Meta-Meaning

Experiences become meaning and meaning becomes patterns and patterns connect together to form languages, Pattern Languages.

Visualizing how those patterns relate to each other creates a meta-meaning.

At least that is the premise of some work that Ward has been doing with my wiki. He took my pages and analyzed the relationship of key pages to each other to see how they might look.

What he came up with was Thompson's Anchors Visualized.

What we began to notice was how concepts were clumping around certain key concepts, forming clusters. Many of these clusters relate to conversations that we have had as we have explored the nature of Agile Learning.

The concept of clustering has been long used when designing economic development strategies. Local economies tend to "cluster" in specific industries, often "anchored" by large companies.

Similarly, developing this wiki tends to be driven by a few key concepts, which we defined as anchors based on the number of time they were linked to by other pages. Defining these anchors and seeing how other concepts connect to them, clarity about the structure of the meaning begins to appear.

An aspiration for a larger meaning, a meta-meaning, was behind this exploration. I was feeling that I was asking people to explore my wiki without a map. In so doing, I was inviting them to become lost.

I asked Ward if there might be a way for us to visualize the wiki, based on his work that he has done with semilattices - a model for visualizing pattern languages used by Christoper Alexander.

While my wiki, created as an attempted Hyperbook, isn't a formal pattern language as Alexander conceived it - an instructive language - it is an informal pattern language - an interpretive language. In that way, it feels more like consciousness that is, by nature, non-hierarchical, where we are continually translating experiences into meaning that is linked together to create our understanding - the pattern language of our Schema.

I was hoping that we might find a subway map for the wiki.

London Tube Map

I have always thought that really interesting cities were defined by their subway maps.

When you visit London, for instance, you walk into rich complexity. There are many areas to explore, but often don't know how to get to them. You walk down into their subway, the Tube, and there you find the transit map on the wall, a complex weaving of lines that have key nodes, transfer stations. By that map you can plan your path of discovery.

The map Ward created is clickable - allowing someone to jump to a specific concept and then to let Curiosity guide a path from there. Check it out .