Re: grids and meanings

Wendy Crebbin (
Tue, 14 May 1996 12:11:21 GMT+1000

Dear Brian

Thank you for your response to my concerns about the use of grids.

In my response about language which I have just sent out I included
some notions about the multiplicity of meanings and the fragility of
shared meanings. Both of which you touched on in talking about
multiple roles and "reflective communities" being surprised about
the little they actually do share.

I think my concerns are most particularly directed at the level which
you refered to as " third party" or " expert system" development
which you said -
"generally involve building a new construct system that satisfies
the criteria of objective science such as inter-subjective agreement,
and they generally lose many aspects of human expertise in doing so".

Your questions about -" how diverse roles and differing constructs
system co-exist effectively in the same individual; (and) how collaboration
can be effective when individual construct systems are, at most, only
partially shared" - I believe cut to the meanings of society and
humans as social beings.

In resonse to the first question -

In my work as a teacher I am constantly fascinated with students who
are able to hold two (or more) contrary, contradicting 'truths' quite
confidently. The most common ones being combinations of evolution,
christianity and greek mythology. Or scientific and 'common-sense'
explanations of gravity and mass.

But perhaps we shouldn't be so surprised at this so-called lack of
unity. After all we are all very good at presenting ourselves
differently in different contexts and/or with different people. My
teenage students really relate to this idea, freely admitting to not
projecting the same image of themselves to parents, their peers or
their teachers.

In response to your second question -

Each of us develops our understanding of our world within the
social/cultural/historic/linguistic environment we find ourselves in.
So there are social constructions of meaning which we are immersed
in.From this perspective it is also an interesting question to ponder
how we each construct our own meaning.

In our faith in sciencism we seem to have forgotten the significance
power relationships and/or of suspended dis-belief which seems to me to be
an important part of our ability to agree to survive in social contexts.

Perhaps more on this at another time