A major part of our activities have to do with “Not-Knowing”. We are constantly talking with others about “What we don’t Know”. We are speculating and are hoping that others know. Humans are wondering creatures.
The situation becomes more complicated when we meet people who are convinced they know but really don’t know. We believe them because they look like “People who know”. They are to be trusted. When we understand what they are talking about we spread the news and in due time many other people “know”.
The moment of Truth is when we Apply the Knowledge. Suddenly Everything Fails and we have to start all over again.
We are constantly talking with others about “What goes Wrong”. “What goes Wrong” is the major business of the Media Industry. What Goes Wrong is called News.
Many things that go wrong are transformed into a Reality Soap. Strange enough IT is not covered by the Reality-Soap-business.
I believe there are two reasons. The IT-business is the Most Incomprehensible Business in the World and we are accustomed to the fact “That Every Thing goes Wrong when you apply IT”.
The sad thing in IT is that a majority of the people in the IT-business don’t know what they are talking about. When a majority of Insiders is talking non-Sense the majority of the Outsiders believe they are talking Sense and are spreading the (non-)Sense to Others.
IT does not know that We (Humans) exist. IT is doing exactly what the Programmers are telling IT to do. A majority of the People in the IT-Business don’t know what Programmers are doing.
They believe they are doing something with a (programmer)language (Java, .Net) and the Internet. Some of them know important Hype terms like Web-Services and SOA (currently Agile & Blockchain!). All of them have never Applied what they are Talking about. Let’s call them Advisors.
Strangely enough the Advisors don’t understand that a Programmer is Talking to a Very Stupid Person called a Computer. The Computer is only able to do what he is Told to Do. The only thing the Advisors have to do is to Translate Human Language to Computer Language. This is a very simple Process if you know what You are Talking about.
Human Languages and Computer Languages contain Verbs and Nouns. Verbs are Processes and Nouns are States. The whole process starts with Defining What We are Talking About (The Universe of Discourse).
Many Humans are incapable to define What they Mean. They use the same Nouns in different Contexts. Some People use a Very Simple Vocabulary. Every Thing is a Thing and every Act is Doing Things.
A major part of the Activities of Advisors have to do with “not-Doing Things”. They are constantly talking with others about “What They Want to Do”. They are speculating and are hoping that IT will Solve all their Problems.
The Advisors believe that the Programmers will Understand what they are Telling and the Programmers believe that Advisors are telling them what To Do. Both of them don’t see that StoryTelling and Doing are from different Worlds. Advisors come from Venus and Programmers come from Mars.
The Users of IT Live on Earth.
I feel I am Repeating the Same Story All The Time.
Repeating the Same Story all the Time is what many people are doing but they don’t know they are repeating the same story because they use Different Words to tell the Same Story or the Same Words to tell a Different Story.
What is the problem?
The Computer needs Logic and a major part of our Conversations are not Logical at all. We are trying to find “the Logic Behind” the Conversation.
Many people are not trained to find the “Logic behind Conversations“. They believe the World is an Endless Circular Conversation.
I don’t think Believe is the Right Term. I mean they are not Aware of the Fact that they are Talking all the Time without being Aware that they are Talking. They are Programmed Conversation Machines or Machines that are producing Words that give others the Impression that they Mean something. Perhaps Words are not ment to mean something. They are just Sounds.
Many people are incapable to Apply Logical Reasoning. They don’t have the talent or are not trained in School to Apply Logic. Logic is not trained at School anymore. In “the old times” Logic was the main component of the Curriculum of the “Latin School”. At that time IT (Logic) was part of Rhetorics.
When you are Applying Logical Reasoning you are a Craftsman. When a Craftsman makes a Mistake he is really in Trouble. His Doings operate in Reality.
The Doings of an Advisor are Imaginary. When an Advisor makes a Mistake he asks another Advisor to Advice. In the End Many Advisors are Advising Many Advisors. This creates Confusion. Advisors Like Confusion. Confusion means Work and Work means Income. With “mean” I don’t mean that Work is “the same as” Confusion. I am using a Rhetoric Concept called Analogy. For some people Work becomes highly Confusing when IT (not it) is used.
When the Advisors have created a lot of Confusion the Programmers start to find the Logic behind the Confusion. When they believe they have found the Logic they create an Infrastructure to Support Networks of Confused Advisors.
This Infrastructure uses different Terms for the Same Concept to make sure that the Advisors are able To Apply What They are Talking About. This new Infrastructure supports Endless Circular Conversations and it Generates a High State of Confusion. The high state of Confusion generates lots of Work (and Income) for Advisors, Programmers AND Users.
