But I am old and wise enough to know that emergence doesn't happen by itself. Recently, I have been working with Nikos, a postgraduate Greek student on our magazines. It has been a great experience and I have been able to make some interesting things happen for him. Looking back he claimed that how it all happened was a mystery to him... but it was less of a mystery to me because I had been instrumental in making things happen for him. I am aware of emergence being a property of complex systems and it seems to me that emergence is an fundamental and important property of an ecology in which people are interacting, doing things together in ways that lead to new ideas and new things. Our ecologies for learning and developing are complex systems of contexts, situations, relationships, resources, to create or access the affordances we have for learning and developing in the circumstances of our life.
Putting myself into situations with potential, is partly passive - like building a website and showing what I'm interested in and hope that it will attract visitors who are interested in the same sort of things and this will increase my potential for new things to emerge. Some of it is more deliberate like producing a book and then promoting it with the purpose of connecting to people who care about the things I am talking about, or finding and following a link on a blog and engaging the author.
In the past I have made a rough plan of what I want to do and achieve in the coming year but when I look back at the last few years most of the interesting and important things I have done did not feature in my plan. So this year I'm going to trust that as long as I keep putting myself in situations with good potential for new and interesting things to emerge - good things will inevitably emerge if I let them and once I recognise them I encourage them to flourish.
I think we need to be aware of new possibilities and looking back I can also see that I devote quite a lot of time to capturing the stuff that emerges in my life - perhaps this is a measure of how much I value the things I do or that happen to me. I keep track of some of it in my blogs and then use the information to try to see the bigger picture more clearly. I am effectively creating a narrative using my favourite digital tools. The narrative captures both the detail and the meaning making that emerges from the detail.
My current substantive writing project, 'exploring learning ecologies' is very much formed around the emergence, development and connection of ideas over several years. Similarly, the latest issue of Lifewide Magazine 'Our Creative Life' was not planned, rather it emerged as an idea 6 weeks ago as a result of participating in an on-line course that I was invited to participate in only 12 weeks ago. It's because of such experiences that I trust that the things that give meaning to my life will emerge again.
Next week I'm doing something active to put myself into an area with potential for new things to happen by participating in
MELSIGs Digital Narratives Workshop By meeting new people, encountering new ideas and tools and generally informing myself about other people's practices I anticipate that new things will emerge as long as I can recognise them.