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More Poetic Communications

by Augusto Cuginotti

This article connects with Poetic Communications that you should read first.

Adding it with a mix of many other sources I have explored,  here is a connection containing some  interesting quotes and references.

Type of Events for Poetic Communications


This has to do with events that are not deterministic but emergent. For them, a teleological approach towards ‘development’ or ‘progress’ does not apply. Rather, we are talking about a continuous process of change.

A teleological approach to change presumes that change is the servant of ideal states, or goals; phenomena are more or less “pulled” toward an ideal outcome. By contrast, indeterminacy presumes that change is not directed toward some necessary or ideal end state; rather, change involves ongoing quantitative and qualitative shifts that simply move a system to a different place.[1]

We are less skilled in working in the realm where events are indeterminate because we have an illusion of control of events we are more able to predict. In social systems, because the observer of the system is always placed within the system itself, complexity is at a higher order and can’t be grasped by the planner.

No society so far has been able to organize itself, that is to say to choose its own structures and to use them as rules for admitting and dismissing members. Therefore, no society can be planned. This is not only to say that planning doesn’t attain its goals, that it has unanticipated consequences or that its costs will exceed its usefulness. Planning society is impossible because the elaboration and implementation of plans always have to operate as processes within the societal system.

Trying to plan the society would create a state in which planning and other forms of behavior exist side by side and react on each other. Planners may use a description of the system, they may introduce a simplified version of the complexity of the system into the system. But this will only produce a hypercomplex system which contains within itself a description of its own complexity. The system then will generate reactions to the fact that it includes its own description and it will thereby falsify the description. Planners, then, will have to renew their plans, extending the description of the system to include hyper complexity.

They may try reflexive planning, taking into account reactions to their own activity. But, in fact, they can only write and rewrite the memories of the system, using simplistic devices which they necessarily invalidate by their own activity.[2]

Not Knowing is the Rule


In this type of systems, not knowing is the rule. Instead of applying known models and repetitions, the work is to listen for the way things connect differently and name it. Poetic communications is used here in the sense of using language to author the world, of “innovating” by naming the unknown.

What matters in new learning is not repetitions and regularities. What matters is the occurrence of new distinctions, of new relations and connections, or of differences that makes a difference. […] They do so working poetically: that is, by bringing together two or more situations not usually juxtaposed.[3]

And with not knowing comes anxiety, which is precisely the next skill everyone will be looking forward to master: how to acknowledge anxiety and sit with it.

The way to perceive the new and to author ourselves is the way of not knowing, listening actively and naming poetically.

Other Communications and Hosting Learning


It is important to stress, however, that poetic communications do not diminish the importance of other communications and it’s not a dualism with being knowledgeable about things. On the other hand, it does mean that one can’t be knowledgeable about certain things, and it’s not only the weather we are taking about here.

We have been trained to show ourselves as knowledgeable and to avoid anxiety at all costs by relying on predictions and models and by re-producing known structures.

To better host learning we need to better acknowledge the times of not-knowing, un-modelling and un-structuring – with that comes un-learning of what chain us to the the same old distinctions and open doors to the new.