We're all familiar with two codes that rule our lives: a code of honor and a code of law. There's another known intimately by designers, therapists and any other instigators of change: a code of process. I'm proposing a fourth code to help us put all the fuss about networks in perspective and to accurately anticipate a quadriform society emerging. Thus far, I'm calling this fourth a "spatial code" though the code is still in process and conforming to the process code. These four codes show up in the four spaces I explored last week.
Codes of honor take hold in emotional spaces outside the code of law. These honor codes regulate competition among rivals on a team, violence among combatants in battle and betrayals among criminals orchestrating a heist. Honor codes define what is dishonorable and just cause for retaliating, rejecting or killing the offender. There is no forgiveness or hearing other sides to an offense. Honor codes enforce "an eye for an eye".
Codes of law replace codes of honor in physical spaces. These codes give rise to amazing institutions in the public or private interest. Codes of law privilege accuracy over hysterics and conjectures. They replace plots of revenge with the formal administration of adversarial justice. They deal with persistent objects and objections as if truth can be verified objectively, empirically and consensually. This emphasis on "things" ensures that adhering to a code of law operates in failure mode where problems get endlessly worse and solutions become more and more costly.
Codes of process replace codes of law in social spaces. These codes reframe objects and objections as impermanent and developmental phases in ongoing processes. Codes of process privilege connections between things over verification of things. Facts get seen as "this too shall pass" and "this is becoming something else". Nouns become verbs which implicate cycles, transitions and evolutions. The process must be trusted to avoid getting derailed or caught up in "pushing the river". The emphasis on processes gives rise to relational networks of working deals, translating interests and making reciprocal connections.
Codes of space replace codes of process in paradoxical spaces. Processes must begin and end with wonder, innocence and not-knowing what's next. Codes of space privilege helpfulness over networks of connections. Tangential processes come together in places of incomprehensibly vast possibilities which give rise to synchronous innovations. These "nodeless" points of convergence replace objectivity and/or subjectivity with spaciousness and mysteriousness. Adherence to the code of space reverses the figure/ground of knowns and unknowns. This reversal has transformational effects on problems, disconnects and failures to realize improvements in the other three spaces.