[MG] Come together or reach out - was cascading etc.

conseo 4consensus at web.de
Tue Jun 7 09:05:33 EDT 2011

 On Mon, 6 Jun 2011 19:18:57 -0400, Michael Allan wrote:
> Thomas von der Elbe wrote:
>> Somehow I believe, there is an overall tendency towards a huge 
>> single
>> forum for everybody with many sub-sub-sub communities for the simple
>> reason, that it makes vote-shifts easier. If you are just a small 
>> group
>> and you want to win other voters, you better go where they are 
>> talking
>> already, so they dont need to bother for a new login etc if they
>> consider joining you. Maybe I'm wrong here and OpenID has lowered 
>> this
>> hurdle enough so there will be many forums. But still I am convinced
>> that once a single poll has exploded in a population, there are no 
>> tools
>> needed any more to support the growth of the next poll.

 Well, we can also say that this simply means we should write a 
 Facebook-App. But we cannot think communication from an end (or from a 
 single social supersubject contained by a software mechanism which will 
 represent consensus). Freedom as Mike has put it only exists for 
 individuals not for social institutions or society as a whole. And 
 discussion media are a foundation for that freedom, so they have to be 
 open (as in hackable) and diverse. Of course, if we all would build a 
 consensus, then we won't need consensus spreading anymore, but I think 
 that communication will only explode in the future and blend with 
 reality in unimagined ways (see augmented reality for example). So we 
 need ways to reach out from our tools to see what alien communities do 
 and how we can cooperate with their needs. We also won't have a single 
 voting infrastructure in the future, so this problem will always be 

> It's hard to imagine what forms of media we'll be using in the 
> future.
> I feel the only safe guide for technical design is a healthy respect
> of current theory and practice, and an equally healthy disregard of
> current technical forms.  If theory demands (correctly) a practice of
> extension, then the tools must be designed for that.

>> Therefore I still see no use for this kind of tool for the 
>> long-term,
>> but more than I did before for the short term. (The only long-term 
>> use
>> might be as a measurement for rapidly growing (not just in numbers 
>> but
>> also communities) and therefore interesting polls. But this is very
>> small use I guess.)

 +1 and short might be long for us personally, if we think how long 
 social changes can take to manifest globally. Even simple Facebook took 
 10 years to reach 1/10th of the world population.

> We're discussing your concerns (my wording):
>> > (2) That tools might not be needed for [extension] practice at
>> >     all.
>> >
>> > (3) That the practice is only useful during the early adoption
>> >     phase of the technology.  Once the first poll hits the news,
>> >     nobody will be worried about extension anymore.
>> >
>> > (4) That it's wasteful to develop tools that are likely to be
>> >     outmoded so soon.
> Our difference centers on the practice (3) more than the tools.  You
> see no future for extension as a practice, but I see it (more and
> more) as being essential and permanent.  We as individuals are spread
> out all over the place and that will never change.  Yet our freedom
> *as* individuals cannot be safeguarded except by forming collective
> identities and engaging in collective action.  This much you will
> agree with.  All that is at issue here is the practical method of
> overcoming the physical distances that separate us.  Either we must:
>   (i) Come together, or
>  (ii) Reach out to each other.
> We may have cultural biases, you and I.  Germans are a single people
> who put value on solidarity, wheras Americans are a hodge-podge of
> many peoples who put value on diversity.

 I don't think that Germans give much about solidarity. Have a look at 
 the EU-crisis, as long as Germany benefits "most Germans" still don't 
 give a peep about southern Europeans... And even inside Germany social 
 solidarity is not really existant. Maybe nationalism, but that is 
 everywhere the same. I'd say in fact, besides all neat differences, we 
 share the same problems, which are the motivation to come together.

> Too much can easily be made
> of that.  I know however that we have personal biases, as well, that
> put us at odds along roughly this same axis.

