The Meaning of a Message Changes When Context Changes

When society changes it alters a lot of previously established conceptions. A common thing to say is that “Content is king” but this is something that belongs to the past and not for our fast-paced world. Content is still very important but it is no longer sovereign. In our society today it is more important with Context.

The problem is that there are no exact answers, only approximations and guesses according to the ruling paradigm at a certain instance of time. Many people “project the world as a deterministic black box — linking preordained input parameters to a predictable output”. Management in organizations “try to ‘manage change’ or ‘engineer knowledge’ with tidy quantitative methods” without coping with subjective subtlety, ambiguity and complexity. People most of the time try to fit the world into black-and-white instead of the many grey-zones that exist. It’s natural to want to categorize into different parts but doing that one also strips away essential parts that might change the meaning of the object in a different context. “All facts are context sensitive. Contexts are personal.”

We try to control society by imposing ‘proper control procedures’ but according to Goodhart’s Law: “Any observed statistical regularity will tend to collapse once pressure is placed on it for control purposes.” “Models can only […] be a pale shade of what actually happens.” “Each of us experiences a different world, albeit with ‘similarities'”. This gets further complicated when we believe we use the same schema as someone else but since everyone experiences things differentially there might be an essential anomaly in the two schemas. When we agree upon some parts of the world a fact is created. “A fact is merely an approved communal judgement, positioned within a context.”

“Is being forever wrong a problem? No! For ‘[a]ll models are wrong, [but] some models are useful'”. We need to recognize that everything constantly changes and leads to new opportunities; “you can never step into the same river twice.” One needs to adjust the thoughts to the current context and profit from that status quo instead of looking for an ultimate solution.

[source: Solution is the Problem: A Story of Transitions and Opportunities]
[pic:  CC-BY-NC-SA, donut2d]

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Josef Ohlsson Collentine

A transparent and kind American/Swede who likes cultural patterns and Social Media. A creative early-adopter who sports, discusses and explores. More about me
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