This discussion refers to the page What we mean by "pattern".
Also see the discussion at the end of What is a Pattern Language
A concern: when I read that patterns by definition "result in deepening, connection, and a fulfillment of purpose" I get worried. Defining patterns in terms of their results seems problematic. At what point during a process is a potential pattern evaluated for these (most excellent) intangibles and by whom? Isn't it both more satisfying and accurate to see patterns as "archetypal" and allow a healthy measure of ambivalence, rather than potentially heading down the difficult road that often ends in "it's only real if I liked it"? Mirroring, for instance, can be both amazingly supportive and profoundly condescending. Either way it still seems like a "pattern" to me, just one employed well as opposed to poorly.
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Thu Jan 28 15:57:16 -0800 2010
Thanks for commenting. If i understand correctly, i think your concern is based on a logical flip. In the definition, we're not saying that every attempt to invoke every pattern we list always has this result; rather, we're trying to say that when we look at group processes that have these positive results and try to analyze back to find what's in common among them, we often see these patterns present.
That said, the point of this project is to list patterns that give rise to aliveness, wholeness, "the quality that has no name," etc. We aren't here to list problems or neutral patterns. The whole undertaking has an explicit positive focus, and comes from an "Appreciative" stance.
Evaluation is a whole other topic, one that will no doubt be raised repeatedly throughout the life of this work, as it is still for the original Pattern Language architecture book 30 years later. I'm personally not signing up to conduct research on the validity of the patterns we write; i feel that if the work is useful, if it sings, people will naturally respond to it and use it, and that's good enough for me.
--Tree Bressen.....Fri Jan 29 10:19:52 -0800 2010
This is a dilemma in "appreciative" inquiries too--in that it doesn't address the central objection against optimism. The logical flip is in your original assertion, an example of the Affective Fallacy, regardless of the methods we employed: "try[ing] to analyze back to find what's in common among them" after encountering "positive results". We still risk ending up predisposing our work (this pattern language) toward our own interpretive schema and personality predilections, which is potentially a disservice to others with just as good judgment as ours as to what is helpful in a group's process. I, and you, don't know best what another will find to be "problems or neutral."
An example of an often repressed pattern that many (esp. NVC) consider a "problem": contradiction. Used consciously (with a clear process agreement) and briefly it can be amazingly helpful as it can trigger the rising and strong articulation of differences in both style and content. The question arises: what patterns sould be excluded as "problems or neutral," as implied by your statement of our purpose? If inclusion or exclusion follow our apparent overall gestalt, decided on a person-by-person basis based on direct experience, how should the statement of our purpose be changed to reflect this so the project doesn't need a new name, i.e. "patterns we think are cool."
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Fri Jan 29 15:13:31 -0800 2010
As a Discussion card can be viewed in isolation, shouldn't the Discussion template include a coded autolink to the page to which the discussion refers?
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Fri Jan 29 15:22:29 -0800 2010
It already does. Hover over the gray bar at the bottom of (any particular card)+discussion and you'll see a bunch of links, including a link to the particular card in question.
--John Abbe.....Fri Jan 29 17:05:41 -0800 2010
Content-wise, i'm not sure i get your concern, Brandon. I think we all recognize that there are all kinds of common dynamics in groups; is it that you'd rather see us talking about all of them, and not picking some - the ones which we think are "good" (patterns) - to write in detail about, while not focusing so much on the ones that we think are "bad" (anti-patterns, though of course we are aware of them and they also inform the effort)? I for one am absolutely willing to to head "down the difficult road" of sensing for, and articulating, a direction here. I have preferences. One of them is to include everyone and their preferences. IMHO, all of these preferences are subjective, *and* they all are objective reality manifesting itself. Yes, it is a difficult and tricky road to head down. There's the risk of imposing some people's preferences on others. But i trust that we will do our best to stay aware of this, and adjust and include when we notice it happening.
--John Abbe.....Fri Jan 29 17:41:31 -0800 2010
I guess the central issue has to do with definition. In my mind "pattern" is ambivalent.
