FORWARD GUIDANCE ‘TRILEMMA’ – Precommitment controversy

FORWARD GUIDANCE ‘TRILEMMA’ – Precommitment controversy.

Recognize Perils – The Perils of Ignoring Ignorance

In H. G. Wells view knowledge is “unused and misapplied” so that policy makers are ill-equipped “to be aware of or fully appreciate” the knowledge available to solve their (our – Ed]. problems. He quotes John Maynard Keynes warning that they are “so ignorant that there is knowledge and of what knowledge is, that they do not understand that it matters.” All these problems are despite policy makers being “overworked”  and “overloaded with information”.

Wells blames “intellectual impatience” for “disastrously making discordance’s worse” due to what he calls a “particular spasmodic conception of the change needful.” Other commentators are cited blaming the content of education and the unorganised flood of information as being particularly limiting factors.

Learning to survive in harmony

from “Constructing the World Mind”

Can our society double up its mind-capacity? It must do so or die; and I can see no reason why it may not widen its consciousness of complex conditions far enough to escape wreck.” – Henry Adams, American educationalist [1838 – 1919]

H. G. Wells thought that the only way out of humanity’s seemingly headlong rush towards self-destruction was by inventing a global process of learning. It is for this reason that he set the goal of organising what he called a World Encyclopaedia. As we approach the Third Millennium the systemic social and environmental breakdown — the mass extinction of species — caused by human behavior, which Wells feared so much, appears to be just about to engulf the planet. It is as if here and now — in nearly our last moment — before the life-destroying process becomes irreversible that an opportunity is being presented for helpless, dispersed individuals to pool their knowledge in order to find a way out of our self-made predicament, or at least, as James Lovelock suggests, to pass on some useful knowledge to any survivors left after a cataclysm. The purpose of these pages is to carry on the work started by Wells in the 1930s by using them to create a group learning process focused on the subject of the World Mind itself. They are also a demonstration of how a systematic method of analysing and synthesising information, called Content Analysis, and a form of Tony Buzan’s Mindmapping (TM) can be used as fundamental tools in the actual construction of a World Mind which could learn fast enough to avert social and environmental catastrophe.

Organizing – Constructing a World Encyclopaedia

from “Constructing the World Mind”

A common, systematic global organization of the world’s knowledge is conceived by H. G. Wells as the only way for humanity to achieve a “common conception of a common purpose.” What he called the World Encyclopedia would, he said, act as a “clearing house of misunderstandings” without being subject to “narrowing dogmas,” while remaining open to “corrective criticism.” According to Wells, this new organ would clearly distinguish “bed rock fact” from visions, projects and theories, but would have an inevitable “bias” towards “organization, comparison, construction and creation”. In 1972 Manfred Kochen envisaged many such “organs” would emerge with the aim of creating a global community brain which he named WISDOM (Worldwide Intelligence Service for the Development of Omniscience in Mankind).

Harmonizing – In an “age of imperative construction”

from “Constructing the World Mind”

In the Critical Introduction, Adamantine’s editor, Alan Mayne links H. G. Wells World Brain concept with both John Amos Comenius citing his 1643 tract, Patterns of Universal Knowledge, proposing “an internal peace of minds inspired by a system of ideas and thinking”, and Pierre Teilhard de Chardin’s idea of the noosphere, described as “a network of ideas and thought covering the whole planet”. In H. G. Wells view, this “rehabilitation of thought and learning” would bring to the world a more “progressive, adaptable and recuperative” form of religious expression. In order to achieve what Wells called “the beginning of a new world”, first a “synthesis of knowledge” would have to be undertaken by evolving a “networking organism” (Mayne) or a “widespread world intelligence conscious of itself” (Wells). Wells believed it would be the “New world or nothing,” and expected people’s lives would be changed “essentially and irrevocably” in the face of what he saw as mankind’s “primary need in this age of imperative construction.”


Interactive processing – Emphasising the key concepts of cyberspace

from “Constructing the World Mind”

H. G. Wells emphasises the necessity to “fully recognise that communication is a two way process” and also the importance of effective presentation, while Alan Mayne calls the Brain a “social networking” organism or “nervous system.”


Knowledge Working – Learning to create an “intellectual authority”

from “Constructing the World Mind”

People whom H. G. Wells called “intellectual workers” would, he predicted, arise from the world’s universities and research institutions and cooperate in order to create an “intellectual authority” – consisting of a “network” linking centres of learning with the people of the world, whom he conceived as its “general intelligence”. The goals of Wells’ life long learning society are listed as: developing individual talents, fostering “each individual’s capacity for independent thinking” and providing the practical knowledge needed “for working and everyday life.” H. G. Wells predicts that knowledge workers will move from the assembly of knowledge to its digestion, with the ultimate objective of achieving wisdom, defined as having “a sense of knowing what to do, when handling complex problems that require understanding and effective decisions.”