15th December 2008 | Draft
Stepping into, or through, the Mirror
embodying alternative scenario patterns
- / -
Prepared as a contribution to a symposium commenting on Graham Molitor
(Scenarios: Worth the Effort?
) and published in an abridged
version in Journal
of Futures Studies: epistemology, methods, applied and alternative futures
13, 3, February 2009, pp. 129-138
Remedial capacity indicators
Lack of self-reflexivity in the face of speculative flattery
Cognitive glass ceiling
Requisite catalytic effect
Virtuality as the ultimate illusion?
Game-playing and facilitation
Seizing the moment
The symposium lead article by Graham Molitor (Scenarios: Worth the Effort? Journal
of Futures Studies, 2009) is especially relevant at this time when increasing
effort is being made to elicit a coherent response to major strategic challenges
for which some use of scenario-building will clearly be made. The challenge
is all the more evident in that it is characterized by a period of questionable
credibility with respect to those from whom authoritative advice might be expected
to be forthcoming, whether it be (inter)governmental authorities, academia,
corporate focal groups or civil society (Credibility
Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "credit crunch" focus as symptom of a
dangerous mindset, 2008).
Underlying the challenge is a continuing assumption that somehow a degree
of consensus can be achieved amongst "rational" people as to the
best way forward. Failing that, it is assumed that those with the power to
do so can ensure that a degree of operational agreement can be imposed -- as
is evident in the EU response to the democratic Irish "No" vote on
the Lisbon Reform Treaty. Such assumptions run the risk of being proved to
be extremely naive.
There is a sense in which underlying cognitive and behavioural processes
are being ignored, even when simplistically framed as cultural preferences.
The urgent question now is what is required to enable coherent action and what
part do scenarios play, or fail to play, in this process.
Remedial capacity indicators
In seeking a fruitful way to comment on the theme introduced by Graham Molitor,
a first thought relates to an analogous challenge with respect to social and
other indicators. Any set of indicators raises similar concerns as to whether
they together -- as a form of implicit scenario -- are capable of engendering
appropriate action. This concern, on the occasion of a workshop for the UNU
Goals, Process and Indicators of Development Project, gave rise to a paper
exploring a fruitful distinction (Remedial
Capacity Indicators Versus Performance Indicators, 1981).
That paper argued that the
difficulty is that the accumulation of data on what is unsatisfactory appears
to be accompanied by a reluctance to recognize or respond to such information.
It stressed the importance of taking into account the incapacity to act against
maldevelopment even when appropriate indicators are available and offer striking
an analogous contrast between "Remedial Capacity Scenarios" and "Expected
Performance Scenarios" to highlight the extent to which the response to
a scenario may be characterized by the kind of ineffectual
action (however enthusiastic) to which Graham Molitor points.
expect to be done by whom with the most insightful scenario --
and by whom will
its insights be subsequently ignored and why?
Such a focus is especially relevant at a time when the financial, economic
and climatic challenges are so evident -- and when that regarding the driver
of population overshoot is ignored.
The more obvious way to frame the conventional response to scenarios that
seemingly call for action is in terms of avoidance processes. This might be
understood as an art form characteristic of governance and diplomacy. An earlier
exploration of this phenomenon distinguished overt from covert approaches (The
Art of Non-Decision-Making -- and the manipulation of categories,
1997). The overt were identified as including: Stress positive achievements,
Exclude critical reporters, Rotation of praise and blame,
Proposal of solutions based on unacceptable criteria, Focus on monitoring,
review and study, Displace attention to reframe the challenge, Celebrate achievements,
Scapegoating, and Claim unproven links
The covert "hidden art" of category manipulation was identified
as including: Definitional games, Neglected or repressed categories, Over-simplification,
Over-complexification, Narrowing the time-frame, Focusing on the inaccessible,
Ignoring cultural variants, Favouring the fashionable, Rejection
through negative association, Disqualification, Conceptual "roll-on,
roll-off", "Classification" to protect interests, Exertion
of pressure, and Delay. These could fruitfully be explored in relation to dialogue
in Global Dialogue, 2000).
