Human Values as Strange Attractors
Coevolution of classes of governance principles
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Paper prepared for the 13th World Conference (Finland, August 1993) of the World
Futures Studies Federation (WFSF). Theme: Coherence and chaos
in our uncommon futures -- visions, means, actions. Scheduled for presentation
to the group 'Creativity and Actors in Chaos'. An abridged version entitled
Values as Strange Human Attractors
appeared in UNiS Journal
University), 5, 1994, 3, pp. 12-30
Values as "attractors"
"Strangeness"; in value-governed behaviour
Comprehending the complexity of the value surface
Self-organization and its catalysts
Global structuring of value sets
Beyond 'equilibrium' values
Reconciling the established and the emergent
Demystification and self-mapping
Functional relations between classes
Phases, transitions and world views
Indications for understanding of value systems
Class discrimination and demonizing
Towards an enantiomorphic polity
Many have commented on the chaos of the times and the increasing impotence of
institutions and disciplines in their response to it -- Bosnia is but the most blatant
example. A major characteristic of the period is the role attributed to human values in
guiding behaviour at all levels of society -- to the extent that even the most cynical
commercial interests are obliged to recognize values held by the most
'other-oriented' market sectors. And yet despite the plethora of studies on
values it would seem that we are no closer to understanding their nature or in agreeing on
The 1990s suggest a need to embrace chaos in some fashion, and chaos theory provides a
fashionable set of insights that take us beyond those of past decades. This paper is
concerned with exploring some ways of understanding human values in the light of such
insights -- and what this could mean for both social innovation and social coherence in
the immediate future.
There appears to have been little attention to human values in the study of complexity.
Of the many eminent contributors to the United Nations University symposium on complexity,
only two make significant mention of values. Peter Allen (1984) focuses on the ability to
construct 'collective values' to take into account the different perceptions of
policy makers of the possible future evolution of a system. Pentti Malaska (1984), in a
concluding comment, raises the much more fundamental issue of the extent to which we can
consider values as being rigid and unalterable:
'To what extent are they alterable and to what degree a matter of choice? Do we
possess this type of value capacity?....If we accept that a capacity for changing values
exists, we can more easily discuss moving over to a new society where things other than
material values and the fulfilment of tangible needs are the major objectives.'
This paper builds on work undertaken since 1972 in connection with the Encyclopedia
of World Problems and Human Potential (1991), of which a fourth edition will be
published in 1994. This long-term information programme of the Union of International
Associations complements that of its Yearbook of International Organizations.
Together these databases cover the networks of some 20,000 internationally active
organizations and the networks of 13,000 problems they choose to recognize and with which
their members choose to identify.
Of more relevance to this paper, is that most such nonprofit organizations explicitly
acknowledge some values as the basis for their initiatives. Furthermore, social conditions
can only be conceived as problematic in the light of some value, however implicit. Many
aspects of human development, notably those inspired by different spiritual traditions,
can be usefully understood both as achieving realization of new qualitative insights and
as giving behavioural form to them. It is through the conflicting pursuit of such values,
and in the interpretation of rival values as 'negative', that the majority of
world problems are engendered.
It is for this reason that the Encyclopedia programme includes an extensive exploration
of 'human values'. Currently this is based on some 1,500 'positive' or
'constructive' values, and some 1,900 'negative' or
'destructive' disvalues. The disvalue set has been developed in conjunction with
the set of problems to ensure a reciprocal sharpening of focus. Positive and negative
values are interrelated through some 250 value polarities. It is the set of these
polarities which is the subject of experiments in classification to determine the nature
of one (or more) coherent value sets. Hopefully the dimensions of such sets can be related
to those on which so many initiatives towards value coherence have been based.
(a) The lesson of 'networking': The 1970s and 1980s may
usefully be thought of as thenetworking decades. They saw the recognition of the
limitations of hierarchy and a reinterpretation of many individual and collective
behaviours in terms of networks. Networking became fashionable at all levels of society --
even amongst intergovernmental organizations. Given the mathematical tools available for
the analysis of networks, and even the development of a discipline of social network
analysis, it is surprising that few if any of those insights came to influence the
operation of any social networks. Indeed it would be difficult to trace social or
institutional networks that had been designed in the light of such insights.
Furthermore, despite the computer technology used to display networks of electrical
grids, circuits, road networks, molecules, and the like, little (if any) of that has been
used to visualize social or conceptual networks as a guide to improved psycho-social
dynamics. Few people, social activists included, ever consider the advantages of
visualizing their own network of colleagues and friends -- however neatly the addresses
and phone numbers are held in each others' 'relational' databases. This may not
be true within security and intelligence services.
It would be fair to conclude that in the social realm 'network' succeeded to
a far greater degree as a metaphor rather than as a mathematical insight -- whatever the
views of those with technical competence in network theory. This lesson should not be lost
in considering the insights of relevance to social organization that are to be obtained
from chaos theory and their probable impact on society.
(b) Role of metaphor: This view is reinforced by statements from key
members of the Sante Fe Institute (USA), specifically established by the best and the
brightest to explore with mathematical rigour the science of complexity in the light of
chaos theory. For the director of their first economic initiative (1987-89), W Brian
Arthur: 'Nonscientists tend to think that science works by deduction. But actually
science works mainly by metaphor. And what's happening is that the kinds of metaphor
people have in mind are changing....Instead of relying on the Newtonian metaphor of
clockwork predictability, complexity seems to be based on metaphors more closely akin to
the growth of a plant from a tiny seed, or the unfolding of a computer program from a few
lines of code, or perhaps even the organic, self-organized flocking of simpleminded
birds.' (Waldrop, pp. 327 and 329; see also p. 149)
Arthur indicates that the institute's role is to look at the ever-changing river of
complexity and to understand what they are seeing. 'So we assign metaphors. It
turns out that an awful lot of policy-making has to do with finding the appropriate
metaphor. Conversely, bad policy-making almost always involves finding inappropriate
metaphors. For example it may not be appropriate to think about a drug 'war', with guns
and assaults. So, from this point of view, the purpose of having the Sante Fe Institute is
that it, and places like it, are where the metaphors and vocabulary are being created in
complex systems.' (Waldrop, p. 334)
Ironically, the process of articulating such understanding with mathematical
'rigour' necessarily has to be contrasted with the 'mere' metaphors
from which such understanding derives. When articulated in a rigorous computer simulation,
the simulation may be recognized of greatest value as a new metaphor (Waldrop, p. 334),
precisely because it is an abstraction of limited relevance to understanding the real
complexities of current social concerns.
