Early psychoanalytic models were deterministic. That is they espoused a view of human nature as being mostly at the whims of forces beyond people’s control whether these forces were internal (needs, desires and conflicts) or external (war. political, socio-economic).
Some of the more recent dynamic models have run counter to a deterministic view. One in particular called constructivism arose out of the cognitive revolution and suggests that humans have much more control over identity development, the ways in which they perceive and act in the world and in turn the ways in which they are perceived by others.
The gist is that we construct our own realities through the narratives we create, the frames we incorporate, the actions we take, the relationships we foster and the ideas we express.
I’m a constructivist in a big way.
I don’t fault the determinists and understand that at the time such theories were built people actually had much less control of their lives due to political and technological limitations.
I bring all this up because I am observing and participating in a revolution based in part on web technologies which promote expression and the sharing of ideas. Many more people than ever before now have the opportunity and the medium to define themselves internally and to the world.
Specifically, I am talking about web based publishing platforms from WordPress to Tumblr to Twitter. People can now take the effort to craft their identity and evolve it over time through the expression of their ideas. What’s more we can do this in a global public space in which others might respond with their own ideas ensuing a dialog which has the potential to inform, inspire, provoke and ultimately foster knowledge and relationships.
Its no small thing that this more powerful capacity to construct, communicate and interact with others across the globe comes along at precisely a moment in history in which centralized idea power authorities are deteriorating. I include in this old guard governments, religious authorities, large media based and other institutions as well as financial institutions.
All one needs to do is log in and consistently over time engage a process of expressing ideas in the present while allowing others to likewise respond in good faith with their own best ideas.
The upshot is that thinkers across an endless variety of subjects who engage might arise and initiate new knowledge systems which are meritocratic.
Along the way, leaders will emerge who have been vetted more purely than ever before.
We are a witness to and a part of a constructivist revolution in which individuals now have the power to define themselves with their best thoughts.