You are here

Requisite Meta-reflection on Engagement in Systemic Change?

Fiat, fatwa and world-making in a period of existential radicalisation (Part #1)


Introduction
Towards a more self-reflexive focus
Agencies of change
Science and nescience
Systemic neglect by science
Mutual embedding of disparate cognitive modalities
Systemic change by authoritative fiat
Fiat and world-making as an individual opportunity
Self-reflexive discourse as catalyst for change
Mnemonic catalysts enabling self-reflexive discourse
Achieving traction through embodiment
References

[Parts: Next | Last | All ] [Links: Refs ]


Introduction

The past decades have seen much fruitful reflection on systemic change, most notably in response to calls for action in the face of emerging crises. Numerous initiatives have been variously proposed and undertaken. There is however a case for framing this in terms of a suitable adaptation of the title of a work, now "old", by James Hillman and Michael Ventura (1993).

Of course a feature of the systemic condition (and the remedies in play) is that there is a spectrum of views on the matter, and many would prefer to claim that the "world's getting better". Such differences are characteristic of the increasingly sterile debate regarding the need to be "positive" versus the preoccupation of critics readily deprecated as "negative" -- otherwise to be termed as "hope-mongering" versus "doom-mongering".

One articulation of this dynamic is offered by Barbara Ehrenreich (Smile or Die: how positive thinking fooled America and the World, 2010). In cybernetic terms it can be framed as the need for more appropriate understanding of the interaction between positive feedback and negative feedback.

The argument here focuses on the relatively unexplored opportunity for system change through framing matters otherwise -- "seeing it so", if only as an individual act of imagination. The feasibility is indicated by the use of fiat by conventional authority, as in quantitative easing, and the use of religiously inspired fatwas or their equivalents. Within academia the process may take the form of elaboration of a model. Together these are considered here as variants of world-making. Their credibility and viability becomes increasingly evident under the current conditions of existential radicalisation.