Well an interesting
pick up of the exchange with George via Nadia. I guess my concern would
be whether you were looking at all the various aspects of the issue. I
somewhat got the impression, given the title, that everyone who did not
communicate fully in some such setting was somehow minimally responsible
rather than maximally responsible in fulfilment of the synergy agenda.
This sort of things
frames in a form that all responsble people in a synergy group are eagerly
in an "I am ready and willing to communicate" posture. I think this assumption
should be examined more -- whatever posture people declare themselves to
There seem to be
a variety of possibilities:
* no one says anything
(silence has its own functions)
* what is said is
of relatively low value to others
* what is said is
perceived as offensive, too complex, etc too others
* in endeavouring
to enhance the communication, what is said is perceived as one of the above
* the degree of exchange
beyond binary interactions is minimal
* assumptions are
made about the nature of the community which are only partially shared,
if at all
* assumptions are
made about the degree and quality of synergy sought by all participants
(metaphorically perhaps best caricatured as the belief that promiscuity
is better than anything else -- an interesting lead to explore since it
is accepted that maximal sexual promiscuity is not appropriate except in
quite radical groups)
* assumptions may
be made about thresholds of fruitfulness
* there may indeed
be diff"rences in absorbing capacity (both in terms of quality and quantity);
some may have heard the same points many times before -- to what extent
should they stress this or consider it health
* the emphasis may
primarily be on phatic communication, namely exchange for its own sake
and not to accumulate and integrate insights in any structured way
You describe the
phenomenon as: They seem to be instances of a nearly universal phenomenon:
even when people have good ideas to communicate, and even when perfect
communication lines are available, that active communication doesn't occur
most of times.
My response would
be that many may indeed have good ideas to communicate, but with whom should
they be communicating them for best mutual benefit? Are those people present
in the group? How much time can they devote to this process and using what
How do they act responsibly
in determining when to stop and remove the stone -- to use your metaphor?
What if they are themselves perceived to be the stone by others -- or choose
so to perceive themselves? Having driven along many stony roads, I think
we all have to balance our responsibilities rather than define ourselves
as roadworkers -- however much we would want the road to be better.
Having just had a
smoke-filled lunch break, how does one respond to a meeting in which many
metaphorically smoke? Should one stop others from smoking? Or should one
go elsewhere? To what extent am I responsible for other peoples psychic
health? And to what extrent should I inflict my criteria on them?
It is useful to turn
the question round and ask, in any communication situation, when is it
my responsibility not to be there in order to be somewhere else, or otherwise
engaged? This raises the challenge of the number of places in which people
would like communication to occur. In how many such cases can one participate?
At what stager does one shift into a form of pub crawling, drifting from
listserv to listserv to hang out? I hear that there some 16,000 health
sites on the web -- in how many should one endeavour to communicate and
what is to be said to the initiator of the 16,001th such site and their
expectations about communication? I like the image of a field of flowers,
each flower a website trying (competively) to attract pollinating insects?
How irresponsible is the insect that does not go to a particular flower?
You refer to the
need for discipline to respond to others. This is a well-recognized point
which has proven to be significantly problematic in the academic environment.
It is my understanding that few academic papers receive much satisfactory
comment -- even those of the most eminent, and certainly not by the most
I acknowledge the
merit of your iGroup idea, but I still think that it is not addressing
the distintegrative tendency. My first enthusiastic, pre-web, take on
such an idea .
My best effort at
articulating what needs
to be pulled together.
My summary of the
of synthesis dialogues.
On the other hand
the web itself may be seen as necessarily partially structured effort at
such integration, as I have argued in: From
Information Highways to Songlines of the Noosphere Global configuration
of hypertext pathways as a prerequisite for meaningful collective transformation.
You may be amused
by my latest on "diamond
I encourage you to
pursue the theme of your article