Portraying two worlds

When we've shown two worlds in a slide or movie presentation, there are lots of opportunities for animation. We can move between the two worlds and move around in each. It's inviting to take different viewpoints in looking at each world. We can follow varied paths in each world and between them.

Two worlds is a common pattern in initiations and other ritual processes. The initiate enters the process from his/her ordinary world of day to day living amidst the passage of time. The ritual space suspends the passage of time and ordinary events. What happens seems out of this world, impossible to predict and difficult to explain. The events seem extremely symbolic and larger than life. At the closure of the ritual process, the initiate returns to the ordinary world transformed in identity, outlook and sense of purpose. The ordinary world remains the same but being in it has been changed.

Two worlds is also a common pattern in a hero's journey that Joseph Campbell popularized. A heroic myth, fairy tale or story begins in a declining world of a fallen king, wicked stepmother, prolonged drought or some other persistent misery. The heroic character seeks an elixir to end this misery in his/her homeland. It becomes necessary to find a way out of this world which leads the heroic character to a threshold between two worlds guarded against casual entry. If the hero passes the tests of the threshold guardian, the quest continues in the extraordinary world of other-worldly powers, confrontations, challenges and conquests. At the end of the story, the hero returns to the ordinary world with the elixir which brings an end to the persistent misery.

In presentations, we can also portray two worlds by changing approaches midstream. After a sequence of covering straightforward content, we could switch to open-ended processes like:

  • reflecting on images with no captions or other text
  • pondering what-if possibilities with only the question on the screen
  • exploring a visual metaphor for different ways to define a problem, to think about functionality or realize combinations of solutions
  • showing the previous sequence upside down and backwards to break up preconceptions about right answers and requirements
  • doodling on a projected whiteboard about better questions to be asking or different ways to be seeing situations
  • telling a story with images that sends a message to be more playful, open-minded or exploratory
  • combining to scenarios into one that contains the visual elements from both in new contexts, uses or frames

Okay, it's time to go back to formulating presentations which portray only one world. Thanks for taking this  journey with me as you read this.


Taking a different view

Another set of options for creating movements in space or movements of objects plays with our point of view. When we're looking at anything, there are always different vantage points to utilize. We can have a moving effect on the viewers of our slideshows and movies by taking a different view of what we're showing them. When we're dealing with lots of charts, graphs, illustrations and photos, we forget to consider other vantage points. There's nothing more to show the viewers by looking at a 2-D object from it's side or from far away.

When we're thinking in three dimensions, there are lots of different views we can use:

  1. Overviews of relative positions, distances, locations, zones and paths
  2. Close-up views of details, components, interfaces
  3. Inside views of hidden dynamics, internal processes
  4. Side views of layers, levels, rankings, underlying structures
  5. Long views of evolving trends, scouting reports
  6. Process views of cycles, fallout, interactions
  7. Juxtaposed views of a game board & dashboard or a territory & map

Whenever we're showing a change in viewpoint, we've entered the realm of narrative possibilities. Engaging stories often put different viewpoints in conflict and work through changes in one or more ways of seeing things. When we add this dimension to our animation strategies, we can consider using movements to show:

  • changing from one view to another, as if we finding a better vantage point, taking higher ground or moving to a better place
  • getting out of a fixed point of view, as if we've been stuck in one location, trapped by confining evidence or prevented from changing outlooks
  • opposing a view that appears to narrow, as if we're expanding our outlook to become more panoramic, inclusive and complex
  • reversing outlooks, as if we're facing the wrong direction when we over-rely on past history to predict the future or on obvious symptoms to diagnose problems
  • realizing a different view could be useful, as if we're utilizing different views to better diagnose problems, make decisions and formulate better decisions
  • getting oriented in a new view, as if we need time to familiarize ourselves and get comfortable with a new way of seeing things
  • combining points of view to benefit from both outlooks, as if we're creating problems for ourselves until we see both sides as valuable

When we play around with our own points of view like this, creating presentations will prove to be a moving experience for us. Then moving the audience to our point of view will simply share what's it's been like to formulate our slide show or movie.


