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Practice as a first-class object

An object of the first class is an object whose concept has its own name, which is clearly related to other objects, and the operations with it are understood. Operations of an actor/thinker^ [note that activity includes thinking, and thinking is active and connected to the actions of the agent in the physical world --- this should be obvious at this point. If not, read literature on 4E --- look for it in the course on system thinking.] with practice as the object (discussing the way of actions, universal for very different ways and very different actions to achieve very different results) are rarely encountered, they need to be learned. Let's make a few notes on this topic.

Practice has an invisible part (discipline in the mind) and a visible part (technology). For example, a musician has invisible mastery in mind, which embodies the ability to play the piano. And the piano in the external world, which belongs to the technology of musical practice in the "piano playing" variant. Discipline is invisible, it is knowledge. Knowledge becomes "visible" only in the form of a model (the knowledge model is recorded in an encyclopedia, in a computer program, in the Body of Knowledge of some practice). In fact, it is possible to reflect on disciplines, discuss their changes only if they are documented. The discipline of rationality from the intellect stack discusses knowledge models and their use (knowledge and its use can be more or less rational), but to deal with rationality, much more needs to be understood (with logic, ontology, theory of concepts, physics, mathematics at least). What needs to be remembered for methodology: practice is always determined by its discipline, not technology. Playing the piano is determined by the discipline, the explanatory theory of music as mastery in the mind and hands (and hands! Pianists usually have very wide palms and long fingers to easily play complex chords!) of the pianist-agent, not by the piano or even the structure of trained hands.

Practice is more often called by discipline, and technology as an "affordance" is used in practice, picking from objects of the surrounding world according to the discipline. If the practice is driving nails, and you understand the physics of the process, then with a nail, you will make something suitable from the surrounding material, and you will choose the "hammer". If the practice is project management, then you will choose a suitable software for it from a variety of software. The non-trivial conclusion from this: practice/method is always cognized, and the "gun in the hands of a savage is a piece of iron". Learning practice (explicitly, implicitly, or knowing the practice through research, observing other agents, how they work and recognizing patterns of their work) should always appear in discussions about practice.

Disciplines as "expertise" are always in the minds of agents who occupy different positions, have different titles, possess discipline to different degrees, have or do not have access to appropriate technologies, can or cannot use their expertise. Here we are talking not only about boxers, who are strongly advised not to use their expertise in everyday situations, they can fight only in the ring, and only in gloves. But an engineer-designer may receive a direct instruction not to use a method that he considers the best. That is why organizations distinguish between the established practice (when "everything is ready, work is possible") and organizational capability as a practice, which has also been allowed, approved to perform work in this practice, allowed to spend resources on its implementation. In any case, one should be able to reason: practice, performed by organizational roles, when masters work on these roles::organizational units, who know the discipline of practice, have suitable technology (their bodies and brains, exotels and exocortexes, a grip of resources from other agents through cooperation, necessary work products, access to energy and premises, etc.) - and these masters::organizational units are appointed/organized on roles in practices (leadership work has been done with them).

In the enterprise system scheme, we always think about practice/method/activity as a description of discipline, roles, technology in the "project organization description"::alpha, but then check how this description is implemented in the physical organization of the project (team, collective, enterprise, organizational unit) - and understand that to implement it, leadership work is required, and then turn practice into organizational capability, i.e., issue administrative orders to the organizational unit to start work in the role in this practice, spend resources. Organizational capability is a practice for which organizational units are appointed with the necessary powers and resources for its implementation. Thus, the organizational capability can provide a service with the required external behavior, that is, carry out work. And a practice for which no organizational unit is assigned to perform work has no chance of being implemented. And remember that you can learn the practice in a month, but you may receive permission to "work differently", receive resources for this after a year or even two, or not receive it at all.

One must come to terms with the fact that most people do not see practices in the surrounding world, but train themselves in methodological thinking, thinking about activities at a minimum. The key question here is: "how else can this work be done differently? Has this been described somewhere in textbooks?". For example, you brush your teeth. Is this a practice? Have you thought about how you do it? Indians clean their teeth with a stick from the sacred tree of neem, chewing its tip to make a brush. You can use toothpaste, powder (do you have such experience in childhood? Why did people stop using tooth powder?), there is ultrasonic cleaning, you can use dental floss, interdental brushes, toothpicks, you can clean without brushes (using an irrigator), a dentist can remove dental plaque with special equipment in his office, and so on. If you start thinking about "brushing your teeth" as a practice, a vast world opens up. And such a world is revealed to a methodologist regarding any observed actions of agents (and in planning future actions, of course!). It is important to:

  • Realize the practice, understand that the action is not done "just like that," but follows a certain pattern/way: practice/method/ "type of work"/activity/ "work process". This is a crucial moment! This "way of action" must somehow attract attention, become a subject of discussion!
  • Name the practice, name the role of the performer of the practice. It is important to have a broad outlook, be well-read, well-versed.
  • Ask yourself about the discipline of the practice (and its SoTA) and technology (and its SoTA). Google, dive into textbooks, look at the variety of practice options! Make a rational assessment of the practice and decide what to do with it (change to another, leave "as is," change not the practice but the performer of the practice - master::agent and/or technology, and so on). This is a step of active thinking: talk, google, read books, reflect, go on tours, and conduct experiments!

How to search for practice? Here are some options:

  • You can focus on various moments: pay attention to unfamiliar words and terms - and inquire which discipline they belong to. Based on the discipline, then restore the entire practice.
  • "Hook onto" a situation where a specific work product or tool is used - and inquire which discipline it supports, where to learn how to use it.
  • You may notice that "time is being spent somewhere," there is some work that takes more time than you expected. Ask yourself: what role was this work assigned to, by what practice is it performed (what discipline should be there, what technology, is it known to the agent performing the work)