The apithology community recently marked a milestone on its extended journey. This was the celebration of the 5000th day of practice since apithology was formed as a discipline. The inquiry that we did surrounding the day caused me to reflect on generative learning within apithology and the differences not obvious to those unfamiliar with this field.
While there are so many things we’d like to tell you about this, perhaps five gentle observations from this recent celebration, might give some vivid illustrations of some of apithology’s distinctiveness.
Reflection #1: Generativity (not Repetition)
In human life ordinarily, milestones like birthdays and memorials occur simply by the passage of time. When an anniversary occurs, we use the date to re-remember a presence forgotten, made absent, or neglected. Lest we forget.
In apithology practice, the anniversary dates are a day to do the opposite. To relax from the generative tension and reside in the reflection. Instead of celebrating a marriage, a child’s years, or a project’s completion by a ritual once per year or event, the celebration is continuous, and the appreciation with reflection, is periodic.
Apithology celebrates on 24 June 2018, not 5000 days of repetition, but its 5000th day of continuous generative practice. Instead of the default passage of time vanished, it is a recalling of the fullness of continuous attentive presence. We see the grains at the bottom of the hourglass as part of the vessel of fullness (and the movement within it).
Reflection #2: Consistency (not Constancy)
In the apithology of generative learning time moves differently. Instead of each day being equal, each period of time changes in potential. The period of 5000 days is 7.2 million minutes, or 423 million seconds. A first year’s minute is different to a thirteenth year minute. Instead of each year, each cohort, each class, each learning re-occurring with constancy, there is something happening to the capacity for learning, which changes generatively – and insistently.
This is why whenever one begins learning apithology is when the commencement of generative trajectory begins. The territory covered changes apithologically. When knowing is held in this way consistently, there is a ratio change to the learning capacity. Time passing is periodic, but change itself is no longer linear. The dance quickens as the jazz quintet warms up to the rhythm.
Reflection #3: Sanctity (not Familiarity)
There is a tension at present, in media open to all audiences, requiring that all new learning be made easy, simple and convenient. We call these in apithology the ‘Three Deceptives’, recognising that learning needs discernment (not infographics). Apithagogy sees how simple concepts are simple – and complex concepts are complex, with prior learning enabling later gainings. By making the novel familiar there is the chance the learner won’t even notice the opportunity of the learning that is passing before them presently.
In generative learning there is naturally less of an emphasis on the necessity for unlearning or re-learning. It is preferable that something newly met is seen as profound and unfathomable, rather than it being dismissed and never re-visited. There is a caring patience in waiting for the actual questions to become more real and apparent. Ideas are like small living beings to be nurtured, not familiar objects to be used once and discarded.
Reflection #4: Potentiation (not Continuation)
There is a present cultural trend toward learning as experimentation. This manifests as a preference for trial and error, safe-fails, design-hacks, and action first followed by inquiry second. We seek to see some change in the system of which we are part by intervention, and hope by this action to gain recognitions by changes observed. The assumption is there will always be more opportunity to try again, with more or less efficacy, and to continue this indefinitely.
In a ‘generativist’ ontology stores of resilience capital are looked at differently. They are not finite, limited or scarce – because there is an abundance premise. However, they are also considered precious. This is because what a capacity enables, is not a repeat opportunity (i.e. we may try continuously until we succeed or fail), rather it is the potential for other potentials. Each opportunity is seen for what it enables, not what can be learned if what is hoped for does (or does not) occur. As we cut the cloth of life from the fabric of experience, some will dress in tatters, and others appear resplendent.
Reflection #5: Anticipation (not Expectation)
One of the most enjoyable aspects of working in generative systems, is that the joys experienced prompt our continued contribution, yet give no indication of what to expect in the next cycle of iteration. In watching a child develop a distinctive personality, there is a uniqueness that surprises daily. If we knew the successful conclusion and so imposed this as an expectation, there is mostly room for disappointment, or at best, contrivance to an outcome.
In apithology, there is actually a prospect that what results is more than can be expected. We find often what is ordinarily hoped for is an absence of failure, with outcomes at best coming up to some set marker. In the expressions of generative coherence, one of the combinations possible is the conscious formation of something remarkable and unexpected. While there are models and modalities and frames of reference to guide generative learning in apithology practice, to populate them requires a novel context, filled with meaningfulness. Imagine the passage of days on a sailing ship, where all have been on an ocean of the same essence, yet not one day has been like any other.
Each of these distinctions may seem sound and quite reasonable. The reason they are truly interesting is because apithology is interested in the success of each human, within the succession of a learning humanity. In apithagogy the learning that occurs happens for individuals, but it is learning itself, that is enhanced by each increase.
When we do our learning with repetition, constancy, familiarity, continuation and expectation we become astute scientists of the known and new knowledge. Our knowing engenders new knowing as an aggregation and extension of all we are and have become. This may be done in the laboratory, in the field, in the corridors, or in virtual reality – and with each accretion comes a sense of reliable self-surety.
The practice of humanity learning seeks more for its participants. In beginning with the assumption of generativity, consistency, sanctity, potentiation and anticipation no-one can tell you what will be the resultant. They can though be definite that its quality will be distinctive.
I guess that is why for the last 5000 days, constituting 120,000 hours of continuous practice, apithology has inquired into what we don’t know individually, and what we might come to know only now in this moment, just barely as a humanity.
Rather than share this with you in a way that is easy, simple and convenient, there is now a potential pathway into what is becoming clearly … learning more memorable, remarkable and significant.
© willvarey (2018)