we need better learners

The global pandemic is a wake up call and an opportunity. It has shocked our triform (Tribes +Institutions +Markets) economy and society. Over the past two decades we have seen many experiments and movements toward a more equitable, sustainable way of living on this planet (+Networks). We have made the rules for how we are governed and how the economy works. We can change them. We cannot change how the planet’s environment works. We cannot change the laws of physics. We cannot change how the SARS CoV-2 virus acts, as much as we would like to.

As individuals, there is one thing we all can do, without anybody’s permission. We can become better learners. We can connect to diverse sources of knowledge and people with different experiences. We can build powerful knowledge networks to co- create knowledge and share it. We can engage with our communities and while learning ourselves we can help make them smarter, more resilient, and able to make better decisions.

Our future is beyond our tribes, institutions, or markets, even though each will continue to have a role in a networked society. Our future is in a connected, egalitarian global community — inclusive, diverse, and meta-modern.

We start by connecting and learning and never stopping. This is perpetual beta — always willing to learn more and to change our minds.

‘How can we listen to tomorrow if we have yet to clarify what belongs to yesterday? We don’t just need new maps that order the world in the same old ways. New vision is required. New ontologies reshape the map, and reshape us.

So we should listen to the future. Whose voices do we hear? [Ursula] Le Guin writes, “which is farther from us, farther out of reach, more silent — the dead, or the unborn?”

To listen, we must first be present.’—Meta, Modern

This is the conclusion of Perpetual Beta 2020, published this month, which summarizes 16 years of working at the intersection of learning and digital networks. Only better learners will help us map a way toward a globally cooperative civilization that will focus on our universally common challenge — climate change.


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