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ProxThink in Context

A Set of Ideas
When someone uses the word relate, what do you think about? In addition to people, we relate to objects, time, feelings, ideas and many other elements. Sets of ideas such as common sense, rules of thumb, standards, guidelines, strategies, teachings and systems often help us relate. ProxThink is another set of ideas for relating elements in proximity. ProxThink is short for Proximity Thinking.

A General Framework
The ProxThink set of ideas is a very general framework for thinking about a wide variety of situations with some common terms. ProxThink provides ways to generate and evaluate both ideas and actions. ProxThink provides ways of translating new or diverse situations into some common language, as well as ways of intepreting situations. In many ways, ProxThink is a language for navigating complexity. ProxThink is often especially useful in ambiguous situations where there is no clear or commonly accepted way to proceed. Further, the ProxThink set of ideas can help a variety of situations and people, ranging from simple objects and daily concerns, to social situations, to business situations, to community situations, to creative situations in the arts and design, to theoretical situations, to physical situations in engineering and science. ProxThink applies to static and to dynamic (changing) situations.

Intermediate Steps
ProxThink is an intermediate step between some philosophical ideas about the nature of being and the messy yet often helpful complexity of life. It is sort of like we can't directly talk to computers in zeros and ones, so we have intermediate steps between us and the computers, such as operating systems, software, displays, keyboards and mice. ProxThink begins with some relationship notions from philosophy about the nature of being, and goes on to develop, using many familiar words, a general language for discussing situations, which are the ProxThink Basics. The ProxThink Basics can then be used to generate some helpful patterns. These patterns are general enough, yet familiar enough, for many people to use in many situations. These patterns, when combined, both generate some of the complexity of real life, and help us respond to and deal with that complexity. We call those patterns ProxPatterns.

The Value of ProxPatterns
ProxPatterns can help provide options and viable alternatives for many situations. ProxPatterns allow for contradictions and complexity, yet can prevent situations from collapsing into chaos. Use of the ProxPatterns can engender relationship-rich phenomena such as renewal and growth, change, games, awareness, emergence, perpetual disequilibrium and pluralism.

Other Intermediate Steps
There are often other intermediate steps between ProxThink and situations. Take for example the ProxPattern Honor Integrity. There are bodies of knowledge regarding how to honor the integrity of elements for practically any situation you can think of. There are bodies of knowledge for medicine, physics, psychology, design, ethics, finance, manufacturing, driving, mowing the lawn, cutting your fingernails. They may not be called "honoring integrity bodies of knowledge for (insert topic here)." But the Honor Integrity concept is built into the assumptions and ways of doing things for many, many situations. So part of what ProxThink is about is showing how many situations we consider to be different have much in common. And then using that common pattern to improve situations, as well as make headway in other new situations.

Navigating Differences
Using ProxThink to see common features of situations may help navigate or resolve differences of opinion or conflict. How? By providing a common language for speaking about the situations. And a common language for using what worked in some other situation. For example, there might be a difference of opinion regarding whether to, or how to, help the environmental problem of earth's warming atmosphere. You might ask what elements and relationships must we honor the integrity of? You might notice that in a different but possibly related situation, some of the elements related to variety in a new way, and in doing so it helped us honor the integrity of other elements. We might then ask, if we translate that to our environmental situation, what would it look like? Or, we might just begin with the Relate a Variety ProxPattern, and then see what it suggests, what ideas it triggers. On a related note, you can discover some ideas for developing agreements for navigating differences in Vadi Agreements.

Further Information
For some other context-related ideas, see More Context.

  • Tip
    Consider, with the Value of Some, how considering some things makes the crucial difference in many situations. ProxThink might be one of those some things.

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