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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Introducing our initiative</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Knowledge can again make a difference</h2></div>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>A historical parallel</h3>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>A historical parallel</h3>
 
<p>Think about the world at the twilight of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Recall the devastating religious wars, terrifying epidemics...  Bring to mind the iconic image of the scholastics discussing "how many angels can dance on a needle point". And another iconic image, of Galilei in house arrest a century after Copernicus, whispering "and yet it moves" into his beard.</p>
 
<p>Think about the world at the twilight of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Recall the devastating religious wars, terrifying epidemics...  Bring to mind the iconic image of the scholastics discussing "how many angels can dance on a needle point". And another iconic image, of Galilei in house arrest a century after Copernicus, whispering "and yet it moves" into his beard.</p>
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<p>“You never change things by fighting the existing reality", observed Buckminster Fuller. "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So we built [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a model (or technically a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]]) of a new way to work with knowledge (or a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]); and of a new institution (the [[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) that is capable of developing this new new approach to knowledge as an academic and real-life  
 
<p>“You never change things by fighting the existing reality", observed Buckminster Fuller. "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So we built [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a model (or technically a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]]) of a new way to work with knowledge (or a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]); and of a new institution (the [[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) that is capable of developing this new new approach to knowledge as an academic and real-life  
 
[[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] (informed practice).</p>
 
[[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] (informed practice).</p>
<p>By sharing this model we do not aim at conclusive answers. Our aim is indeed much higher – it is <em>to open up a creative frontier</em> where the ways in which knowledge is created and used, and more generally the ways in which our creative efforts are directed, are brought into focus and <em>continuously</em> recreated and improved.</p> </div>
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<p>By sharing this model we are not proposing a conclusive answer. Our aim is indeed much higher – it is <em>to open up a creative frontier</em> where the ways in which knowledge is created and used, and more generally the ways in which our creative efforts are directed, are brought into focus and <em>continuously</em> recreated and improved.</p> </div>
 
  <div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:Fuller.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[R. Buckminster Fuller]]</center></small></div>
 
  <div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:Fuller.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[R. Buckminster Fuller]]</center></small></div>
 
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Introducing knowledge federation</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Making knowledge count</h2></div>
  
 
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Connecting the dots</h3>
 
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Connecting the dots</h3>
<p>As our logo might suggest, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] means 'connecting the dots' – combining disparate pieces of information and other knowledge resources together, so that they may make sense, or function, in a new way. We adopted this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] from political and institutional federation, where smaller entities are united to achieve greater visibility and impact – while preserving some suitable degree of their identity and autonomy.</p>
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<p>What would it take to bring knowledge out of academic books and articles and let it inform our everyday lives? And our handling of society's core issues?</p>  
<p>Already what we normally do with ideas and pieces of information to turn them into knowledge may rightly be considered [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. You may have an idea in mind – but can you say that you really <em>know</em> it before you have checked if it's consistent with your other ideas? And with the ideas of others? And even then – can you say that your idea is <em>known</em> before other people have integrated it with <em>their</em> ideas?</p>  
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</div> </div>  
<p>Science too federates knowledge. But science does that in an idiosyncratic way – by modeling the mechanisms of nature; and by explaining observable phenomena as their consequences.</p>  
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<h3>A natural approach to knowledge</h3>
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<p>What we have undertaken to put in place is what one might call the <em>natural</em> approach to knowledge. Think on the one side of all the knowledge we own, in academic articles and also broader. Include the heritage of the world traditions. Include the insights reached by creative people daily. Think on the other side of all the questions we <em>need</em> to have answered. Think of all the insights that could inform our lives, the rules of thumb that could direct our action. Imagine them occupying distinct levels of generality. The more general an insight is, the more useful it can be. You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as whatever we the people may need to do to create, organize, synchronize, update and keep up to date the various elements of this hierarchy.</p>
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<p> Put simply, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is the creation and use of knowledge as we may need it – to be able to understand the increasingly complex world around us; to be able to live and act in it in an informed, sustainable or simply <em>better</em> way.</p>
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<span id="Wiener"></span>
<p>You may think of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a way to liberate science from disciplinary constraints, combine it with what we've learn about knowledge and knowledge work from journalism, art and communication design, and apply the result to illuminate any question or issue where prejudices and illusions still need to be dispelled. </p>
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<p>As our logo might suggest, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] means 'connecting the dots' – combining disparate pieces of information and other knowledge resources together, so that they may make sense, or function, in a new way. We adopted this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] from political and institutional federation, where smaller entities are united to achieve greater visibility and impact – while preserving, in some suitable degree, their identity and autonomy.</p>
<p>Our vision is of an <em>informed</em> post-traditional and post-industrial society – where our understanding and handling of the core issues of our lives and times reflect the best available knowledge; where knowledge is created and integrated and applied with that goal in mind; and where information technology is developed and used accordingly. </p>
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</div></div>
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<h3>Information for orientation</h3>
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<p>What could a more responsive and creative approach to knowledge provide, which we don't yet have? Norbert Wiener gave us this hint.</p> </div>  
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<div class="col-md-3 "> [[File:KFlogoC.jpg]] <br><small><center>Knowledge Federation logo</center></small></div>
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Big picture science</h3>
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<p>  
<p>If the word "paradigm" may not mean much to you, think of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] simply as big picture science. </p>
 
 
<blockquote>There is only one quality more important than "know how". This is "know what" by which we determine not only how to accomplish our purposes but what our purposes are to be. </blockquote>
 
<blockquote>There is only one quality more important than "know how". This is "know what" by which we determine not only how to accomplish our purposes but what our purposes are to be. </blockquote>
<p>This Norbert Wiener's observation is the key to understanding what practical difference a suitable big picture science can make. Science has given us a colossal know-how. We now need a similarly powerful know-what to direct the power of that know-how beneficially and safely.</p>
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</p>
<p>We also need the big picture science, the know-what, to be able to understand what the academic results mean, why they are relevant to us. The know-what knowledge is needed to give the disciplinary academic results the real-life impact they merit.</p></div>
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<span id="KF_for_needs"></span>
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<p>Science has given us a colossal know-how. We now need a similarly powerful know-what to be able to use our immense new power beneficially and safely.</p></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Wiener.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Norbert Wiener]]</center></small></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Wiener.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Norbert Wiener]]</center></small></div>
 
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<p>Contemporary media informing does not give us a usable big picture either. The journalists alone cannot possibly synthesize the knowledge we own into a big picture.</p>
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<p>With the information we have, we are like people lost in a forest, who can only see the trees. By seeing the trees, we are able to navigate through them. By not seeing the forest, we are unable to find a way out. We choose our way in the only way that's still available – by following the crowd. But crowds too can be lost!</p>
<p>With the information we have, we are like people lost in a forest, who can only see the trees but not the forest. By seeing the trees, we are capable of navigating through them. By not seeing the forest, we remain incapable of choosing a direction. We choose our way in the only way that's still available – by finding a well-frequented trail and following the crowd. But the crowd too can be lost!</p>
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<h3>Knowledge federation</h3>
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<p>Think on the one side of all the knowledge we own, in academic articles and also broader. Include the heritage of the world traditions. Include the insights reached by creative people daily.</p>
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<p>Think on the other side of all the questions we <em>need</em> to have answered. Think of all the insights that will give us the understanding we need, of all the principles and rules of thumb that will direct our action. Imagine them occupying distinct levels of generality. The more general an insight is, the more useful it can be.</p>
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<p>You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as whatever we the people may need to do to create, organize, synchronize, update and keep up to date various elements of this hierarchy.</p>
 +
<p>[[knowledge federation|<em>Knowledge federation</em>]] is the creation and use of knowledge as we may need it – to be able to comprehend the increasingly complex world around us; to be able to live and act in it in an informed, sustainable or simply <em>better</em> way.</p>
 +
<p>Our vision is of an <em>informed</em> post-traditional and post-industrial society – where our understanding and handling of the core issues of our lives and times reflect the best available knowledge; where knowledge is created and integrated and applied with that goal in mind; and where information technology is developed and used accordingly. </p>
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<h3>Our proposal</h3>
 
