When we're learning the "one right answer" codified as authoritative knowledge, our voices of confusion, distraction and disobedience become silenced. When we're learning to play by the rules and comply with the institution's policy manual, our voices of deviance, testing the limits and challenging authority become silenced. When we fit in with the tribe and conform to their consensus, our voices of dissent and differing viewpoints gets squelched. The transition from voice to silence is far more common in the world than the reverse migration from silence to voice.
Those who are committed to authoritative knowledge find the migration from silence to voice very disconcerting. It undermines their their control of the situation and reveals what they're dismissing. Modernism wants to impose its dominant narrative and refute post-modern empowerment of alternative stories. Empiricism wants objective evidence to overrule superstition and speculation without getting into quantum about observer-dependence and indeterminacy. High ranking individuals seek to overrule the small minded and tunnel visioned subordinates with top-down directives without listening to bottom-up initiatives.
In the years I produced videos with the the troupe of puppets I created, I gave voice to the silenced members of enterprises. I upset the apple cart, exposed the emperor's new clothes and questioned authority from many different angles. During the subsequent decade of college teaching, I continued to explore this migration from silence to voice in the different ways to be a great teacher. Most recently I've been full of encouragement for the ways the Internet facilitates this migration beyond my wildest expectations.
Over the weekend, new voices appeared on a blog post that Clay Spinnuzi wrote in July of 2010 on Acting in an Uncertain World. He had inspired me to comment on his post and read that book last year. I then wrote up my reflections in:
Anticipating the Next Economy
Acting in an Uncertain World
Outgrowing delegative democracy
Translating public interests
Talking with our tools
This morning I realized that Acting in an Uncertain World articulates my long standing interest in this migration from silence to voice. It explores how public concerns can sidestep the double delegation to politicians and scientists so the concerns get articulated directly by the people involved who can better inform the public discourse. It poses the choice for those in positions of authority to groom and listen to concerned citizens or to dismiss and silence those voices. The authors share my relational worldview that favors symmetrical power and evolving processes over positional stances and objective evidence. It was great to revisit all that over the past two days!