perhaps the problem here is the very thinking of patchwork as a model in the first place… Who says it is one? Is this assumption based on its reimagining of our present cartographies? Those cartographies are complex and not just territorial. State and self must be re-imagined in tandem and first that requires a new perspective — one at 1:1 scale, in order to let the real back in.
My initial response to these concerns is to suggest that it is imperative that we see patchwork as both model/diagram (heuristic, blueprint, strategy) and as something to be empirically enacted (as material configuration, infrastructure, economic apparatus, territory).
How many times have we read/heard the admonition that ‘the map is not the territory’? Polish-American scientist and philosopher Alfred Korzybski remarked that “the map is not the territory” and that “the word is not the thing”, encapsulating his view that an abstraction derived from something, or a reaction to it, is not the thing itself. Korzybski held that many people do confuse maps with territories, that is, confuse models of reality with reality itself. This, of course, is a truism that seems obvious when stated, but can often be forgotten in our attempts to understand complex problems and then communicate about them when seeking solutions. Xenogothic rightly refers to Jorge Luis Borges’s one-paragraph short story “On Exactitude in Science” (1946), as lesson on the tensions and challenges (and often absurdness) of modelling and exactitude.
That said, I do think we desperately need cognitive models of patchwork to even start the process of re-imagining what massively complex ecosystemic social assemblages are, and can be, free (as possible) from existing ideologies of statecraft, community, etc. We also require technical models to go about the work of engineering and administering actually existing patches. Without both of these types of interacting modeling projects how could we possible track patch dynamics in ways required for operational efficacy, or cognitively navigate the patches of which we are enfolded within?
These technical and pragmatic dimensions of patchwork theorizing and modelling cannot be ignored. Models are how we hook rationality to action, how we diagram fields of problematization and possibly, and how we install functional algorithmic coherence in situ. If we don’t continually traverse the circuits/process of action, awareness and communication – via perceiving, modelling, working, revising, working, perceiving, modelling, working, revising – we run the risk of continuing the reactive and maladaptive ad hoc nature of social organizing practiced since the emergence of agriculture. We also risk failing to adequately entice and activate our agent-participant’s understanding of what they are a part of and how they can coherently engage with-in a patchwork.
Of course, full agent-citizen understanding is not possible in any definitive sense (ape cognition being what it is), nor is it necessary for operating actually existing patches, but relatively accurate modelling/diagramming is required for engineering, and for the kinds of social coherence (communicability unto coordinated action and “buy in”) that leads to minimally required group solidarity (e.g. what ethnocentricity has traditionally afforded, and what nationalism enacts).
Another important consideration here is that modelling is required if we are interested in assisting others to reproduce – with the necessary modifications to fit bioregional specificity – patches in a similar vein as ours. Reproducing like-oriented patches would help bolster our own patch viability via networking cross-patch alliances resulting in trade, mutual protection pacts, etc.
Complex socio-ecological situations call for adequately complex cognitive and technical models [plural] that navigate the twin-errors of reductionism (which would fail to track the flows and functions of everything from food-chains to human cognition to swarm dynamics) and the kinds of over-articulation that outstrips our capacity for comprehension, resulting in systemic psychological and social dissonance.
And as Edmund Berger comments on the same post:
“Maybe a way that clarifies things is by thinking patchwork not as operating system per se, but apprehending it as a temporal force – that is, we continue to think “patches” themselves in their spatial configurations (“blocks” of space-time, per D&G in A Thousand Plateaus, would be the most accurate presentation imo), while the “patchwork” is this ungroundedness through which these fluctuations unfold, and ultimately annihilates them (not necessarily in a “dark” manner, but as the kind of Dionysian shattering that the 3rd synthesis of time inflects). Maybe this gets us closer to bridging the gaps to the Deleuzian patchwork, tangled as it is to both active experimentation and positive affirmation…”
We know that any particular patch is much more than its abstract diagram and related models, just as we should (for the reasons outlined above) be aware that patchworking as personal-to-social endeavor seems to require such ontographies to navigate effectively.