<h3>Our proposal</h3>
<p>We are not proposing to replace journalism, or science, but to complement them. And to connect them with one other, and also with the arts and the technological innovation and other creative fields.</p>
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<p>We are not proposing to replace journalism, or science, but to complement them. And to connect them with one other, and also with technological innovation and governance, and with the arts and other creative fields.</p>
<p>We are submitting a case for a new socio-technical infrastructure, with its own division and organization of creative work, just as science and journalism now have. We need the [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] of producing big-picture knowledge, guiding principles, rules of thumb – to inform us about the core issues of our personal and social lives. What issues may require such knowledge?  What might the information that carries it be like? In what way will it be created? We need a new <em>academic</em> [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] to answer such questions. Our purpose is to provide sufficiently rich and solid answers to consolidate a proof of concept, to show that this indeed can be done. And to initiate the doing.</p>
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<p>We are submitting a case for a new socio-technical infrastructure, with its own division and organization of creative work, just as the academic disciplines and journalism now have. </p>
<h3>And yet it's a paradigm</h3>
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<p>We are proposing to put in place an approach to knowledge that is deliberately <em>designed</em> to answer to the contemporary needs of people and society. What issues may require such knowledge?  What might the information that carries it be like? By what methods, technical tools and social processes will it be created? Our call to action is for a new <em>academic</em> [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] that will answer such questions.</p>
<p>"But we cannot just create a new academic field out of nothing", we imagine might be your complaint. Our ideas of what constitutes good knowledge have been evolving since antiquity – and now find their foremost expression in science and philosophy. In the four detailed modules we show that the insights reached in science and philosophy now <em>enable</em>, and that the new information technology and our civilization's condition <em>demand</em> that we – that is, those of us who are academic professionals or otherwise professionally in charge of giving good knowledge to people – develop an entirely new set of fundamental principles and practices that will orient our handling of knowledge; and our innovation and other creative work in general.</p>
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<p>The purpose of our [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]], which is shown on these pages, is to provide sufficiently rich and solid answers to consolidate a proof of concept; to show that this indeed <em>can</em> be done. And to initiate the doing.</p>
<p>While we (in the spirit of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]) do our best to maintain a manner of speaking accessible to a general audience, an academic reader will have no difficulty recognizing that what we are describing, or submitting a case for, is a new [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] in knowledge work. Thomas Kuhn characterized a paradigm as (1) a new way to conceive a domain of interest which (2) resolves the reported anomalies and (3) opens up a new frontier to research. We shall see in Federation through Images that fundamental anomalies in our handling of knowledge have been reported – and how those anomalies can be resolved by developing knowledge work on an entirely different foundation. We shall see in Federation through Stories that core parts of the new media technology were created (by Douglas Engelbart and his SRI-based "Laboratory for Augmenting Human Intellect") as part of an effort to give our society the socio-technical light bulb – and how we ended up using this technology to create fancy candles. We shall see in Federation through Conversations that also the reported core <em>pragmatic</em> anomaly (that our civilization is on a self-destructive course) may be reversed within the proposed [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]. And we shall see in Federation through Applications a mature portfolio of examples or [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]], which together provide recognizable contours of a vibrant and multifaceted creative frontier.</p>
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</div> </div>
<p>A related part of our purpose is to prime the further development and practical deployment of this new [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] – by offering [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as an initial [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]].</p>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>A collective mind</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-6"><h3>Information technology demands new thinking</h3>
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<p>Another way to understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is to perceive it as what we must do to draw the kind of benefits from the new information technology that this technology was meant to provide.</p>  
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<p><blockquote>
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Digital technology could help make this a better world.  But we've also got to change our way of thinking.
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</blockquote>
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As we shall see in Federation through Stories, these two sentences frame Douglas Engelbart's gift to the world – which is yet to be unpacked.</p> </div>
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<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Doug.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Douglas Engelbart]]</center></small></div>
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<p> We shall see that Engelbart and his lab created significant parts of the knowledge media technology we have – as stepping stones toward a <em>much</em> larger vision, which remained ignored.</p>
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<p>The network-interconnected interactive digital media – which Doug and his team showed for the first time in 1968, and which you now have in your hand or on your desktop – have given the humanity (in Doug’s words) “a super new nervous system to upgrade our collective organisms”. </p>
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<p>To see what went wrong, how this development took a different direction than what Doug intended, imagine that your own cells were using your nervous system to only broadcast data to your brain and to each other. Think about the effect this would have on your intelligence! You may now easily see why this technology – which has been conceived to vastly <em>augment</em> our collective intelligence – can serve that most timely end only when knowledge is “developed, integrated and applied” in a way that is entirely different from what the printing press made possible. </p>
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 +
<h3>Information technology calls for reconfiguring knowledge work</h3>
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<p>Imagine that you are taking a walk, lost in thoughts, and suddenly stop. As your attention is returning to hear and now, you realize that you are standing at arm's length from a wall.</p>  
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<p>Imagine what would have happened if your eyes were seeing that, but trying to communicate it to your brain and your muscles by writing academic articles in some specialized field of knowledge!</p>
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<p></p>
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[[File:KFvision.jpeg]]
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<p> </p>  
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<p>To see what we want to set in motion by proposing [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], imagine our civilization as an organism, which has grown uncommonly or <em>exponentially</em> fast. Imagine that this creature has evolved a finely developed brain and nervous system – but that it has not not yet acquired the necessary cognitive and psychomotoric skills, which would allow it to use its nervous system to make sense of the world, and to control its muscles.</p>
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<p>Imagine that this creature's dominant use its "super-new nervous system" is to amplify its most primitive, limbic impulses!</p> 
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<p>The network-interconnected digital media technology enables, and also <em>requires</em>, an entirely new division, specialization and organization of knowledge work – analogous to what might characterize a healthy human mind.</p>
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<p>You may now understand our proposal as the natural way to begin this re-evolutionary development – by first developing the necessary knowledge, or [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]], or [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]].</p>  </div>
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<h3>Steps toward cultural revival</h3> 
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<p><blockquote>
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The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future
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</blockquote>
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wrote Aurelio Peccei. We shall say more about him and <em>his</em> gift to mankind in Federation through Stories.</p>
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<p>It is no secret that, for perhaps a brief yet unforgivingly perilous period of time, we have relegated the creation of culture to commercial and superficial interests. </p> </div>
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<div class="col-md-3">[[File:Peccei.jpg]]<br><small><center>[[Aurelio Peccei]]</center></small></div>
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<p>Before the new media became ubiquitous, it was sufficient to own the physical buildings of the Sorbonne University, the Carnegie Hall and La Scala, to control the quality standards those institutions represented. Today, however, the <em>new</em> instruments of culture creation are largely in the hands of the proverbial "two hackers in a garage". </p>
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<p>Caught up in its "objective observer" self-identity, the academia painstakingly records the cultural and social consequences of this trend.</p>
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<p>You will see, in Federation through Applications, that a significant part of [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is to federate the available knowledge all the way into the <em>design</em> of the core systems that define our cultural and social reality. This [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is perhaps the most game-changing part of our proposal.</p>  
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<p>The new technology, and our overall condition, call for re-implementing the core functions of human culture <em>in</em> the new technology!</p>
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<p>By giving it a name, [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]], we are calling  into existence the new paradigm in knowledge work that will empower us to do that.</p>
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<h3>A tribute to Engelbart</h3>
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<!-- ANCHOR -->
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<span id="Reflection"></span>
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<p>To a number of us in Knowledge Federation, Doug Engelbart is an inspirational figure and a cherished deceased friend. Our initiative grew in part out of a Silicon Valley-based initiative called The Program for the Future, whose purpose is to explain and complete Engelbart's vision. We are making this website public on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo – where the revolutionary technology and ideas he and his research lab created were first shown to public.</p>
 
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</blockquote>
 
</blockquote>
 
In what ways might our thinking need to be different, if we should understand and develop a new [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]? </p>
 
In what ways might our thinking need to be different, if we should understand and develop a new [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]? </p>
<p>First of all, we need to give it the time it requires. A paradigm being a harmonious yet complex web of relationships, some amount of mental processing is obviously unavoidable if we should form a coherent mental image, see that the things do fit together a lot better and do make better sense when rearranged in the new way.</p>
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<p>First of all, we need to give it the time it requires. A paradigm being a harmonious yet complex web of relationships, some amount of mental processing is obviously unavoidable if we should form a coherent mental image, see that the things do fit better together and make better sense when rearranged in the new way.</p>
 
<p>A reward will come instantly – as with a touch of calm insight we come to realize that <em>we don't need to be so busy</em>. That we're just spinning the wheels of a wasteful and dysfunctional social machinery – and being too busy to see that. </p></div>
 
