Personal Blog of Joe Brewer

Archive for December, 2011|Monthly archive page

Strategic Frames of the Occupy Movement

In Global Integration, Human Behavior, Social Change on December 23, 2011 at 4:22 pm

I’ve been watching the Occupy Movement from a distance these last several months, intentionally standing back so that I might observe the larger web of patterns shaping its unfolding path.  In the early weeks of the movement, I wrote about the swarm behavior through which OWS grew quickly — seemingly out of nowhere — from a small group of activists in New York City to its global presence in thousands of locales.  Then I stepped back and waited to see what the future might hold for the movement.

And now, as we enter the new year, I would like to share how I see the changing landscape of strategic action as informed by my knowledge of political frames and complex pattern formation.  The ideas presented below are meant to help shed light on the underlying forces of change that have given Occupy its core strengths up till now and to prepare change makers around the world for larger impacts in 2012 and beyond. Continue reading “Strategic Frames of the Occupy Movement” »

Cultivating Innovation When The Future Is Unknowable

In Global Integration, Human Behavior, Social Change on December 16, 2011 at 1:40 pm

Sometimes what we think we know is more consequential than what we actually know.  As we nestled into our beds on the night of September 10th, 2001 most of us did not know that we would awaken to a terrorist attack that would unleash a decade of global unrest.  Few among us foresaw the meltdown of financial markets in late 2008.  And many were unable to believe it possible that we would witness the ascension of an African American to the White House that same year.

The world is a profoundly complex place where subtle dynamic patterns shape the trajectory of everything from personal relationships to emergent social order on a planetary scale.  How do we grapple with this complexity when the consequences of our ignorance are so severe?  This question cuts to the heart of our sensibilities about knowledge and reason.  What we don’t know is often shrouded in a mask of presumed knowledge — we tend to think we know much more than we actually do. Continue reading “Cultivating Innovation When The Future Is Unknowable” »

Where Rational Choice Theory Comes From

In Economic Patterns, Human Behavior on December 13, 2011 at 3:28 pm

Ever wonder how it came to pass that a global economic system was put in place that is so harmful to human well-being? In this video, I share the historic origins of rational choice theory (also known as the theory of rational action) and describe how cognitive science ultimately revealed its foundational prejudices. Hope this is helpful to you!

You can learn more about my work on the applications of cognitive science to political, economic, and philosophical issues at Cognitive Policy Works.

Oh and please forgive my mis-statement about the law of commutativity 6 minutes 30 seconds in… I meant to say that if preference for A is greater than B then preference for B cannot be greater than A. Psychology research in the 70’s showed that this math rule is violated by framing and priming effects.