A valuable case study in avoidance processes is provided by the different
arenas in which some form of "shunning" is practiced, notably as
these apply to any scenarios in which population challenges might be included
-- as argued elsewhere (Institutionalized
Shunning of Overpopulation Challenge: incommunicability of fundamentally inconvenient
truth, 2008). For example, John L. Farrands (Don't
Panic, Panic: the use and abuse of science to create fear, 1993)
points to the manner in which the Rio Earth Summit excluded any consideration
of the population challenge -- which, as the former Permanent Head of the Australian
Department of Science, he claims to be "unbelievable". The same has
been the case with respect to the Poznan climate change conference of 2008
and is expected to be the case for the Copenhagen follow-up of 2009.
A much more fundamental question is whether the kinds of decisions that might
emerge from scenarios are indeed ever taken. Here a distinction must of course
be made between:
- intra-systemic scenarios, as developed by and within particular
systems under a mandate of an empowered leadership structure able to ensure
implementation. These do indeed lend themselves to implementation as
part of the strategic management processes of that system.
- extra-systemic scenarios, as developed by (and for) multiple
systems, across the boundaries of those systems (possibly even reframing
those boundaries), without any possibility of effective resolution of the
challenges to implementation.
In the extra-systemic case, the necessary integrity for coherent action is
only ever ensured as a conseqence of threats external to the disparate systems.
The response is then necessarily reactive and is not a consequence of proactive
consideration emerging from the scenario building process. However the reactive
approach is then positively reframed as realistically responding to a concrete
situation -- evidence-based reality -- contrasted with any prior effort at
scenario-building, then disparagingly framed as unrealistic and hypothetical.
Hurricane Katrina might offer an example. The case of the "big three" US
automakers is also instructive in the light of the scenarios they might have
been considering in 2007, as compared with those they were obliged to consider
in December 2008 when seeking a bailout from the US government.
The fire-fighting scenario
was evident in the urgent response to the subprime crisis in 2008. Avoidance
processes are currently evident in the response to Dafur, Zimbabwe and the
Eastern Congo. They have been usefully dramatized with regard to the RMS
John L. Farrands (1993) uses a classic story to highlight the challenge:
The combined problems of population growth and economic growth demand that
we apply more intelligence to their solution than we have shown to date in
our global environmental and economic planning, or we shall just be like
the frog in the slowly boiling pan of water who never identifies the point
of discomfort level beyond which it is fatal to stay. The frog is boiled
alive, every time. (p. 176)\
Perhaps the most common approach to action avoidance is through defusing any
urgency in the face of a problematic situation by appealing to the metaphor
of those who perceive the glass as "half-full" in contrast to those who
perceive it as "half-empty". Even the deadliest problems then lend
themselves to this (Celebrating
the Value of Deadly Problems Worldwide: planetary salvation in an era of inept
global governance?, 2008).
The most reprehensible approach is ensuring silence with regard to a crisis,
as notably documented with respect to the extent of rape in the Eastern Congo
(Lisa Jackson, The
Greatest Silence: Rape in the Congo, 2007) where over
5 million are estimated to have died
(in excess of normal mortality) from 1988-2008. Such an indicator, equivalent
to that of the Nazi Final Solution, was however specifically discussed in
the earlier paper (Remedial
Capacity Indicators Versus Performance Indicators, 1981) as not
indicative of any remedial capacity.
Lack of self-reflexivity in the face of speculative
In decades past, action avoidance was most strikingly manifest with regard
to the issue of smoking -- notably in meeting rooms where scenarios
were being developed or considered. It was considered ridiculous, and politically
incorrect, to question the right of decision-makers to smoke in that context.
More generally this can be understood as the problem of decision-makers requiring
others to change their behavioural patterns without questioning their own.
This issue continues to be evident, and noted by commentators, in the resources
allocated to summit meetings and the carbon footprint associated with travel
to them -- especially in the case of meetings considering scenarios for development
or climate change. This notably serves to reduce the credibility of whatever
emerges from such gatherings -- especially if little emerges.
An even more general case can be made in the light of the mirror
self-recognition test as evidence of consciousness (Self-reflective
Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration (SETI): the universal criterion
of species maturity? 2008). In this respect an interesting example
is provided by the remark of Arundhati
was not our 9/11, The Guardian, 12 December 2008):
only way to contain (it would be naïve to say end)
is to look at the monster in the mirror.