<p>A reward will come instantly – as with a touch of calm insight we come to realize that <em>we don't need to be so busy</em>. That we're just spinning the wheels of a wasteful and dysfunctional social machinery – and being too busy to see that. </p></div>
 
  <div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Einstein.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Albert Einstein]]</center></small></div>
 
  <div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Einstein.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Albert Einstein]]</center></small></div>
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<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Systemic thinking</h3>
 
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Systemic thinking</h3>
<p>The second way in which our thinking will need to change is that it will become <em>systemic</em>. Systemic thinking is the kind of thinking that grants us the insight just mentioned, and reveals solutions.</p>  
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<p>The second that our thinking must undergo is to become <em>systemic</em>. Systemic thinking is the kind of thinking that grants us the insight just mentioned, and reveals solutions.</p>  
<p>We've prepared this very brief and down-to-earth [[intuitive introduction to systemic thinking]] to help you slow down and reflect – and already get an inkling of the key insight.</p> </div>
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<p>We've prepared this very brief and down-to-earth [[intuitive introduction to systemic thinking]] to help you slow down and reflect – and already get an inkling of what this initiative may practically mean.</p> </div>
 
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Knowledge federation introduces itself</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>A paradigm</h2></div>
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Knowledge federation as a language</h3>
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<p>Science taught us to think in terms of velocities and masses and experiments and natural causes. [[knowledge federation|<em>Knowledge federation</em>]] too introduces a way to think and speak.</p>
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<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Huge change can be easy</h3>  
<p>We'll now let [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] introduce itself in its own manner of speaking. </p>
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<p>We have come to the side of our proposal that is <em>the</em> most relevant and interesting – <em>and</em> the most challenging to understand.</p>  
<p>Before we do that, this brief historical note will help you see why that manner of speaking is just a straight-forward adaptation of conventional science.</p>
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<p>You will perhaps bear with us, even join us in developing this material further, until it's understandable by everyone – if you realize that what we are really talking about is the core reason why the best insights of our best minds tend to remain ignored.</p>  
<h3>Science as a language</h3>
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<p>And why a sweepingly large change can be natural and easy, even when far smaller and obviously necessary changes proved impossible.</p>  
<p>The rediscovery of Aristotle (whose works had been preserved by the Arabs) was a milestone in medieval history. But the scholastics used his rational method to only argue the truths of the Scriptures. </p>
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<p>Things get ignored when they fail to fit our order of things!</p>  
<p>Aristotle's natural philosophy was common-sense: Objects tend to fall down; the heavier objects tend to fall faster than the lighter ones. Galilei saw a flaw in this theory and proved it wrong <em>experimentally</em>, by throwing stones from the Leaning Tower of Pisa.</p>
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<p>Our point – carefully, methodically, scrupulously...  developed in the detailed modules – is that the big paradigm is all ready to be shifted; <em>because we already own all the knowledge</em> needed to set such a change in motion.</p>  
<p>Galilei – undoubtedly one of Newton's "giants" – also brought mathematics into this affaire: <em>v = gt</em>. The constant <em>g</em> can be measured by an experiment. We can then use the formula to predict <em>precisely</em> what speed <em>v</em> an object will have after <em>t</em> seconds of falling.</p>
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<p>But also this largest of all changes, of the whole order of things, has a natural order in which it must proceed. Just as the construction of a house must begin with the foundations.</p>
<p>This approach to knowledge proved to be so superior to what existed, and so fertile, that it naturally became the standard of excellence that <em>all</em> knowledge was expected to emulate. </p>
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<h3>A curious-looking mathematical formula</h3>
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<p>But why use only maths?</p>
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<h3>Knowledge federation introduces itself</h3>
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<p>Science taught us to think in terms of velocities and masses and experiments and natural causes. We shall now let [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] introduce itself, and some of the core elements of the emerging larger societal [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], in its own manner of speaking.</p>
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<p>Be prepared to see an <em>informed</em> approach to knowledge in action. The big picture will come first – pointing to a way. The details will naturally follow – as steps along the way.</p
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<span id="Modernity"></span>
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<h3>A big picture view of our condition</h3>
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<p>Newton taught us how to unravel the secrets of nature with the help of mathematics. Knowledge federation adapts this approach to produce big picture insights.</p>
 
<p> [[File:Modernity.jpg]] <br><small><center>Modernity ideogram</center></small></p>
 
<p> [[File:Modernity.jpg]] <br><small><center>Modernity ideogram</center></small></p>
 
<p></p>
 
<p></p>
<p>[[ideograms|<em>Ideograms</em>]] can be understood as a straight-forward generalization of the language of mathematics. Think of the above exemplar as a curious-looking mathematical formula. Just as Galilei's formula did, this [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] describes a relationship (called [[patterns|<em>pattern</em>]]) between two things, represented by the bus and its headlights. But while mathematical formulas can express only quantitative relationships, an [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] can represent virtually <em>any</em> relationship, even an emotional one. </p>
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<p>The above ideogram expresses the nature of our situation (for which we use the keyword [[gestalt|<em>gestalt</em>]]) in a nutshell.</p>
<p>An ideogram can also express the nature of a situation (for which we use the keyword [[gestalt|<em>gestalt</em>]])! Imagine us riding in a bus with candle headlights, through dark and unfamiliar terrain and at an accelerating speed. By depicting modernity as a bus with candle headlights, the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] points to an incongruity and a paradox. In our hither-to modernization we have forgotten to modernize something quite essential – and ended up in peril.</p>
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<p>Imagine us riding in a bus with candle headlights, through dark and unfamiliar terrain and at an accelerating speed. By depicting modernity as a bus with candle headlights, the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] points to an incongruity and paradox. In our hither-to modernization, we forgot to modernize something essential – and ended up in peril!</p>
<p>But this situation has a remedy!</p>
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<p>But this situation has a remedy.</p>  
<h3>Unraveling the paradox</h3>
 
<p>A mathematical formula is just an abstract relationship, which acquires a concrete meaning – becomes "physics" – when we interpret its variables; when we say that <em>v</em> is the velocity of a falling object and <em>t</em> is the elapsed time. The  formula then tells us how those entities are to be adjusted to each other.</p>
 
<p>Notice that even when interpreted in this way, the relationship remains an ideal one. "Free fall" is only an abstraction; Galilei's formula will not explain the falling of a parachutist or a feather.</p> 
 
<p>In an analogous way, the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] expresses an abstract relationship between two entities, the bus and its headlights. It tells us how those entities are to be adjusted to one another. We can now make this abstract relationship concrete, and also useful, by assigning concrete interpretations to those two entities – just as we do in science.</p>
 
<p>We take advantage of the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] and define four new concepts. They will help us explain precisely what may need to be done to resolve the disquieting situation the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. They will also allow us to point precisely to four ways in which our creation and use of knowledge, our creative work in general, and societal evolution (or ride into the future) at large may need to be different.</p>
 
<p>Notice that what we are talking about is still just an abstract theory. Its relevance and accuracy will need to be confirmed by resorting to experience.  That is what the remainder of this website, its four main modules, will provide.</p>  
 
