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1998

Enhancing Sustainable Development Strategies
through Avoidance of Military Metaphors

- / -


Introduction
Background
Case study: use of "targets" and "bullets"
Mutual targeting in a democratic process
Role of metaphor in science and policy-making
Metaphor complementarity vs Reliance on a particular set of metaphors
Framework for exploration of a range of strategic metaphors Appropriateness of metaphors to interaction with the environment  (Table 5)
Relevance to other kinds of "gap" that are a challenge to policy   (Table 6)
References and links

Reflections on underlying communication challenges emerging at the European Conference on Bridging the Gap: New Needs and Perspectives for Environmental Information (London, 1998) under the auspices of the European Environment Agency


Introduction

There is a desperate worldwide search for sustainable development strategies and for the appropriate means for their implementation. To a large extent such strategies are elaborated and presented through the use of military metaphors. In discussing the associated challenges of communication, great emphasis is placed on "target audiences", "targets", and "targeting" in designing "campaigns" and "mobilizing" resources. Typically in slide presentations, notably those enhanced by Microsoft's Powerpoint software, strategies are structured in terms of "bullets" -- which are also characteristic of the documents in support of such presentations.

The question asked in this paper is whether such simplistic language is adequate to the challenges of communicating complex insights in response to complex environmental issues -- or of eliciting the support of partners vital to the success of such initiatives. Furthermore, there would seem to be a strong possibility that such language is based on mindsets and frameworks that were fundamental to the generation of the problems that sustainable development strategies purport to address. In this sense use of military metaphors may contribute directly to inhibiting and undermining any useful implementation of such strategies.

The obvious response to this criticism is that "targets" and "bullets" are mere metaphors of purely rhetorical function and that the significance of this interpretation is totally exaggerated. The whole debate concerning political correctness in language has however severely undermined the legitimacy of this retort. Use of inappropriate metaphors has become unacceptable because of the manner in which it conditions and reinforces discriminatory thinking. It is therefore useful to ask how dangerous such language (and thinking) may be in the case of sustainable development strategies. Especially interesting is that the "command and control" principles governing military action encourage efforts to "take control of the target" and ensure that it is maneuvered into "killing zones".

Background

Management researchers have been concerned over the past decades with the appropriateness of  particular metaphors to the understanding of major corporations and their strategies. Consultants have been highly successful in articulating their advice through metaphors other than those derived from military and sporting contexts. It remains true that the very concept of strategy derives from the challenges faced in the military and considerable thinking continues to be developed within this framework typically by "think-tanks". Such thinking has been applied very successfully in promotional campaigns of every level of sophistication. This has undoubtedly continued to sustain the assumption that such frameworks are applicable to the complex challenges of sustainability. As the old quote goes: "if all you have is a hammer, then every problem needs to be treated like a nail...". Put differently, are we engaged in tackling tomorrow's problems with yesterday's language?

The warning signals are that institutions of every kind are viewed with increasing suspicion by the public. Related apathy extends in many ways to advertising and political campaigns. In both cases the confidence of the public has been progressively eroded. Relying on possibly out-dated thinking may therefore be a recipe for failure in relation to sustainable development.

Case study: use of "targets" and "bullets"

As noted above, the communication challenge of  "Bridging the Gap" is articulated in terms of "targets". The content of the communication is defined in terms of  "bullets". This is the case whether it is the policy-makers communicating their policy conclusions to the public (whose behaviour they seek to change), or in the case of the public (or advocacy groups) endeavouring to communicate with the policy-makers (whose decisions they seek to change). In both cases "campaigns" may well be the vehicle for this effort. A "briefing" may be used to communicate necessary information for execution of the "campaign" -- notably in efforts by intergovernmental organizations to demonstrate that they are consulting with nongovernmental organizations. (These metaphors, and others, correspond to various columns of the military (first) row in the table below).

