University of Earth: Meta-organization for Post-Crisis Action
ANNEX 5: RESEARCH INITIATIVE SUMMARIES
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See Document overview. [See also website for University of Earth (2007)]
1. Process initiative
Processes are explored to find ways of describing and comprehending essentially
dynamic conditions in which the observer is a participant. Special attention
is given to ways of detecting new psycho-social processes and the invariants
to which they give rise - especially in the case of dysfunctional processes.
An important concern is with the emergence and recognition of higher order processes,
whether of greatermaturity/complexity or of greater malignancy/destructiveness.
Processes currently being explored as illustrative examples include: developmental,
metabolic, environmental, educational, manufacturing, evolutionary, socio-political.
2. Change comprehension initiative
Investigates ways in which psycho-social change (in contrast to continuing processes)
can be understood, especially by those participating in it. Deliberate efforts
are made to move beyond the characteristic limitations of the "observer" and excessive
confidence in "explanation". Enduring change is recognized as a fundamental
and essentially mysterious challenge to comprehension.
3. Energy configuration initiative
This initiative explores the extent to which self-reliance in psycho-social systems
is based on different and essentially incompatible energies working in some kind
of energy configuration. The degree of self-reliance is then dependent on exceeding
a threshold or critical mass condition so that energies "fit" into
a pattern. The question is what kinds of energies are possible or necessary in
what kinds of configuration. Attention is also being given to energy cycles as
configurations manifesting over time.
4. Change failure initiative
- energy cycles/configurations of an individual (e.g. "information
- energy cycles/configuration of an organization (e.g. "a respiratory
- energy cycles/configurations of a meeting (e.g. metabolic cycles)
This initiative examines any internal factors contributing to the failure of social change
programmes. The sub-initiatives below illustrate some of the major concerns.
5. Policy innovation monitoring initiatives
This initiative investigates ongoing and past initiatives which bring together key
resource people from different disciplines, ideologies and cultures to formulate desirable
new socio-economic development policies. The research focuses on hidden, and often
unmentionable, factors which restrict the value of such initiatives and limit their
cumulative impact. Efforts are made to draw conclusions to guide the structure and
processes of future "councils of the wise".
6. Credibility initiatives
This initiative investigates increases and decreases in credibility, both within small
groups and in the individual's relation to large institutions. Current concern is with the
number of levels or intermediaries possible between the individual and an institutional
figurehead before the possibilities of unconfirmable abuse make the latter's
pronouncements suspect. The programme is exploring the consequences for social
organization of such constraints, and the value, in the case of large institutions, of
reversing the traditional legal principle of "innocent until proven
7. Recommendation rejection
Examines the ways in which recommendations for change are effectively rejected or ignored.
Associated questions of whether and how adequate recommendations can be formulated are
explored together with the problem of locating an appropriate body to whom they can be
addressed with any hope of effective action. A large collection of significant
international recommendations has been built up in a machine-readable form to assist these
8. Implementation inadequacy
Explores the discrepancy between action programmes as publicized and the actual dimension
of the problems to which they are supposed to respond. One aim is to clarify the extent of
institutional complicity in concealing the dimensions of the problem and the ineffectual
nature of any programmes. The main concern is to determine the conditions a programme must
meet to come to grips with complex psycho-social problems.
9. Illegitimacy of innovation
Explores the extent to which significant psycho-social development in present day society
is only possible through essentially illegitimate processes (e.g. strikes, paradigm
shifts, etc.). The concern is to determine whether and how significant innovative
breakthroughs can mesh with existing structures and procedures or how the necessary
disruptive challenge can be better received.
10. Problem/Remedy misconception
In formulating programmes for psycho-social change, both the nature of the problem and the
remedy required are frequently misunderstood. How this occurs and how it can be avoided
are investigated. Of special concern is the projection of unresolved issues from previous
programmes onto the conception of any new programme. A special "corner
greengrocer" project investigates the advantages and disadvantages of
"rationalizing" programmes in major centralized programmes which "eliminate
11. Transitions and metamorphoses initiative
Explores the nature of those essentially discontinuous changes in psycho-social
organization which are perceived as breakthroughs by those involved. Concerns range from
project "take off", through meeting stages, to changes of consciousness and
12. New frontiers initiative
Recognizing the importance of the kind of challenge associated with the pioneering spirit
and new frontiers, this programme identifies such frontiers and the manner in which they
can be reached. The concern is mainly with the new psycho-social frontiers already
emerging or which can be foreseen with the changing nature of boundaries in society. The
programme seeks ways of rendering such frontiers credible as zones of activity and a locus
13. Empowering initiative
In contrast to the conventional concern with organizing projects for the benefit of
people, or supplying them with artifacts, this programme explores ways of enabling people
to elaborate their own projects. The focus is therefore on catalysts for psycho-social
change, how they are to be conceived and designed, and how they can be made available.
This includes a general concern with psycho-social "blueprints" or
do-it-yourself "kits", and with facilitation in all its aspects. Empowering is
viewed as a response to the increasing sense of impotence felt by individuals.
14. Reconceptualization initiative
Many sets of concepts, values, problems or conditions of considerable importance to the
understanding of psycho-social processes are currently described in terms of essentially
limited elements. This programme explores various possibilities of
15. Dynamizing initiative
Techniques of converting static sets of concepts into dynamic sets ("dyets") and
elaborating rules for doing so are explored within relevant constraints. This includes
useful ways of substituting verbs for nouns and other descriptors which reinforce a static
concept of society.
16. Generalization initiative
Ways are explored for taking any concept applied to a limited domain and generalizing its
relevance to a wider domain whilst clarifying the necessary constraints on
17. Structural initiative
Explores new levels of significance resulting from the modification of the many concepts
based on simple structural concepts (line, plane, circle, etc.) to new concepts based on
an extrapolation of any such structural series (e.g. to cube, sphere, etc.).
18. De-anthropomorphization initiative
Explores the implications and problems of generalizing the many concepts centred on the
human being to apply to other animals and to hypothetical extra-terrestrial beings.
19. Impotence initiative
Concerned with the pathology of collective impotence, namely individual and collective
inability to respond effectively to dramatic problem complexes or to conceive viable
strategies or new forms of organization as a result of interacting with them. The
programme is primarily concerned with paralysis of the will to act when the dimensions of
the problems (e.g. evidence of famine or genocide) have been fully unveiled and lack of
information is no longer an excuse.
20. Paralysis conspiracies initiative
Explores the various ways in which people engage, whether consciously or unconsciously, in
processes to disguise their inability to act or recognize this apparent condition of
21. Subtle energies initiative
Ways are sought to give greater content and significance to use of "energy" in
describing a group or its activity. These investigations are not limited to the general
concept associated with "activity" but extend to cover the traditional Eastern
concept of chi or ki energy. They also explore the implications of positive or negative
energies such as hope, despair, inspiration, etc. The possibility that such subtle
energies may usefully be detected as sets of complementary energies is also examined (e.g.
4 kinds of 4-type energies).
22. Apathy initiative
Explores the nature of resignation and apathy as a psycho-social disease in both its
individual and collective manifestations whether in hyper-civilized or in underprivileged
conditions. A full range of possible remedies is under investigation.
23. Dis-empowerment initiative
Concerned with any kind of context in which individuals or groups feel a sense of
powerlessness. Explores de-energizing behaviour and countervailing energizing
possibilities. The possibility of making creative use of dis-empowerment is also
considered, since this is associated with a special kind of flexibility.
24. Energy leakage initiative
The subtle "energy" associated with psycho-social activity within a group, an
organization, a community, or a meeting, can easily "drain away" under certain
conditions. This programme explores how a structure or process becomes vulnerable to
energy drain and how this can be prevented.
25. Channelling enthusiasm initiative
Enthusiasm and commitment are often generated by happenings without there being any
process whereby they can be stored or maintained at optimum levels to energize processes
over longer periods of time. This project explores ways of channelling and storing
enthusiasm in order best to conserve such energies.
26. Staleness initiative
Explores the ways in which initiatives come to appear stale and uninteresting. The aim is
to clarify where such a perception is unavoidable, whether justified or not, and what can
be done otherwise.
27. Immediacy initiative
A sense of here-and-now immediacy is considered to be central to the initiation of
transformation. The programme explores the dimensions of this awareness and how best it
may be related to action and to the structures resulting from it.
28. Choice initiative
This programme explores the problems of individual choice (and the experience of choosing)
in a society characterized by information overload and maldistribution. Whilst the
ultimate concern is with the learning implications of selection of qualitative information
in a data bank environment, the problems are currently researched in terms of individual
selection of music, perfumes, garden plants, fabrics, fiction, entertainment, art, wines,
holiday environments, and life-styles. In each case verbal or pictorial descriptions of
the experience raises severe problems of communication in facilitating the individual's
continuing quest for more congenial and significant experience, given the frustrating
limitations of trial-and-error in an environment rich in experiential possibilities and
able to catalyze the release of human potential and insight.
29. Risk initiative
Explores the various ways in which risk is experienced whether as an unwelcome threat to
security or as a positive challenge. The problems of the avoidance of risk are considered
as well as its "illegality" in many contemporary situations. The relationships
to death, renewal, initiation and sacrifice are also examined. The intention is to clarify
a creative stance in response to risk, especially collective risk.
30. Will-to-change initiative
Explores the manifestation of will whether in personal decision-making, risky initiatives,
habit breaking, martial arts and in relation to death. The aim is to discover points
relevant to the collective will-to-change.