Following an animated path

When we're using animated timelines, the thing that clearly moves forward is time. Other things may also advance, but within the context of time's progress. We can show these other advances without the context of time. We are then following a path through a sequence, procedure or production routine. We're showing how to get from point A to point B before getting to point C. When we animate the movement of objects or movement in space, we define a path for the animation. By following a path, we've begun to animate the audience's attention and thought processes.

Every presentation follows a path including this one. Usually there is no mention or visualization of the implicit path. There is usually too much content to cover to acknowledge the path or make use of this visual metaphor. As with many others I will be exploring, the imagery of a path is ideal for animating by either moving in space or moving objects.

When we follow a path, we can easily visualize:

  1. going there from here by way of a sequence of events, locations or steps
  2. getting somewhere in a straightforward manner following markers, milestones and signs along the way
  3. ending up where we intended after starting out at the beginning
  4. completing the movement from plan to execution, problem to solution, order to fulfillment, etc.
  5. showing how to get this done, think this through, or move forward on this
  6. providing a map of the way to proceed or the better road to take
  7. connecting the dots with a clear narrative about what happens after each step

When we prepare others to follow a path on their own, there's more than the path itself to consider. A presentation about following a path may also explore:

  • different places to start from or varied initial conditions 
  • ways to better prepare for the path or commit to the path before starting out
  • pitfalls on the path to anticipate and to avoid insightfully
  • forks in the road which may get misread as tempting shortcuts or pointless pursuits 
  • changes in levels of difficulty, challenge or cost depending on other circumstances
  • opportunities to look back, reflect on the sequence and learn from the path taken
  • reasons to backtrack, go over the same ground again or revisit intermediate places on the path
  • possible improvements in efficiency, quality or other metrics of following the path
  • predicting what lies ahead when the path makes an unexpected turn
  • considering what the path veers near to or far away from as it crosses terrains
  • dealing with the adversity of the path's demands, difficulties and delays

You've just followed a path while reading this. We started out from the previous post about using animated timelines. We moved across the boundary between time's progress and other advances. We compared animation paths to the vast array of other paths to portray. We looked at the missed opportunity to explore paths in most content-laden presentations. Then we went to the place of so many different paths we can easily visualize. We approached the end by going through many other dimensions besides the path itself which enrich the metaphor of "following a path". Our journey concluded with this look back over the path we've taken.


Using animated timelines

There is a big difference using dates or date ranges compared to using a timeline in slide presentations or movies. Dates offer few opportunities for animation where timelines give us lots of choices between moving in space and moving objects. Of course a timeline can be put on a static slide so it simply sits there like any numeric date.

If we first choose how to animate a timeline, we've interfered with how well the timeline can work for us. It's far better to first choose how to use the timeline and then let that choice set up the parameters for choosing how to animate the timeline.

There are several different ways to use a timeline in a presentation:

  1. Ordering a bunch of scattered incidents into a chain of events that unfolded over time to then fill in the gaps, dismiss false accusations or straighten out the story
  2. Sequencing the stages of a process or separate developments of something that have evolved, merged, cross fertilized or forked over time
  3. Recognizing patterns that have repeated over time which help theorize what is likely to occur next and why it is likely to happen in a particular way
  4. Heightening the suspense about what twist of fate is forthcoming or which past torments have been driving current behaviors

With the use of the timeline selected, the choices for animating the timeline can be considered more strategically to achieve an intended effect. Here are most of those animation choices:

-- Assembling a timeline incrementally from individual time periods
-- Moving along and zooming into/out from a completed timeline

-- Placing event icons above or below the actual timeline
-- Zooming into find scaled down event icons hidden within the timeline

-- Starting with a bare bones timeline to gradually complicate with added features, callouts and connections
-- Starting with a completed, messy timeline to incrementally remove components which reveal the bare bones structure

-- Moving forward through the progression of time's arrow
-- Looking backwards to early signs, initial efforts and seeds of later flowering

