Panoptical stories

panoptic |paˈnäptik|
showing or seeing the whole at one view : a panoptic aerial view.
ORIGIN early 19th cent.: from Greek panoptos ‘seen by all,’ from panoptēs ‘all-seeing’ + -ic .

definitions, images, stories for our walls

In 1962, Thomas Kuhn wrote The Structure of Scientific Revolution, and fathered, defined and popularized the concept of "paradigm shift" (p.10). Kuhn argues that scientific advancement is not evolutionary, but rather is a "series of peaceful interludes punctuated by intellectually violent revolutions", and in those revolutions "one conceptual world view is replaced by another".

Think of a Paradigm Shift as a change from one way of thinking to another. It's a revolution, a transformation, a sort of metamorphosis. It just does not happen, but rather it is driven by agents of change.

It is nearly impossible to see/accept another paradigm when you are firmly standing in another one.

Kuhn used the duck-rabbit optical illusion to demonstrate the way in which a paradigm shift could cause one to see the same information in an entirely different way.


The paradigm, in Kuhn's view, is not simply the current theory, but the entire worldview in which it exists, and all of the implications that come with it.

When enough significant anomalies have accrued against a current paradigm, the scientific discipline is thrown into a state of crisis, according to Kuhn. During this crisis, new ideas, perhaps ones previously discarded, are tried. Eventually a new paradigm is formed, which gains its own new followers, and an intellectual "battle" takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm.

Perhaps the greatest barrier to a paradigm shift , in some cases, is the reality of paradigm paralysis, the inability or refusal to see beyond the current models of thinking [2]. This is similar to what Psychologists term Confirmation bias.

Childhood’s End – Living within an advanced paradigm
(The following quote can be posted with highlights written/illustrated on the walls.)

"The average working week was now twenty hours … but those twenty hours were no sinecure. There was little work left of a routine, mechanical nature. Men's minds were too valuable to waste on tasks that a few thousand transistors, some photoelectric cells, and a cubic meter of printed circuits could perform. There were factories that ran for weeks without being visited by a single human being. Men were needed for trouble-shooting, for making decisions, for planning new enterprises. The robots did the rest.

The existence of so much leisure would have created tremendous problems a century before. Education had overcome most of these, for a well-stocked mind is safe from boredom. The general standard of culture was at a level which would have once seemed fantastic. There was no evidence that the intelligence of the human race had improved, but for the first time everyone was given the fullest opportunity of using what brain he had…

People could indulge in such whims, because they had both the time and the money. The abolition of armed forces had at once doubled the world's effective wealthy, and increased production had done the rest. As a result, it was difficult to compare the standard of living of twenty-first century man with that of any of his predecessors. Everything was so cheap that the necessities of life were provided free, provided as a public service by the community, as the roads, water, street lighting, and drainage had once been. A man could travel anywhere he pleased, eat whatever food he fancied without handing over any money. He had earned the right to do this by being a productive member of the community.

There were, of course, some drones, but the number of people sufficiently strong-willed to indulge in a life of complete idleness is much smaller than is generally supposed. Supporting such parasites was considerably less of a burden than providing for the armies of ticket collectors, shop assistants, bank clerks, stockbrokers, and so forth, whose main function, when one took the global point of view, was to transfer items from one ledger to another."

Arthur Clarke,
Childhood's End, 1956

Anticipatory DesignBuckminister Fuller (one of our foremost process and product designers)

Anticipatory design is a conceptual framework for designing interactions that utilizes anticipation to make complex systems feel manageable and understandable. By blending relevant information from multiple systems into an anticipator’s immediate context, anticipatory design generates divergent, non-sequential, and context-specific information that extends the range of an anticipator’s curiosities.

Anticipators are context-oriented learners who make nimble decisions and have agency within social systems to simulate, role-play, and option-play anytime anywhere with anyone. They are inventors who learn by improvising in authentic contexts, as well as by shifting among complex systems in real-time through anticipatory designs. In this sense, every moment is a learning experience for self-knowing and sharing experiences.

