Tensing Associative Networks
to contain the Fragmentation and Erosion of Collective Memory
- / -
Prepared for Commission III (Role of associations in transnational
communication) of the World Forum of International / Transnational Associations,
Brussels, 23-27 June 1980. Printed in Transnational Associations, 1981,
5, pp. 311-316 [PDF version]
As with many other social phenomena, never has there been a period of history in which
so much occurred under the term 'communication'. There has been little interest
in attempting to see how the many different forms of communication are related and in
determining the significance of the resulting pattern. In general it is clear that these
processes are vital to the future evolution of world society, but it is far from clear how
they relate to the pattern of societal institutions and to the increasing problems they
attempt to resolve. These are the preoccupations of this paper which also attempts to
clarify the nature of some of the inherent limits which must be taken into consideration
if the pattern of future communication is to contribute significantly to any response to
the emerging world crisis - and if the quality of individual and collective life is to be
Miscommunication about communication
There seems to be no adequate overview of the range of forms of communication. On the
one hand, it is a topic which too easily lends itself to generalities of little
operational value. But, on the other hand, communication-related projects stressing
concrete issues of importance too easily misrepresent the full range of communications by
creating the impression that the aspect of concern is the principal one and others are
negligible - although usually no reference is made to them.
The best example of this is the much-publicized International Commission for the Study
of Communication Problems, which has just completed its work (1). Its mandate from Unesco
was: "to study the totality of communication problems in modern
societies'. But Sean Mac Bride in his introduction to the final report states
'ours is not simply a report on the collection and dissemination of news or on the
mass media', but nevertheless 'the major problems in these areas were starting
points for our discussion'. It so happens that most members of the Commission
were directly connected with the media as were the working documents prepared. Futhermore
in the final report Sergei Losev (USSR) notes:
'The term 'communication' was not properly defined and this
tended to mar our Report terminologically. Communication and information,
communication and mass media are often mixed up. It is especially regretful that due to
this too wide a definition of the term c'ommunication', the problems of information were
not adequately dealt with... And it would be incorrect to translate the word
'communication', into Russian otherwise than 'information', in too many cases' (1,
The report does not clarify what aspects of communication have been excluded.
Seemingly as a response to some omissions in Unesco's venture, the International
Telecommunication Union has agreed to act as the lead agency for a UN World Communication
Year proposed for 1983. Having excluded 'transportation' from the scope of the
Year, the hardware-oriented proposal is that:
'It would take into account communication services such as public
correspondence (telephone, telegraph, telex etc.), telecommunications services including
space telecommunications and data transmission, telecommunications for the press, sound
and television broadcasting, telecommunications for civil aviation and for shipping, and
postal services. The Year would focus on the progress of communications technology and its
contribution to development' (2, pare. 9)(A fine/ decision on the Year has been
deferred to an ECOSOC meeting in July 1980).
But again, even after combining the Unesco and ITU approaches, what aspects of
communication are quietly neglected ? How easy it is for initiatives such as these to
misrepresent the scope of communication.
Towards an overview of communication
There is little point in striving for some objective definition for
'communication'. Like the United Nations attempt to define aggression, this
would require many years and have little final value. What would be of much greater value
would be to establish some kind of 'map' on which were located all the different
forms of communication. Hopefully this could be done in such a way that communication
'problems' and the domains of organizations concerned with communication could
both be located. Such a map - even if crude - would clarify what was included in any
discussion or project on 'communication' - and what was excluded.
In addition to the Unesco study, three valuable broad-based sources to guide the
construction of such a map are:
- communication-related organizations (whether governmental or nongovernmental) as listed
amongst the 10,000 bodies in the Yearbook of International Organizations (4)
- communication-related problems as listed amongst the 2,600 'world problems' in
the Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential (8) (Some 200
communicabon-related problems have already been extracted from this publication by L S
- forms of presentation as currently under review in a sub-project of UN University's
project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development. (The Union of International
Associations is participating in this sub-project)
At a June 1980 meeting of this sub-project some steps were in fact taken towards
clarifying useful dimensions for such a map. A first draft, necessarily crude, is given as
Diagram 1. The map includes varieties of communication which are easily neglected but a
test for the value of including any particular item is whether an aspect of communication
is lost by excluding it. It is preferable that the map should contain items which raise
doubts rather than include only those on which there is widespread consensus. An important
characteristic of such maps is precisely that a horizon effect makes it difficult for
people preoccupied with distant domains on it to recognize the communication significance
of each other's domain.
|Diagram 1: Varieties of communication processes
Communication for what ?
