Ming the Mechanic:

The NewsLog of Flemming Funch
 Communicationism2002-07-10 18:41
by Flemming Funch

Lots of good people out there working on practical models and protocols for self-organization of groups. I just ran into Communicationism. As it says: "Communicationism is the applied philosophy of improving society through the design and development of communication systems. It is principally focused on open designs for enhancing: individual self-determination and inclusive deliberative democracy within communities. It also seems to focus a lot on protecting minority opinions, and arriving at consensus by making sure all objections are dealt with. One of the interesting articles there is some suggested Procedures for Online Consensus Democracy.

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21 Jul 2002 @ 08:09 by chaiyah : Communicationism is for Un-hypnotized
..."Interactive management," a methodology for community consensus, was devised by John N. Warfield, now retired in Texas. It's a great game for taking a group uninvested in either trust or interest in an issue, and empowering them.
...The problem is, few individuals or groups are interested in the value of such democratic methodologies. Most Americans are still invested in "me-first" negotiating. If you don't believe me, go talk to your attorney about anything.
...My point is, the only way these methods are ever going to get used by groups is if GROUPS ACTUALLY COAGULATE, bond, live near each other and have common problems to share. So long as we are all aggregated, isolated and compartmentalized, none of this is going to happen.
...Anybody want to come move into a West Virginia 'holler' and give it a try? Write me!  

22 Jul 2002 @ 00:03 by ming : Groups
That's a good point, of course. Even the best methodology for facilitating group consensus is unlikely to work if the participants aren't interested in group consensus in the first place. I'm not entirely sure. There might be some approach that would facilitate some kind of meaningful group dynamic, even if the potential participants aren't paying attention and aren't aware of being interested in it.

But if all we can do is to figure out how groups of interested people can arrive at a workable consensus, even that would be huge. There are enough well-intended people on the planet who would like for society to work, if there would just be a workable way for them to relate on a small and large scale.  

22 Jul 2002 @ 16:25 by chaiyah : Well-intended people
...Please look at the number who show up here relative to the number of "well-intended people" on the planet. It's going to take an act of God, to get a community together, out of all the goofballs, freeloaders and hangers-on that we have to choose from. I don't know what the answer is, or I'd say more.  

