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Ed Jewett
03-25-2010, 05:37 PM
There is, already gathered here and embodied within the pool of founding members of this forum, as well as in some of the membership already deep into research, with publications credited to their name, a significant body of talent, insight and expertise.

I think it would serve if a convocation of mind, energy, ideas and resources could be gathered that would harness that quivering mass of as-yet-compactly-aligned-and-harnessed talent, insight and expertise to brainstorm and become active in ways that filled in the gaps, furthered the work, and provided for additional outreach.

I have -- more than once -- mentioned that I'd like to have a huge dinner party involving the people here. That being nearly impossible in real time and space, due to fiscal and other constraints, I've noted "virtual conferences". Even those require significant energies and capital.

But podcasting may offer a more viable solution...
http://www.squidoo.com/freeandeasypodcasting

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We "converse" -- often with agonizing slowness and the difficulties of incompleteness of follow-though .. in asynchronous threads. But whole fabric may be available, at least in larger swatches.

Andrew Lippmann, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Media Technology associated with MIT's Media Lab, said in 1986 that "Interaction involves mutual and simultaneous activity among people working on a common goal. The process must be mutually interruptible (like a "conversation") and therefore where you end up is an unknown."

Lawrence Halprin, the landscape architect who gave us the RSVP cycle of seed (resources), score (theme), value/feedback, and performance, says that through "the process of cyclical involvement with people, you can generate creativity, which is what really counts. Without a sense of participation, there cannot be any group creativity..... Whenever communications are discussed, there is always a lot of talk about common language. If you put people in positions in which they share an experience -- experience on a deep level -- that in itself is the most powerful form of common language I can possibly imagine."

Anne Branscomb, in "Finding One's Way in a Multimedia Society", tells us that it is not the technologies we'd use but the human brain power and the human values, brought through stages of entry, exploration, integration, commitment and fulfillment by a computer-aided but human-centered process, that enables answers to emerge.

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A couple of years ago, riffing off Nancy White (http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2007/11/27/), I wrote that

"Lifeís meaning, and an understanding of what needs to be done, emerges, most often, from conversation in community with people you love. It is the key to changing anything, whether it be the political or economic system, or yourself, or whether you want to save the whales, stop global warming, reform education, spark innovation or change anything else."

"I think there are ten reasons that conversations are so valuable they drive almost everything we believe, understand, and do:

Itís better to know. Maybe we say and feel that we donít want to know how bad it is, but when we say that weíre already imagining the worst. The truth is usually not that bad, and that truth often emerges from conversation.
We like reassurance that what we feel and think makes sense. The fastest way to get that reassurance is to converse, to share, because from conversation come the nods of understanding, the appreciation, the sympathetic ideas, and the empathy that make what we feel and think more bearable, more sensible.
Itís how we learn. We learn best by doing, by watching others, and by asking questions, and all three processes are improved through intelligent conversation. Tell me, how/why did you do that? Show me again and this time talk me through it. Now let me try, and tell me how Iím doing at each step.
Itís how we decide. The best decisions are informed by Ďthe wisdom of crowdsí, by consultation, by talking through the options, by consensus.
Itís how we resolve conflict. Conversation is how we Ďtalk outí our differences. When we discuss our respective viewpoints respectfully and openly, an appreciation of the other personís feelings, beliefs and rationale can emerge, and the misunderstanding that usually underlies the conflict can be dissipated.
It leads to intention, and hence to action. Often an event or learning will lead us to a sense of urgency to act, but not give us wisdom of what action to take. Conversation, once it has reassured us that our instinct to act is valid, can help us surface and learn some of the options to act, and hence propel us into action. And when we converse, we often state our commitment, our intention to act, and having a witness to that intention can also push us to act on it.
It clarifies, in our own minds, what we care about and hence who we are. What we care about defines who we are, so when we have a conversation that helps us understand whether and to what degree we care about an issue, and why, we come to understand and know ourselves better. That makes us more useful in many ways, and in the process, probably makes us happier.
With practice, it improves our social fluency, and other critical capacities and competencies. The chart below is one I co-developed with Chris Lott (http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2009/03/26/friday-flashback-chris-lotts-information-fluency-and-social-fluency/), and the blue circle which, in concert with our knowledge and thinking competencies enables us to be usefully expressive (artistic and improvisational, and hence socially fluent) is all about the capacity for and practice of conversation.
With practice, it teaches us the critical appreciative skills of listening and attention. Every conversation is a dance, and you have to be pretty insensitive not to realize that if you always lead and dominate the conversation, soon people wonít want to dance with you any more. And of course we learn more when we pay attention, really listen to what others are saying.
It opens us to new possibilities. Although often in conversation we are seeking reassurance, attention and appreciation, sometimes we will be surprised, bowled over, astonished, to hear something, or to realize something, that changes us radically, opens us to new ideas and worldviews, breaks our heart. That is the key to innovation and resilience, and good conversation can expose us and keep us open to these mind-altering, heart-breaking new possibilities."