Since there are so many barriers and problems associated with communication in society
today, it is important to look carefully at the consequences of removing them - if that
were possible. It is too easily assumed that the 'free flow of information'
would lead automatically to an improved condition of society and to view that as a valid
There are however certain in-built limits connected with the communication process
which will be discussed in more detail below. But the fundamental question is the social
significance of communication. Perhaps the following main kinds of communication can be
- communication to maintain the social fabric and the sense of community, namely a
socialising process largely independent of content (to some extent 'communication for
communication's sake') reinforcing the sense of identity of the communicators
- communication in response to recurring problem situations through known procedures
possibly requiring some adaptation
- communication with new content demanding new patterns and completely new procedures
- focused communication orienting new communication patterns in terms of coma overriding
pattern of concerns.
The second of these may be associated with the 'maintenance learning' process
identified in the recent Club of Rome report (5) as faltering when faced with the
unexpected. The third corresponds to the 'innovative participatory' learning
process which that report stresses as the important complement to maintenance learning.
But whilst the innovative communication needs of specific new situations are relatively
easy to comprehend, their iconoclastic characteristics are precisely those which resist
any tendency to weave them together into an overriding pattern of communication capable of
responding to a 'crisis of crises'. This additional level of focused
communication has received almost no attention. It is the corrective to excess at the
third level whether of the form 'innovation for innovation's sake' or the
isolationism of fiefdoms each characterized by an innovative approach.
The dilemma posed by this fourth level becomes evident to some participants in exciting
new communication environments, whether highly supportive group environments or those
created by computer conferencing (7). When the obstacles have been removed, what is the
purpose of communication ? It quickly becomes apparent that the obstacles conceal from
awareness a widespread fundamental incapacity to build new conditions collectively through
communication. Any recognition of this tends necessarily to be repressed and leads to a
preoccupation with any of the other three types of communication. (Both the second and
third conveniently create the impression that something purposeful is being achieved).
Achieving this fourth level of communication may be seen in terms of
'containing' significance. At the three other levels this is not of major
importance. In each such case communication can take place without great concern
for whether significance is accumulated, concentrated and focused. As a result it tends to
fade away rapidly as other matters well up into awareness. This does not mean that
information is not registered and stored, rather that what is stored is not easily
accessible to memory -- it is not 'active' information. Significance has to be
imparted to it in some separate operation.
Whilst these remarks are relevant to the individual, it is the societal implications
which are the prime concern of this paper. The Club of Rome report cited has achieved much
in stressing so eloquently the importance of 'societal learning' as distinct
from individual learning. How does society 'learn'? How is significance
'contained' in society? How does information of significance get built into a
configuration of knowledge whose recognized significance is greater than the sum of its
parts? How does a society fail to 'get its act together' or keep it together?
As a first step towards answering these questions, it is necessary to look at what is
known about 'collective memory' and its limitations. This is explored in a
separate paper (6). Note that these limitations are limits to learning - a perspective
contrasting with that of the Club of Rome report entitled No Limits to Learning (5)
(With the recent publication of the French edition of the Club of Rome report, under the
title: 'On ne finis pas d'apprendre, it becomes apparent that there is a
somewhat trivial dimension to the Club of Rome argument. Equally significant reports could
be produced bearing titles such as 'No Limits to Forgetting, or
'On ne finit pas d'apprendre').
Groupware configurations as containers: constraints
Returning to the map (Diagram 1), it might be assumed that this constitutes a crude
impression of a pattern of communication activity which does effectively contain
significance. But as argued elsewhere (6), our society is more than just a
'forgetting society', it is one in which collective memory is becoming
progressively more fragmented and eroded. The fact that a more adequate map has not been
produced is an indicator of the fragmented nature of society's communication processes.
The limits noted there (6) seem to preclude any centralized form of collective memory
such as has been imagined in visions of a 'world brain' (H G Wells). Even in the
best endowed intelligence agencies, no amount of computer technology can overcome the
individual human limitations to grasping and comprehending the larger patterns of
significance - or the difficulty that individuals have in linking together with others
those portions of the pattern which they have each comprehended (even if they can justify
the attempt). There is no way that such a society can respond, other than spastically and
ineffectually, to the problems by which it is seized. Efforts by major intergovernmental
institutions to grasp the world problematique through their hierarchical structures have
been of little success - even when coordinative bodies are used to link their programmes.