23 Jul 2002 @ 00:27 by quidnovi : Bringing people together
"Goofballs", "freeloaders", "hangers-on", such hard words for people who, all things considered, were just simply brought up into this world and are now just simply doing what most biological entities are doing---or used to be able to do---on this planet, that is, "live", just simply "be alive" and "live." My cats do it every day. But your cats are not "homo sapiens", will you object. And you are right, of course. And not everyone is a reformer or an innovator or a revolutionary. But, I agree with Ming, there are plenty of those around, so many educated people, people of good will, people of knowledge, intelligent people, sensitive people. People who are not communicating with each other, who are isolated or confined to their own limited narrow field of action, people who have to earn a living, people who feel they are at the mercy of the corporation who "owns" them, people who feel they are "too little" (a subtle reference to Richard's last post, here.) Society exert a terrible power of absorption on all those journeymen who live life day to day, not just those who are struggling to make ends meet, but also those who do well, lawyers, doctors, bankers, technocrats, they do well financially of course, but they are playing a different game, society is draining their life-force in other ways (Ref. my Anti-Machiavelli's post), and then you have the people who work all the time, not just those who need to hold three jobs to make a living but those who do so because of the whole absorbing nature of their profession, like scientists or searchers, obsessed with their work, or people who just find there are not enough hours in a day to take care of all the things they need to take care of. None of those people stop and look at the big picture nor would they even know where to begin if they did. And then there are the people who just drink beer and just like to watch sport on TV, or soap operas or maybe they don't drink and they just watch their toes or their belly button. They don't know what to do. Have any of you taken a good hard look at some of Invictus's posts lately: young people, educated people, eager people, bright people, THEY DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO! So they join NCN of course, and they find out that WE DON'T KNOW WHAT TO DO. Oh, we are trying to go there, all right, we just don't know where "there" is, or even what it is for that matter, but, hey, don't you worry about it, surely as we are entering the 5th dimension, the gates of universal understanding will open up and flood humanity with brotherly love. And then you have the left-out, the marginals, the bums, the dispossessed, those who have lost their way, those who do not play "the game", those "who know better" or DO NOT know better, and also the uneducated, the physically impaired, the mentally impaired, those who have lost their mind, those who have lost their faith, those who have a weak heart and those who are loosing heart. And I am only just talking about the people of the richest and most developed nations on the face of the earth, here! Life is "happening" to them and they are constantly re-acting, they do not have time to think, they all are on that overcrowded, highly competitive moving escalator, some are moving up, some are moving down, but constantly they are moving and shoving and trying to retain their balance and what they can keep of their sanity. And then, then you have the activists and the people who try to make a difference, altruistic people, or people who act altruistically out of "enlightened selfishness" (a term coined by Bertrand Russell), there are people trying to live off the grid, people who join Green Peace or the Peace Corps (I tried to talk one of them into joining NCN today.) And they, too, find that it's all they can do to survive the terrible force of absorption that life is exerting on them. Activism is so demanding and a constant battle. It's very difficult to remain in "ordinary" reality and keep functioning like an "ordinary" citizen AND still remain an activist. At times, you start to wonder whether the people you are trying to awake are really asleep or whether YOU are loosing your sanity and becoming abnormally obsessed or paranoid like those people you see talking to themselves in the bus. ("How dreadful!", you think, "this is beginning to sound like "Brazil" or "the Matrix"") Then of course you realize that if more people begun talking to themselves (i.e. "to think") we would not be where we are now. It's no accident that people have always been actively DISCOURAGED from "talking to themselves" (I mean by that, "being left alone with their own thoughts")---it interferes with their being "talked to" (i.e. told what "they should be thinking") and modern society has only reinforced that pattern (TV, cell-phones,...) People are ABSORBED, totally absorbed by society---like by a living organism---and are never, ever left ALONE with themselves. Mother Teresa once said that "God is the friend of Silence"---things are born in quiet that cannot be heard in the din of our overly verbal days. This brings me to the cacophony and the duplicitous game of politics (which I almost forgot.) Politics is ASPHYXIATING to the mind and the soul and the spirit. And as a result, our greatest minds---people who could actually make a difference----are shying away from politics (and the few who go there do not last long---or do not live long.) "This is politics! This is your brain on politics! Any question?"

Hummm, I realize that I have just been rambling on and on...I guess we all need to blow off some steam from time to time. And assuredly my jab at the "5th dimension" gate was most unfair and certainly way out of context (and quite ironically so, considering my known propensity to fall into spell of somewhat excessive mysticism---I may yet be the biggest "dreamer" of us all.) I have not deleted the offending remark, as it will serve to introduce a point I wish to address:

" There is still a clear schism running through many levels of society between two major spheres of thought that goes back to the matter-spirit dualism established in European thought and which served as a compromise between pragmatic scientific culture and other-worldly religious doctrine... The consequences of this split today, roughly speaking, is seen in two often fundamentally different world-views and sets of value priorities. "
( http://home.no.net/rrpriddy/lim/2.html )

Certainly, it is a fascinating subject (no seriously, it really is!), but I am not going to go into that here, my point is that it would be unthinkably PRESUMPTUOUS of the New Age movement (I say New Age movement, here, for lack of a better word) to assume that its followers ALONE are going to suffice to build a New Civilization all by themselves. And the ARROGANCE of the dominant global industrial and economic culture is certainly at the very least just as equally presumptuous.

The problem is that we are trying to bring people together here, not to lock ourselves into a New Age fortress while building NCN castles on the sand. And the question is:


I'll lay it straight: I am a mystic. I have been a mystic all my life and all my life I have more or less kept a lid on it in presence of my coworkers because not doing so could have served to discredit me among my colleagues. Now, I seem to be running into the same problem today as I've been trying to encourage new people from various different backgrounds to join NCN. This time my concern comes from WHAT those potential newcomers are going to be greeted with as they first explore the NCN public Newslog.

