This was composed in the context of my relating the proposal by Andrew Gaines for accelerating The Great Transition with my proposal for UPLIFT.
We cannot accurately forecast details of coming collapses and responses to them. Humankind is both fragile and resilient. The cascade of events following BREXIT is an example of fragility. Yet, sometimes surprising recovery might follow collapses. The power of human to human mutual aide between peoples jointly facing disasters is documented by Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell. However, as soon as outside authorities arise, this resilience collapses. The often stated claim that we need to wait until it gets worse for people to act refers only to local social issues. It never applies to longer term societal issues. Also, collapses may come in cascades, and we never can tell whether a chain reaction of collapsing dominoes may cover over us like a massive technological collapse tsunami.
We cannot prepare for all scenarios, but there are some basics participants in the movement to Inspire Transition might consider; but surviving collapse must not be our primary focus or activity. If we survive one collapse, we will simply be in the way of the next. We are all eventually doomed if we can’t get to the source and stop the collapses, OR create a nu, emergent quman system that gets stronger each day, better resistant to collapse of their societal environments, and will eventually involve/engage most living humans (person by person). The nu emergent alternative humankind will learn how to manage the sources of collapse and eventually remove them, as they are designed out of the nu humanity created/emergent.
Human was not misspelled, as Quman, in the previous paragraph. I propose we undergo a system of major paradigm shifts, for our whole comprehension of human systems, as significant as the shift to Quantum Physics from Classical Physics. What I call Quman Physics is like cleaning the smeared windshield, getting accurate maps and sending out scouts, getting sober, and – in metaphor – cooperating in a simulated “Wagon Train” over the “Mountainous Divide in Winter”, into the future (of sunny California).
Before WE attempt to recruit and organize others to join OUR expedition-in-time, WE need to re-examine OUR assumptions about what WE hope to accomplish and the terrain of the land WE will cross. Who is this “WE”?
Initially WE are those who have assumed we knew enough that something very significant was required, to survive/thrive. However, knowing something is wrong and something must be done often doesn’t equip that knower to also know what best to do. However, in a time of crisis, this assumption is often made – and often with disastrous results. For example, many revolutions end up becoming regimes as oppressive as those overturned.
The situation we face today is unprecedented, to say the least. We must be cautious of proposed “solutions” based on what was done in the past – even if successful, then.
Everything has changed so fast and often so significantly that no human knows nearly all of what IS and is HAPPENING, and the trends, many which are very real, if not stopped. As a person who has deliberately tried to be as comprehensive as possible, I have recently given up trying to explore everything that I consider highly relevant. I no longer have a “bucket list” of things to learn, let alone experience. Daily my attention encounters scores of significant new topics, blogs, movements, persons, books or articles that would, in the recent past, be put on my TODO list. I continue to bookmark some of them, but my lists are already far too long and not well organized for searching. Also, there is no way, at 81 – or even if I was 18 – could I begin to work through this material. And then, what would I do with it, how would I share and discuss it with others, and then plan with others some projects to accomplish. Curating and online sharing is beginning to drown us in social media.
I can’t trust myself to know what best to do – even if I had the resources and a team of committed participants. Nor can I buy into anyone else’s project unless they can explicate to me a clear sketch of strategy to the time when the trends turn positive.
I am not calling for a conference, as was convened by Gregory Bateson (assisted by his daughter, Mary Catherine), in 1968 in Vienna on the critical topic: The Effects of Conscious Purpose of Human Adaptation“, although the topic is close to the one we must explore to better set direction for The Great Transition. Mary Catherine, in her excellent chronicle OUR OWN METAPHOR, “manages to convey the dynamics as well as the content of the deliberations of a small group of brilliant (and intractable) anthropologists, linguists, psychologists. and philosophers”. The Batesons visited Arthur Koestler after their conference. Koestler was disturbed about the scheduling conflict with his Beyond Reductionism Albach Symposium – to which Gregory had been invited, and Koestler had been invited to Gregory’s conference. After learning of what transpired (and didn’t) at Gregory’s conference, Koestler wrote a short story, THE CALL GIRLS. In this story, the world is in crisis and the best minds on the planet are convened in conference to discuss the issues and advise. There, each expert pontificated on his or her expertise, basically repeating their talks given on their lecture circuits, a metaphor for “call girls”. I read all three decades ago and their significance has been with me since.
Actually, I am calling for Blitz (the name of a month long action project, being organized by Andrew Gaines in 2017), to accomplish what Gregory and Arthur failed to accomplish 48 years ago.