They amount to a 'maintenance' level approach, using the Club of Rome
terminology. National Governments have exhibited similar incapacity within their
countries. The vital importance of this 'learning capacity of nations' was
stressed in 1978 by Ambassador Soedjatmoko, currently Rector of the UN University:
'The capacity of a nation - not just of its government, but of society as a
whole - to adjust to rapidly changing techno-economic, socio-cultural and political
changes, on a scale which makes it possible to speak of social transformation, very much
depends on its collective capacity to generate, to ingest to reach out for, and to utilise
a vast amount of new and relevant information. This capacity for creative and innovative
response to changing conditions and new challenges I would like to call the learning
capacity of a nation. This capacity is obviously not limited to the cognitive level, but
includes the attitudinal, institutional and organizational levels of society as well'
Whilst technically it may shortly be possible to recall by computer any item of
information, the problem lies with how the user is to use such a facility given the
limited processing capacity of the brain. And, more specifically, how is he to learn from
it and to what extent will it facilitate social learning in relation to the world
This basic constraint emerges more clearly in the Dakar Declaration (1979) of
Informatique pour les Tiers Mondes:
'The key element of human communications -- the ordering and transmission of
information -- is tending to become a source of mix-communication. The scientific and
technological breakthroughs which have led to the informatics revolution are way ahead of
the learning process of human society. This cultural lag is the most serious challenge to
a comprehensive view of the implications of informatics. It is a matter of values, of
organizational capacity and transformation in mental structures'
Groupware configurations as containers: possibilities
A fresh approach to the problem is offered by Yona Friedman in a study of the critical
group size above which groups cease to be able to function effectively. This study
emphasizes that an individual, or a collective body for that matter, can only maintain a
very limited number ('valency') of effective contacts thus forcing the
communication pattern into the form of a network (possibly linking conventional
'I think, personally, that a 'centreless' network, a society with
'weak communication' might be a goal worth striving for, as it might offer
better tools for survival than in our actual society. I also think that the effects of
critical she drive us in this direction, but much more study is necessary before we are
able to speak out with certitude' (18, p. 27). (See Annex).
But, expressed in this way, there is no possibility of moving beyond the first three
levels of communication. Friedman's centreless network does not have any overriding
pattern which would be the vehicle for a new level of societal response to the world
problematique. It reflects diversity without any degree of coherence or unity. It is
difficult to argue that existing networks give evidence of constituting a viable new level
of structure - at best they are a complement to conventional hierarchical bodies. As
argued elsewhere, they tend to 'flabbiness' lacking necessary
'tension' (19). Such flabbiness is symptomatic of inability to maintain any
level of collective attention or awareness.
This may often be well illustrated in the microcosm of a conference. One group of
participants will agree that viewpoint A is valid, subsequently another group will agree
that an opposing viewpoint B is valid. This progression may finally form a network pattern
or cycle of expression and abandonment of opposing viewpoints (e.g. A-B-C-D-A, or
M-N-O-P-Q-R-S-M). It might even be hypothesized that the length of such cycles (or the
complexity of the network) is unconsciously chosen by the group so that the pattern cannot
be encompassed by the collective attention span of those present. Subjection to such
cycles bears a strong resemblance to the situation identified by the well-known Peter
Principle. This states 'People are promoted to the level at which they become
incompetent'. A conference group would thus necessarily be incompetent in that
collectively it cannot sustain the attention span to encompass the cycle it engenders and
is consequently governed by the linear sequence of viewpoints through which it progresses
as well as by the dynamics between them.
There is a little-known form of centreless network which exists -- in a state of tensed
dynamic equilibrium. This is the tensegrity (derived from tensional integrity) whose
overriding, non-hierarchical pattern is essential to its integrity (13, 16). The modes of
the network respect Friedman's condition of limited communication valency (usually 3 to
5). But the tensegrity network is usually curved, as a whole, as though forming
(approximately) the surface of a sphere. Thus it is finite but unbounded unlike networks
conceived on a two-dimensional surface. And the more complex the network, the closer it
approximates to a sphere. There is no privileged centre on this surface network. But the
sphere centre, with respect to which the network is curved, does focus as a common
reference point about which dynamic equilibrium is maintained. The sphere volume is
however empty and its centre is not 'occupied' by any super-privileged
coordinating node. In this sense the network is doubly 'centreless'. Such
tensegrities are not simply theoretical configurations. They may be constructed. But to do
this a most important additional feature is required, for by itself any such network would
simply collapse (like a string shopping bag). The configuration is maintained by the
presence or separators which keep some adjacent nodes apart and tense the network
connections between them. Thus a tensegrity is a configuration of dynamic equilibrium
between two counter-balancing forces which together maintain the integrity of the sphere
How can such a configuration 'contain significance'? It must be remembered
that significance is conventionally associated with hierarchical structures and is
considered as concentrated in, or focused into, the highest element in the hierarchy (e.g.