(c) Sociology of chaos: On the occasion of a conference on the
relevance of chaos theory to social coherence, there is some merit in being attentive to
the social psychology of those advancing understanding in this arena. Thus Katherine
Hayles notes: 'Although the history of chaos theory has scarcely begun to be
written, it has already become problematic. It has two main branches; and each seems
determined to ignore the other. The first branch, represented within Gleick's book
(1987)...is concerned with the order hidden within chaotic systems...The second branch
focuses on the order that arises out of chaotic systems.' (Hayles, p 12). She
notes that many practitioners in nonlinear dynamics now avoid the term 'chaos'
as somehow 'unprofessional' in their concern with practical and technical
It is tragic that an approach which is claimed to have so much relevance to social
systems reveals such blatant weaknesses in taking account of psycho-social dimensions that
are likely to be vital to making any effective use of it in such domains. Hayles asks: 'Why
should the split have occurred between the two branches? That it exists is apparent. After
reading Gleick's book (1987), one would not know that Ilya Prigogine's work has
substantiated connections with the science of chaos; and after reading Prigogine's and
Stenger's Order Out of Chaos (1984)... one would not know that many of the figures
lionized in Gleick's text had made significant contributions to the field.'
(Hayles, pp. 12-13) And even though she includes Rene Thom (1975) with Prigogine in the
second branch, the personal dynamics around the failure to interrelate their perspectives
is a matter worthy of study.
The history of the development of the Sante Fe Institute (Waldrop, 1992) cited above
reveals similar phenomena -- even though the development of the institute was jokingly
recognized by its science board as an emergent phenomenon in its own right -- 'a
joke they actually took quite seriously' (Waldrop, p. 248). But from that text it
would be difficult to conclude that any work of significance had been undertaken outside
the USA 'in forging the first rigorous alternative to the kind of linear,
reductionist thinking that has dominated science since the time of Newton'
(Waldrop, p. 13). Furthermore it is made clear that it is only exceptionally that
specialists from social sciences other than economists are included in its uniquely
'interdisciplinary' and 'rigorous' approach to complexity. And yet it
is also made clear how the institute has been torn by personal and factional dynamics.
After the disasters of 'global modelling', it is a pity that the rigours of such
mathematics cannot be shown to be relevant to the complexities of value conflicts in the
real world of government policy-making! It is precisely those values that economists have
chosen to overvalue that are the origin of much of the difficulties at this time. And it
is questionable whether the more rigorous sciences can have any understanding of
'value' in human systems.
One concern in this paper is therefore to respond more creatively to the process of
making distinctions essential to greater insight. In this process it seems to be necessary
to attach negative value to 'old' approaches in order to establish the identity
of the 'new' -- this may even take the form of demonizing the old with
appropriate political or religious labels. But both will continue to attract adherents in
a learning society. To the extent that an emphasis is placed on coevolution, ways must be
found to relate both such seemingly incompatible realities. It could be argued that an
approach matures when it is able to track its own evolution and its own dynamics. At this
point those most skilled in nonlinear dynamics would seem to be victims of dynamics to
which there insights purportedly apply. As Hayles says, why do such splits form? For a
discipline that specializes in understanding bifurcation, it has been remarkably
unsuccessful in explaining its own evolution. Can a coherent approach to the challenges of
governance emerge from such chaotic and unself-reflexive sociodynamics?
(d) Challenge for the valuing participant observer: To date the
development of chaos theory has seemingly been based on the insights of detached observers
pursuing the scientific programme of elaborating communicable explanations offering some
predictive power -- notably for those in positions of power. The drama of the times is the
manner in which individuals and groups, whatever their degree of empowerment, are faced
with increasing levels of uncertainty. Human values are in flux and subject to challenge.
People have to deal with incompatible values on a daily basis. Only in ideal circumstances
can explanations be adequately delivered or marketed as products to respond to this
In what follows the focus is therefore on how participant observers might envisage
responding with greater confidence to seemingly chaotic value situations. The insights of
chaos theory are used to suggest ways of structuring experience and response to such
situations. The subjective experience of chaos should not be forgotten -- especially to
the extent that each actively defines to some degree the reality he chooses to inhabit (as
the social constructionists argue). It is worth noting the effort to apply catastrophe
theory to subjective experience (Postle,1980).
How people appropriate the insights of chaos theory and use (and misuse) them to
structure their understanding and social relationships may be of much greater relevance to
the structuring of the immediate future of society than how that future is explained
within the social sciences in terms of chaos theory. Analysis aside, the social sciences
have notably failed to contribute much to the actual process of social innovation and
It could be said that there are various kinds of confusion about human values:
(a) What are values? There are many definitions and innumerable
studies. No definition has attracted widespread consensus. One would be hard put to locate
a useful definition of values within the international community that is not challenged by
some alternative definition that is valued by others. This does not of course prevent
frequent reference to the 'fundamental importance' of values by major
organizations and other authorities. In an important sense it might be concluded that
values do not lend themselves to ready definition (for which politicians are probably more
than thankful). They may even be valued by the more sensitive precisely because they
readily escape the facile definitions and labels with which they are associated. Important
conflicts arise over differing interpretations of values, however defined.
(b) How many values are there? This question raises the issue of
whether it is even appropriate to conceive of values as in some way discrete. There are a
few checklists of values but they have attracted little attention. The international
community has no checklist of values. What tends to happen is that values are buried in
texts of declarations and resolutions in such a way that it becomes impossible to register
them effectively or to deduce how many values are recognized by UNESCO, for example --
despite the importance attached to values by that body. Some academic studies of prime
interest to commercial market research have given rise to a limited number of value
clusters. Such clusters are however more descriptive of individual behaviour patterns of
consumers than they are of values such as peace, justice, etc. How many 'family
values' are there? There would indeed be many who would not regret the difficulty in
(c) Values and language: To what extent is the nature of values
conditioned by the language used to refer to them? Whether from a deconstructionist or a
constructionist perspective, any traditionally straightforward approach to values fails to
account for significant advances in understanding of the cognitive implications of
language over past decades. And what of the plethora of words through which values are
labelled -- many of them synonyms or overlapping in connotation to different degrees, with
many others carrying nuances which the arts cherish in articulating sensitivity to value
(d) Consensus on fundamental values: There have been many initiatives
over the past decades to identify a core set of universal values on which 'everyone
should agree'. It is safe to say that those constituencies who have been convinced by
this perspective have each generated sets of 5 to 10 values that have significantly failed
to convince others -- as religious initiatives failed before them in imposing their
respective versions of the 'Ten Commandments'.