-- Picturing a single timeline of calendar dates
-- Portraying parallel timelines of efforts, specialties, subgroups etc. which diverge, converge and affect each other's progress

-- Envisioning a straightforward progression from the past to the future
-- illustrating the setbacks, detours, reversals and iterations which contradict linear progress

-- Returning to the timeline as a launchpad to the next exploration
-- Inserting the timeline as a frame of reference while exploring other contexts besides the progression of time

When we already know which use we're going to make of an animated timeline, these choices for how to animate it will look different to us. We will see which alternative better serves the particular use we're making of a timeline.


Formulating an animation strategy

As I've been messing around a lot with Prezi and Apple Keynote lately, I've realized how easy it is nowadays to weave animations into slide presentations and videos. Gone is the era of my arduous attempts at animation in Macromind Director, Flash and ActionScript. Welcome to easy creation of paths for moving objects or for moving the eye of the viewer. Showing movement to audiences is likely to move audiences to change their minds and act accordingly. Animation can be another strategy for doctoring indoctrination. With such powerful tools at our fingertips, I'm feeling the need for a framework for orchestrating how I use these tools. The options I'm facing are overwhelmingly numerous and diverse.

In this first post, I'll explore what all these new animations can show. In later posts I'll look into different ways to show those options and how to choose among them. First, here's a look at what animations in slides or videos can show:

Movements in Space can show:
  1. the way to get a result, to get to an desired outcome or to end up where one originally intended
  2. the pitfalls where we can get into trouble, get stuck in a maze, or get mislead off the path through the woods
  3. where to look for a solution, where answers can be found or where better ideas will be discovered
  4. how close/distant something has become, how near/far apart two things are or easy/difficult it is to move between those things
  5. the path to follow, the chasm to cross or the contrasting high and low roads to take
  6. how steep a path is, how tempting it can be to step onto a slippery slope or how to reverse attempts climbing the wrong hill
  7. levels of play in the game, higher levels of attainment or challenges to get back up after falling down
  8. the difficulties with getting inside an opportunity, getting outside a confinement or getting around an unmanageable obstacle
  9. the process of iterating successive approximations, of evolving a refined response or of rethinking previous decisions
  10. the disconnect between two subsystems, the gap between two understandings or the broken bridges between islands
  11. the straight narrow path of conformity, the avenues that deviate from the consensus trance or ways to think outside the box
  12. the thought processes can get somewhere significant, get out of going in circles or make good decisions upon further consideration

Movements of Objects can show:
  1. assembling a chart one row, column or cell at a time
  2. building a diagram in stages, with subassemblies or in synch with a parallel process
  3. changing the location, proximity or overlap of at least two distinct things
  4. removing the excess, non-essentials or next level of detail to reveal the main thing
  5. covering up a misdiagnosis, flawed strategy or bad decision with corrections and revisions
  6. adding comments to a statement, callouts to an illustration or dialogue to cartoon characters
  7. introducing the next piece to a historical timeline, sequential procedure or unfolding storyline
  8. revising the size of the container to include, exclude or draw a line between components
  9. bringing in what has been missing, held in suspense or expected to complete the picture
  10. reconfiguring the layout to function better, to solve the problems or to address different opportunities
  11. engineering the desired outcome in reverse or proceeding backwards from the end result
  12. combining incompatible alternatives to resolve dilemmas, to benefit from paradoxes or to explore their intersection

Welcome to my world of a staggering number and diversity of animation options :-)


Pondering simplicity

Here's my first use of Apple's Keynote uploaded to Slideshare where all the cool animations disappear from view:


Two kinds of processing

When a musician can play the notes accurately, making music is a procedure. The notes remain the same every time and playing them can be done with mechanical proficiency. When that musician can play the notes with feeling and express a mood with those same old notes, making music has become a process. It's different every time in spite of the notes printed on the sheets of paper or computer screen. The feeling tones are far from straightforward for the player expressing them and the listeners feeling them. When that musician loses him/herself in the music, a second kind of processing takes over. The musician experiences being a musical instrument getting played while playing a musical instrument. The music plays itself superbly. There's no doing to make it happen, only not-doing to let it happen. It takes lots of proficiency in procedures for this to occur so using those techniques do not block the flow of inspired music making.