What could possibly be detrimental to NCN in the image it presents to the world? Who could possibly be intimidated/disturbed/turned of enough by this image, not to join despite their initial desire to do so (someone who is concerned that his "scientific" paper for example might be displayed next to my post about the faery world game of the Dreaming?) In short, are we unwittingly excluding a whole group of people?

It's all too easy to just say that truly intelligent and open minded people will understand that with the kind of complexity that NCN is trying to promote comes a great deal of free play and eccentricity and that if people can't grok that then they are not part of the solution and who needs them anyway.

But, we all know better than that! Prejudices are a fact of life. And bringing people together is not about bringing together people who already think alike (what is the merit in that?) but about bringing DIFFERENT people together and that means working over people's prejudices.

I am NOT suggesting that we lose our authenticity!!! Rather, I feel a great deal of attention should be put into the frame of NCN, that is, into the way in which our multifaceted vision of the world is introduced to other and the context into which our posts are displayed. Do we have people (designers, sociologists, PR people,…) who could give this some thought and help us come up with a design that would improve the way we come across and reduce the intimidation factor? Clearly some people might be turned of, at first, because they don't want to be associated with certain groups which are frowned upon in their profession. How do we address that? Maybe, it could be done playfully. The NCN public News could be divided into two windows, for example. Something like the Right brain and the Left brain and then we could from time to time organize brainstorming sessions where the Right brain and the Left brain collaborate on a project (it would certainly beat, trying to function with only half a brain like we do now.) But, as I suggest this, I feel that Dadak is going to jump in and give us a lecture about duality. So maybe instead we should come up with something more clever than that...and it's way past my bedtime.  

23 Jul 2002 @ 04:01 by shawa : Corpus Callosum...
... or whatever it is called, ...is my "window"! There is too much worry (concern) in your pìece, Quidnovi. People will be people will be people. And they will "buy" whatever they THINK they have to buy, ideologies, religions, concepts, anything. Everything is tainted by unconscious conditioning. So the true path might be to let the pathes float, FLOW, side by side, parallel, multidimensionally. Whatever interests and attracts you, will be your destiny. I´m for Flow - people meet when they have to meet, and projects and ideas have to wait until their time has come. In one word, Inch Allah. God/Goddess knows better than whatever concoction our human brain can come up with.
Mmmm... my two cent´s worth, eh? :-) (I like the way you write).  

24 Jul 2002 @ 20:02 by quidnovi : Everything is simple or not, Shatki! :-)
I know that window of which you speak. I have sat there, many times, but probably not quite exactly at the same window as you have, and never quite exactly twice at the same one either. I am an avid explorer of reality/realities and I observe it/them within myself AND throughout other. I am not sure there is such a thing as a "true path." Come to think of it, I am not sure that there is not such a thing as a "true path" either. Hmmm...See what I mean? I can't help it. I wish I had half your wisdom (I like the way you think), but I only come close to that about half of the year. And only when the moon is waxing---part of the seelie/unseelie cycles of my Side heritage: that very restless, very curious, micheviously spirited little devil who lives somewhere within me and who do kick me in the butt from time to time when I take myself too seriously or become too complacent (a manifestation of the unconscious conditioning of which you were speaking.) But, I suppose that we all do dance to the sound of a music that we cannot hear. And, in any case, I love the company of dragons, Shakti---Ladydragon or otherwise---and my favorite dragon of them all, of course, is the Chinese dragon, the one whose laughter comes out deeply from his belly, like a rolling thunder. Everything is simple or not!    

28 Jul 2002 @ 05:30 by chaiyah : Simplifying diversity.
...The Ten Commandments are pretty simple, and they cover most of our problems, particularly Number Ten, "thou shalt not covet."  

28 Jul 2002 @ 09:49 by jazzolog : Simple In What Way?
I agree with you Emily, and yes particularly regarding Covet. How is humanity doing...especially those who espouse the Ten Commandments? When we covet we envy. When we envy we begin to dislike. We hate. We declare war. Not coveting seems to be against human nature itself. How do we negotiate such difficult feelings with others? Any NCNers have communication design to help out that works? Even in here when there is disagreement?  

