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Why we should read Rosi Braidotti

At MetaCAugs we engage in a foresight thinking: we try to detect signals about possible futures in collaboration and we actively try to build a future where people can engage into peer to peer learning.

In futures thinking it’s important to have a flexible mind. There are exercises for that, like counterfactual storytelling – e.g. you reconstruct your day but you imagine the consequences of having made other choices than you actually did.

Another way to flex your mind is philosophy. It helps us challenge presuppositions which are often implicit. What is a human? What is the place of humans in the universe? What is humanism or secular thinking all about?

Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci (Wikimedia Commons, picture Luc Viatour / https://Lucnix.be)

The Vitruvian Man by Leonardo da Vinci symbolizes the upcoming Humanism in Europe with its universal values.

Authors such as Rosi Braidotti point out how the image shows us something very significative: the Man is a male, able-bodied, European and white. He probably was straight, while da Vinci probably was not. In other words, the image shows us that the Humanist movement was not that universal at all.

Braidotti explains the impact of feminism, anti-racism and – colonialism and the environmental movement on philosophy and Humanism critique. She redefines the human in relation to the other inhabitants of Earth, to matter and machines.

Braidotti takes the technological mediation very serious in her thinking and that is one of the reasons why I think she is particularly interesting. One of her subjects is also community building. As she writes in The Posthuman, one of her most important books:

“In my own work, I define the critical posthuman subject within an eco-philosophy of multiple belongings, as a relational subject constituted in and by multiplicity, that is to say a subject that works across differences and is also internally differentiated, but still grounded and accountable. Poshuman subjectivity expresses an embodied and embedded and hence partial form of accountability, based on a strong sense of collectivity, relationality and hence community building.”

There is a lot to be said here and we could think deeper about which technologies are especially relevant in this context. It’s at least what I would like to investigate and I hope others will join me!

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MetaCAugs

MetaCAugs: Why We Blog


MetaCAugs is an informal and international group experimenting with peer-based learning and production. We try out various tools and develop methods and patterns to enhance peer learning and peer production. You can read more about us on our wiki. Just know that we are, as one of our regular participants says, “a fluid group and always open to contribution”.

This blog is a space for the individual voices of the group. The social media scholar Howard Rheingold helped me understand the difference between blogs and forums. For him blogs allow each person to talk about whatever he or she individually wants to talk about. Forums – we have a Discourse forum – have a different function, they are more the voice of a group trying to achieve understanding. Rheingold explaining this in a blog post:

A forum, also known as a message board, bbs, or conferencing system, affords asynchronous, many-to-many, multimedia discussions for large groups of people over long periods of time from weeks to decades. 

I might add that messaging (think Telegram, WhatsApp, Discord, Slack, Mattermost… ) is in the context of our group more a place to signal new things. This is important to us since MetaCAugs is also a signal group using signals as building blocks for our foresight practice.

The last three links bring you to another kind of wiki, a ‘smallest federated wiki‘. It’s different from MediaWiki (the technology used by Wikipedia). It shows various columns right next to each other and allows for very easy forking and re-using of content. It’s an interesting instrument to develop various points of view on an issue, while MediaWiki tends toward a consensus view. In our group we experiment with both styles.

To conclude, I hope that our blog space here will allow the MetaCAugs participants to tell us more about their individual projects and opinions. I personally sure will do just that.

Roland Legrand