Conservative groups have expressed regret at the 'abandonment' of fundamental
values. Walter Truett Anderson (1990) however reviews the challenge as follows: 'The
conservative indictment is correct, and yet the strategy that logically follows from it --
to rebuild consensus, to get a core of standard values and beliefs in place in every
American mind -- is doomed to fail. To see that you only need to look at the variety of
things being offered by people who are in favour of some such consensus building'
(p. 4). He comments on a group of conflicting proposals then continues:
'All of these proposals make sense, in a way. Each of them looks good to
certain groups of people, particularly those whose values and beliefs are the ones being
proposed for the national culture. And I am sure the great majority of Americans have
never heard of any of these people, or their books. Humpty-Dumpty is not going to be put
back together again. Efforts to do so are ultimately self-defeating, because campaigns to
make people choose any particular system of value and belief tend to have the subversive
effect of informing people that they are free to choose systems of value and belief.'
Whilst token acknowledgement may be given to various forms of value consensus,
initiatives of this kind tend to be based on an extreme form of naivety in expecting that
such consensus will be of any operational significance across cultures. Preparations for
the historic United Nations Conference on Human Rights (Vienna, June 1993) were
characterized by considerable acrimony on the part of non-Western countries concerned at
the attempt by industrialized countries to impose their values on developing countries.
Also significant was the conflict between collective rights and individual rights and the
trend towards imposing a single category of human rights as a condition of development
assistance. The level of disagreement was such that by the end of 1992 it was doubtful
whether the event would take place. It could be argued that this approach has been less
than successful in part because of the almost pathological fear of any form of
disagreement exhibited by its proponents. As a result any consensus is conceptually
simplistic. Most tragic is that by asking defining the challenge in a simplistic manner it
prevents exploration of richer patterns of coherence that allow for (and may even depend
upon) a high degree of disagreement (Judge, 1992).
(e) Value relativism: As Anderson so clearly indicates, whatever the
attitude to postmodernism, there is an increasing need to deal with value relativism and
to be able to relate to those holding different values -- and especially the
fundamentalists enraged by this apparent failure to distinguish between right and wrong.
Value relativism is even advocated as a valuable advance over the constraints of
traditional value patterns. For many 'anything goes', and rightly so.
(f) Value creation: The emergence of a high degree of value
relativism, however much it is regretted in some quarters, has favoured educational
programmes emphasizing the subjectivity of values and encouraging 'value
clarification'. By this is meant that individuals should develop whatever values they
themselves consider appropriate to their circumstances (Anderson, p. 14). In some sense
values may themselves take the form of an 'emergent' phenomenon -- a matter of
concern if their future emergence is not to be inappropriately constrained.
To what extent does chaos theory offer new insights through which a richer approach to
values can emerge? This should presumably strike a more fruitful balance between the
relativism of individual values and a measure of collective constraint in a turbulent
Values as 'attractors'
One of the key insights of chaos theory is that of strange attractors. Is there a sense
in which human values can be usefully understood as strange attractors?
A prime characteristic of a strange attractor is that it is defined as the focus of a
pattern of seemingly chaotic behaviour. But it is the pattern that signals the presence of
that focus which cannot be identified in any other way. Like strange attractors, human
values do not manifest in any tangible manner but rather through interpretations of the
way behaviour is governed. But the intangible attractor may indeed be a matter of direct
subjective experience under appropriate conditions of human development -- as
practitioners of some spiritual traditions would claim.
There is certainly a sense in which behaviour can be understood as 'meandering
around' in such a way as to define attractor poles. Whilst there may be extremes,
often of the most regrettable kind, behaviour is eventually pulled back into an orbit
around one or more attractors. Some forms of behaviour may thus exhibit highly eccentric
orbits, but the pull towards the attractor remains fundamental -- even if it may be barely
sensed at its most extreme points by those involved.
There is also a sense in which behaviour may be described as trapped by particular
attractors. However it may also drift in such a way as to be temporarily captured by
another. From this perspective behaviour may be seen as swinging between and around
attractors. Chaos theory may offer insights into the laws governing such behaviour.
There are also ways in which behaviour in society appears in some way to be
'pulled forward' as a whole by the value complex and away from the disvalue
complex. There may however be many doubts as to the nature of such 'progress'
and whether there is some Omega Point as a kind of psycho-social equivalent to the
ultimate reversal of the cosmic Big Bang. Thus for Rupert Sheldrake: 'The final
unified attractor and the primal unified state of the Big Bang have a symmetrical
relationship' (Abraham, et al, p. 11)
'Strangeness' in value-governed behaviour
Maximization of behaviour in response to one value is subject to a well-known
phenomenon of reversal -- named in classical Greek drama as enantiodromia (Thompson,
1985). In this sense no particular value is completely satisfactory to an individual or a
social group --especially when experienced in its purest form. Paradoxical attractions to
other values emerge quite unexpectedly. Much has been made of this in romantic literature
and many have experienced the communication problems between the sexes. Equivalent
surprises in socio-political systems are also not lacking.
What in fact makes values valuable? As with dietary variation, it is as though there
was a need to vary the pattern of behaviour by which development is nourished -- even to
the point of pursuing the illusory greenness of more distant fields. Within this metaphor,
there are those who yearn for a single complete foodstuff (a form of mana from heaven or
the ultimate food-pill). Others speak in terms of a regular diet of certain basic
foodstuffs (carbohydrates, protein, etc) required for human health -- with passionate
claims for particular diets. But when it comes to taste, the preferences pursued vary
enormously -- irrespective of the value to health. As such, the sociology of diet
producers and consumers offers useful insights into the sociology of value producers and
consumers. A number of computer studies of complexity are based on the supply of
'foodstuffs' in ecosystems of artificial lifeforms. These could be adapted as a
basis for studying values.
The current search for a sustainable pattern of 'sustainable development'
poses many dilemmas concerning the balance to be struck between the attractions of
different values -- for many of which there are calls for maximization. For example, the
key figure in the Brundtland Commission, responsible for the concept of sustainability,
has agreed to reopen whaling from Norway in response to the appeals from local whaling
communities whose cultural and economic heritage is endangered. There is an incredible
naivety to the assumption that the values embodied in the different chapters of Agenda
21, approved by the Earth Summit (1992), can be successfully balanced by treating each
in isolation, or as the subject of bi-sectoral horsetrading deals. Any integrative
perspective is significantly lacking -- especially after exclusion of the overpopulation
issue (Judge, 1992).
Even in the much simpler situations of one-on-one psychotherapy, where integrative
perspectives are assumed by both therapist and client, rationally agreed initiatives may
prove relatively futile and unproductive. As a result one school of psychotherapy
favours'paradoxical' strategies to trigger more appropriate modes of behaviour.