31. Leadership initiative
Explores those dimensions of leadership which are relevant to innovative constructive
change in confused situations where refinement of values is necessary. Emphasis is on
catalyzing the action of conscious groups characterized by very strong differences of
Concentrates on the factors making for initiatives above and beyond narrow or short-term
Explores ways of assisting people to understand the special skills of entrepreneurship
with regard to risk-taking, strategy refinement and tactics, especially as a gestalt,
"gut" approach to any situation. One part of the programme is concerned with
making this experience widely accessible in a society characterized by unemployment. The
other part is concerned with adapting it to constructive innovation where personal
self-interest is not the prime concern.
Focuses on the nature of initiative and how it may be encouraged, especially in relation
to constructive collective transformation. The emphasis is on initiative as a dynamic,
experiential process which entrains other processes in a new manner. The programme is
particularly concerned with initiative traps and dampers and how they may be
35. Enrichment tools initiative
Develops a range of tools to be used to enrich the approach to any particular
psycho-social domain. These tools include: generalization techniques, dynamizing
techniques, projection onto more complex mapping structures, projection onto more dynamic
substrates, exchanging variables or dimensions (e.g. space and time), reduction or
extension of spatial or temporal scales.
36. Prediction initiative
As a complement to the envisioning initiative, this initiative explores ways or predicting
new attention foci such as: new subjects of study, new global problems, new areas of
consciousness, new lifestyles, new values. Work is based largely on the enrichment tools
and resources initiatives, and endeavours to locate gaps in the pattern of diversity in
the light of insights from the functional emergence initiative. It is assumed that much
may be accomplished by identifying such potential foci, even if they are not explored in
37. Functional emergence initiative
Explores the order in which psycho-social functions become explicit in society, especially
in relation to the progressive increase in functional diversity which this implies. This
functional articulation is studied in terms of such examples as: emergence of new
occupations in communities of increasing size,emergence of new roles in groups of
increasing size, emergence of new needs (including products and services) in societies of
increasing levels of development, emergence of increasingly diverse modes of appreciation
in cultures of increasing sophistication, emergence of new government ministries in
countries of increasing administrative complexity. In each case the concern is with when a
function is called into explicit activity and what this implies for the emergence of new
ranges of functions in the future.
38. Envisioning initiative
Explores ways of using the informed imagination to clarify directions for psycho-social
change. The initiative develops visions or scenarios of the future which highlight
unexplored destinations within present day attitudes, and behaviour. Current areas of
investigation include visions of future: non-physical relationships between people, ranges
of concepts of being human, perceptions of life opportunity, relationships to ideas and
beliefs, relationships to organizations and how such bodies are perceived, perfect
organizations, perfect meetings, perceptions of ignorance and human imperfections,
relationships to non-humans (whether terrestrial or extra-terrestrial), relationships to
past and future, relationships to the body of knowledge, education in an over-informed
environment, visions of perfection or perfectibility, criteria for optimization or daily
priority concerns, ecstasy and fear.
39. Vision orchestration initiative
A major difficulty with encouraging people to envision their futures and act to bring them
about is that of developing some way in which the harmony between very different futures
can emerge. Avoiding this problem merely leads to the characteristic clashes between
advocates of competing visions. The initiative explores ways of orchestrating visions
conceived as different instruments contributing to a symphony greater in scope than that
possibly for any particular instrument. The focus is on how competing visions can
contribute to harmonic chords and useful discords and the nature of the constraints on
such harmony as well as the development of the concept of harmony in this context.
40. Salvage initiative
Operates on the assumption that each discipline generates artifacts in a manner relevant
to its own narrow ends, but that these artifacts frequently have great, unrecognized value
when their significance is adapted to a wider psycho-social context. The initiative
explores techniques for recovering such value and making it more widely accessible. It is
an exercise in "recycling concepts", including those which may be considered
out-dated or which are rejected as defective. The initiative currently encompasses the
following areas: literature, history of ideas, pre-modern technology, theology, art,
martial arts, art.
41. Literature salvage data bank
Contains information on a wide variety of insights associated with individual characters,
attitudes, scenarios, concepts, lifestyles, transformations, etc. in the world's classical
and contemporary literature. The premise is that over the centuries considerable creative
insight and energy has been devoted to the elaboration of these works which despite the
rich variety of models they provide, are often inaccessible to the technically educated.
Entries therefore stress the essential psycho-social significance of the selected
perspectives without elaborating in any detail on the work as a whole (to which
bibliographical references are supplied). Efforts are directed towards ways of
interrelating the entries to provide useful learning pathways through the insights and to
facilitate access to particular insights when specific models are sought.
42. Change agent recording initiative
Present status: 85,748 entries.
This initiative makes or collects recorded interviews with self-motivated change agents at
different stages in their careers. The premise is that such individuals marshall and apply
their psychic resources in unique ways, learn rapidly, and are significantly affected by
the consequences of their chosen strategies. As a result others can learn from the
evolution of these strategies through the course of the change agents successive
challenges. Of special interest are the insights which cause many such individuals at a
critical stage to abandon further effort in favour of private life. The initiative seeks
to analyze the factors underlying self-motivation, the strategic traps, transition points,
and the possibilities for breakthrough to more fruitful strategies.
43. Resources initiative
This initiative collects information on every kind of living or non-material resource. The
intention is to establish the extent of the resources active, or potentially active, in
global society. Collection of information focuses as much on resources which are widely
accepted as those whose significance is difficult to determine. By including the latter,
it is hoped that their relevance to psycho-social organization can be demonstrated more
easily if the need arises. The programme at present includes: disciplines, beliefs and
values, stereotypes and cultural species, occupations and roles, species of organization,
animal and plant species, patterns, concepts, proverbs and sayings, lifestyles and styles
of behaviour, styles of decor, varieties of sensation (odours, colours, textures, tastes,
sounds), experiences, states of consciousness.
An emphasis is placed on classifying such resources in such a way as to suggest the
existence of undetected varieties and new combinations of characteristics.
44. Diversity initiative
Using the information collected by the resources initiative, the nature of diversity is
explored. The intent is to discover techniques to demonstrate the importance of diversity
in psycho-social organization, especially in the case of non-material resources. Of
particular interest is the manner in which diversity is spontaneously self-organizing and
self-managing, rather than chaotic, and as such then requires a minimum (rather than a
maximum) of external organization and control.
45. Relevance initiative
Using the information collected by the resources initiative, ways of clarifying the
relevance of a particular non-material resource to its context are explored. The intention
is to develop more sensitive ways of understanding the subtle contributions of different
resources to the self-organization of highly diversified psycho-social organization.
46. Resolution and implementation data bank
Used to file all resolutions and declarations formulated at international and key national
meetings. Information on implementation and follow-up is also included. The premise is
that such conceptual constructs are the focus of much effort and considered major
achievements at the international level, and that much may therefore be learnt from the
"resolution syndrome" and the avoidance of subsequent activity as a guide to
collective response to future resolution-formulating opportunities. The data bank enables
well-formed resolutions on any combination of topics to be accessed on demand.
47. Conceptual scheme data bank
Present status: 68,745 entries.
Contains information on the concept structure used in well-formed articles from a wide
range of disciplines or policy formulating settings. The premise is that the necessity to
limit the number of concepts grouped within any scheme results in the inadvertent use of a
fairly standard range of concept patterns which partially determine how the included
concepts are comprehended. The schemes are ordered in the data bank in terms of the number
of concepts in each set within the scheme. The information is used to compare similarly
formed sets, to explore more complex patterns, and to predict their probable impact on
concepts grouped by them.
48. Language idiosyncracy data bank
Present status: 19,855 concept schemes.
Contains information on a wide range of conceptual peculiarities associated with many
language or groups of languages. The intent is to gather together striking examples of
different ways in which very different languages categorize reality or associate phenomena
that in other contexts are considered to be totally unrelated. Also collected here are
concepts for which satisfactory terms are lacking. Efforts are being made to interrelate
the data entries to draw attention to unrecognizedgaps in certain languages or to
highlight areas of unrecognized conceptual richness in others, with the consequences of
both for translation.
49. Personality types data bank
Present status: 15,684 entries.
Contains information on all distinguishable personality types. Major effort
is directed towards registering relationships between personality types as
well as networks of transition pathways between types. The data bank is extensively
used in investigating complementary sets of personality types as a basis for
the formation of richly variegated, and yet viable, organizations and communities.
Present status: 2,627 types.
50. Language sound recording
Concerned with collecting and ordering the set of sounds (phoneme combinations)
specially characteristic of each language in order to facilitate understanding
of the qualities of each language and the drift in quality between them (e.g. "tion",
"zzione", "cion" etc.)
51. Constraint and opportunity data bank
Contains information on a wide range of "constraints" on useful action. Entries
are based on factors from the natural and social sciences, as well as from traditional
material such as fables, proverbs and sayings. Efforts are directed toward interrelating
constraints into patterns so as to clarify the domain of relevance of each of them and the
manner in which contrasting constraints complement each other. Investigation of these
patterns is leading to the discovery of "windows" or opportunity pathways
between the traps marked by the constraints.
52. Concept set databank
Present status: 5,925 entries.
Contains information on concepts grouped into sets of concepts of differing
numbers of elements. The intent is to register what concepts "fit" with what other
complementary concepts, in sets of increasingly larger numbers of elements, and to observe
any shift or drift in meaning as the set size changes. Particular attention is paid to
locating "missing" concepts in sets of any size. The data is used as
a guide to the elaboration of conceptual sets of any kind and to assist in testing
them for completeness, especially insofar as it affects any implications for
a viable programme of action.
53. Resource strengths and weaknesses
Present status: 21,501 entries.
Contains information on various kinds of psycho-social resources including:
human values, ideologies, religions, philosophies, intellectual disciplines,
etc. In each case the essential strengths are registered as elaborated by proponents,
together with basic weaknesses in practice as perceived by concerned opponents.
Efforts are directed toward interrelating the entries and the opposing or proposing
schools of thought in order to clarify the complementarity between the resources
and to explain and justify contrasting perceptions of them. The intent is to
design better ways of combining these resources in practice.
