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31 May 2013 | Draft

Law and Order vs. Lore and Orders?

Imagining otherwise the forceful engagement of singularity with plurality

- / -

Varieties of order as a mutually challenging array
Varieties of law as a mutually challenging array
Psychosocial implications: "disorder" or "different drummer"
Lore vs. Law: a homophonic challenge in a homophobic society?
Rule of Law vs. Rule of Lore
Contrasting fantasies of singularity and plurality
Embodying the law: taking the law into one's own hands
Embodying the lore: taking the lore into one's own hands
Dynamic relationship between domains of order in global civilization
Systemic oversimplifications in practice
Possible psycho-geometrodynamics implied by order, law, force and lore?

Produced in a period when the forces of the international community are complicit in bloody fantasies in Syria


The media offer daily coverage of the encounters between different forces -- typically opposing each other with extreme violence. Unchallenged reference is made to the action of "forces of law and order". There is little consideration of the possibility that -- under the guise of simplistic principle -- these may be used to suppress alternative understandings of "order" or any sense that these may call for protection by "security forces" of another kind. These understandings may well be experientially informed by a sense of traditional values and customary lore. The pattern has played out in the confrontation between Western forces and the tribal cultures of Afghanistan, for example.

The pattern is echoed in competitive sport and in business competition. Democratic protest may be contained or repressed by one or more forces of "law and order" -- purportedly acting "in the name of the law", as do those claiming rights and entitlements. The situation becomes confused when some claim to be acting "lawfully" and "within the law", and this is contested by others -- who may well perceive this as a tendency to "lay down the law" or to act "above the law".

The questions raised here concern the assumptions regarding the sense of a singular "law" -- purportedly respectful of a singular sense of "order" -- when clearly, especially within distinct sovereign countries, there are quite distinct laws, as well as many forms of order. An effort may be made to harmonise these laws within regional communities or according to intergovernmental treaties. The consequence may be acclaimed as a singular "international law" -- potentially obscuring fundamental inconsistencies.

Analogous questions may be raised regarding "force". Typically in any situation, a plurality of "forces" are mobilized to "enforce the law" -- possibly police, fire brigade, civil defence, and the military. International intervention to that end may however be framed as the action of an "international force" in the singular, irrespective of the number of national forces it involves and coordinates to some degree.

The puzzle of concern here is the sense in which these various forces act against some other "forces" deplored as upholding one or more alternative patterns of "order". These other patterns are then framed in terms of some sense of "disorder" in that they do not conform to the preferred form of order, it is sought to impose upon them -- whether claimed as having been "legitimately" defined nationally or internationally.

The puzzle is further complicated by the extent to which those acting "otherwise" may frame their forceful action as "legitimate" in some sense -- in the light of some other "law" or "lore", whether religious, tribal or traditional, possibly to be sustained (somewhat ironically) by "lore". They too may feel empowered as a "force", whether or not it takes physical form, offering them a sense of acting "lawfully" -- or perhaps "lore-fully" .

The questions raised by these considerations concern the potential unfruitfulness of framing the relationship with a variety of forces in terms of a singular law and a singular order -- especially given the number of "forces" in play, and the "order" they variously seek to "enforce". The current relevance of this exploration concerns the response(s) to forces framed as "terrorist", "revolutionary", "illegal" -- however these definitions may be applied to groups with religious, ideological, political, "alternative", or criminal activities. The cases of sharia law, the Arab Spring movements, and the preoccupations of tribal peoples, all raise issues in this respect. The efforts of multinational corporations and organized crime to circumvent the forces of "law and order" contribute to the complexity, as does the disarray among those seeking to uphold a singular understanding of law and order.

The widely used phrase "law and order" reflects an unchallenged appropriation of insights which have other much-valued connotations. Missing is any sense of the relationship in practice between different forms of order and the "forces" with which they are variously associated.

Varieties of order as a mutually challenging array

It is readily assumed that "order" is some form of ultimate state which it is possible to envisage, and to which it is possible to aspire in practice. It is therefore useful to review a range of understandings of order as a guide to any such implications in practice. [Readers could skip to the following section]

Kingdom: As an original inspiration for "law" it is appropriate to note the curious interplay between:

Biology: The nature and variety of forms of order within lifeforms has been extensively studied, most recently in a multi-volume review by environmental designer Christopher Alexander (The Nature of Order: The Phenomenon of Life, 2002; The Process of Creating Life, 2002; A Vision of a Living World, 2005; The Luminous Ground, 2004). The preoccupation has been limited to the variety of forms amongst flowers in a study by Keith Critchlow (The Hidden Geometry of Flowers: living rhythms, form and number, 2011).