The Advisors are Happy because they can go on with their Circular Dialogues, the Programmers are Happy because the Advisors are Happy and the Users are Happy because they have something To Do.
Perhaps Work “is a” “State” of “Being Confused“.
If we could Eliminate all the Advisors and let the Craftsman talk to the Craftsman we would Avoid a Lot of Problems.
If we would Stop Programming What is not Programmable we would Avoid even More Problems.
If we would Stop Innovating IT we could Finally start to Use IT.
If we could Program Ourselves we would not need a Computer at All.
People have to cooperate to survive. Children need their parents to nurture and teach them. Parents need the help of their children when they are old. The basic principle behind cooperation is long-term reciprocity. People give something voluntary and sometimes for free to others or help the other trusting they get something of the same value back in the future.
To survive people have to have a long-term perspective. They have to sustain their environment and the supporting infrastructures to make sure that there are enough people and tools to help them when they are old.
The need to survive created the basic level concept of cooperation (the tribe). The tribe transformed into higher and more complex levels of cooperation (town, guild, state, corporation) when human society evolved.
To coordinate the complex structures the mental concept of the many leveled hierarchy was formed. This concept fails when the environment of the organizational structure becomes turbulent.
Hierarchies adapt too slowly to their environment. At this moment, hierarchies are falling apart in cooperating self-sustaining specialized network. The networks are gaining control over many activities that are now taking place at the level of the big corporation and the state.
A specialized network produces activities and products that are consumed by other specialized networks. To realize the output people have to play complementary roles.
When we can distinguish six basic roles:
Craftsmen (Senses, Patterns)
A craftsman has acquired experience by practicing. Craftsmen do not like too much change. Change requires new practicing and keeps him from producing. A craftsman loves to make what he sees. He learns by copying. Examples are carpenters, painters, musicians, technicians and programmers. The craftsmen are the producers in the network. In many cases, programmable machines can replace their activities. Craftsmen use specialized tools. If their processes are standardized a process-model can be used to coordinated their activities.
Entrepreneur (Senses, Emotions)
An entrepreneur feels what preferences people have. Examples are retailers and brokers. Entrepreneurs sell the products the network is producing and buy products the network needs. They also are the people that negotiate contracts and make connections to other specialized networks. Entrepreneurs use technologies like relationship-management-tools and procurement-systems.
Politicians (Emotions, Patterns)
A politician structures collective emotions by creating consensus. He feels the opinions of the collective, has the gift to influence opinions, and gets people into collaborative action. A politician looks after the social cohesion in the network. He uses opinion polls and media.
Creators (Imagination, Patterns)
A creator visualizes the whole of a structure. A creator can balance variety (his imagination) and predictability (the patterns). Examples are composers, architects and designers. A creator designs the machines and the products the network is producing.
Motivator (Emotions, Imagination)
A motivator visualizes what makes people move forward. Motivators develop concepts. Many of them operate in the media (actors, writers, poets and movie-directors). Motivators cannot live without variety. Other examples are coaches and psychiatrist. A motivator looks after the long-term perspective of the network by creating and implementing a shared vision.
Inventors (Senses, Imagination)
An inventor makes sense of his imagination. Inventors generate ideas and create prototypes (R&D). They use brainstorming tools and analyze trends.
The roles are not evenly distributed in the network. The majority of the people play the role of the producer, the craftsman.
In the current situation, the basic roles are concentrated in specialized corporations (e.g. media, retail, production-plants) or staff-department of big corporations. Many high talented people are already leaving the big corporations and take part of specialized networks. The amount of one-person-companies is increasing.
People can cooperate with persons that share with them one of their basic cognitive components. An entrepreneur can convince a craftsman what products people he has to sell. They are both practical people (the senses). A creator (e.g. an architect) can show a craftsman what to make. They share a focus on structure (patterns).
When complementary roles are working in a cooperative environment, they join their forces in an open dialogue. This dialogue has many stages ranging from brainstorming (inventors take the lead) to realizing material structures (craftsman work together with creators).
Politicians, entrepreneurs and motivators can only perform if they are able to observe and express emotions (visual expressions, gestures). To ensure a successful cooperation they have to meet. New technologies like video-conferencing make it possible to cooperate anytime, any-place and anywhere.
To collaborate people have to communicate face to face. In a competition patents (legal actions) and secrecy (rules and walls) shield ideas to prevent the competitor to take the lead. In cooperation, ideas are shared to sustain the network.
The most used model in communication is the sender/receiver-model. People send and receive content (e.g. email, documents, pictures, plans, designs) Specialized networks need advanced content-management systems to support this model of communication.
