The current endeavour of emergent self-organization within the webs of distributed actors may be read as a reframing of our language patterns. Which we use to describe our everyday.
Open, Social and Distributed Networks have become prevailent (self-)descriptions of civic initiatives. These terms tend to sound meaningless, if we use them too often in too diverging contexts that only loosely relate.
A sustaining grammar whose expressions don't lack the processuality nor adaptiveness of today's coalitions is yet to be found. Whilst we stick to Ockham's Razor and sharpen our words, therefore our thoughts and modes of interaction, appropriate metaphors for uncertain and slippery topics like division of labour may already even still hide inside our ethymological legacy.
Understanding (read analysing; deconstructing) the epistemological history of the descriptors for social organization is then the preferred way to approach human's collective self-awareness. The chance for a creatively crafted reconstruction lies therein.
An Organization is a legal body that maintains a budget and uses it for its prescribed goals. But Organization is also the rational process of any preparation. Ongoing learning and doing are facilitated by canonical methods and experimental approaches.
Both interpretations of the term share the social aspect, that interaction will be and can only be between a plurality of people. Interestingly predictability is the strength of the more formalized, where spontaneous reallocations serve as a source of creativity in pseudo-chaotic forms.
Perceiving the patterns once they change can be a hard task, especially while switching between contexts. Privacy-aware federation of disperse activity flows and qualitative criticisim in asynchronous, non face-to-face environments remain the key threats to hyperlocal communities.
There is something else to it. The way we organize our time. Calendars and timely views on our interaction usually don't correlate with the content and artefacts we produce. They are maintained individually and independently. The deadline narrative then brings intermediary results together and aims at producing coherent contexts.
Linear time is the basic denominator for synchronization with others. As our environments enable more and more exchange asynchronically, the tool of a calendar-based agenda, a book or virtual diagrammatic representation of days, weeks and months, cannot cope with the multi-layered scopes and quickly switching realities of digital labour. Plus, truly sustainable, long-term projections of open-ended processes are still scarce to be found in transparent self-organization.
But if we can't track the evolution of our expectations of the future, how are we about to explain ourselves what we are collectively working on?
The political endeavours we pursuit volunteer in giving stable backgrounds and patient anticipation to action. A long-term oriented, slow, but purposeful, Agenda might help to create qualitative targets to strive for. Collective imaginations that take their time to arise, instead of running after the next hype. Because at a point in time someone will demand an answer from us, why we failed so often in aligning our community's goals with the common good. Because we didn't enter the critical discourse that we aimed to define.
Only if we constantly reevaluate our concepts can our actions benefit from the lessons of the past.