In 1976, as part of a summer visit to Great Britain, I visited the experimental commune, Findhorn, in Scotland. I am sad to see that its attempts to spread as a movement failed. They had a requirement, that each new prospective member had to temporarily not focus on his or her domain of expertise. They were to bring to the commune their learning-to-learn competencies and to generalize from the competencies of their expertise – but apply it to the objectives and goals of Findhorn. In a sense this is what we must bring to focus at a Blitz.
The best minds need to build on their specialized expertise to mutually explore domains of relevance. No single or few “domains of expertise”, expanded and improved, will be a key or solution. What we face is not a problem, but called a “problemateque”, where an appropriate response might be called a “solutionateque”. That the problem/solution paradigm may be one of our difficulties in comprehending Quman Physics, was pointed out many decades ago by The Club of Rome, but mostly ignored.
Ignored for a reason – Problemateques and Solutionateques are but labels for aspects of a new reality that we wait to emerge in the next major shift. When we accepted Kuhn’s term, paradigm shift, we slipped into another Quman System issue: our ease in letting a name mask the need to better comprehend “what” is being labeled. A (single) paradigm shift is analogous to the solution of a problem. A complex system of interacting paradigm shifts may characterize a “solutionateque”.
Permit me to cite another analog. My first assignment, assigned by the president of the community college I had just joined as faculty (1974) – with my claimed expertise as educator’s educator – was to design a Faculty Development Program for our new campus. My other functions were to teach sections of Intro Psychology and manage the Advising and Counseling System until a permanent head had been hired. I pondered and pondered.
Why should I develop a Faculty Development Program for an Instructional Program and Curriculum that I viewed as not adequate to our objectives – although the program and curriculum were already experimental and of comparative quality with established institutions. I wrote a 100 page proposal over one weekend calling for an institutional metamorphosis of Pima County Community College. Titled: Education FOR the Future.
Faculty would learn to participate in the emergence of a Complementary College – that would accomplish what the existing curricula and practices were unable to accomplish, with the students learning to be learner/educators. In a meeting with my dean and the college president, we discussed my proposal. They were quite pleased with the idea, but felt it was far too ambitious for them. I was asked to create a traditional Faculty Development System, which I did. However, this experience led to cascades of insights; so that the following semester I took an unpaid leave of absence to compose my unpublished manuscript, Mission_2000, where I first developed my conceptual scheme of Societal Metamorphosis.
What I take from this analogy, is that when we begin to prepare others for the transition, we will need far better techniques than we currently have today. How will we learn/discover what curricula for The Great Transition should be? How might we integrate mentoring and online courses? Might exploring possible future scenarios inform us of key curricular elements.
The principles I proposed in LQE (Learners for Quality Education) fits with TGT proposal to involve everyone in the learning process. But, most persons have such poor knowledge about the learning and educational processes (this knowledge which is still being improved by ongoing research) that they will fail if they attempt to create quality education from scratch. That lesson was learned in The Summerhill School experiment. Personal mentoring and tutoring, teacher-to-learner, or peer-to-peer does involve inherited propensities. At the basic level of human interactivity, analogous to tribal relationships – humans are “natural” learners and teachers. But, long, sequentially dependent facilitated learning/development (of topics relevant to societal issues) for widely diverse learners is far, far from a trivial pursuit.
I am not proposing that we wait to start The Great Transition. We need to learn more about what we are about to do. If we can attract those who already have some basic competencies, knowledge, and attitudes – to develop a new educational system, initially FOR THEMSELVES, so as to later design a “college” of similar/related systems for the large diversity of potential learners/transistioneers. Basically, we start The Great Transition with ourselves.
I am not opposed to the TGT Blitz being proposed/outlined by Andrew Gaines, although I estimate he will have difficulty doing all that he hope’s to do (in preparing for the Blitz) and accomplish (during the Blitz). Elsewhere I relate some details of The Story Field Conference, as an example of great success of a conference, but unexpected failure to follow through. From my perspective, the objectives/goals are far more complex than Andrew imagines, the variables being far too diverse.
One reservation came to mind, in part due to the many terrorist attacks and shootings recently. If we are not careful in our assessment of learning progress, and keep a highly supportive community for everyone, we might have a few “members” who chose to go off on their own and “accelerate the need for transition” – which would attract negative attention to TGT. I am not thinking of acts of violence, but possible acts of creative disruption, which may attract the attention of authorities. I have long been concerned about this for UPLIFT, but more for those who might try to push established systems to reform, that would also bring negative attention to UPLIFT.
As I edit this the GOP convention has completed its first day. The degree of polarization (and its increase) everywhere should inform us of the difficulty we will have finding receptive audiences to our proposals for The Great Transition.