Such advice is in striking contrast to the long tradition of expectant inquiry
about the future that has variously focused on a "mirror" -- whether
magical or metaphorical -- and the "speculation" to which it gives
rise (cf Lewis Carroll, Through
This is notably evident in the sophisticated strategic philosophy underlying
the BaGua mirror of Chinese culture (Keith
Shui and the Ba Gua Mirror).
Countries, communities and organizations cultivate the legendary posture of
mirror, on the wall, who is the fairest of them all?" This exploration
of collective self-image might be understood as an essential feature of modern
public relations, self-promotion and their "cosmetic" requirements.
The implications of mirroring have long been an inspiration for introspection
across cultures (Bill Halpin, Engaging
Emptiness: Stepping into the Mirror, 2000; Paul Demiéville,
The Mirror of the Mind,
Cognitive glass ceiling
The metaphor of the "glass
ceiling" has been widely used with regard to the
barrier to women (or those of other races) acceding to executive positions
of responsibility. It may be fruitful to explore such a metaphor with respect
to the barrier to effective action on scenarios, namely as the cognitive
barrier to shifting from intellectual consideration of scenarios into the
alternative behaviours for which the preferred scenario calls, namely
the cognitive barrier to behaviour change -- notably amongst those who call
for it. Debating non-smoking without constraining smoking amongst the debaters
is a simple example -- historic for some but a continuing reality for others.
The problematic nature of such situations is summarized by the proverb: People
in glass houses should not throw stones.
The metaphor is a useful one since so many scenarios (and the term itself)
make use of the metaphor of strategic "vision" (in contast to other
possibilities (discussed below).
Scenario building may also be associated with metaphors such as "fish-bowl".
More intriguing is that scenario building calls for a degree of "speculation",
implying a degree of mirroring. This raises questions about the "optical
which the nature of the future is detected and resolved (Joel de Rosnay, The
Whether ceiling, window or glasshouse, the question is how one pattern
of behaviour is contained by it such as to inhibit effective engagement with
an external pattern considered desirable. How does "cognitive glazing" work
so effectively? The metaphor might even be pushed further to inquire about
the effectiveness of "cognitive double-glazing", or even "triple-glazing" and "security" glass
-- and the possible insulation they offer against unwelcome effects on any
line" and "triple
bottom line". More cynically, the role of those marketing
the advantages of vacuum-sealed double-glazing might be drawn into the metaphor.
A case could also be made for considering the implicit metaphorical significance
of smoked, one-way and polarized glass.
There is also an extreme irony
to the fact that the most common computer operating system, through which
scenarios are most frequently presented, is also glass-based and has the name Windows.
To the extent that such terms condition thinking, as implied by the classic
study of George Lakoff and Mark Johnson (Metaphors We Live By, 1980),
one may also remark on the irony that whilst a multitude are thereby equipped
with "windows" through which to observe the world virtually, only
one person is seemingly metaphorically equipped with access to it in reality,
namely the owner of Windows --
Bill Gates. Curiously
this happens in a period when there is widespread focus on "gated communities"
and their virtual analogues (Dynamically
Gated Conceptual Communities: emergent patterns of isolation within knowledge
society, 2004). It is within such communities that scenario-building
is necessarily less challenging.
Following the point of Arundhati Roy, the real challenge may be more than
looking at the monster in the mirror. It may require cognitively "stepping
"into it", as explored in a variety of folk tales -- or embodying
the reflection in some way, as argued with respect to mirror self-recognition
Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration (SETI): the universal criterion
of species maturity? 2008). The drama of engagement with
of monsters in folk tale scenarios may offer other leads of relevance to subtler
strategic approaches, as previously explored (Poetry-making
and Policy-making: arranging a marriage between Beauty and the Beast,
Requisite catalytic effect
What is it that activates a scenario as a meaningful representation of reality
with which psychoactive engagement is possible and necessary?
