"The Universe is made up of stories, not atoms."
The stories we tell ourselves about the cosmos shape our experiences of reality. We interpret our experiences through ever-shifting lenses of enculturation, embodiment, and enaction, which continually shape the explanatory maps and narratives we create to account for the nature of existence. Recognizing our unique perspectives, as well as how they might be expanded, requires identifying the influences and assumptions within which they are enmeshed. While language can provide conceptual descriptors of these processes, sensuous experience can reveal the more immediate role played by perception in the shaping of our understanding and intuitions.
The Transcalar Imaginary refers to the ever-shifting worlds we construct within our individual and collective minds' eye, imagining connections between everyday experience and realms beyond immediate, unaided perception. These visions are the result of the dynamic interplay between empirical observations, ecological contexts, and creative representations of phenomena, reinforcing the cultural narratives that inform how we make sense of reality. The extent to which we can recognize patterns and traverse scales of time, space, and frequency within our imaginations greatly influences our abilities to anticipate and adapt to changing environments - a skill that has been essential for human evolution.
But if, as Alan Watts suggested, we are apertures through which the Universe is looking at itself, it seems that the capacities afforded by our self-conscious cognitive abilities are increasingly paradoxical. For instance, the scientific revolution was instigated by the enhanced ability to envision the world from an "objective" god's eye view from outside of the realm of immediate experience. However, as the tendency to perceive the human intellect as being separate from nature has been pushed to its logical extreme, our sense of the "real" universe has all but been abstracted into a remote, mathematical oblivion. As physicists construct elaborate machines to search for elusive subatomic particles to account for "dark" forces that apparently permeate the vast cosmos, the accelerating destabilization of the biosphere due to human activity is providing stark reminders that our well-being is intimately connected to the regenerative capacity of our home planet's ecosystems. And even as scientific inquiries reveal the mysteries of creation at an unprecedented pace, our collective imagination continues to be constrained by a global economic system that emphasizes the importance of quarterly profits over all else.
Fortunately, the ongoing dissolution of boundaries between the arts, sciences, and humanities are sounding the alarm to wake us up from the hypnotic reductionist story of the modern era. Instead of being entranced by the myths of objective observers, rational actors, and the need for infinite growth, new possibilities are emerging from the accelerated capacity for hyper-networked collaboration. By transcending the limiting confines of hyperspecialized and myopic perspectives, we seem to have the opportunity to more fully realize our potential as symbiotic participants within a sentient and interdependent cosmos.
This collection of sites is an invitation to explore the ways in which our expanded capacity to collectively share our stories and perspectives are informing new ways of seeing, knowing, and acting in the world. But hopefully this is more than an intellectual exercise. Once your Transcalar Imaginary is sufficiently exercised, hop on over to http://www.scoop.it/t/design-science to see how the recurring principles and successful habits of the cosmos are being intentionally applied to design a world that works for 100% of humanity.