Dennis Wittrock

Feb 15, 2021

6 min read
Rise and shine!

Emergent Solutions for a World in Crisis

Showcasing Puzzle Pieces for a Hopeful Future


Firstly, let’s talk about movement itself. There is a pattern in evolution that indicates that there are two types of progress: a) incremental and b) quantum leaps. The former type accrues small evolutionary changes over time and steadily improves the design of the entity in question, while the latter occurs much more seldom and is the hallmark of radical and sweeping changes as well as complete paradigm shifts. It lifts the entire game onto a new level of complexity.

Houston, we’ve got a meta-crisis…

I don’t want to reiterate the complete rundown of the usual list of global problems we’re up against. Suffice it to say that collectively we’re in a crisis of crises, a meta-crisis of sorts, the mother of all crises, the “perfect storm” on a planetary level. Even an appropriate description of the problem-space greatly exceeds the cognitive capacities of any one single individual. Ironically, part of the meta-crisis is that our system of collective meaning-making is broken, our information ecology commons is poisoned by lies and half-truths, polarized and deeply fragmented so that even if we wanted to collaborate, it would be wickedly difficult to even arrive at a shared understanding of what exactly it is we are collectively facing. But in order to act swiftly and decisively as our state of crisis seems to demand of us, we would need to know on what and specify how.

The First Piece of the Puzzle: Ken Wilber’s Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP)

“Hyperobjects” require “simultracking”

Collaboration between disciplined seemed to occur haphazardly, without a concrete game plan. But problems like Global Warming are “hyper-objects”. No one discipline can hope to deal with them in isolation. Its many facets influence each other in myriad complex repercussions. Coordinated interdisciplinary research could unveil hidden patterns by simultaneously tracking different factors in different quadrants and zones — a practice Ken calls “simultracking” (I imagine AI-pattern recognition could help us here as well). In order to strategically use limited research resources, we need a f***ing game-plan. I am not saying IMP is the final answer, but having a map beats having no map at all on any given day of the week. So please folks, let’s take IMP into account, and let’s start to experiment with it. We might find that the coordination of methodologies enacts entire new fields of data beyond any one single discipline — data that could hold key insights for our most pressing issues.

The Other Puzzle Pieces

Part 1 — Introduction + The First Piece of the Puzzle: Ken Wilber’s Integral Methodological Pluralism (IMP)

To be continued…

Follow me on Medium and watch this space for more puzzle pieces. Meanwhile, please share your own gems of insight with the rest of us. Thanks!