The most obvious factor -- causing cognitive glazing to "fail" --
is the publicized shock reality of human death (although only to a lesser degree
its possibility). It should not be forgotten that human civilization effectively
"human sacrifice" prior to adopting any new health and safety legislation
-- no deaths, no legislation. It is just a question of how many bodies are
required to gain passage of the legislation, just as cultures of the past made
greater sacrifices in response to greater need. During the Cold War, scenarios
(and military budgets) needed the possibility of "mega-deaths" to
acquire credibility. However, as hypothetical possibilities, mega-deaths no
longer have credibility -- especially since all forms of death are now rehearsed
daily by the media -- as a prime attractor for entertainment, following the
pattern of Roman games in the Coliseum.
Given the glazing metaphor and the need to "break the glass", it is curious
that a catalytic effect is recognized in "breaking pattern". Plenary meetings
may be invaded by fisherman who dump dead fish on the floor. Coverage of the
Seattle WTO meeting focused on naked breasts. Immolation has been used by
monks and others. Suicide bombing may be seen in this light. It is in this
respect that the "ticking
bomb" scenario has been so effectively used as a justification of torture
-- breaking the conventional pattern of opposition to it. Curiously the "ticking
bomb" scenario, as a form of invocation of the Precautionary
not however worked in the case of crises such as population and climate --
to which it has been applied.
Somehow scenarios fail to "focus" -- using the optical metaphor
again -- the urgency which some believe such crises merit. This phenomenon
has been considered separately in relation to the challenge of psychoactive
engagement with values and the necessary configuration of "focusing" elements
of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value
configurations, 2008; Embodying
Values Dynamically through Alternation: integrating sets of polarized static
values through indicative metaphor, 2008).
Scenario-building is, as stressed above, primarily an "armchair"
activity with a degree of similarity to spectators watching a drama -- but
with a measured degree of participatory involvement, as in modern experimental
theatre. It is indeed a vision-biased process that is sensitive to comfort
zones. It is appropriate to note that it is another sense that is used in the
event of a real emergency when immediate action is required to break
conventional pattern, namely a siren. This is typically
of a kind to oblige people to act and evacuate the theatre.
An earlier exploration challenged the vision-bias of strategic thinking, notably
as evident in scenario development (Metaphor
and the Language of Futures, Futures, April 1993, pp. 275-288).
This highlighted significance issues for futurists of short-sightedness, long-sightedness,
eye testing and corrective lenses with respective to any siuch vision. Envisaging
a sustainable future may in fact require a degree of "eye-mortality".
it is now the corporate world that is investing in polysensorial, or "neuromarketing",
strategies following recognition that products are inadequately remembered
in a highly competitive market through a single sense alone. Product identity
and recognition requires more than vision alone, as may be argued for scenario-building
(Cyclopean Vision vs Poly-sensual Engagement, 2006). The emphasis is usefully
placed on the need for a form of "re-cognition" which
may prove relevant to psychoactive engagement in scenarios.
An understanding of the plurality of "senses" relevant to strategic
practice is perhaps well indicated by events at the time of writing in Paelstine
-- as articulated by Johan Galtung (Gaza, Transcend
Media Service, 12 January 2009):
Beyond the immense human tragedy unfolding in the Gaza atrocity a question
takes shape: have the Israeli leaders, politicians and military alike, totally
lost their senses?
The range of senses may be briefly reviewed from this "perspective",
notably as mnemonic triggers in a period when collective memory is much challenged:
- sight (scene, scenario): Arguably our civilization has
become inured to every form of pain and danger through their being rehearsed
daily by the media as entertainment -- as with the spectators in the Colosseum of the Roman Empire. More generally, it is strange the degree to which
understanding of the global nature of civilization is cultivated through
the sights offered by tourism for consumption. It is curious, in a world
with dramatic issues of balance and proportion, that such qualities
(with their notable visual equivalents) are not explored using the riches
of the array of inter-transformable polyhedra (as indicated above) rather
than through a simplistic focus on strategic "pillars", "poles" and "stakes" --
with which very little can be effectively constructed.
- sound (siren): Curiously, although powerfully used for
warnings by sirens, through music sound is more closely associated with pleasure
than with pain and continues
to play a powerful attractive role. In strategic thinking, metaphoric reference
continues to be made to "harmony" and proposals "sounding
right" -- without
however benefitting from the insights of the theory of harmony. This case
has been variously argued (A
Singable Earth Charter, EU Constitution or Global Ethic? 2006).