This experience of two kinds of processing occurs in every imaginable advance beyond mere procedures:

  1. The leader of a meeting can facilitate the dialogue in a meeting so everyone has their say -- but sometimes get out of the way for phenomenal synergies, responsive creativity and inspired contributions to take over. 
  2. The therapist can gain tons of insights into a client's issues, history and aspirations by listening, questioning and exploring -- but sometimes be amazed by what gets said, realized and owned by the client when the therapist becomes silent, fascinated and respectful.
  3. The designer of tools can develop oodles of useful innovations by observing users, debugging routines and providing additional functionality -- but occasionally reverse the onset of annoying feature creep with an amazing transformation of the premise for using the tools in the first place.

There are many patterns that have been observed in our states of mind when we switch from the striving to effortless kind of processing.

  • being full of ourselves -- being emptied, egoless and fully receptive
  • striving to impress others with our contributions -- resting on solid ground with no need to impress
  • identifying with using our tools proficiently -- identifying with being used as a tool effortlessly
  • clinging to processing as superior to procedures -- losing oneself in the overwhelming complexity of the processing 
  • using the processing to become more confident -- embracing the chaos inclusively so as to become an insignificant drop in the ocean
  • making a thing of trusting the process -- making nothing of things that might mistakenly concretize the intangible mystery
  • processing ad infinitum as if it's never good enough -- letting the processing dictate how much, how often and when

My process of writing these words (and being worded in that process) has come to the place of "enough said" for today.


Two types of procedures

Procedures are inherently linear, sequential and straightforward. Anything that messes around with recursive or serendipitous movement is not a procedure, it's a process. Procedures depend on a world of persistent objects where nothing changes by seeing it differently. Procedures take action, make things happen and substantiate models of cause and effect.

When we're enamored with procedures, it seems like the only significance differences between procedures are those between:
  • good and bad procedures
  • valid and invalid methods
  • accurate and inaccurate measures
  • proficient and inept execution
  • compliant and deviant applications of techniques

When we come from a place of processing, there are very different differences in our awareness of procedures between:
  • procedures functioning in isolation and procedures contained within non-linear processes
  • procedures on shaky ground and procedures in the process of getting grounded
  • procedures impaired by objectivity and procedures benefiting from reframing facts, changing lenses and revising outlooks
  • procedures limited to linear progress and procedures used in processes of emergent change, reversal and other circuitous explorations
  • procedures paired with "just the facts ma'am" and procedures aligned with deeper questions, mysteries and captivating unknowns
  • procedures for completing tasks routinely and procedures from revising which tasks need to get done by when and in which way
  • procedures given to unstoppable excess and procedures curtailed by feedback, context, and other informative repercussions

When we rely on the first kind of procedures, we will make problems worse if the breakdowns are multi-leveled, organic, cyclical and complex. Our hammer in hand can only successfully nail problems which are equally straightforward, inert and merely complicated. Where the nature of the problem ought to guide us in our choice of procedures, too often we're opposed to the processing, far from getting grounded and caught up in excessive deployment of the toxic type of procedure. Most problems call for us to embrace processing and contain procedures within them to make an enduring, positive impact. As we embrace processing, we will find there are two kinds of processing as well.


Two kinds of simplicity

There's a good kind of simplicity that makes it possible to connect the dots. There's another kind which amounts to over-simplification and more trouble than we bargained for. Switching from the bad kind to the good kind is not as simple as either kind of simplicity.

Sometimes we simply know what the problem is, what all we're dealing with and what to do about it. We're doing a good job of facing reality and being objective. We've established a node in a network of persistent objects. We also simply know where to go and what result to get to where we end up. That sets us up to execute straightforward procedures which are more complicated than the simple situation. The routine method contains "requisite variety" that matches how much can change during the procedure.  In Cynefin terms, these procedures are Complicated, not Complex.