54. Species interrelationship data bank
Present status: 7,454 entries.
Contains information on all individual plant or animal species. The data bank
is organized to evolve in response to data availability and funding. Where
necessary information is minimal or grouped by order rather than at the individual
species level. Major effort is directed towards registering relationships between
species in food webs, possibly as determined by types of ecosystem. Cross-references
are made to pollutant data banks to clarify pollutant pathways. Access to the
data is facilitated by a variety of mapping techniques.
55. Role data bank
Present status: 1,543,532 entries (whether for individual species or groups)
Contains information on specific human roles of all varieties. The data bank
is organized to evolve in response to data availability and funding. Where
necessary information is minimal or grouped by category or occupation rather
than at the specific level of the role. Major emphasis is on less salient roles
or those on the verge of disappearance. A major use of the data bank is in
research on the design of lifestyles based on patterns of roles and in envisioning
56. Organizational types data bank
Present status: 87,430 roles
Contains information on all varieties of human groups and organizations as
types (but citing examples). Major emphasis is on less salient types and those
on the verge of disappearance. A major use of the data bank is in research
on the design of societies based on patterns of organizations of complementary
types and in envisioning new types.
57. Cultural type data bank
Present status: 5,037 types
Contains information on all distinguishable cultural, ethnic and professional
types, including national stereotypes. Because such information is highly conditioned
by the culture from which the observation is made, it is filed in such a way
as to reflectthis. Entries deliberately include exaggerated positive self-evaluation
and highly prejudiced negative evaluations. Efforts are directed towards finding
ways to interrelate and represent this information to demonstrate the necessity
of the range of types and the manner in which they complement each other as
well as to benefit from their perceived strengths and weaknesses. The data
is being used to predict conflictual and compatible configurations of types
and to discover ways of striking a stimulating balance between them.
Present status: 4,324 entries.
58. Meetings initiative
Assumes that meetings are a key arena within which psycho-social change occurs
but that they currently fail to respond to the expectations of participants.
The initiative explores ways of maturing the reflective, focusing and transformative
power of meetings, especially in the case of large groups.
59. Operational checklists initiative
Collects and processes checklists of "do's and don'ts", wise sayings,
religious injunctions, etc. The intention is to discover useful ways of consolidating
and presenting this information as a guide to life strategy decisions. Of special
concern is the amount and order in which such material can usefully be provided
to avoid premature rejection and overload. Of special interest is the possibility
of locating sets of such material on maps which a user slowly traverses, possibly
retracing certain pathways and returning to some points from different directions.
60. Subpersonalities initiative
Explores the dynamics whereby factions emerge in organizations and meetings,
each articulating perspectives opposed to or in harmony with those of other factions.
Such factions are usefully perceived as subpersonalities of the group as a whole
and their interrelationship is the central challenge for the integration of the
group. The work is related to that on functional emergence.
61. Ecosystem design initiative
Explores ways in which it is possible and useful to add species to an environment
in order to increase its maturity. Although this initiative devotes considerable
attention to natural environments, this is mainly done in order to gain insight
into possible approaches to psycho-social environments and their maturation.
In both cases the emphasis is on ensuring the presence of a network of species
which can interact to protect the maturity of the systems threatened with some
form of erosion.
62. New tracks initiative
Takes as point of departure the need to avoid the possibility that new initiatives
will simply become locked into tracks whichhave already demonstrated their limitations.
The emphasis is on the detection of activity tracks at a new energy level, especially
tracts with balanced energy characteristics providing some guarantee of stability.
63. Casting initiative
Explores the art of selecting and allocating people to roles in organizations
and meetings. It is assumed that casting involves concerns which are a stage
beyond the job-slot preoccupations of conventional personnel departments. The
programme clarifies the dramatic and poetic dimensions which make for significant
performance. Of special interest is the manner in which variety is built in,
balanced, and guaranteed adequate expression.
64. New responsibilities initiative
Explores emerging areas of explicit individual and group responsibility. Emphasis
is on subtle responsibilities which are currently easily neglected or rejected
65. New freedom initiative
Operating on the assumption that with the future evolution of society new freedoms
will emerge as significant, this initiative explores ways of identifying such
possible freedoms. Current areas of interest include freedom to define new: categories,
relationships, lifestyles, forms of income generation, aesthetic guidelines,
initiatives and lines of development.
66. Computer software initiative
Develops software to handle and explore alternative patterns. Whenever possible
versions of the packages suitable for use on small home computers are also developed.
Work currently focuses on: classification assistance (with transitions between
assistance schemes), storing thoughts and mapping their interrelationships (as
an aid to the restructuring of patterns of personal viewpoints), pathways and
relationship networking, group and team formation and transitions to alternative
operational configurations, comprehension of problem networks, storage and analysis
of sets and associated attributes, design of highly diversified ecosystems, research
on regular polyhedra and transformations between them, facilitation of personal
67. Instant change initiative
Focuses on those psycho-social situations in which instant change is expected
and called for, and when anything less is perceived as frustrating and unnecessary
delay, especially such substitutes as cosmetic change and minimum rates of change.
The programme explores ways of shifting the locus of expected change from the
external environment to the mind-set from which it is perceived, thus transforming
the change into a psychological one which can be more easily brought about within
the expected time frame. The nature of instant change in this context is explored.
68. Equivalence initiative
Explores the significance which can be associated with domains of attention between
which it appears fruitful to consider that transformations exist. Such transformations
would then establish the equivalence of such domains, throwing new light on each
of them. Domains currently under study include: space and time, the senses (sight,
taste, smell, hearing, touch), modes of expression (writing, plastic arts, music,
dance, theatre, sport). The initiative clarifies the problems of understanding
between people associated closely with different domains.
69. Inter-personal relationships initiative
Explores ways of clarifying the variety of possible inter-personal relationships,
especially of a non-physical kind. The intent is to make available a rich collection
of such possibilities to facilitate transitions from one pattern to another.
Given the difficulty of describing such patterns, familiar metaphors are developed
to provide a substrate on which distinctions can be made.
70. Forgettables initiative
Identifies and documents systematically classes of experience which tend to be
most readily forgotten. Emphasis is on discovering what of significance can be
learnt from experiences which are almost automatically classed as insignificant.
71. Zero experiences initiative
A major breakthrough in mathematics came with the discovery of the number zero
and its cyclic function. The initiative explores the possibility that there may
a psycho-social or experiential 'zero' with functions of equal significance for
transformation. Work is related to that on problems of discontinuity in awareness,
transfer between levels of consciousness, death, and transcendental experience.
Different "bases" are
72. Qualitative equality initiative
Explores the possibility that psycho-social qualitative experience as a whole
may be usefully considered as equally distributed and equally accessible to people
- the constraint being that each sub-quality is only accessible to some people,
whereas others will have access to some other sub-quality. Work focuses on the
way in which frustration is generated by the different value attached to the
sub-qualities to which people have access, or do not. The challenge for this
initiative is to find ways of
"travelling" from experience of one set of qualities to experience
73. Long-term transformation initiative
Looks beyond personal growth and current social, economic and political objectives
in relation to local, national and international communities. Emphasis is on
discovering fundamental modes of transformation which may ultimately be of central
significance to humanity. A major interest is in clarifying the nature of the
essential core of humanity as the invariant in any such transformation. To the
extent that this raises questions of complementary invariants, the work is associated
with other initiatives on non-human and extra-terrestrial species.
74. Tail-chasing initiative
Clarifies the extent to which the very act of defining a problem, and then mobilizing
resources to solve it, effectively perpetuates the problem rather than moving
beyond it. Work follows up on E. de Bono's suggestion for the use of "po" as
a circuit-breaker in such circumstances.
75. Transcendental presence initiative
Explores the effects on daily life of continuous recognition of a transcendental
presence. This presence may be experienced in an aesthetic, religious, or other
form, including the moment-by-moment risk of death, the essential paradox of
reality, the dream-like quality of experience, or being in love. Emphasis is
on facilitating such an experience as an exercise and determining its effects
on interaction between people (or groups) engaging in it. To the extent that
this experience is a natural one, there is interest in the effects of functional
substitutes for it in cultures in which only material experiences are legitimized.
76. Multi-level sophistication initiative
Explores ways in which many levels of technical, politico-economic, and psycho-social
sophistication can co-exist in a society to the benefit of all. It is assumed
that a single-level society is both unrealistic in the light of present trends
and undesirable because of the drain on resources.
77. Institutional educationalization initiative
Explores strategies for decreasing operational dependence on institutions and
belief systems whose function lies mainly in their educational value, rather
than in their direct response to the problems for which they were established.
Work involves determining how use can best be made of the existence of such structures
as ongoing educational environments for the many people (in each generation)
who need to experience their limitations before being prepared to consider more
viable modes of operation. Links exist with the ensymbolment initiative.
78. Meeting transference initiative
Explores ways of transforming the role of "conference leading speaker" into one
in which that person uses the conference process to transfer the authority conferred back
to the audience. The conference process is seen as related to the psychoanalytic process,
with the speaker as "analyst" and the participants as "patients".
The question investigated is whether participants then come to perceive themselves
as roles integrated within the group by the transference thus giving riseto a
significant degree of collective group consciousness.
79. Survival attitudes initiative
Explores ways of choosing and working with metaphors as useful attitudinal templates
appropriate to continuity of awareness under certain turbulent psycho-social
conditions. The main interest is in determining how to adopt rock-like, plant-like,
insectoid, fish-like, bird-like, or mammalian templates, and when each is to
be favoured as an attitudinal response offering certain advantages and risks.
Investigation of more specialized templates in each case is planned for a later
stage. Links have been made to work on animism and totem spirits and on metaphor-shifting.