The client may be encouraged to engage in precisely that form of behaviour that is
recognized to be dysfunctional and opposed to the values that he purportedly seeks to
Many values, which at first sight seem completely positive, can induce behaviour that
is recognized as dysfunctional -- to a degree that compensating behaviours based on
incompatible or opposing values are called for. This paradoxical feature is
well-recognized in oriental cultures, notably Taoist, for which positive qualities contain
negative elements, just as negative qualities contain essential positive elements
Comprehending the complexity of the value surface
Perhaps the great merit of chaos theory is its ability to orient understanding to
respond creatively to complexity. As such it is a tool to counter-balance the simplistic
efforts of the many honourable initiatives to come up with a set of values applicable to
all in a complex, multi-cultural society subject to a wide variety of pressures. These
often result in a construction as inappropriate as a horse-and-buggy in a down-town
traffic jam, however elegant it may appear. These initiatives have so far failed to
attract universal support but they continue to raise hopes and divert conceptual effort
from more complex approaches that might prove more appropriate.
A conceptually richer approach might also give a more solid foundation to that
widespread intuition that such a seemingly simple set of values should indeed
'exist' in some form. But just as a 3-stage space rocket may be composed of 3
cylindrical forms, this does not mean that juxtaposition of 3 cylindrical forms makes for
an operational rocket. There is more to ensuring the viability of a 3-value set than the
simple juxtaposition of 3 value charged words representing the flavours-of-the-month of
the international community.
What makes for a viable set of values? And how is such a set to be comprehended?
Consider the following progression:
(a) Checklist: The standard approach is to produce a 'well thought out'
checklist, possibly with annotations. This fails to show the pattern of relationships and
tensions between such values -- if any have been given attention. It is difficult to be
more simplistic, static and linear than by this approach.
(b) Matrix: More can be accomplished by endeavouring to capture the set in the form of
a table or matrix that dimensions the set in some way and suggests a pattern of checks and
balances between them. But as with the checklist approach, the question remains as to how
particular value categories emerged and got clustered in that way. The creation of such a
value map can be an extremely creative process for those engaging in it -- however it is
perceived by those subsequently confronted with it as 'The Map' by which their
actions and futures are to be guided.
(c) Mandala meditation: Those spiritual traditions that use circular mandala-type
diagrams reflect another approach to value organization. As opposed to the grid layout of
matrix maps, here the centro-symmetric focus is considered of fundamental psychological
importance to an integrative relationship amongst the segmented parts -- and their often
highly detailed articulations. (It is appropriate to note that such articulation often
demonstrates the recursive symmetry that is a feature of chaotic systems) Words are
however usually replaced by images to carry the value connotations (Trungpa, 1991).
However such mandalas emerge, subsequent users of such maps are encouraged to meditate
their way into them. Jung has made much of their emergence in significant dreams. Much
emphasis is placed on the process by which the person comes to understand the
configuration of symbolic elements. The adequacy of words as unambiguous labels for
complex experiences is challenged. The observer becomes an activeparticipant.
(d) Sand painting creation: Other traditions have favoured variants on sand painting.
Here the emphasis is very much on the production process by which the elements emerge and
are configured on a space of sand. Symmetry is not necessarily of prime significance.
Objects may be used rather than images. The production of the map is seen as an
integrative externalization of the dimensions governing the person's behaviour. For
Buddhists it may be a collective ritual. Significance is often attached to the subsequent
destruction of any such artefact.
What is it that is being ordered in the above processes, especially when the ordering
process becomes significant to what emerges? What is the surface or space out of which
value elements appear to gel for a time before dissolving back? Are David Bohm's insights
into implicate order and holomovement relevant at this point?
Self-organization and its catalysts
The above progression to a more dynamic interactive relationship with the surface on
which the elements of significance are configured appears to reach close to a stage at
which chaos theory insights emerged. The Belousov-Zhabotinsky chemical reactions result in
the spontaneous emergence of patterning in the film of fluid in which they take place.
From this arose some of the insights into the principles of self-organization. Perhaps a
more evocative example is the standing wave Chladni patterns generated by vibrating a
sheet of metal covered in sand (Waller, 1961).
To what extent does a configuration of human values emerge into individual or
collective awareness through an analogous process of self-organization based on
behavioural interaction? The behaviour of an individual or group would then be understood
as governed by some kind of epistemic value space to which descriptors could not be
attached. But the original (possibly uniform) space(time) becomes textured or featured as
the consequence of global interactions through which a particular pattern of behavioural
attractors emerges. Chladni pattern formation illustrates how a space can be configured in
different ways as a result of different triggering vibrations. Unlike such physical
examples, the clustering of significance in value space is qualitative rather than
quantitative. As with the mandala, physical locations on any map are associated with
qualitative values (hence the symbolic importance of compass points and their associated
god-related qualities in such mandalas).
At the first Artificial Life Workshop (Los Alamos, 1987) Craig Reynolds presented a
computer simulation of bird flocking based on 3 simple rules conditioning an otherwise
unconstrained set of 'boids' (Langton, 1989). Each boid was required to:
1. Maintain a minimum of distance from other objects, including other boids;
2. Match velocities with neighbouring boids;
3. Move toward the perceived centre of mass of boids in the neighbourhood.
These rules are all local, applying to individual boids, and yet their effect is that
of flocking dynamics of striking realism and elegance. Flocking is here an emergent global
phenomenon. It is interesting to reflect on the extent to which the three rules capture
the essence of the standard 3-value set (Liberty (1), Equality (2), and Fraternity (3))
basic to French society.
Of special interest is the way in which the component elements emerging during such
self-organization are both mutually constraining and mutually sustaining. Each is a vital
local part of the global pattern within the bounded space. A different pattern can be
engendered within the same space and with the same value 'stuff' -- but the
significance is distributed into different clusters, whether differently located, of a
different size, or of a different number.
But how is the emergence of a particular pattern catalyzed? There are perhaps clues in
the way in which during the pre-organized phase the potential or proto-components are
'tested' against each other. A breakthrough for Brian Arthur was the recognition
that a rich mixture of positive and negative feedbacks cannot but help produce patterns
(Waldrop, p. 36). Comprehension of the significance of an emerging value acquires maturity
to the extent that both its unique contribution and its limitations are tested in relation
to other potential attractors. For individuals, whether through personal experience or in
formal social roles, repeated exposure to the merits and hidden weaknesses of a valued
principle, refine what emerges. Drama makes much of coming to recognize the importance of
a value through a succession of failures to updold it. The differences in patterning of a
set of values may result from the frequency of exposure to such value-response reversals.
