Post By Professor Simon Bell
Making the Connection
Wikipedia suggests that ‘Nudge Theory’ “proposes positive reinforcement and indirect suggestions as ways to influence the behaviour and decision making of groups or individuals”. The problem seems to be that the reinforcement can work in any of a number of directions and some are surely not healthy.
Increasingly our experiences are mediated by the groups, teams, communities and associations we share. And, also increasingly, these groupings are online.
Recent experience in the polity of the USA and the UK (among others) indicates that groups of all kinds are being nudged in directions which may well not be healthy for wider society or even the sustainability of the groups in question.
Nudging has been weaponised.
At the Bayswater Institute we have a profound respect for groups and associations of all kinds and, deriving our inspiration from the work of Harold Bridger working at an earlier time of world hazard (the 1940s) we have developed ways for groups of all kinds to achieve wisdom in groups.
Wisdom in Groups, making use of Bridger’s ‘Double Task’, encourages groups to become GroupAware.
Here is a short, subliminal story which might provide a clue:
Welcome to M world
I live in M-World. You live in M-World too. In my M-World I don’t exist. In your M-World I exist but you don’t. In your M-World you don’t exist. I don’t meet me in my M-World and you don’t meet you in your M-World. But I meet you all the time and you regularly bump into me too.
We are strangers to ourselves in our M-Worlds. That is just the way of it.
When you and I are at our best with each other we leave our M-Worlds and come together for a while, we meet in another place. Let’s call it S-World. S-World is very, very similar to M-World. It is really, really close, closer than the hundredth of the width of a butterfly’s wing. You could not put a piece of paper between M-World and S-World. But they are so very, very different and they occupy very different places – they are an infinity apart.
In M-World I am isolated, my perspective is stranded to itself, my thoughts are my own and my journey is the journey of the solitary.
But, when we meet in S-World I am part of a community, my perspective is confronted and completed by yours and others, my thoughts are shared, and my journey is not so lonely.
The problem seems to be that S-World is hard to find. But is it?
Oddly people who need each other find each other effortlessly in S-World. All M-World separation disappears, the needy are united in an instant. When the need is great, in an instant they are all moved to and share in S-World.
But people, even really, really clever and talented people who do not want to need each other can never find S-World, not even if they are all together in the same room, sitting right next to each other for hours and hours and hours, looking right at each other. They remain in their M-Worlds where they do not even meet themselves.