25 February 2009 | Draft
Global Governance via a Double-breasted Strange Attractor
Cognitive implication in a dynamic sexual metaphor
- / -
with Globality through Knowing Thyself
of a four-fold
exploration. [Engaging with Globality
-- Dimension 1: Cognitive
; Dimension 2: Cognitive
; Dimension 3: Cognitive
; Dimension 4: Knowing
Overview of Engaging with Globality
Global strategy and governance modelled by constraining local breast movement?
Double-breasted vs Single-breasted?
integrity of bubbles -- and their chirality?
Reconstructive "surgery": financial system vs breasts
for design of a regulated financial system?
Globality, cosmology and birth
As "above", so "below"?
The following is one example of an exercise envisaged in Playfully
engaging with globality through re-categorization and re-classification (in Dimension
4). The context for this exploration of a metaphor with sexual
connotations is the subject of a series of comments provided separately
as Annex A (Engaging
with Globality through Playful Re-categorizing):
Humour | Playful
examples | Logical
vs Aesthetic correspondences | Meaningful
and orifices | Consumption
and consumerism | "Knowing" another |
The cognitive implications of the metaphor are further developed in Annex
with Globality through Dynamic Complexity) and in Annex
with Globality through Enacting a Klein bottle).
Although a degree of speculative humour is intended, the challenge of finding
new ways of framing goverance in a turbulent society is the preoccupation.
That dynamic nature of that challenge was perhaps best recognized by an early
policy scientist Geoffrey
in a Rocking Boat: changing values
in an unstable society, 1972). Of considerable cognitive value, he
noted that: "a
trap is a function of the nature of the trapped".
As noted in Annex
A, this exploration is premised on the assumption that sustainable
governance is necessarily sexy -- and if it is not then it is unlikely to
be sustainable. By
designing sex out of governance, sex has become identified with the problematic shadow
Exploring the breast
metaphor here in relation to governance is notably justified by the frequent
French usage of "sein",
in the singular, with respect to governance, for example: Donner
une voix à l'Afrique
au sein de la gouvernance globale (Sabelo J. Ndlovu-Gatsheni, Forum
for a New World Governance, March 2007). Given the focus on "designing" the
future through governance (cf Peter Ellyard. Designing
2050: pathways to sustainable prosperity on spaceship Earth,
it is also intriguing that
"design" in French is "dessein",
implying the undertaking of a project (including that of the Creator, as in intelligent
design). Such usage might also be understood as "from the breast".
Rather than this static, "single-breasted"
approach, the focus here is on the cognitive implications
of "seins" in the plural (and their dynamics) with respect
to the dynamics of governance. Curiously those in governance, caricatured as
"suits", typically wear "double-breasted"
suits in contrast with the "single-breasted"
|Symbolic uniform of 21st century
||-- and of the cover-up
regarding the financial bubble of 2008
with its economic consequences for all
Exploring the metaphor in the light of the current financial crisis for governance
is justified by the extent to which "playing" is a notion common
to the market and to courtship behaviour, as is speculation and risk taking.
The argument here is that breasts constitute a dynamic attractor of sufficient
complexity to reflect the comprehension challenges within governance in dealing
with options and alternatives. They might be seen as the most developed of
various attractors capable of refocusing attention, starting with the movements
of a child's rattle and in contrast with more mechanical systems such as the
centrifugal governor or with the cynical distractants of the Roman Empire "bread
(panem et circenses).
The implication of dynamic symbols, in contrast with their common static form
has been explored elsewhere (Moving
Symbols: radical change in religious psycho-social energy policy?,
Put most simply, however, it could be argued that breasts offer the most
familiar, concrete and accessible understanding of "globality" in its geometric
sense -- in contrast with the abstract geometric representations or manufactured
artefacts. Whether, male or female, this understanding dates from earliest
infancy. It is therefore understandable that for human groups, and humanity
as a whole, globality is recognized as a source of sustenance. How such
globality functions in its virtual form is yet to be fully understood.
Re-framing the strategic compass: Given the fundamental significance
variously attributed to globality, it is appropriate to explore how these understandings
might be interwoven as an imaginative exercise embodied in the process of intercourse.
Given the strategic concern, there is therefore a case for employing the configuration
of elements vital to navigation of the globe, namely the compass by which any
course is pltotted and guided. The magnetic needle is clearly a focal element
indicative of directionality and intentionality -- echoed in the masculine
engagement in the process and its navigation. However the vessel as a whole,
typically denoted as feminine, is navigating through a global magnetic field
with respect to which the needle is oriented. Curiously most countries requiring
governance are also considered feminine, and by implication any "Spaceship
Earth" as a
vessel -- namely the global system symbolized by the primal goddess Gaia.
Navigational bias: To the extent that iron
and steel are the preferred metaphors for conventional cognitive processes
strategic initiatives ("iron-fisted",
"steeling oneself"), and associated institutions of governance ("rule
the possible necessity for compensating, complementary metaphoric elements
might be usefully explored. The rigidity and inflexibility of male-domnated,
contemporary, strategic thinking is indeed indicated by use of such metaphors,
especially by the military (Enhancing
Sustainable Development Strategies through Avoidance of Military Metaphors,
1998) and notably in trading on the financial markets that have so recently
Vital compensation for deviations: For the compass to
operate appropriately, the spurious quadrantal deviations resulting from the
iron in the vessel are compensated by two quadrantal spheres -- appropriately
adjusted and mounted athwartships on the binnacle on each side of the compass.
They are also known as "navigator's
balls" -- although, given that vessels are understood to be feminine,
an alternative interpretation would be more appropriate.
A further requirement
for the needle correctly to indicate the course on a turbulent sea (rocking
the vessel in an unpredictable combination of pitching, rolling and yawing
motions) is that it be mounted within a system of double rings on bearings,
known as gimbals,
permitting the needle to ride flat and steady no matter the movement. This
raises the question of how Geoffrey
Vickers (Freedom in a Rocking Boat: changing values in an
unstable society, 1972) would have understood the relevance of this metaphor
to policy issues. These rings might be understood in terms of the of the cognitive
circlets of Dimension
Gimbal dynamics of a cognitive crown: Of particular relevance
to the dynamics of the cognitive operation of any crown (as explored
3) are the dynamics of the gimbal ensuring a stable platform for the needle.