Sometimes we don't want to know what the problem is. We expect we're dealing with a mess where we will get blamed for it, exposed as inadequate or compared to superior others. We don't know what to do about the mess and hope no one expects us to do something about it. In these instances, we will oversimplify what we see to minimize all these undesirable facets of our experience. We will overgeneralize exceptions, jump to false conclusions and dichotomize gradations into always/never assertions. When we go here, we're on the precipice of the worst breed of chaos. We're asking for trouble by doing a poor job of facing reality. We're giving simplicity a bad name and headed toward giving chaos a bad name too.

When we're caught up in oversimplifying, we're as afraid of the good kind of simplicity as we are of facing reality. We don't see a way to take responsibility, take action or take interest in making changes. We're fixated in flight mode, avoidance patterns and coping mechanisms. To get out of this closed system takes a major disruption to our complacency. We need a shocking experience of getting:

  1. reassuring protection from false accusations, blame and guilt trips
  2. surprising understanding of our fears, worries, and dreaded predictions
  3. mind boggling permission to persist with our avoidance patterns until they turn against us
  4. respectful pressure to watch for passing opportunities to make the switch

Providing those "shocking experiences" is not a straightforward procedure that simply connects the dots. It calls for lots of exploring, listening, questioning and reflecting to formulate the intervention in any persistent plot of avoidance. That leads to my next topic: two types of procedures.


Two different breeds of Chaos

The Chaotic quadrant in the Cynefin model makes it seem like there is only one kind of chaos. By straddling the Chaotic quadrant with two different circles, I'm saying there are two different breeds of chaos. There are both Chaotic as the Cynefin model says, but they are not the same as my overlay of circles conveys. One feels bottomless and the other feels like solid ground.

When we straddle Simple and Chaotic, we're trying to keep things simple. We do this to compensate for the maelstrom of troublesome emotions we're keeping under wraps. The chaos is within us and occasionally leaking out. We experience this inner chaos as insatiable needs for companionship and inordinate appetites for mood-altering consumerism. The bottomless nature makes us clinging, needy, insecure and desperate. There's no way to control the raging tempest within, so we put a lid on it and keep that lid from flipping. We first Act to stabilize the chaos, as Dave Snowden suggests. We remain very prone to fall into our inner chaos because we've adopted an overly simplistic approach to the overall situation.

When we straddle Complex and Chaotic, we're trying to include everything in our awareness. We considering constituencies removed from direct contact with us.  We show interest in others' secondary and long term interests. We relate to the complexity of interrelationships and interdependencies that defy logical reasoning. We're entertaining paradoxes that deliver the best of both alternatives. We're rising above dilemmas from a vantage point which combines irreconcilable, cross purposes.   We're immersing ourselves in the  outer Chaotic environment. We first act to embrace what presents itself as out of our control. We can do this because on the inside, we are simply serene, fearless and compassionate. We are in a place that is night & day opposite from being plagued by inner chaos.

When we accept there are two breeds of Chaos, then it's not all bad or always to be avoided. The good breed of chaos will reward us for responding serenely and inclusively rather than fearfully and exclusively.


Cynefin 2.0

When we're migrating from procedures to processes, we're becoming grounded. We're leaving those experiences of being on shaky ground where we will unsure of ourselves, our beliefs and our reputations among others. We're getting a sense of what we stand for and where to take a stand on solid ground. We're getting the confidence to stand up for our values, moral code and priorities. We're exuding self confidence and self-respect which earns the respect of others.

When I overlay this phase of "becoming grounded" on top of the Cynefin diagram, I discovered the problems I have with the Cynefin model disappear. It was then easy to build a layer of four circles which overlay the entire Cynefin diagram. Here's a brief look at the entire upgrade model.

