29 August 2014

Fields, Markets, Dialogue and the Empty Space Between Things That Defines Them

Systems realities emerge out of interaction. To understand them, you don't look to the parts but rather the interaction between those parts. The space between parts that defines those parts could be referred to as fields, markets, or dialogue. 

Here's something Einstein wrote that I think can be adapted for use in multiple spaces. 

"A new concept appeared in physics, the most important invention since Newton's time: the field. It needed great scientific imagination to realize that it is not the charges nor the particles but the field in the space between the charges and the particles that is essential for the description of physical phenomena."*

I wonder if this insight could be simply changed to describe economics, like this. 
"A new concept appeared in economics: the market. It needed great imagination to realize that it is not the institutions nor the individuals in them but the field in the space between institutions and individuals that is essential for the description of economic phenomena."

Or perhaps society could be defined like this.
“A new concept appeared in sociology: dialogue. It required great imagination to realize that it is not society or the individuals in it but the dialogue in the space between society and individuals that is essential for description of social phenomena.”

Individuals define their society and the way they interact but of course society defines individuals. You’ll never understand either without understanding both. Or perhaps more importantly, without understanding the relationship between the two.

This is one reason that it’s so important for people to be heard. You can’t define a relationship without a dialogue. Monologues simply broadcast the status quo; dialogues involve both parties and allow for a change in the relationship. Given society can’t change without change from individuals and individuals can’t change without change from society, the first step to changing this relationship is a dialogue about it. Shut people up, shut them down, and nothing changes. Silence is a loud vote for the status quo.

*Albert Einstein, quoted p. 92 of Walter Isaacson's Einstein: His Life and Universe, Simon & Schuster, New York, NY 2007.

1 comment:

Lifehiker said...

Paraphrasing and expanding upon Einstein? Pretty good choice.