The animation above (from
the relevant entry in Wikipedia) is especially suggestive of the
possible relationship of the cognitive circlets (of Dimension
2) when configured dynamically in a crown -- to provide a stable platform
for appropriate decision-making. This animation is of further significance
in that it recalls the imaginatively powerful dynamics, and special effects,
of the spacetime "Machine" central to the cult movie Contact (based
on a book by Carl Sagan)
-- and to the transportation of the pod therein to a distant time and place
in the universe (paradoxically echoing the childhood experience of the transportee).
Navigating globality for governance: Two contrasting cognitive
skills are important to navigating globality. Of interest is the implication
of the significance to be associated with determining where one "is" (statically)
in contrast with understanding the directionality of the process in which one
is engaged (dynamically). This challenge is reminiscent of the Heiisenberg
uncertainty principle, especially in terms of any analogue in psychosocial
relations (Garrison Sposito, Does a generalized Heisenberg Principle operate
in the social sciences? Inquiry, 12, 1969, 3, pp. 356-361; C. A. Hooker.
The impact of quantum theory on the conceptual basis for the classification
of knowledge in: J. A. Wojciechowksi (Ed), Conceptual Basis for the Classification
of Knowledge (K G Saur Verlag, 1974, pp. 284-318).
To the extent that the navigation of globality is to be understood in terms
of "truth" -- as to where one is (statically or dynamically) -- the
arguments from a theological perspective are also of interest (John A T Robinson, Truth
is Two-Eyed, 1979). Given that democratic governance (acknowledging
the importance of an "opposition") also implies that truth is "two-eyed" and
-- in the light of the arguments to follow -- does this confirm that governance
(as a source of a form of truth) is necessarily
Governors: A centrifugal governor is a device
that controls the speed of an engine -- notably on any vessel -- by regulating
the fuel intake in order to maintain speed whatever the conditions.
It uses the principle of proportional control. As the speed of the prime mover
increases, the central spindle of the governor rotates at a faster rate and
the kinetic energy of the balls increases. This allows the two masses on lever
arms to move outwards and upwards against gravity. If the motion goes far enough,
this motion causes the lever arms to pull down on a thrust bearing, which moves
a beam linkage. This then reduces the aperture of a throttle valve.
The rate of working-fluid entering the cylinder is thus reduced and the speed
of the prime mover is controlled, preventing over-speeding.
Dynamic systems and (knowledge) cybernetics: The centrifugal
governor is used by the cognitive sciences as a readily comprehensible illustration
of a dynamic system
in which the representation of information cannot be clearly separated from
the operations being applied to the representation. Such systems are a preoccupation
of cybernetics and the complexity sciences.
As both cybernetician and anthropologist, Gregory
and Nature: a necessary unity, 1970) attached the greatest importance
to the recognition that evolution in nature
was effectively regulated by a principle illustrated by the centrifugal
governor -- as articulated by Alfred
Tendency of Varieties to Depart Indefinitely from the Original Type,
The action of this principle is exactly
like that of the centrifugal governor of the steam engine, which checks and
corrects any irregularities almost before they become evident; and in like
manner no unbalanced deficiency in the animal kingdom can ever reach any
conspicuous magnitude, because it would make itself felt at the very first
step, by rendering existence difficult and extinction almost sure soon to
As metaphors, the various elements above combine to offer
a relatively simplistic way of understanding the complex dynamics of "generic"
intercourse (even in
the form of the exchanges of financial trading). The metaphors may be seen "objectively"
in terms of visible movement as with the centrifugal governor, or "subjectively" in
terms of responses by needle and sphere to the complexities of the local and
global magnetic fields. There the spheres serve as a form of attractor through
which the effects of local and global fields are balanced.
Curiously, in the case of the centrifugal governor, a static image bears a
strong resmblance to the masonic
compass as a symbol. Given the strong association of freemasonry with governance,
notably with those claiming to govern, the elements missing (other than by
implication) from that static symbol are worthy of consideration. These include
its rotation, an implicit central shaft enabling such rotation, and the weighted
spheres on the arms responsive to centrifugal force. Whilst the compass, as
an instrument of geometry, establishes relationships between points (Dimension
1), and possibly outlines a circle (Dimension
2), it is ill-equipped to design
a centrifugal governor (in Dimension
3), or to ensure the dynamics of its operation
Has global strategy of recent decades effectively been designed without the
adequate governorship implied by the dynamic system of a centrifugal governor?
Beyond rhe sporting of neuticles (noted in Dimension
1), this raises the
interesting question as to the whether a "governor
needs balls" -- of one kind or another -- for sustainable
Global strategy and governance modelled by constraining local breast movement?
In addition to the arguments above with regard to sexualmetaphoprs, consideration
of this seemingly irrelevant topic is justified by the readily accessible cognitive
learnings -- with a learning curve to match -- with regard to:
- complementary alternatives (as variously illustrated by the paired figures
in this document)
- engagement and disengagement of attention from each in favour of the other
- independent dynamics of each, although linked in sublte ways
- tendency to recover an equilibirum position after disturbance
- implication as attractors to be navigated, to ensure a dynamic of much
Breast dynamics: Just as the centrifugal governor may offer
an interesting model of evolution, the movement of breasts may offer a useful
model of the cognitive correctives vital to the compensation of navigational
bias, and be potentially indicative of the complex operation of a magnetic
field on a compass needle on a rocking vessel, This well-recognized sexual
dynamic would then merit further exploration -- given its focal importance
for (male) attention, notably as instigator of change, especially in financial
trading, as discussed in Dimension
financial trading). The argument is that it is central to male imagination,
whether consciously or unconsciously, and to the articulation of a worldview
through sexual metaphors in strategic decision-making environments.
