Introduction to the #NewMacy sessions at RSD11
#NewMacy emerged in March 2020 as the pandemic of COVID became the newest global wicked challenge. Since then, little has changed in the fights against pandemics of biology and technology, racism and structural inequities, environment and economics. We embrace the timespan of RSD11 as “the long now” in recognition that these systemic challenges require new scales of effort and expectation across generations. We invoke the original Macy Meetings, which arose from a recognition that understanding purposive systems would be essential for addressing the failures of WWII. In the 21st century, #NewMacy catalyzes conversations for action across disciplines, geographies, and generations through systemic principles, processes, and communities. #NewMacy creates conditions for enacting productive responses among individuals and communities that bring about change in the near-term while planning for and committing to the time span required to effect lasting change.
Our current focus is a new framing for “ontogenesis,” specifically that of developing new ways of becoming. To survive in a changing world, we must embrace resilience in lieu of security, interpreted as constancy. Hence we substitute ontogenetic resilience as our framing intention—and Cybernetics as key.
How might we practice ontogenetic resilience? We begin by embracing the human as the basic unit of change. Conversation is the unifying process. We adopt a structure of themed and design-led “Studios” that are explorations of ontogenetic principles. These Studios identify cultural sites where ontogenetic resilience is needed and where we may pursue inclusive and recursive modes of experimentation. The purpose of the #NewMacy Studio construct is to enable deep participation through activities such as prototyping, play, exploration, enactment, and improvisation. The following Studios were held at RSD11 to enact conversations for action across the middle days of the symposium:
- Radiant Circles — Cybernetic Musings on Resonant Forms
- Pandemic of “Today’s AI”
- Art as Steersmanship
- “Panarchy” as a Sense Making Tool
- Cultural Premises, Conscious Purpose, and Design
- Prototyping Conversation
After the Studios, we gathered for a final conversation to consider: What’s next? How do we grow into an increasingly inclusive ecosystem of Studios? What new, vital activities will we design? The dialogue, collaboration, and matchmaking performed in this session serve as the means for a recursive process of integration and synthesis directed toward ongoing, empathetic, intelligent, and sustainable action.
Keywords: Pandemics, wicked challenges, second-order cybernetics, systemic change, ontological security, conversation, ontogenetic resilience, recursive feedback.
Contributors: Pille Bunnell, Carlos Castellanos, Damian Chapman, Kate Doyle, Xiao Zoe Fang, Mikal Giancola, Michael Lieber, TJ McLeish, Paul Pangaro, Eve Pinsker, Eryk Salvaggio, Larry Richards, Fred Steier, Mark Sullivan, and Claudia Westermann
About #NewMacy #RSD11
RSD11 and #NewMacy present a track dedicated to catalyzing conversations for action across disciplines, geographies, and generations through systemic principles, processes, and communities. #NewMacy creates conditions for enacting productive responses among individuals and communities that bring about change in the near term while planning for and committing to the timespan required to effect lasting change. The current focus is a new framing for “ontogenesis,” specifically that of developing new ways of becoming. To survive in a changing world, we must embrace resilience in lieu of security, interpreted as constancy. Hence, #NewMacy substitutes ontogenetic resilience as the framing intention — and Cybernetics as key.
Prepared by NewMacy. Published on: Aug 22, 2022. URL: https://newmacy.pubpub.org/pub/rsd11-proposal. License: Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License (CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0).
Editor's Note: Minor line edits and formatting for consistency with RSDsymposium.org. The original version is below.