http://howtosavetheworld.ca/images/socialfluency.jpg


Dave Pollard's blog entry on the value of conversation at http://howtosavetheworld.ca/2010/03/23/the-value-of-conversation/

Ed Encho
03-25-2010, 06:44 PM
Great idea Ed. I did about a six month stint as a co-host on a program over on Blogtalk Radio (http://www.blogtalkradio.com/), it's free, fairly easy to use and it archives shows for later streaming and podcasting. I just used Skype to call in with which is also cheap. You might want to check that out as far as getting something up and running as well. I can tell you that there is a real audience out there for the things that are discusssed here at DPF.

EE

Nathaniel Heidenheimer
03-27-2010, 03:55 PM
Great idea Ed, only where did you steal my tatoo?

No seriously volk, great idea. sign me up. Of course I am not much of a researcher but i can do P.R. provided I check my spelling and sometimes my use of human language. Count me in-until-removed.

David Guyatt
03-27-2010, 07:12 PM
I'll join in too.

But frankly Ed, I'm disappointed. Nay, I'm hurt. I LIKE dinner parties. And wine. Yum. And I know from many past disappointment and broken promises that a virtual discussion is entirely devoid of such essential sustenance.

Some of my best observations have arisen from consumption of food and wine and wine.

In vino veritas.

Sincerely,

Alceaus II

Carsten Wiethoff
03-27-2010, 07:40 PM
I have to agree, real dinner parties are better. The problems, of course, are timing, physical distance and cost. How many of us would fly transcontinental for a dinner party? Or fly at all?
My belief is there are important member groups in the UK, others in the US, and some in Australia. Rest of Europe is me and Peter that I am aware of.
It is not likely that we will find one place on earth where everybody would be able to meet, but maybe three places, UK, US and Aus. I could imagine travelling to UK, given enough time for planning. I would also love organizing and/or hosting such a thing. What about others?:flowers:

Ed Jewett
03-27-2010, 10:45 PM
I certainly would be interested in a get-together in some highly-desirable location catered with the finest refreshments known to the human capability. Should I win the lottery for scads of money and manage to keep it safe from the marauders of the world, I'd be more than willing to cover the entire costs including those of travel, housing, etc. But all of that is a pipe dream... and, anyway, we might become like another Davos or Bilderberg group and garner a high degree of unwanted attention and party-crashers. The simpler process of each individual investing in a decent head-set and a personal share in Skype enables small conversations involving 3-5 people at a time; each could raid their own fridge, larder and household supply cabinet at the pre-assigned time for their own snacks, liqueurs, and tongue-loosening agents. What it would require, simply (ha!), would be some agreement to participate and be recorded (or not), some agreement on the range of allowable topic (or not), some trust or agreeement regarding editing rights, privileges, review, etc. Like anything else, it would require some trust that would either be built upon (or not), and the process would go where agreement, energy, interest, success and available time would take it.

Let me throw out several examples:

#1) Albarelli's new book on doctored French bread has attracted a lot of interest; he is here, some here have read it, and lots of people want to read it. At some appropriate time (given Albarelli's fiduciary interests), it might be nice to have three or four people here spend an hour talking about it and its issues, ramifications,etc. Said tape could be made available through DPF or some selected vendor or process, with possible proceeds to be debated, negotiated, etc.

#1A) Almost any topic, properly done and with good timing, might be an income-generator of some sort for the web site, group, etc. I appreciate this is a dicey topic and I have no experience in the reality of it, but I would think many conversations would be of their own merit even without having to pull the burden of income, negotiations, etc.

#2) Any small group of members could get together by agreement arrived at independently via PM or e-mail to "chat" (for recording or not) on any topic they selected.

#3) Members could suggest an audio conversation between ___ and ____ on the topic of _____; it might not fly or come to pass, but then on the other hand, it might.

#4) Some venue or thread could be created in which members or readers could ask questions; the most intriguing of those could be selected as fodder for some enterprising interviewer/host to use as conversation starters.

There are no doubt others, subject to your own imagination, interest and creativity, and a healthy dose of reality and reasonableness.

Via virtual means, it is doable and realistic, and would be simply what you or anyone else wanted to make of it.

[David Guyatt: Empty your PM mailbox and check your e-mail.]

Magda Hassan
03-27-2010, 11:26 PM
#1) Albarelli's new book on doctored French bread has attracted a lot of interest; he is here, some here have read it, and lots of people want to read it. At some appropriate time (given Albarelli's fiduciary interests), it might be nice to have three or four people here spend an hour talking about it and its issues, ramifications,etc. Said tape could be made available through DPF or some selected vendor or process, with possible proceeds to be debated, negotiated, etc.
I nominate Nathaniel to interview Hank. :party: