Published on March 6, 2014
“CHANCE-SEEKING” Emanuele Bardone firstname.lastname@example.org http://chanceseeking.wordpress.com
Stating the problem.... “[...] I don’t want to know what this will mean after I have acted. I want to know what this means now that I’m going to act, now, at this very moment that I’m going to create reality – a new reality. What should I condemn? What should I edifice? Whom should I oppose? Whom should I love?” Altiero Spinelli Have you ever been in such a situation? How have you approached it?
A simple definition to begin with Chance-seeking concerns all those situations in which, while making decisions or choose this or that course of action, we inevitably have to face the uncertainty of future prospects - what we can only know in the form of notyet
Chance-seeking is both a methodological tool and an analytical one: As a methodological tool, it deals with how to face the problem As an analytical tool, it deals with how to describe this problem
Chance-seeking as a methodological tool Chance-seeking is not predictive; Chance-seeking is not explanatory. It’s exploratory
Chance-seeking is not predictive
A B M C D M E F M... What comes next? ...G H M I J M...
Pattern extrapolation “The first letter in every triad is next in the alphabet to the second letter in the proceeding triad, and the second letter in the triad is next in the alphabet to the first.” H.A. Simon, The Sciences of Artificial
A B M C D M E F M... ...G H M I J M pattern extrapolation looks backwards ...G H M I J M can be the right answer, if we assume that the future will be the same as the past.
But does the past repeat itself?
A B M C D M E F M... ...A random sequence (P S Y V J A) is more likely to be the right one
When we have to predict future happenings, we can only rely on what we know. And what we know always regards what is (the) past. If we can reasonably assume that future happenings - chance - will scarcely affect the future, then the past can be taken as representative of the future. If we don’t know what will affect future events (because that is in and of the future), then there’s no way that we can rely on prediction.
Every morning I wake up and I have breakfast with my wife. Is that something that I can reasonably assume?
How about learning?
Chance-seeking is not explanatory
The serendipitous story of the invention of Post-it Spencer Silver – the inventor of post-it note – at the time was working at 3M, a company producing tapes and other forms of glue. Silver’s goal was to try to develop a new adhesive, which had to be stronger than the one already available on the market. After some attempt Silver failed miserably: what he did was to develop not a superstrong adhesive, but a super-weak one. As a result, any object on which this super-weak adhesive was applied could stick to other objects, but at the same time it could easily be lifted off. For four years his invention was shelved until another 3M scientist named Arthur Fry found out the way to make use of it. Fry was part of the church’s choir and he realized that Silver’s invention could be used for creating markers which could keep his place in the hymnal without failing out of the book every now and then. Fry successfully applied Silver’s super weak adhesive to his markers and that was the first step towards one of the most useful inventions in the history of office equipment.
All single events in the Post-it story makes sense after events have occurred. We can explain every single bit but only retrospectively, by looking backward, in the light of what had happened later
Methodologically speaking, chance-seeking is an exploratory tool - a springboard type of instrument. It serves the purpose of looking forward
Chance-seeking as an analytical tool What do we do when our decisions and behavioral options are so much affected by the uncertainty of the future?
Some example of chance-seeking
Example number 1
Example number 2
Using a blog A student said: I’ve realized only quite recently that I can use my study blog to have a better vision of my study load. It’s easier to keep track of my progress and I can see how much time I have dedicated/am dedicating to each course. How did that happen?
How did that happen? The student is a freelance designer and illustrator blogging for promoting and selling her artwork I don’t like blogs that are not alive She decided to post all other assignments that were shared using other applications (email or dropbox). In December all university-related activities wrapped up, so no new assignments. She spent some time on extra-curricular activities. She "pushed blogging even further" and started posting "everything" related to her studies and university life.
How about you?
Chance seeking is tinkering on chance events C recognition an action is taken to amplify potentials of positive significance iterative circularity possibilities of unanticipated observations
Analytical features of chanceseeking No specific goal/plan Tinkering not planning Strategic Priority to Immediate and marginal concerns - no bird’s eye view No clear distinction between means and ends Purposive without being predictive The agent steps in the process along with his/her identity, values, knowledge and ignorance, experience and inexperience Focus on the capacity of acting in situation Affordances as latent opportunities Appropriative and re-appropriative response
Thank you! as chancePlease, share your experiences seekers! email@example.com http://chanceseeking.wordpress.com
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