The Evolution of Communications Paradigms Over History

The goal of this exploration is to gain a holistic view of the progression of human communication and its profound effects on societal organization, collective knowledge, and individual consciousness. By understanding the past and present trajectories of communicative development, we can better anticipate future trends and their potential impacts on human society.

This endeavor is interdisciplinary, touching on fields such as information theory, media studies, sociology, anthropology, and cognitive science, and it serves to elucidate the complex relationship between communication technologies, societal development, and human consciousness.

Technological and Paradigm Emergence:

I analyze how specific communication technologies and paradigms emerge during the early and late phases of each major stage of societal development. This includes examining the catalysts for their development and how they build upon previous advancements.

Each technology or paradigm is assessed for how it supports the societal and cognitive stage from which it arises, as well as how it contributes to the conditions necessary for the emergence of the next stage. This reflects the progression and transformation of societal structures and thought processes over time.

Knowledge Management Evolution:

I delve into the impact of these communication shifts on knowledge management by looking at how they change the ways in which knowledge is generated, preserved, and distributed. This provides insights into the evolution of collective and distributed intelligence across history.

Communication Range, Scale, Speed, Duration, and Fidelity:

The scope of each communication paradigm is measured in terms of:

  • Range: How far information can travel.
  • Scale: How many people can be reached.
  • Speed: How quickly information can be shared.
  • Duration: How long information can be preserved.
  • Fidelity: The accuracy and clarity of the information transmitted.

These metrics help us understand the capabilities and limitations of communication methods in each stage.

Individual and Collective Impact:

I consider how the communication methods and systems of each stage shape individual perceptions and behaviors, as well as shared meanings and societal modes of discourse. This examines the interplay between technology, cognition, and culture.

View the full map here:

1 Like

This is fun! Deal me in! My main question is, what are you looking for, mostly? More data points? Reactions? Analysis? Editorial review?

My thing is teaching very much on the Early Teal/Late Teal boundary from a technology standpoint. (Whether that has anything at all to do with the personal developmental levels of me or my students is an entirely different question). As part of that, in the last 18 months or so I’ve gone full-on into historical analysis and social theory precisely to address questions of instructional methodology and meaning-making for students and workers at those technical levels. So I could probably respond to just about every grid your chart with some research or another.

On a practice level, good things are starting to happen. My classes are taking on technical topics at complexity levels that would be out of reach through conventional disciplinary approaches. Also, my professional networks are expanding in dynamic ways based on operationalizing the principle of “We have moved towards a more decentralized and participatory model of governance,” Basically, I’ve taught networking for over 20 years. Late Teal organizations are networks. The technical grid has been built out over the past generation or two. Now we just need to upgrade the culture of the people attached to the network.

From what I could read of this, this looks excellent, fills out more of the LR quadrant. I liked how the perspectives attendant to each stage were phrased, using “I” and “We” and such; adds a good touch of humanity. This is the kind of thing that if it were open source could help people better understand and appreciate stages of development in a way that doesn’t provoke defensiveness the way individual stage-development models sometimes do.

I thought of sound-as-such and musical sounds as also a part of the communications paradigm. Hollow-log drumming by tribes in Africa, for instance, was a form of local/near-distant communication during the magical stage. I thought of amber-stage bells and gongs used by most cultures, for calling the congregation, calling people to meditation or prayer. And also church bells being used to alert local communities to dangers such as fires. Then there are whistles and sirens, still used by fire and ambulance, and towns in general to communicate emergencies and warnings such as tornadoes. Communication through gesturing is still in use as well: traffic cops, construction work zones, and sign language for the deaf, for example. All pre-digital age, and yet carrying through.

Music never went out of style at any level. For social bonding of any sort, nothing really beats music.