Global structuring of value sets
The discussion above offers a way of thinking about the different value sets which have
emerged from different social groups over the past decades (or centuries). Whilst a value
label, such as 'equality', may appear in a 3-value
(liberty/equality/fraternity), 5-value or 10-value set, the significance it carries in
each case is different. In the 3-value set it carries a third of all valued significance,
whereas in the 10-value set it contains a tenth. In the latter case it encourages a
narrower and more precise connotation compared to the more profoundly abstract connotation
called for by the former. But any such conclusion raises the question of the completeness
of the value set captured by such cases and the adequacy of the variety captured by any
From such a perspective it is clearly far less appropriate to attempt to focus on any
particular pattern of values. The Tibetan Buddhists claim that 725 basic mandala patterns
have been developed (Trungpa, p. 79)). Of much greater relevance is to recognize the
process whereby different kinds of contextual circumstances can evoke such different
patterns from the value space. It is somewhat like having a cake which people will choose
to cut up in different ways according to different circumstances (big pieces, little
pieces, segments, without-cherry, etc).
Another way to look at such patterning is in terms of the 'pathways' that may
emerge between different value locations. Just as a pattern of mountain valleys may
severely condition the nature of relationships between otherwise proximate zones,
particular values may also affect (or be dependent on) each other to a greater or lesser
There is of course a further step in the progression towards more appropriate mapping
surfaces emphasizing a global quality. The limitations of 2-dimensional surface maps in
relation to the Earth as a globe are obvious. It might be asked why it is appropriate to
assume that a value set can be adequately represented on a 2-dimensional surface -- once
the daring step beyond a checklist is taken. A spherical surface resolves the questions
raised about the outer boundary of any matrix or mandala by holding the information on a
surface that is finite but unbounded (Judge, 1980). Unexplored, mysterious zones on that
surface can then be located rather than designed off the map. Like a window on a building,
matrix patterns can too easily be oriented to give a carefully chosen view that is far
from comprehensive. There is almost no constraint on creative editing of checklists.
Such a spherical surface makes it easier to discuss the need to configure the
'pulls' between the different attractors. This raises the issue of whether
self-organization can be deliberately catalyzed or facilitated without contradicting the
meaning of self-organization. The argument here is that the kind of self-organization
possible is to some degree dependent on the contextual framework. Any shared understanding
of that framework will partially determine the range of possible patterns that can emerge.
It could be argued that patterns on a self-bounding spherical surface are of greater
potential significance than those on an artificially bounded planar surface.
Consensus on the form of a surface thus influences the richness of the patterns that
may emerge. There is also little difficulty in reaching consensus on the approximate
sphericity of the Earth however much there is potential disagreement on the perspectives
from any portion of that surface
Crawford Holling (1985, p. 217) points out that: 'The complexity of a system is
in the eye of the beholder.' Chaos and complexity are very new to the sciences --
the stuff of paradigm shifts and Nobel prizes! This is less true for the arts and other
cultural perspectives where some relationship to chaos has always been a theme. Katherine
Hayles points out that this neglect is in part due to the tendency to value chaos
negatively within the Western tradition that arises from the attachment to binary logic.
'If order is good, chaos is bad because it is conceptualized as the opposite of
order. By contrast, in the four-valued logic characteristic of Taoist thought, non-order
is also a possibility, distinct from and valued differently from anti-order. The science
of chaos draws Western assumptions about chaos into question by revealing possibilities
that were suppressed when chaos was considered merely as order's opposite. It marks the
validation within the Western tradition of a view of chaos that constructs it as
not-order. In chaos theory chaos may either lead to order, as it does with self-organizing
systems, or in yin/yang fashion it may have deep structures or order encoded within it. In
either case, its relation to order is more complex than traditional Western oppositions
allowed.' (Hayles, p. 3)
She cites Prigogine's and Stengers' endorsement and amplification (in a lengthy
'Postface', pp. 135-58) of Michel Serres (1982) suggestion that chaos represents
not just hitherto unrecognized phenomena but an unjustly neglected set of values. But they
may well have been less 'unrecognized' and 'neglected' from the
perspective of disciplines lacking the rigour of the mathematical tradition -- or from
that of other cultural traditions
Beyond 'equilibrium' values
Malaska (quoted above) raises the question of changing values. To this question should
be added that addressed by Crawford Holling (1985). He notes a sequence of three
viewpoints in the perception of causation in ecosystems: an equilibrium-centred view
emphasizing constancy over time; a dynamic view emphasizing the role of instability in the
maintenance of resilience of ecological systems; and an evolutionary view that highlights
organizational change and the surprises generated by that change.
With regard to the equilibrium-centred viewpoint, he argues that the experiences in
managing forests, fish, and other organisms can be viewed as 'weak' experiments
testing that hypothesis. 'They have certainly subjected such a viewpoint to
repeated disproof' (Holling, p. 220). With regard to the dynamic view, rightly
applauded, changes to management institutions achieved apparent success by reducing the
variability of a target variable (eg pests). But: 'the biophysical environment
evolved to one that was more fragile and more dependent on vigilance and error-free
management at a time when greater dependencies had developed in the socio-economic and
institutional environment for continued success' (Holling, p. 225). He concludes:
'one can begin to see that resolving the paradox of resilience has set the stage
for a new paradox. If every effort to reduce variability leads to self-simplification and
fragility, then regulation and the development of structures and organization for
regulation are doomed. Organizational evolution would seem to be impossible. A search is
needed for still additional levels of understanding....The paradox of constraints and
costs experienced at one level is resolved by recognizing that opportunities can be
released at the next.' (Holling, pp. 226-7)
Related concerns are echoed within the Sante Fe Institute in the sharp differences
between Murray Gell-Mann (head of the science board) and George Cowan (the former
director). For Gell-Mann, as co-initiator of the World Resources Institute (Washington
DC), human society must undergo six 'fundamental transitions' within the next
decades to achieve sustainability and avoid global catastrophes. In his view this requires
widespread agreement on principles (Waldrop, p. 351). One might ask what this
'consensus' could possibly constitute within the nonlinear dynamics of a social
system subject to paradigm shifts.
For Cowan however: 'Somehow the agenda has been put into the form of talking
about a set of transitions from state A, the present, to a state B that's sustainable. The
problem is that there is no such state. You have to assume that the transitions are going
to continue forever and ever...You have to talk about systems that remain continuously
dynamic, and that are embedded in environments that themselves are continuously
dynamic....A term like 'sustainable' does not really capture that.' (Waldrop, pp.
350-356). Genuine sustainability in a living system is maintained by the nonlinear
dynamics of continuing instability. As currently conceived as a desirable stable state,
'sustainability' would remove that instability and thus render the global system
unsustainable. Such stability is death; somehow the world has to adapt itself to a
condition of perpetual novelty.
To what extent does this confusion not reflect that in dealing with human values? The
'equilibrium-centred view' in this case pleads for a universal set of
fundamental unchanging values. The 'dynamic view' argues for slowly evolving
values. And the 'evolutionary view' awaits crises which would evoke a
reconfiguration of values. But a genuinely 'sustainable' pattern of living
values would seemingly depend on a form of value instability -- beyond any simple
equilibrium. Efforts to 'stabilize' that instability may then be precisely what
would render the global system of values unsustainable
Reconciling the established and the emergent
As noted earlier, the world of value-making and value-defining is above all
characterized by much demonizing of that which is rejected as inappropriate. It is easy
for young tigers and self-selected people of sensitivity and wisdom to define boundaries
within which their values shine brightly in comparison to those in the outer darkness of
the unenlightened. Many can now create such boundaries, but unfortunately the numbers of
the 'unenlightened' as seen from within any boundary do not appear to diminish.
Regrettably, through its systematic exclusion of the softer social sciences, the Sante Fe
Institute, for example, has proved insensitive to the way in which its own interpersonal
dynamics and tensions provide an interesting metaphor for the substantive issues by which
they are currently challenged.
The challenge would appear to be to find ways of integrating those holding incompatible
perspectives within a framework for which a qualifier like 'common' might
obscure a necessary degree of complexity.
A valuable lead is provided by the work of Christopher Langton (at the institute) based
on insights of Stephen Wolfram. They identified four classes of dynamical systems:
Class I: Governed by a single point attractor. Doomsday scenario in which agents or
patterns of behaviour rapidly die out.
Class II: Set of periodic attractors. Relatively predictable pattern of behaviour, but
Class III: Governed by strange attractors. Chaotic behaviour which never settles into a
predictable pattern. No stability. Structures breakup as soon as they form.
Class IV: Emergence of coherent structures that continue to grow, propagate, split, and
combine in a complex way.
Langton explored the nature of Class IV behaviour as a second-order phase transition
between Classes I/II and Class III, namely a condition under which chaos and order are
combined. In these terms Classes I/II corresponded to 'order', whereas Class III
corresponded to 'chaos'. At the interface or transition between them, at the
'edge of chaos', the 'complexity' of Class IV behaviour could emerge
(Waldrop, p. 234). Class IV is: 'a class of behaviours in which the components of
the system never quite lock into place, yet never quite dissolve into turbulence, either.
These are the systems that are both stable enough to store information, and yet evanescent
enough to transmit it. These are the systems that can be organized to perform complex
computations, to react to the world, to be spontaneous, adaptive and alive' (p.
These classes could be represented together on Diagram
I. That juxtaposition of classes can be used as a way of looking at the
status of different value-governed behaviours in society. Thus:
Class I: Conceptions of the ultimate attractor to which decaying patterns of order are
pulled. Thus for Ralph Abraham: 'We need a unifying principle and attractor'
(Abraham et al, p. 126). For his colleague Rupert Sheldrake: 'Why the apocalypse
is such a strong attractor is an interesting question. The attractor beyond all the doom
may be another state of being that is extraordinarily blissful compared with anything we
know here...' (Abraham et al, p. 160). A guru figure may also focus the
experience of such an attractor. Negative counterparts may be seen in: progressive
marginalization; contextually determined behaviour and absence of choice; victims of
society destined for a 'psychic sink'; traditional values (of ancestors)
perceived as quaint and of little current relevance. Possibly the black hole of individual
or collective self-righteousness.
Class II: Static established patterns of order (the 'Establishment').
Patterns of rights, obligations and constraints. Top-down advocacy/imposition of
behavioural guidelines (UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, etc). Organized liberty.
Emphasis on collective consensus. Time-tested cultural, parental (family) values.
Class III: Chaotic behavioural patterns. Impermanence of social structures.
Unconstrained freedom of choice. Emphasis on individualism. Postmodernist value
Class IV: Emergent behavioural patterns of higher orders of complexity. Surprise.
Innovation. Higher orders of consensus. Grounding of new values.
It is easy to fall into the trap of distinguishing 'better' from
'worse' amongst such classes --especially in the effort to gain recognition for
Class IV. Class IV then becomes the focus of attention as the new frontier onto which all
illusions of progress can be projected. Class I can be disparaged as the
'losers' in the evolutionary process. But a coevolving system requires the
presence of all such classes and the real challenge is to recognize their interweaving
functions more clearly.
There would therefore be merit in portraying such annotations to Diagram
I in two parallel forms: one reflecting the image that each class of behaviours
has for the others (to reinforce their identities); one reflecting the self-image
of each as the most significant class of behaviour
Demystification and self-mapping
It is quite possible therefore that there are useful ways of understanding
some of the subtleties of the relationship between the classes of Diagram
I. These may suggest metaphors throughwhich the 'established'
and the 'emergent' can be more effectively related.
One devastatingly simple approach is to interpret the classes through the metaphor of
the characteristic behaviours at different stages in the human lifecycle: Class II is
readily associated with those of maturity and adulthood; Class III with the exploratory
behaviours of youth and immaturity; Class I with those of the elderly. Remember however
that such correspondences refer to behavioural patterns. A physically young person may
exhibit Class I behaviour, just as a physically old person may exhibit Class III
behaviour. Class IV behaviour is that associated with social innovation and the emergence
of new patterns of relationship (partnerships, coalitions, teams, groups, etc) but
especially that which ensures renewal (including reproduction).
The merit of this approach is to highlight the need for a healthy balance between the
different classes of behaviour, despite the well-known challenges of relating youth and
elderly within adult patterns. Some of the pathologies are clear in the 'dump
granny' approach of Class I behaviour, and the obsession of whole societies with
maintaining a youthful image of Class III behaviour. The confusions, typical of New Agers,
are also seen in failure to distinguish between Class III and Class IV behaviour. And the
positive function of Class I behaviour is better seen in that which is evoked by attitudes
towards the elderly in Latin and Oriental cultures, and the respect in which the wisdom of
the elders can be held.
Much operational understanding of complexity is mapped into current understanding of
such social relationships. The question might well be asked as to whether it is only
through such a form of self-mapping that complexity can most effectively be understood
Other approaches to recognizing the balance between such classes of behaviour would
include those of analytical psychology inspired by Jung, for which such a four-fold
division is quite fundamental. Buddhists, as noted above, have explored such
configurations through mandalas. And Taoists would see a relation to their four-fold
Michael Kirby (Aida et al, 1985), in discussing democracy and governance, notes Elgin's
suggestion that there are four possible responses to the crisis of system complexity:
successful muddling through; descent into chaos; authoritarianism; and system
transformation into a higher level of efficiency and simplicity. These could be seen as
corresponding to Classes II, III, I and IV respectively.
Such views should encourage a re-evaluation of the class distinctions (as originally
derived from behaviour of cellular automata with insights from phase transitions). It is
likely that there may be subtler features through which such behaviours should be
distinguished to be of relevance to the social realm. The mathematics may be obscuring
insights which have been well articulated through more accessible metaphors.
Functional relations between classes
The above exercise helps to clarify understanding of the nature of the functional
relationships through which the classes are integrated into a coevolving pattern
of behaviours. These are represented in Diagram I
Phases, transitions and world views
Whilst there is undoubtedly merit in pursuing the four-fold set of classes, there is
also value in recognizing the richness of the phase transition metaphor through which
Langton identified Class IV. He was particular struck by Class IV as a phase transition
between 'solid' (Class I and II) and 'liquid' (Class III). Other
enthusiasts of four-fold symbolism would point to the traditional schema of Earth, Air,
Water and Fire much scorned by modern science. They wouldundoubtedly respond to Langton's
view that here 'solid' and 'fluid' are not just two fundamental states
of matter (as in water or ice), they are two fundamental classes of dynamical behaviour,
equally detectable in such utterly nonmaterial realms as the space of cellular automaton
rules or the space of abstract algorithms (Waldrop, p. 234).
Given the attention by traditionalists to the subtleties of these distinctions, they
might argue for the correspondences to be as follows: Earth (Class I), Water (Class II),
Air (Class III) and Fire (Class IV).
In practice the relationship between such states is described in phase diagrams. Within
these there are subtleties and variants that go beyond the ideal four-fold presentation.
These include such notions as critical points and various solid states (7 of ice). These
are healthy reminders that much remains to be explored
Indications for understanding of value systems
In the light of the above it would seem useful to distinguish sets of value functions.
It is also useful to attempt to distinguish for each case between: a positive
interpretation (p); a negative interpretation (n); a paradoxical negative interpretation
of the positive (pn); and a paradoxical positive interpretation of the negative (np):
Class I: Efforts at recognizing 'the' one fundamental underlying value
governing human society, readily labelled by different constituencies as 'love',
'profit', 'peace', 'justice', etc according to orientation
(p). This then tends to be used in an overly simplistic or fanatical manner resulting in a
form of behavioural blackhole (pn). These value terms are however readily deconstructed
into a referential void that is characteristic of this class and the (entropic) pull that
it exerts on the constructions of other classes (n). Such seemingly 'negative'
aspects of this function are also recognized in references to existential despair,
alienation and emptiness (n) -- which is valued in spiritual disciplines for the
perspective (np) that it gives ('dark night of the soul', 'ego death',
etc) and its mysterious relationship as a catalyst or matrix for the creativity of Class
IV (Nishitani, 1982).
Class II: Value sets as assiduously elaborated by international constituencies in an
effort to achieve universal consensus on a framework for action and governance (p). Such
sets are also characteristic of religious dogma (eg sets of virtues). They may be viewed
as essential to society for the reasons well argued by their advocates. They can also be
viewed with suspicion as straitjackets on that very development of value sensitivity and
diversity which ensures their relevance to living systems (pn). From a Class III
perspective, such value sets are quite claustrophobic and inappropriate to a learning
environment, to the point of being associated with outmoded patterns of dominance (n).
Such sets may thus be seen as continuously decaying into Class I in the mindsets of the
disabused and alienated. But it is precisely their 'outdated', predictable,
dependable, disciplined quality which constitutes a vital complement (np) to the chaotic
and evanescent value experiments of Class III, providing the stability through which Class
IV can emerge.
Class III: Value systems created by individuals and groups to frame and enhance their
particular, and often private, experience (p). The freedom and experimental quality of
such value creation reflects the views of social constructionists and an appreciation of
diversity. Not necessarily viewed as (to be) widely held, permanent, coherent, or
systematic. They are essentially unstable and unaccountable (pn) and may be quickly
abandoned (through a decay process into Class I) although they may undergo a form of
reification (into dogma) into Class II, possibly accompanied by some form of
institutionalization. Some, notably those advocating Class II frameworks, severelyquestion
and condemn the social incoherence and irresponsibility of such value relativism where
'anything goes' (n). It is however precisely in their role as an evanescent,
exploratory complement (np) to Class II that Class III creates a dynamic environment
through which Class IV can emerge.
Class IV: Emerging, surprising, new value patterns reflecting new degrees of
sensitivity, coherence and fundamental groundedness as a source of inspiration (p) that
contrast with those of Class II. In contrast to the chaos of Class III, these carry a
recognizable quality of stability and integrity (failing which they decay into Class III,
or directly into Class I). They tend however to attract a pathological enthusiasm, in a
manner somewhat analogous to Class I, as offering 'the secret elixir' by
comparison with the perceived irrelevance of other classes (pn). Through a form of value
narcissism, they distract from the vital functions of other classes (n). They can be
confused with more familiar values in other classes through a failure to recognize their
originality and as such run the danger of being coopted under the frameworks of those
other classes. It perhaps precisely in this manner that the new strengths renew the values
in the other classes (np).
Class discrimination and demonizing
The sociology of value advocates and creators is characterized by much bitterness and
demonizing. It is the argument of this paper that this is the consequence of a failure of
class discrimination -- where the notion of 'discrimination' itself evokes the
There is an interesting recursive feature to the levels of demonizing:
Identity: In the effort to establish the legitimacy and role of any of the above value
classes, the others may be condemned and rejected outright. Something is right and
everything else must necessarily be wrong. Co-existence of values is inconceivable. This
may be seen as a form of demonizing conditioned by a Class I dynamic.
Framework: In the effort to establish a working framework (whether for Class II, III or
IV) other approaches to values are demonized as inadequate, inappropriate, and inferior,
and as such dangerous (unless subsumed). Alternative frameworks, and the choices they
imply, are unacceptable. Such discrimination may be seen as conditioned by a form of Class
Dynamic: In the effort to ensure a dynamic, developing approach to values other
approaches are demonized as constricting and rigid and therefore unresponsive to changing
circumstances. Any constraint or criticism is viewed as intolerable and symptomatic of all
that needs to be superseded (notably the 'problem-solving mentality'). Such
discrimination may be seen as conditioned by a form of Class III dynamic.
Emergence: In the effort to cultivate new levels of value coherence other approaches
are demonized as outmoded, simplistic and less elegant. Such discrimination may be seen as
conditioned by a Class IV dynamic.
The issue of demonizing is in practice far from trivial, as indicated by use of the
epithet 'satanic' by fundamentalists in political and religious discourse. But
whilst this might be expected of those focused on Class I or Class II values, the often
rabid fanaticism is surprising in those advocating Class III values -- whether under a
banner of postmodernism or political correctness.
Again the situation can be usefully illustrated with a family. Some families exhibit
extreme suspicion of non-family members and their values (Class I). Whether in strong
patriarchal or matriarchal systems, family values may be strongly laid down with severe
sanctions for deviance (Class II). Adolescents and young adults may explore a variety of
value systems consecutively or in parallel, adapting to others holding values which may be
quite incompatible, and reacting very negatively against any dominant value pattern (Class
III). Couples or colleagues, concerned to create a relationship characterized by viability
and newness, are especially attentive to the complementarity of their values and the need
to strike a balance between destabilizing tendencies towards Class II or Class III values
The 'demonizing' functions have their place in distinguishing different
approaches. They become completely dysfunctional when they obscure recognition of their
complementarity and thus oppose the coevolution of the different value classes
Towards an enantiomorphic polity
The cultural historian William Irwin Thompson has approached these issues from a quite
different direction and has articulated most intriguing possibilities. For him: 'Values
are not objects, they are relationships. When you overlay one pattern with another, a
third pattern emerges, a moiré pattern' (Thompson, p. 38). He argues that: 'Truth
cannot be expressed in an ideology, for Truth is that which overlights the conflict of
opposed ideologies....The Truth cannot be known in an ideology, but it can be embodied in
an ecology; anything less does violence to human nature and to human culture.'(p.
For Thompson: 'In a polity that has the shape of opposites, an enantiomorphic
polity, the prophetic wisdom of William Blake's 'In opposition is true friendship' will be
finally understood and not just poetically....If one does have an appreciation of the
phenomenology of opposites, in which we become what we hate, then a politics of
compassion, as contrasted with a politics of violent conflict, begins to become a cultural
possibility.' (p. 37-39)
Linking directly to the concerns of this paper, Thompson quotes an articulation of this
enantiomorphic polity from E F Shumacher's final work:
'The pairs of opposites, of which freedom and order and growth and decay are
the most basic, put tension into the world, a tension that sharpens man's sensitivity and
increases his self-awareness. No real understanding is possible without awareness of these
pairs of opposites which permeate everything man does...Justice is a denial of mercy, and
mercy a denial of justice. Only a higher force can reconcile these opposites: wisdom. The
problem cannot be solved, but wisdom can transcend it. Similarly societies need stability
and change, tradition and innovation, public interest and private interest, planning and
laissez-faire policies, order and freedom, growth and decay. Everywhere society's health
depends on the simultaneous pursuit of mutually opposed activities or aims. The adoption
of a final solution means a kind of death sentence for man's humanity and spells either
cruelty or dissolution, generally both.' (Schumacher, p. 127)
Thompson quotes complementary arguments from Henri Atlan's synthesis of information
theory and biology:
'So then it would suffice to look at organization as an uninterrupted process
of disorganization-organization, and not as a state, so that order and disorder, the
organized and the contingent, construction and destruction, life and death, are no longer
so distinct...These processes where the unity of the opposites -- such a unity is not
realized as a new state, a synthesis of the thesis and the antithesis, it is the movement
of the process itself which constitutes the 'synthesis' -- these processescannot exist
except that the errors are a priori true errors, that order at any given moment is truly
disturbed by disorder, that destruction (though not totally realized) is still real, that
the irruption of the event is a veritable irruption (a catastrophe or a miracle or both).
In other words, these processes which appear to us as one of the foundations of living
beings, the result of a sort of collaboration between what one customarily calls life and
death, can only exist precisely when it is not a question of cooperation but always
radical opposition and negation.' (Atlan, p. 57)
Influenced by catastrophe theory (Thom, 1975), but not by chaos theory, Thompson
uses the above insights, together with clues from mythology, as a basis for
articulating a four-fold geometrical pattern of relationships based on William
Blake's 'Fourfold Vision'. This is presented as Diagram II. There are significant
similarities to the pattern presented in Diagram
I, and some differences. It is possible that they can be reconciled in subsequent
work (see Diagram III, for example, reconciling
Jungian and Buddhist value perspectives with those of Erikson). All however
stress a necessary complementarity of what Thompson terms value orientations.
|Diagram III: Never-ending global mappping exercise
Human values can usefully be understood and experienced as attractors. How
'strange' they are considered as attractors depends on the appreciation of the
distinction between the four different classes of values derived from an interpretation of
complexity studies. In one sense, all values may be seen as attracting in a strange manner
-- especially when simplistic understanding is avoided.
Emphasis has been placed on the manner in which each class of values can be perceived
as: appropriate (p), inappropriate (n), inappropriately appropriate (pn), and
appropriately inappropriate (np). Such distinctions are important for understanding and
patterning the dynamics between advocates of particular classes of values. It may prove
useful to explore the recursive symmetry between this four-fold pattern of distinctions
and that between the value classes. This could be used as a basis for generating more
articulated patterns of values which respect the integrative dynamics between the values
actually labelled. A software package could for example be used to explore value sets
produced 'to measure' according to the challenge to which the user wishes to be
exposed (Judge, 1992).
The need for the coevolution of different classes of values has been emphasized. Each
class performs a vital function, even if from a superficial perspective it appears
outmoded. In terms of an ecological metaphor, the shark is an ancient species that has
evolved little in recent eras. It nevertheless continues to play a vital role in marine
ecosystems -- despite human efforts to demonize it. (It would be a mistake to hope to
replace it by a genetically tailored species to fit human preconceptions.)
A major concern here has been with dysfunctional demonizing. This is due to limited
ability to handle the four-fold aspects of each class of values -- which through recursive
symmetry handicaps ability to manage the relationship between the classes. However
functional demonizing provides necessary protection for each class. It is one thing to
cultivate tolerance but if it is accompanied by fanatical intolerance of intolerance then
this regressive dynamic needs to be appropriately positioned within the pattern of value
classes in order that it can be appropriately counter-balanced.
From this perspective any 'demonizing' can be functional to protect essential
variety. It becomes dysfunctional and 'satanic' only when the coevolutionary
context, as suggested by the pattern of classes, is lost. As Gregory Bateson stated: 'Destroy
the pattern which connects and you destroy all quality'.
The relevance of chaos theory to social coherence will be determined by the ability to
factor in such phenomena as arrogance, self-righteousness, and prestige, which have been
sofundamental to the dynamics between those skilled in this emerging discipline. These
phenomena bedevil all psycho-social dynamics relevant to governance, but this discipline
has particular skills to handle the self-reflexive challenge. Psychoanalysts, especially
those of Jungian persuasion, would argue that it is these shadowy phenomena that conceal
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