The Moment of Complexity

Yesterday I stopped by Avenue Books in the Elmwood, another independent bookseller unable to withstand the Borders/Barnes beast, and found a book I hadn't heard of, The Moment of Complexity: Emerging Network Culture by Mark C. Taylor. Wow!

I'm only up to page 28, but my head is already swimming. Taylor is a master synthesizer. He grabbed my attention from word one:

We are living in a moment of unprecedented complexity, when things are changing faster than our ability to comprehend them. This is a time of transition betwixt and between a period that seemed more stable and secure and a time when, many people hope, equilibrium will be restored. Awash in a sea of information that seems to have no meaning and bombarded by images and sounds transmitted by new media, many people have lost a sense of direction and purpose and long for security and stability. Stability, secruity, and equilibrium, however, can be deceptive, for they are but momentary eddies in an endlessly complex and turbulent flux. In the world that is emerging, the condition of complexity is as irreducible as it is inescapable. Whle the moment of complexity inevitably generates confusion and uncertainty, today's social, economic, political, and cultural transformations are also creating possibilites for apprehending ourselves in new ways. To understand our time, we must comprehend complexity, and to comprehend complexity, we must understand what makes this moment different from every other.

What distringuises the moment of complexity is not change as such but rather the acceleration of the rate of change. Everything moves faster and faster until speed becomes an end in itself.

Taylor's introduction rapidly brings up Derrida, Duchamp, Warhol, Mies van der Rohe, Robert Venturi, Frank Gehry, Foucault, Kant, Hegel, Claude Shannon, Norbert Weiner, John Holland, Stuart Kauffman, Murray Gell-Mann, Chuck CLose, Stephen Jay Gould, and Daniel Dennett. It's going to be quite a trick to meld these characters into a coherent story.

A back-of-the-book blurb by William Mitchell, Dean of MIT's School of Architecture and author of the delightful City of Bits, says "Somewhere inside Mark Taylor's head, worlds collide; Kant and Hegel run smack-bank into cyberspace. The result is an incandescent asteroid show of ideas."

Has anyone else here read this tome? Please leave a comment telling me what you think.


Posted by Jay Cross at January 14, 2004 08:57 PM | TrackBack
Comments

Jay

On the basis of your mouth-watering outline, this seems to be the sort of inspirational tome that should be on everyone's "must read" list. Consequently, I have just placed my order, and will look forward to a fruitful interchange of ideas.

Cheers,
Philip

Posted by: Philip Hart at January 15, 2004 05:30 AM

30 Poppy Lane
Berkeley, California 94708

1.510.528.3105 (office & cell)



Subscribe to this Blog

Enter your email address to subscribe. We vow never to share your information with anyone. No Spam.

Subscribe Unsubscribe

Reference Pages

Articles
Blogs
Building Community
CSS, Semantic Mark-Up, and codes
Design
First Principles
Glossary
How People Learn
Knowledge Management
Learning Links
Learning Standards
Making It Work (Implementing)
Metrics & ROI
Presentations
Psychology
Social Software
String theory
The eLearning Museum
Time
Visual Learning


Search


Our Infrequent Newsletter
Sign up for our sporadic newsletter.
Email:


Entries by category...

Blogging
Books
Collaboration
Customer care
Design
Emergent Learning
handbook
Jokes
Just Jay
Learning
Meta
Networking
Outbound
Recycled from Blogger
Ref
store
The Industry
Time
Visual
Workflow-based eLearning


Blogroll


Internet Time Group



© 2004 Internet Time Group



Click for Berkeley, California Forecast
Berkeley, California


Recent entries

New Blog
Blogger Experience, Housekeeping, Something New
Loosely Coupled
Above all
Demographics is destiny
Are you setting the bar high enough?
Virtual Apps
Aerobic Learning
Work as Video Game
Oracle and Macromedia, Sitting in a Tree
The Blogosphere
ASTD Silicon Valley
Performance Support
Kingsbridge Conference Center
First Post by Email
Transition
Inactive Blog
RSS Feed for New Site
Comment Spam
Testing ... testing ... 1...2..3
IT Doesn't Matter - Learning Does.
All blogging is political
Mutlimedia Learning
Damn, damn, double damn
Nonverbal impact?
The New Religion
Shhhhh.....
Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf! Wolf!
Business Process Management (2)
Really Big
Business Process Management Conference
WorkFLOW
Don't Lose a Common Sense: LISTEN
It's only natural
Gmail!
Go with the flow
Time Out for the Fair
Informal get-together in SF this Wednesday
Repetition, reverb, and echoes
Who Knows?
Ur-blogging
Cognitive Mapping
Push vs pull
The Big Picture on ROI
Art Break
TDF Finale
New Community of Practice Forming
Dropouts
More TDF04
Training Directors Forum 2004
A Rare One-Liner
PlaNetwork LIVE 2
PlaNetwork LIVE
ASTD 2004 Leftovers
Googlism
Worker Effectiveness Improvement, not KM
Upcoming Events
eLearning Effectiveness?
Jay's Talk at ASTD
Mintzberg & Cooperider
Lest ye forget
ASTD International Conference & Exposition 2004
Knowledge Tips
What is Workflow Learning?
ASTD msg 1 of n
Look out, it's Outlook
Collaboration at ASTD Next Week
Tell me a story
User indifference
Interdependence
The shortest presentation on metrics you will ever hear
Back to Blogger
Windows fixes
The Alchemy of Growth
Grab bag
Very loosely coupled
E-Learning from Practice to Profit
Robin Good kicks off Competitive Edge
China Bloggers
Sonoma Dreaming
Upcoming Events
Emergent Learning Forum: Simulations
'Lanta
The Best Things in Life Are Free
Metrics and Web Services
OpEd: ROI vs. Metrics
e-Merging e-Learning
Loosely Coupled
Search me
Exercise?