On creating possibilities together (What if this is part of hospitality?)

Emergent strategies are ways for humans to practice complexity and grow the future through relatively simple interactions. This juxtaposition of emergence and strategy was what made the most sense to me when I was trying to explain the kind of leadership I see in Octavia’s books. It isn’t just that her protagonists are Black, female, or young leaders….Or maybe it is, because of all those things: who leads matters. But what I noticed is that her leaders are adaptive—riding change like dolphins ride the ocean. Adaptive but also intentional, like migrating birds who know how to get where they’re going even when a storm pushes them a hundred miles off course. Humans? Some of us are surviving, flowing, flocking—but some of us are trying to imagine were we are going as we fly. That is radical imagination ... Octavia was concerned with scale—understanding what happens at the interpersonal level is a way to understand the whole of society. In many of her books, she shows us how radical ideas spread through conversation, questions, one to one interactions. Social movements right now are also fractal, practicing at a small scale what we most want to see at the universal level. No more growth or scaling up before actually learning through experience. Rather than narrowing into one path forward, Octavia’s leaders were creating more and more possibilities. Not one perfect path forward, but an abundance of futures, of ways to manage resources together, to be brilliant together.

  • Mandy Brown's snippets from Adrienne Marree Brown's Emergent Strategy on Octavia Butler's Parable of the Sower
Change is constant

On the longevity of platforms, and to consider having a limited time frame in mind

I’ve become more and more interested in this idea that a way to prevent falling into the need to constantly reproduce limited forms of success in projects is just to say; ‘it’s going to end when it meets x criteria or once y amount of time passes.’ We could set up degrees that run for 3 years, do a project and then close them instead of having to re-justify them for the changing world all the time. It reframes disciplinary arguments around the specifics of what’s going on right now in the world. Sometimes, the party is meant to stop and that’s fine. Go home, sleep it off, come back the next day and do something new and fun. I doubt we’ll see this happen with social networks though because the logics of capitalism (limitless growth) run up against the idea that things are meant to come to an end. I can’t imagine securing VC funding for a new technology that’s meant to stop. Are there any examples? Maybe pharmaceuticals? If you’re going to eradicate a disease then there’s going to be a criteria for the successful implementation of the drug; when there’s no more of that disease. The alternative then to sustainable or time-limited social platforms is to have ones that allow the users to select the ways they socialise. What features, limitations and times they want to use rather than the pressure of keeping up with new gimmicks.

Box 029: Sometimes the party was meant …