- that from which a copy is made
- design, motif or decoration formed from multiple copies of an original fitted together
- arrangement of objects, facts etc. which has a mathematical, geometric, statistical etc. relationship
- a series of steps, repeated
- the quality held in common by a pattern
No mention of "that from which a preferred copy is made." An "anti-pattern" would have to be something from which an iteration or process, in our case, cannot be made. We are certainly all familiar with less than preferable applications of group interaction patterns. I'll think a bit more before adding anything here. As the distinction seems to me important for the project as a whole, I may not be asking for the change I want in a clear (simple enough) way. It all comes down to participating in choosing the terms with which we frame (and thereby story/imagine/govern) our work, but I do not feel in the least danger of being oppressed :-) only in missing out on some patterns that might bear a hidden gift but do not get included because they are seen as "problems." For more on this, see almost the entire corpus of Processwork (Arnie & Amy Mindell et. al.), Archetypal Psychology (James Hillman, Thomas Moore, et. al.), and soon my dissertation (to which I must now return).
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Fri Jan 29 18:33:18 -0800 2010
By "anti-pattern" i (and others i've seen use the term, specifically from the wiki world) do not mean not-a-pattern, but a pattern that tends to generate non-preferred results.
I'm all in favor of us uncovering otherwise hidden gifts! I'm not clear what, if anything, you are proposing we could do or say differently toward this.
--John Abbe.....Fri Jan 29 18:40:42 -0800 2010
I love WAGN.
I guess the juicy center of my point is that one of the reasons for practicing process as an art has to do with not locking down the experience into Open Set: Results = subset preferred + subset non-preferred, especially as designating an option as falling into the latter category is the classic way of avoiding what it's arising implies.
Proposal: let's change "For the purposes of this project, a pattern is a feature we believe shows up repeatedly in group processes that result in deepening, connection, and a fulfillment of purpose" to read something like:
For the purposes of this project, a pattern is a feature we believe shows up repeatedly in group processes. It is more likely that the patterns here are included because they resulted in deepening, connection, and a fulfillment of purpose, but "problem" patterns may also be listed because what makes one person uncomfortable might seem a real gift in retrospect, under different circumstances, or to another participant in the same process.
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Fri Jan 29 18:40:56 -0800 2010
Not getting your += thing, but responding to your proposed text, i don't want to include *any* patterns that do not tend to contribute to deepening, connection and a fulfillment of purpose (in someone's experience). Is what you're wanting an explicit acknowledgment that we know that we're including patterns that won't feel all kumbaya to everyone all the time? This was implicit to me before, and no prob with adding it, but seems awkward in the first paragraph. Maybe further down, something like:
Depending on one's personal history, the context in the moment, etc., anyone may find one or more of these patterns uncomfortable (or worse) some of the time, but ideally they will seem like a real gift to them in retrospect, or under different circumstances, or at the very least be such to one or more other participants.
--John Abbe.....Sat Jan 30 18:52:28 -0800 2010
RE my weird equation: I worry about summary judgment on a pattern in the abstract divorced from context (in the design phase), especially when we are creating a language (communication of all ideas) than ideology (communication of ideas preferred by a sub-group).
An extreme example: we may omit the pattern "shouting match" if nobody involved in writing the project has experienced that pattern becoming a positively transformative part of a group's process, but we wouldn't exclude it because it is not a pattern. On the contrary, if a facilitator has direct experience with, for instance, two people in a group consciously agreeing to a "shouting match" with consensual parameters, and then found that it moved directly to deepening, connection and a fulfillment of purpose, then they would be free to include it and outline the details.
RE your rewrite, I still like mine better, perhaps because I haven't sat long enough with yours yet. But yours seems to be headed in a direction I feel better about. Thank you for engaging in this with me!
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Sun Jan 31 13:00:01 -0800 2010
Glad to engage with you. Not sure where you want to go with this from here. Would also like to engage with you on Martial Art.
--John Abbe.....Sun Jan 31 22:00:10 -0800 2010
I do believe we are attempting to convey a subset of ideas, with an ideological goal (as described in Purpose & Intentions), and not all ideas. And i think it's ok to use the term "language" for this, as did the original PL for building. For example, not every software "language" is supposed to accomplish everything that could possibly be done by a computer, right? They are written with certain goals and needs in mind.