80. Ever-present past initiative
Concerned with the manner in which structures, processes and attitudes, continually
re-emerge when they have supposedly been superseded by more appropriate ones.
Emphasis is on the extent to which such superseded phenomena are simply displaced
into sectors or age-groups of society ahead of the slowly advancing educational
process which informs of their inappropriateness. Work is related to initiatives
on co-presence, on encoding of the past in the present, on multi-level sophistication,
and on psycho-social recapitulation of territorially-based processes.
81. Self-exploitation initiative
Explores ways in which an individual exploits himself or herself by adopting
attitudes analogous to those defined by politics or economics. Of special interest
are processes of colonizing one's future, as well as feudal, imperialistic and
totalitarian relationships to the advantage of certain roles.
82. Metaphorical shifting initiative
Explores the significance of shifting between metaphors by asking related questions
of the type: within what metaphorical environments can the same individual (say)
be modelled by an ant?... a tree?....a river?...a bird?...a mountain? Emphasis
is on the nature and significance of the shift in perspective within the metaphorical
context in order to obtain a good match on the same subject in each case, given
the essential relatedness of the environmental elements selected as templates.
The procedure is also applied using psycho-social roles, as in questions of the
type: on what metaphorical ship is one? The captain?...the pilot?...the crewman?...a
passenger?... a stowaway? Of major interest is whether there is necessarily an
answer to each such role-linked question.
83. Awe and glory initiative
Rapid technological advance has made the collective experience of awe and glory
unacceptable because of the vulnerability with which such transformative experiences
are associated in a society resistant to information overload. The programme
explores the consequences of such insensitivity, seeks contextsin which such
experiences continue to be possible, and clarifies the nature of the transformative
84. Change blockages initiative
Documents systematically the full range of psycho-social obstacles to individual
and collective transformation. Emphasis is on displaying the information in such
a way that the possibility of unforeseen blockages is highlighted for further
investigation. There is special interest in the positive function of such blockages.
85. Psycho-social speciation initiative
Explores the extent to which mankind as a reproducing physical species is in
fact fragmenting psycho-socially into a multiplicity of species, between many
of which productive intercourse is already not possible. The programme explores
ways of defining such species and their non-reproductive relationships (predation,
symbiosis, etc.) with each other, largely guided by experiences with non-human
speciation. Emphasis is on understanding the nature of the resulting "ecosystemic noomass",
the direction of evolution, and the significance of endangered and extinct species.
Associated work on population dynamics and the genetic pool is partly carried
out in collaboration with the related initiative on psycho-social genetics.
86. Concept fatigue initiative
Investigates the ways in which new concepts of psycho-social change pass through
a succession of phases from being magnetically attractive to being rejected as
outworn cliches in favour of other new concepts. Emphasis is on the involvement
of intergovernmental institutions, academic establishments and the media in "wearing
out" such concepts to the point at which they are no longer useable, despite
their continuing relevance.
87. Standpoint vulnerability initiative
Concerned with the manner in which attachment to a particular viewpoint, despite
its validity, promotes distorted understanding and hinders further development
in comprehension. The debate on the wave or particle theory of light is an obvious
example, but the programme is especially concerned with the inherent limitation
of any standpoint, however excellent, and how this may be circumvented. Work
is associated with related initiatives on the dynamics of paradox.
88. Living death initiative
Explores the intimate relationship between life and death with the purpose of
clarifying the role of death in life, as opposed to the psychological transfer
of its significance to the end of a life. The intention is to discover ways of
experiencing death in daily life, thus sharpening the experience of life and
clarifying the transformative function of death. The programme draws on material
from the eastern martial arts and fromreligious
"books of the dead". This it adapts to an understanding of daily psychological
cycles involving discontinuities of awareness usefully understood as mini-deaths.
89. Here-and-now encoding initiative
Explores the view that by an appropriate comprehension of, and identification
with, the here-and-now, it is possible to avoid the need for psycho-social development
strategies to modify existing unacceptable structures and processes. Emphasis
is on discovering ways in which the changes, initially perceived as necessary,
can be understood as being already encoded in the dynamics of the here-and-now
in such a manner as to open up an even greater richness than was originally considered
90. Necessary dramatics initiative
This initiative takes the view that psycho-social processes can only be rationalized
to a limited extent. Destructively chaotic irrationality can however be contained
by channelling processes into dramatic forms. Work focuses on identifying the
nature and necessity of dramatic processes under certain conditions. The work
is partly inspired by themes in classical drama, opera and "soap opera", but is mainly concerned with
relationships in and between groups, especially large groups. A major interest is in
determining the function of "negative" processes involving arrogance,
jealousy, ridicule, anger, betrayal, humiliation, bereavement, and the like.
91. Qualitative ambiguity initiative
Depending on the amount of information available on them, particular actions
of a person or a group may be judged by others as being extremely productive
unproductive ("bad"), if not more or less irrelevant. The initiative explores
the ways in which a set of activities can come to be misjudged, either as a result of a
lack of information, or as a result of inability to comprehend the information on the
strategy in question, or because misjudgment is itself an advantageous strategy. Emphasis
is on the resulting "interference pattern", namely the stratification
of any society into successive layers alternating in their perceptions between
positive and negative evaluations according to the extent to which they are informed
about the issue. The main interest is in the resulting ambiguous quality associated
with complex subtle strategies and the extreme positive and negative reactions
to which they give rise.
92. Phase shifting initiative
Explores the ways in which individuals, groups, nations, and probably the world,
engage in cyclic changes of phase in responding to their psycho-social environments.
Such phase shifts become a necessity when the strategic advantages of any current
phase are undermined by the accumulation of negative consequences of the pursuit
of that mode. Given that no meta-framework is recognized for such phase shifts,
they tend to involve painfully traumatic discontinuity which distracts attention
from fundamental issues of greater long-termimportance. Work focuses on distinguishing
phases and clarifying the standpoint which makes evident their cyclic continuity.
93. Priestly monarch initiative
This initiative assumes that styles of organization which have been abandoned
for good reason may well prove appropriate under changed conditions in the future
in response to new needs analogous to those for which they were originally adopted.
In this context the nature of the role of a monarch, or a priestly monarch, is
explored. Emphasis is placed on the integrative and symbolic value of such a
role in an increasingly depersonalized society, especially as compared with the
symbolic inadequacies of the current head-of-state model and their functional
substitutes in the media. Work focuses on ways to build processes into a totally
undefined version of the role which would safeguard against the well-established
weaknesses of hereditary monarchy, whilst optimizing the expression of new levels
of qualitative and psycho-social integration. Given the manner in which
"aristocratic" elites emerge in any system, the programme also explores ways of
giving a more healthy functional expression to any socio-cultural network around a monarch
or a "roundtable".
95. Wisdom-dialogue simulation initiative
Extensive use is made of artificial intelligence capabilities to simulate conversation
between the complex belief systems derived by encoding analyses of individual
beliefs. Independent belief systems have been encoded for major figures of different
cultures, including philosophers, revolutionaries, charismatic and religious
leaders, and scientists. Work concentrates on analyzing the simulated conversations
between these different personalities, whether in groups of two or more. By changing
the conditions, the conversations can be shifted between integrative and disintegrative
extremes through various intermediary stages. This facility is used in various
ways but especially to gain understanding of the functional significance of incompatible
extremes and as an educational tool.
96. Ersatz initiative
Explores the possibility of substituting artificial products or processes for
natural products or processes. The aim of the programme is to clarify whether
and under what conditions there is any ultimate resistance to such substitution.
The emphasis is on non-material products and processes such as commercialized
courtesy, loyalty by contract, computerized interpersonal communication, and
drug-induced emotions. The most extreme possibilities likely to emerge in the
future are documented as part of this work.
97. University coherence initiative
The University is itself used as the focus of research in this programme. The
intention is to discover the nature and quality of the more fundamental and subtle
forces through which its coherence and integrity emerge, and which give rise
to a widevariety of complementary initiatives. By so doing, a more profound understanding
of the self-image, identity and direction of evolution of the University is obtained
as a more appropriate foundation for the formulation of new initiatives.
98. Synchronicity initiative
Explores various aspects of synchronicity following on the work of C.G. Jung.
Emphasis is given to the phenomenon in relation to group and global processes.
99. Oscillatory paradox initiative
Taking the conceptual implications of quantum mechanics as its point of departure,
the initiative considers the nature of the paradox to which our current perceptions
respond. It is recognized that, in their response to the world around them, people
alternate between mind-set extremes. These can be as mutually exclusive as the
wave and particle theories of light, each of which is an essentially partial
description of the phenomena in question and thus ultimately inadequate. The
initiative explores how people can oscillate between such extremes to contain
an essentially paradoxical reality, or at least to maintain a conscious relationship
with it. The possible implications of conceptual oscillations, analogous to those
associated with circular movement in the electric motor/dynamo, are a major focus
100. Large data set initiative
Recognizing the increasing number of large data sets which are intended to be
comprehensible to decision-makers, researchers and the general public, this initiative
explores ways of structuring and packing such information. Work focuses on ways
of minimizing distortion in the significance of the larger set when its component
elements are grouped for comprehensibility into smaller sub-sets numbering not
more than about 20. Emphasis is on finding ways of preserving sensitivity to
the variety of relationships between elements when packed in this way.
101. Set representation exercise initiative
Recognizing the importance of understanding the nature and formation of sets,
this initiative is concerned with the design of exercise books, videocassettes
and computer programmes as aids to understanding sets. The initiative goes beyond
the two-dimensional set representations in "new math" texts to draw
attention to the importance of concepts emerging from three-dimensional representations
and from sets with properties of symmetry.
