Page 20 - MODES of EXPLANATION

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It is the need to anticipate and deal with such chains of actions, reactions, and sometimes
escalating actions that characterizes the “new economy.” Interconnections are the key puzzle
here, and those interconnections need to be taken into account when proffering an
explanation. The connections, the interweavings, the multiplicity of relationships and
interrelationships are the environment of the twenty-first century.
To explain well requires developing a talent for enabling coherence around you.
Notice that we said enabling – not creating, not demanding, but enabling. Coherence is about
acting in a manner consistent with who you are. Identity and action need to be consistent and
not in conflict. Coherence cannot be summoned on the spot. It cannot be created overnight.
However, when coherence is present, amazing things can happen. Coherence is the glue that
holds the organized entities (be they ant colonies or cities) together in their ecosystems and
renders them more ecologically fit for survival to the next generation. Coherence, from the
ecosystem perspective, is a vital contributor to sustainability.
So what does coherence mean for explanation? Coherence is the key to finding
simplicity in the complex world. In the non-sentient world of what we will call Science 1,
coherence consists of congruent agreement. However, such a definition fails to capture
coherence in the sentient world of people (part of the “anticipatory” sciences that we call
Science 2). The stories we tell shape the language we use. Together, the stories and the
language affect the way we interpret context. The context helps to shape the way we act. This
in turn affects the stories we tell, and so the interweaving continues, day in and day out.
When you act from coherence you do not need to rationalize, justify, elaborate, threaten,
pontificate, or filibuster – you just act. As is often claimed regarding the successful athlete
“in the zone,” actions that are rooted in coherence happen naturally. Coherence builds on
itself. It results from people feeling that the actions required of them are consistent with their
own sense of purpose and identity and that of the organization of which they are a part. We
know coherence when we have acted coherently. It is not for others to judge; they can only
ask us questions about it. The coherence comes in the acting.
Our goal for this book is to provide a coherent platform on which explanation – from
the many perspectives of both Sciences – can be discussed. We expect to be judged by the
discussions that ensue.
Naples, Florida and Iowa City, Iowa
May 2014
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