shed is full of these kinds of concepts, the things which shaped my thinking and which I never looked back from.
  1. The world as we understand it is unending nebulosity and potentially infinite pattern
  2. Our understanding is progressing neither linearly nor spirally. Instead, it is unfurling, unfolding: greebling, to be precise.
  3. Education in this context is continually contested and fractally ramifying sensemaking.
  4. This has many implications, but that main one is that we should judge education by the value created for stakeholders (laudate Tom) — this is fittingly complex and circular.
  5. My humble submission is that education:
    a) should admit and be founded on this reality of the ongoing unfolding of complexity of the universe; metarationality (debatable)
    b)should be rich in boundary ideas / threshold concepts
    c)should be adult, peer, and action learning oriented
  6. My practice in the RedQuadrant tool shed
  • Daniel Schmachtenberger https://twitter.com/search?q=Daniel+Schmachtenberger+antlerboy
  • A good listenable podcast on actual cybersecurity is Risky Business with Patrick Gray out of NZ
  • A really fun on is The Darknet Diaries (stories of hacking — which emphasise the extent of social engineering!)
  • Another great podcast is the one from the US national spy museum — SpyCast

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business evolutionary www.bentaylor.com all pieces duplicated at www.chosen-path.org

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Benjamin P. Taylor

Benjamin P. Taylor

business evolutionary www.bentaylor.com all pieces duplicated at www.chosen-path.org

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