Ecological Thinking Framework

A schema and an algorithm for ecological thinking aimed at the mindful use of attention and openness to other perspectives. This framework is being implemented in InfraNodus thinking tool, the schema was also published online on the Nodus Labs website and released as a set of cards that can be used for strategic self-guidance.

Ecological Thinking Framework is designed to promote variability in thinking: alternating between focus (connecting) and exploration (dispersing), zooming in (small scale), and zooming out (big scale), convergent and divergent thinking. Increased level of variability in thinking also makes a cognitive process more diverse and, thus, adaptable, robust, and resilient. On the individual scale, it may be used to modulate the limited attention resources. On the societal scale, it can be used as a counter-force to totalitarian ideologies, polarization, and filter bubbles.

The framework consists of four stages, which represent different stages of an ecological process. Each of these stages has certain benefits for a particular aspect of a system’s evolutionary development.

The first stage is the stage of growth. The general structure is dispersed however, observed at a small scale, a certain pattern emerges. It is biased and has one center that starts to expand rapidly. This process cannot go on forever as the resources are limited and unabridged growth would lead to extinction. So, at some point, we enter the second stage: saturation. It is characterized by a higher level of focus on the global scale, however, there is still a single center. A natural way to get through the saturation is to reorganize the systems and to start disrupting connections, operating at mid- and small-scale in order to rewire the system from the inside. This is the third stage: that of multi-scale reorganization usually associated with crisis. If reorganization is performed in a self-reflective, fractal way (which means similar variability across multiple scales), the level of adaptability for such system will be high and it will be able to get through the crisis and accumulate force for a new cycle of evolution or transformation. The fourth stage is the stage of disruption, which is an opportunity to reassemble itself into new multiplicities. It is then possible to zoom in and start the process again.

The stages of the process can be represented as images depicting dynamic multiple entities. We use this representation for body training and representing dynamics of social groups in the EightOS practice. For instance, each image can be used to train a certain type of resilience that best corresponds to the environment: e.g. the highly centralized structure can be used when it is necessary to apply strong force, while the dispersed visualization can be used for a period when it is necessary to be sensitive and open to external influences.

The advantage of this framework is that it can be represented in multiple terms: from conceptual and mathematical to visual and physical representation. This means that it can be integrated with a physical, cognitive, or technological system. One of the useful representations can be realized through a network structure (depicted in the images shown in this post). The network structure has four types, each corresponding to a particular state: biased, centralized, decentralized, and dispersed. We use this representation in InfraNodus software to guide a thought process, which is represented in InfraNodus through a network, through all these different stages, using AI to facilitate transitions between them.


November 1, 2022




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