Coming Anarchy 9, Recognition

Note: This is a selection from Coming Anarchy, part of tdaxp‘s SummerBlog ’06







“[In order to be recognized as creative or an expert in your field, you must express your idea] in terms that are understandable to others, it must pass muster with the experts in the field, and finally it must be included in the cultural domain to which it belongs (Csikszentmihalyi, 1996).”
We feel that the factors of recognition in the domain and of finding a gap in the domain (which we will discuss in the next section), seem to be at opposite extremes on the continuum of judging in a domain. For example, to be recognized as an expert or creative person in your field, you first must impress the current group of experts in the field (the “judges”), who will then reward you with proper recognition if your contribution is seen as valuable. However, to continue to contribute to your chosen domain, eventually you must be able to critically evaluate the work of what other experts in the field have done and find a gap in the domain that can be filled by your contributions (i.e. you are now “judging” the contributions of others). It is quite amazing how similar these two factors are, and yet different at the same time.

Relevant Quotes From Interviews (Select):

When asked the question, “Have you ever been recognized for any your work on the blog?” the following answers were elicited:
Chirol: “Not personally no. However, awards are mostly just a popularity contest and don’t reflect the quality of what you do… A few years ago, I could have never imagined that I’d be able to share my ideas with some of the brightest minds of today. For example, I’ve written a number of posts dealing with PNM Theory and the author of the two books on it, Thomas Barnett, has linked to my posts a number of times also adding information.”
Curzon: “2-4,000 readers a day… We’ve shown up on MSNBC and C-SPAN once each. linked to us twice, Instapundit once…”
When asked the question, “Has it [the graphic design] ever been recognized by peers or other media?” the following answer was elicited:
Younghusband: “It [the graphic design] has been nominated for a few things [awards]. We haven’t won, but the competition was pretty stiff. I was really happy with that, plus we get all kinds of positive comments.”

Organizing The Information From The Quotes (Organize):

Similar to identity and failure, each subject noted different parts of recognition. Recognitions range from entirely expert-based (Chirol), to expert and audience based (Curzon), to mostly audience based (Younghusband). It is interesting that none of them volunteered each other as a source of recognition, as one would think that the opinions of other experts in your field would be highly valued to an individual trying to make their contribution to that domain.

Association With Our Course Readings (Associate):

“When demand rose for abstract expressionist paintings of a certain vintage, Sharpinsky’s work suddenly became valued; it was not the works that had changed, but rather the requirements of the broader society (Gardner, 1997).”
“The greatness of a work is not intrinsic to it, and is independent of the creator, except in a case where an individual tailors a work to satisfy some audience. To become great, a work must be judged positively by those within the field (Weisberg, 1993).”

Nagging Questions (Regulate):

Does the source of recognition change as one becomes more creative, expert, and talented? Does judgment become exclusively internal, or more tuned to either experts or the audience? How does this relate to implicit and explicit theories of self? Perhaps creative people develop an explicit theory of themselves later on in life, so our sample pool’s youth may be throwing off our results?

Coming Anarchy, a tdaxp series:
Coming Anarchy 1: Introduction
Coming Anarchy 2: Methods and Analysis
Coming Anarchy 3: Identity
Coming Anarchy 4: Failure
Coming Anarchy 5: Obsession
Coming Anarchy 6: Sacrifices
Coming Anarchy 7: Humility
Coming Anarchy 8: Geography
Coming Anarchy 9: Recognition
Coming Anarchy 10: The Gap
Coming Anarchy 11: Conclusion