Resonant knowledge/s

( ...or the dynamics of the production of knowledge and power, including: knowledge, ante/formal information, faith, culture, data, CoPs, experience, and social media).

The earlier work on knowledge management in JKM, in 2006, and 2008, and then in EKM, in 2011, was based on the Knowledge Production Cycle, which sketched out, in diagrammatic form, the basic dynamics of the production of knowledge. This started from the traditional data/information/knowledge triad. It then went on to explore the generative steps between these factors, and to add other factors, such as experience (from which basic data is generated), and communities of faith, culture, and work (e.g. Communities of Practice, and the Professions). The most dramatic transition was in the generation of formalised, scientific, objective knowledge, by a process of stripping out subjectivity and context.

But it soon became apparent that: i) this was not a one-directional 'cycle' after all, but more of a multi-directional field, in which data, for instance, is generated not only from experience, but also, for example, from formalised knowledge, and theory; ii) that formalised (scientific) knowledge was not the only kind of knowledge. The knowledge embedded in, and that underpinns culture and even faith is also regarded as 'knowledge'; that iii), in the application of formalised (scientific) knowledge, context has to be re-serted into the picture, to generate strategic knowledge, and iv) later on, it became apparent that an additional kind of formalised knowledge, namely formalised complex knowledge needed to be added - in parallel to formalised (linear) knowledge, and that both (formalised linear and formalised complex knowledge) have to be used in concert with each other, to yield strategic knowledge.

Evolution of the production of knowledge
The earlier distinction between ante-formal and formalized, objective, knowledge, which formed the basis for the initial knowledge production cycle, emphasised the difference between knowledge which has not yet been formalised (ante-formal knowledge), and knowledge which is the product of a particular process of formalization (e.g., science, bureaucracy and law, representative democracy, finance, mathematics, computer programmes), which is a key of aspect of a whole group of formalised knowledge modes, i.e. meta-semiotics.

As a starting point, the distinction between ante-formal / formal knowledge was reasonably clear cut, even if it changed with the dynamics of the times. This distinction was used to sketch out the emergence of the formal knowledge production cycle over many centuries, and the changing relationships between, and the changing dominance of different modes of the production of knowledge, and power (see the diagrams in the overview).

Religion / faith starts off as the dominant, and even ubiquitous mode, or frame, of knowledge production and power, in phase 0 (roughly, the pre-industrial phase), dominating experience. Its apogee is some point in the 15th or 16th Century, when the Catholic Church and its proxies / partners in Europe, extend their power beyond Europe to large swathes of the rest of the world.

This depends on how far back you go, of course, as religion itself is formalised and un-formalised over many centuries if not millennia, in a multitude of ways and forms. But the genesis and formalisation of religion-based power is not our main concern at this point, although it does re-emerge in later conflicts, in Northern Ireland in the 20th Century, and in the middle East in the 21st Century, in the attempted resurgence of the Daesh 'Caliphate' and the Ummah).

Objective Knowledge
In phase 1 (the industrial phase), formal information and data start to dominate, and to privilege 'objective' knowledge. In phase 2, (the 'programmed' or hyper-modernist society, in the second half of the 20th century) formalised knowledge and data, and the algorithms of computer programmes, as a new way of 'writing' or 'inscribing' the structure of production and of society, begin to dominate. (And the rise and fall of the Soviet Union provides a rich, 'outlier' example of the excesses of over-formalised 'knowledge', with its many distortions).

Re-programmable Knowledge?
In phase 3 (in the reprogrammable or post-modernist society, at the turn of the millennium), ante-formal information, experience, and ecologies of practice start to emerge again, and challenge the dominance of formalised knowledge - and even faith comes back into contention.

In retrospect, the growth of ante-formal information in phase 3 is not in fact a re-emergence of earlier forms of ante-formal knowledge, but rather the expansion of a mode of knowledge based loosely on complex-adaptive systems. Complex-adaptive systems were not in themselves new - they have been the basis for evolutionary systems for a few billion years or so.

What was new was that the potential for complex-adaptive, self-organising types of systems, (like peer-reviewed professional certification, and publication) was opened up, amplified, and let loose (or even too loose) for anyone and everyone to sign up to, for 'free' global interaction and 'publication' - within the constraints of the 'freemium' business model, which established itself as the key to exponential growth in social media, and rather overwhelmed existing modes of ante-formal and informal knowledge. Everyone could be everyone's 'peer' - which is still taking us some time to shake our, or sort out into new social practices. (The 'chaos' part of this development has long since not been as 'glorious' as it might first have seemed).