 Sure, but yet, there are problems we share (economically/materially) 
 which convince us that cooperation is the best to come forward. We do 
 that every day, despite we don't necessarily like the people we work 
 with. I don't think that discussion and vague differences alone motivate 
 to build all this consensus and theory, it is the gobal division of 
 labour which brings us all together. The biases are ok as long as we see 
 them as something which is reflectable and can lead to more freedom in 
 society overall and this is something which has to manifest materially 
 eventually. The differences are only good if they are part of a healthy 
 discussion and lead to more reflected practical results.

> Even this is not the crux of our disagreement.  In the end, the
> distances for people to overcome are not physical ones but rather
> "distances" of understanding.  The only way to bridge those
> differences is through discussion aimed at mutual understanding.  At
> issue is how this crucial discussion can happen when the parties
> concerned are:
>   (i) Grouped in separate camps, or
>  (ii) Spread out all over the place.
> I think this is where (i) fails.  To be sure, we cannot represent
> ourselves in a dialogue with the government, where we negotiate over
> this or that point in the promulgation of a consensus draft.  The
> government is a faceless administrative machine.  Numerous 
> individuals
> such as we have no way to communicate with it except intermediately
> through our end candidate.  (Impatiently we await his/her translation
> of the government's response.)
> Where the end candidate cannot intermediate for us, however, is in
> discussions with other people.  Not only are those people too
> numerous, but the goal is a mutual understanding between us and them.
> Here it is the end candidate who must wait on us.  Mutual
> understanding is not something to be engineered centrally and sold
> back to us as a packaged deal.  It depends on us as individuals to
> present ourselves to those others who disagree and expose them to our
> internal discussions in a way that invites informal participation.  
> At
> the same time, we must be aware and accepting of them in their
> otherness and attentive to their own discussions.  For this we 
> require
> (ii) not as a temporary expedient, but as a permanent and deliberate
> practice.
> So instead of huddling together and talking amongst ourselves, we 
> will
> go around with our smartphones (or whatever the future brings) and
> engage with others.  We'll mix it up.  Further, I would argue that we
> must explore every form of this practice without bounds, because
> freedom has no other basis in theory.  It is only by inclusion of 
> "the
> other" that we are free.  Any democratic practice that is not 
> suffused
> with this manner of extension and inclusion is not the practice of
> free people.

 I think that this also reflects on more than a matter of 
 identification, whether you land in a camp or cooperate with different 
 camps. By following a chauvinist group identification people ususally 
 reflect their frustration and the ruthless concurrence and bad 
 experiences they have made economically in their personal history. You 
 cannot seperate that from the way our society works economically. But if 
 you can bring people together in a free cooperation, where they can work 
 on whatever they think is most important and therefore interests them 
 the most, they will see that cooperation maximizes their individual 

>> > (1) That we should pioneer the practice of extension manually, so
>> >     to speak, without tool supports.
> This we also agree on.  But AFAIK only the 3 of us agree, and you and
> C are tied up in the coming weeks.  So we don't have enough boots on
> the ground to do anythin hands on (do we?).  In the meantime, here's 
> a
> possible plan:
>   1. Mock up the extension visual for crossforum theatre.
>   2. Show it to activists and ask, "Is this the right stuff?"
>      They won't have a clue what we're talking about.  So:
>   3. Code it.
>   4. Post the theatre app on the home page as a running demo.
>   5. Use it under the noses of activists and ask them, "Is this the
>      right stuff?"
> Does this make sense?

 For me it does. But as I have pointed out the resource management and 
 the practical results will have the most attraction and it is what we 
 should keep in mind when we talk about communication. If we always point 
 the tools at the state machine for the results, we are narrowing our 
 view. If we can produce results matierally directly and form new 
 consensus-based self-contained diverse social practices, then we will 
 have attraction on our side for sure, even if the first success is 
 little. So +1 for the extension mechanism and +1 for an example of 
 practical organisation with the tools thereafter.


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