Looking at the original Cynefin diagram, there's a big temptation to categorize situations with the framework of four quadrants. We can then know how to respond appropriately depending on whether the situation is Simple, Complicated, Complex or Chaotic.  We've put the world in a box, unlike Dave Snowden's original intentions to NOT categorize or compartmentalize the complexity of multifaceted situations.

Looking through my added layer, we can shift our attention from the four quadrants to the boundaries between the quadrants. We're always straddling two of the four places. We exploring the line that's been drawn between the two rather than one of the other side. This helps explain why so many are stuck in keeping things extremely Simple or merely Complicated when they are really Complex or Chaotic. It also gives us a sense of how Chaos can be a good thing when we're not trying to being in control. It adds another dimension of how we feel about ourselves and how that changes our ability to perceive differences.

  1. Bottomless - When we straddle Simple and Chaotic, we're getting flooded with urges, emotions and delusions. We're facing situations that are equally tormenting and out of control. We're striving to become objective, face the facts and deal with what is. We need to be told what to think and given tons of structure. Getting bombarded with facts and figures provides a welcomed alternative to our bottomless appetites, insatiable urges and aching emotional emptiness.
  2. Shaky Ground - When we straddle Simple and Complicated, we're getting trained in following procedures, executing methods and complying with sequential models. We're facing situations that are equally linear and straightforward. We're striving to handle persistent objects in ways that take control, make things happen and get the required results. Getting required to execute drills and complete tasks  provides a welcomed alternative to becoming a walking encyclopedia full of useless facts and figures. 
  3. Grounding - When we straddle Complicated and Complex, we're getting experienced at recognizing patterns, making process observations and walking the elusive fine line. We're facing situations which appear to be evolving, in process and uncontrollably interdependent. We're striving to let go, trust the process and set up emergent outcomes. Getting challenged to see functionality differently and become more creative provides a welcomed alternative to using the same tool regardless of the complexities of the situation. 
  4. Solid Ground - When we straddle Complex and Chaotic, we're immersed in the game of synchronous innovations for transforming situations. We're facing situations which defy logical reasoning while inviting our playful participation. We're striving to see everything as in process, to entertain evidence as mysteries and to approach the familiar with eyes of wonder, innocence and inquiry. Getting immersed in the fascinating moment provides a welcomed alternative to intense periods of reflective practice and after action reviews. 

Each of these ways to straddle two quadrants of the Cynefin diagram are self-reinforcing. They produce self confirming evidence which perpetuates taking that approach rather than taking a different stance over two other quadrants. They give us the feeling that we can always regress but cannot move beyond the striving set up by the condition of the ground of our experience. To move from one place to another on my overlay of the Cynefin diagram is as revolutionary as going from being an significant nobody to a notable somebody or a chronic loser to a significant winner. It amounts to a change in identity, self concept or the ground we're standing on.


Endless satisfaction in spacious networks

Satisfaction is a constant problem within clogged social networks. There's no way to get beyond the pseudo pleasures to the deep satisfaction that continually emerges in spacious networks. The cognitive strategies which clog up networks also undermine satisfaction without even trying to accomplish that result.

Clogged networks are comprised of persistent objects. There is no space wherever these unchanging objects define our experience. When we're participants in clogged networks, we get invited into and rewarded for thinking of ourselves as persistent objects. We then function as nodes with lots of connections while assuming this will bring us satisfaction. We make more connections to get more satisfaction whether than abandon the premise of being a persistent object. We make a thing out of nothing and wonder why we're not getting more pleasure from this actual nothing. We make a thing of a processing and despair at how empty, meaningless and dissatisfying the thing turns out to be.

When we think of ourselves as persistent objects, it's tempting to become a "sex object" for others. We think we're getting paid for being a tool that can be purchased and utilized. Our chronic problems with dissatisfaction gives us the urge to misuse and abuse others who seem to be things to us as well. When we're changing processes with a staggering complexity of unknowns, all these problems with satisfaction disappear.