102. Fiction scenario initiative
Reviews serious and popular fiction to identify scenario stereotypes. The initiative
assumes that good stories are essentially self-organizing (in the system sense)
in terms of definable constraints. The intention is to discover these constraints,
the conditions under which they are activated, andthe interrelationship between
them, as a way of gaining understanding of the flow patterns with which people
identify and by which they are energized.
103. Fiction initiative
Considering the important position of fiction in society, this programme explores
ways of identifying ideas and themes for new novels. The ideas sought are seen
as responding to unfilled niches in the psycho-cultural ecosystem. Whilst emphasis
is not placed on novels with a "message" in any narrow sense, themes
are sought which enhance qualitative experience, whether directly or by contrast.
There is special interest in novels as carriers in which several levels of information
are encoded. Part of the programme also explores ways of overcoming the obstacles
to the creation of novels by groups of complementary personalities.
104. Self-enrichment initiative
Explores ways of collecting and presenting information to enable people (and
groups) to engage in an integrative self-education programme. The focus is at
present on the following modes: fiction reading, drama, painting/sculptures,
theatre, music, and film/video. The information is presented so that each mode
can be explored independently or as complementary to others. The traditional "reading list" approach
has been discarded in favour of learning pathway maps on which easy and challenging
routes are shown with self-testing indicators of success. Maps are produced for
a variety of personality types, language groups and age ranges. The emphasis
is on identifying the highest quality aids to self-enrichment.
105. Post-catastrophe reconstruction error initiative
Social reconstruction following any major catastrophe is frequently based on
the patterns of the past and consequently builds in the same problems and weaknesses.
The programme clarifies the decision-making processes under stress and identifies
the critical phases, danger signals and traps during reconstruction.
106. Distinction initiative
Identifies the kinds of vital psycho-social distinctions made which have not
yet been reinforced by any form of institutionalization. These tend to be meta-stable,
evanescent, easily forgotten or ignored, and difficult to recognize or explain.
The programme explores the conditions governing the relative stability of the
associated concepts and the phases of distinctiveness through which they can
107. Family extension initiative
Identifies areas of interpersonal relationship in which little guidance has been
made available to assist people to avoid problem situations well-illustrated
in the media or to discover viable new patterns of relationships. Explores ways
offormulating such guidance whether in brochures, illustrated handbooks or videocassettes.
Emphasis is at present on situations involving adaptation of the nuclear one
or two-adult family to include: an elderly parent, a handicapped person, an adopted
child, a distant relative, a close friend or a sexually-involved adult.
108. Functional roundness initiative
Explores the possibility that demonstrating that the psycho-social world is functionally
round would be of as much significance as the demonstration that the physical
world was round. The initiative assumes that psycho-social functions are currently
perceived through an essentially "flat-earth" perspective with all the distortion that this
implies and the lack of freedom that it imposes. Guided by insights into the development
of understanding of physical roundness, the programme develops techniques for detecting
functional roundness and "navigating" around such a sphere. Of particular
interest is the discovery of new functional continents.
109. Unpleasant facts initiative
Maintains documentation on unpleasant features of society primarily in terms
of the ways in which information about them is (or has been) ignored or suppressed.
The programme explores how this collective avoidance mechanism works and attempts
to uncover other domains in which it may be operating. Domains currently used
as examples include: slave trade, broken treaties, corruption in government,
vanishing species, vivisection, and elite control of resources.
110. Bestial anatomy initiative
The underlying psycho-social diseases, of which conventional world problems are
simply symptoms, can be usefully portrayed as attributes of a dangerous beast
which is the dramatic challenge to humanity. Given the highly contagious nature
of these diseases, observers close enough to perceive the beast clearly are easily
corrupted by such contact. Determining its anatomy in thus a very risky enterprise
calling for special precautions. Several approaches are being actively investigated.
111. Future subtle problems initiative
Present day problems are relatively subtle compared to those acknowledged in
the past. It is to be expected that those of the future will be even subtler
and consequently difficult to comprehend with the concepts of the present. The
initiative identifies the kinds of insidious problems which are likely to be
considered of dramatic significance over the next several hundred years. The
intention is to clarify how these problems are already inherent in society today
even though they are not considered of any significance even when they are recognized.
112. Macro-tracing initiative
Explores ways in which individuals (or groups) could themselves become conscious
of patterns which may be traced out by their own sequences of actions. The emphasis
is on discovering the nature of the patterns in which they are most deeply engaged,
possibly only comprehensible to intuition as an aesthetic design, a symbol, or
a story (in the psychoanalytical sense of the term).
113. Exploitation strategy initiative
Explores systematically, profession by profession, ways in which professional
considerations and privileges can be used to exploit those who depend on the
profession for its services. The results are presented in the form of guidelines
to professionals, showing in each case how they can maximize their interests
at the expense of clients irrespective of any set of professional ethics. By
anticipating such strategies, it is expected that a more appropriate pattern
of professional-client relations can emerge.
114. Psychic energy pathways initiative
Explores the way in which most common psycho-social phenomena may be usefully
seen as transformation stages in the processing of "psychic energy" broadly defined.
Thus even phenomena such as book browsing, lecturing, prize giving, cafe use, street
minstrels and card exchange may be seen as part of definable energy pathways. Work focuses
on the representation of such pathways on comprehensible maps (in an integrated
"atlas") and the identification of phenomena which suggest the possibility
of as yet unforeseen pathways. Of special interest is the extent to which social
problems arise as a result of hindrances to the circulation of energy along such
115. UN anew initiative
Explores the ways in which the United Nations could be reconceived if it were
necessary to recommence the initiative. The programme is only incidentally concerned
with the well-explored possibilities of reforming the UN Charter. The main emphasis
is on clarifying a desirable alternative pattern for processes for secretariat
operations and the way individuals and groups work with and through them, whether
internally or externally. The desirable "feel" of the secretariat is
thus used as a guideline for reflection, with legal and political considerations
only taken into account as important constraints.
116. Set membership data bank
Identifies for particular concepts the sets of other concepts of which it is
a part. This is done systematically such that the concept (e.g. praxis) is first
grouped with one other concept (in a 2-set), then with two other concepts (in
a 3-set) and so on. The data bank may therefore be used to identify, for example,
the eight other concepts which, with it, constitute a well-formed 9-set. This
clarifies the distinct contributions of a given concept to different sets and
identifies the necessary complementary concepts in each case.
117. Game design initiative
Insights into the range and variety of psycho-social forces, and the patterns
of their relationships, are given tangibility through the design of games which
can be played for pleasure and education. A special emphasis is given to games
which are neither purely competitive nor cooperative but rather which clarify
the nature of the marriage between these extremes. The central concern is to
render interesting and credible game strategies which transcend any oscillation
between these extremes. Games are designed so that they can be played at greater
or lesser degrees of complexity.
118. Information significance initiative
Explores ways of deriving significance from very largecollections of information.
The prime concern is not with conventional processing problems but rather with
developing attitudes which can respond appropriately to information gestalts.
Such attitudes are best described via metaphors of gliding through or over information,
alighting on certain structures, sensing tides of significance, avoiding information
whirlwinds and cyclones, and using thermal currents. Emphasis is on making such
attitudes relevant to decision-making with regard to the world problematique.
119. Indictment of humanity initiative
Assembles and consolidates statements which are embodied into a continually updated
("no-holds-barred") indictment of humanity's stewardship on Earth.
This is carried out as an exercise in ways of cutting through the verbiage generated
by short-term, self-interested initiatives and providing a clear declaration
of humanity's irresponsibility, undisguised by the usual layers of self-praise
which confuse the uninitiated. The programme focuses especially on the manner
in which humanity uses it positive global initiatives (in the fields of health,
education, agriculture, etc) to conceal inability to respond to issues which
give rise to these problem areas.
120. Significance tracks initiative
Clarifies the ways in which significance is explored. Each such manner of approach
is seen as a source of psychic energy. The programme investigates how such tracks
interweave, whilst remaining essentially different and even antagonistic or invisible
to one another. Of special interest are the points of interchange between such
tracks and the attributes of the total form they weave together.
121. Functional niches initiative
Explores how the most general functions can be understood to differentiate into
sets of more specialized functions. The emphasis is on discovering the nature
of the process which engenders such functional variety and clarifying the dimensions
in terms of which hitherto unforeseen functions are defined. Of special interest
are the ways of detecting such functional niches.
122. Insignificance dimension initiative
Investigates the extent to which the context in which perceptions occur can lead
to the erosion, dilution or general loss of their significance. Work at present
focuses on use of superlatives in qualitative judgements and the manner in which
this can pre-empt any sensitivity to subtler qualities in a broader context within
which the focal significance is therefore diminished.
123. Field comprehension initiative
The programme builds on current processes of understanding as reflected in the
use of isolated categories, systems, networks, and their variants. These are
considered inadequate, or oflimited value, in that increasingly important aspects
of reality are sensed to be too simplistically represented by such structured
divisions of it, however elegantly they are interlinked. The shifting structure
of fields calls for a different approach to comprehension and communication if
effective use is to be made of current insights.
124. Alternative logics initiatives
Investigates the conditions under which non-Boolean logics are of relevance.
Of special interest is the implication of such logics for understanding problems
of choice, development and appropriate structure. The initiative is not limited
to conceptually well-formed logics.
125. Modes of thought initiative
Explores the variety of modes of thinking, understanding and comprehension, whether
verbal or non-verbal. The programme attempts to identify how these are related
to each other in terms of their domains of relevance. Of special interest are
the investigations of these matters in some Eastern cultures and the ways in
which such modes are perceived as related by them. The programme clarifies the
conditions under which each mode is of relevance at the present time.
126. Rheomode initiative
Explores new ways of using language to describe and understand processes as the
link between objects arbitrarily perceived as isolated and static. Of special
interest is the necessary switch from static (noun) categories to dynamic (verb)
categories. The programme seeks ways of identifying "objects" as temporary
manifestations at the points of interferences between processes. Insights from
non-indo-european languages are used wherever possible.
