Just sharing a quick reflection today, as i write about blogging for the doctorate.
The Blog is written in the context of the Social Age, and explores that context, and one aspect i discuss at length is the evolving nature of knowledge itself.
The nature of my work is not to discover ‘a’ truth, for there is no single truth, but rather a landscape of ‘meaning’ – individually constructed, socially co-created, dynamic as opposed to fixed, and contextual. My work is as a cartographer of this landscape.
This last paragraph illustrates the core contention of my work: that we inhabit a space of belief more so than knowledge alone, and that belief is what fills in the gaps. We construct our view of the world and then inhabit it as if it were real. My work walks through this landscape, collecting fragmentary ideas and the Blog (alongside my head, or as an extension of it) is where this knowledge is stored.
And this second paragraph illustrates the nature of my work as both philosophical enquiry or, possibly, cod psychology. My work draws maps that may mislead, or lead to treasure, if we choose to believe in the landscape that it illustrates.
The Blog carries out this function through various models of enquiry, some of which use a broad lens, others of which are more focussed:
Research Based Enquiry: more traditional global research projects like ‘The Landscape of Trust’, ‘The Landscape of Communities’, ‘Quiet Leadership’, ‘What it means to Belong’, and so on. These projects, run through the blog and into the engaged blog community typically have a research statement, gather primary data (albeit typically narrative and qualitative), and seek to use these data to derive understanding.
Reflective Enquiry: such as the work on humility, leading at the intersections, the nature of connection, complexity. In this mode, the Blog is more a sequential narrative space,
Dialogue Based Enquiry: both in dialogue with my Community, but also with myself, i often refer to, rewrite, or critically reappraise previous work. It is normal for me to rework pieces, or to revisit underlying topics, sometimes as many as a dozen times.
Sequential Enquiry: in some instances i return to topics with regularity, such as the sequence of ‘Maps of the Social Age’ or ‘Learning Technology Maps’, which develop year by year. These ‘maps’ are not simply sequential additions (as more territory is visited), but rather may form a revised ‘way of knowing’.
For example: my latest work on Quiet Leadership explores fairness, through a dialogue based enquiry framework, but it is not my first attempt to tackle this subject. I have previously shared a ‘Framework for Fairness’, which attempted a more traditional diagnostic approach and representation, but which ultimately proved unsatisfactory. Similarly, the work ultimately published in ‘The Humble Leader’ on ‘humility’ originated in blog posts about Social Justice in San Francisco almost a decade ago.
Fragmented Enquiry: both the most useful and most challenging aspect of the Blog is it’s fragmented nature, but this fragmentation is really it’s greatest strength. The Blog is not ‘an’ enquiry, and nor is it one focussed narrative. It is a jumble of ideas, many of which represent either data or knowledge without context. This is almost a unique feature of the blog: it is not a space of synthesis (or rather, it can be, but is not obligated to be). It holds knowledge or it’s derivatives and precursors in both space and time, to be dredged up or buried, synthesised or rewoven at a later date.
So: the blog is a memory bank, but in this function it differs from, the one i hold between my ears.
Whilst my brain remembers, and holds knowledge, these memories and that knowledge is constantly re-contextualised by my current worldview and experience, and even my environmental context. The Blog, by contrast, remains constantly fixed and decontextualised.
In this sense, it is easier to explore the origin and evolution of ideas in the blog, through the progression of static artefacts, than it is in my head, which would require me to construct a narrative of understanding through my lens of myself ‘today’.
One could potentially argue that the Blog therefore represents a different way of knowing, allowing me both the fortune of my contemporary perspective and knowledge, whilst also cross linking to my legacy structures of knowing, in quite a detailed sense.