The sender/receiver-model supposes that the brain converts ideas directly into words and that another person can easily draw out the meaning of the ideas from the words. It assumes little effort to understand or interpret what is being conveyed.
The sender/receiver-model only works if there is a high level of common conceptual understanding (a shared model) between all the people involved in the communication process.
In reality, this is mostly not the case especially when experts (inventors, craftsman and creators) are communicating with laymen (entrepreneurs, motivators and politicians).
The dialogue between an expert and a layman is often a monologue. The expert confuses the layman with all his knowledge and the layman is not capable of asking the right questions. In the end, the layman stops asking questions and accepts the situation.
The sender/receiver-model reduces a specialized network to a production-process. The model lowers the social cohesion (politicians), reduces the external cooperation (entrepreneurs) and removes the long-term perspective of the network (motivators).
People have to invest time to understand (ask unsophisticated questions) and explain their ideas (inventions) in many ways. It also takes time to generate trust. Ideas of others have to be tried out (in the imagination or in the real world) to understand them.
People have to have the opportunity to fail and learn from their mistakes. Sometimes they generate personal inventions that can be given back to the others to create reciprocity.
Eventually ideas create new personal patterns that can be shown and praised by others. Collaboration does not take place instantly but evolves in a cycle where the pleasure of finding things out is the motivator.
When people are pessimistic and afraid the other becomes the enemy. They shield themselves from the outside world by creating fixed boundaries (walls).
To make sure that they get something in return they use a threat (e.g. physical force, the legal system). Before they start, they have to spend time to prevent a possible conflict (making contracts, detailed specifications). When people trust each other, they cannot wait to start.
The fear of losing something (possessions, status, existence) changes a collaborative relationship into a battle.
In a competition, the focus is on winning and selfishness. Fear has a negative impact on the senses (tunnel view), the emotions (stress) and the imagination (creativity block).
In a competition, priority is given to stay in front and to prohibited possible actions of the enemies. To win one has to predict and control by defining strict rules and make sure that people obey the rules. Internal and external competition finally kills a cooperative relationship.
To prevent the move from cooperation to competition people have to sustain a free and open communicate-process.
The term “story” originates from the word “historein” or “histor” meaning “to inquire” and “wise man, judge”. It is also related to the term “seeing”. A story was meant to give insight.
To create a insightfull story a special framework was used that was based on a cyclic-model. Creating a story was an art and story-tellers (bards) were highly professional people travelling around the country. Storytellers triggered the imagination of their audience.
There is another way of Storytelling. It is based on the Conduit Metaphor. In this case a story is something that is exchanged between people. It is a recall of a situation or chain of situations out of memory.
Stories of this kind can be used to give insight when we use the theories of Roger Schank. Roger Schank researched human memory.
He realized thet people learn when their expectation is violated. At that moment they are very open to the advice of an (older?) expert that made the same mistake and found another solution. Stories of experienced people can be used to teach not experienced people.
When people tell a story out of their memory they use a framework. They select and chain the situations in a certain way. When you analyze life-stories this framework becomes very visible.
The framework behind the stories can be related to the theory of Michael Bahktin. Bahktin showed that there are five basic story-frameworks (tragedy, romance, myth,..). When you use the tragic framework you act like a victim. In the mythical framework people play the roles of kings, heros, magicians, fayries or other mythical beings. Jung calls these mythical beings archetypes
Goffman showed that people play a role in a play. Most of the people don’t know they are playd by the play. They are pawns. Behind every play there is a new play (a meta-play). Somewhere somebody or something is guiding or directing us in our lifes. Some people call this directing principle karma. It is very helpfull to know your karma. If you resolve this puzzle you are free to play the play to want to play. You have left the Matrix.
What can you do?
When you want to use story-telling as a tool to educate please understand that some people are telling the same story again and again. They are pawns and not experts. Experts are hard to find.
When you want to plan interviews the 80/20-rule is applicable. 80% of the stories you collect are about failures and not about solutions or new inventions.
When you want to apply storytelling remember that all the stories that have to be told are already available. They are available in myths and literature. Use one of the many old stories and bring them to our time.
Personal stories are a variant of old stories. The most interesting persons to look for are the Mythics or the Heroes. Joseph Campbell has collected and analyzed the meta-myths.
If you are looking at your own life-story try to find the play or myth you are playing. Try to find out if you are pawn in a play and determine who is your director.
Find out who or what is calling you to go on a Quest. Don’t resist the calling. In the Quest you will learn a lot about your self. In the end you will find the Grale or another tool humankind is waiting for.
