Few days ago I finally decided to go ahead and turn my playful imagination into something a little more real. I changed my name in few platforms I use, messaging apps and zoom. Not much but I am exploring how that feels. From Ola into io. I am reducing letters, removing consonants, making myself smaller, more abstract and visual. A few days in but it feels interesting, I see how in the end such a change can be easier than it seems. A few people already called me that way even. Probably quite quickly, if I would want it, io could take over the space. This made me think of different distances that people around me have and how this would determine how quickly io reaches them. Close friends, family, my students are my closest connections, they already know. Those who only occasionally meet me will discover when we contact each other again. Some will never know the change. Remarkable that in online hangouts this transformation is immediate. You can chose any name you like and for people you met it was always like that. I was already proposing we make use of it more often. Changing your name from time to time, even on the zoom calls is a great psycho-technology to keep you awake, refreshed and crispy. Like doing laundry, put your favourite shirt in the washing machine and try something else for a day or two. Change will also energise others and trigger calibration processes. Perhaps, such an exercise would allow to bring up certain things that were invisible before but can be useful. I think you got the sense of my excitement and openness to what will this small intervention bring.
When I was thinking about names the notion of context came up. The name is an entry to additional information about the person and eventually allows for credibility and trust. If we take it away, together with it context disappears. You are only left with what you have in the moment. Your thoughts, emotions, looks and words. I feel that too much context can make us lazier and less engaged in the moment. The never-ending quest for context and nibbling on information nuggets takes us away from actual experience and also automatically away from each other. We all know those moments when in the middle of the conversation we reach to the phone to check wikipedia page to reinforce the dialogue with additional knowledge. But what is knowledge as we know it? I’d like to bring in the 4p epistemological model by John Vervaeke, an important remark - he is a genius, who maps out causes for the contemporary meaning crisis. Besides that, he proposes a brilliant way to expand our ways of knowing into more dimensions. He distinguishes four kinds of knowing: propositional, procedural, perspectival and participatory or respectively episteme, techne, noesis, and gnosis in ancient Greece terms.
Propositional, or episteme, is type of knowledge that predominates our culture. It relates to the idea of truth and manifests itself in the processing of facts. Verifying information to build a shared informational field. This knowing is closely related to language.
Procedural, or techne, is knowing that happens through practice, skilfulness and doing. The truth is pragmatic, it equips us with understanding how things work and how to make other things with this knowledge.
Perspectival, or noesis, knowing refers to knowing via embodied perception and awareness. This type of knowing is context specific and experienced in the moment in time. It is the ability to put ourselves in somebody else's shoes. It also allows us to see the world through multiple perspectives which is important if we want to widen our views and live in compassionate, loving and understanding world.
Last one is participatory, or gnosis, type of knowing which provides a larger place for us in a fundamental identity of the world. This knowledge is fuelled by our deeply rooted belonging and human connection. Being able to see our actions in relation to the global state of being is what allows for collective movement.
The main question is how to tap into all these enriching ways of knowing? Patters in thinking, biases and habits often stays in the way to fully engage and explore the potential that each moment holds within itself. My strategy is to perforate the solid skin of those