Structural Differential — Alfred Korzybski.
#278: Tim O’Reilly – The Trend Spotter The Tim Ferriss Show podcast
Tim O’Reilly: Let me go back to George Simon because a lot of what he taught was a kind of mental discipline that was rooted in a model of how consciousness happens. It was framed somewhat in the language of Alfred Korzybski’s general semantics. Korzybski drew this wonderful diagram – it was actually a tool he used to train people – that he called the structural differential.
Korzybski’s fundamental idea was that people are stuck in language, but language is about something. And so, he represented what he called the process of abstraction so that people could ask themselves, “Where am I in that process?” So, the first part of the structural differential was a parabola, and the reason why it was a parabola is because reality is infinite, but we can’t take in all of reality.
And so, hanging from the parabola was a circle, and the circle was our experience, which is our first abstraction from reality. And then, hanging from the circle are a bunch of label-shaped tags – multiple strings of them – and these are the words that we use to describe our experience.
Korzybski’s training was for people to recognize when they were in the words, when they were in the experience, and when they were open to the reality. George mixed that in with this work of Sri Aurobindo, who was an Indian sage, and had come up with a model that integrated a spiritual view of this, and a practice which was just listening and being open to the unknown.
O’Reilly Network: Jon Udell: Instant Outlining, Instant Gratification [Apr. 01, 2002]
“When I turned in the first draft of my book, my editor, Tim O’Reilly, said: “This is great, but you ask too much from people.” And he was right. I was advocating not just a communication tool, but a way of using it to optimize collaboration. That meant asking people to narrate their work, but also to think carefully about the attention demands they placed on their coworkers, and to label, structure, and layer their communications accordingly. Most people didn’t want to do these things, and most people still don’t.
“What does all this portend for instant outlining? There’s reason to hope. It’s been clear to me for a long while that the only thing that might displace email would be some kind of persistent IM. That’s exactly what instant outlining is. If it catches on, and it’s buzz-worthy enough to do that, we’ll have a framework within which to innovate in ways that email never allowed.”
Interesting article – but I think that it still won’t catch on… persistent internet messageing, nice idea but email remains king IMO. ANY method of collab requires either dumbing the tools right down and working ad hoc OR education in a series of rules and protocols OR human facilitation and email groups + the GroupSense approach to their design and facilitation is a real world solution combining what people know already and do now with gentle nudges to a saner world. Well managed email groups have benefits over the Outlined approach in Radio. Threaded email IS outlined. It is persistent (locally and/or on the web). It is instant when needed, asynch when needed, groups can be defined and structured as needed and you can filter out certain users if you need to!
Why can’t these guys use email + mailinglists?
I am cross posting here – originally sent to Dan’s Online Group Weblog.