Metanoietic Consciousness

We have been searching for a name – a name that we could use to claim meaning around an understanding. An understanding of a new way of thinking – a new consciousness, that which we now call _metanoietic consciousness_.

'Metanoietic' is derived from the Greek word 'metanoia', a word that identifies our unique human superpower – that of being able to reimagine.

Alan Kay talked about a "higher level of thinking" – something he sought to unleash for programmers with Smalltalk. A conscousness that was hinted at in the demo he gave at his Turing Award Lecture where he talked about Fence after Fence.

A consciousness sensed in the emergent order of Alexander's 15 Properties and in the nature of abstract meaning-making of lambda calculus.

As Ward recently reminded me, _The Dayton Experiment_ is about more than education and I didn’t know if I could pull it off.

As I worked with him and peered into the writings of Kay and Jorge Borges, I glimpsed something radically different in their thinking that I sensed might illuminate the life-giving essence of agile I sought to understand and introduce to educators.

It was not Borges’ short story _The Garden of Forking Paths_ that most intrigued me – that which inspired hypertext – but _The Aleph,_ a story published five years later.

There Borges introduces the potential of spatial non-linear thought, something that illuminates a new consciousness that unleashes new creative possibility.

Perhaps this was the same thinking that Kay used when he conceptualized Smalltalk – the software language that unleashed the creative potential of the personal computer. And that which Ward used when he helped launch the agile movement for software developers and when he developed the federated wiki, the groundbreaking hypertext platform used to write my book.

The challenge I faced with the book was the same one they did: how to explain this understanding to others. I know Ward has struggled, as has Kay. I assume, by the relative obscurity of Borge’s story, he, too, struggled. Words fail, for they become mere shadows projected on the wall. How might one explain color to someone who is colorblind?

So this book was a humble attempt to introduce a new level of thought to those coming from a Cartesian Mindset. To move from linear to non-linear thinking, where _space, relationship, and patterns_ illuminate a different meaning-making consciousness.

My book starts with a linear story, as that is how we are wired to hear stories. _The Story_ is told through containers: each section has a label and copy that holds the meaning of that label. The pattern begins: idea, meaning, idea, meaning forming one meaning container after the next.

Then I introduce concepts that might spark curiosity. I entice the reader with short footnotes in the hope that the curious venture into _The Garden_.

Gardens: fecund images in our common mind – images that go back to Borges, back to Coleridge, to _The Romance of the Rose_. Back to _Psyche and Eros_, back to the Garden of Eden, back to the original Persian gardens of Zoroaster that held at their center the wellspring of the sacred – that chasm from which a mysterious spirit flows – what Coleridge called the sacred river Alph in his poem Kubla Khan.

My hope is that as the reader enters _The Garden_, their curiosity leads them on – a hummingbird flitting from flower to flower.

As they do so in this _space_, _relationships_ and _patterns_ form in a magical Monadic Vortex from which new meaning emerges: their meaning.

Kids’ minds are much more elastic than ours and, as children of the web, non-linear thinking feels far more natural. We adults, however, often struggle. Becoming elastic once again is challenging but, I believe, possible if we are curious enough.

Which leads us back to delight that inspires our curiosity. What might we discover?

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