127. Comprehension stages initiative
Explores the manner in which comprehension is organized into stages separated
by some form of hiatus or discontinuity. This raises problems of the appropriate
organization of learning material for each stage and the possibility of alternative
pathways through the various stages. Of special interest is the process of transition
across the barrier between one stage and the next.
128. Explanation and experience initiative
Explores the changing status of experience and explanation. The initiative is
mainly oriented to gaining some understanding of their probable status in the
future in the light of past and present developments. Of special interest is
the way in which an explanation is experienced as adequate and the way this sense
of adequacy may vary under different conditions.
129. Status of reality initiative
Explores the ways in which the complex fluidity of reality gets "frozen" as a
context for particular societies and modes of thought. Of special interest are the
possible consequences of "unfreezing" reality especially in relation
to animistic perceptions, emergence of the entities of folklore, and the current
problems of short-lived phenomena.
130. Learning cycles initiative
Explores the way in which individuals and groups move through learning cycles
according to their degree of experience of a problem situation. This results
in communication barriers between those initially exposed to the problem, and
those with varying degrees of familiarity with it. Of special interest is the
constant emergence of new groups, relatively unfamiliar with the problem, having
the communication advantage of an apparently "straight-forward" explanation
of what needs to be done. Also of interest is the incomprehensibility of those
most familiar with the problem at the end of the learning cycle.
131. Distinction communicability initiative
Explores the problems of comprehending and communicating distinctions which are
poorly reinforced by language or perceived reality. The distinctions embodied
in such a set as
"inter-", "multi-", "trans-", "cross-",
"pluri-" and "meta-" constitutes a typical example. Despite
their importance, the meanings are unclear and are completely lost on translation
into many languages. Of special interest are conditions under which some of the
terms acquire negative connotations.
132. Perspective initiative
Explores the geometry of perspective in vision as a guide to understanding the
nature of comprehension. Of special interest is the necessary distortion introduced
by vision from a particular location and its importance for perspective (parallel
lines meeting at infinity). This is contrasted with efforts to free explanations
from such particular focii and the consequent lack of relationship of explanations
to the appearance of perceived reality.
133. Discrimination initiative
Explores the process of resolving ambiguity in concepts either more complex or
less complex than those normally dealt with. The programme focuses on the problem
of distinguishing between these two types of ambiguity as basic to discrimination
between the two levels.
134. Set reduction initiative
Explores thinking and comprehension as a process of set reduction. Complexity
may be broken up into a set containing a large number of concepts. The problem
is then one of how to reduce the size of the set in order that it may become
comprehensible as a whole, whilst at the same time retaining the relationship
to the larger set. Forms are sought whichfacilitate the shift in the level of
comprehension between the smaller and the larger sets.
135. Meta-modelling initiative
Explores ways of ordering the relationship between models of reality, especially
in cases where the models offer alternative and conflicting views of reality.
Particular attention is given to determining the criteria for an adequate meta-model
and the problems of comprehension associated with it. The question of the status
of new models, which will emerge in the future, is used to give a dynamic and
self-referential dimension to the nature of meta-models.
136. Received ideas initiative
Explores the range of received ideas and unexamined assumptions impacting upon
policy making as well as the steps necessary to legitimate any efforts to transcend
137. Policy options initiative
Reviews the manner in which policy options are currently limited by received
ideas. The initiative outlines new approaches to major issues in the light of
the alternative perspectives emerging from the other initiatives.
138. Pre-logical bias initiative
Explores the nature of pre-logical and temperamental biases which determine
"logical" responses to aesthetic, theoretical, value and action situations.
Of special interest is their influence on choice of life-style, intellectual
discipline, policy, presentation of information, and the like. Work also focuses
on the consequences for the design of organizations and programmes sympathetic
to such contrasting preferences.
139. Time-binding comprehension initiative
Explores comprehension as a process of "time-binding", whereby the
"normal" sequential perception in time is transcended and woven into
new patterns. Of special interest is the nature of any temporal organization
equivalent to the organization of space.
140. Sequential experience initiative
Explores problems resulting from perceptions tied to a sequential time track,
especially in relation to the comprehension of wholes whose facets can only be
perceived successively. The problem is seen in relation to the organization of
complex wholes in memory. Also of interest is the associated requirement for
choice, priority and exclusion in exploring or presenting such a whole.
141. Attention initiative
Explores the ways in which attention is absorbed and focused in society on the
assumption that individuals are equal in their attention capacity. Of special
interest are the nature of the attention "traps", "sinks", and "reflectors", their
avoidance, and their deliberate or inadvertent use for social and behavioral control. This
approach is used to model society as a pattern of attention absorbants. Work also focuses
on the corresponding "sources" of attention and how these may be
142. Attention span initiative
Explores the significance of attention span in determining the credibility of
complex concepts and the viability of complex organization. Of special interest
is the question of collective, as opposed to individual, attention span.
143. Viewpoint initiative
Explores the nature of viewpoints and ways in which the relationships between
many different viewpoints may be portrayed and comprehended. Of special interest
is the nature of the communication space in which the differences between viewpoints
are indicated by the distance between locations in that space.
144. Triangulation initiative
Given the fundamental importance of the process of triangulation in ordering
physical space, this programme explores the possibility of a qualitative analogue
for the ordering of qualitative experience.
145. Zero initiative
Given the fundamental significance of the discovery of zero in the manipulation
of quantities, this programme explores the possibility of a qualitative analogue
to zero. This is conceived as having a special role as an end-of-cycle marker
and for any transition to a new level of qualitative expression.
146. Concept set analysis initiative
Explores the formation of concept sets in academic, administrative, legal, and
technical documents. The intention is to clarify to what extent such set formation
is determined by psychological constraints, including problems of comprehensibility
and communicability. Of special interest is the possible significance for theory
formation and representation of complex reality, given the preferences for sets
with a limited number of elements.
147. Set complementaries initiative
Identifies for chosen terms the complementary terms with which it can be usefully
associated. In a 1-set and a 2-set these may include synonyms and antonyms respectively,
but the programme is primarily interested in discovering sets with a large number
of complementaries. Of special interest is the extent to which the presence of
any one such complementary in practice engenders the presence of others, whether
or not the relation between them is perceived. Work also focuses on the problem
of perceiving such complementaries in practice and the consequences for social
processes of failing to do so.
148. Difference sets initiative
Explores how maximally different in quality things can be in cases when there
are only N elements in the set of experience. Work focuses on sets of 2, 3, 4
and more elements. Of special interest is the shift in qualitative differences
with the changing number of elements and the significance of the results for
comprehending single element sets.
149. Temporal sets initiative
Explores ways in which any given period of time can be conceived as part of different
temporal sets. Thus in addition to forming a unique set of 1 element, it is also
part of a set of 2 elements, 3 elements, and so on. Each of the additional elements
implies the occurrences (in the past or future) of periods in which opposing
qualities are developed. Of special interest is the way in which the experience
of the moment is essentially defined by these enfolding temporal sets.
150. Qualitative "big bang" initiative
Explores the value of assuming that the emergence of qualitative experiences
follows a pattern somewhat analogous to the big bang theory of cosmology. Of
special interest are the "first 3 minutes" of any such creation and the processes associated with the
proto-categories before experience is stabilized. The concept of an "expanding"
universe of experience is also explored.
151. Time compression initiative
Explores the possibility that the pattern of sequential development of processes
over time may be usefully conceived as compressed into each present moment. The
whole process of individual and collective experience is thus conceived as initiated,
evolving and completed at each instant, however partial the ability to contain
the awareness of it. Of special interest is the possibility that time past should
be understood in terms of reciprocal time rather than a linear projection into
152. Classification initiative
Explores unconventional approaches to classification and to problems in which
classification is a key factor. The premise is that conceptual and administrative
order, and processes arising from it, are strongly determined by compromises
in classification made to facilitate information handling, representation or
comprehension. Current programme emphases are on: category boundary shifting
and the artificiality of categories; the manner in which the absent context characteristic
of an out-of-context phenomena (e.g. a wild animal in a zoo) falsifies objective
comprehension of that phenomena particularly as part of stagesor cycles in that
context; consequences of choice of set size in elaboration of any list of policies,
priorities, problems, significant factors, etc.; and development of techniques
for switching between alternative classification schemes.
153. Space-time container initiative
Explores different concepts of the organization of space-time as possible containers
for qualitative experience. Of special interest are transformations between such
different forms of organization and their relation to the development of qualitative
154. Classification of classifications initiative
Using a wide variety of classification schemes as a point of departure, the initiative
explores ways of classifying them in order to highlight the alternative ways
of organizing matter, energy and processes of all kinds. Each possibility is
seen as a "window on
reality" of a particular form. Of special interest are new approaches to
organizing reality suggested by the dimensions of the meta-classification schemes
155. Non-linear agenda initiative
Explores the possibility of expressing meeting agendas and organization programmes
in a non-linear form which emphasizes the interaction between the agenda items
rather than an administrative order of priority. Of special interest is the possibility
of presenting an agenda as a 3-dimensional configuration of mutually counter-balancing
elements bearing a much closer relationship to the operational realities of the
energies to be managed.
