A commentary/review on A New Culture Of Learning.



“Between the Gap” playing with technology and guided imagery. 

Thomas and Seely Brown’s A New Culture Of Learning is a significant work adding to the continuous flow of creative intelligence that takes the current horizon of science, technology and healing and gives them a push into unchartered waters. The book’s gifts lay in its re-framing the conversation regarding the power of digital media as a social collective, as a catalyst in re-energizing creative imagination, an imagination that has had its origin in a kind of cultural genesis embodied in an ecology of consciousness. This work is a form of amped-up cross-pollination, tacitly germinating, fertilizing the current integrative culture of healing arts, creative imagination, and guided imagery all-in-one while rarely addressing them (except in its subtitle "cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change".

Its subtitle –Cultivating the imagination for a world of constant change-can be thought of as a sidebar mirroring the current evolution of our medical values, its systems, and in the near future its institutions which are experiencing a type of parallel culture. A new learning that is influencing a new culture of healing consciousness i.e. a kind of reunification of the great wisdom traditions, indigenous knowledge and advancements in the studies in mindbody / and psychoneuroimmunology wrapped into an emergent technology of learning.A mirror as a constant source of imagination, a form of holism-revival at its core, a re-absorption of spirit in a world characterized by continual change, ubiquitous conductivity, and almost unlimited access to knowledge resources. In this work we are given a contextual container, a model of possibility if assimilated (our buy-in) allowing expression to a peer-to-peer collective of practitioners and patients, the articulation of a new mode of thinking, learning, and doing–about everything from renewable energy to renewable health. In other words a new culture of learning as a re-entry to a 21st century " kosmos", meaning a new form of open collective society that integrates consciousness, diverse cultures, and nature (an ecology or eco-culture) that is inclusive of art, morals and science – for personal values, wellness, for collective wisdom, and for technical know how. This field of knowing, embodied as a culture of learning, expands our kosmos, our healing culture, our fields of creative intelligence, images, symbols and healing encounters, our attentions and intentions for accessing a deeper guided imagery that is embodied in our co-creation of new technologies which are the tools of our new century.

Echoes of Lipton’s digital nervous system

These new forces of learning in the 21st century will make a difference in our lives if we can embrace the possibilities of a new culture of learning. A culture not in the traditional sense meaning that of adaptation but to the new emerging culture responding organically, that thrives on change as seen in the emergence of hyper-theories such as now non radical as chaos theory (now a household word brought about by the breakthroughs in computing power allowing researchers to expand exponentially their research in cell metabolism, gene expression, fractal geometry etc).  In the work Spontaneous Evolution by Bruce Lipton the point regarding the web ecology in the collective supports Seely Brown , “the Internet, one of civilization’s most important technical advances, is set to play a profoundly important role in humanity’s evolution. This information network offers every human cell with access to the technology an opportunity to instantly receive and disseminate new life–enhancing awareness throughout the community. In this sense, the Internet serves as humanity’s peripheral nervous system that interconnects humans from all over the globe and integrates their collective awareness.” pg 259  Spontaneous Evolution:  http://www.brucelipton.com/spontaneous-evolution-overview

It is from this perspective that the primary difference between teaching–based approach to education and learning–based approach. In the first case the culture is the environment while in the second case, the culture “emerges” from the environment – and grows along with it. This parallel to a cultural learning of emergence, which can communicate the essence of this forward motion into both the culture of healing and learning becomes the foundation for the articulation of a deeper healing language. It embodied the essential quest taking the path into who we might be vs. who we thought we were. Currently our healing culture has adopted the concept which conveys partially the values embedded in this new healing culture which is “holistic or wholistic” while also adopting the concept of integrative medicine as well as complementary alternative medicine (CAM). In actuality the word "holon" can better reframe the conversation adding texture and depth in its inclusiveness. We are entering doors of intellectual geography.

From wholism to Holon

Why Holon? Holon, a concept coined by Arthur Koestler articulates this new learning culture; the holon a yin yang dance, a molecule is part of a cell yet at the same time, a whole unto itself composed of atoms. Any entity atom, eco- system, process, or idea, that is to say any "holon" however large or small or level of evolutionary development that may be found, operates both as a whole to its constituent parts and is a part of a larger entire level whole (1). Thus holistic (wholistic) retires to the background and the foreground emerges as a holon. This then is the framework for inclusion of Thomas and Seely Brown's A New Cultural of Learning into the innovative section of the guided imagery collective's resources. It celebrates a learning in the collective which is based on three principles 1st, the old ways of learning are unable to keep up with our rapidly changing world. 2nd, new media forms are making peer-to-peer learning easier and more natural. 3rd, peer-to-peer to learning is amplified by emerging technologies that shape the collective nature of participation with those new media. 

This natural participation, the emergence of the networked information economy which is directly linked to “a new culture of learning” promises to expand in general the horizon of the feasible in medical imagination. And in particular guided imagery. Why? Because the emergence of precisely this possibility of the 3-fold principles and practice lays at the very heart of the mission set forth for the guided imagery collective in the creation of new tools for compassionate service, self-care management and wellness. Guided imagery is an extension of consciousness harnessed (through attention and intention) on one hand and allowed to flow unconsciously, mysteriously on the other.

The remainder of these reflections/review will deal with one final chapter 8 entitled “hanging out, messing around, and geeking out”. 

In “hanging out” is stepping up and saying YES in joining the digital club-house, in acquiring the skill for harnessing new technology which requires “learning to be” which is more about acquiring the art of practice versus the art of knowing. It conforms to a media literacy in networked public culture. “Hanging out” is much more than creating a feeling of presence or belonging. It is the first step in the process of indwelling. Page 101

Messing around. The function of play is “messing around” and here is where the New Culture Of Learning hits the mark for a new guided imagery. “Experimenting with the familiar in terms of content and tools is apt to open up a gap between this first unfocused form of play and the potential that emerges because of it. The gap is between the way something could be–what a person begins to imagine she can accomplish–and the way it is. As people start to play in their environment, they rediscover the different possibilities opened up by those gaps. That rediscovery causes a shift in perspective, where the process of knowing stops being about one's relationship to others and becomes about one's relationship to the environment.” Page 102 

Geeking-out. “The ability to engage with media and technology is an interest–driven way, a unique feature of today's media environment. “geeking -out" involves learning to navigate esoteric domains of knowledge in practice and participating in communities that traffic in those forms of expertise”. This kind of learning highlights the importance of understanding the power of collaboration … It gains almost all its power in benefits from the shared experiences that are part and parcel of collective indwelling. Collective indwelling is fundamental for the emergence of a networked imagination. 

So here we have it ! Creative imagination is a by-product of forms of hanging out. In the field of guided imagery it was that hanging out with patients that showed gaps between states of positive intentionality as correlates to improved well-being ( healing happened more often and lasted longer). It was in messing around in this peer to peer collective setting that defined the modality for guided imagery healing and influenced a collective of health practitioners and researchers to follow the gaps and open to uncertainty and in so doing redefining the power of imagination. Finally, it is in geeking-out that brings to the forefront much of the new research in the areas of gene expression and bio-neurology and innovative ways for expanding to innovation in guided imagery. Innovation’s prime mover is and has always been about riding the winds of imagination. And allowing those currents to grant us passage to the unknown. It is this fusion between spirit mind-body and the play of creative imagination and healing that defines the new culture of learning. Reading this material engages and opens the possible by embracing technology and yes messing-up as much as messing-around with it, not as a panacea but a tool of discovery and imagination. www.newcultureoflearning.com/ 






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