Target behaviour: If the military metaphor is the metaphor of choice in articulating sustainable development strategies, the question to be asked is what might be expected of a group that is "targeted" in this way. It tends to be assumed that a "target" will somehow remain stationary in response to targeting and being hit by "bullets". But in practice, as any military situation rapidly demonstrates, a fuller range of possibilities might usefully include:

The interesting point about these possibilities is that they all have their better known equivalents in nature, being typically employed in the struggle between species. Reflecting the dynamics of the natural environment, this suggests that they may have some relevance to the design of sustainable development strategies -- if these are to be sustainable. Policy-makers might usefully learn from the complexity of the environment they seek to protect. But, to what extent is communication with regard to sustainable development currently designed in anticipation that the "targets" may well "strike back"? How naive is it to assume that the "targets" will remain stationary (and accessible to "target detection" and "acquisition"  facilities) -- behaving like passive "herbivores", rather than like proactive "carnivores"?

It might be thought that use of "targets" in relation to achievements against some set of indicators might escape the criticism implicit in this argument. In this case the targets are clearly not people. The question is whether envisaging achievements in this way distorts understanding in ways that might inhibit the transition to sustainable development and quality of life. The point can be most succinctly made by considering how useful it is to set targets for the improvement of dysfunctional marital or community relationships. In this case it could well be the case that the target-setting mentality might be exactly what was undermining the subtleties required to sustain a functional relationship. Furthermore, in a policy environment, it is mistake to assume that such achievement "targets" are necessarily static and do not have their own dynamic. This is clearest in situations when the "goal posts have shifted" and safety thresholds later prove to be toxic, contrary to what was assumed when they were set.

Bullet functions: However, within this military metaphor, assuming that the "bullets" are indeed "harmless", how is it currently assumed that the "targets" will receive them? Are the targeted individuals and groups expected to catch the "bullets" with their fingers as they fly -- and to somehow be inspired by them to new patterns of behaviour? Is it the sound of the "bullets" that is assumed to inspire a "target audience"? Are the "bullets" to be willingly caught by their bodies? Or is it into their brains that the "bullets" are supposed to penetrate? Of course the intention is to modify behaviour, so perhaps body and brain should be understood here as behaviour pattern and body of knowledge (or mindset) respectively. That groups should be targeting each other's "patterns" is somehow more acceptable. But, if the identity of an individual is intimately associated with such patterns, then perhaps the intention is somewhat more questionable.

It may be useful to think of the "bullets" as being unlike typical steel-coated lead bullets or their "harmless" rubber variants. These metaphorical bullets may, as in laser surgery, be designed to "take-out" specific neural connections or control organs that the targeter considers inappropriate to sustainable behaviour patterns. They may be like the tranquilizer darts used by veterinarians and zoologists to introduce drugs that induce sleep or otherwise modify behaviour. In either case, questions might usefully be asked about the skills of those dispatching them. What portion of the target are they capable of "hitting" accurately? Do they really know what they are doing? Or, like unskilled soldiers equipped with automatic weapons, are they simply spraying the "target audience" in the hope of some effect -- despite any unfortunate collateral damage?

Reactions of intelligent targets: Ideally the static "target", once "hit", is conditioned by the "impact" of the "bullet" into some new pattern of behaviour. In the real world however, "targets" are on the move and will be induced to move even more unpredictably by being "targeted" or "hit". Unless the "targets" are to be considered as fundamentally masochistic or stupid, they will tend to react "negatively" to being "hit" and having their behaviour "modified". But perhaps those "hitting" such "targets" see the situation more as do cattle herders, or abattoir slaughter-men, who direct cattle by using electrical prods? Any such framings of course raise questions about the supposedly two-way nature of the communication process.

As noted above, a target faced with disproportionate force will normally take evasive action. In nature this may simply consist of freezing or curling up -- although typically it involves rapid withdrawal to shelter. Equivalent behaviour is seen amongst both  citizens and policy-makers faced with insistent message-bearers and information overload. It would be interesting to explore the extent to which such evasion can be compared to withdrawal up hierarchical conceptual "trees", retreating to the moral "high ground", or burrowing down to fundamental principles and comfort zones. Audiences, notably of television, may simply "change channel". These behaviors are present a  real challenge in the implementation of sustainable development strategies where the purpose of communication is the development of fruitful partnerships.

More intriguing is the tendency of some targets to develop their resistance to "bullets" by creating some form of bullet-deflecting "armour". This reduces the effects of "impact" and the possibility of "penetration". Many policy-makers effectively wear "body armour" to protect them from "bullets" fired at them by the public and opponents (possibly as a natural counterpart to bullet-proof clothing). Designers of campaigns may seek to overcome such resistance by effectively developing "armour-piercing bullets" or "explosive bullets". These devices may then be seen as the mark of a highly resourceful campaign.