28 Jul 2002 @ 11:44 by scottj : Covetousness, must be a two way
thing in that the less you feel you need the less you will be inclined to covet. Our society deliberately cranks up people's "needs" all the time greatly exaggerating the underlying problem. I strongly suspect this is another non-issue in that if people were just left to their own devices in a non coercive community environment they would figure it out for themselves. Could it be a big mistake to try to "model" communication? Bit like trying to set up a programme for a tree to follow if it is to grow right, could be pretty confusing for the trees to have to stop doing what comes naturally and start following a recipe. Leave people alone, stop messing with their heads, and they will work it out ........ (I hope)  

28 Jul 2002 @ 16:43 by quidnovi : At Play in the (fractal) Fields of NCN
Hail to you NCN... "Hail to you...for you perceive sensibility in the insensibility of the world, uncertainty in its certainty. For you are often conscious of others as of yourself. For you feel the anxiety of the world, its limits and its false unlimited assurance. For your obsessive need to wash your hands from the dirt of the world, for your fear of the absurdity of existence. For your subtlety which prevents you from telling others what you see in them. For your awkwardness, for your transcendental realism and your lack of daily realism, for your exclusiveness and your fear of losing your great friends. For your creativity and your ecstasy, for your maladjustment to what is and your adjustment to what ought to be, for your immense possibilities not yet actualized... Because your celestial might have been crushed by earthly brutality. For what is unique, original, intuitive and infinite in you. For the solicitude and the oddness of your paths. Hail to you!"---G. R. de Grace

I feel so much strength and yet so much vulnerability, here at NCN, so much grace and yet so much clumsiness, such guileless simplicity and so much confusion, such cheerful conviviality and yet so much loneliness. We listen, and we work things out carefully in our heads and lay them down in our newslogs and comments, through words and images so people will understand, and though we all aspire to the universal, we can't help but write and paint in the languages of Babel. Shatki is right, I do worry too much. And I do plead guilty to Scotty charges---I did misunderstand him ("Our censure should be reserved for those who would close all doors but one. The surest way to lose truth is to pretend that one already wholly possesses it."---G. Allport).

So much is said and so little made clear. PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME and KEIRSEY's portraits of temperament and character types easily come to mind. And I do love the quote from Henry Thoreau that Keirsey uses as a foreword in the second edition of his book: "If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away." Isn't that what all who join NCN have ever claimed from themselves? And isn't that what NCN is all about: "hearing different drummers"??? That was all my COMMENT was intended to mean: THERE ARE DRUMMERS OUT THERE THAT WE CANNOT HEAR!!! Goodness gracious, I am not trying to introduce "fundamental changes" to NCN or to "take over" as might have been unwittingly implied by Richard on his post in his reply to mine. He was only talking about himself and his own past unfortunate personal experience when he first joined NCN, of course, but the implication was there.

All I've been asking is this, A VERY SIMPLE QUESTION:
There is a STRONG New Age presence in NCN. I am comfortable with it (my brother-in-law is a New Age music distributor and sells meditational pyramids---he makes them himself, too.) There are however, people who are not comfortable with such things. (Read PLEASE UNDERSTAND ME and you will understand why.) There is nothing wrong with that. There is nothing wrong with them. And there is nothing wrong with us, or the New Age movement. Let's all take a deep breath and relax. The question is this, are we unwittingly excluding some group of people who could contribute to NCN and who feel---wrongly so---that they do not belong here? Are we depriving ourselves of some drummers out there "however measured or far away" who step to another music than the New Age music? Now, I realize of course that NCN DOES want to encourage diversity and that there are people here who are part of the New Age movement and people who do not specifically identify with it or who would be surprised to think that they have been labeled as belonging to any movement at all, new age or otherwise. Labeling is a terrible thing and many people can be concerned about that, and sometimes rightly so, depending on the social or professional circles in which they evolve. ALL are welcome at NCN, but do ALL know it? And can they do it without the stigma of being labeled? Can ALL who change the world or are interested in such an endeavor join and feel comfortable here, like we would like them to be? It is not a deep philosophical question I am asking, nor am I trying to annoy people who are just happy with the way things are, I just know for a fact that NCN is not attracting all the creative minds that it could. I had to bring it up! Do we care? And how do we address that, if we do?