However it is from women that insights are to be derived as to how a male-dominated
dynamic can be controlled -- as exemplified by the "enthralling" extremes
of strip dancing and belly dancing -- and to infer the implications for global
governance in general.
A single breast may be described as an
anisotropic, non-homogeneous, semi-fluid mass with a non-rigid attachment to
the rib cage.
however typical of the level of denial that the literature seems to have little
to offer on "breast
in relation to the pathology of mammary cancer -- even though breast size and
movement together constitute a primary attractor, at least for the most
powerful global culture (Carolyn
the women's perspective on an American obsession, 1998).
even use of the phrase in any study of breasts as attractors is problematic
to funders, sponsors and nanny programmes -- "too
hot", ironically, or maybe to difficult to distinguish from "soft
This would be even more true with respect to the global dynamics,
of which they are part, implied by the set of static positions
of the Kama
Sutra (as discussed in Dimension
Breast issues and governance : The question of the control
of breast movement is only one of a number of concerns relating to breasts
with suggestive implications for governance. More systematically these include:
- "Development": This concept is of course as
significant to governance as it is with regard to breasts. Development is
a primary concern of governance. Measures of development are a determining
factor in the appreciation of a country
just as the development of breasts may be in appreciation of a woman
Both may then be framed and evaluated as "investment opportunities".
Metaphorically, concerns may include:
- development: especially as it is understood to increase attractiveness
- enhancement: when the role as attractor is constrained by
size, whether at a developing or developed stage. This may
be enhanced by the use of supportive measures or suitable
"padding" (a term fundamental to presentation of projects)
- augmentation: permanent enhancement, irrespective of "packaging"
-- as with the use of silicone
implants in the case of breasts, to which some forms of infrastructure
investment may be compared
- "Envelopment": The degree of "openness" or "transparency" is
again as significant to governance as it is with respect to breasts. Financial
products and strategic initiatives are typically "packaged" for
exposure to those from whom support or approval is solicited (possibly
encouraged by an "envelope" -- "under the table").
The degree of exposure or transparency may be as carefully considered as
in the case of breasts. On the other hand in some cases,
the concern may be to ensure "envelopment" as
a means of sustaining attractiveness through a sense of mystery
or of precluding the attraction of others altogether.
- exposure: the amount of "clevage" displayed by adjustment
of suitable "packaging", as a means of increasing (or decreasing) the
attractive function and of signalling that such attention is (un)welcome;
"clevage" offers an interesting metaphor with respect to "payoff" potential
and relative sense of opportunity
- restraint: this may either be a matter of convenience
with the prospect of turbulent conditions (as in sports activity), or
a cultural issues (as with the feminist argument against the use of bras)
- shape: where the size or form are considered to
be such as to diminish their attractive function and therefore suggests
the possibility of cosmetic surgery
- lumps: as potentially indicative of mammary cancer and the possibile
need for remedial surgery
Given the problematics of "development" and "envelopment", and the advocacy
of a "no-growth" approach to governance, there is some merit in considering
what "velopment" might constitute (Veloping:
the art of sustaining significance,
Breast simulation and control: As previously
considerable effort is now applied to simulating breast movement in virtual
worlds, as this potentially relates to the future of virtual intercourse there,
and as anticipated in the future (enhanced by haptic technology). It is widely
recognized that it is sexually-related communication that has been of major
significance in ensuring the uptake and viability of new internet technologies
(Minitel, porn-sites, etc). Independently, given the considerable importance
associated with both enhancement of breasts and restraining their movement,
large investments are made in the complex challenges of brassiere design, as
noted in an early study which anticipated subsequent innovation (Edward Nanas, Brassieres:
an engineering miracle, Science and Mechanics, February
On the basis of a biomechanics study by Joanna
a UK line of sports-bras, has developed a Bounce-Ometer --
a Flash-based 3D simulator of
such dynamics, with and without various types of bra, and according to a user-specified
cup size and level of activity. This includes a wire frame view indicative
of the relevant algorithm (see screen-shots below). It enables comparison of
normal bras with those developed by the Shock Absorber Sports Institute (SASI).
Needless to say, the simulation provides no suggestion of the cognitive basis
of the attraction of such movement for males.
|Implication of Range of Options of
Shock-Absorber Bra-usage Animation
for regulation of financial market under different conditions
("Bretton Woods bra")
("Shock Absorber bra")
|Wire frame screen-shots
Double-breasted vs Single-breasted?
As noted above, the formal
male fashion in governance is the wearing of doubtle-breasted suits -- with
a gesture to ensure that they are appropriately buttoned up prior to meeting
intercourse. This might be understood as reflecting an especially
attentive form of cover-up in relation to the symbolism of breasts. In the
light of the reference by Keynes of "animal spirits" (discussed in Dimension
4), more might be made of the need of governors to wear double-breasted
suits with a number of "vestgial nipples" -- buttons reminiscent of the nipples
on non-human species.
Although recognizing the existence
of two breasts, in contrast with the single-breasted variety, in question
is the degree to which their covering inhibits whatever symbolism is associated
with their mirroring in those of the opposte sex -- and especially the associated
To the extent that the "uncoordinated" movement of two breasts symbolizes
the governance challenges of both such dynamics and the presence of an active
"alternative", the use of a double-breasted suit is clearly indicative
of constraint on any such dynamic and the neglect of any alternative.
Why two? Curiously there is a degree of uncertainty as to
why two breasts are appropriate on the human body. This uncertainty might be
compared with that regarding the -- often contested -- need for an "opposition" in
democratic governance. In both cases, however, there is a sense that the "other" offers
an alternative in the event of failure of that currently preferred --
a vital fail-safe system In
its role of providing sustenance to an infant, one breast can become exhausted
and needs time to recharge itself. The same might be said with regard to the
policies of a governing party when there is a sense that "it is time for
Modelling duality and polarity: The simplest argument for
double-breastedness is the bilateral symmetry of the human body. This is reflected
in the binary logic associated with polarization -- with considerable implications
in the appreciation of:
- positive vs negative
- credit vs debit
- optimist vs pessimist
- concrete vs abstract
- real vs imaginary
- utopia vs dystopia
Comparative evaluation of two breasts, if only by an infant dependent on the
sustenance they provide, might recognize that they embodied each of these extremes
at their most instinctual level.