Another approach by some potential targets is to develop some form of "fortress" or defensive "work". This can be done by equivalents of "burrowing", "sandbagging" or the actual construction of "fortifications". It is possible that many members of the public, and their organizations, have effectively taken this route already. It is certainly the case that policy-makers have developed such fortifications to protect them from being targeted by members of the public or by vested interests. Terrorist threats then provide welcome justification for any effort to increase the inaccessibility of decision-makers. Such is the world in which people see communication as an exchange of "bullets".

It is also useful to reflect on the learnings of intelligent targets that are "wounded" by "bullets". As in the wild, some become both cunning and dangerous -- whether the wounds heal or not.

Mutual targeting in a democratic process

The democratic process could indeed be usefully seen as a process of mutual targeting. The electorate targets the elected with its petitions and demands. The elected target the public in efforts to solicit their support and change their behaviour. Both make use of publicity campaigns that are almost completely based on targeting..

Many questions are raised about the democratic process and the apathy of the electorate faced with increasingly unmeaningful choices in a manipulative environment. It is worth asking whether the language in which the democratic process is understood could be usefully reframed to avoid use of military metaphors.

A book by Olivier d'Herbemont and Bruno César (1998) indicates the challenges of managing sensitive projects. It could be argued that both democracy and the concern with sustainable development are "sensitive projects" that merit the kind of "lateral" approach that they advocate. They too indicate the importance of avoiding adversarial dynamics if such projects are to be successfully brought to fruition.

Role of metaphor in science and policy-making

The following perspectives complement those already presented in earlier papers and commentaries by Anthony Judge that are accessible as web documents. These include commentaries on metaphor in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential and papers on metaphor and governance.

Deborah Tannen points out that: "Military metaphors train us to think about -- and see -- everything in terms of fighting, conflict, and war. This perspective then limits our imaginations when we consider what we can do about situations we would like to understand or change." (p. 14)

For the director of the first economic initiative of the Sante Fe Institute (1987-89), W Brian Arthur: "Nonscientists tend to think that science works by deduction. But actually science works mainly by metaphor. And what's happening is that the kinds of metaphor people have in mind are changing....Instead of relying on the Newtonian metaphor of clockwork predictability, complexity seems to be based on metaphors more closely akin to the growth of a plant from a tiny seed, or the unfolding of a computer program from a few lines of code, or perhaps even the organic, self-organized flocking of simpleminded birds." (Waldrop, pp. 327 and 329; see also p. 149)

Arthur indicates that the institute's role is to look at the ever-changing river of complexity and to
understand what they are seeing. "So we assign metaphors. It turns out that an awful lot of
policy-making has to do with finding the appropriate metaphor. Conversely, bad policy-making almost always involves finding inappropriate metaphors. For example it may not be appropriate to think about a drug 'war', with guns and assaults. So, from this point of view, the purpose of having the Sante Fe Institute is that it, and places like it, are where the metaphors and vocabulary are being created for complex systems." (Waldrop, p. 334)

The mathematical biologist Evelyn Fox Keller (1985) describes the case of investigations into slime mold in which researchers had accepted a metaphor that led them to detect something that was not there. It was her insight that researchers tended to view nature as hierarchical and that "We risk imposing on nature the very stories we like to hear". This prevents people from reaching understanding that may be more appropriate to the situation.

In a key paper, Donald Schön (1979) argues that "the essential difficulties in social policy have more to do with problem setting than with problem solving, more to do with ways in which we frame the purposes to be achieved than with the selection of optimal means for achieving them." For Schön "the framing of problems often depends upon metaphors underlying the stories which generate problem setting and set the direction of problem solving."

As an example he explores the case of slum housing. If the underlying metaphor is a slum is a "blight" or "disease", then this encourages an approach governed by the corresponding medical remedies,
including the surgery whereby the blight is removed. On the other hand, if the underlying metaphor is
that the slum is a "natural community", then this orients any response in terms of enhancing the life of
that community. The two perceptions and approaches are quite distinct and have quite different
consequences in practice.