Formalised Complex Knowledge
At this point, it might be useful to first spend some time describing formal complex-adaptive knowledge, and its relationship to formalised linear knowledge. As theorists (like Paul Cilliers - add link ) and practitioner-theorists (like Dave Snowden - add link) have pointed out in detail, a wide range of issues and problems cannot be addressed by predictable-outcome interventions alone. There is a whole range of issues (in human behaviour and biology in particular) where the agents (from viruses right through to H. Sapiens) are reflexive, self-organised, self-correcting, and communicate frequently with each other, often in large numbers. The nature of such complex systems is adaptation, change, resilience, and above all, emergence of new behaviour and agents, in ordered-but-unpredictable systems (fashion is an example of perpetual change, even though it often seems to just repeat itself).

Complex knowledge does not replace formalised, predictable (linear) knowledge, it complements it, as both complex and 'linear' formalised knowledge contribute to practical implementation - in strategic knowledge. This is described and discussed in the article Complexity and the New Ecologies of Knowledge, in particular in Figure 4: Ontologies, Heuristics and Strategy #1, Figure 5: Knowledge Ecologies 2.0, and in Figure 6: The Knowledge Generation Framework.

(In terms of the evolution of the phases of the Knowledge Process Cycle, these new ecologies of knowledge could be seen as phase 3.1, i.e as a variant on Phase 3, Reprogrammable Knowledge).

The focus of this paper / hypertext, however, is the fourth phase (going into the 2020's): i.e. the phase of multi-resonant knowledge/s.

Multi-resonant Knowledge/s
The evolution of the knowledge production cycle at the turn of the millennium emphasised the huge expansion of ante-formal knowledge, as the dominance of formalised knowledge in the earlier phases was challenged by the blossoming of global connectivity and interaction. This leads into the phase of resonant knowledges, in which the internet really takes off, in connectivity, networking, and in newly dominant modes of interaction between people and between people and interfaces, like touch, txts, photos and videos, interactive gaming, speech, and even some 'conversations', and people and networked things (in web 4.0, the internet of things).

By 2015, the internet was already looking like it was getting out of control, at least on the edges, and risked becoming what Timothy Garton Ash called 'history's largest sewer'. So, what lies ahead?

In the first place, Ash was asking the wrong question (even though he does have a point about the 'sewers'). 'Control' as it was known in the 20th Century is no longer an option - courtesy of the internet. Alternative modes of control, some even more invidious than those of the 20th Century, are available (via bulk surveillance, the big data answer to the world's problems, courtesy of the US and UK surveillance agencies, and the micro-projection of power, in drone strikes), but control via centrally produced, controlled, licenced, censored and regulated media is no longer the dominant mode of control, or of the production of knowledge and action.

Boundaries of 'childhood', 'home', private and public spaces, political journalism, gender, dating and 'hooking up' (including with strangers, either by deceitful grooming, or by deliberate, consensual behaviour - on a range of social 'hooking up' platforms, such as Grindr and Tumblr, or hybrid participation / voyeur forms like dogging, etc) have all changed radically. We truly live in Zygmunt Bauman's fluid society.

Communities of Agreement
In the currently emerging phase of resonant knowledges, knowledge is, as always, still based on broad agreement - within a 'knowledge community', or what Foucault (and many others) called a discourse community - i.e. agreement on 'the capability for effective action', as defined by that community. This is the case whatever the forms and modes of 'knowledge', of its control, and of the changing ways in which it is produced - and these ways have diversified radically in scale, in reach, in speed, and in nature. These communities of agreement will be explored as 'communities of resonant knowledge'.

The technologies that make all this possible are largely due to Susan Blackmore's pandora's box of affordances (genes, memes and temes) that has been opened by science, the internet, social media, the dark web, nano-materials, and computerization (including robotics, the internet of things), etc. It is now possible to communicate, interact, and remotely act, effectively, across the globe, in numbers which seem to be truly scale-independent, in new modes of public and private spaces, at macro and at nano-scale, and within ordered-yet-unpredictable complex systems. This includes, but is also much more than, the centralised projection of power which characterised (and still does characterise, to a large extent) the superpowers du jour.

(Exemplars ... (?)
  • Russian cruise missile strikes in Syria from its Black Sea Fleet
  • 'Reaper' Drone assassinations in the Middle East and beyond, from remote video consoles in Nevada (the new nano-capillaries of power) - see the 2015 movie, Eye in the Sky, (working title, The Kill Chain).
  • 'Autonomous' / 'driverless' cars and weapons. )

Tribes and Villages

to be continued ...
... complexity and openness, in the global village with pop-up tribes, fractured narratives and diaspora on the one hand, and on the other hand, a seamless mix of resonant knowledges - resonating in large and small, public and private, web and dark-web, formal and ante-formal, ordered and chaotic, playful and malicious, collaborative and combative modes and forms of resonance.