  
<h3>Design epistemology</h3>
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<h3>Reconceiving knowledge work</h3>  
<p>The larger issue here is [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] – by which we mean the assumptions and values that determine what knowledge is considered worth creating and relying on.</p>
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<p> If you consider the light of the headlights to be information or knowledge, and the headlights to represent the activities by which knowledge is created and applied, then you'll easily understand the interpretation we are pointing at. Our situation can be remedied by reconceiving knowledge and knowledge work as man-made things; and as essential building blocks in a much larger thing, or system, or systems.</p>  
<p> If you consider the light of the headlights to be information or knowledge, and the headlights to represent the activities by which knowledge is created and applied, then you'll easily understand the interpretation we are pointing at. The [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]] means considering knowledge and knowledge work as man-made things; and as essential building blocks in a much larger thing, or things, or systems. This new [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] empowers us to develop knowledge and knowledge work and to apply them and to assess their value based on how well they serve their core roles within larger systems – such as 'showing the way'.</p>
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<p>Our situation calls for evaluating, handling and recreating knowledge and knowledge work as it might best serve their various roles in this larger system – such as showing the way.</p>
<p>Notice how thoroughly this [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] reconfigures the value matrix that orients our knowledge work today. When knowledge is considered to be pieces in a reality puzzle, then every piece might seem equally relevant. The media can then select whatever its audiences may be interested in. But when knowledge is conceived of as the light that needs to show us the next curve on the road, then the priorities are entirely different. Relevance, and the nature and the quality of information that provides the right insight and guidance, become core issues.</p>
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<p>The technical keyword we use for this reconception is [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]].</p>  
<p>Furthermore those core issues become <em>research</em> issues. The research that tends to be most valued and considered academically fundamental or "basic" is the one whose aim is to <em>discover</em> the details of the puzzle of nature. In the order of things pointed to by the [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]], it is the research whose goal is to <em>construct</em> the core elements of an entirely different puzzle – of the socio-technical system or systems by which knowledge is created and disseminated – that becomes fundamental or basic. The most honored product of conventional science is an academic <em>article</em> in a reputed publication. In this new order of things the honor belongs just as much to the most impactful creative act, of any kind – that may bring the process of dissolving the core anomaly a step further.</p>
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<p>Notice that the [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] is at the core of every [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], and of the paradigm of science in particular. Galilei was not tried for claiming that the Earth was moving; that was just a technical detail. It was his [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] that got him into trouble – his belief that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. Galilei was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions (Wikipedia).</p>
<p>In Federation through Images we will explain how exactly this idea can be extended into a complete [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]]. To see that the [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] is at the core of every [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]], and of the general paradigm we call science in particular, notice that Galilei was not tried for claiming that the Earth was moving. That was just a technical detail. It was his [[epistemology|<em>epistemology</em>]] that got him into trouble – his belief that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. Galilei was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions (Wikipedia).</p>
 
  
<h3>Knowledge federation</h3>
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<h3>An informed approach to knowledge</h3>
<p>You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as simply <em>suitable</em> 'headlights', as the quest for those 'headlights', and as the 'factory' ([[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) capable of creating them. You may also understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as the knowledge and knowledge work that follow by consistent application of the [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]]. </p>
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<p>You may now understand [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as simply <em>suitable</em> 'headlights', the quest for those 'headlights', and as the 'factory' ([[transdiscipline|<em>transdiscipline</em>]]) capable of creating them. Or in other words, as the knowledge and knowledge work that follow by consistent application of the [[design epistemology|<em>design epistemology</em>]]. </p>
<p>This definition leaves open the question – Is there an approach to knowledge that can make the kind of difference in our overall condition that the difference between having proper headlights and driving with a pair of candles might suggest? Does the quest the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to have a solution? Our purpose when presenting this [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] is to show that it indeed does. </p>
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<p>This definition leaves open the question – Is there indeed an approach to knowledge that can make the kind of difference in our overall condition that the difference between having proper headlights and driving with a pair of candles might suggest? Does the quest the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to have a solution? Our purpose when presenting this [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] is to demonstrate that it does. </p>
<p>The Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] also bears a subtler message. What the bus with candle headlights is lacking above all are the high-beam headlights – which can illuminate a large-enough stretch of the road to provide for safe driving. But isn't that exactly what "the big picture science" will produce?</p>
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<p>The lightbulb cannot be produced by improving the candle. The resolution of our quest is in the exact sense of the word a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] – a fundamentally and thoroughly <em>new</em> way to conceive of knowledge and to organize its handling. To create the lightbulb, we need to know that this is possible. And we also need a model to guide us. What's being shared here is a description of such a model. </p>
<p>The Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is an example of a suitable big-picture result – which reveals the nature our situation, and shows what needs to be done.</p>
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<p>Why waste time trying to improve 'the candle' – if it's really 'the lightbulb' we should be talking about, and creating?</p>  
<p>No sequence of improvements of the candle will produce the lightbulb. The resolution of our quest is in the exact sense of the word a [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] – a fundamentally and thoroughly <em>new</em> way to conceive of knowledge and to organize its handling. To create the lightbulb, we need to know that this is possible. And we also need a model to guide us. What's being shared here is a description of that model. Why waste time trying to improve 'the candle' – if it's really 'the lightbulb' we should be talking about and creating?</p>  
 
  
<h3>Systemic innovation</h3>
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<h3>Innovation</h3>
<p>If you consider the movement of the bus to be the result of our creative efforts or of "innovation", then [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is what resolves the paradox that the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. You may understand [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] as <em>informed</em> innovation, as the way we'll innovate when a strong-enough light's been turned on. </p>
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<p>The Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] bears an even larger and more general insight – it points to a way in which our creative capabilities in general need to be directed and used.</p>  
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<p>If you consider the movement of the bus to be the result of our creative efforts or of "innovation", then [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is (the name we've given to) the direction the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. </p>
 
<p>We practice [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] when our primary goal is to make <em>the whole thing</em> functional or vital or [[wholeness|<em>whole</em>]]. Here "the whole thing" may of course be a whole hierarchy of things, in which what we are doing or creating has a role. </p>
 
<p>We practice [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] when our primary goal is to make <em>the whole thing</em> functional or vital or [[wholeness|<em>whole</em>]]. Here "the whole thing" may of course be a whole hierarchy of things, in which what we are doing or creating has a role. </p>
<p>There are two complementary ways to say what [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is. One is to (focus on the bus and) say that [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is innovation on the scale of the large and basic socio-technical systems, such as education, public informing, and knowledge work at large. The other one is to (focus on the headlights and) say that [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is innovation whose primary aim and responsibility is the good condition or functioning or [[wholeness|<em>wholeness</em>]] of the system or systems in which what we are creating has a role. But of course those two definitions are just two ways of saying the same thing. </p>
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<p>You'll easily understand the reason why a dramatic improvement in the way we use our capacity to create or innovate is possible, if you just compare the principle the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing at with the way innovation is directed today.</p>
<p>Here too there's a subtle message. You'll easily understand the reason, why a dramatic improvement in the way we use our capacity to create or innovate is possible, if you just compare the principle the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing at with the way innovation is directed today. The dollar value of the headlights is course a factor to be considered; but it's insignificant compared to the value of the whole bus (which in reality may be our civilization and all of us in it; or all our technology taken together; or the results of our daily work, which move the 'bus' forward; or whatever else may be organizing our efforts and driving us toward a future). It is this difference in value – between the dollar value of the headlights and the real value of this incomparably larger entity and of all of us in it – that you may bear in mind as  [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]'s <em>value proposition</em>. The dramatic message of our image is that [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] is what can make the difference between "the whole thing" turning into a mass suicide machine – and a well-functioning vehicle, capable of taking us anywhere we may reasonably want to be.</p>
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<p>The dollar value of the headlights is course a factor to be considered; but it's insignificant compared to the value of the whole big thing (which in reality may be our civilization and all of us in it; or all our technology taken together; or the results of our daily work, which move the 'bus' forward; or whatever else may be organizing our efforts and driving us toward a future). It is this difference in value – between the market value of the headlights and the real value of this incomparably larger entity and of all of us in it – that you may bear in mind as  [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]]'s <em>value proposition</em>.</p>
<p>To see that the change this is pointing to reaches well beyond industrial innovation, to see why we indeed propose [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] as the signature theme of an impending Renaissance-like change, notice that the dollar value is just one of our characteristic oversimplifications, which has enabled us to reduce a complex issue (value) in a complex reality to a single parameter – and then apply rational or 'scientific' thinking to optimize our behavior accordingly.</p>
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<p>So far what we've presented is only an abstract claim. Can [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] indeed make the kind of practical difference that the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] suggests? In the four detailed modules of this website we shall show that it can.</p>
  
<h3>Guided evolution of society</h3>
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<h3>Illuminating the way</h3>
<p>If you'll consider the movement of the bus to be our society's travel into the future, or in a word its <em>evolution</em>, then [[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]] is what resolves the paradox. Our ride into the future, posits the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]],  must be illuminated by suitable information. We must both create and <em>use</em> information accordingly.</p>
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<p>If you'll consider the movement of the bus to be our society's travel into the future, or in a word its <em>evolution</em>, then [[guided evolution of society|<em>guided evolution of society</em>]] is a new evolutionary course the [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]] is pointing to. Our ride into the future, posits the Modernity [[ideograms|<em>ideogram</em>]],  must be illuminated by suitable information. We must both create <em>and use</em> information in this new way.</p>
 
<p>We took this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] from Bela H. Banathy, who considered the guided evolution of society to be the second great revolution in our civilization's history – the first one being the agricultural revolution. While in this first revolution we learned to cultivate our bio-physical environment, in the next one we'll learn to cultivate our socio-cultural environment. Here is how Banathy formulated this vision:
 
<p>We took this [[keywords|<em>keyword</em>]] from Bela H. Banathy, who considered the guided evolution of society to be the second great revolution in our civilization's history – the first one being the agricultural revolution. While in this first revolution we learned to cultivate our bio-physical environment, in the next one we'll learn to cultivate our socio-cultural environment. Here is how Banathy formulated this vision:
 
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Completing Engelbart's unfinished revolution</h2></div>
 
<div class="col-md-6"><h3>A contemporary iconic story</h3>
 
<p>Of the many potentially iconic stories you will find of these pages, there is one that we feel compelled to highlight already here – the story of Douglas Engelbart and his "unfinished revolution". Engelbart and his lab created significant parts of the knowledge media technology we have today. And they did that by pursuing a much larger vision, whose essence has remained ignored – and to whose completion we have endeavored to contribute.
 
<blockquote>
 
Digital technology could help make this a better world.  But we've also got to change our way of thinking.
 
</blockquote>
 
As we shall see in Federation through Stories, these two sentences were intended to frame Engelbart's message to the world. We shall see that the required new thinking is precisely what we've been pointing to.</p>
 
<p>Engelbart, as we shall show, envisioned and initiated [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] and [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] – although he never used these keywords.</p></div>
 
<div class="col-md-3"> [[File:Doug.jpg]] <br><small><center>[[Douglas Engelbart]]</center></small></div>
 
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<div class="col-md-3"></div>
 
<div class="col-md-7">
 
<p>To a number of us in Knowledge Federation Doug has been both an inspirational figure and an admired friend. Our initiative grew in part out of a Silicon Valley-based initiative called The Program for the Future, whose purpose is to explain and complete Engelbart's vision. We are making this website public on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo – where the revolutionary technology and ideas he and his research lab created were first shown to public.</p>
 
</div></div>
 
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<div class="row">
 
<div class="row">
<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Summary and highlights</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-3"><h2>Synopsis and highlights</h2></div>
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<div class="col-md-7"><h3>Making knowledge useful</h3>
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<p>The idea we are talking about – to make knowledge radically more useful by deliberately <em>creating</em> (rather than only inheriting) the way it is handled – might be <em>the</em> simplest and most natural idea ever proposed to the academic community. </p>
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<p>Our response may mean the difference between civilizational success and failure.</p>
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<p>Why were the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] who proposed it so consistently ignored?  </p>
  
<div class="col-md-7"><h3>A socio-technical lightbulb</h3>
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<h3>Changing course</h3>  
<p>Consider what's presented on these pages as a complete [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of a socio-technical lightbulb – which includes everything from the principles of operation and the technical design and prototype on the one side, to the examples of application and the marketing strategy on the other. Our purpose is to show that such a lightbulb can and needs to be created and put to use. And to initiate the [[praxis|<em>praxis</em>]] of using lightbulbs as headlights, instead of candles.</p>
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<p>We shall focus on this question in Federation through Conversations. We shall see that our pre-rational obedience to our society's order of things is part of the way in which our culture and society have been evolving. We shall see that this obedience is deep in our cultural DNA. And that the challenge we are facing is a re<em>evolutionary</em> one! </p>  
<p>In the four more detailed views by which this presentation is completed, we shall use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to explain, showcase and already  begin to put into general use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. </p>
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<p>In that last module we shall use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to illuminate our present evolutionary course – the very 'road' our metaphorical bus has been following. We shall see why our <em>way</em> of evolving now needs to change. We shall draw attention to the social-psychological forces that are keeping us from engaging in that change – and already orchestrate our <em>liberation</em>.</p>  
<p>Each of the four main modules of this website will apply and demonstrate a specific set of techniques – and focus on a specific side of our design.</p>
 
  
<h3>Federation through Images</h3>
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<h3>Rebuilding the foundations</h3>  
<p>The focus here is, metaphorically, on the principle of operation; electricity, and not fire, can give us the strong light we need. That part of our knowledge work whose purpose is to orient the people in the complex reality we now live in can and needs to be developed on an entirely new foundation. </p>  
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<p>While you may, of course, browse through the modules in any way you choose, we have chosen to order them from the foundations up.</p>
<p>We show, further, that this fundamental work is not a deviation from the academic tradition, but a natural continuation of it. We show that the insights of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] not only enable – but indeed <em>enjoin</em> such a step.</p>
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<p>What constitutes "good" knowledge? Our academic culture has not evolved as a quest for useful knowledge – but as an answer to this <em>fundamental</em> question. </p>  
<p>We use [[ideograms|<em>ideograms</em>]] – metaphorical and often paradoxical images to sum up the findings of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]. The result is a cartoon-like introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of a refreshingly novel approach to knowledge.</p>
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<p>In Federation through Images we show that the proposal we are submitting is not a deviation from this evolutionary course, but its natural continuation. We shall see why the insights reached in 20th century science and philosophy not only enable – but indeed enjoin that we take that next step.</p>  
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<p>What might information need to be like to give us the knowledge we need, in this age? By what methods can it be created? Even if you are not interested in such "philosophical" questions but only in technology, you will recognize in them the way to avoid using the technology to only 'reproduce the candle'.</p>  
  
<h3>Federation through Stories</h3>
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<h3>Hearing the giants</h3>  
<p>We illuminate our theme by telling four iconic real-life stories – about the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] and their insights, whom we consider to be suitable icons for our four main [[keywords|<em>keywords</em>]]. 
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<p>Who were the [[giants|<em>giants</em>]] we needed to hear, but didn't? What were they trying to tell us?</p>  
<p>We use [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] – short, lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories – to explain and empower the core ideas of daring thinkers. [[vignettes|<em>Vignettes</em>]] are in essence what the journalists do to introduce a relevant or complex idea, to bring it down to earth and make it palpable to people – they tell it through a story about a person. A vignette liberates an insight from the language of a discipline and enables a non-expert to 'step into the shoes' of a [[giants|<em>giant</em>]],  to 'look through his eye glasses'. By combining [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] into [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], and threads into higher units of meaning, we take this process of [[knowledge federation|<em>federation</em>]] all the way to the kind of direction-setting principles we've been talking about.</p>
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<p>In Federation through Stories we begin to answer this question, by sharing the insights of four [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], and weaving them together. This will inform our quest for
 +
<ul>
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<li>right fundamental assumptions (what "good knowledge" is or should be)</li>
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<li>right use of information technology (or the right social processes by which this technology is used)</li>
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<li>right use of our creative capabilities (the one that will lead us toward the kind of condition or future we might justifiably desire)</li>  
 +
<li>right use of knowledge</li> </ul>
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and in that way give substance to our four main [[keywords|<em>keywords</em>]].
 +
</p>
  
<h3>Federation through Applications</h3>
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<h3>Prospecting a creative frontier</h3>  
<p>We cover the [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] / [[systemic innovation|<em>systemic innovation</em>]] creative frontiers by showing examples. What might journalism be like, which would be capable of weaving together insights from relevant areas of knowledge, to provide suitable understanding and orient people's action in the complex world? How can technical scientific result, when they are relevant, be made accessible to non-academic audiences? In what way may education need to be different, to enable social-systemic change? What can we do to change real-life institutions? In what way might our understanding of "democracy" need to change to enable us tackle our new challenges?  Those and various other questions about the emerging [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] are answered by showing concrete practical applications – already embedded in practice.</p>
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<p>It is in the nature of every [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] to open up a large space for contribution and achievement. In Federation through Applications we shall see that the [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] we are talking about is not an exception. </p>
<p>The "applications" here are [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]], which in this approach to knowledge serve as (1) models (because they embody systemic solutions which can then be adapted to other situations), (2) interventions (because they are embedded in practice, and acting on practice with the aim to transform it) and (3) experiments (because they show us what works well, and what may need to be improved or changed). </p>
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<p>Much of our mission has been to prospect and chart that frontier, and make large-scale development possible. </p>
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<p>In what way can we define concepts so that they empower change – instead of <em>reifying</em> what exists? What might our public informing n3eed to be like, to be capable of combining insights from relevant fields of knowledge, and telling us how to direct our efforts? How can we change real-life institutions? Those and a variety of other questions that delineate [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a creative frontier are answered to by showing examples, a majority of which are real life-embedded applications. </p>  
  
<h3>Federation through Conversations</h3>
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<h3>A socio-technical lightbulb</h3>
<p>The goal here is to put the new approach to knowledge into actual use – and thereby complete the [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]]. </p>
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<p>Consider what's presented on these pages as a complete [[prototypes|<em>prototype</em>]] of a socio-technical lightbulb. It includes answers to a spectrum of questions, ranging from the principle of operation on the one end, to the deployment strategy on the other.</p>
<p>The word "conversations" might be misleading. The conversations we have in mind are orchestrated, media-enabled ways to reconfigure the actual 'headlights', or our "public sphere", by (1) fertilizing it with core ideas of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]; (2) invigorating it by engaging everyone's collective intelligence; (3) bringing in a whole new culture of communication, which we point to by the keyword [[dialogs|<em>dialog</em>]]; (4) focusing it on core, transformative themes; (5) using a whole orchestra of new media technology – and letting the technology make a difference.</p>
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<p>In the four detailed modules by which this presentation is completed, we shall use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] to explain, showcase and already put to use [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]]. Each module will apply and demonstrate a specific set of techniques – and focus on a specific aspect of our design.</p>
<p>So imagine you had a flexible searchlight which you could point at any issue or theme. Suppose that your task is to show its value, what it can do and what difference it may make, by pointing it to some chosen handful of themes. Which themes would you choose?</p>
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<p>In Federation through Images we use [[ideograms|<em>ideograms</em>]] – metaphorical and often paradoxical images to sum up the findings of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]. The result is a cartoon-like introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of a novel approach to knowledge.</p>
<p>In Federation through Conversations we introduce and offer three such [[dialogs|<em>dialogs</em>]]. </p>
+
<p>In Federation through Stories we use [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] – short, lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories – to explain and empower the core ideas of daring thinkers. [[vignettes|<em>Vignettes</em>]] are in essence what the journalists do to introduce complex ideas – they tell them through a story. The [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] liberate the insights from the language of a discipline and enables non-experts to 'step into the shoes' of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]], 'see through their eyes'. By combining [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]] into [[threads|<em>threads</em>]], and threads into higher units of meaning, we reach the direction-setting insights we've been talking about.</p>
<p>The first one is focusing on <em>the</em> key question – how to handle the contemporary issues; how to change the evolutionary course that our evolution has taken. The title of the conversation is The Paradigm Strategy. which should suggest that we are proposing that there's a natural and perhaps also easy solution – to shift the whole general paradigm. The reason is that the paradigm is ready to be shifted. But to make its point, this conversation zooms in on the way our society has been evolving since the beginning of the civilization. [[giants|<em>Giants</em>]] from sociology, cognitive science, anthropology, history... are called to the witness stand. Their insights are combined to produce a basic guiding insight – why this direction has always been far from perfect; and why it now just <em>has to</em> be changed.</p>
+
<p>The applications discussed in Federation through Applications are technically called [[prototypes|<em>prototypes</em>]]. They serve as  
<p>A subtler insight that this conversation may bring to our [[paradigm|<em>paradigm</em>]] quest is that what once used to be considered as "the reality picture" and the measure of what's to be considered as true – now becomes perceived as an instrument of our problematic socialization.</p>
+
<ul>  
<p>While this first conversation is intended to be for informed global change makers, its themes and contents are perhaps well beyond the interest of a general audience. The second conversation we offer is meant to remedy this, by focusing on a theme that so many people are passionate about – religion.</p>
+
<li>models – because they embody systemic solutions which can then be adapted to other situations  </li>  
<p>The multimedia document to prime this conversation is the multimedia book in the making titled "Liberation" and subtitled "Religion for the Third Millennium". This is intended to be the very first book in the Knowledge Federation Trilogy.</p>
+
<li>interventions – because they are embedded in practice and act on practice, with the aim to transform it </li>  
<p>It is now common to consider "religion" as believing in something without any rational evidence; "religion" is conceived as a worldview. But what if there's a whole other way – which involves a <em>liberation</em> from dogmas and worldviews of any kind?</p>
+
<li> experiments – because they show what works well, and what needs to be improved </li>  
<p>Science, it is believed, liberated us from an age-old religious worldview, and empowered us to pursue happiness here, in our earthly existence. But what in the process we have understood <em>both</em> religion <em>and</em> happiness? What if both can be conceived in a way that reconciles them – so that they may bring us into a whole new phase of our evolution.</p>
+
</ul> </p>
<p>As always, these general ideas are presented through [[vignettes|<em>vignettes</em>]]. The lead [[giants|<em>giant</em>]] here is Thailand's enlightened monk Buddhadasa, who discovered that the essence of the Buddha's teaching was not what's been believed; that all religions have the same essence, which is a kind of a natural law; and that all of them suffered similar institutional deformations (which brings in through the back door our core issue, of the nature of our societal evolution, which the first conversation is about.</p>
+
<p>In Federation through Conversations, we begin to develop or [[bootstrapping|<em>bootstrap</em>]] a suitable new 'collective mind' or our society's 'headlights',  by
<p>And finally the third conversation will be about our proposal – to add self-reflection and self-organization to the repertoire of honored and supported academic activities. Or in other words, about [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] as a concrete way of doing that. </p>
+
<ul>  
<p>The conversing about [[knowledge federation|<em>knowledge federation</em>]] is hereby offered as a practical way to begin academic self-reflection and initiate academic self-organization.</p>  
+
<li>focusing our conversation on a core, transformative theme</li>  
 +
<li>illuminating it with core ideas of [[giants|<em>giants</em>]]</li>  
 +
<li>engaging our collective intelligence to weave those ideas together and develop them further </li>  
 +
<li>bringing in a whole new culture of communication, which we point to by the keyword [[dialogs|<em>dialog</em>]]</li>  
 +
<li>applying new media technology – and enabling the technology to make a difference</li>  
 +
</ul> </p>
 
</div></div>
 
</div></div>

Latest revision as of 12:25, 18 February 2019

A historical parallel

Think about the world at the twilight of the Middle Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance. Recall the devastating religious wars, terrifying epidemics... Bring to mind the iconic image of the scholastics discussing "how many angels can dance on a needle point". And another iconic image, of Galilei in house arrest a century after Copernicus, whispering "and yet it moves" into his beard.

Observe that the problems of the epoch were not resolved by focusing on those problems, but by a slow and steady development of an entirely new approach to knowledge. Several centuries of accelerated and sweeping evolution followed. Could a similar advent be in store for us today?

Our discovery

"If I have seen further," Sir Isaac Newton famously declared, "it is by standing on the shoulders of giants." The point of departure of our initiative was a discovery. We did not discover that the best ideas of our best minds were drowning in an ocean of glut. Vannevar Bush, a giant, diagnosed that nearly three quarters of a century ago. He urged the scientists to focus on that disturbing trend and find a remedy. But needless to say, this too drowned in glut.

What we did find out, when we began to develop and apply knowledge federation as a remedial practice, was that now just as in Newton's time, the insights of giants add up to a novel approach to knowledge. And that just as the case was then, the new approach to knowledge leads to new ways in which core issues are understood and handled.

Our strategy

“You never change things by fighting the existing reality", observed Buckminster Fuller. "To change something, build a new model that makes the existing model obsolete.” So we built knowledge federation as a model (or technically a prototype) of a new way to work with knowledge (or a paradigm); and of a new institution (the transdiscipline) that is capable of developing this new new approach to knowledge as an academic and real-life praxis (informed practice).

By sharing this model we are not proposing a conclusive answer. Our aim is indeed much higher – it is to open up a creative frontier where the ways in which knowledge is created and used, and more generally the ways in which our creative efforts are directed, are brought into focus and continuously recreated and improved.


Making knowledge count

Connecting the dots

What would it take to bring knowledge out of academic books and articles and let it inform our everyday lives? And our handling of society's core issues?

As our logo might suggest, knowledge federation means 'connecting the dots' – combining disparate pieces of information and other knowledge resources together, so that they may make sense, or function, in a new way. We adopted this keyword from political and institutional federation, where smaller entities are united to achieve greater visibility and impact – while preserving, in some suitable degree, their identity and autonomy.

Information for orientation

What could a more responsive and creative approach to knowledge provide, which we don't yet have? Norbert Wiener gave us this hint.

