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Governance through Pattern Language: creative cognitive engagement contrasted with abdication of responsibility

Explores the possibility of more radical ways of engaging

Governance through Patterning Language
Incapacity and information overload

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From an objective perspective, as favoured by the strategic and management evaluation styles of past decades, things are not going well on this planet -- my planet. Regional conflicts, global warming, AIDS, food shortages, energy, etc, etc. For some this perception can be fruitfully reframed through optimistic spectacles that seek to engender hope for the future irrespective of the lived experience of the present -- and the track record of the past. Such has been the strategic promise of governments and the United Nations for decades.

However it is clear that, despite virtually unlimited resources, there is little effective capacity to manage disaster relief (as with Hurricane Katrina), "humanitarian" military intervention (as with post-invasion recontruction in Iraq), or more "manageable" projects (as with the European construction of Airbus A380 and the computerization of the UK National Health Service). Faced with incapacity in response to deprived communities, refugees and mass migration, mega-projects, such as going to Mars and beyond, acquire the dubious significance of "show trials" for the purpose of mass distraction (Marina Hyde, Is this what the final frontier has become? A golf course? Guardian, 25 November 2006). Despite their much vaunted skills, the complexity sciences do not appear to have had any significant impact on the management of these planetary challenges. There is every indication that the situation is unlikely to improve significantly.

Rather than unsubstantiated (and possibly highly irresponsible) optimism, the concern here is whether there is a possibility of more radical ways of engaging with knowledge of detectable dysfunctionality in order to engender a more creative response. Rather than achieve optimism by excluding, if not completely denying, the vast array of problematic information, the question is how to hold and configure knowledge to enable transformative approaches to the conditions of the planet -- my planet. Specifically, given the proliferation of information beyond any meaningful understanding of overload, the question is how to package relevant knowledge -- how to "wrap up" the world into a comprehensible whole conducive to meaningful action.

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