Please remember that Heroes are never awarded. Others will take over your invention and claim succes. Don’t bother about that. They are still played by the game of competition. Once in their life (perhaps 1 minute before they die) the will know their own calling.
Leave the play and create your own play. Live a unique life-story and inspire others to do the same. Use the toolmaker methaphor.Explore and create new tools. Share your inventions with others.
I have negotiated many contracts in my life. The biggest contract had a value of about 60 million Euros. In this blog I want to share some of my experience with you.
I want to start with a funny story. I start with a funny story because buying and selling has to be fun to both of the parties involved. If you don’t see it as a game you will never sell anything.
One day we wanted to make a world-wide deal with a big American Company. Because it was a deal between a Dutch and a US-company the deal was very complicated. We used legal advisors that knew a lot about US Law to help us. US Law is and was very different from Dutch Law. A US contract is ten times bigger than a Dutch contract because of all the liabilities the US-company wants to exclude.
When the contract was almost finished we had to make the Final Deal. To make the Final Deal an ESVP of the US Company came to Amsterdam with his private plane.
We prepared this meeting keeping in mind that we wanted to negotiate the lowest price possible. The first thing we did was to create the Magical Manager behind the scene. We were not the final decision-makers. Somebody, Our Boss, a very high level executive had to say Yes. He was not available to talk but when we were finished one of us could contact him.
The next thing we did was prepare a beautiful environment to eat. We knew the ESVP was from another time-zone so a little bit of alcohol (wine) could change his attitude.
The next thing we did was create tension. When he arrived we kept him waiting in a room for more than half an hour.
When the meeting started the ESVP was surrounded by five advisors. At that moment he was still not aware of ‘what the contract was about”. We knew every detail.
His first question was “What are we talking about”? His advisor whispered the amount in his ear. “Only twenty M?” he said (The contract was 20 million dollars). “Ok lets make a deal!”.
For some reason twenty millions dollars was nothing to him.
The fact that that he was not informed about anything gave us the oportunity to negotiate a dream contract. We asked him to have a talk in private and his advisors had to leave the room.
We took him to the beautiful restaurant in the Centre of Amsterdam and gave him a glass of wine. After some time the conditions of the contract changed in our favor. When we used our last “act”, the mystery manager, we even got a better price.
The ESVP left Amsterdam with a good feeling. He had negotiated the contract “on his own” and he never (!) heard about the effects of the contract because his plane left to another “important” meeting with an “important ESVP”.
What happened was something that is called “gunnen” in the Dutch language. “Gunnen” can be translated into “doing a favor” but this is not what “gunnen” means.
“Gunnen” means “I buy something from you because I like you and you like me” and “I buy something because you will do what you promise to do” and “I know that some how you will be buying something from me” and “you will tell your friends that it is a good thing to buy something from them” and “last but not least” “we have negotiated a fair price” and “we will never need the contract because when we will be in trouble we are able to sort things out” because ” I just have to phone you and you will solve our problems immediately”.
When you are a salesperson and you have a relationship with somebody that is able to “gun”, “to do you a favour” you are able to sell everything with ease.
For some reason “gunnen” is not possible anymore or better you have to “hide” “doing a favour” because “doing a favor” looks like “bribing”.
When I was responsible for big contracts salespersons tried to “bribe me” in many ways. I was invited to brothels, was offered presents (Christmas), was invited to have a beautiful and of course very interesting trip to a beautiful place, visit a concert etc… I was put under high pressure by using the “we know the big boss-trick” and some people even tried to block my career by telling dirty stories about me. I never gave in to these tricks.
Because others accepted bribes things went wrong. The others that accepted bribes were not removed out of the company. They staid and slowly the limits of what was “acceptable” were widened. In the end things went really wrong and to prevent (!) that these things would happen again the buying process was “formalized”.
We had to write RFP’s (Request for Proposal) and the Vendors had to respond to the RFP with a very detailed document. In the end one vendor was chosen and the other lost a lot of money because they had to spend a lot of time to write the proposal.
Sometimes the whole process was a fair process but many times it was already clear who would get the deal because “behind the scene” the process of “gunnen” just went on.
Now we are in the Final State called Compliance. Everything You are doing has be registered to show that You are doing the Right Thing. This is blocking almost everything Activity in a Big Company. It certainly blocks Innovation.
Believe me If People want to Bribe they always find a new trick. The only people that are the Victims of this almost Paranoid reaction are the people who were HONEST.
The discovery of Bahktin started with a book about Bahktin by Saul Morson & Caryl Emerson. Later I also read many other books and articles like “The dialogical imagination”, “Towards a philosophy of the act”, “Discourse in the Novel”, “Rabelais and His World”, “Problems of Dostoevsky’s Poetics” and “Speech Genres and Other Late Essays”.
