A network society needs networked models for organizing and for learning.
“More and more, the unit of comprehension is going to be group comprehension, where you simply have to rely on a team of others because you can’t understand it all yourself. There was a time, oh, I would say as recently as, certainly as the 18th century, when really smart people could aspire to having a fairly good understanding of just about everything … Well that’s the fragility, the hyper-fragility of civilisation right there. We could all be bounced back into the 19th century.” —Daniel Dennett
Cooperation is freely sharing with no expectation of direct compensation. It enables knowledge to flow freely. Large scale cooperation should be the dominant model in the network era, if not we may revert back to a tribal era.
3.6 Joined-Up Societies
“Getting unstuck mentally is a change of mind and need not be a struggle. By contrast the mind that lacks flexibility is in a state of continual struggle that is expressed in real-life stresses and struggles. Conflict, crime, terrorism, anti-social behaviour and many other ailments are products of a compartmentalised, fatalistic, ‘us versus them’ world-view that excludes wider possibilities and perspectives. Fragmented thinking brings fragmented societies. A spread of curiosity, from governments switching educational models, to newspapers reporting it, to parents and children experiencing it could spark a cultural renaissance where populations surprise themselves with what they can achieve co-operatively.” —Blindspot: From Predetermined to Curiosity-Led Learning
This is the challenge. Tribal values are not democratic. Institutions cannot react fast enough due to their inherent hierarchy.
“At the point at which the collective complexity reaches the complexity of an individual, the process of complexity increase encounters the limitations of hierarchical structures. Hierarchical structures are not able to provide a higher complexity and must give way to structures that are dominated by lateral interactions.” —Complexity Rising
In addition, markets are focused on competition, leaving institutions to clean up their messes. But as our institutions are not set up to deal with complexity, we need new structures that can counter the ill effects of markets, especially crony capitalism and platform monopolies. Changing the dominant policies that guide governments seems like the right direction to move toward a network society and avoid the reversals to inferior, but comforting, tribal, institutional, or market forms. This will take ‘group comprehension’.