the highest office or the most general concept). But for a hierarchy to function as an
- the relative insignificance of the lower elements in the hierarchy relative to the
higher must be accepted by all concerned;
- significant interaction between the lower elements can only take place if mediated by a
higher level element;
- an external force is required (an enemy or a problem) against which the hierarchy acts
thereby 'recharging' its own significance.
Such characteristics do not match the complexity of the modern problematique. In the
tensegrity, however, there is no higher or lower element in any conventional sense.
Interactions between adjacent elements are governed by the dynamism of the
counterbalancing forces. And the externality of the enemy or problem is transmuted
into an internal structuring force. 'An essential difference today is that
contemporary complexity is caused predominantly by human actl cities... Global problems,
currently the chief manifestations of complexity, are first and foremost human problems.
They are only secondarily attributable to natural causes' (5, pp. 5-7).
It is worth noting that human beings are seemingly unable to comprehend significance
except in terms of difference. This is especially evident in the physiology of vision (eye
scanning movement) or hearing ('... we are always comparing one sound with
another. We can appreciate only the differences in sound' (21, p. 23)),
and. is probably equally true in the realm of values. If the difference is externalized,
humankind will forever need an external 'enemy' to recharge its significance. If
it can be internalized in tensegrity-type containers, then there is a possibility of
transforming the dynamics into a more fruitful and more significant pattern. This approach
has been explored in more detail elsewhere (10, 20).
Friedman's notion of maximum valency for a node in a network may be usefully extended
to the realm of concepts and intellectual disciplines. If it is recognized that each
concept or discipline can only effectively be related to a very limited number of
'adjacent' concepts or disciplines, then the much desired goal of meaningful
interdisciplinarity emerges in a new light.
It is no longer a question of establishing a 'United Nations' of sovereign
disciplines ('Learning research should be reoriented, interdisciplinarity should
help to overcome the detrimental 'sovereignty' of the individual
disciplines' (5, p. 134)), possibly with 'Specialized Agencies'. This
conception of hierarchical interdisciplinarity is an illusion. The question is rather
whether the overlapping pattern of relationships between concepts of disciplines (cf the
so-called 'fish-scale' model of knowledge) can be perceived as a spherical
tensegrity network in which the very real incompatibilities between some concepts or
disciplines are recognized as the vital structuring factor to maintain the integrity of
the whole at a new level of significance. The tragedy of our civilization is not so much
that these incompatibilities are the basis for so much irrational emotional hostility
between those who should collectively be providing guidance in response to the world
problematique. The real tragedy is society's inability to make use of these
incompatibilities, recognizing them for the structural and energizing resource they
represent. It is the wedding between the rational and the irrational which needs to be
How then is all this relevant to the role of associations in transnational
communication? Given the inability of any one body to contain the range of significance
relevant to the world problematique, it becomes necessary for society to depend upon the
communicating network of bodies (Simplistic distinctions such as between
intergovernmental and nongovernmental no longer reflect the complexity of society or the
bodies active in it) each aware of some portion of the relevant pattern of significance.
Each such body becomes the active guardian of some portion of collective memory.
With each such body are associated those individuals for whom that portion of collective
memory is an active preoccupation.
But, as argued above, it is far from enough to rely on the network simply as a network.
The inadequacies of this strategy are evident in the manner in which crises are
progressively exceeding society's control. If, once again, it is recognized that each body
can only relate meaningfully to a very limited number of other bodies, then the challenge
is to see whether this network cannot be perceived as a tensegrity network.
In such a tensegrity, once again, the very incompatibilities between some bodies in it
would be an essential structuring feature to ensure the dynamism and integrity of the
whole at a new level of significance.
