#03: Lesson Time

TEACH

Edgar Morin is a French philosopher and sociologist best known for his academic work on complexity and ‘complex thought‘. His methodology is multidisciplinary — drawing inspiration from a plethora of fields such as cybernetics, ecology, anthropology, Marxist theory, information theory, and general systems theory. Not surprisingly, he is often credited for helping establish the foundations of ‘transdisciplinarity’.

Below is a video of Professor Morin speaking at length on “7 Complex Lessons in Education”, in which he discusses epistemology, human ethics, community, and the state of perennial uncertainty. The audio is recorded in French (w/ English subtitles), so I have taken the time to transcribe his words below if you prefer to read in a more standard format :

7 Complex Lessons in Education

  • Detecting Error, Illusion & Pertinence in Knowledge

We are living in a historic period. The first great reform dates back to the early 19th century when modern universities introduced scientific disciplines. Looking back, we realize [now] that these disciplines enabled great progress. Yet they limit knowledge because they are separated from each other. And this separation prevents us from addressing the fundamental global problems. Not just those of our individual lives, but those of our lives as citizens and as human beings on this planet. Continue reading

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#02: Loving the Lobster

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Below you will find a full reproduction of an article (written earlier this year for The Conversation) by biologist/neuroscientist, Dr. Leonor Goncalves. The subject matter? Lobsters, of course. But firstly . . . .

If you don’t know who Professor Jordan Peterson is, and/or are unfamiliar with his questionable “just-so” approach to scientific storytelling, a cursory glance at his video titles on YouTube should give you a pretty clear idea of what he’s all about :

“Inequality & Hierarchy Give Life Its Purpose”

“Dominance Hierarchies, Inequality, Diversity, & the Science Behind Them”

“How to Rise to the Top of the Dominance Hierarchy”

“Why Hierarchies Are Necessary”

And last but not least . . . .

“Explains the Male Dominance Hierarchy”

If you’re still confused (and/or desire more context — obviously my list is not comprehensive), I encourage you to watch these highly informative & entertaining think pieces from satirists Peter Coffin & Natalie Wynn (aka ContraPoints) that summarize the JP philosophy/ethos :

Peterson, a clinical psychologist and self-help author, has demonstrated a consistent pattern of overreaching into areas of research which he has no particular competency in (notably history/historiography, critical theory, feminist theory, sociology, and sociobiology). For example, he’s claimed in his book and elsewhere that minor physiological overlap between humans and lobsters constitutes proof that “Male Dominance Hierarchies” are biologically determined & immutable. It is this peculiarly conservative idea/worldview that Dr. Goncalves deconstructs in her article. If you wish to hear Peterson speak for himself, feel free to watch the video provided below :

Psychologist Jordan Peterson says Lobsters help to explain why human hierarchies exist — do they?

by Dr. Leonor Goncalves

“Hierarchies are everywhere. It is often argued that they are a social construct, invented to allow certain people (such as white men) to have power over others. But not everyone agrees. While promoting his new book, 12 Rules for Life: An Antidote to Chaos, psychology professor Jordan Peterson, of the University of Toronto, has sparked debate by arguing that hierarchies are in fact natural to some extent. Continue reading

#01: Remember How to Organize

How-To-Clean-And-Organize-Your-Room

Below is an abridged version of a scholarly essay by archaeologist/anthropologist, Dr. Carole Crumley. Professor Crumley writes extensively on historical ecology and the role of complex adaptive systems in the social sciences. Hopefully the ideas/concepts she presents on “Heterarchy” will be read, synthesized, and put to use by other analytically-minded activists/leftists who are searching for substantive, scientific arguments when confronting :

A) Reductionist and/or “vulgar” ideology generally.

B) The self-serving mythologies of capitalism, patriarchy, and exceptionalism specifically.

If you are more of an auditory learner, here is a short video summation of heterachy :

A full-text version can be found by clicking the article heading :

Remember How to Organize: Heterarchy Across Disciplines by Dr. Carole Crumley

“Complexity theory is the study of dynamic nonlinear systems, that is, systems that are not in equilibrium and do not act in a predictable manner. Its beginnings in the 1940s are closely entwined with World War II. Complexity theory was developed to address significant problems in the fields of cryptography, cybernetics, and computer design during and after the war. Today complexity forms a coherent subject, with applications in every field of study, finding particular utility when its principles are applied to the biophysical, dissipative system that is the planet Earth.  Continue reading