I am fascinated by the tipping point where what is acceptable public discourse becomes clearly UNacceptable. Case in point – University of Calgary’s Tom Flanagan, who appeared in a maelstrom of news coverage over the last week due to some ill-conceived public remarks. The headlines tell the story:

It’s a precipice that can appear quite quickly, seemingly out of nowhere for the Flanigans of the world if they have grown no appropriate antennae. In Flanagan’s case, the lesson for us all is that any moment can become a public moment. A simple video recording or a photograph can be distributed widely in a short amount of time. The antennae we use for our immediate context, to judge what is proper to say/do, must grow to take into account what can be done with what we say/do.

Our antennae must tune into changing social life conditions. And they must work at scales, at all times, or we will be caught in the Flananigans, a threshold of collective response to the world we live in.

What do antennae at scales look like?

How do they help locate – and define – thresholds?

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This post is part of Chapter 6 – Emerging Thresholds. Here are some plot helpers of Nest City: The Human Drive to Thrive in Cities, the book I am sharing here while I search for a publisher:



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