Do our models get in the way?

Do our models get in the way? We've seen quite a few descriptions of an emerging paradigm known as the collaborative commons (CC). But a problem arises when we take another step by extrapolating from that data and then try to prescribe what we need to do in order to create a CC. I.e., we form a model of what the CC should be, and top down we try to implement it. Whereas the technology that enables the CC to grow organically has no apparent need of this top down imposition. To the contrary, it seems more of a capitalistic holdover instead of the middle out way the CC is naturally evolving.

Bonnita Roy has noted that "In a world as diverse in people and rich in meanings as ours, big change might come from small acts by everyone operating everywhere in the contexts that already present themselves in their ordinary lives." It is quite the contrast from the enlightened heroes figuring it all out from their complex ivory towers which supposedly and hopefully 'trickles down' to the rest of us. This seems much more how the CC works in practice. Political and social revolution arises from the external socioeconomic system, the mode of production. Development is accomplished not by having a 'higher' model to which one must conform, but by the actual practice of operating within the emerging socioeconomic system.

Jennifer Gidley noted a similar phenomenon in that there is a difference between research that identifies postformal operations from examples of those who enact those operations. And that much of the research identifying it has itself “been framed and presented from a formal, mental-rational mode.” Plus those enacting post formal operations don’t “necessarily conceptualize it as such.” So are those that identify postfomality via formal methodology really just a formal interpretation of what it might be? Especially since those enacting it disagree with some of the very premises of those identifying them?

The online discussions I engage with on meta-models is representative of this difference. It seems the abstract modeling of the development of the CC is what is operating to create it in a top-down manner. Not only that, what appears to be happening in all cases is that not only does each individual have their own thoughts and opinions on the topic, which is to be expected in diverse groups, we all end up justifying our own take over others. We all seem to be so attached to our own discoveries that we build an edifice and seek out and find supporting evidence to justify it. When confronted with different perspectives or evidence, our first inclination is to see how it fits into our own model or worldview, how we can twist and manipulate it to support our biases. What is there in common that holds us together if we are so closed to taking in new information from other perspectives, allowing them to sit in their own right, their own space, instead of trying to fit them into our own predispositions?

I’m reminded of what Said Dawlabani said, that the distributed network of the collaborative commons follows no ideologies. That it is open source, highly networked and depends on the wisdom of the crowd. I’m guessing that equally applies to our models on trying to create the CC, as we tend to idealize and attach to them. Is our ownership of our ideas more indicative of capitalism that the CC? It also seems that those who are enacting this new paradigm are doing so without need of any explicit theory or model about it. So is arguing about the correct theory even a necessary part of its enactment, as if like capitalism it too needs a top down elite model to implement it? Are our models just getting in the way and actually counter-productive to its natural evolution?

Load Previous Replies
  • up

    Edward theurj Berge

    Here's an interview with a couple of artists involved in the upcoming Metamodern Art Festival in Kiev. A common theme about the definition of metamodernism is a return to an overall meta-narrative, that is, a story that provides meaning to all aspects of life, that grounds our beliefs in something beyond our individual selves. They also note that in times of cultural stress we are more likely to see visions of helpers from some beyond, like angels and fairies in times past, and now in a more technological society UFOs. So I'm wondering if this attraction to metamodernism's own meta-narrative is exactly one of those beyonds to/for which we are seeking aid in this troubled time? It's almost as if the story of metamodernism is the next deus ex machina.

    Whereas something else Alexandra said seems a more likely candidate for the next metanarrative, the collaborative commons, which has no need of a beyond to save us, for it comes from we the people saving ourselves. She said:

    "Since the revolution in 2014 normal people have become politically active and don’t rely on the government like they did before. Instead of waiting for the Government to come and fix things they are doing what they need for themselves, cooperating and collaborating without any command. They have realised that they have the power to create their own country. Before, it was kind of detached because everything was in the power of oligarchs and criminals. Now the situation is changing and although people realise that it won’t happen overnight they think that maybe we can achieve a better social and economic situation if we work for it. People are starting to feel like they are part of this grand narrative, part of history."

    Metanarratives yes. A command and control one that must define itself as the next one saving us all, maybe not so much.

  • up

    Edward theurj Berge

    Even the prefix 'meta' in the context of MM means above and beyond, like into the wild blue yonder. It's a subject that analyzes another subject from a higher, more abstract level, transcending it. It's another version of the transcend and include metaphor, subsuming its lower subject within its matrix, lording over it from above. It's very consistent with the notions above about a savior from on high.

    Then there's the suffix 'ism' meaning a doctrine, theory or system. MM is a system that is beyond and above the modern system, including but transcending it. So I'm wondering if we are really to go to the metaphorical next level, so to speak, if we really need to step outside of these frames of doctrines that save us from above and beyond like the deus ex machina, itself a worldview holdover from both the religious and modern worldviews? Even the MM (and integral) buzzwords 'hierarchy' and 'complexity' mean rule from an abstract above and beyond.

    It's one reason I prefer the prefix 'syn,' meaning with or together, and its corollary 'syntegral,' more akin with the collaborative commons. It shows how together we commoners enact a way of thinking, being and doing without need of metaisms. It too is a metanarrative in the sense of an overall, cohering story, but one that synscends, blends, braids its various elements, creating a different sort of part/whole inter(en)action, a new and hybrid flavor, one that comes from our shared commons instead of a savior elite above and beyond us. The era of the deus ex machina is over. It's time for new expressions compatible with the emerging story. The era of hier(an)archical synplexity has arrived. And it lives in the relational tensegrity between its twin stars Syn City and Multipli City.

  • up

    Edward theurj Berge

    Some excerpts from this essay on the topic follow consistent with this thread and an IPS more generally.

    "Being merely ‘intellectual’ or ‘dark’ won’t work. One also has to also be deep. How to be deep instead of merely intellectual?"

    "Mysticism and metaphysics are either fetishised by the new age or dismissed by the new atheist. Generally new atheists privilege the brain and new-agers the heart—the latter is largely contemptuous of reason, the former rejects spiritual phenomenology. Spiritual types are always telling us to ‘get out of our heads’— hard nosed rationalists tell us that only ‘faith’ in human reason can save us. However, these two views in isolation leave us dangerously lopsided. We need to find a middle way—which is actually not a path of compromise, but the difficult work of not falling into monological world views."

    "Both science and soul, empiricism and deep intuition — the perspectives of the left and the right hemispheres of the brain — need to be honoured, as Iain McGilchrist has so eloquently written about in his book The Master and his Emissary. The beauty of the rational mind is the gift of articulation; however, it has a dark side. To ‘ration’ literally means to separate or divide. Without the deeper, intuitive mind, the rational mind gives us fragments instead of a living landscape. McGilchrist’s distinction between reason and rationality is helpful here. Reason has a holistic, integrative perspective, whereas rationality can be reductive."

    "Discrimination, judgment, and thinking should not be reduced to mere conceptual games; in the same way, compassion and care, without discriminating wisdom and judgement fall into the worst kinds of errors—what the buddhist calls ‘idiot compassion’. The point is: we need to re-connect the intellect to those deep realms of feeling and embodied experience or risk becoming disembodied talking machines or hysterical drama queens."

    "Today we have a reductionist view of the body and the brain: we are obsessed with the physical body but don’t understand what has been called the subtle or spiritual body. Actually meditation, yoga, and the various spiritual gymnastics are not merely techniques for acquiring a healthy body, nor are they particularly about developing ‘inner calm’ or psychological well-being. Spiritual practices were once adventurous and/or dangerous ways to cultivate the spirit and embody meaning (Yoga literally means to yoke oneself to the divine)."