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Knowledge Gardening through Music

Patterns of coherence for future African management as an alternative to Project Logic (Part #1)


The Challenge
Learning from myth
Defining the need
Cognitive functions of music
Sacred music
Singing the world'
Musical therapy
Music as a weapon
Music and song as organizing templates
Notation systems
Music of the spheres
Sustaining community through song
Web knowledge organization and music
Cognitive functions of gardening
Gardening and flowers
Web knowledge organization and flowers
Website structure in comparison with flower organization
Participative involvement
Engagement in knowledge organization
Moving through patterns
Living the present moment
In the present
Experiencing the moment
Composing the world -- the en-choiring mind
Re-enchanting conceptual organization
Challenge of benefiting from insights of musicians, singers and gardeners
Conclusions
Dialogue context -- in Camelot or Eden
Harmonizing project initiatives
Reframing present initatives
Back to Africa
References
The following references have been augmented by selected items from the bibliography of the International Community for Auditory Display ( http://www.icad.org/websiteV2.0/Biblio/bibliography.html )

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The Challenge

This proposal responds to the evidence that strategies to deliver services and remedial measures are increasingly non-viable. Coping at every level of society, including that of national and international governance, is proving increasingly problematic.

Whilst there is indeed still a lot of mileage in conventional strategic initiatives, the concern here is with the many sectors, and inter-sectoral domains, where new approaches seem to be called for. Of special concern are intractable situations, as in Africa, where the western management approach fails to engage with local cultures. This is a situation described by an African management researcher, based at an African management institute, as like a 'drop of water running off a manioc leaf' (Henry Bourgoin, 1984).

It is unfortunate that the challenge of the Internet for Africa is expressed in terms of a combination of illiteracy and inadequate technology infrastructure in a response to the 'digital divide' (see Djamen et al, 1995; Jegede, 1995; and Obijiofor, et al, 2000). This ignores the fact that use of the Internet in western societies is increasingly spreading to the functionally illiterate (and may in fact be contributing to such illiteracy), forcing a shift to visualization techniques that is strongly reinforced by the perceived inadequacies of text information under conditions of information overload -- even for the highly literate. It also ignores the possibility that textually illiterate cultures may be highly 'literate' visually (as in the case of Australian Aborigines) or aurally -- enabling them to creatively by-pass the need for textual literacy in adapting to the Internet and in processing knowledge in ways congenial and valuable to their own culture. It also ignores the impact of satellite technologies in by-passing the need to wire local communities through central nodes. There is a tendency to state the challenge in terms which evoke the same old pattern of dependency on industrialized countries, which of course have a strong interest in the economic implications. This point has been aergued in an earlier paper with respect to use of information for policy-making in developing countries (Judge, 1999). There is a need to at least explore other ways of framing the challenge.

There is therefore a strong case for investing some effort in quite different approaches, even if they appear inherently risky and unlikely to succeed according to the Project Logic of conventional western management. The strange challenges of global governance may only be comprehensible through other means, as Niels Bohr said of understanding atoms: 'When it comes to atoms, language can be used only as in poetry. The poet, too, is not nearly so concerned with describing facts as with creating images.' With respect to what follows regarding African management, another argument of Bohr might well apply: "The question which divides us is whether it is crazy enough to have a chance of being correct." To which Freeman Dyson added: "When a great innovation appears, it will almost certainly be in a muddled, incomplete and confusing form. To the discoverer, himself, it will be only half understood; to everyone else, it will be a mystery. For any speculation which does not at first glance look crazy, there is no hope!" (Kenneth Brower, The Starship and the Canoe, 1979)

The following sections therefore explore the possibilities suggested by a wide range of unusual approaches to framing the cognitive challenge of organizing collective undertakings and ensuring their sustainability and coherence. They provide a context for technical arguments in a proposal by a 4-partner consortium led by the Union of International Associations to the Information Society Technologies program of the European Commission (proposal). This proposal was oriented towards the extensive web databases of the UIA on interlinked world problems, strategies, values, and institutions (see http://www.un-intelligible.org/docs/overview.php#orga)


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