KFlogoC.jpg
Knowledge Federation logo

There is only one quality more important than "know how". This is "know what" by which we determine not only how to accomplish our purposes but what our purposes are to be.

Science has given us a colossal know-how. We now need a similarly powerful know-what to be able to use our immense new power beneficially and safely.

With the information we have, we are like people lost in a forest, who can only see the trees. By seeing the trees, we are able to navigate through them. By not seeing the forest, we are unable to find a way out. We choose our way in the only way that's still available – by following the crowd. But crowds too can be lost!

Knowledge federation

Think on the one side of all the knowledge we own, in academic articles and also broader. Include the heritage of the world traditions. Include the insights reached by creative people daily.

Think on the other side of all the questions we need to have answered. Think of all the insights that will give us the understanding we need, of all the principles and rules of thumb that will direct our action. Imagine them occupying distinct levels of generality. The more general an insight is, the more useful it can be.

You may now understand knowledge federation as whatever we the people may need to do to create, organize, synchronize, update and keep up to date various elements of this hierarchy.

Knowledge federation is the creation and use of knowledge as we may need it – to be able to comprehend the increasingly complex world around us; to be able to live and act in it in an informed, sustainable or simply better way.

Our vision is of an informed post-traditional and post-industrial society – where our understanding and handling of the core issues of our lives and times reflect the best available knowledge; where knowledge is created and integrated and applied with that goal in mind; and where information technology is developed and used accordingly.

Our proposal

We are not proposing to replace journalism, or science, but to complement them. And to connect them with one other, and also with technological innovation and governance, and with the arts and other creative fields.

We are submitting a case for a new socio-technical infrastructure, with its own division and organization of creative work, just as the academic disciplines and journalism now have.

We are proposing to put in place an approach to knowledge that is deliberately designed to answer to the contemporary needs of people and society. What issues may require such knowledge? What might the information that carries it be like? By what methods, technical tools and social processes will it be created? Our call to action is for a new academic praxis that will answer such questions.

The purpose of our prototype, which is shown on these pages, is to provide sufficiently rich and solid answers to consolidate a proof of concept; to show that this indeed can be done. And to initiate the doing.


A collective mind

Information technology demands new thinking

Another way to understand knowledge federation is to perceive it as what we must do to draw the kind of benefits from the new information technology that this technology was meant to provide.

Digital technology could help make this a better world. But we've also got to change our way of thinking.

As we shall see in Federation through Stories, these two sentences frame Douglas Engelbart's gift to the world – which is yet to be unpacked.

We shall see that Engelbart and his lab created significant parts of the knowledge media technology we have – as stepping stones toward a much larger vision, which remained ignored.

The network-interconnected interactive digital media – which Doug and his team showed for the first time in 1968, and which you now have in your hand or on your desktop – have given the humanity (in Doug’s words) “a super new nervous system to upgrade our collective organisms”.

To see what went wrong, how this development took a different direction than what Doug intended, imagine that your own cells were using your nervous system to only broadcast data to your brain and to each other. Think about the effect this would have on your intelligence! You may now easily see why this technology – which has been conceived to vastly augment our collective intelligence – can serve that most timely end only when knowledge is “developed, integrated and applied” in a way that is entirely different from what the printing press made possible.

Information technology calls for reconfiguring knowledge work

Imagine that you are taking a walk, lost in thoughts, and suddenly stop. As your attention is returning to hear and now, you realize that you are standing at arm's length from a wall.

Imagine what would have happened if your eyes were seeing that, but trying to communicate it to your brain and your muscles by writing academic articles in some specialized field of knowledge!

KFvision.jpeg 

To see what we want to set in motion by proposing knowledge federation, imagine our civilization as an organism, which has grown uncommonly or exponentially fast. Imagine that this creature has evolved a finely developed brain and nervous system – but that it has not not yet acquired the necessary cognitive and psychomotoric skills, which would allow it to use its nervous system to make sense of the world, and to control its muscles.

Imagine that this creature's dominant use its "super-new nervous system" is to amplify its most primitive, limbic impulses!

The network-interconnected digital media technology enables, and also requires, an entirely new division, specialization and organization of knowledge work – analogous to what might characterize a healthy human mind.

You may now understand our proposal as the natural way to begin this re-evolutionary development – by first developing the necessary knowledge, or praxis, or paradigm.

Steps toward cultural revival

The future will either be an inspired product of a great cultural revival, or there will be no future

wrote Aurelio Peccei. We shall say more about him and his gift to mankind in Federation through Stories.

It is no secret that, for perhaps a brief yet unforgivingly perilous period of time, we have relegated the creation of culture to commercial and superficial interests.

Before the new media became ubiquitous, it was sufficient to own the physical buildings of the Sorbonne University, the Carnegie Hall and La Scala, to control the quality standards those institutions represented. Today, however, the new instruments of culture creation are largely in the hands of the proverbial "two hackers in a garage".

Caught up in its "objective observer" self-identity, the academia painstakingly records the cultural and social consequences of this trend.

You will see, in Federation through Applications, that a significant part of knowledge federation is to federate the available knowledge all the way into the design of the core systems that define our cultural and social reality. This systemic innovation is perhaps the most game-changing part of our proposal.

The new technology, and our overall condition, call for re-implementing the core functions of human culture in the new technology!

By giving it a name, knowledge federation, we are calling into existence the new paradigm in knowledge work that will empower us to do that.

A tribute to Engelbart

To a number of us in Knowledge Federation, Doug Engelbart is an inspirational figure and a cherished deceased friend. Our initiative grew in part out of a Silicon Valley-based initiative called The Program for the Future, whose purpose is to explain and complete Engelbart's vision. We are making this website public on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of Engelbart's Demo – where the revolutionary technology and ideas he and his research lab created were first shown to public.


Reflection

Different thinking

We cannot solve our problems with the same thinking we used when we created them.

In what ways might our thinking need to be different, if we should understand and develop a new paradigm?

First of all, we need to give it the time it requires. A paradigm being a harmonious yet complex web of relationships, some amount of mental processing is obviously unavoidable if we should form a coherent mental image, see that the things do fit better together and make better sense when rearranged in the new way.

A reward will come instantly – as with a touch of calm insight we come to realize that we don't need to be so busy. That we're just spinning the wheels of a wasteful and dysfunctional social machinery – and being too busy to see that.

Systemic thinking

The second that our thinking must undergo is to become systemic. Systemic thinking is the kind of thinking that grants us the insight just mentioned, and reveals solutions.

We've prepared this very brief and down-to-earth intuitive introduction to systemic thinking to help you slow down and reflect – and already get an inkling of what this initiative may practically mean.


A paradigm

Huge change can be easy

We have come to the side of our proposal that is the most relevant and interesting – and the most challenging to understand.

You will perhaps bear with us, even join us in developing this material further, until it's understandable by everyone – if you realize that what we are really talking about is the core reason why the best insights of our best minds tend to remain ignored.

And why a sweepingly large change can be natural and easy, even when far smaller and obviously necessary changes proved impossible.

Things get ignored when they fail to fit our order of things!

Our point – carefully, methodically, scrupulously... developed in the detailed modules – is that the big paradigm is all ready to be shifted; because we already own all the knowledge needed to set such a change in motion.

But also this largest of all changes, of the whole order of things, has a natural order in which it must proceed. Just as the construction of a house must begin with the foundations.


Knowledge federation introduces itself

Science taught us to think in terms of velocities and masses and experiments and natural causes. We shall now let knowledge federation introduce itself, and some of the core elements of the emerging larger societal paradigm, in its own manner of speaking.

Be prepared to see an informed approach to knowledge in action. The big picture will come first – pointing to a way. The details will naturally follow – as steps along the way.

A big picture view of our condition

Newton taught us how to unravel the secrets of nature with the help of mathematics. Knowledge federation adapts this approach to produce big picture insights.

Modernity.jpg

Modernity ideogram

The above ideogram expresses the nature of our situation (for which we use the keyword gestalt) in a nutshell.

Imagine us riding in a bus with candle headlights, through dark and unfamiliar terrain and at an accelerating speed. By depicting modernity as a bus with candle headlights, the Modernity ideogram points to an incongruity and paradox. In our hither-to modernization, we forgot to modernize something essential – and ended up in peril!

But this situation has a remedy.