Geologist Scott Montgomery's book, The Scientific Voice (1996), explores the language of science, and what he finds is anything but scientific detachment. He tracks the way the language of science bends science itself to fit cultural norms and metaphors. Louis Pasteur introduced what might be termed bio-militarism, through which people were "attacked" by diseases. Montgomery argues that the only way we'll bring medicine into better alignment with our human  nature, is by heightening awareness. Just as we've had to do in areas of sexism and racism, we have to be aware of the words we use. Medicine can be changed and, indeed, it must be. The military metaphor has run to the end of its usefulness. But the necessary changes are ones we can make only after we've created a new language of medical discourse.
 
George J. Annas in an article on Reframing the Debate on Health Care Reform by Replacing Our Metaphors, notes that use of the military metaphor has had a pervasive influence on both the practice and the financing of medicine in the United States, perhaps because until recently, most U.S. physicians had served in the military. "Medicine is a battle against death. Diseases attack the body, and physicians intervene. We are almost constantly engaged in wars on various diseases, such as cancer and AIDS.". The article concludes that the military metaphor leads to:

In terms that could as well have been applied to sustainable development and treatment of the environment, Annas suggests that "it seems reasonable to conclude that if Congress is ever to make meaningful progress in reforming our fast-changing system for financing and delivering medical care, a new way must be found to think about health itself. This will require at least a new metaphoric framework that permits us to reenvision and thus to reconstruct the American medical care system. I suggest that the leading candidate for a new metaphor is ecology."

In contrast, Annas advocates attention to the "ecologic metaphor". He notes that: "Ecologists use words such as "integrity," "balance," "natural," "limited (resources),"  "quality (of life)," "diversity," "renewable," "sustainable," "responsibility (for future generations)," "community," and "conservation.".  If applied to health care, the concepts embedded in these words and others common to the ecology movement could have a profound influence on the way the debate about reform is conducted and on plans for change that are seen as reasonable."  The relevance of this metaphor for sustainable development has been explored in another paper (Judge, 1989).

Metaphor complementarity vs Reliance on a particular set of metaphors

This paper has so far focused on the inadequacies of military metaphors. It is clear that other metaphors may have insights of value in responding to the challenges of sustainable development. It is important however to avoid the tendency to shift from one set of metaphors to another -- only to be subject to the cognitive traps of another kind. Undoubtedly the ecologic metaphor has its own traps.

One way out of this dilemma is to identify and work with a complementary set of quite distinct metaphors. In this way every metaphor is understood to be a trap, but a choice of metaphor has to be made on every occasion. This is rather like having to choose what clothes to wear (unless one is a nudist). Each choice has its strengths and weaknesses. This point is argued more extensively elsewhere (Designing metaphors and sets of metaphors ). There would then clearly be a place and a time for military metaphors. The broader cognitive framework would then encourage greater understanding of when such metaphors were appropriate and when they undermined sustainable development strategies.

An interesting dilemma in this process of avoiding reliance on military metaphors is that the notion of "strategy" is itself derived from a military mindset.

Framework for exploration of a range of strategic metaphors

In order to focus this discussion, it seems best to use the following, very tentative, tables. In it different metaphors are explored in terms of the insights they might offer and the ways in which they might condition thinking.
 

 Table 0: Clustering of metaphor substrates for Tables 1 - 4 (tentative)
Table 1  Table 2  Table 3 Table 4
"Function / Style" Imposing / Constraining Informing / Explaining Entraining / Reframing / Designing Well-being / Inspiring / Relating
Metaphor substrates Military, Police 
Sport 
Business, Commerce 
Engineering 
Laws, Regulations 
Politics,  Policy-making 
Farming, Gardening
Science, Research 
Promotion, Advertising 
Media, Television 
Education, Learning 
 
 
Design, Architecture 
Music 
Song 
Dance 
Crafts, Painting 
Drama 
Story-telling, Poetry 
Leisure, Recreation, Entertainment
Health 
Relationships, Sex 
Religion, Spirituality 
Stimulants, Relaxants 
Food, Gustation
"Focus" (cf Jung) Sensation/Tangibles Thinking Emotion Intuition
Key to integration Touch Vision Sound Intuition
 
 
Tentatively integrated into this table are: In Tables 1 to 4 below, the columns endeavour to identify (again very tentatively) different approaches to the "gap" and the different meanings that might be associated with "bridging" or "crossing" it -- all of these terms being essentially engineering metaphors.. The columns used are as follows (with the military case given as an example):

In exploring the following tables it is important to note how the "gap", its "crossing" and what is on the "other side" are all effectively reinterpreted. The differences are less radical within tables than between tables (all of which have the same column attributions). The different interpretations condition different styles of interaction with "the other" -- and there fore have different implications for alternative approaches to sustainable development.