Geometrical patterns: A sense of the variety of forms of order, notably as embodied in architecture, has been presented by Marcus du Sautoy (Symmetry: a journey into the patterns of nature, 2009; Finding Moonshine: a mathematician's journey through symmetry, 2009). Keith Critchlow (Islamic Patterns: an analytical and cosmological approach, 1983; Order in Space: a design source book, 1969).

Crystal structure: The forms of order variously embodied in crystal structures has been the focus of extensive study and classification, notably in terms of symmetry and its consequences for the reflection and refraction of light. Crystals may be variously associated with a crystal system (crystal family, and lattice system) referring to one of several classes of space groups, lattices, point groups, or crystals. As patterns of order, two crystals can be informally described as being in the same crystal system if they have similar symmetries, though there are many exceptions to this -- with a degree of confusion between the understanding of this.

Chemical elements: There is considerable knowledge regarding the distinct ordering of electrons, protons and neutrons which may form very distinct chemical elements -- as most notably ordered by the periodic table of chemical elements. Elements may variously give rise to distinct crystal structures. The elementary particles of which matter is composed are understood to be ordered by the Standard Model of particle physics.

States of matter: There is a very long history to the recognition of different states of matter. As noted by Wikipedia, four states of matter are observable in everyday life: solid, liquid, gas, and plasma. As forms of order, these continue to offer the symbolic associations elaborated as classical elements in different cultures, notably Greek (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire) and Chinese (Earth, Water, Air, and Fire). Many other states are known. These include Bose-Einstein condensates and neutron-degenerate matter, although these only occur in extreme situations such as ultra cold or ultra dense matter. Other states, such as quark-gluon plasmas, are believed to be possible but remain theoretical at this time (see list of states of matter). The relationship between the observable states of matter is notably framed by a phase diagram in terms of the combinations of temperature and pressure under which each is manifest. The simplest forms of order are typically distinguished in terms of degrees and types of bonding between the constituent molecules..

Varieties of weather: There is a high degree of familiarity with the variation in weather as a form of order -- to the extent that the varieties are evident in any particular part of the world. For example, the WeatherWiki offers an initial range of distinctions as: rainy, stormy, sunny, cloudy, hot , cold, dry, wet, windy, hurricanes, sand-storms, snow-storms, tornados, humid, foggy, snow, thundersnow. These may of course be variously combined and many distinctions are made in each case, as with cloud types or hurricanes. The latter offer a powerful image of a localized form of order.

Tuning systems of music: Considerable attention has been given to the manner in which tones are distinguished and the relationship to distinct tuning systems as a very particular form of order with which many are very familiar. It is within any chosen tuning system that the use of tones, or pitches, are defined for the purpose of playing music. The tuning system is the pattern of order which governs the choice of number and spacing of frequency values then used. There are many techniques for theoretical comparison of tunings, with the use mathematical tools such as linear algebra, topology and group theory.

Dynamical systems: This is a mathematical approach to distinguishing the forms of order detectable within complex dynamical systems and chaotic systems. It enables the distinction between types of attractor as an ordering dynamic. Of particular interest is the emergence from such considerations of fractal patterns such as the Mandelbrot set

Qualitative distinctions: As forms of order, it is appropriate to recognize the distinctions made in "aesthetic" preferences for foods, wines, music, art, clothing, and the like. With respect to the "legal" aspect of this argument, of particular interest is the sense of "poetic justice" as an ordering principle in drama.

Sporting disciplines: Considerable attention is given to the classification of sports -- suggestive of the physical embodiment of understandings of order -- but with a dynamic dimension. Of particular interest are contrasting efforts at classification, as with that in terms of the medical implications of static versus dynamic sports or that relating to their consideration for inclusion or exclusion from the Olympic Games. Each discipline is typically governed by a particular set of rules enforced by appropriate bodies.

Religions: The array of religious belief systems is clearly indicative of a variety of senses of order, and the implications for an associated sense of justice. Many religions encompass an array of variously constituted religious orders -- several hundred in the case of the Catholic Church (Dominicans, Benedictines, Franciscans, etc). Each is a lineage of communities and organizations of people who live in some way set apart from society (possibly in a monastic environment) in accordance with their specific religious "rule". Of relevance to this argument is the case made by Stephen Prothero (God Is Not One: the eight rival religions that run the world -- and why their differences matter, 2010). This framework could be contrasted with that of the pantheons cultivated by particular cultures, as with the 12 Olympian deities of the Greek Dodekatheon and its later equivalent in the Roman Empire (the Dii Consentes).

Academic disciplines: Clearly the distinct disciplines seek to distinguish distinct forms of order in their preferred domains. Although the disciplines are ordered together for convenience in various library classifications, little effort is made to elicit a functional sense analogous to that of Prothero -- perhaps: Order Is Not One: the eight rival disciplines that run the world -- and why their differences matter? Argument for such an approach are made separately (Tuning a Periodic Table of Religions, Epistemologies and Spirituality -- including the sciences and other belief systems, 2007; Functional Classification in an Integrative Matrix of Human Preoccupations, 1982).