In this way the widest possible spectrum of perspectives is reflected in (or contained
by) the consensual network - without attempting simplistically to arrive at total
consensus on particular issues (which would distort the network or rip it apart). Once
again, the unbounded curved network does not have an 'occupied centre'. The
centre of the sphere is inaccessible to the surface network which defines it. It is this
centre which is effectively the unstateable common reference point for the network ---
unstateable because no formulation from any particular local surface position would lead
to 'agreement around the whole surface'. It is its 'emptiness' which
is effectively an indication of its utility (This paragraph, and those following in
this section have been adapted from (17)). (See Annex).
Areas of the surface of the sphere then indicate possible common interest groups (e.g.
at a 'coordinating' conference). But as the area increases, the 'horizon
effects' of the sphere prevent the more distant points from appearing relevant or
significant to each other -- they have different external referents. The possibility that
global organization should reflect the constraints on communication networks around a
spherical planet should not be neglected. Hierarchical structures cannot be mapped
effectively onto spheres.
This situation suggests the possibility of moving away from 'resolutions'
based on unanimity or a 'democratic majority' towards variegated consensual
outcomes. It provides a stabilized (spherical) 'platform' on which new forms of
organized action can then be based and interrelated. It is no longer possible to depend
optimistically upon managing action based on agreement (and the associated variety
reduction). The network cannot be 'organized' by any central body although
recognition of its emerging pattern can be facilitated. Solutions have to be found to the
more challenging problem of the selfmanagement of (partially ordered) configurations of
disagreement and benefitting from the variety of perspectives thus encompassed.
'Resolutions' necessarily tend to give rise to simplistic hierarchical
structures to implement them. By contrast, this approach delineates the pattern of the
decentralized organizational network needed to operationalize the complex range of tasks
reflected in the contrasting perspectives of the bodies in the network and yet the
integrity of the whole is maintained (see Annex).
World problem network contained
The same approach can be applied to ordering society's perceptions of world problems.
In preparing the Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential (8), documents of
international bodies led to the description of some 2,600 such problems in a network of
13,000 relationships. It is possible that this could be usefully perceived as a curved
tensegrity network structured by the incompatibilities between certain perceived problems.
Once again the full significance of the network as a whole cannot be comprehended from
any one part of it. But this approach reflects a major step beyond the easy use of the
term 'world problematique', and offers avenues of comprehension lacking in a
compilation like the above Yearbook.
Of special significance in this case are the symmetry properties of any such world
problem tensegrity. These are the major factors behind the dynamic equilibrium of the
problematique. As unseen 'negative' forces they merit the symbol ic labels
attributed to them in religious pantheons, as does the empty centre of such a problem
tensegrity. For it is not the 'surface features' of the problematique which
should be the focus of concern, but rather those dynamic patterns which govern the
manifestation of such features. These are necessarily difficult to comprehend - most
difficult being the significance of the empty centre and the fundamental challenge it
constitutes to our current civilization.
This problem network can be 'contained' ('encountered' might be a
more appropriate term from a Jungian perspective; the world problematique is the planetary
'shadow'.) if it is melded into the associative network discussed above. This
process is however a continuing challenge to comprehension which at the moment far
surpasses our collective ability, and where comprehension fails elements of the
problematique will literally spring out of containment -- as is well modelled In the
process of constructing a stick-and-string tensegrity. Much needs to be investigated in
Encouraging more relevant communication patterns
It is one thing to note real possibility for society to give birth to a new overriding
tensegrity communication pattern appropriate to the containment of the world problematique
and whereby collective perception of society's condition is transmuted into a new
framework. But it is quite another thing altogether to discover what specific
communication pathways need to be opened up, and how this can be encouraged. Strangely
enough society knows little about building communication networks, other than under
hierarchical initiatives. Who could indicate the relationships between the forms of
communication in the map in Diagram 1 ?
One macro-level approach would be to undertake a continuing experiment with information
on all international bodies such as the 10,000 identified in the Yearbook of
International Organizations (4).
The aim would be to move:
- beyond two-dimensional matrices of such bodies (on the basis of experiments in
- to three-dimensional interlocking categories constituting a tensegrity-type
communication pattern (20).
In practice this might take the form of a computer-generated Transnational Action
Yellow-pages on which initial tests have already been made with funding from the
Commonwealth Science Council. The mapping and interactive dimension of this project has
not as yet been able to attract funds.
