The Objective Lens

The Society of Minds

Objective storytelling is best applied when the narrative is developed by and with a “society of minds.”

That is –– by and with a community.

This may be accomplished by a “Deep Listening” process. “Deep Listening” includes techniques for drawing out human motivation and creative solutions by asking questions and receiving back a communication in a way that can be “heard” and understood, rather than simply “listened to.”

In applying this strategy to multiple voices within a “community,” or company, we reveal interlocking pieces of a puzzle, that when assembled, comprise a “vision” of the present, or even a “vision” of the future.

Marvin Minsky is an American cognitive scientist in the field of artificial intelligence (AI). He is co-founder of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s AI laboratory.

Minsky’s theories on the “Society of Mind,” relate to the development of narratives and to filmmaking, how we solve problems together, or “picture” a solution.

According to Minsky, the “mind” is comprised of various “agents,” or discreet “brains” which can approach problems from different perspectives.

What magical trick makes us intelligent? The trick is that there is no trick. The power of intelligence stems from our vast diversity, not from any single, perfect principle. —Marvin Minsky, The Society of Mind, p. 308

Unconquering the Last Frontier, Promo

Unconquering the Last Frontier, Narrated by Gary Farmer, opened in San Francisco, Berkeley, Seattle, Olympia, and Port Angeles, WA. Aired on public television stations nationwide, 1st. Place Earthvision International Film Festival. Finalist, International Wildlife Film Festival. In the collection of the National Museum of the American Indian (NMAI), Smithsonian. Educational use by universities including Harvard, Yale, Dartmouth, University of Washington.

A core tenet of Minsky’s philosophy is that “minds are what brains do”.

The society of mind theory views the human mind and any other naturally evolved cognitive systems as a vast society of individually simple processes known as agents.

These processes are the fundamental thinking entities from which minds are built, and together produce the many abilities we attribute to minds.

The great power in viewing a mind as a society of agents, as opposed to the consequence of some basic principle or some simple formal system, is that different agents can be based on different types of processes with different purposes, ways of representing knowledge, and methods for producing results.

–Wikipedia, Marvin Minsky

Unconquering the Last Frontier is the epic story of the damming and undamming of the Elwha River.

From a sustainability perspective, the lessons from the Elwha cannot be overstated.

Decisions made at the turn of the 20th Century, to allow the construction of a hatchery, as the river itself was obstructed, became a precedent and a practice by which all of the dams around Puget Sound were built.

Society would trust the survival of the salmon that had sustained them to unproven hatchery technology, in what would come to be seen as a fatal mistake.

It was a fatal mistake to the legendary salmon runs of the Pacific Northwest, and it was a mistake that almost destroyed the Klallam People, and which would not be undone until one hundred years later.

During those one hundred years, the Lower Elwha Klallam Tribe, dependent on the fish for their sustenance, struggled to survive in the shadow of hydropower development.

This story, based on the filmmaker’s original research to the 1830s, is in the collection of the Smithsonian (NMAI).

Unconquering the Last Frontier is a contemporary story about energy production and it’s impacts, about what is “Green” and what is not; the film provides a deep well of insight on the topic of “Environmental Justice” and true “Sustainability.”

-Robert Lundahl IMDb

Unconquering the Last Frontier is told through the voices of a community of experts and stakeholders, historians and storytellers. The film is their vision in aggregate.

The thoughts and ideas of many come to fruition as one. The community dialog is elevated. The community itself creates change on the ground.

The process we use for enjoying film as entertainment is indeed transformational in nature. The intellectual process of creating a narrative is every bit as transformational, to those involved and engaged.