For an adult, however, in each case the poles are readily conflated with
values, leading to good vs evil -- "with us or against us". There
is in effect a widespread fundamental preference for a "monopolar"
understanding of global -- presumably dating back to the Garden of Eden. Articulation
of the "other" pole is then readily demonized as the attractors for
unbelievers and "cognitive kafirs". The vital cybernetic need for
the stereoscopic (depth) perspective of two poles -- positive and negative
feedback -- is argued elsewhere (Being
Positive Avoiding Negativity: management challenge of positive vs negative,
2005; "Positive" vs "Negative" Strategies,
Vision vs Poly-sensual Engagement, 2006).
"Inflated hope" vs "Deflated despair":
Such a relationship is of further interest in connection with any "bubble"
-- whether inflated by hope and hope-mongering or deflated by doom-mongering
Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "credit crunch" focus as symptom
of a dangerous mindset, 2008). Of interest with respect to the intangibility
of "hope", on which so much is currently based, is the legal concept of "puffery".
The latter is a legal term referring to promotional statements and claims
that express subjective rather than objective views, supposedly such that no
reasonable person would take literally. Presumably it would be argued that
the subprime mortgages at the origin of the financial crisis had been sold with
the aid of a legally acceptable degree of puffery. Ironically, somewhat similar
acceptability is associated with the assisted presentation of breasts -- disguising
their assumed inadequacies.
The strategic problem would appear to lie in the effort to design a "negative-free"
future built only on positive, optimistic belief and hope -- excluding
problematic implications as being the essence of defeatism. Hence
the focus on eliciting consensus and condemning disagreement (possibly even
This approach might be caricatured as a single-breasted vision of the future
and of the governance required to realize it -- focusing on the "one
true breast" as the
"one true future". This might even be understood in terms of current
framing of an "integral future"
-- avoiding the more complex challenge of "integrative futures" (Self-reflexive
Challenges of Integrative Futures, 2008).
That this is factually problematic is only two evident in the case of national
budgets committed optimistically to hopes of eternal "growth" --
on which statistics narrowly focus -- when such growth has typically been accompanied
by ever increasing (even historically unprecedented) budgetary deficits. The
level of such national debt is typically not a focus of public attention --
and is necessarily an embarrassment to governance. Cynical decision-making
simply injects more money -- by printing it and ignoring the future implications
for the tax payer.
Investment in "hope" is then framed as "real", whereas
any need to take care of "despair", notably in the form of neglected
problems, is framed as "imaginary"
-- a bad dream. A major difficulty with this is evident in the "reality" held
to have characterized the financial system prior to its collapse in 2008
-- followed by recognition that that "reality" had (in fact) been "illusory".
The new "reality" is now held to be that which had previously been
"fanciful" or "imaginary" -- especially given the need,
now, for governance to come to terms with it.
A double-breasted system therefore holds the psychological
response to the present -- in relation to a potential, imagined or virtual
it embodies the speculative opportunity represented by an alternative to which
focus may be advantageously transferred.
Modelling decision-making: Also of interest is the role
between two breasts as a model of decision-making. Clearly only
one may be realistically used for sustenance at a time. The possibility of
the other then has the sense of an imagined opportunity -- with a degree
of risk. In this way the
two breasts together offer a model of the relationship between
"real" and "imaginary" (as further discussed in
C) and the manner in which any "realization" of
one renders the other "imaginary". The radical difference between
the two is usefully indicated by the chirality of the tensegrity structures
(below). One is the mirror "image"
of the other and in many respects is related to it like matter to anti-matter.
This mirroring is also evident to a degree in the polyhedral duals (below).
Shadow-like alternatives: Clearly, whilst either -- whether "real" or "imaginary" --
has its own independent complex dynamic, each is constrained to a degree by
the dynamics of the other, as with breasts. To the extent that, as in government,
the imagined capacities and perspectives of the "opposition" are
labelled with the term "shadow" (even to the point of demonizing "alternatives"),
interrelating the two appropriately is the classical challenge of psychotherapeutic "integration
of the shadow"
in an individuation process. Hence the case for a "double-breasted" approach
Tensional integrity of bubbles and their chirality?
Financial bubbles: Although a financial bubble is framed
after the fact as inherently problematic, it nevertheless embodies an articulated
understanding of global and globality.
Of great interest at
the time of history's greatest financial
bubble -- and its collapse in 2008 -- is the seeming lack of insight
into the structure of such bubbles and how they are inflated and sustained,
especially when based on hope and a degree of mutual confidence and trust.
However a great deal is otherwise known about the structure of bubbles,
notably in their relation to one another in terms of polyhedral packing (as
discussed in Annex
In a sense a bubble of hope or belief is sustained as a structure
by "real" exchange
operations dependent on both a degree of mutual confidence and active competition --
as the dynamic between tension and compression elements in its "architecture".
However, complementing that is the "imaginary" structure
based on the projections and fantasies of traders on the market,
speculating on future opportunity.
Tensegrity: One approach to bubble structure is through
insights from "tensional
notably those approximating a sphere -- as articulated by R.
Buckminster Fuller (Synergetics: explorations in the
geometry of thinking,
1975/1979). A valuable review of relevance to the following discussion is provided
by Chris Lucas (Complex
Living Tensegrities, 2007) who indicates that tensegrity is just another
term for "attractor balance". Spherical tensegrities
might be undertstood, through the structure and dynamics of their architecture,
as the most realistic representation of globality and of the capacity
better to approximate it through ever more complex tensegrities.