Table 1: Focus on tangibles
Crossing the Gap
Pattern carrier

Pattern to be communicated

Process (of crossing)

Know-how 
for crossing

"The Other" (across the Gap)

Effect of crossing 
(S-T)

Effect of crossing 
(L-T)

Framework for crossing  
 

Assessing  
communication
. Units Framework 
Context  
Connectivity
Delivery method Discipline  
Skill
Receptors 
Recipients
S-T Effect L-T Effect Effector Performance 
Indicators 
Prioritizing
Military  
Police
Bullets  
Bombs 
Missiles
Command and control 
 
Shooting  
Sniping  
Artillery  
Bombing 
Rocketry
Maneuvering 
Targeting 
(selection,  detection, acquisition, 
locking) 
Aiming 
Striking
Soldiers 
Target  
Enemy 
Casualties
Impact  
Penetration 
Wounding 
Resistance 
Pillage 
Looting
Destruction  
Submission  
Retaliation  
Incapacity  
Conquest
Mobilization  
Campaign 
Battle 
War
Megatons 
Body count  
Kills 
Hitting target 
Triage
Sport Points  
Moves 
Ploys
Plays 
Teamwork  
Patterns
 Game  Skill Opponents 
Spectators
Satisfaction 
Achievement
Reciprocation 
Character
Tournaments 
Series
Goals 
Scores 
Points 
League 
tables
Business 
Commerce
Products  
Items 
Transactions
Package 
Deal
Promoting  
Marketing  
Advertising
Enterprise 
Initiative 
Salesmanship
Customers 
Consumers 
Clients 
Mark, Punter 
Market  
Competition
Impact  
Penetration  
Resistance
Purchase  
Sale 
Deal 
Transaction 
Customer loyalty
Mobilization  
Campaign
Numbers 
Share price
Engineering 
Construction
Elements 
Constraints 
Devices
Plans 
Designs
Construction Ingenuity 
Skills  
Experience
Users 
Clients
Construct 
Building
Approval 
Acceptance 
Rejection
Construction program  Completion 
Usage 
Overruns 
Failures
Laws 
Regulations
Articles Directives  
Edicts 
Laws
Legislation  Framing  Lobbies 
Citizens 
Abusers
Constraints 
Facilities
Acceptance 
Compliance 
Non-compliance
Legislative program  Offences 
Complaints
Politics 
Policy-making
Issues 
Initiatives
Policies  Policy-making  Initiative  Electorate 
Opponent
Influence 
Pressure 
Decision
Action Governance 
Strategy 
Campaign
Votes
Farming 
Permaculture 
Gardening
Plants 
Animals 
Pesticides 
Insecticides 
Herbicides
Crops 
Herds
Cultivation 
Husbandry
Skill 
Experience
Nature 
Pests 
Market
Harvesting 
Intervention 
Weeding
Depletion 
Health
Crop cycle  Crop size 
Stability

***

Table 2: Focus on information and explanation
Crossing the Gap Pattern carrier Pattern to be communicated Process (of crossing) Know-how 
for crossing
"The Other" (across the Gap) Effect of crossing 
(S-T)
Effect of crossing 
(L-T)
Framework for crossing  
 
Assessing  
communication
. Units Framework 
Context  
Connectivity
Delivery method Discipline  
Skill
Receptors 
Recipients
S-T Effect L-T Effect Effector Performance 
Indicators 
Prioritizing
Science 
Research
Facts 
Concepts 
Problems
Hypotheses 
Theories
Experiment Methodology Ignorance 
Peers 
Funders
 Disproof Explanation 
Proof 
Acceptance 
Publication
Research program 
 