Bahktin invented the term Chronotope, “The place where the knots of narrative are tied” or “the intrinsic connectedness of temporal and spatial relationships that are artistically expressed in literature“. Currently we use the term Content or Media for Literature.
Space (Place, Location) and Time (the narrative) are connected by a Knot. A knot is a complicated twist in a rope. The twist is needed when you want to close a system in itself. The simplest topological structure that visualizes twisted space/time is the Moebius Ring.
The Chronotope is the Centre out of which every narrative that we are able to tell is enfolding and unfolding. It produces narratives and absorbs narratives. Bahktin places Folk-Lore, Myth, the Language of the People, in the Centre.
Every narrative contains a twist, a moment where the expansion of the beginning turns to the contraction of the end. It is the moment where the narrative is balanced. The reader holds his breath. It is also the moment where the narrative is aware of itself. It observes the whole.
Sometimes the twist is in the end. You know “who done it”. Sometimes the narrative starts with the twist. There are even narratives without a twist. You know all the time what will happen.
Scientists don’t realize that a scientific article is also a narrative. They use citation to prove they are telling a true story. Funny enough scientific citation has created the Internet. A hypertext is nothing but a citation-structure.
Old narratives produce new narratives. This is always accomplished by Citation. “The word in language is half someone else’s. It becomes “one’s own” only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the word, adapting it to his own semantic and expressive intention. Prior to this moment of appropriation, the word does not exist in a neutral and impersonal language. . . but rather it exists in other people’s mouths, in other people’s contexts, serving other people’s intentions: it is from there that one must take the word, and make it one’s own“”. The cursive sentence between brackets is a citation of Bahktin.
New narratives also oppose old narratives. They are Dialogic. “The entire life of language, in any area of its use . . . is permeated with dialogic relationships“.
Dialogues are converging (Socratic dialogue),diverging and conflicting (Menippian Dialogue) or one sided (the Magisterial Monologue). “Thus at any given moment of its historical existence, language is heteroglot from top to bottom: it represents the co-existence of socio-ideological contradictions between the present and the past, between differing epochs of the past, between different socio-ideological groups in the present, between tendencies, schools, circles and so forth”
The Centre generates new narratives all the time. They are a mix of the old and the new. The centre is the Centrifugal Force and this force is powered by Contradiction.
The Institutions, the Ruling Power, are constantly trying to standardize (the Centripetal force). They formulate rules and try to transform the dialogue into a monologue.
The centripetal and the centrifugal force create a huge tension. This tension moves the Wheel of Creation. The wheel always moves through the stages of Order and Chaos. In the middle of the Tornado of Creation is the Centre, the Chronotope. In the centre you will always find rest and inspiration.
The monologue (the magisterial dialogue) is the dialogue of the Magister, the scientist, the manager, the judge, the physician and the teacher. They use science, the law, books or other Magisters to enforce their power. By formulating rules they try to destroy the creative centre (the context).
“A context is potentially unfinalized; a code must be finalized. A code is only a technical means of transmitting information; it does not have cognitive, creative significance. Code is deliberately killed context“.
At this moment the Centripetal force is implemented in the Search Engine. Narratives are found by typing codes. This makes it very difficult to find a context. Companies like Google are manipulating the coding. They are paid by the Centripetal Force of the Commercial Companies.
The centrifugal force is never at rest. It always generates new alternatives. The creation of new literature is not bounded by rules. Every time a new structure is defined the Centre starts to play with the rules and generates a new combination. The Centre is not only combining rules it even invents new rules. The Centre is the inventor of new Games to Play.
Producing literature is a process of spiralling out. It follows a cycle but at a certain point in time a new Centre appears and the Cycle starts a new process of Folk-lore. The new centre is always connected to the old Centre. New myths and new fairy tales are created that are a representation of the Spirit of the Time.
Every cycle is governed by a Clock. The periodicity of the Clocks is determinated by the number five. It runs at a frequency of 1250, 250, 50, 10 or 2 years. There are frequencies that are moving faster (the Atom) and much slower (the Universe).
Bahktin has developed a very interesting theory about the development of the Chronotopes in history.
I will tell the Tale of the Chronotopes of Bahktin on the level of the Cycle of Culture (1250 years, 250 years per stage).
Between 450 and 700 the Roman Empire is destroyed by the Huns. It is the time of the Great Deportations. People out of Asia move to the West. They are the ancestors of the Ostrogotes, the Visigotes, the Franks, the Gauls, the Germans and the Celts. 1250 years later they are integrated in what we now call Europe. Between 700 and 2000 the Europeans explore and conquer the World.