Tensegrities are usefully recognized as possibly of distinct chirality
or handedness, as shown below. Spherical tensegrities are very similar to bubbles,
to air-supported structures and to balloons. The structures are very sensitive
to vibrations although this can be reduced by the addition of extra tensile
elements. Like breasts, they can be readily deformed but return to the original
shape when the load is removed. Being free-standing, they do not require external
It is relevant to note how the "dimensions" of this set of documents
are integrated into any such spherical integrity and the cognitive challenge
of giving form to it in practice:
- the focus on lines and their
realignment of Dimension
1; these are clearly visible as independent structural elements which
have no direct structural relationship to each other, not being connected
-- connectivity is provided by lines of tension between these "incompatible"
elements that ensure appropriate separation
- the focus on circles of Dimension
2; these are evident as differently oriented circles around the structure
as a whole -- discontinuous sequences of linear elements
- the focus on interlocking circles of different orientation,
constituting the "crown" of Dimension
3; only through this interlocking does a structure in three dimensions
However, any owner of a spherical tensegrity will notice how it
sags, breast-like, over the years (depending on the method of construction)
Mapping bubble-sustaining-elements onto tensegrities: The
question is how to map the elements of any hope-inflated bubble onto such a
structure and its dynamics -- or preferably onto a pair of them, to the
extent that their complementarity is vital to their systemic function. What
might be the mapping of the trading dynamics and regulatory
constraints in the case of a financial system thereby sustained? It
is especially interesting that spherical tensegrities are self-regulating in
that they seek a dynamic equilibirum -- independent of the role of gravity
vital to the stability and structural integrity of more conventional structures.
But of particular significance are the alternative chiralities
of the two structures -- offering a means of holding both the hope and belief
in a potential future by which it inflated and the systemic neglect potentially
associated with this investment (and the future despair it may therefore engender).
The mirrored structures stand in relation to each other as matter and anti-matter.
In financial terms, they constitute the two sides of any balance sheet between
which governance has to navigate -- or, more problematically, the "formal" accounts,
and those that are "hidden", "under the table" (the financial "black
|Tensegrity (tensional integrity) structure
of (financial) bubbles
(NB double chirality held by Klein bottle, Annex
Reconstructive "surgery": financial system vs
Breast support: Of relevance to the insights to be obtained
from breasts is the use of tensegrity in the design of undergarments (Kazuya
G. Kobayashi 1, Taro Ichizawa 2 and Katsutoshi Ootsubo, Tensegric-Modeling-Based
Soft Tissue Deformation for Shaping-Undergarments, Computer-Aided
Design and Applications, 3, 1-4, 2006, pp. 359-366). Given
the wire-frame animation of breast dynamics (illustrated above) -- as they
relate to bra design, there would seem to be a case for exploring breast dynamics
and its "regulation" in terms of tensegrity.
Mammary cancer: It is of great potential interest the
extent to which tensegrity is now considered fundamental to the structure of
biological cells (Donald E. Ingber,
of Life. Scientific American, Jan 1998; 278:48-57;
Tensegrity: the architectural basis of cellular mechanotransduction. Annu.
Rev. Physiol. 1997; Cellular tensegrity: defining new rules
of biological design that govern the cytoskeleton. J Cell Sci. 1993).
It is for this reason that it has been explored in relation to the cellular
challenges of mammary cancer (Donald E. Ingber and James D. Jamieson, Cells
as Tensegrity Structures: archetectural regulation of histodifferentiation
by physical forces transduced over basement membrane. In: Gene Expression
during Normal and Malignant Differentiation, 1985; D. E. Ingber, Control
of Capillary Growth and Differentiation by Extracellular Matrix, Chest,
More recently Ingber has shown (Tensegrity
II. How structural networks influence cellular information processing networks. J
Cell Sci. 2003) :
... how combined use of tensegrity and solid-state mechanochemistry by
cells may mediate mechanotransduction and facilitate integration of chemical
and physical signals that are responsible for control of cell behavior. In
addition, it examines how cell structural networks affect gene and protein
signaling networks to produce characteristic phenotypes and cell fate transitions
during tissue development.
Such work has been cited in relation to epigenetic reversion of breast carcinoma.
In relation to cancer, work has focused on Pre-stressed
Tensegrity Structures built from DNA (2009).
Given the level of ignorance regarding financial bubbles and their associated
"pathologies", there is a case for observing the current condition
of the financial system at the most detailed level of trading networks,
notably as their dysfunctionality may be modelled by mammary pathology (cf
Diseases: speculations towards the development of cures and preventive measures,
and Information Diseases in a Knowledge Society: sSpeculations towards the
development of cures and preventive measures, 2008; Polyhedral
Empowerment of Networks through Symmetry: psycho-social implications for organization
and global governance, 2008) .
example, in its collapsing state, the financial system might be understood
to be suffering from a process analogous to cance. Efforts to remedy the condition
-- through periodic and targeted stimuli -- might then be compared to chemotheraphy.
Within this framework of course, there is also the possibility that the "cancer"
will metastatize and
seriously undermine the viability of other systems -- as is already the case
with the consequences for the economic system. For some the current financial
system should simply be replaced -- a form of "amputation".
Reconstructive surgery: In
parallel, possibilities of reconstruction of the financial system are being
considered -- for the optimists, even to recover its pristine Bretton Woods
condition, or some semblance thereof.
The implication of tensegrity in both biological cell structure and breast
support devices suggest that the issues and principles that arise in both cases
merit some attention.
There is a potentially more intriguing issue in the light of the argument
that systemically there are effectively two financial systems -- the "real"
and the "imaginary". Considered as mirror tensegrities -- a double-breasted
system -- the question is the extent to which both suffer from a "cancerous"
condition, namely whether both call for a degree of reconstruction if the "chemotherapy"
does not work. Might both require "amputation"?
