A good interview opens new conversations by triggering more questions than it answers. I”m grateful to Christiana Wyly for interviewing James Quilligan and for the new questions that their conversation made possible to ask.
“[T]he real epistemic break is happening where individuals with deeper understanding are organizing to preserve and manage a particular commons which they depend on for their own livelihood or well-being (be it natural, social, cultural or intellectual), and allowing the energy of shared governance to flow in and through that space.” — Quiliigan
What are the signs of such epistemic breaks?
How can we recognize them when they happen?
What are their necessary antecedents?
What difference could it make for the movement of transition to a better world if the collaborative inquiries into those questions would unearth some initial, useful replies?
One more question that intrigues me:
Who are the main protagonists in the drama of the emerging new world, who are driving the changes?
Quilligan points to one of them:
“These autonomous commons groups are organizing spontaneously across the world in response to the global economic crisis and will eventually develop a unique ontological identity and power as a third sector to solve the local and transnational problems that businesses and governments are not equipped to address on their own.”
Who are those autonomous commons groups and movements? I believe they include:
peer to peer movement
communities of practice
social media commons
just to name a few, randomly, from the top of my head… What would you add to the list?
In the interview quoted above, Quilligan also said: “The main challenge now is to develop a new global understanding of the relationship between economics, energy, the environment, food and water, all within an international, intergenerational and interspecies context.”
Let’s face it, the complexity of that web of those interdependent relationships is so staggering that no one can understand it. It means that boosting collective intelligence became an evolutionary imperative, in a very real way, which leads to two other, practical questions:
1. What CI practices are worth observing (and replicating) in those autonomous commons groups mentioned above?
2. What are the criteria of design for the emergence a collective intelligence at the scale necessary for Gaia management?
If we must learn thinking about the negative unthinkable of our times, why not train ourselves by learning to think about the positive unthinkable embedded in the last question?