If you want an open society where everyone gets to participate in choice-making then everyone has to do a good job at sense-making (and meaning-making) - Daniel Schmachtenberger

Many of our biggest global problems are coordination failures - multipolar traps (Moloch). If we’re not able to make sense of the world in a coherent way, we won’t be able to make the right decisions, particularly since the issues we face are complex and can’t simply be solved analytically.

Collective sense-making is the precursor to Collective Decision-Making. You need to make sense of the World before you can make proper decisions.

For effective sense-making, we have to be able to pick up and put down different ways of looking at issues from different perspectives.

Why is Sense-Making an Issue?

  • Sense making should be the job of science and journalism.
    • Perverse incentives of capitalism (win-lose game) cause actors to withhold or create fake information to deceive other actors.
    • we’re being optimized for the extraction of our attention
      • The stories that get most engagement are those that reinforce existing prejudices and inspire emotional reactions, whether or not they are accurate
      • Bad-faith actors, can easily harness social media platforms to spread information that is dangerous and false.
    • Sense-making authorities are also driven by profit more than true information
    • Universities rely on corporate funding
      • Pharma companies won’t invest in research unless it’s something they can make money from
  • Idea of Information Commons, as a “Commons” to be protected (Tragedy of the Commons)

Optimism and Sense-Making

  • We don’t want optimism to influence our sense-making
    • The sense-making process should be as clear as it can be
  • We want optimism to come in the phase in which we try to come up with solutions
    • Then use your pessimism to judge your solutions, think of possible negative 2nd and 3rd order effects
    • Go back and try to make it better based on the flaws you found

Created on: 2020-10-07 Inspired by: Daniel Schmachtenberger Related Topics: Systems Thinking | complex adaptive systems | economics | Ethical Tech | Deliberative Digital Democracy | Governance