One micro-level approach would be to experiment with communication between participants
at large-group conferences. This possibility was opened up at the 1979 conference of the
Society for General Systems Research (17). A further development of this
'meta-conferencing' experiment took place at the 1980 World Forum of
Transnational Associations (22). Much more work is required however before participants
can be helped to construct tensegrity groups (at a conference) which those involved
perceive as having a new order of significance. And even more will be required before
tensegrity communication patterns can emerge to provide the basis for tensegrity conferences
(15). But the nature and practicality of what needs to be done is very clear.
Through such participatory exercises hopefully the practical outlines of a new
macro-level strategy will emerge in a comprehensible form capable of focusing the
diversity of perspectives relevant to the containment of the world problematique.
Role of the individual
Although communication clearly involves human beings, it is too easy to neglect the
human factor and treat individuals as communicating 'units'. This is no longer
an adequate perspective as the Club of Rome resort points out:
'Not only is a critical element still missing from most discussion on global
problems, but the most striking analyses of the world problematique are diverting
attention from a fundamental issue. What has been missing is the human element, and what
is at issue is what we call the human gap... We call it a human gap, because it is a
dichotomy between a growing complexity of our own making and a lagging development of our
own capacities' (5, pp. 6-7).
The key to a better integrated fourth level of focused communication in response to the
world problematique lies in enhancing the individual's ability to comprehend more subtle
patterns. The limits to integration lie in the individual's limited ability to 'put
things together' in more complex ways. But these limits may be artificially
reinforced by widespread emphasis on the most obvious and least subtle forms of
integration. Integration needs itself to be 'liberated'. In a paper exploring
this possibility (11), it was concluded that:
'... more elegant forms of integration might not only be desirable but also
necessary for effective integration to be achieved. But whilst our values now stress the
importance of centering social development on the human being... It would appear that, to
bring out the kind of integration which is required by the conditions of our society, it
is essential that integration be embodied. transmuted and expressed through the individual
in movement. The individual is in this sense the dynamic 'keystone' to an integration
relevant to human social development'.
Annex: A New Global Organizational Order
Principles essential to widespread response to world crises. Prepared for the planning
meeting of the Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose (Stony Point, January 1981)
1. People and groups (small or large) tend to disagree on basic issues when faced with
complex problems and opportunities. Such disagreement often takes the form of unrestrained
mutual hostility or perceived mutual irrelevance.
2. Preoccupation with achieving or imposing consensus absorbs considerable energy,
alienates or represses many willing to contribute to a solution, and necessitates
oversimplifications which are ultimately dangerous. Such consensus when achieved is
usually of a token nature and can seldom be satisfAr:torilv operationalized
3. Social development is both the consequence and catalyst of individual human
development which, although essentially undefinable, is characterized by increased ability
to seek out and respond harmoniously to both diversity and challenging adversity.
4. Complex problems may be understood and approached in different and seemingly
contradictory ways - and the variety of such approaches tends to be essential to adequate
containment and transmutation of the problem complex.
5. When coalitions can be formed on the basis of some degree of consensus this will and
should be done. However, where there is resistance to such coalitions, or considerable
resources are wasted on competition between coalitions, a 'New Organizational
Order' is vital to further success.
6. Conventional organizations, whether hierarchies or networks, achieve limited success
by relying on performance at focal centres within domains over which consensus is
maintained. The focalising task at any such centre becomes virtually impossible, however,
when the full range of harmonies and dissonances in the real world has to be encompassed.
A 'virtual centre' is called for.
7. A 'New Organizational Order' may be brought into being by recognizing the
fundamental distinction between local centres (focalizing local or specialized
consensus) and the 'unoccupied common centre' whose position is
determined by the pattern of all local specialized centres constellated around it. It is
the very pattern of harmonies and dissonances between the local centres which can then
engender the space of which the unoccupied centre is the focal reference point. This only
occurs if the mutual rejection of those most strongly opposed is contained, by allowing
them appropriate separation, and is thus itself used to maintain the form of the pattern.
8. The common centre can only exist and 'function' by remaining free from the
pattern by which it is defined. In a 'New Organizational Order' communications
cannot pass through such a centre or be mediated by it. They must travel along pathways
through the pattern around the circumference (as is true on this planet). This permits
many coalitions with profound differences of opinion to exist simultaneously (for example
even as to whether it is 'day' or 'night' on the planet). However, it
is their very complementarily within the unbounded overall pattern which maintains the
stability of that pattern and contains its dynamism.
9. Such dialectical freedom (the freedom to dialogue) can only be adequate
operationally as an organizational response to the present challenges if the dialectical
pattern is rendered explicit. The greater the diversity encompassed or tolerated within
the pattern, the more explicit the structure of that pattern must necessarily be.
