Are we all a product of our communal efforts?
I stumbled across the concept of scenius a while back and I've used it as an excuse to go exploring. This post is more about sharing what I've found. It's links. Snippets. YouTube videos. And Tweets. It's here to help you explore, theorize and think for yourself.
🐰 I love going down rabbit holes, and whilst I have consumed what I am sharing, it will take me more time to develop opinions on the concept of scenius. It's also interesting to see where or how it can fit within community as a whole.
My main takeaway at this point in time is that scenius is what can emerge as a result of community building. Whether people realise they are building community or not is irrelevant.
Scenius does not happen without community and it shows amazing things can happen as a result of people coming together. We can't guarantee it, but it is possible.
The visible outcome is the 'genius', but we wouldn't achieve things without the scenius. It's important that we recognise, give credit and explore better ways of what goes on behind the scene.
This also gets me thinking that if scenius arises from community, then what else can we identify that arises as a result of people coming together?
What is Scenius?
Most people stumble upon scenius via Kevin Kelly, so that's where I'll start...
The geography of scenius is nurtured by several factors:
Brian Eno coining the term...
Genius is an egosystem, scenius is an ecosystem.
Austin Kleon has explored scenius in his books and blog….
One thing worth doing is to re-map “geniuses” and locate them within a scenius. Emily Dickinson, for example, is famously thought of as a recluse, but she was really a “networked recluse.” (More recently, the lone genius myth of the painter Hilma af Klint has been questioned.) - Source: Austin Kleon
Perspective: Exploring different angles
An inspiring person is only inspiring by virtue of others who treat her this way. A good decision is only good if there are people around to agree with it. It is not enough to look at the individuals who seem to be responsible for a new idea. Their contribution, although important, is always a node in a network and a phase in a movement of thought. Creativity takes place in connections and communication. The network is the enabler and amplifier. It is time now for a new epistemology; new ways of talking about knowledge creation. Source: Esko Kilpi
Perspective: Friendly Ambitous Nerds
According to FAN, for Scenius to take root, one person must be truly invested in finding the weird people on the internet through their work, kindness, and curiosity. This friendly neighbourhood nerd becomes the catalyst for Scenius. The "OG" FAN creates a space for people to meet regularly, hosts parties, encourages others, and introduces everyone to each other. - Source: The Working Woman
Perspective: Mapping Scenius
Austin Kleon dives into real world historical references of mapping scenius…but increasingly I think we can do this with the community tools we create and use
Perspective: Collective brain
We can further reduce these steps down to just love (fan, collector, scene) and theft (imitation). Let me explain this process as I see it.
Source: Creativity starts with love and theft — Callum Flack Design & Development
Perspective: Connections with Small Groups
Matt Webb making the connection to small groups and scenius, which leads to James Mulholland...
Perspective: Communal Creativity
All groups of people evolve and create. But some times, places, and communities seem to be particularly prone to creativity – to produce a quantity and a quality of creative innovations that seems breathtaking even at the time, but especially in hindsight. Why is that? What is it about the people involved in them, and the dynamics between them, that makes them so prolific? Source: Communal creativity
Further & suggested reading:
- A Year with Swollen Appendices: Brian Eno's Diary
- Ambient Genius
- Cities and Ambition
- The Friendly Neighbourhood Nerd: Community Building in the Age of the Internet
- What's so hot about a scenius? — Lichtenbergianism
- Conjuring Scenius — Packy McCormick