Phase transition from the unconscious social mind

I’ve just discovered in an interview that Seth Kahan made with John Seely Brown a very intriguing and fertile perspective on the role blogs may play in the emergence of a conscious social mind. See below. I added the emphasis for highlighting the potential that I sense for social innovation experiments using blogs for Emergence.
”Notice, also, that blogs can suddenly reach a critical mass that then forces something out into the open, into public consciousness. You might think of it as an analogy to the subconscious vs. the conscious. The formal or conscious part is what today’s journalism is about, New York Times and so on. But the informal layer, comprising things like blogs, is like our unconscious mind. It’s not publicly visible. But all kinds of things are happening there.”


“Things get linked together and suddenly there can be enough links (creating a dense mesh of intertextual links) that the underlying ‘idea’ breaks through to public consciousness. The recent Trent Lott situation is an excellent example. Initially, the mainstream press didn’t pick up on what he said. It wasn’t in the public consciousness. It was the blogs that identified the issue and got the debate going. It was connected at the subconscious level — speaking metaphorically in terms of the social mind. Enough energy was generated, and then it burst forth into the conscious mind and into the formal media.”
“That’s how you get a phase transition from the unconscious to the conscious. That’s how you get a phase transition from within the informal social networks to the public recognition and mainstream media. And we know a lot about the mathematics of this. Networks help us understand what leads to phase transitions.”

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4 Responses to Phase transition from the unconscious social mind

  1. The more I get involved with blogs and alike, the clearer I understand how much deeper there is to dive. I find it briliant we can all share so much and multiply the many thoughts we’ve got within us. And that goes quite smoothly in the informal social network. I do hope the mainsteam media realises that! All the best 🙂

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  2. Paul Prueitt says:

    The wiki movement linked lots of things but the problem was in validating that the links where meaningful. Blogs are doing a better job of making meaningful links and leading to a version of the Semantic Web that is quite different from what Tim Berners Lee envisions with machine ontology providing the linkage.
    The Anticipatory Web is a different concept that a group of scientists are working on.
    The ignition of a holistic structure from lots of pairwise connections is one foundation of the work at the Santa Fe Institute by Stu Kauffman.
    The ignition phenomenon is very nicely developed in his work and in related works.
    A group is proposing that concept aggregation tools are so to be introduced as a means to push and pull people between blogs and to provide a overview of all thematic structure in social discourse as a type of weather map.
    http://www.bcngroup.org/beadgames/beads.htm

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