The world exists, stupid.

February 11, 2008

Every now and then I despair for the intelligence of people. My RSS feed has a category Fluffy Bunny which is where I place blogs that rage from interesting but idealistic (such as Dave Pollard) to the only miximatosis is good enough end where I am using the feed to monitor the market. Either way, this popped up the other day representing a shift of the author’s position to the mixi end of the scale. The key quote is this Ah yes, there is no objective reality. Reality is socially constructed through language, through story. The evidence for this is a New Scientist article (which I recommend) which discussed confabulation and selective memory. Now the fact that humans perceive the world through patterns, does not mean that the world does not exist, or that it cannot be known. I have previous blogged on the illogic of social constructivism and will not repeat those arguments here.

However there is an additional concern here which reflects my general concerns about many practitioners in the organisational story telling movement. When you start down this form of naive enthusiasm for story and language then you privilege the articulate manipulators of language and you legitimize the tyranny of the popular as you remove the legitimacy of evidence. You also lapse into propaganda.

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The Cynefin Company (formerly known as Cognitive Edge) was founded in 2005 by Dave Snowden. We believe in praxis and focus on building methods, tools and capability that apply the wisdom from Complex Adaptive Systems theory and other scientific disciplines in social systems. We are the world leader in developing management approaches (in society, government and industry) that empower organisations to absorb uncertainty, detect weak signals to enable sense-making in complex systems, act on the rich data, create resilience and, ultimately, thrive in a complex world.

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