156. Interdisciplinary classification initiative
Explores approaches to classification of interdisciplinary topics, given that
conventional breakdown by subject do violence to the essential emphasis of the
topics. Of special interest are forms of classification which highlight degrees
of interdisciplinarity and synthesis and patterns of relationship between the
157. Boundary shifting initiative
Explores the means and implications of shifting conventional boundaries between
categories. Such boundaries may be usefully redefined under some circumstances
leading to new insight through the change in perceptual framework. The nature
of such boundaries may also be changed in terms of permeability, frequency, discontinuity,
and the like. Of special interest is the significance for understanding problems
158. Notation scheme initiative
Notation schemes bypass the limitations of verbal expression in attempting to
order experience in a more compact manner (e.g. musical notation, mathematics,
dance notation, molecular structures, etc.). The programme explores notation
as classification, in relation to number, as pattern, and in terms of its right-hemisphere
implications. Of special interest is the possibility of expressing new concepts
through notations. Work also focuses on the advantages of ideograms over conventional
notations, multi-level significance of some notations, and the significance of
forming the notation (as in calligraphy).
159. Resistance initiative
Explores ways of using resistance to change in a creative manner. The programme
is not so much interested in overcoming resistance as determining more clearly
the role that it must necessarily play and how this may be played more beneficially.
160. Thinking stereotypes initiative
Identifies characteristic thinking styles of different cultures, especially in
terms of the implications for interaction between them, for the kind of phenomena
to which they are sensitive, and for the kinds of structure they engender or
161. Change agent initiative
Explores the characteristics of change agents and how they come to adopt that
attitude and role. Of special interest is the evolution in the attitude of change
agents after considerable experience and the consequent changes in their strategies
and style of communication.
162. Critical pathways initiative
Using experience with critical path analysis and similar tools, explores ways
of providing improved strategic guidance in the open-ended situations typical
of psycho-social crises. Of special interest are ways of using the approach which
do not require over-determination of the end condition or complete information
on the starting conditions. Work also focuses on the ways in which such pathways
can be usefully mapped.
163. Personal policy initiative
Explores the manner in which an individual can develop personal policies to organize
an approach to life. Of special interest is the manner in which an individual
can adopt policies with respect to his or her own actions that bear a strong
resemblance to classic policies (e.g. liberal, socialist, communist, fascist,
etc.). In this way an individual using an "imperialist" policy, may "colonize" his own future and be
obliged, in another role, to suffer for a period from the exploitation resulting from his
own decision. Similarly, any decision in one role, requires that the individual functions
as a "worker" in another role to execute that decision. This can give rise to a
whole pattern of "worker/management" relations within the individual.
164. Personal strategy initiative
Explores the application of strategic thinking and attitudes by an individual
in response to his own psycho-social crises and opportunities. Of special interest
is the manner in which an individual effectively adopts a succession of roles
corresponding to strategic requirements (e.g. general, artillery commanders,
infantry, espionage, etc.) Also of interest is the adaptation of eastern martial
arts in response to an individual's psycho-social "enemy" conceived as operating through a network of encircling
problems (cf. "life-style judo").
165. Blueprints initiative
Formulates "blueprints" for action in the expected post-crisis period taking
into account the insights emerging from other programme initiatives. Of special interest
is the design of blueprints which do not take the form of detailed plans requiring
imposition from above. To this end many of the blueprints merely function as triggers,
pointers or catalysts for a self-initiated planning and organizing process. Also of
interest are the ways of "delivering" these blueprints to the points where they
are likely to be needed and used. Ways are therefore sought to encode the information in
cultural and other "carriers" which are already reaching many of the
166. Strategy initiative
Explores the application of strategic thinking and attitudes in responses to
psycho-social crises and opportunities. Concerns include: definition of objectives,
marshalling resources, intelligence gathering, strategic possibilities, indirect
strategies, pre-emptive strategies. Considerable effort is made to adapt military,
business and game strategy to the struggle against networks of psycho-social
problems. Use is also made of eastern concepts of strategy. Insights are sought
from the philosophy and practice of eastern martial arts, including the concept
of non-action and non-resistance. There is special interest in the significance
of the insights to be derived from generalizing strategic thinking to three dimensions
as required by space warfare.
167. Uselessness initiative
Takes as its point of departure a statement by Chuang Tzu: "Every man knows how
useful it is to be useful. No one seems to know how useful it is to be useless."
Explores the value of uselessnessand the implications for the organization of
society and knowledge.
168. Experience initiative
Explores the nature of "experience" in terms of its value for society
and in contrast to skills and knowledge. Of special interest is the dimension
along which experience may be said to increase and how it is best acquired.
169. Elders initiative
Explores the ways in which society can derive benefit from the wisdom of the
elderly. It is assumed that modern society is effectively wasting a major portion
of its investment in educating people by rejecting them once their technological
experience becomes out-of-date. Work focuses on how access may be obtained to
their subtle non-technological experience which is less subject to obsolescence.
Of special interest are traditional tribal approaches to this matter.
170. Heroic commitment initiative
Explores the importance of heroism in society and the nature of heroic commitment
to some mission or cause worthy of personal sacrifice. Of special interest are
the consequences for a society which offers few genuine opportunities for socially
171. Non-unitary personality initiative
Assumes, as a point of departure, that much may be learnt by considering that
"individual" is a rarity in that most people are highly divided role complexes.
Explores the social implications of any such shift away from the traditional concept of
accessible individuality. Of special interest are models of an "individual" as
an unintegrated set of feudal baronies or an ecosystem of interacting species. Work
focuses on "access" to individuality within analogous frameworks and
how it then impacts on its environment.
172. Human image initiative
Explores the variety of images that human beings have of themselves. Of special
interest is the way such self-images have evolved over time and diverged into
contrasting images. Work focuses on how such evolution may continue and the nature
of possible integrative relationships between contrasting images.
173. Whole mind catalogue initiative
Compilation of entries on a wide range of topics in the spirit of the Whole Earth
Catalog. The emphasis is basically different in that the aim is to touch on all
the facets and processes of a "whole mind" on the assumption that this is a necessary
complement to any "whole earth" perspective. The project is as much an exercise
in aesthetics as one of factual information, since a balance between them is considered as
an essentialfoundation for "wholeness". Of special interest is the
role of conflictual relationships in giving birth to comprehension of that wholeness.
174. Encyclopaedia initiative
Compilation of entries for an encyclopaedia which is designed to reflect developmental
possibilities into the future. A number of major standard encyclopaedias are
taken as the point of departure. Each entry on conventional topics is adapted
to reflect its status as a pattern of thought applicable in other unexpected
contexts. Entries are designed not to define a topic but to project or "launch" the
reader into a new mode of thinking and to release new ways for processing information.
Parts of the work are done in conjunction with the metaphor initiatives.
175. Back-to-basics initiative
Explores, using a deliberately naive perspective, the possibility that as much
can be learnt by assuming that the future will consider that very little was
known at this time, as by assuming that a great deal is already known. Work focuses
on speculations about such simple phenomena as walking, building an arch, gardening,
making love, fighting, eating, etc. Of special interest are notions of time and
176. Response-to-new initiative
Explores how people respond to new concepts which offer them more powerful means
of integrating their experience. Of special interest are the ways in which such
innovations fail to be perceived as innovative.
177. Orders of temperament initiative
Explores the forms of organization engendered or favoured by different styles
of personality. The focus is as much on social organization as the organization
of concepts or information.
178. Wisdom initiative
Explores the nature of "wisdom" as perceived in a person or experienced by a
person. Of special interest is the dimension along which wisdom may be said to increase
and how it is best acquired or lost. There is special concern for collective wisdom and
the structures and processes through which it can manifest. Attention is given to the role
of traditional "folk wisdom" and the status of the corresponding roles
in modern society. Wisdom is contrasted with knowledge, information, experience,
179. Maturity initiative
Explores the nature of "maturity" in its non-physiological sense, whether
as perceived in a person or experienced by a person. Of special interest is the
dimension along which maturity may be said to increase and how it is best acquired
or lost. Also ofinterest is its relationship to learning, tolerance, and attention
span. There is special concern for the kinds of structures and processes which
might be feasible with mature people, especially in terms of their perceived
180. Presence initiative
Explores the nature of "presence" as perceived in a person or experienced
by a person. Of special interest is the dimension along which presence may be
said to increase and how it is acquired or lost. Also of interest is its role
in modern society.
181. Dignity initiative
Explores the nature of human dignity as perceived in others or experienced by
a person. Of special interest is the dimension along which dignity may be said
to increase and how it is acquired or lost. The distinction is also explored
between pomposity and that form of dignity which accepts ridicule rather than
being vulnerable to it.
182. Inter-species rapprochement initiative
Explores the possibilities for communication or rapprochement between species
in terms of the implications for richer ecosystems (as opposed to "training" species solely
to be of service to humans). Of special interest is the nature of the psychic
"rapport" which can be achieved under certain conditions. The attitudes
cultivated are considered vital to the improvement of man's relationship to the
environment and to the establishment of ground rules for possible communication
183. Value change initiative
Explores the nature of shifts in values, the emergence of new values, and the
recovery of old values. Of special interest is the nature of conflict between "incoming" and
"outgoing" values. Also of interest are the "generators" of new values
and the "regenerators" of old values, whether in the form of organizations,
rituals, concepts, or symbols.
184. Values-of-the-future initiative
Explores the values which might be held in the future. Of special interest is
the implication for social organization and the problems of transition.
185. Inter-personal relationships initiative
Clarifies the variety of inter-personal relationships, whether in terms of kind
or degree. Of special interest are the psycho-social consequences of an impoverished
awareness of the range of relationships. Work also focuses on how such relationships
can be woven into richer patterns of community organization.
186. Youth initiative
Explores the impact of youthful enthusiasm and fresh insight on the structure
of adult society. Of special interest is the flow of youthful energy and how
it is deflected, dampened or absorbed. Ways are sought to improve the experience
of youth and to improve the value of youthful impacts on psycho-social organization.
187. Childhood initiative
Explores the role of children and childhood in countering a simplistic rigidification
of psycho-social organization. Of special interest is the value of the de-stabilizing
nature of the adult response to innocence and ignorance as a form of continual
renewal. Means are sought to apply such insights to the re-valuation of ignorance
in adult society in general.
