Posts tagged social technology
A friend recently quoted Paul Goodman “Whether or not it draws on new scientific research, technology is a branch of moral philosophy, not of science.” to which I responded:
If Goodman means that scientifically-generated knowledge (episteme) is prior to technology (techne) then totally.
A major contribution of postmodern thought is the notion that the observer cannot be extracted from the experiment. and this …is only considered a revelation because of centuries of reductionist thinking that tried pretty hard to take that pesky thing called spirit out of those clean equations. So I’d just add that we need an existential wisdom (sophia) to guide the practical wisdom which ultimately fashions technologies.Bboth our cosmology and our technology are always just prototypes, and we should treat them as such. in hundreds of years, forward-thinking radicals may very well gripe about the tyranny of the very decentralized systems we are pouring our hearts into now.
So in acknowledgment of this impermanence and the need for deep adaptability, investing in cultural rites that support the cultivation of sophia would be a pretty awesome legacy to give. when the practical systems get in the way of our ability to cultivate sophia, thats when shit isn’t cool. humans have a deeply encoded need for transcendent experience, but all too often we lack the jedi skills to distinguish the real thing from the phony knockoff. the potential for self-awareness, the hunger for truth, and eye for beauty are some of the more redeeming qualities of humans, so I’d like to support those pursuits as much as possible.
I’m not quite sure how to best be of service to those ideals, though, i guess i’m just prototyping
I suppose this is part of what I’m getting at with the whole “resilient culture” meme; our conception of the universe guides our interventions therein, and so the development of deeper levels of experiential knowledge (wisdom, sophia) is of great value, and is probably the asset from which we can leverage the most “good.”
It seems this is what @maxmarmer is pointing at with his concept of “emergent ventures” as initiatives which create social value on higher rungs of Mazlow’s hierarchy. Transcendent experience seems to be a legitimate NEED for humans, and I think part of telling the new story is about acknowledging and honoring this as a need rather than treating it as the luxury of spiritual aspirants and elite academic philosophers.
Many of us may feel that the work to solve the world’s biggest problems is stressful, uncomfortable or mind-bendingly challenging. Some of us shrug off responsibility because it seems like a sacrifice to change our lifestyles. The work is needed on such a huge scale that we begin to feel overwhelmed or insignificant.
So imagine if it were actually fun to make the world a better place! What if, instead of seeing this as work, we threw a party and had a blast while we cleaned up the earth and our communities? This spirited approach feels like it can inspire a lasting and genuine culture of jedi-earth-stewards!
I’ve been holding this idea of making change fun as a “design principle” for the last year or so. So I was excited when I found a project that transformed their work into play, and their strategy into a game!
Edgard co-founded a community leadership initiative in Brazil called Instituto Elos. They have developed an awesome social technology to ignite meaningful action called the Oasis Game. Their idea is to approach a community-development project as a game, and invite a diversity people to participate, from street children to regional officials and business owners. This inclusiveness attracts more people to join the game, and once involved, each person is invited to bring their most unique and valuable talents to the table. People participate by offering their passions, skills, or any resource that is abundant and gives them joy to share. Money is avoided in the Oasis Game, the special skills and talents of the community are considered to be more valuable.
Of course, throwing a good party is not a science. So I contacted Edgard to learn the secret recipe that is driving the success of this model. We chatted over skype, and first got to know each other on a personal level. We are both involved with The Hub, a network of co-working spaces for social innovators. We both feel a clear and powerful call to step up our collective efforts to ensure a safe and healthy future. And we both seek and respect the guidance of spiritual insight; he’s heading on sabbatical to southeast Asia to consult wise elders as he steps into greater service to the globe.
He did his best to translate the magic ingredient that makes Oasis Game work, but mentioned that in his culture, it is not as customary to systematize things. There isn’t always a recipe; people just “cook” from the heart! Nonetheless, they are working on a document to outline the process so they can share the Oasis Game with others around the world.
Speaking with Edgard reminded me to trust my instincts, be a fun host, and give the party life!