Mammary cancer and breast support: Reflection within this
metaphor could also usefully take account of challenges articulated regarding
the danger of breast support devices. Sydney Ross Singer and
Soma Grismaijer (Bras
still cause breast cancer: are your patients dressed to kill?, 2007)
report on their earlier study (Dressed To Kill: The Link Between Breast
Cancer and Bras, 1995). This had examined
the bra wearing habits and attitudes of about 4,700 American women, nearly
half of whom had had breast cancer. Results showed that wearing
a bra over 12 hours daily dramatically increases breast cancer incidence. Bra-free
women were shown to have about the same incidence of breast cancer as men,
while those who wear a bra 18-24 hours daily had over 100 times greater incidence
of breast cancer than do bra-free women.
Is it possible that there are assumptions built into the approach to constructing
or reconstrucing financial systems which are inherently problematic -- as some
theoreticians and practitioners have argued?
Design of social organization: The relevance of tensegrity to the design of
social organization has been considered previously (From
Networking to Tensegrity Oranization, 1984; Transcending
Duality through Tensional Integrity: from systems-versus-networks to tensegrity
organization, 1978). In one paper
Principles by Balancing Configurations of Functions: a tensegrity organization
approach, 1979), it was argued:
In seeking to use tensegrities, it may prove that it is more appropriate
to treat them as extremely powerful conceptual "interrelators"for whatever
projection onto them can be adequately sustained and comprehended within
the collectivity concerned. This may be incomprehensible to "outsiders If,
thus unable to work within that pattern. It is useful, for example, to reflect
on the elegance with which tensegrities can interrelate complex patterns
of differences (separators) and similarities (connectors)
at a time when society is torn between the simplistic extremes of personal
or collective violence on the one hand, and sexual/ecstatic merger or planetary
integration/union on the other. Could it be that tensegrities indicate a
way of articulating and interrelating differences such that the latters'
separative properties (normally destructive) provide the necessary basis
for the construction of a new collective space ? (Is any attempt to base
new structures solely on similarities doomed to failure as a contradiction
in terms ?)
The tensegrity, as a configuration of differences, then provides a way of
releasing and channelling energy from differences (in orientation,
including opposition, for example). What then are the energy containing patterns
of differences and similarity (cf. social differences and the similarities
of "equality" paradigmatic and ideological differences, etc), and how can
they evolve ? Is the energy derived through "oscillation" in relation to
a more fundamental field than that embodied in the tensegrity as collectively
A tensegrity achieves stability as patterns of oscillation around a dynamic
equilibrium condition (Liberation
of Integration, Universality and Concord -- through pattern, oscillation,
harmony and embodimen, 1980; Groupware
Configurations of Challenge and Harmony - an alternative approach to "alternative
Implications for design of a regulated financial system?
This exploration is based on the assumption that the
financial system is not adequately explained as a rational, mechanistic pattern
of trades but involves, to a high degree, a poorly understood level of pschological
engagement, speculation and fantasy influenced by emotions such as greed
and willingness to risk. Efforts to redesign it which neglect,
deny, or minimize these factors are missing dimensions that sustained the
hope which ensured the inflation of the financial bubble.
Insights from brassiere design: The engagement of (male)
traders with the financial markets, and the excitement with which they pursue
and conclude deals, could readily be compared -- with little disagreement --
to the excitement of the "foreplay", "intercourse" and
"orgasm" associated with successful deal-making and its timing. This
is discussed from a psychoanalytical perspective in Dimension
A recent study has found that a financial trader's morning testosterone level
predicts his day's profitability; higher testosterone may contribute to economic
return, whereas cortisol is increased by risk. Risk preferences may thereby
be shifted and even affect a trader's ability to engage in rational choice.
(J. M. Coates and J. Herbert, Endogenous
steroids and financial risk taking on a London trading floor, PNAS,
April 2008). The payoff of the process would easily be qualified as "better
than sex" -- especially given the amounts transacted, the risks involved
and the potential payoff..
The financial crisis has highlighted questions about the nature of the attraction
of the process and the manner in which it should be appropriately regulated
in a redesigned financial system. To the widely acknowledged attractor of "greed
is good" (notably also a factor with infant use of breasts) may be
added one subtle attractors, as previously argued from a psychoanalytical perspective
financial trading). Issues cited with respect to male ego fulfillment
are potentially very significant.
Is the exploratory process of finding a way to make a deal to be compared
in some way with the tracking capacity of the compass needle, and even with
that of the sperm competing with other sperm -- with the fruitful opportunity
echoing primitive intuitions of the egg (and its globality)? Presumably extreme
risk-taking and any extraordinary bonus only enhance such symbolic echoes.
Arguably the design of any regulatory system bears a degree of relationship
to the complex challenge of bra design and its purpose in controlling (whether
enhancing or dampening) both attractiveness and movement through an appropriate
compromise. Curiously the
"compensation" for the strategic deviation to which traders are vulnerable
in navigating the opportunities of the financial markets, is echoed in the
French term for a financial
clearing house (chambre de compensation) -- echoing the compensatory
role of quadrantal spheres (above) with respect to the compass needle.
Economists have long promoted the rationality of decision-making in an ideal
market. Arguably, as with the male response to breast dynamics, there is a
form of cognitive disruption of evolutionary significance -- if only as a trigger
for engendering processes of change outside conventional patterns. It is therefore
interesting to note the study by Camelia Kuhnen and Brian Knutson (The
Neural Basis of Financial Risk Taking, 2005). Clearly there is the
possibility that the financial risk-taking, associated with the financial bubble
and its collapse in 2008, takes place in some way "under the rational
Insights from tensegrity system design: Given the
challenge of understanding the nature of a financial bubble, and how it relates
to stock market trading, there may well be a possibilitiy of gaining insight
from tensegrity. One indication in this direction is the comment of a blogger
in the structure of the United States, Culture, 14 Novelmber
2004). The implications of a tensegrity approach were explored in relation to
a previous financial crash (Global
Self-Organization: the systemic structural challenge of the exchange of meaning,
dramatized by the Asian financial crash, 1998).
Intriguing, for example, would be the significance that could be attached
- the distinction made between a "bull" and
a "bear" market.