Reference is frequently made to 'keynote speeches' about the
future (but without the elicited harmony becoming audible).
- smell: This sense would seem to be little used metaphorically
in strategic development. However it comes fully into play in the assessment
of initiatives that are subject to criticism. The financial crisis of 2008
saw many references to the fact that the situation "stank". The
metaphor of smell is most typically used to refer to corruption of any kind
-- and triggers avoidance processes. Curiously this mode offers a wholly
different implication with regard to the capacity to sense "rank" in a society
-- and to distinguish between high and low "rank". Smell is of course
a prime attractor in neuromarketing strategies and public relations in general
seeks seeks metaphorically to ensure that clients "smell
are in "good
it is of primary importance in the mnemomics of product recognition. The
question is how this might be ensured in the case of social change strategies.
- shake: Again this sense is little used metaphorically
in strategic development. However, as is evident during earth tremors and
earthquakes, it certainly sharpens the mind. People may however resort to
this metaphor when "shaken
by a possibility". The ritual of hand-shaking plays a curiously important
role in summit photo-opportunities and as an indication of agreement in the
conclusion to any succesful negotiation. The potential importance of any
related metaphor may perhaps be understood in terms of dance -- as strikingly
exemplified by the recent establishment in one of the slums in Uganda's capital
of a breakaway republic (the Ghetto Republic of Uganja) by a dancehall
collective called Fire
Base Crew (John McDonnell, Scene
and heard: Ugandan dancehall, Guardian Music
Blog, 5 January 2009). Although seemingly trivial, the dancehall musicians
have much more influence on local people than politicians could ever wish
- sensation: Whilst this sense is not used in conventional
strategic development, it is typically used metaphorically by entrepreneurs
in referring to initiatives as "feeling right" or "feeling
wrong" -- possibly expressed as a "gut feeling",
or in the case of sensed disaster as a "sinking feeling". It might
be understood as having an especially fundamental significance-- given the
use of sexual metaphors as descriptors of the sensational quality of interaction
with another party (Human
Intercourse: Intercourse with Nature and Intercourse with the Other,
- style: Taste may be generically understood as style in
its metaphoric use. It is clear that initiatives, and their presentation,
are typically approved or condemned because of their "style", whether or
not they are considered "tasteful" or "tasteless" (as are many planning
proposals). It is intriguing that it is this sense that comes closest to
holding the sense of "soullessness" by which some strategic initiatives may
be characterized. The European Union initiative has for example been characterized
as soulless (cf Joschka
Rocard, John Lonergan).
A major issue in considering any combination or configuration of senses
to ensure the attractiveness of any initiative is the fact that people
have different preferences. This points to the need to consider how initiatives
can be of requisite complexity to offer simultaneously a range of attractors.
An area with an adequate variety of "restaurants" metaphorically
clarifies the challenge faced by any effort to promote a particular social
change initiative which, if inappropriately conceived, might appear to be offering
but one kind of "restaurant" -- alienating other potential "diners".
Consideration of topology and configuration, notably benefitting from the
variety of polyhedra, were explored in a previous paper as a means of developing
a form of strategic synaesthesia appropriate to ensure psychoactive engagement
Challenge of Polysensorial Knowledge: bringing the "elephant" into "focus",
Quest of a Strategic Pattern Language: a new architecture of values,
2008). Topology is notably related to topoi and
a sense of place, especially in mnemonic terms.
Virtuality as the ultimate illusion?
It is of course the case that advances in communication technology are offering
increasing degrees of access to a "virtual
world" -- irrespective of the challenges
of the "real world". Those weary of the latter may pursue meaningful scenarios
in cyberspace, as in the case of Second
Life and its analogues (Active
Worlds, Google Lively,
Presumably, at some stage, avatars may be able to pass from one such world
to another with appropriate electronic "passports" -- within a universe of
alternative worlds. Constraints on scenario building and implementation are
necessarily much reduced in such contexts. Clearly the environment meets the
challenge of an adequate range of "restaurants".
