"[T]he nineteenth century developed an extremely rigid frame for natural science which formed not only science but also the general outlook of great masses of people", Werner Heisenberg wrote in 1958. "[T]his frame was so narrow and rigid that it was difficult to find a place in it for many concepts of our language that had always belonged to its very substance, for instance, the concepts of mind, of the human soul or of life. [...] Confidence in the scientific method and in rational thinking replaced all other safeguards of the human mind." While the resulting approach to knowledge led to accelerated progress in those domains of interest where it could be successfully applied, notably in science and technology, it had devastating effects on some of the significant others. "One might say", the great physicist concluded, "that the most important change brought about by [the results of modern physics] consists in the dissolution of this rigid frame of concepts of the nineteenth century."
Polyscopy is an approach to knowledge, or technically a paradigm, which has been developed at the University of Oslo based on Heisenberg's and other relevant epistemological insights. It may be understood as "the scientific method" liberated from the constraints of traditional disciplines and made applicable to any question or task. During the past decade the polyscopy development has been extended through the work of the Knowledge Federation international R&D community, and applied to design of IT (knowledge media) and other knowledge work systems, and to knowledge work processes and institutions. Our vision is of an informed society – where what we believe, and the way we orient our action, reflect the state of the art knowledge in relevant areas. Our mission is to foster the evolution of socio-technical systems in pivotal domains including scientific communication, public informing and education, and ultimately of a "collective mind" or "global mind" – in which entirely new IT-enabled specialization and organization of work will help our vision become reality.
Our experiences so far have shown that when state-of-the-art insights are organized together and taken into consideration, what results is entirely different understanding of perennial themes including the nature and the pursuit of happiness, democracy and power, technological and other innovation, social creation of truth and meaning, and religion. This overarching insight has compelled us to add to our usual activity (establishing and developing knowledge federation as an academic field) a new one – organization of public dialogs through which the new understanding of core issues will be both shared and developed further. The most important result we expect of those dialogs, however, is the evolution of a public sphere or of a "collective mind" that will be capable of integrating the best insights of our best minds, historical and living, with the help of suitable technology and social processes, and engage our "collective intelligence" to co-create and maintain state-of-the-art understanding of core issues.
At the Earth Sharing dialog, which will take place June 22nd in Bergen, we will be launching this dialog series.
You may also see
- The blog post Through the Mirror with links, explaining the emerging paradigm as a space on the other side of the metaphorical magical mirror. You may also have a look at Enabling social-systemic transformations.
- This two-minute video teaser trailer renders the vision behind polyscopy in a nutshell. This five-minute video greeting, "Democracy for the 21st Century", will give an idea of the mission and activity of Knowledge Federation.
- Blog posts "Eight Vignettes to Evangelize a Paradigm" and "A Collective Mind – Part One" show part of our activity, in what way Knowledge Federation has worked on "changing our collective mind". Make sure to listen to the eight vignettes podcast, where the need or indeed the necessity for this line of work is explained.
- The introduction to "Liberation" (the first book of Knowledge Federation Trilogy, subtitled "Religion for the Third Millennium", the three manuscripts are in development) and related preliminary blog posts The Garden of Liberation and Science and Religion shown how this approach may help us replace the "survival of the fittest" ethics with an entirely different kind, which Earth Sharing and similar initiatives may depend on and develop in practice.
- Blog posts Toward a Scientific Understanding and Treatment of Problems and "The Game-Changing Game – a Practical Way to Craft the Future" point to extraordinary benefits that are likely to result from an updated and informed approach to technological and other innovation. Two earlier blog posts, Information Age Coming of Age and Doug Engelbart and the Information Age outline the most interesting history of this approach, and how Knowledge Federation has undertaken to continue it. This material, along with the more recent draft Continuing Engelbart's Unfinished Revolution, will be further developed and published as the second book in Knowledge Federation Trilogy titled "Systemic Innovation" and subtitled "Democracy for the Third Millennium".
- The Paradigm Strategy poster, and the related abstract, and the article Enabling Systemic Tranformations with Polyscopy, point more directly to the vision that motivates the public dialogs that are now beginning