Reconceiving knowledge work

If you consider the light of the headlights to be information or knowledge, and the headlights to represent the activities by which knowledge is created and applied, then you'll easily understand the interpretation we are pointing at. Our situation can be remedied by reconceiving knowledge and knowledge work as man-made things; and as essential building blocks in a much larger thing, or system, or systems.

Our situation calls for evaluating, handling and recreating knowledge and knowledge work as it might best serve their various roles in this larger system – such as showing the way.

The technical keyword we use for this reconception is design epistemology.

Notice that the epistemology is at the core of every paradigm, and of the paradigm of science in particular. Galilei was not tried for claiming that the Earth was moving; that was just a technical detail. It was his epistemology that got him into trouble – his belief that one may hold and defend an opinion as probable after it has been declared contrary to Holy Scripture. Galilei was required to "abjure, curse and detest" those opinions (Wikipedia).

An informed approach to knowledge

You may now understand knowledge federation as simply suitable 'headlights', the quest for those 'headlights', and as the 'factory' (transdiscipline) capable of creating them. Or in other words, as the knowledge and knowledge work that follow by consistent application of the design epistemology.

This definition leaves open the question – Is there indeed an approach to knowledge that can make the kind of difference in our overall condition that the difference between having proper headlights and driving with a pair of candles might suggest? Does the quest the ideogram is pointing to have a solution? Our purpose when presenting this prototype is to demonstrate that it does.

The lightbulb cannot be produced by improving the candle. The resolution of our quest is in the exact sense of the word a paradigm – a fundamentally and thoroughly new way to conceive of knowledge and to organize its handling. To create the lightbulb, we need to know that this is possible. And we also need a model to guide us. What's being shared here is a description of such a model.

Why waste time trying to improve 'the candle' – if it's really 'the lightbulb' we should be talking about, and creating?

Innovation

The Modernity ideogram bears an even larger and more general insight – it points to a way in which our creative capabilities in general need to be directed and used.

If you consider the movement of the bus to be the result of our creative efforts or of "innovation", then systemic innovation is (the name we've given to) the direction the Modernity ideogram is pointing to.

We practice systemic innovation when our primary goal is to make the whole thing functional or vital or whole. Here "the whole thing" may of course be a whole hierarchy of things, in which what we are doing or creating has a role.

You'll easily understand the reason why a dramatic improvement in the way we use our capacity to create or innovate is possible, if you just compare the principle the Modernity ideogram is pointing at with the way innovation is directed today.

The dollar value of the headlights is course a factor to be considered; but it's insignificant compared to the value of the whole big thing (which in reality may be our civilization and all of us in it; or all our technology taken together; or the results of our daily work, which move the 'bus' forward; or whatever else may be organizing our efforts and driving us toward a future). It is this difference in value – between the market value of the headlights and the real value of this incomparably larger entity and of all of us in it – that you may bear in mind as systemic innovation's value proposition.

So far what we've presented is only an abstract claim. Can systemic innovation indeed make the kind of practical difference that the Modernity ideogram suggests? In the four detailed modules of this website we shall show that it can.

Illuminating the way

If you'll consider the movement of the bus to be our society's travel into the future, or in a word its evolution, then guided evolution of society is a new evolutionary course the ideogram is pointing to. Our ride into the future, posits the Modernity ideogram, must be illuminated by suitable information. We must both create and use information in this new way.

We took this keyword from Bela H. Banathy, who considered the guided evolution of society to be the second great revolution in our civilization's history – the first one being the agricultural revolution. While in this first revolution we learned to cultivate our bio-physical environment, in the next one we'll learn to cultivate our socio-cultural environment. Here is how Banathy formulated this vision:

We are the first generation of our species that has the privilege, the opportunity, and the burden of responsibility to engage in the process of our own evolution. We are indeed chosen people. We now have the knowledge available to us and we have the power of human and social potential that is required to initiate a new and historical social function: conscious evolution. But we can fulfill this function only if we develop evolutionary competence by evolutionary learning and acquire the will and determination to engage in conscious evolution. These are core requirements, because what evolution did for us up to now we have to learn to do for ourselves by guiding our own evolution.


Synopsis and highlights

Making knowledge useful

The idea we are talking about – to make knowledge radically more useful by deliberately creating (rather than only inheriting) the way it is handled – might be the simplest and most natural idea ever proposed to the academic community.

Our response may mean the difference between civilizational success and failure.

Why were the giants who proposed it so consistently ignored?

Changing course

We shall focus on this question in Federation through Conversations. We shall see that our pre-rational obedience to our society's order of things is part of the way in which our culture and society have been evolving. We shall see that this obedience is deep in our cultural DNA. And that the challenge we are facing is a reevolutionary one!

In that last module we shall use knowledge federation to illuminate our present evolutionary course – the very 'road' our metaphorical bus has been following. We shall see why our way of evolving now needs to change. We shall draw attention to the social-psychological forces that are keeping us from engaging in that change – and already orchestrate our liberation.

Rebuilding the foundations

While you may, of course, browse through the modules in any way you choose, we have chosen to order them from the foundations up.

What constitutes "good" knowledge? Our academic culture has not evolved as a quest for useful knowledge – but as an answer to this fundamental question.

In Federation through Images we show that the proposal we are submitting is not a deviation from this evolutionary course, but its natural continuation. We shall see why the insights reached in 20th century science and philosophy not only enable – but indeed enjoin that we take that next step.

What might information need to be like to give us the knowledge we need, in this age? By what methods can it be created? Even if you are not interested in such "philosophical" questions but only in technology, you will recognize in them the way to avoid using the technology to only 'reproduce the candle'.

Hearing the giants

Who were the giants we needed to hear, but didn't? What were they trying to tell us?

In Federation through Stories we begin to answer this question, by sharing the insights of four giants, and weaving them together. This will inform our quest for

  • right fundamental assumptions (what "good knowledge" is or should be)
  • right use of information technology (or the right social processes by which this technology is used)
  • right use of our creative capabilities (the one that will lead us toward the kind of condition or future we might justifiably desire)
  • right use of knowledge

and in that way give substance to our four main keywords.

Prospecting a creative frontier

It is in the nature of every paradigm to open up a large space for contribution and achievement. In Federation through Applications we shall see that the paradigm we are talking about is not an exception.

Much of our mission has been to prospect and chart that frontier, and make large-scale development possible.

In what way can we define concepts so that they empower change – instead of reifying what exists? What might our public informing n3eed to be like, to be capable of combining insights from relevant fields of knowledge, and telling us how to direct our efforts? How can we change real-life institutions? Those and a variety of other questions that delineate knowledge federation as a creative frontier are answered to by showing examples, a majority of which are real life-embedded applications.

A socio-technical lightbulb

Consider what's presented on these pages as a complete prototype of a socio-technical lightbulb. It includes answers to a spectrum of questions, ranging from the principle of operation on the one end, to the deployment strategy on the other.

In the four detailed modules by which this presentation is completed, we shall use knowledge federation to explain, showcase and already put to use knowledge federation. Each module will apply and demonstrate a specific set of techniques – and focus on a specific aspect of our design.

In Federation through Images we use ideograms – metaphorical and often paradoxical images to sum up the findings of giants. The result is a cartoon-like introduction to the philosophical underpinnings of a novel approach to knowledge.

In Federation through Stories we use vignettes – short, lively, catchy, sticky... real-life people and situation stories – to explain and empower the core ideas of daring thinkers. Vignettes are in essence what the journalists do to introduce complex ideas – they tell them through a story. The vignettes liberate the insights from the language of a discipline and enables non-experts to 'step into the shoes' of giants, 'see through their eyes'. By combining vignettes into threads, and threads into higher units of meaning, we reach the direction-setting insights we've been talking about.

The applications discussed in Federation through Applications are technically called prototypes. They serve as

  • models – because they embody systemic solutions which can then be adapted to other situations
  • interventions – because they are embedded in practice and act on practice, with the aim to transform it
  • experiments – because they show what works well, and what needs to be improved

In Federation through Conversations, we begin to develop or bootstrap a suitable new 'collective mind' or our society's 'headlights', by

  • focusing our conversation on a core, transformative theme
  • illuminating it with core ideas of giants
  • engaging our collective intelligence to weave those ideas together and develop them further
  • bringing in a whole new culture of communication, which we point to by the keyword dialog
  • applying new media technology – and enabling the technology to make a difference