One view is that the animals' personalities are behind the symbolism. Bears
move with caution, while bulls are bold and like to charge ahead; so a "bearish" investor
thinks the market will go down, while a "bullish" investor thinks it's headed
- how the psychology of trading transactions relates to issues
of confidence, hope and fear, and how these might be represented by relationships
within a tensegrity -- such as to sustain a bubble (or not).
- holding the cognitive relationship between "globalization"
and "deglobalization", notably as it is currently a matter of concern.
How might such considerations
be used to indicate enhancement of the bubble, "building confidence" and "engendering
hope" (by "talking up" opportunities), and how is the consensual
reality to be understood in terms of projections and fantasies.
One example is the work of Robert E. Skelton and Mauricio C. de Oliveira
(Tensegrity Systems, 2009). This
discusses analytical tools to design energy efficient and lightweight structures
employing the concept of tensegrity. It is the first effort to integrate structure
and control design in contrast to other approaches that assume them to be
independent issues. However performance can be greatly improved if
the dynamics of the structure and the dynamics of the controls are coordinated
to reduce the control efforts required to accomplish the system performance
requirements. Also of interest is Timothy Wilken (Ortegrity:
2002) with respect to decision-action tensegrities.
The properties of spherical tensegrities make it very clear how a bubble is
sustained and how much damage to its integrity is required to cause it to collapse.
Whilst this is relevant to sustainability of a financial system, it is also
of great interest to the viability of an ecosystem.
A related line of possible investigation emerges from recognition of the correspondences
of the internet-enabled financial system, as a form of global
brain, to the
structure and operation of the human brain. As noted by György Buzsáki
of the Brain, 2006):
The combination of the robust local tensegrity design and functionally
relevant long-range corticocortical pathways provides an economic solution
for establishing functionally effective paths across the vast domain of the
neocortex. The small-world-like organization of the neocortex, as opposed
to the strictly local, random, or all-to-all connectivity, provides a higher
order of wiring complexity. (p. 53)
In order to generate the harmony of tensegirty in cortical circuits, excitation
must be balanced with an equally effective inhibition. In the cortex, the solution
is a stabilizing negative feedback control, provided by the inhibory interneuron
system... (p. 59)
... the excitatory networks of the cerebral cortex are inherently unstable.
Tensegrity dynamics can be maintained only if the excitatory effectds are balanced
by equally effective inhbitory forces, provided by special inhibitory neurons.
If only excitatory cells were present in the brain, neurons could not create
form or order or secure some autonomy for themselves. (p. 61)
It is through the opposing forces of excitation by principal cells and inhbition
by interneuons that the tensegrity harmony of cortical activity is established.
This balanced partnership ensures an overall homeostatic regulation of global
firing rates of neurons over extended territories of the cortex and at the
same time allows for dramatic increases of local excitability in short time
windows, necessary for sending messages and modifying networ connections. (p.
Polyhedral duality: The discussion of tensegity above was
based on the pioneering work of R.
Buckminster Fuller (Synergetics: explorations in the geometry of thinking,
1975/1979). Fuller offers extensive reflection on polyhedra as systems, and
notably on spherically symmetrical polyhedra. In the above context those distinguished
as "duals" are
especially significant. These offer a complementary approach to tensegrity for
holding the relationshop between alternatives that are seemingly radically
different although fundamentally related (through a continuous transformation
susceptible to animation).
|Dual geodesic polyhedra
Cognitive metastability in dynamic systems: The argument
above has stressed the manner in which alternatives are apprehended -- as with
breasts. With respect to the financial system, it is the cognitive alternation
between what is held to be "real" (at any one moment) in relation to that which
is only "imaginary" (of potential future significance). The challenge in this
dynamic -- as evident in he specualtion of financial traders -- is thre appreciation
of rik now with respect to possible future benefit. This cognitive transition
between the rationale of present and future is differently suggested by both
images below. Both might be understood as holding -- in each case a single
image -- the paradox of the dynamic relationship between the two.
Simplistically expressed, is it a case with respect to globality that:
- the feminine art is to "keep the ball rolling" ?
- the masculine art is to "get a fix on the ball" ?
Holomovement -- alternation between explicate and implicate:
Alternation, if only as a possibility, is of course supposedly a prime feature
of democracy. Arguably it is pf course vital to sustainable development (Development
through Alternation, 1983) as exemplified by crop rotation (Sustainable
Cycles of Policies: crop rotation as a metaphor, 1988). A more fundamental
example of alternation is the holomovement explored
by physicist David Bohm (Wholeness
and the Implicate Order, 1980). He had expressed this in terms of reality
and knowledge considered as process: 'Not
only is everything changing, but all is flux. That is to say, what is the process
of becoming itself, while all objects, events, entities, conditions, structures,
etc., are forms that can be abstracted from this process'. He distinguishes
the relationship between implicate and explicate order there:
In the enfolded [or implicate] order, space and time are no longer the dominant
factors determining the relationships of dependence or independence of different
elements. Rather, an entirely different sort of basic connection of elements
is possible, from which our ordinary notions of space and time, along with
those of separately existent material particles, are abstracted as forms
derived from the deeper order. These ordinary notions in fact appear in what
is called the "explicate" or "unfolded" order, which
is a special and distinguished form contained within the general totality
of all the implicate orders (Bohm, 1980, p. xv).
The two orders may be understood as analogous to "imaginary" (implicate)
and "real" (explicate).
Alternation represented by the I Ching: A quite distinct representation,
consistent with Bohm's insight, may be obtained from a circular ordering of
the 64 hexagrams of the I
an encoding of the patterns of change as understood within traditional
Chinese culture. For the purpose of the argument here, two of these are reproduced
below, embedded within a Möbius strip.
An extended discussion of the circular
representation is available --
referring notably to a document that highlights the fact that the
hexagrams presented in this way can be read with the top outwards or with the
top inwards (Interrelationships
between 64 Complementary Approaches to Sustainable Development, 2002;
between Complementary Conditions for sustainable dialogue, vision, conference,
policy, network, community and lifestyle, 1993). This would be the
justification for the two seemingly similar presentations below. The distinct
readings, as with chirality, result in quite distinct interpretations.