Toward the end of Buckminster Fuller's last public speaking engagement on June 26, 1983 he said, "People often ask me what I want to be remembered for. I don't want to be remembered. I'm not doing what I do to be remembered. I do hope what I've been able to discover and get out on paper, printed, will be read, and the significance will be appreciated. But I don't care about them appreciating me doing it. I want the people to appreciate the significance of it. So they'll act that way."

And people often asked Buckminster Fuller just what exactly he was and did. Sometimes he would respond to the first part of the question with the now oft-quoted statement, "I am not a noun — I seem to be a verb." In answering the second part he would most importantly insist that he was not a specialist and would put forward his alternative, that he was a comprehensivist. Just as often he would refer to himself as a Design Scientist.

And so the phrase Comprehensive Anticipatory Design Science emerged as perhaps the generic description of the initiative of Bucky Fuller.

Trim Tabs
The engineer Buckminster Fuller is often cited for his use of trim tabs as a metaphor for leadership and personal empowerment. In the February 1972 issue of Playboy, Fuller said:

Something hit me very hard once, thinking about what one little man could do. Think of the Queen Mary — the whole ship goes by and then comes the rudder. And there's a tiny thing at the edge of the rudder called a trim tab.

It's a miniature rudder. Just moving the little trim tab builds a low pressure that pulls the rudder around. Takes almost no effort at all. So I said that the little individual can be a trim tab. Society thinks it's going right by you, that it's left you altogether. But if you're doing dynamic things mentally, the fact is that you can just put your foot out like that and the whole big ship of state is going to go.

So I said, call me Trim Tab.
Trim tabs are small surfaces connected to the trailing edge of a larger control surface on a boat or aircraft. The angle of the tab relative to the larger surface can be adjusted to null out hydro- or aero-dynamic forces and stabilise the boat or aircraft in a particular desired attitude without the need for the pilot to constantly apply a control force.
Changing the setting of a trim tab adjusts the neutral or resting position of a control surface (such as an elevator or rudder). As the desired position of a control surface changes (corresponding mainly to different speeds), an adjustable trim tab will allow the operator to reduce the manual force required to maintain that position — to zero, if used correctly.
Thus, the trim tab acts as a servo tab. Because the center of pressure of the trim tab is further away from the axis of rotation of the control surface than the center of pressure of the control surface, the moment generated by the tab can match the moment generated by the control surface. The position of the control surface on its axis will change until the moments from the control surface and the trim surface balance each other.

Use Matt’s 25 year scenario here as he was inspired by Bucky. It isn't that the map is right but that assumptions are put forth and a possible future created. The map is constantly updated as we cannot learn where our assumptions hold and must give way to something different.

Adapted lightly from Asimov’s Second Foundation
Consider a room… not just any room but one that holds the plan.… a bold plan to reduce the 30,000 years of expected galactic chaos and destruction to a mere 1000 years! A plan that if implemented would change the course of history and radically improve circumstances for all.

The room holds the prime radiant… a holographic image of a detailed plan that extends out and out through time.

The planners (designers) are called Speakers. Each is called to add cusp points/disruptive elements, etc. to the map. Each contribution is unique, not added at the end, but anywhere a Speaker saw a missing thought or possibility. This is how the map was updated.

The Speakers maintained the trunk of the plan. The trunk held the most fluid of ideas and possibilities … ideas that could be molded and shifted as reality revealed itself. Here the trunk did not mean compromise or staying in the middle, but rather for the best advantage of constantly being able to shift ideas toward best case.

In all the history of the plan there had been no personalization. It was rather a creation of all the speakers through time.

MG Taylor’s Radiant Room is so named after the “prime radiant.” Here people come together and collaboratively speak their thoughts and ideas. With each iteration the plan becomes bolder, richer, and moves towards best case.


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