Orders of chivalry: Their exists a wide range of chivalric orders, societies and fellowships, many originally founded in imitation of the military orders of the Crusades. These have been distinguished as: monarchical orders, confraternal orders, fraternal orders, votive orders, cliental pseudo-orders, and honorific orders. These suggest recognition of "order" as a mode of admirable behaviour -- potentially reinforced through the peer group pressure of membership of any such order.

Varieties of law as a mutually challenging array

As with "order", it is readily assumed that "the law" is well defined and that the "rule of law", manifest to a degree at the national level, is an uncontroversial possibility towards which global initiatives are fruitfully undertaken. It is therefore useful to review a range of understandings of "law" as a guide to any implications in practice. [Readers could skip to the following section]

Varieties of law: The Wikipedia introduction to a list of national legal systems of the world notes that they are generally based on one of three basic systems: civil law, common law, and religious law - or combinations of these. However, the legal system of each country is shaped by its unique history and so incorporates individual variations. Irrespective of the varieties of law, a major consideration is the vexatious implication of the conflict of laws -- necessitating a set of procedural rules that determines which legal system and which jurisdiction should apply to a given dispute.

For H. L. A. Hart (The Concept of Law, 1961):

A fully detailed taxonomy of the varieties of law comprised in a modern legal system, free from the prejudice that all must be reducible to a single simple type, still remains to be accomplished. In distinguishing certain laws under the very rough head of laws that confer powers from those that impose duties and are analogous to orders backed by threats, we have made only a beginning. (p.32)

In Concept of Law (chapter 5), Hart notes that weaknesses in the law of a modern state were either distorted or altogether unrepresented in over-simple theory:

Voluntary vs. Coercive: The varieties of law are otherwise variously distinguished. For example, Roderick T. Long (The Nature of Law, 1994) makes the distinction between voluntary and coercive law, depending on the means whereby compliance is secured:

For Long, an anarchist, then, is not someone who rejects order or law or even coercive law, but rather one who rejects government. The anarchist argues that informal order, voluntary law, and polycentric coercive law are sufficient to maintain social cooperation; the advocate of government argues that monocentric coercive law is needed in addition, and indeed typically maintains that the amount of social order that can be maintained through non-governmental sources alone is quite small. [NB: Wikipedia presents a profile of hypothetical anarchist law]

Long notes that a great deal of social order is maintained through informal means alone, as shown by Robert Ellickson (Order Without Law: how neighbors settle disputes, 1994), disputes over land use are frequently resolved informally, without recourse to official adjudication, and certainly without recourse to legal statutes.

Case of China: By contrast, writing on the varieties of law in China, Fu Hualing (The Varieties of Law, 28 June 2011) distinguishes between:

International law: Harold Damerow (International Law) argues that international law lacks many of the characteristics of municipal legal systems.

There is no world legislature which makes international law. There is no global police force to arrest wrong doers nor a global justice department to try those arrested. There is no hierarchy of trial and appellate courts with clearly defined jurisdiction. There are so many differences between the international system and international law on the one hand and state-societies with their municipal legal systems that the question has arisen whether international law is indeed law properly so-called?

Is International Law really law properly so-called? The answer depends on your definition of law. John Austin's positivistic definition of law said no. Austin held that [international law] lacks a definite sovereign law-creator, courts with compulsory jurisdiction, and overwhelming sanctions to punish transgressions. Hans Kelsen suggested that war is the sanction behind international law. While it is true that international law differs from municipal law, it is, in my opinion, law properly so-called. The Austinian definition is too narrow. A proper definition of law must be able to explain all the varieties of law, of which there are at least three: customary laws of pre-state societies; municipal legal systems of modern state-societies; and international law operating within the international system.

Religious law: Discussion of "varieties of law" figures as Question 91 in St Augustine's Summa Theologica (1274) where six more specific questions are addressed. Is there: an Eternal Law, a natural law, a human law, a divine law, is the divine law one or several, is there a law of sin? In A Companion to the Summa (1942), Walter Farrell clusters the commentaries on these under the headings: Eternal law, Natural law, Human law, and Divine positive law.

Each religion is typically "governed" in some way by some particular form of religious law variously enforced by appropriate bodies -- in recognition of "divine law". Major religions each tend to have their own code of law, however this is understood, as well as bodies through which it is administered. Examples of religious law include: Canon law of the Catholic Church, the Sharia of Islam, the Halakha of Judaism, Hindu law, and Bahá'í laws

Law within intentional communities (sects and cults): A form of law may be evident in the governance of certain intentional communities, including religious orders. A particular example is that of the Transcendental Meditation movement with its elaboration of a Global Country of World Peace, a Natural Law Party, and a World Government of the Age of the Enlightenment). International groups such as the Church of Scientology, devoted to the practice and the promotion of the Scientology belief system, tend to have an elaborate system of rules of governance to be usefully compared with laws regulating their operations.

