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Paris in the “Springtime”

By Dave Snowden  ·  May 24, 2013  ·  Interdisciplinary, Great places

It's been an interesting few days in Paris with an eclectic group of various academics covering a range of topics.  I've had a chance to meet and talk with Paul Thagard whose work on coherence I have used extensively.  Then of course there are old friends such as Alicia Juarrero and Mike Lissak and a lot of new ideas and concepts from new contacts.   Tim Allen's presentation this morning on Hierarchy Theory gave me a break through idea on monitoring and evaluation which I need to do some more work on.  To wet any appetites out there we need to put a double loop process into SenseMaker® projects but I need to translate terms such as Bounded infinite and The Finite allowed first.   I also need to think through some of the practical implications but I'm very excited.  It also overcomes some of the naiveté of those who attempt to hide behind post-modernist absolutism (please note the qualification).

I've always argued for Praxis, the interaction of theory and practice, ideally the co-evolution of the two.  Interestingly this is not just that, its also exaptation, taking an idea from Biology and applying it to social systems.  The process of creation is always messy.  You have an idea, you try it out, you refine practice, more problems emerge.  Then you find some interesting people to talk to, books and papers to read and from that you get clarity or better problem definition.  Then some more changes and so on.  The point at which you realise you have got there is when both theory and practice are elegant.  That was taught me early on in Physics at University, namely that an elegance counts in maths.

Of course elegance requires simplicity, but that takes time to achieve.  The simplistic never understand that.  Interestingly they don't seem to understand disagreement or challenge either.  The last few days have seen some rigorous discussion over probably irreconcilable differences.  But we have all learnt from that and valued the learning.  Those who can't cope with that are condemned to ignorance, although there were probably happy to remain where they started, ignorance after all is held to be bliss.

Oh, and I also spent a lot on books and SenseMaker® got a great reception as a research and meaning-making tool