Such "worlds" may be assumed to be of trivial significance to the
challenges of the "real world". However it is vital to remember
that they may be engaging the attention of increasing numbers of young people
alienated by the strategic initiatives that they are enjoined to take "seriously" by
their elders -- who have invested so successfully in ensuring the currently
disastrous condition of the planet. One possibility is to consider ways to
marry real and virtual potentials (Playfully
Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion: climate change as focal metaphor
of effective global governance,
Much more serious, however, is the development of the Joint Simulation System
initiated in 1995 (Kari Pugh and Collie Johnson, Building
a Simulation World to Match the Real World; The
Joint Simulation System, January-February 1999, p.2; James W. Hollenbach
and William L. Alexander, Executing
the DOD Modelling and Simulation Strategy: making simulation systems of systems
a reality, 1997). This has seemingly now morphed, via the Total
Information Awareness program, into the Sentient
World Simulation (SWS) and will be a "synthetic mirror of the real world
with automated continuous calibration with respect to current real-world information" with
a node representing "every man, woman and child" --
presumably including those responsible for the SWS itself. "Sophisticated
physics" were integrated into the simulation in 2007. Regrettably, as might
be expected, this is being undertaken entirely in the interests of a US strategic
defence strategy on behalf of the US Department of Defense (Mark Baard, Sentient
World: war games on the grandest scale -- Sim Strife, The Register,
23 June 2007).
Understandably SWS will necessarily acquire a bias of defensiveness, as argued
with respect to ECHELON with
which SWS would presumably be functionally integrated (From
ECHELON to NOLEHCE: enabling a strategic conversion to a faith-based global
brain, 2007). Of interest is how it might be integrated with:
Especially with respect to global strategic development, a fashionable phrase
such as "crowdsourcing" -- as derived from "outsourcing" --
suggests a degree of selective exploitation that shares characteristics with
the traditional exploitation of developing countries. There are challenges
to the viability of such approaches that merit recognition (Practicalities
of Participatory Democracy with International Institutions: attitudinal, quantitative
and qualitative challenges, 2003) -- notably in the light of the BBC
phone-in scandals of 2007 as indicative of the manner in which "feedback" of
any kind may be handled in practice, in the absence of proof to the contrary.
Such concerns are of great relevance to the hopes expressed for electronic
democracy, notably in relation to some new frm of world government. How indeed
might scenarios get built in such contexts and how might people be expected
to buy into them? What is to be done with those who do not?
In such respects major learnings are to be derived from the pioneering explorations
of Limits to
promoted by the Club of Rome from 1972. Especially interesting is the manner
in which efforts to analyze the evolution of the world problematique from that
time have themselves been undermined
in an academic context. As shown by Graham Turner (A
Comparison of the Limits to Growth with Thirty Years of Reality, CSIRO
2007), the original study provoked many criticisms which falsely stated its
conclusions in order to discredit it. Despite the repeated substantiation of
its conclusions, including warnings of overshoot and collapse, recommendations
of fundamental changes of policy and behaviour for sustainability have not
been taken up. One of its principal areas of focus was population.
Game-playing and facilitation
The use of game-playing, notably management and strategic games, has long
had a close relationship to some forms of scenario-building. Arguably it provides
a greater degree of "hands-on" engagement with the constraints of the system.
Typically however it tends to be used in intra-systemic situations and avoids
the disagreeable challenges of multi-systemic situations that reflect the larger
There are two major issues with respect to the levels of engagement that
are possible with such games:
- strategic decision-makers of any standing (if only in their own estimation)
do not play such games. Sensitivity may be further exacerbated by cultural
issues. Such people are more likely to play virtual games anonymously (and
with their children).
- facilitators, with their particular process "models", have the
greatest difficulty in designing themselves out of the process and therefore
are readily perceived as seeking to occupy what might be understood as a
surrogate chairperson role -- for which they have not been mandated. Facilitators
also play games. These difficulties may be further exacerbated by the unacknowledged,
unconscious power and identity needs of facilitators and an inability to
give conscious consideration to them.
