“NETWORK MAN” – a Presentation
The Internet, tourism and immigration, satellite television, cosmopolitan cities: all these phenomena are converging to confront us with an unprecedented profusion of culture. This hodgepodge of philosophies, religions and lifestyles has lead to a juxtaposition of groups and milieus, each tending to shut itself off from the others. This has often resulted in crises of identity, and often in ideas of “cultural relativism” or simply skeptical indifference – which is an ironic accompaniment to the emergence of global complexity.
But can this mild tolerance last? Lacking fruitful contact, exchange and integration, are not our societies heading toward implosion?
At a time when man seems on the verge of abandoning himself to passive resignation, and to consider social and political evolution as inevitable and outside the sphere of his influence, this work takes into account the fantastic potentiality of the present. Nothing is inevitable. Our goal is to help bring about a realization that is resolutely optimistic and practical. Everyone is capable of consciously mastering his or her own cultural miscegenation, of gaining better self-understanding, of discovering new experiences, of becoming the influencer of his or her own destiny and of the orientation of the entire society.
Our intention here is to open up the way to a constructive confrontation between the myriads of discrete social worlds, so that different communities may avoid either embarking on a spiral of hatred or remaining in ignorance of each other.
This confrontation will first of all take place in the minds of a few ‘network men’, indefatigable explorers prepared to risk being destabilized in order to integrate contradictory viewpoints. They will become the creators of their own lives by consciously choosing from each field whatever they genuinely find acceptable.
In this way, we have real power, since each individual can initiate concrete action on a smaller or larger scale.
Here we present ways of doing this, both through means which already exist and through those still to become reality. All the ingredients for a revolutionary change in our awareness are here; what is missing are the catalysts – space-junctions, network-networks, etc. - and even a Charter which will allow these trends, as yet too scattered, to acknowledge each other’s existence.
Introduction – Towards a true society of communication
CHAPTER 1 Locating the challenges of planetary civilisation
Identical or identifying?
Overthrowing points of reference
Formidable simplifying factors
CHAPTER 2 Detecting information gaps
A shock example
Information not passed on
The top media
Everyone to his own reality – the ‘pluriverse’
CHAPTER 3 Grasping the dynamics of choice…..34
What our opinions depend
The importance of values
Foundations of dialogue
Mr Average discovers the world
CHAPTER 4 Confronting ideas with reality
Is politics blind?
Weighing up the effects of our actions
The end of closed systems
How an ideology functions
Thought, the servant of the passions?
Increasing our frames of reference
Skepticism and dogmatism
Rehabilitating intellectual demands
CHAPTER 5 Thinking in complex terms
Living with uncertainty
The provisional truths of science
The certainties of philosophy
Should we rid ourselves of beliefs?
Constructing complex thought-forms
Practical files: How to assume control of our lives
Practical file 1: Beginning a research project
Practical file 2: Encountering someone involved in society
Practical file 3: Opening our lives to new experiences
Practical file 4: Re-learning how to debate
Practical file 5: Arguing with precision
Practical file 6: Analysing critically
Practical file 7: Assessing our research
CHAPTER 6 Mobilising our power
A gigantic society – more power to the individual
Personal action and group change
Information, the key to power
CHAPTER 7 Creating forums for change………..97
New communication zones
Breaking down barriers
How to remove barriers
Discussing initiatives emanating from the people
CHAPTER 8 Experimenting with decompartmentalization
A world of possibility
The Connection network
CHAPTER 9 Thinking collectively
The Internet – opportunity or quagmire?
A methodical, open forum
Structure and functioning
The Institute for Philosophical Research
CHAPTER 10 Opening up the school A closed milieu
Opening up to the world
Wisdom, the goal of education
CHAPTER 11 Engaging in genuine dialogue A vicious circle
Discussion and group development
A new approach
CHAPTER 12 Education for the 21st century individual
Making these teaching units a reality
The point of the project and its aims
Practical files: How to act as network-individuals
Practical file 8: Creating a network
Practical file 9: Making up a network of groups
Practical file 10: Stimulating large-scale action
Practical file 11: Thinking collectively
Practical file 12: Education and training
Conclusion: Using complex thought to foster individual action
Realisation 1: Recognizing what we don’t know
Realization 2: Contradictory truths
Realization 3: We have the power
An open mind
Expressing ourselves politically
A suggested Charter……………………………………………………………….155