Around 1200 the new powers have created many Kingdoms and have organized the Crusades to conquer the Holy Land. To show their power they build the Cathedrals. The Cathedrals are the instrument of the Education of the Masses. The old folk-lore is transformed to the new of the Christian Faith. The old-folklore is not destroyed. Many symbols and important events are preserved. They are cited. The transition of the Sun in Winter is transformed in Christmas. The new apostles are connected to the old animals of the old Wheel of Fortune.
Between 1200 and 1450 the Chronotope of the Greek Romance (Tristan and Isolde, Arthur and The Grail) appears. It is the Chronotope of Being and Destiny. “There are a lot of suddenly’s”. Everything happens. The actor in this Chronotope is without identity. He is tested by destiny. When he has passed the test he is not changed. There is no time and space. Time (“adventure-time”) is reversible. The actors are public figures and space is public space. In the narratives we are able to see and hear everything.
We are in the Middle Ages. In the outside world destiny is also playing its evil game. Western Civilization is almost destroyed by the plague, feminine and wars between the Kingdoms. Even the Christian Empire of Rome is divided by a schism (Byzantium). At the end only a few Kingdoms survive. These Kings become Emperors. They represent God on Earth.
This (1450-1700) is the time of the Chronotope of the Adventure. It is the Chronotope of Becoming. The identity of the actor is transforming. He is responsible for his own actions. Life is full of turning points (twists). The actor wants to take control of the outside world. Space becomes “private space”.
To give the reader insight in what is happening the Observer is introduced. He is a voyeur, a prostitute, a rambler, a rover, a tramp, a spy, a servant or an animal. The observer is not influencing the story at all. He is just watching. Objectivity is also introduced in space (court).
In the outside world we are in the Time of Renaissance (the Era of Discovery). It is the time of new inventions in Science (Copernicus), Art (Leonard Da Vinci) and Religion (Reformation, Luther, Calvin). The Bible is translated in the language of the people. It is also the time of the Great Explorations (Columbus) of the world outside the West. Western Culture starts his quest to control Nature and eventually the World.
The next Chronotope is the Biography (1700-1950), the praise of a public figure who has accomplished something in life. We are moving from the outside world to the inside world of the actor.
Inner space is closed. “This offers a new relationship to one’s own self, one’s own particular “I”- with no witnesses, without any concessions to the voice of a “third person“.
Outside events affect the inner world. The actor is not showing this. In the outside world the actor is judged by his actions and not by his inner space (his essence). “The essence of man is realized not by his condition but by his activity“.
To give the reader a view on the inner space the outsider is introduced. His outside actions are governed by a distorted inner space. The outsider (the fool, the eccentric) acts as a reference.
The actor is a pretender. He is constantly in doubt, grumbling, cynical and sarcastic. He is also passive. He is watching from a distance. Everything is Relative (Bahktin was a fan of Einstein). The only time when the actor is able to show himself is at the carnival. During this short period he is allowed to choose his own mask.
This is the time of the Industrial Revolution. It is the era of mechanization. It starts with the invention of the Mill and the Factory. It ends with the mechanized Consumer watching Television.
Starting in 1950 we are again in the phase of Folk-lore. Western Civilization is moving to a new Centre, Earth.
New myths and legends will be created. They have to be based on all the tales, myths and legends that are available on Earth. Some of them will be a citation. Others will be an opposition.
All kinds of dialogues will take and have to take place. We will experience many conflicts (Mennipian Dialogue). We will also have to listen and ask questions to understand the other cultures (Socratic Dialogue). We have to stop our Western Magisterial Monologue.
In the beginning it will be a Heteroglossia (a many voicedness), a very complicated Knot we have to untie. When we have found the tread we will be able to weave a new web of narratives that will start the phase of the Greek Romance again.
Between now and 2100 “We must make the new by our own effort”.“We have to face problems of reality and human potential, problems of freedom and necessity, and the problem of creative initiative“. We have to become persons “who emerge along with the world and reflect the historical emergence of the world itself”.
“In order to understand, it is immensely important for the person who understands to be located outside the object of his or her creative understanding — in time, in space, in culture. . . . Our real exterior can be seen and understood only by other people, because they are located outside us in space and because they are others”
We have to write our own Novel. “There is no causality in novels, no genesis, no explanations based on the past, on the influences of the environment or of upbringing and so forth. Every act a character commits is in the present, and in this sense is not predetermined”.
We have to act without hesitation and leave history behind. There is no experience we can reuse. The future is unfinalized (open).
