World(view) | 2327

Written down this way, world(view) suggests that the world is outside of – and much bigger – than any single perspective of it from within.

Full Show Notes: https://www.thejaymo.net/2023/08/13/301-2327-worldviews/

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Permanently moved is a personal podcast 301 seconds in length, written and recorded by @thejaymo


World(View)

Last year, Ross McElwain and I presented at the Incredible Machines Conference. The theme of the conference was β€˜The model is the Message’ and our talk was about β€˜Movement Between Models’. We spoke about what it means to move between or inside of nested world models. Moving from one online world, DAO, social network, or banking app etc, to the next. Each move between worlds requires individuals to rapidly orientate themselves to the new model. 

In my segment of the talk, I discussed how movement between  models isn’t merely a matter of understanding the technical aspects of the new world. But also the cultural norms, values, and behaviours associated with each space. Every techno-social system has both innate rules – its digital physics – and cultural norms. I described back in Episode 22-22 the failure result of unsuccessfully moving between models – you get Brainworms

Also related. Way back in Episode 19-32 I talked about Temporary Total Institutions. And concluded with brief proposal of developing better β€˜rituals of welcome’. 4 years later, that episode pretty much marks the beginning of the line thinking that’s in today’s episode 

Rituals of Welcome

I’ve recently been researching different methods used to introduce someone to a world model. Anthropological surveys about common structures of initiatory rituals across cultures. Best practices for initial orientation in LARP design. The design language of Haynes Manuals and more. I have yet to look at the academic writing I’ve found on how people informally  teach other people how to play card games – but I’m looking forward to it. 

One ritual of welcome we have all experienced is β€˜Onboarding’ in the β€˜world’ of work. In online worlds and video games we call the welcome ritual β€˜The Tutorial’.

Tutorials in modern games have two separate lineages – although we think both as being the same thing. One is the mechanical explanation of how to play the game – which button does what etc. The other evolved out of early online worlds and the need to communicate to new arrivals how they are expected to behave. In modern games even NPC’s have certain expectations around player behaviour.  

Worldview

Regardless of context; rituals of welcome facilitate the speedy adoption of a worldview. A ‘Worldview‘ is often used to describe the overall perspective from which one sees and interprets the world.

However, in the context of world running, I have been using it as a technical term. Referring to the limited first person perspective one assumes – or rather adopts – when they enter a techno-social system. I go into detail about this, and how D&D changed the world in my talk: Worlds A Walk-through.

Because I’m using the word worldview to mean a very specific thing, I’ve started writing it down as I have done in the title of the episode.

World(View)

This way of writing world(view), and the things it communicates, has quickly become integral to my recent client work. Particularly in a design fiction project I’m currently working on. Written down this way, world(view) suggests that the world is outside of – and much bigger – than any single perspective of it from within.

Worldviews, I.e. the perspective from which one sees and interprets the world are organic things. They develop over time and influence, and reflect, a persons cultural background.

World running World(views) on the other hand are perspectives inside of techno-social systems that can (and need to) be designed.

Designing World(views) and asking someone to adopt it for a period of time is a responsibility. It’s something that needs to be done with great care. I’ve been quite explicit in my writing and all my world running work that we need to treat people inside of worlds as real people. Not as players, not users, not creators, but people. 

However, I’ve found – at least in my research so far – that a lot has been written about people being in a game world. But much of it talks about designing the technical system around the avatar rather than the person playing.

This has prompted me to explore beyond traditional fields.

Person-Centred Systems Theory

One of the concepts I’ve been quite taken by is Person-centred systems theory. Developed in the early 90’s by German psychologist and psychotherapist JΓΌrgen Kriz.

At its core, person-centred systems theory is the acknowledgement that human beings are each at the centre of their own world. And have a necessary interest in each creating a meaningfully organised model of it from the incomprehensible complexity of the world around them.

PCS is a useful bridge between individuals and system design. The construction of a world(view) if you will. 

Whilst Kriz avoids strict definitions. He categorises the world’s complexity into four process levels.

  • Psychological
  • Interpersonal
  • Cultural
  • Bodily

Each process can interact in a horizontal and vertical manner with one another. An element of someone’s psychological processes for example can influence both the cultural and interpersonal levels. 

PCS also has some other useful concepts to World Runners like: Meaning attractors and Complex interactions. It’s all a bit complicated to explain right now at the end of an episode, but I’m excited to have come across this work. 

It seems to me that person-centred systems theory may be a good start. Useful for identifying what makes up an existing World(view) in techno-social systems and how one might design new ones.

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