Academics from different disciplines

Jeff Aitken tzimtzum at
Thu Dec 2 16:28:28 PST 2004


John Adams facilitated the "Saybrook 25 years later" conference using OST in 2000 - a gathering of "human sciences" scholars and practitioners - i heard it went really well. Anybody on the list who was present?

I recall hearing about some attention to the issue of people with higher and lower levels of expertise gathering in breakout sessions.

Here's the url:

"Old Saybrook 2 is envisaged as a gathering of all the 'expeditionary forces' of humanistic exploration, those from the current classroom, on alumni lists, in practice, at organization and business settings and engaged in theory-research: a grand-celebration and sharing of our 'travel' stories and the import these give to our times and future. Also, like it's forerunner, Saybrook 2 invites its current luminaries from around the world -- recognized and upcoming -- to guide us in formulating those key themes and directions best likely to carry humanistic psychology into the Third Millennium."

-- Jeff Aitken

-----Original Message-----
From: "Peggy S. Holman" <peggy at>
Sent: Dec 2, 2004 3:44 PM
Subject: Academics from different disciplines


I'm looking for examples for a colleague I'm working with on a conference.  He's expressed a concern about OS in a situation among a group, mostly academics, from different disciplines.  I haven't yet allayed his fears.  Our exchange on the subject is below.  I'd appreciate any stories or words of counsel from you.

Thanks for any support on this,

 1.  I am in the midst of reading George B. Dyson's DARWIN AMONG THE
> provocative.  Lots of stories of brilliant people in the last 400 years
> envisioning, inventing, getting in trouble, etc., co-creating (and
> co-being) the dense weave of our increasingly interdependent world of
> digital and human intelligence.
> Aside from the fact that Dyson should be on the waiting list for the ES,
> there is the fact that I don't understand 10-15% of what he says due to
> jargon and unfamiliar conceptual / experiential frames.  This made me
> wonder:  With the ES [Evolutionary Salon], we are bringing together a fairly diverse group who
> have fairly diverse languages (jargons) and conceptual/ experiential
> frames.  Will those who are speaking be patient and capable enough to
> familiarize the newbies to their universes and languages?  Will some of
> the newbies want to get clear each step of the way, while others will just
> want to move on, riding over the grey areas of semi-comprehension in
> search of the light ahead?  Will people who already know the language and
> worldview of the speaker tolerate slow-downs to help others catch up, when
> they could be surging ahead to some new insight with their same-worldview
> colleagues?
> I've never arranged a conference with this diversity of (not just views
> but) languages and experiential groundings.  Do you
> folks have any ideas about helping such cross-disciplinary conversations
> work?  I may have some other people I can ask if we don't have the
> expertise among us.
1.  To your concern about people understanding each other, please, let it go, or be prepared to be surprised.  The beauty of open space is that people get their needs met, with all their differences. It is DESIGNED for diversity; it's where it shines.

> Thanks for the advice, Peggy.  Coming from you, I just might take it! :-)
> But I'm still wary -- not so much as a participant (I can tolerate a lot)
> but as a designer (I feel responsible for not making any bad judgments
> that could have been avoided).  I'm interested in stories involving not
> just differences in viewpoint, experience, etc., but differences in
> academic expertise and language. Do you have examples of interdisciplinary
> academic Open Spaces?

> When I try to envision being in an OS session with Dyson and a bunch of
> geeks, I can feel that either they or I would walk out in frustration.
> That's the law of two feet at work.  AND it is a failure to bridge between
> the two worlds --
> which, in our case, is the primary purpose of the gathering....  How to
> satisfy both needs...

Peggy Holman
The Open Circle Company
15347 SE 49th Place
Bellevue, WA  98006
peggy at

To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options,
view the archives of oslist at

To learn about OpenSpaceEmailLists and OSLIST FAQs:

To subscribe, unsubscribe, change your options,
view the archives of oslist at

To learn about OpenSpaceEmailLists and OSLIST FAQs:

More information about the OSList mailing list