The Magisters are not able to tell us what to do. They are out of tricks. We have to put off our own masks and take responsibility for what we are doing. “There is no alibi for being”. We have to stop pretending and use citations of others to prove we are right.
We are now part of the Worldwide Carnival of Fools. Choose your mask out of the many masks that are available all over the world. Listen to the stories of other cultures and be surprised about the beauty and the experience they are containing. Give the Fools and the Eccentrics, the Outsiders, a chance to help you.
It will be fun.
I want to close with a citation of Paul Feyerabend (Killing Time (1995)): “People, intellectuals especially, seem unable to be content with a little more freedom, a little more happiness, a little more light. Perceiving a small advantage, they seize it, circumscribe it, nail it down, and in this way prepare a New Age of ignorance, darkness and slavery. It is rather surprising that there are still people who want to help others for personal reasons, because they are kindhearted and because they have not been intimidated by principles. It is even more surprising that some of the people can work in institutions despite the greed, the incompetence, the power struggles that seem to surround the noblest cause.”
The current generation of programmers are doing what Edsger Wybe Dijkstra hoped not would happen.
They are the cause of the mess we are in. They forgot to keep the balance between structure (Thinking) and meaning (Emotion).
The Managers of the Programmers are “out of tricks” and have become cynical.
They don’t believe there is a way out. They are “muddling trough”, reacting on every major critical event with an impulsive re-action. It will be hard to convince them that there is a solution to their problems.
The major target are the Users within or the Customers of the companies. They feel very stressed and don’t have a clue why this is happening to them.
Their asset is that they Know How they are doing their job and they are able to Articulate What they are Doing. The only thing they don’t see is the Cycle. They are Part of a Whole without seeing it. This is normal.
When we ask the User what they are doing we give them a simple tool to paint a picture of the flow of their activities. If they have done this we generate the processes that are supporting them instantly. This will motivate them to go on.
In the next step we make a connection between Action and Meaning. We ask the user to define the meaning of the terms they are using. We could use Wiki. Wiki makes it possible to start a dialogue about the meaning.
This dialogue will create mutual understanding (Consensus) and in the end a Shared Convention, a mapping of meaning from person to person, culture (community, context) to culture (community, context). The next step is to transform Meaning into Structure.
The person that was an expert in the transformation of meaning to structure was Sjir Nijssen. He developed a method called NIAM. NIAM has generated many dialects called ORM, FORM, RIDDLE, FCO-IM and DEMO.
The basic idea of all these methods is to analyze human communication in terms of the sentences we speak and the commitments humans make to the each other.
NIAM takes out of a sentence the verbs (Action) and the nouns (Structure) and of course the numbers and creates a semantic model (the so called Universe of Discourse).
What Nijssen understood was that a computer is able to register Facts (reality we agree upon). The facts are stored in memory. If we all agree about the facts we can use them to start reasoning.
When we know what the user is doing and what he means we can move to other actors he has defined in his activity-diagram. We just perform the same process over and over again. Every time a new user (actor, role) is added we restart the dialogue about meaning.
At a certain point in this process of inquiry we will notice that the meaning in the context is stabilized. It has turned into a shared convention. What we also will notice is that a faint cycle (or a cycle in a cycle) becomes visible.
It will be full of strange loops and useless activities. Some people in the context will produce and others will just throw away what the others are producing. They don’t know because they don’t communicate on the level of their community.
This is the moment to start a new dialogue. The dialogue of Reflection (Why?). We are able to show to the actors in the community the whole. We call this tool a Monitor.
We will give them the opportunity to start a shared process of innovation (using the imagination). We can give them tools to Explore, to Design new activities and to Analyze the Facts (find patterns). We can even give them tools to Play with (games, simulator). All the time the Monitor will show them the state of their joint effort. I am certain the community will clean itself, get into balance, with joy.
In communities and organizations and of course society there are many stable invisible infrastructures. The visual activities of the users have to be connected to these layers. This has to be done by programmers. They have to define interfaces. User-Data is converted into messages that jump out of the layer when a human interference (mostly a decision) is really needed.
The consequences of this approach will be enormous. Many people will be out of work but they will be needed in the next step of Collective Innovation.
Everybody knows the Cycle of the Seasons. The seasons are created because the Earth is cycling the Sun. In Winter we are introspective and mostly stay inside our house.
In Summer we are very active (extravert) at the outside of our house. In Autumn we become moody and in Spring we start to plan. We are structure-ring. Centers are moving around centers and everybody understands that the movement of the Sun and the Moon affects our body.
We can dig deeper and deeper and all the time new centers appear (organs, cells, molecules, atoms,….). The same applies when we move up (Galaxies, Universe, …).
