[OSList] Where angels fear to tread

Jeff Aitken r.jeff.aitken at gmail.com
Mon Nov 15 19:22:51 PST 2021

Where does systemic change take place? I am reflecting on earlier posts
about the Warm Data Lab and comparing - contrasting this work with other
hosted conversation processes like OST.

What seems different - please correct this if it's wrong - is the level of
attention paid to the complex ways in which WDL might help bring about
change. Looking well beyond action plans and carefully harvested
proceedings etc.

This may be a fruitful area of inquiry for OST folks. (The subject line
here is from a reference in a book by Nora Bateson's late father Gregory.)

Nora Bateson just shared a video and long essay, coming out prior to her
essay being published soon in a journal. She is introducing a new term
"aphanipoiesis" to the conversation of systemic transformation.

The essay is here: https://norabateson.medium.com/aphanipoiesis-96d8aed927bc

Some teaser paragraphs for us. Can this also be said about OST, but we just

"Rewilding the Interior

In the words of the Warm Data hosting theory, we tend the “about” so that
what is re-configured is in the “within.” It does not really matter what
people talk “about” in a Warm Data Lab. There is nothing to capture at that
level. What matters is the way the participants are internally sewing
together the different conversations and contexts. On a transcript this
information is inaccessible.

"In the Warm Data processes, communication in explicit form is not held to
be the communication of interest. That level of conversation is there as a
skeleton, onto which the stories not told reshape the person who did not
tell them, the alterations in tone, the re-tilted perception is given free
rein to rub memories and stories against each other. One comment that comes
up repeatedly is, “Your story changed my story.” Through this
“side-by-side-ing,” stories told change stories almost told, and their
bearers are able to reshape their impressions in ways that are untamed. By
careful tending of the “about” and “within,” the rich world of memory and
story re-wilds.

"The gaps are where the hope of systemic transformation is waiting. In the
Warm Data processes, participants are given a structure to re-stitch, to
re-wild, to begin a new abductive process into these gaps. Again, by
placing the contexts of life side-by-side in new configurations, the
aphanipoietic processes are given room, without conscious purpose or goals
or defined outcomes, without scripts or roles or trends — to allow the
tender new beginnings of another abductive description to form mutually.

"Through this work, I have found I needed this term to embark on a deeper
study of the importance of aphanipoiesis. The changes I witness occurring
in the Warm Data processes are completely unpredictable and profound. They
suggest ever more vividly that there is a real, if unseen, mingling of the
body, culture, education, family — and a whole batch of transcontextual
experience that is guiding all other actions. It is to this change that I
have devoted my efforts toward systemic transformation."
Yelamu / San Francisco
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