The Conscious Evolution of History: Creating an Environment for an Emergent History of North East Asia

Paul R. Hays, Jacqueline Wasilewski

Abstract


One of the goals of creating global agoras is the conscious evolution of society and this must include a conscious attempt to engage with history. The North East Asian Dialog which is in its second year is an attempt to begin such a global agora. In the first boundary spanning dialog a year ago, barriers to communication in the region was the main topic. Lack of a common understanding of history was identified as a key barrier to communication. So, 2006 ICU North East Asian Dialog focused on the diverse understanding of the history of North East Asia by all the peoples living in the geographic region. There are obvious disputes at the governmental level over history textbooks in public schools focusing on what happened and the magnitude of various events. There are also hidden and personal histories that are unknown across the wide range of the territory. From open dispute to private story, there is no common view of the region for all of the regions people. This paper describes the focus on history and the conceptualization of history that is emerging from the dialogues and through the virtual history space being created. It describes the creation of a global agora to support an emergent history of the region

The participants gathered for three days at the International Christian University campus in Tokyo, in January 2006. There were representatives from 7 countries and various cultural and ethnic backgrounds. The majority language was Japanese, although the common language of the conference was English. Participants gathered in four groups the share their narratives and all the presentations were videoed. Additionally, a web design team participated and developing the virtual space as the physical presentations were going on. This allowed participants to give instant feedback and critique the virtual space that was being created. The provided great synergy for both the participants and the technical team. This is important since the intent was to create a virtual space that extended the face to face discussions.

The dialog developed a view of history as the sum of all the personal experiences or stories of all the individuals. Rather than taking a broad look at the political movements, wars, social errands and such that are the fodder of most histories, we are providing a space where individuals can share their stories of the times. By sharing our personal stories, we come to a larger understanding of the region and its history. The idea is to create a web of narrative that builds a common understanding. As this understanding grows, it can counter the history imposed by experts or authorities. The history is emergent from the experiences of the participants

There are a variety of technological issues. The narratives are presented in five languages: Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean and Russian. Some of the narratives are submitted in two languages. Various versions of a narrative must be linked as well as links between the various narratives within languages. The intent is for readers of one script can search through the various narrative space using their own language first. Later, as links are established for key topics, geographical places, and major events across the narratives and the various languages, a network of connections will begin to emerge.

The history of the region can then be explored through the narratives of the citizens. Students can read history though data mining the narrative space and the historical web that emerges from that space. With a common understanding of the complexities of history, the foundation of a global agora for the region becomes possible.

Keywords


global agora; history; emergence; conscious evolution

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