Papers 
Reviews
Promotion 
Advertising
Concepts 
Attractants
Package Advertising 
Dissemination
Design  Sponsors 
Audience 
Market
Impact 
Influence
Persuasion 
Conviction
Promotional 
campaign
Media 
Television
Frames 
Items 
Photos 
Videoclips 
Soundbites
Sections 
Segments 
Programs
Broadcasting 
Printing
Programming  Viewers 
Audience 
Readers 
Sponsors
Appreciation 
Involvement
Loyalty 
Enculturation
Ratings 
Critics
Education 
Learning
Facts 
Concepts  

Curriculum 
Modules 
Units
Course 
Training 
Teaching 
Learning
Teaching skills 
Learning skills
Students 
Faculty 
Funders
Knowledge 
Skill
Know-how 
Culture
Education program  Marks 
Grades 
Qualifications

***

Table 3: Focus on aesthetics and recreation
Crossing the Gap Pattern carrier Pattern to be communicated Process (of crossing) Know-how
for crossing
"The Other" (across the Gap) Effect of crossing 
(S-T)
Effect of crossing 
(L-T)
Framework for crossing  
 
Assessing  
communication
. Units Framework 
Context  
Connectivity
Delivery method Discipline  
Skill
Receptors 
Recipients
S-T Effect L-T Effect Effector Performance 
Indicators 
Prioritizing
Design 
Architecture
Constraints 
Harmonies 
Materials
Style 
Design 
Plan
Design Originality 
Skill 
Experience
Users 
Funders
Feel-good 
Aesthetic
Acceptance 
Rejection 
Enculturation
Reviews
Music  
Rhythm
Notes  
Chords  
Harmonies  
Instruments
Melodies  
Piece  
Movement  
Score  
Arrangement 
Performance  
Recital  
Gig
Skill  Audience  
Players  
Sponsors
Appreciation  
Involvement
Enculturation  Festival  Applause 
Encores 
Reviews 
 
Song Notes 
Harmonies 
Phrases
Songs  Performance 
Recital  
Gig
Skill  Audience 
Singers 
Sponsors
Appreciation 
Involvement
Enculturation  Festival  Applause 
Encores 
Reviews
Dance Steps 
Rhythms 
Moves
Dance 
Sequence
Display  
Performance  
Dance
Skill  Spectators 
Dancers  
 
Appreciation  
Involvement
Enculturation  Festival  Applause 
Encores 
Reviews
Crafts 
Painting
Shapes 
Strokes 
Colours 
Patterns
Artefacts 
Scene 
Picture
Display 
Show 
Vernissage
Skill  Spectators 
Viewers 
Sponsors
Appreciation  Enculturation  Festival  Reviews
Drama Moments Scenes 
Plot 
Play
Performance Skill Audience Appreciation 
Involvement
Enculturation Festival Applause 
Encores 
Reviews
Story-telling  
Poetry
Stanza  
Episode
Story  
Poem
Performance Skill  Audience Appreciation  
Involvement
Enculturation Festival Encores 
Reviews
Leisure 
Recreation 
Entertainment
Experience 
Encounters 
Events 
Happenings
Programs 
Packages
Program 
Tours
Animator 
Entertainer 
Guide
Tourists 
Sites
Enjoyment 
Excitement 
Relaxation
Relaxation 
Re-creation
Holiday 

***

Table 4: Focus on well-being and relationships
Crossing the Gap Pattern carrier Pattern to be communicated Process (of crossing) Know-how 
for crossing
"The Other" (across the Gap) Effect of crossing 
(S-T)
Effect of crossing 
(L-T)
Framework for crossing  
 
