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Dynamic Exploration of Value Configurations

Polyhedral animation of conventional value frameworks

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Images of animation to be presented to a Panel on Ethics and Policies for Sustainable Futures on the occasion of the General Assembly of the World Academy of Art and Science (Hyderabad; October 2008) as argued in a background paper for that panel (Topology of Valuing: dynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations, 2008). Images have also been incorporated into a poster variant In Quest of a Strategic Pattern Language: a new architecture of values [also available in PDF]. Complementary animation accessible from Dynamic Exploration of Value Configurations: interrelating traditional cultural symbols through animation
Polyhedral representation of value configurations: a challenge to integrative imagination
screen shots of stages in the transformation of the geometry of sets of values [PDF version]
using indicative features of the Stella Polyhedron Navigator software package
European Convention
on Human Rights
Universal Declaration
of Human Rights
Arab Charter
on Human Rights
European Convention on Human Rights Universal Declaration of Human Rights Arab Charter on Human Rights
18 Articles displayed on 2 face-types
of a rhombicuboctahedron

30 Articles displayed on 1 face-type
of a rhombicosidodecahedron
53 Articles displayed on 2 face-types
of a rhombicosidodecahedron
Unfolded polyhedral net Unfolded polyhedral net Unfolded polyhedral net
Partially folded polyhedral net Partially folded polyhedral net Partially folded polyhedral net
Selected "open" faces Selected "open" faces Selected "open" faces
Selected "open" faces Selected "open" faces Selected "open" faces
Partial morphing to dual Partial morphing to dual Partial morphing to dual
Augmentation of one face-type Augmentation of one face-type Augmentation of one face-type
Exploded augmentation Exploded augmentationExploded augmentation
ECHR: Stellation diagram UNDHR: Stellation diagram ACHR: Stellation diagram
ECHR: Cell diagram UNDHR: Cell diagram ACHR: Cell diagram
ECHR: Faceting diagram UNDHR: Faceting diagram ACHR: Faceting diagram
UNDHR: Transformation into string model UNDHR: Transformation into geodesic UNDHR Transformation into torus
ECHR: View in 4 dimensions UNDHR: View in 4 dimensions ACHR: View in 4 dimensions
ECHR: View in 4 dimensions UNDHR: View in 4 dimensions View in 4 dimensions
View in 4 dimensions UNDHR: View in 4 dimensions ACHR: View in 4 dimensions
View in 4 dimensions View in 4 dimensions View in 4 dimensions
UNDHR View in 4 dimensions UNDHR View in 4 dimensions UNDHR View in 4 dimensions

Comments

The above images are derived from various stages in the transformation of the polyhedron to the faces of which were associated the Articles of the three human rights charters. The polyhedron chosen in each case necessarily had the requisite number of faces (of one or more types) to permit such a representation.

In each case the number of the article is used on the face, together with indicative keywords. Some articles are quite complex, possibly with several parts (notably in the case of the Arab Charter). It is assumed that each such article has an implicit "value" associated with it, even if it is expressed as a "right", and even if it is expressed negatively as the freedom from a problem (such as torture) for which a "value" is not immediately obvious as a keyword. For that reason the negative keywords may be used.

The transformations of each polyhedron are possible due to the wide range of possibilities in the Stella Polyhedron Navigator software package. The above images are only a sample of that range. An explanation of those features currently available is given in the associated manual. An earlier overview with informative examples was produced by the developer Robert Webb (Stella: Polyhedron Navigator, Symmetry: Culture and Science, Vol. 11, Nos. 1-4, pp 231-268, 2003 [erroneously indicated as 2003]). Although this is a very helpful introduction to Stella's capabilities, it was written in relation to Great Stella 2.0 in 2003. Many new features have since been added to subsequent upgrades (to Stella4D), notably that offering possibilities in 4D.

The primary purpose of the above screen shots is to suggest different wasy of thinking about the configuration of values. Of special interest in manipulating the configurations in Stella is the recognition that no one representation may be definitively appropriate and that it is the understanding that emerges from the transformations that is of special significance.

Clearly the screen shots raise more questions than answers. The original forms, onto which the articles are visibly mapped, are indeed a useful way of holding the totality of the set of articles. But even in these cases, a major issue is why a particular value should be associated with neighbouring faces with other unrelated values. At this stage, no effort has been made to distribute the values such as to reflect relevant systemic relationships between them. Indeed the conventional checklist indication of values (as in the respective charters) never implies any systemic relationships between values -- reflective of the system of checks and balances ensuring the cohertence and integrity of the set. However the polyhedra offer a number of ways of reflecting such relationships.

More intiguing are the possibilities and significance of the forms resulting from more complex transformations -- even possibly those based on 4 dimensions.

A complementary exploration has been made of polyhedral forms as a means of representing configurations of strategies which are in principle grounded on or inspired by values. Values are typically held to be implicit in stratgegies. This exploration follows from an earlier study of the stratregic dilemmas associated with the preoccupations of the Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992), as described in:

This exploration includes a further study of polyhedral institutional configurations. This follows from earlier governance-focused papers:

Poster representation (provisional version; completed A3 version)
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