Setting such issues aside, there is a case for reflecting on a legislative
analogue to Second Life -- perhaps "Legislative Life". Such reflection is specially
appropriate in a period (the financial crisis of 2008) when attention has been
drawn to the artificiality of the daily dynamics of the financial system in
contrast with those of the "real world". Reflection might also be
justified by the degree of disconnection between the endless international
conferences (and summits) and the "real world" with which they seemingly
have the greatest difficulty in engaging -- depsite its agonizing emergencies.
Would a "Legislative Life", in which elected representatives could engage
anonymously, allow scenarios to be usefully explored through games -- bypassing
the above constraints? There might even be the possibility, for some issues,
of enacting consensual outcomes as real world legislation. A form of precedent
has already been set with the transferability of funds from Second Life to
the real world -- to the point of raising the interest of the latter's tax
As discussed in Imaginal
Education: game playing, science fiction, language, art and world-making (2003),
the science fiction explorations of game-playing by Hermann
the Glass Bead Game, 1943) with respect to the realm of
Castalia, and by M. A.
Foster (Gameplayers of Zan, 1977), both
point to intriguing possibilities; the "game" in the latter case is based
on a more intricate version of Conway's
Game of Life. A comparison is made in that discussion with the
games played for strategic purposes by two alternative communities, the Federation
of Damanhur (in Italy) and the Findhorn
Foundation (in Scotland).
Seizing the moment
In it is one thing to meander linearly through the issues, as above, and another
to enable some form of "cognitive fusion" as required in the integration of
information for decision-making by fighter pilots in the moment. The modalities
of such an urgent possibility have been explored in the light of the
conceptual challenges of nuclear fusion on which so much hope is placed (Enactivating
a Cognitive Fusion Reactor, 2006). Unfortunately the international
capacity to engage in such possibilities is as problematic as the decades-long
pursuit of the "political will to change" (International
Organizations and the Generation of the Will to Change: the information systems
Potentially more realistic, in the light of the Club of Rome's articulation
of "problematique" and "resolutique", is to match these two with "imaginatique"
and "irresolutique". Here "imaginatique" refers to the dynamics of creative
imagination to which many naturally respond, whereas "irresolutique" refers
to the game-playing dynamics in institutional environments that systematically
undermines the initiatives of the "resolutique" in response to the "problematique".
These may be configured as a diagram consistent with the dynamics of complexity
the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation,
2007). The fundamental challenge is then framed mnemonically (In
Quest of Mnemonic Catalysts -- for comprehension of complex psychosocial dynamics,
Mark Baard. Sentient World: war games on the grandest scale --
Sim Strife, The Register, 23 June 2007 [text]
Lewis Carroll. Through the Looking-Glass, and What Alice Found There. 1871
Karen A. Cerulo. Never Saw It Coming: cultural challenges to envisioning
the worst. University of Chicago Press, 2006 [extracts]
Catherine Clark, William Rosenzweig, David Long and Sara Olsen. Double
Bottom Line Project Report: assessing social impact in double bottom line
ventures. 2004 [text]
Paul K. Davis, Steven C. Bankes, Michael Egner. Enhancing Strategic
Planning with Massive Scenario Generation: Theory and Experiments. Rand, National
Security Research Division, 2007 [text]
Joöl de Rosnay. The
Macroscope. New York, Harper and Row, 1979 [extracts]
- The Mirror of the Mind. In: Peter N Gregory (Ed) Sudden
and Gradual; approaches to enlightenment in Chinese Thought. Delhi,
Motilal Banarsidass, 1991
- Le Miroir spirituel. Sinologica, 1, 1947,
John L. Farrands. Don't Panic, Panic: the use and abuse of science to create
fear. Melbourne, Text Publishing Company, 1993 [excerpts]
Ruth H. Finnegan. Communicating: the multiple modes of human interconnection.
Stefan Halper and Jonathan Clarke. Silence of the Rational Center: why American
foreign policy is failing. New York, Basic Books, 2007.
Bill Halpin. Engaging Emptiness: Stepping into the Mirror (A Thin Place Reflection,
For Conversation in The Thin Place 'Between Organized Religion and Personal
Expressions of the Sacred'). Meetingbrook Hermitage, 2000 [text]
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