Embedding the two representations within the Möbius strip highlights the paradoxical
cognitive inversion between the two interpretations. In the spirit of the I
Ching, and of the Taoist culture from which it emerges, as well as with
the classical Sanskrit adage Neti Neti (Not this, Not that), it is
not inappropriate to interpret the "Not" as "Knot" -- indicative of a "topological"
implication of the "logical" cognitive challenge.
Ching configurations embedded in Möbius
The Möbius strip also highlights the cognitive challenge of enantiodromia
in relating conventionally polarized domains that engender stratregic dilemmas
(Psychosocial Energy from Polarization within a Cyclic
Pattern of Enantiodromia,
|Selection from numerous
"Möbius scarf" web images
Globality, cosmology and birth
Much is made of the possibility of the "birth" of a new world -- or of a new
paradigm -- to supercede the inadequacies of the current global system.
Gravity of global situation: To what extent is
any sense of globality related to a sense of gravity -- as might
be inferred from Isaac Newton's inspiration in using gravitas to
name the latter?
A number of authors have
desribed the Earth as a "spaceship" (R. Buckminster Fuller, Operating
Manual for Spaceship Earth, 1969;
Peter Ellyard. Designing
2050: pathways to sustainable prosperity on spaceship Earth, 2007).
As suggested above, this frames the challenge of how it is to be navigated
through larger realms of spacetime, possibly by "cosmonauts". It
is less clear whether this "spaceship" is to be understood as material
in every respect or whether it has other forms of "mass" associated
with the collective body of knowledge and especially with the problematique
defining the gravity of the global situation. The concern here is with its
navigation by "noonauts" (Entering
Alternative Realities -- Astronautics vs Noonautics: isomorphism between launching
aerospace vehicles and launching vehicles of awareness, 2002; Towards
an Astrophysics of the Knowledge Universe: from astronautics to noonautics? 2006;
four modes of travelling and navigating the knowledge "universe"? 2006).
Each author typically
brings a design framework to bear on that challenge -- neglecting the understandings
of those so designed into their system, or out of it. It might be said that
the Bretton Woods system was a design by some for global financial exchange.
It is now widely recognized to be demonstrably
"unfit for purpose". How is any navigator's
directional perspective on the governance of "Spaceship Earth" to
be compensated for deviations engendered by its own mass -- however that is to be understood?
Does the gravity of the situation call for an entirely different cognitive
mode -- one to which the navigator may (necessarily?) only be unconsciously
sensitive and responsive -- one which is far more grounded in the reality of
spacetime and its link to the generative process?
Given the focus on the apple (in the Eden of the Abrahamic religions) as
the key to knowledge of globality -- associated as it is with (carnal) intercourse
(and the Fall of Man)
-- how curious that an insight into gravity should have been achieved by Newton
through the falling of an apple from a tree. How curious that gravitas shares
etymological roots both with the Sanskrit term guru (meaning
weighty, grave or dignified) and with grief.
Gravitational waves: A gravitational
wave is a fluctuation in the curvature of spacetime which propagates
as a wave, traveling outward from a moving object or system of objects. It
is generated by changes in the mass-energy distribution of the latter; gravitational
radiation is the energy transported by these waves. Their direct detection
is closely associated with clarification of understanding of general relativity
and the origins of the universe. As the focus of Einstein
Telescope Project, it is considered one of the most important and fundamental
research areas of modern science with the potential to allow "listening" back
to the first trillionth of a second following the Big Bang.
detection of gravitational waves has already been enabled by the use of a
pair of suitably separated solid elastic spheres (cf Eugenio Coccia, Proposed
gravitational wave observatory based on solid elastic spheres, 1995;
J Alberto Lobo, Hollow
sphere: a flexible multimode gravitational wave antenna, 2002).
This is reminiscent of the function of the quadrantal spheres in enabling
the navigation of a vessel.
Origin of globality: What remains curious is how the strange
attractor functions which engenders this process. What curvatures and their
dynamics imply the attractiveness of globality -- through their "erotic" significance
engendering an associated psychoactive engagement? What is vitally
attractive about the associated cognitive catastrophes (Conformality
of 7 WH-questions to 7 Elementary Catastrophes: an exploration of potential
psychosocial implications, 2006)?
If astrophysicists and cosmologists
can (credibly) make the seemingly preposterous claim to detect traces of the
first seconds of the universe then, in the general systems spirit of systemic
isomorphism, there is
a case for exploring (speculatively) how such a subtle pattern of insight might
be applied to the greater mystery of its possible systemic analogue -- the
conception of a human being (and why the universe is so uncontrollably profligate).
Again, given the manner in which the experience of spacetime may be reframed
through the experience of sexual intercourse -- with the "transportation" and
epiphany of its participants -- this may be seen as offering cognitive access
to origins of the universe as the particupants can comprehend its globality.
It is of course at that focus of spacetime that conception takes place -- engendering
a new globality.
As "above", so "below"?
Do the dynamics of the interplay of
breast movement -- as attractors -- echo or recall (in ways
as yet to be understood) a degree of isomorphism with part of the dynamics
associated with the "conception" of the cosmos, as is presumably
implied by the interaction of primary deities in many cosmologies (discussed
Given the potential role of gravitational waves in understandings
of the origins of the universe -- the Big
Bang -- there is
clearly great irony to popular use of this term in relation to sexual intercourse.
This would however appear to accord with the famed Emerald
Tablet of Hermes
above, so below.
This argument is developed further in Annex
with Globality through Dynamic Complexity) and Annex D (Intercourse
with Globality through Enacting a Klein bottle).
|Schematic of dynamic extremes of breast movement
as archetype ?
||I am different from ordinary
I drink from the Great Mother's breasts.
Tao Te Ching,
|Schematic integration of the above dynamic?
The multiple symbolic mirrorings and complementarities
of the above dynamic might be represented by the following composite symbol.
| The schematic above is based on the construction of the Lauburu
This has been used as a way of mapping the context of the
Union of Imaginable Associations