Having been educated in the era of deconstructionism, i'm not confident that any language conveys all ideas; even if the story that Inuit have 26 words for snow is apocryphal, fluent speakers of multiple languages know there are differences in meaning and shades that are difficult to convey in translation.
--Tree Bressen.....Fri Feb 05 17:03:39 -0800 2010
Tried to explain our project briefly to a colleague after we co-presented Aiki Extensions during a Rotary Club luncheon.
I'm not much clearer - in that the wikiness and the writing was not my question - but “common patterns independent of any method they might employ”. Give me a few examples and I might be onboard.
Two of my favorites:
We are still working out precisely which distinctions (pattern vs process) we will determine are central to our project and wrangling with how to be focused (including the patterns which have delivered good results) rather than prejudiced ("pattern" = things that didn't make me uncomfortable or which helped me stay in control of the group's outcomes so it worked out how I wanted it to).
I think about it very much like this:Our Rotary Club experience breaks down into the several categories including the following:
Event: Rotary Club Lunch
Processes: (more specific, contextual, and ongoing - contains patterns but may also be framed as a pattern in the abstract): The Mandated Rotary Social Time, The Presentation by the Guest Speaker of the Week, The Three Course Country Club Lunch,
Patterns: (more abstract, universal, and finite - nuanced by embedding in a process but may be framed as a process given a narrative): Betting on Everything Imaginable, Breaking Bread Together, Paid Servant Brings the Meal in Shifts, Tech Set-up, Drawing a Lottery Ticket, Drawing the follow-up marble, Winning/losing the game, packing to leave
"Debriefing afterward" could be a pattern - happens all the time in most gatherings in one way or another.
Could be a process - had several discrete steps, each of which was a pattern. Then it would be better titled "The Conversation After the Meeting Wherein We Decided to (etc.)"
Process: The Opening Rotary Ritual
Patterns involved: Pledging Allegiance to the Flag, making announcements, hearing about the health of the bank account, uncomfortably waxing briefly jocular, etc.
If aikido is a method/process, Aiki is a pattern, summarized as "blending" which involves sub-patterns.
If Aiki/blending is framed as a process, then getting off the line of attack, connecting to the center, and borrowing the balance are patterns.
But "martial art" is a pattern when it is the abstraction "studying conflict" but a process when it is described in terms of its pattern contents.
At some point decisions will be made as a group about greater specificity and paring down. I'll probably rename martial art to be "practicing conflict," because several in the group have a good point about "martial art" sounding much more processual. Same with myth, as most folks don't hear it as a verb with a single focus like I do: something like "fictionalizing" or "making narrative meaning," since "story" means whatever anyone likes (doesn't mean anything at all) unless it is standing in for "myth" because mythography is outside of most people's area of expertise.
Just jump in. Other people are there (wikiWiki) to doubt your accuracy, hone the product, and help with the consensus perception of the distinctions involved.
A process colleague wrote: I need to ask a very basic question: What do YOU or others mean by "process" in contrast to "pattern"? I have not heard the distinction made before and now I'm surrounded by it. Of course I am familiar with "pattern" when used in "pattern language" but "process"? As in "process arts"? Or is roughly equivalent to what I might call "method" as in a particular "type of method". If you could take a minute or two to define or send me to a link, I'd be so grateful. I responded: I cannot speak directly to what other may mean by "process" but, briefly (short of the full dissertation), it marks a radical shift from a static Cartesian "Controlling Mind Mastering Knowledge" worldview. "Process" (beginning long before Whitehead, for instance in Heraclitus' notion of "soul") is rooted in a dynamic co-creative configuring of meaning which pauses to draw conclusions but sees them as always incomplete, much like recent physics will not factually distinguish between wave and particle. Process presupposed the limits of perspective, encourages epistemological humility, and embraces multiplicity and complexity by avoiding the pretense of certainty and other forms of literalism. As a myth(ology) it is a meaning-full fiction, like "soul", through which one may fully receive the poetic creativity of every day experience as it is "in process."