Assessing  
communication
. Units Framework 
Context  
Connectivity
Delivery method Discipline  
Skill
Receptors 
Recipients
S-T Effect L-T Effect Effector Performance 
Indicators 
Prioritizing
Health Pills 
Drugs 
Potions 
Injunctions
Cures 
Diet 
Processes 
Exercise
Ingestion 
Inhalation 
Injection 
Suppository
Consultation 
Diagnosis 
Prognosis 
Therapy 
Psychotherapy
Patient 
Client 
Casualty 
Corpse
Relief 
Health
Health 
Cure  
Well-being
Health campaign  Recoveries 
Treatments 
Deaths
Relationships 
Sex
Moves 
Signs 
Lines 
Attractants
Interaction 
Positions 
Routines 
Numbers
Dialogue 
Foreplay 
Intercourse
Facilitation 
Sensitivity 
Seduction 
Friend 
Colleague 
Partner 
Mate 
Date
Interest 
Attraction 
Influence 
Turn-on 
Orgasm 
Rape 
Dominance
Friendship 
Conviality 
Dependence 
Subservience 
Dominance 
Satisfaction  
Conception  
Marriage
Chat-up 
Pick-up 
Flirtation 
Courtship
Friendships 
Scoring
Religion  
Spirituality
Injunctions 
Insights  
Rules  
Commandments 
Practices
Doctrine  
Dogma 
Advice
Teaching 
Preaching  
Sermonizing 
Inculcation 
Proselytizing  
Meditation  
Prayer
Discipline  
Virtue  
Practice
Community  
Unbelievers  
Backsliders  
Evil 
False prophets
Communion 
Influence  
Persuasion
Wisdom 
Conversion  
Redemption 
Salvation 
Breakthrough 
Initiation
Retreat 
Journey 
Pilgrimage 
Celebration 
Mission
Attendance 
Visitations 
Souls saved  
Merit
Food 
Gustation
Ingredients 
Dishes
Meals 
Menus
Cuisine Culinary 
Gustatory 
Epicurean 
Gourmandise
Eaters 
Tasters
Satiation 
Energy
Nourishment 
Health 
Obesity
Feast Helpings 
Repeats
Stimulants 
Relaxants 
Alcohol 
Drugs
Puffs 
Sips 
Shots 
Sniffs
Session Inhalation 
Ingestion 
Injection 
Contact
Capacity 
Selection 
Experience
Users 
Drinkers 
Addicts
Feel-good 
Highs 
Escapism 
Oblivion 
Altereity 
Hang-over 
Relaxation
Relaxation 
Addiction
Party 
Rave 
Binge 
Pub-crawl 
Booze-up
Quality

Appropriateness of metaphors to interaction with the environment

Using the same columns as for Tables 1 to 4 (above), the nature of the "gap" can be explored in the case of the environment to which sustainable development strategies are to be designed to relate. Ideally there should be some consonance between the cognitive frameworks and the nature of the environment they seek to manage. It is one thing to manage an environment with the aid of "targets" and "bullets", it is another to engage with it as does an artist or farmer.

Table 5: Focus on the natural environment
Crossing the Gap Pattern carrier Pattern to be communicated Process (of crossing) Know-how 
for crossing
"The Other" (across the Gap) Effect of crossing 
(S-T)
Effect of crossing 
(L-T)
Framework for crossing  
 
Assessing  
communication
. Units Framework 
Context  
Connectivity
Delivery method Discipline  
Skill
Receptors 
Recipients
S-T Effect L-T Effect Effector Performance 
Indicators 
Prioritizing
Ecosystem Species 
Habitats 
Behaviours
Food webs 
Niches 
Habitats
Bio-cycles 
Succession 
Evolution
Adaptability 
Responsiveness 
Competitiveness
Organisms 
Habitats
Constraint 
Expansion
Climax Evolution Stability 
Robustness

Relevance to other kinds of "gap" that are a challenge to policy

The conference which inspired this paper was primarily concerned with the gap between policy-makers and public. Another interesting way to explore this issue is presented in a table  Relating leaders and followers (public) in terms of patterns of assertion and denial.

There are many other gaps -- some already acknowledged by policy-makers. Of special interest is the gap between policy formulation (and its associated political promises) and policy effectiveness on the ground (in terms of meaningful change for those "targeted"). Indicators can of course be selected to signify change from the targeter's perspective that may be meaningless from the target's perspective. Many development programmes over past decades are viewed in this light by those on the ground.

Some other gaps are listed out in Table 6 (below). How might these gaps be reframed in the light of non-military metaphors?

Table 6: Variety of "gaps"
Policy-makers 
Planning
Public 
Consultation
Policy formulation 
Political promises
Policy effectiveness 
Detectable change
North (industrialized) 
Wealth
South (developing) 
Poverty
Western values Eastern values
Knowledgeable Ignorant
Cultured Uncultured
Sciences Arts
Older generations 
Parents
Younger generations 
Children
Men Women
Right brain Left brain
Employed 
Over-paid
Unemployed 
Under-paid
Believers Unbelievers
Mainstream beliefs Alternative beliefs

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