Difference-Making from a Cybernetic Perspective: The Role of Listening and Its Circularities
This paper takes as a premise that listening (and its circularities) becomes an essential practice for making a difference in the world when taking a second-order cybernetic perspective and represents a critical concept in the design of a participative-dialogic society. The speaker-respondent circularity turns listening into a conversation. Participants set ego aside and explore new ways to be present. This perspective on listening and difference-making suggests an alternative approach to the uniquely human attribute called consciousness, from the current one characterized by purposiveness to one focused on presence. I claim that this idea of a desirable society is so foreign to prevailing ways of thinking about the world and how it works (and must work) that it would be condemned as “anarchist” if openly promoted, as it implies an alternative to the reward-oriented hierarchy approach to the design of economic and social systems that dominates corporate and governance structures world-wide. By advancing the idea anyway, I expect to make a difference. In particular, I propose the anarchist’s imperative: listen, think and design kinetically (in contrast to kinematically).