For our purposes, the distinction applies to seeing group interaction as a co-creative continuum (emergent design/discovery related to depth of understanding) rather than only in terms of discrete functionalism ("how can this chunk of matter/time/space be used most efficiently to produce what I want with the given human resources"). "Patterns" refers to the experience and description (rather than the "fact") of "archetypal" forms appearing in many contexts and categorized according to their similarity so that their difference and combination may be characterized and better understood in dynamic motion (process). Patterns are often revealed in telling stories about (fictionalizing) a group process, and speaking in terms of genre, which comes through French from Latin genus, generis, meaning "type," "sort," or "kind."
Directly applied to our project (developing a PLGP - pattern language for group process) we most often use "process" as a noun which refers to a specific configuration of patterns manifesting as a complex/system of group-based behavioral choices. "Process" may refer to a particular happening in historical time (past, present, or future) and place, or to the abstract configuration of choices (complex) which may be initiated and experienced by a group at some unspecified time and in any place. Voting is a pattern when voting for Representative of District 7 is a process, and also when democracy is a process. Democracy is a pattern when Governance is the process in question.
Thus, the distinction between pattern and process is an exercise in scope (vantage point) and perspective, as much of what we discuss as "a process" may be looked at in terms of its patterns and as a pattern itself. Also the "patterns" we write are almost always described in terms of the processes in which they appear and in words which are inherently processual. This discovery of the impossibility of ultimate classification (as either a process or a pattern) potentially keeps us humble and fluid in our understanding. It does not, as some loudly bemoan, lead to relativism, unless the patterns and processes are misused through being interpreted as literal things, rather than images and perspectives.
An example of practicing this "scope and perspective":
Gathering In Person (pattern) seemed pretty helpful from my pov for moving the PLGP along. Using it and other patterns: Eating Together, Separating Into Sub-Groups, Selecting a Core Issue for Development through Debate, Telling Stories/Co-creating a Mythology, etc. we created a process.
We created a process, the description of which may retain a certain amount of abstraction but requires specific details, perhaps a Workshop Continuing Development of a PLGP. I called the process we made "Co-creating a pattern language for group process" on invitations. If our process were formalized through describing our approach, inviting/generating critique, iteration in various other applications, refinement, etc., and especially if we named our version something specific, then we would have a Method, perhaps The Pattern Language Development Process (PLDP).
From the perspective of a mind attempting to view the coming together of the process arts as a whole field, as a pattern what we are doing is reducible to "Forming a Language" and our process (adding specifics) might be "Building the Process Arts Community".
As our area of interest and is "Group Process," in a mythological system (in this case communitarian) consciously predisposed to certain kinds of group process (co-creative) over others (authority-based/directive), then our patterns will skew in the direction of forming processes which reinforce that mythology/belief system. This does not mean other basic forms of group process are not patterns (giving/following orders, establishing a chain of command and spheres of control, delineating supply lines and product delivery schema, etc.) just that they will not be included in our subset and PLGP unless framed in a way that supports our agenda.
Please let me know any areas you feel I have been unclear or provided unhelpful examples.
A process colleague wrote:
I need to ask a very basic question: What do YOU or others mean by "process" in contrast to "pattern"? I have not heard the distinction made before and now I'm surrounded by it. Of course I am familiar with "pattern" when used in "pattern language" but "process"? As in "process arts"? Or is roughly equivalent to what I might call "method" as in a particular "type of method". If you could take a minute or two to define or send me to a link, I'd be so grateful.
I cannot speak directly to what other may mean by "process" but, briefly (short of the full dissertation), it marks a radical shift from a static Cartesian "Controlling Mind Mastering Knowledge" worldview. "Process" (beginning long before Whitehead, for instance in Heraclitus' notion of "soul") is rooted in a dynamic co-creative configuring of meaning which pauses to draw conclusions but sees them as always incomplete, much like recent physics will not factually distinguish between wave and particle. Process presupposed the limits of perspective, encourages epistemological humility, and embraces multiplicity and complexity by avoiding the pretense of certainty and other forms of literalism. As a myth(ology) it is a meaning-full fiction, like "soul", through which one may fully receive the poetic creativity of every day experience as it is "in process."
We are finding our way.
--Brandon WilliamsCraig.....Feb 10-16, 2010