188. Attitude initiative
Concerned with unresearched aspects of attitude change, especially amongst those
involved in social change. Recent emphasis has been on lessons to be learnt from
historical example of resistance to new attitudes and paradigms, the challenge
of improving the quality of the attitude to the natural elements and non-human
species, and the problem of transferring mind-sets from developing to industrialized
countries, between disciplines, and between personality types.
189. Sexual conception initiative
Explores possibilities of integrating the alienated extremes of human nature
represented by sexual congress and intellectual conception. Each extreme gives
rise to a pattern of psycho-social processes. Their interaction appears to provoke
unresolvable conflicts which aggravate the social condition. Of special interest
is the possibility of using the process and movements of sexual congress as a
model for alternation between conceptual penetration of reality and determination
of experience by the bounding circumstances. It is expected that the process
of experience would in this way be more fundamentally grounded, transcending
the limitations of the two extremes in a potentially fertile manner and opening
the way to further development.
190. Collective creativity initiative
Explores the problems of collective creativity. Of special interest are the reasons
so few great works have been created by groups, whether in the case of fiction,
music, art, architecture, or technological discovery.
191. Collaboration research initiative
Collects and analyzes information on collaborative or cooperative action, whether
contemporary or historical, large-scale or between several individuals. Cases
include international programmes, interdisciplinary projects or committees, preparation
of an article or book by several authors, community action programmes, etc. The
intent is to clarify what factorsenable the participants to discover and fit
into a collaborative configuration, how this may fail, the many levels of token
collaboration which can be presented to disguise the absence of effective collaboration,
and conditions under which collaboration is itself dysfunctional.
192. Keystone initiative
Explores the ways in which psycho-social structures may depend on key elements
having a role analogous to that of a keystone in the construction of arches.
Of special interest are the varieties of keystone. the problems of scaffolding
prior to its insertion, and the structures in which it is not required.
193. Disciplined values initiative
Explores the nature of the discipline or constraint which must be associated
with each value in order that it should have an appropriate impact in the psycho-social
system. The assumption is that undisciplined values do not provide an adequate
basis for harmonious development.
194. Status recognition initiative
Concerned with the development of new ways of providing recognition of individual
and group status in order to reinforce rather then obstruct the process of social
195. Role significance initiative
Explores the nature and significance of a wide variety of roles such as: beggar,
singer, mother, traitor, eccentric, banner bearer, explorer, jester, hermit and
dilettante. Of special interest is the "energy" each role feeds into
its environment or absorbs from it. Also of interest is the process of role switching
and how this may be facilitated.
196. Human development diseases initiative
Explores ways of clarifying the nature of developmental problem conditions for
an individual by using physical diseases as a metaphor. A complete range of physical
diseases can then be used to trigger questions as to whether identifiable psycho-social
equivalents may usefully be said to exist. The metaphor also permits a fresh
response to such conditions in terms of therapeutic and preventive measures,
including general problems of
197. Human development pathways initiative
Explores techniques for mapping the pathways along which different people can
develop. The pathways of many different kinds of people are brought together
within one mapping framework. Of special interest is the topography of the map,
namely which portions are perceivable from which other portions. Also of interest
are decision points, alternate pathways, the identification of goal and direction
on the map, dangerous points, and the significance of relative difficulty.
198. Human development substitutes initiative
Explores a wide range of human activities which can usefully be considered as
substitutes for a narrower concept of human development. These include the fashion
trade, cosmetics, sport, accumulation of capital, acquisition of status symbols
and exposure to risk. They are studied both as a degradation of human development
and as enriching or enhancing it. Of special interest are the ways in which they
can be perceived as "carriers"
for the conventional human development process.
199. Developee perspective initiative
Explores the ways in which an individual "to be developed" perceives what is
provided to him, or done to his context, by a "developer". Of special
interest is the individual's understanding of what he must lose in order to gain
whatever are perceived as the benefits of development.
200. Human frailties initiative
Explores the nature of human frailty and the special weaknesses associated with
"being human". Of special interest are the peculiar strengths connected
with some of these weaknesses and the consequent implications for psycho-social
201. Attitude data bank initiative
Compiles descriptions of attitudes and states of consciousness. Much of the material
is obtained from published documents, whether fiction, survey results, religious
or psychoanalytical literature. It includes philosophical and ideological attitudes
as well as material from anthropological literature. In addition to compiling
entries work focuses on problems of grouping them usefully and providing significant
pathways through the material.
202. Attitude mapping initiative
Develops techniques to permit individuals to elaborate maps of the various attitudes
that they tend to fall into during daily life, especially those which are more
complex and difficult to describe. The intent is to facilitate recognition of
each attitude, as well as transition into it and from it. Emphasis is less on
avoiding the insalubrious portions of the map and more on developing the ability
to improve and benefit from each attitude. The approach is clarified by metaphors
(e.g. land drainage, agriculture, reforestation, gardening) which point to the
special problems and opportunities of each state. The work is linked to that
on the attitude data bank.
203. Alternation initiative
Explores the extent to which people need to alternate between different conditions,
whether physical, social or psychological. The focus is less on the conditions
and more on the patterns of alternation which appear to be needed, namely the "patterns that
connect". Of special interest are the consequences of preventing the deployment of
these patterns or limiting them to a monotonous version - a form of psycho-social
monoculture "blocks" to creativity are one possible consequence. Work focuses on
detecting patterns of alternation which are vital to health -alternative
204. Multilingual education initiative
Explores ways of learning sets of languages such that progress in the understanding
of one reinforces progress in the understanding of others. Of special interest
are mixes of languages which together offer highly contrasted perspectives on
psycho-social reality and thus encourage the user to shift between several frameworks
in determining an appropriate response to any situation.
205. Etymological curiosities initiative
Explores the significance of etymological curiosities which highlight surprisingly
creative but unrecognized, relationships between structures and processes.
206. Synthesis language initiative
Explores ways of enriching and ordering a suitable language for the discussion
of synthesis, integration and interdisciplinarity. Work is oriented toward describing
both the wholeness of ecosystems and experiences of wholeness in altered states
of consciousness. Of special interest are the implications for discussion of
integration of social groups, whether small or large.
207. Term design initiative
Designs new terms as a result of ongoing investigations of communication needs
in other programme initiatives. The emphasis is primarily on detecting the need
for new terms whose absence complicates discussion unnecessarily. Of special
interest is the problem of avoiding the alienating sterility of ugly neologisms
and the advantages of using common words in a metaphorical sense or borrowing
from other languages. Work also focuses on non-terminological innovations in
relation to the use of verbs and qualifiers.
208. Language design initiative
Explores possibilities for designing new languages and notation systems which
would prove more appropriate vehicles for discussion of the psycho-social questions
raised in other programme initiatives.
209. Programme language initiative
Investigates the origins of the small set of terms whereby the majority of collective
activity is ordered: programme, project, organization, meeting, conference, budget,
strategy, policy, planning, etc. The research is concerned with the possibilitythat
these emerge from a particularly limited mind-set and may preclude recognition
of valuable alternative means of perceiving the "organization" of collective
activity, such as with inherent process, quality or interdependence connotations.
210. Lateral thinking initiative
Explores ways of thinking beyond or between conventional frameworks in order
to obtain more creative insights into problem situations. Of special interest
are the catalysts required to break out of habitual thinking patterns and the
kinds of insights to which they give rise.
211. Three R's initiative
Explores ways of redefining the traditional educational problem of reading, writing
and arithmetic. These are considered too narrow in focus and have been broadened
to registering, responding and reordering. The first covers the perception of
ordered patterns. the second covers a harmonious response involving pattern creation,
and the third is concerned with pattern transformation. Work focuses on the design
of the appropriate educational materials and techniques.
212. Educational sets initiatives
Explores ways of organizing complementary curriculum elements, partly inspired
by the traditional system of the trivium and quadrivium, but especially in the
light of advances in subject classification. Considerably emphasis is placed
on clarifying their complementarity however many elements are grouped into a
set and whatever the number of sets. Investigations are currently focusing on
nested sets with over 150 elements.
213. Perspective enhancement initiative
Explores radical techniques for broadening considerably, or completely changing,
the perspective through which the psycho-social context is currently viewed.
Of special interest are questions derived from the metaphor initiative. These
take the form of asking for the nature of the possible reality within which the
current psycho-social context might be likened to, for example, a desert, a swamp,
a jungle, etc.
214. Psychological holidays initiative
Investigates the design of environments which provide people with a "psychological
holiday" as opposed to reinforcing habitual behaviour patterns. Of special interest
are those features, including challenges, which enhance healing and developmental
processes, thus recapturing part of the original significance of
215. Learning environments initiative
Investigates the design of environments in which learning processes are facilitated.
Of special interest are features which assist in the comprehension of complex
216. Sacred places initiative
Explores the significance of sacred places and "magical environments" in
terms of the transformative power attributed to them. Of special concern are
the processes whereby such places are created, maintained and desecrated. Work
focuses on the significance of such places, especially in increasingly artificial
societies whose monuments lack the transformative power traditionally accorded
to a village shrine. The importance of such environments in the facilitation
of meditation is also considered.
217. Interaction environments initiative
Investigates the design of environments in which interaction between people and
groups is facilitated. Of special interest are the contributions of non-verbal
catalysts to this process, including music, perfumes and colours. Work focuses
on those features which assist people to shift into a more creative mode of interaction
and those which prevent the interaction from coming effectively to fruition.
218. Focal environments initiative
Investigates the design of environments in which attention, and particularly
collective attention, can be effectively focused. Of special interest is the
significance of such environments for providing overviews of a problem situation
and opportunities for progress in response to it.