Human beings share many centers but at a certain point they are also are disconnected. We are disconnected by our bodies and our cultures.
To connect we have to start a dialogue. Dialogues show themselves in many ways. The dialogue of speech is a very visible dialogue. An invisible dialogue is the exchange of signals of the body (eyes, face, movement of hands and intonation of speech).
When we move down or move up all the cycles are invisible. We don’t have the senses to sense them. Science has developed instruments (microscope, telescope, cyclotron, ..) to make them visible.
Please remember that the instruments are created by programmers and are therefore producing an illusion. The programmers have programmed scientific theory in a machine. The Galaxy the Hubble Telescope is showing is an image of the Galaxy. It is not the Galaxy itself.
A cycle moves through stages and the stages are the stages of the seasons: Imagination (Winter), Structure (Spring), Action (Summer), Center (Consciousness, Indian Summer) and Meaning (Autumn)). The stages can be found on every level of the Self-Referencing enfolding Field.
Perhaps you think that I want you to stop structure-ring. Structure-ring is creating an Illusion and if we go on we will end up in a total Illusion called Virtual Reality. Our bodies will be connected to a very advanced simulator.
We will be feeded by the System and our muscles will be trained by the System. Perhaps we will live for-ever and never die. We will be living in a world without resistance, playing very complex games and enjoy this. This is predicted in science-fiction and we are not far away from this.
The only thing we forget is that somebody has to get into action when the computer stops because of a software-failure or when the energy-system stops. Those people are not able to enjoy the Simulator.
Perhaps the experts will simply stop the System and start to enjoy life themselves (Terrorists). We have to prevent doing this and we need Security Systems and Systems to control the Security Systems and in the end we simply don’t know how to solve this problem. We have fallen in the trap of complexity.
Focusing on one aspect of the Cycle will always create a disaster. Ideas have to be implemented. There is no meaning (Emotion) without getting into Action. We can only create Harmony when we Balance all the five aspects of the Cycle.
The beautiful thing of a cycle is that we are able to map the cycle into another domain called waves. Remember sinus and co-sinus at school. A moving rotating cycle is a wave.
To balance a cycle we have to feel the harmony of the waves it is producing. Harmonic Cycles produce Harmonic Waves and Harmonic waves are called Music. So now you know why some cycles feel like Bah, Bach, Beat or Beach Boys. They resonate or don’t resonate with your musical mood.
A dialogue is a cyclic process where two humans are trying to understand what the other is meaning. The final test of their mutual understanding is activity. If this activity fails they have a reason to start a new cycle. If the activity succeeds they are in the flow.
A failure starts the process of imagination. It generates an idea. If one of them treats the failure as a mistake the collaboration stops and they are in a conflict. At that moment collaboration changes into competition if they are unable to solve the conflict. A successful chain of collaboration-cycles (mistakes) leads to innovation and to the feeling of joy.
If we program a dialogue meaning is transformed into a structure. Meaning is fluent. A structure is fixed. Water turns into ice. The warmth of the cooperation cools down. Activities are changed into procedures, rules to obey.
A long time ago people told stories and enjoyed them. They lived in a secure environment and the others were unknown. They lived far beyond the horizon. When people started to move around the world they started to write letters. Sometimes it took many months to complete a dialogue-cycle.
The cycle-time of the dialogue was shortened by invention of the postal system. The postman collected the letters and sorted the letters by destination. The letters were transported to a destination where the reverse process took place. The postman became a social person in the area he addressed. Everyday he walked the same cycle and new everything that happened in his neighborhood.
The content was secured by a small container (an envelop). The envelop was identified by the destination of the sender and the receiver. Because of the innovation of the transportation-system the cycle-time of the dialogue shortened. Horses and carriages changed into trains and planes. The shape of the container changed but the postman staid and made his roundtrip.
In the last phase the programmers started to act. Trains and planes were controlled by time-tables and more advanced tools. The role of the machinist, the trucker, the pilot and finally the postman changed from innovative collaborating human being into people that were dominated by a machine. They have to obey the procedure. They are controlled by the software-system and when the software fails they fail but they are unable to learn from their mistakes and start a new dialogue. The programmer is far away and cannot be reached.
Finally the letter is transformed into an email and people are bombarded by messages (spam, advertisement) they don’t want to receive. The dialogue has stopped.
The Email has not only stopped the dialogue. It has also destroyed the art of writing. People don’t take the time to reflect and get to the essence of the message they want to send back.
When they are stressed their return-message (an Email) is an impulsive reaction. Sometimes it generates a conflict and they really don’t know why. They also don’t have an idea how to solve the conflict and move to the level of mutual understanding again.