In clogged networks, we cannot walk the elusive fine line that processes reward. In jobs, we will get overworked and underutilized in assignments which are mismatched for our neglected processes and driving questions. In relationships, neediness and insecurities will dominate the conversations that might otherwise turn to passions, projects, discoveries and better questions to be asking. In shopping for what we need, we over-consume things we don't need and chase after better things as if there is no spacious wonder and evolving processes to include in the purchasing.

When we get we are no-thing, satisfaction comes from everything non-thing we pursue. We dismantle of mistaken impression anything that seems objective, persistent and known by exploring the staggering complexity, hidden interdependencies, and unknowable dimensions of the actual non-thing. This gives us the feeling of being a lover of all we behold. This gives us a job of balancing how much we do with what we care about, wonder about and find we make a rewarding difference serving. This transforms relationships into spacious explorations and adventures. This finds pleasures in little things and non-things that money cannot buy. This is the experience of endless satisfaction in spacious networks.


Clogging up a social network

The natural world makes tons of sense as a spacious network. Organic processes maintain balance between excesses and deprivations without human intervention, big ideas or authoritative experts. Challenges to continued growth provoke adaptations and emergent changes by non-doing. Very little is known and very much is possible at any eternal moment. Everything is is in process rather than giving us the impression of a constant thing. Everything experiences vast connections without shutting down the space of delightful and fascinating not-knowing.

Humans seem to favor clogging up their social networks, rather than following nature's better example. There are numerous cognitive strategies that serve this dysfunctional pursuit:

  1. Perceiving what we see with our eyes as empirically verified, persistent objects
  2. Trusting procedures that stand on their own to deliver reliable results
  3. Imagining social networks to be comprised of connections between objective nodes
  4. Limiting our experiences of space to distance between persistent things
  5. Simplifying the actual complexity with false constructs, models and explanations
  6. Valuing what we know more than what we are questioning, exploring, rethinking and discovering
  7. Enacting a life as a production system to deliver mechanized results reliably
  8. Treasuring our accomplishments more than our ongoing adventures in an unfolding mystery

These cognitive strategies present themselves as our only option when our survival or safety are in danger. We think this way when we are afraid. The space for thinking differently gets shut down before we get into clogging up our social network.

To be spacious is to be clear of fear and full of wonder. What we know gives rise to what we don't know which leads to our next processes. We move from a space to a process to a space. We contain confining procedures within our exploratory processes rather than letting procedures dictate our experience. We learn a lot every day without making a thing of learning, knowledge or procedures for acquiring abilities. We see the world with fresh outlooks that invite us to watch for processes where we misperceived persistent objects before.


Comparing clogged and spacious networks

When a social network is clogged, participants experience the blockages as:

  • I cannot go there or come from there
  • There's no connection to where I'm at or trying to locate
  • It's not making sense or seeming worthy of further investigation
  • It's got to be accepted as is and not questioned

When a social network is spacious, the opposite experiences occur. Spacious networks support our curiosity, continual exploring and refining our open questions. It feels like we're continuing to discover new realizations, to solve the latest mystery posed by puzzling clues and to verify new theories to our own satisfaction.

As I've pondered why clogged networks don't fade away, I've realized they support lots of dysfunctional states of mind and ability. Clogged networks are good for:

  • Propagandizing one right answer and telling others how to think with simplistic labels, categories and stereotypes
  • Shooting the messengers who deliver unwanted news of changes, outcomes or feedback
  • Making empty claims of competency while paralyzing numerous processes with costly incompetencies
  • Feeding others anxieties and paranoia which preclude the emergence of trust, respect and fascination with other viewpoints

It's pointless to attack, resist or otherwise antagonize clogged networks. They're poised to escalate the conflicts and frustrate those who seek spaciousness. It's far wiser to simply begin living as if we are already in a spacious network. That means we will begin and end every process with not knowing. We will wonder what is working, how to proceed and which meaning to give the facts we've learned. It expects that we will move forward by our own irrational emotions, intrinsic motivations and personal pursuits. We will connect the dots as we see fit and allow for others to do the same. We'll experience how spacious our connections seem compared to our prior history of confinement in clogged networks.