Epistemology has evolved via Web 2.0 (Wikipedia!) to entertain the departure from the classical perception of what is accepted as knowledge, to a collective perception of a shifting range of possibilities of knowing.
Inching back from my anxieties about social networking, I'm wondering about the positive possibilities it flags up for the whole issue of diversity.
If Diversity is a concept currently shaped by classical ways of knowing, by the human capacity of mind to encompass variations and label categories - to create order and the storage of retrievable information; and this is a task we are increasingly delegating to software programmes (which we currently attempt to construct in our own image), what will happen to our concept of diversity as we build the consensus-based creation that gives equal weight to facts, opinions and values?
What would happen:
If formal education embraced the epistemological changes that new technologies open windows on?
If we could be comfortable without the groups and categories, safe in the knowledge that nothing would get lost, nothing would slip through our fingers?
Would we still feel the same need to create the same hierarchies, impose the same value judgements?
If epistemological developments are allowed to shape our educational resources, increased storage and harvesting capacity could herald changes in the way we perceive and accept one another; in the way we understand or have a need for, the concept of diversity.
And would that concept flourish and evolve or become redundant?
Picking up dropped stitches
we gather the concepts
from our pasts and knit them,
the coat of many colours,
into the garment
that will clothe our future.
When it comes to fancy dress I think I make a pretty good Borg Queen. And if the conversation dries, I can always announce: 'Resistance is futile, you will be assimilated' - which brings me neatly to the question of integration and, whilst I'm stitching sculptures, my current concern: 'Will Integration kill Disability Arts?'
Are we only here for the interim between barbarian past and enlightened future?
Will the real or imagined possibility of being embraced and valued fragment any hopes of recognised cultural diversity?
When the barricades come down will we have anything left to say together?
But are we actually on the brink of this much hyped adventure?
And after Integration will it matter who tells our history?
Who knows? These thoughts wriggle around in my head while I stitch roots.
Have we given enough thought to what we actually do want? Before we get there, we need to have realistically explored the options; we need to have taken responsibility for our Culture and ensured it's visibility and accessibility.
There is no way forward without this: we should be the keepers and curators of our past, present and future. If one day we should morph into Them, we will need to do it on our terms.
Then again, it is possible that we are not actually heading for any kind of Integration at all; that some of us are just trying to hide amongst Them in an attempt to avoid persecution.
Kneel and I will knight you
for services to the
Kneel and I will rest this
edge upon your neck.
Symbol of a less enlightened
past; heavy on my frailty;
it falls to leave your head
rolling in the aisles.