Talking of NCN, Richard used a beautiful image. He said that "NCN seems set up like a fractal, beginning and ending nowhere, and spiraling along various corridors, blossoming out and collapsing into itself, destroying or creating nothing, but augmenting and decorating what is already here." I love this image, it says so much about NCN.
I don't think that NCN is a tool of indoctrination (or counter-indoctrination) or about "simplifying diversity" and though I thoroughly enjoyed Scott's powerful piece on that theme (a lot of interesting things there---I liked the bit about the Sun), I do not believe that it's about "demystifying" NCN's language either (I don't think it's enforceable on this Network, nor would all people care about that.) NCN is essentially about what Shatki referred to as FREEFLOW. Which means to me that EVERYTHING GOES! And with that inherently comes a great deal of complexity. I see NCN as an ECHO CHAMBER into which resonates that multi-layered fractal experiment, Richard was talking about, and through which we sometimes almost can glance, fugitively, an image of the UNDISCOVERED COUNTRY (i.e. the future or what we could make it). I think that phenomenon could be and should be amplified. We could read a better and more complex image. It all depends on the multiplicity and the quality of the people who join NCN and will be joining NCN in the future.

Perception is all. One suggestion I made was that we try to reinforce the META-PARADIGMATIC nature of NCN. It would include making it CLEAR, right off the bat, on NCN's greeting page, that there is a proliferating variety of terminologies, concepts, models, theories, and disciplines going on here, and that they are all part of NCN and that all are welcome!!! Let's acknowledge our intellectual divergences and the weirdness and the quirkiness too (it comes with the territory) and publicly recognize them as part of what NCN is all about (creativity and open mindedness.) Anything that reinforces the idea that not all fruits are oranges and makes it clear that joining NCN is not necessarily an endorsement of any particular movement or school of thought. Not all fruit are oranges, nor does joining NCN make an orange out of anyone.

Sometimes the best way to fight labeling (or the fear of being labeled) is to allow people to choose their own label. This is why I suggested, in an earlier comment, a possible subdivision into both the Newslog and the Member News on NCN's greeting page. It could be done in a cute way. i.e.: a picture of a room with a spiraling series of doors. Each door a different entryway. Like "here we all are rationalist-objectivists" (or whatever) or "here we believe in magic" or "here we don't believe in magic" or "here we don't care what we believe in", or (my favorite) "here we don't know what we are talking about." Each door would open to different sub-groupings of the Newslog in which would only be listed the posts of people who share the same paradigms (and with a possibility for crossover for those who feel they belong to more than one school of thoughts.) For people who do not share such concerns they still could all just list their journal in the Newslog such as it exists now and which would be accessible through the door that says, of course, "Here we don't care what we believe in."

Myself, I would probably feel at home behind the door that says, "here we don't know what we are talking about" but then again I can understand the so-called rationalist-objectivist who would feel more comfortable introducing friends and colleagues to NCN and would be more at ease referring them to his/her journal if it belonged to a Newslog where there is no talk of magic. Conversely, the magic believers (of which, I fear, I am) might occasionally enjoy the possibility of just stepping from time to time through a door where they know the rationalist-objectivists fear to tread and won't come and bug them.
Furthermore, this typology would serve to stress that NCN recognizes the existence of distinct orientations or predispositions in human thoughts, while at the same time emphasizing NCN's purpose to pull together and juxtapose diverse views and strands of thoughts into a wider meta-paradigmatic approach to our world and its problems.

NB: This comment has been posted in my journal under the same title: "At play in the (fractal) fields of NCN."

