Bending Reality

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Curves in the world are rarely simple, whether twisted gnarled branches or a fractal coastline. Even man-made structures such as railway lines can have complex, uncertain trajectories. These can be smoothed and simplified, but sometimes there is a temptation to go further, turning the world into alien geometric shapes. The most widely used examples of the curves of reality being converted into straight lines are metro maps worldwide.

This information design technique is relatively recent, first used in Berlin and London Before this, curves on maps generally were used in an attempt to represent reality. However, there are also examples of attempts to simplify, even going as far as using a regular circle. Sometimes, straight lines fail to simplify reality. In the case of a complex highly interconnected network, gentle curves smooth away harsh zigzags, potentially revealing the underlying structure of the networks. Highly abstract and stylised, this new way of showing networks does not necessarily offer simplified line trajectories, but nonetheless presents a highly organised view of the network, which many people find striking.

Yep: psychokinesis. Intentional psychokinesis. For real, first-hand, right here, right now, right in front of me.

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I took it quite well, I think. Probably what hurt most was having my cherished so-certain theories squashed flat in such an incontrovertible way… Oh well. If you think I imagined the whole thing — well, possibly, but it would have taken at least two of us myself and Cassie to have had identical imaginations for that to happen. If you think that, well, there must be some ordinary run-of-the-mill physical explanation, no can do — sorry.

Windows and doors were all closed, so no big air-movements — and anyway, air-movement would have to have been more like a howling gale to move that light, because they were big and heavy. And just one light-fitting, but not the others? What would that do to your sense and certainty about what is possible and what is not? I could have given you quite a few more examples from my own experiences, but those two will suffice for this. A few folks — particularly those who know me in person — might also, or instead, throw in some responses that are rather more quizzical than disparaging:.

And note especially the emotion that goes with that response: disparagement, disgust, derision, doubt, or whatever. There are quite likely to be some associated decisions about the competence or otherwise of the messenger for that message — in other words, me. And actively prevent others from coping with them, too.

Yet kinda scary, huh? And also a first-hand experience of a mythquake about the real nature of mythquakes. Anything : including your everyday beliefs about everyday enterprise-architecture and the like.

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In a bit more detail, though. The crucial clue is the level of emotion.

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We have do it kinda sideways, kinda sleight-of-hand — like magic, you might say. The key point, though, is now that you know that it happens — and, even more to the point, that it happens in you — what are you going to do about it? Which leaves us, in practice, very much in the realm of opinion and belief. And yet we also have to be able to transcend that experience, in order to learn new experience, allow new experiences in. It matters in our everyday work because we deal with many, many different stakeholders and stakeholder-groups — and every one of them will have their own specific and literally peculiar beliefs.

And it matters to the discipline of enterprise-architecture itself, in essence for exactly the same reasons. A context in which both science and magic necessarily co-exist?

And Reality Department, too, has an, uh, interesting habit of bending our reality for all of us, anyway, whether we like it or not. Awesome article!

# Alexi Choueiri - Bending Reality by Simulation | Free Listening on SoundCloud

It seems only to be adopted by those that intuitively believe that their enterprise will work better if they take an EA approach to its design. Hey, Tom — Thanks for this posting, which fits nicely into the context I have given our one in-person meet-up at my Alma Mater. I explored that idea in a LinkedIn group for awhile Living Enterprise. What excites me these days is to entertain concepts such as the VSM homeostat, the Geek Heresy amplifier, the moral hazard, the opinion echo chamber, the effort rheostat, and others in terms of their explanatory and predictive power.

But then these days I mostly do enterprise-architecture and business-change and thinking-about-thinking and the like, which for most folks seems a lot scarier than mere water-witching! Your email address will not be published. If this website is useful to you, please donate!

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Do you believe in magic? Anyway, back to the show…] Do you believe in magic? But no magic equals no change. Over at Momentum, a man had set out a table offering anti-army merchandise. Away from the retail opportunities, the moral relativism is striking. One speaker from the floor solved the problem of Jeremy and the media via recourse to a discussion in The Matrix on spoonbending.

But with the best will in the world, there actually is a spoon. There are lots of spoons.


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  • Experience — bitter or otherwise — suggests they are going to have to make their peace with the notion of spoons. Finally, as someone who has been spared conference attendance for what I think must be 10 years, one of the most striking aspects was the almost total lack of security. In the end, Labour went with another firm albeit one criticised for its use of zero-hours contracts.


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    • But this week, you basically just walked in with a wave of your pass. On the one hand, the absence of that hysterical self-importance was more than welcome. A conference headed for the Conference?

      How To Bend Reality

      I leave it to you to decide. You can only live your truth, after all. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Labour conference Labour Jeremy Corbyn Momentum Labour conference features.