Encompassing social reality in this way thus depends upon a higher order of consensus
which does not itself depend upon universal consensus of a lower order at the
verbal/conceptual level. However the unoccupiable central position can necessarily only be
defined and understood to a very limited extent from any local centre within the pattern.
10. The 'New Organizational Order' can only succeed by being open to the
harmonious and conflictual redistribution of information and energy around the pattern as
a whole. For the pattern to maintain its coherence and integrity, care must be taken to
ensure the emergence of a complement to every portion of the pattern; such
counter-patterns counteract and absorb each other's excesses and energize each other's
11. The 'New Organizational Order' cannot ultimately depend upon a single
pattern to redistribute energies in response to present circumstances. Different patterns
need to emerge according to the diversity to be interrelated and in response to the
continuing pressures of human and social development. Familiarity with the range of
patterning possibilities, and how their emergence may be facilitated, is an important
factor in making this alternative viable.
12. The 'New Organizational Order,, will prove most significant when the
transition between patterns can itself be made in harmony with a pattern of a yet higher
1. International Commission for the Study of Communication Problems, Final Report.
Paris, Unesco, 1980 ('MacBride Commission Report')
2. World Communication Year (Report of the Secretary-General). United Nations
3. K. Soedjatmoko. The future and the learning capacity of nations: the role
of communications. International Institute of Communications, 1978
(Lecture to the annual meeting of the Institute, Dubrovnik, 1978).
4. Union of International
Associations. Yearbook of International Organizations. Brussels, Union of International
Associations, 1979, French edition. (see current
5. James W. Botkin, Mahdi Elmandjra and Mircea Malitza. No Limits to Learning, bridging
the human gap, Oxford, Pergamon, 1979 ('A Report to the Club of Rome').
6. Anthony Judge. Utilisation of international documentation. In: Proceedings
of the 2nd World Symposium on International Documentation Brussels 1980
7. Starr Roxanne Hiltz and Murray Turoff. The Network Nation: human communication via
computer. Addison-Wesley, 1978.
8. Union of International Associations. Yearbook of World Problems and Human Potential Brussels. Mankind 2000 and
Union of International Associations, 1978. [commentary]
9. L. S. Harms. Communication policy problems as world problems. Transnational
Associations, 32 1980, 10, pp. 407-410.
10. Anthony Judge. Representation,
comprehension and communication of sets: the role of number. International
Classification, 5, 1978, 3, pp. 126-133, 6 1979, 1, pp. 16-25; 6, 1979, 2,
pp. 92-103 (3 parts) [text]
11. Anthony Judge. Liberation of Integration, Universality and Concord through
pattern, oscillation, harmony and embodiment. (Paper prepared for the 5th
Network Meeting of the UN-University's project on Goals, Processes and Indicators
of Development, Montreal, 1980). [text]
12. Anthony Judge. Information mapping for development. Transnational Associations, 31,
1979, 5, pp. 185-192. [text]
13. Anthony Judge. Groupware
configurations of challenge and harmony. Transnational Associations, 31,
1979, 10, pp. 467-475. [text]
14, Manfred Kochen. Policy-oriented teams in computer conference. (Unpublished paper,
15. Anthony Judge. Large-group Conferences. Brussels, Union of International
Associations, 1980. [text]
16. Anthony Judge. From
systems-versus-networks to tensegrity organization. Transnational Associations,
30, 1978, 5, pp. 258-265. [text]
17. Anthony Judge. Metaconferencing: discovering people / viewpoint networks
in conferences. Transnational Associations,
32, 1980 (section on 'thematic tensegrities') [text].
18. Yona Friedman. About critical groupsize. Tokyo, United Nations University, 1980
(Working paper of the project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development)
19. Anthony Judge. Tensed networks; balancing and focusing network dynamics
in response to networking diseases. Transnational Associations, 30,
1978, pp. 480-485. [text]
20. Anthony Judge. Implementing
principles by balancing confingurations of functions: a tensegrity organization
Transnational Associations, 31, 1979, pp. 587-591 [text]
21. Itzhak Bentov. Stalking the Wild Pendulum, 1977
22. Anthony Judge. Metaconferencing possibilities. I. (Paper prepared on the
occasion of the World Forum of International/Transnational Associations, Brussels,
Associations, 33, 1981, 2, pp. 102-105 [text]