Acknowledgement: Shatki, Scott, Richard, Emily, Istvan, thank you all, for your contribution to this exchange. My thanks, too, to all those who, though they didn't join this discussion directly, do influence our vision through just simply who they are and some of the things they do here on this Network. And of course, thank you to NCN for making any of this possible.  

1 Aug 2002 @ 06:27 by chaiyah : New Agers vs [?] the religious paradigm
...Okay, I'll be blunt. You guys realize my website is all about Yahweh and a very "fundamental" take on Scripture. So, what am I doing here, anyway, eh?
...I don't think many of you have the experience of diversity that I had to deal with--my karmic, in-the-face "deal," for lack of a better word.
...Biologically, Anglo and Cherokee Indian [80/20], I was brought up in an ATHEISTIC Jewish Russian mother's family with a CATHOLIC Italian mafia father's family. Now, that's diversity. My biological mother was New Age psychic, who did subjective interviews with famous people, a master of astrology; but I didn't meet her until I was 28. There is still some doubt about who my father was, because the man who was on my birth certificate is NOT THE ONE who keeps showing up in my dreams, especially since the birth of my second son.
...What kind of "point-of-view" is this? [shrug]
...How does a person come to be able to stand for something positive, with all this "messiness" the only basis she GETS, for life itself?
...Let me tell you. What I do is, simplify, simplify. Get down to ordinary language that we all understand. Verify or validate every fact; and just let the rest roll on by.
...But why the church and not the New Age--for me?
...Personally, I am more comforted by and comfortable WITH living within the Covenants, than living outside of the Covenants. I realize the churches are full of "weeds." Okay, what isn't full of "weeds?" I don't have to be a "weed."
...Big Mom [bio] taught me enough about the work of being a psychic, that I took on that role in the Episcopal Church in the 80s. They had no use for it or me.
...But you want to freak out some nice New Age people, and all you have to do is begin talking about God Yahweh [Who is an historical Personage] in front of a bunch of New Agers, and you will see them sometimes twisting in their pants.
...Now, this is not necessary, but sometimes it happens. New Agers, for all their talk about communicating with Minds Out There, get very nervous when anybody in the crowd gets really specific about human Contracts with the specific personality of God. They want to wave all that away.
...I have had a dear friend, AG, who is an incarnate archangel; and he does readings and helps people access Spirit. He has helped many professionals in the WDC area for many years, to heal themselves from the stresses and strains of the weirdness that Govt jobs creates. He knows Yahweh personally. And he personally opposes me and my work now, because it's "out of bounds" in his mind, for me to permit God to act in my life as he has--stripping me down and simplifying my existence until there's nothing LEFT, to attach to.
...So, what it comes down to is this. New Agers--usually these folks are incarnate angels--are really agnostics-in-disguise. Well, that's okay. My mother's whole family were agnostics.
...You folks sound like my cousins, when you speak and articulate your social top-down theories. I can listen and I can deal with it, because, in graduate school, everybody had his or her own theory to write about, for the professor.
...I'm a churckendoose--part chicken, turkey, duck and goose.
..."Does the pear tree say to the apple tree, 'I hate you 'cause you're not like me!'? Does the green grass say to the sky so blue, 'I'm GREEN! WHY aren't you green too?' A rose smells sweet 'cause it's a flower. An onion is strong. A pickle is sour. They're different but they get along. And no one needs to think that's wrong. Must I be a chicken or a goose? Can't I be a churckendoose?"  

30 Apr 2016 @ 01:15 by Liliam @ : gxaFtkUgcTp
F*i’ amanizg things here. I am very glad to see your post. Thanks a lot and i am looking forward to contact you. Will you please drop me a e-mail?  

Other stories in
2014-11-07 23:12: Welcome to the 5th dimension
2011-11-07 17:22: Notice the incidental
2010-07-14 13:35: Consciousness of Pattern
2010-06-28 00:03: Pump up the synchronicity
2009-10-29 14:03: Convergent or Divergent
2007-08-05 23:45: Perverse incentives
2007-06-22 22:18: Elementary magic
2007-03-21 14:20: Cymatics and group formation
2007-03-15 01:06: Structural holes
2007-02-27 23:50: Leverage

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