Ming the Mechanic:
Collective Capacities

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Collective Capacities2007-01-24 19:57
15 comments
picture by Flemming Funch

Dave Pollard talks about how we need different types to build functional communities:
If we're going to save the world and stuff, we're going to need to bring some diverse skills and capacities to bear. The two models above, which come from these posts last year, suggest what these needed skills and capacities might be.

The problem is, we tend to gravitate towards like minds, people who think like we do, have the values we have, and to some extent have developed the skills and capacities we have. That doesn't bode well for diversity.

The Jungian model of knowledge identifies four orientations for learning, understanding and seeing the world:

* sensual (through the senses),
* emotional (through the heart),
* intellectual (through the mind) and
* instinctual (through the body/genes)

None of us is purely aligned with any one of these four orientations, but most of us lean towards one or two. Hedonists lean to the sensual, artists to the sensual and emotional, philosophers to the emotional and intellectual, scientists to the sensual and intellectual, primitivists to the instinctual, naturalists to the sensual and instinctual. As a lifelong philosopher, the intellectual and the emotional orientations (in that order) remain my forté, though as I've grown older I've refocused on the sensual and the instinctual, though I remain poor at learning and seeing the world through these orientations.

We need the artists to help us imagine and perceive and create, the scientists to help us understand and realize, the naturalists and the hedonists to keep us joyful and connected, and the philosophers to help make sense of it all.
It is a puzzle. We tend to associate more with people who sort of work the same way as us than with the people who have complementary capacities to us. Like Dave, if I gathered the people I hang out with (not that I hang out very much), it would tend to be intellectual thinkers, philosophers, visionaries, maybe smart and interesting people, but also people who might be rather incapable in doing many very practical things. If I was going to be stranded on a desert island, I'd be dumb to plan to bring my kind of people. Oh, we'd need my kind of people, but we'd certainly also need very different kinds of people, more practical, more direct, with instincts for getting certain things done that are different from mine.

I find different people interesting. I love diversity. I understand that different approaches complement each other, and that's a good thing. But, yet, I don't necessarily create structures like that around me. I don't make sure that I have a community of different types of people around, who might disagree with me, but in good ways. They might see things I don't, naturally do things I'd miss.

But somehow we don't naturally create that. It might emerge because we incidentally live next to some different people, or we're born into the same family, or because we're hired to fulfill different functions in a company. But why don't we do it by ourselves?


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15 comments

24 Jan 2007 @ 20:47 by bushman : Hmm,
Well, it takes time to know people in such an intement way. Like, I meet people in person , and find out they are into hikeing, but I still dont know what kind of hikeing, so as I might know of cool hikes, I still need to know what they can handel, cause I wouldn't what to be the one that has to carry them out. But then I do know people who could hike some of the most trechous terrain, and I call apon them first. And go take pics, but then sometimes the other friend might find out I went to someplace and asked someone else to come, they might feel put out, or bummed I didnt let them come along too. I might say to them, I can only lift my weight. Or we didnt take a trail we made our own to get into someplace, so maybe you can go next time. People like to lean on those that can suport them in real life in case of emergency. It takes time to trust your mechanic, and your doctor. It takes time to evauate your friends potentals, and paying attention to them to see what thier gift might be. I think we sort of do or some of us do naturaly organise our friends into a workable group for emergency purposes. Like who do I need on the team for this peticular project from the people I already know. The neighborhood gang of kids, are pretty natural in the way they decide who will be the one to ring the door bell and run, or the skatboard jump where we already saw little johnny bite it, but, one of us will make it, and he or she gets the call, for the skate session next time. So I think we do it naturaly, but arnt really conceouss of it, but we know who to call.  


25 Jan 2007 @ 10:20 by solomoreno : Like and like
There was this wonderful episode of Seinfeld where Jerry meets this woman and begins to notice that she behaves very similar to him. He really digs this woman. Excited, he tells Elaine: "Now I know what I've been looking for all of these years...me!" Of course, by the end of the episode he realizes he hates this woman and thus himself. Anyways, it's easier to look out than to look where you're looking from. So one interacts with others similar to oneself to make it sort of easier to get a better look at oneself.  


25 Jan 2007 @ 11:56 by ming : Like and Being Like
It takes time to get to know people. But there's of course nothing that stops us from getting to know people who're different from ourselves, to know what one can expect from them.

Actually, if somebody seems to be like ourselves, we might well forget to spend the energy to really get to know them, because we think we already do. Which in some way makes for a more shallow bond. Whereas if you've gone through some significant life experiences with a bunch of people who're very different from you, it is likely that you form a stronger bond.  



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