The Kings Arms

August 26, 2010

To Oxford today for a series of meetings. Firstly more work on the use of SenseMaker® as a new way to incorporate larger volumes of people in scenario planning and also moving that planning from a linear staccato process to a continuous one linking strategy with operations. I also started to see ways in which we could create a Delphi method variant which does not close off so many options. I had the afternoon free before an evening meeting/briefing on impact measurement and knowledge management in the health Service. So I indulged myself with an extended (and expensive) visit to Blackwells to pick up some interesting books on aesthetics. Lunch was in the Kings Arms pictured below. Back in the 70s I used to come to Oxford to meet with Herbert McCabe OP in Blackfriars (pictured), then it would be off to the Kings Arms to meet up with Terry Eagleton and Giles (another Dominican who gave evidence for the defense in the Oz trial) who were all working with Slant at the time. Herbert was an inspiration and had a profound influence on many people who wanted to think radically about the world and our role in it. A Thomist scholar of repute who was also a marxist, a priest and a considerable wit, Herbert was one of those larger than life characters who you meet from time to time and who make a lasting intellectual impression.

I say in the corner of the Kings Arms skimming through the new books and reflecting on how things had changed in the last thirty years. I was also thinking about how different those conversations would have been if we had been aware of the complexity and cognitive science discoveries which were around the corner. A lot of the debates we had then about social process would have been transformed by concepts of coevolution and emergence. One of these days if I get the time and space (and live long enough) I want to go back and look at how we can rethink political engagement using complexity theory as an informing concept rather than the tweedledum and tweedledee of market mechanisms of labour theory of value.

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