Groups otherwise considered unlawful may endeavour to impose a form of "law", especially in areas which they seek to control. This is evident in the case of resistance movements in occupied territories, liberation movements, terrorist groups, and organized crime groups.

Tribal law: This is evident in the case of tribal sovereignty established by treaty (Tribal sovereignty in the United States; First Nations of Canada; Australia; New Zealand). It is otherwise evident amongst the tribal peoples of Islamic culture, most notably in the conflict in Afghanistan (Akbar S Ahmed and David M. Hart, Islam in Tribal Societies: from the Atlas to the Indus, 1984).

Moral law: Also termed moral absolutism, this is an ethical view that certain actions are absolutely right or wrong, regardless of other circumstances such as their consequences or the intentions behind them.

Extra-territorial legal arrangements: Particular legal provisions may result from extra-territorial jurisdiction, namely the legal ability of a government to exercise authority beyond its normal boundaries. Examples are variously associated with military bases on foreign territory, enclaves (as currently evident in the case of Guantanamo Bay), and contractual concessions (notably for oil).

Other examples arise from secret treaties, covert arrangements and tacit agreements, as has been made evident with respect to the process of extraordinary rendition, namely the apprehension and extrajudicial transfer of a person from one country to another.

Legal exceptionalism: Special provisions may be made for imposition of military rule by military authorities over designated regions on an emergency basis. Such martial law is usually imposed on a temporary basis when the civilian government or civilian authorities fail to function effectively. Many examples are usefully cited in the Wikipedia entry. Other, possibly secretive, exceptions may be made for the actions required by government of security services, including targetted assassination.

Regulations: Possibly with the power of law, or as a substitute for it under particular circumstances, sets of regulations may be used to govern and restrict behaviour, and even to sanction those who fail to respect them. Professional organizations may be understood to be "governed" in some way by some particular form of "law" enforced to a degree by the relevant academic bodies.

Laws of science: Curiously, whilst assiduous in their quest for natural "laws", their recognition is typically (if not "naturally") dissociated from academic behaviour.

Psychosocial implications: "disorder" or "different drummer"

The various considerations of "order" above highlight the fact that, according to domain, it may be:

Degree and kind may be readily entangled and confused. An obvious consequence is that any given psychosocial phenomenon (a group, a movement, an event, a belief system) may be perceived as "highly organized" or "totally disorganized". It may then be recognized as either admirable or a threat. The organization of al-Qaida and the Tea Party movement may then be fruitfully compared in contrast with a "tight" military organization (Cultivating Global Strategic Fantasies of Choice: learnings from Islamic Al-Qaida and the Republican Tea Party movement, 2010).

With respect to styles of organization, a summary of approaches is offered separately (Systems of Categories Distinguishing Cultural Biases, 1993). Especially indicative are the:

Whatever the schema by which styles and degrees of (preferred) order are distinguished, it is clear that there will be a tendency to deprecate alternative styles -- and possibly to perceive them as a threat meriting some form of action.

The argument could be considered highly relevant to any assessment of the achievement of the Christian Coalition of the Willing in their intervention in Iraq to remove Saddam Hussein. Clearly the Coalition preferred one form of order and deprecated another. The consequence was to engender a significant number of deaths and to create a country now subject to extreme sectarian violence. It has been repeatedly noted that the Coalition "won the war" which it had instigated and "lost the peace" regarding which it has proved to be incompetent. The Iraqi population can be conveniently blamed for "not getting their act together" after having been "liberated". The question of what kind of order fits best with that culture has been carefully avoided -- as analogous arguments are made with respect to intervention in Syria.

The sense in which politically there are aspirations to distinct degrees and styles of order are readily obscured. The confrontation between the "capitalist" growth-obsessed mainstream and various "alternatives" could be fruitfully explored from this perspective, as discussed separately (All Blacks of Davos vs All Greens of Porto Alegre: reframing global strategic discord through polyphony? 2007). The musical metaphor is consistent with the much-quoted saying by Henry David Thoreau:

Why should we be in such desperate haste to succeed and in such desperate enterprises? If a man does not keep pace with his companions, perhaps it is because he hears a different drummer. Let him step to the music which he hears, however measured or far away. (Walden, 1854)

Walden is a reflection upon simple living in natural surroundings. His essay on Civil Disobedience (1849) is an argument for individual resistance to civil government in moral opposition to an unjust state.

More problematic is the sense in which only one form of order is to be recognized -- with the implication that "there can be only one" viable and acceptable form of order. This approach is characteristic of many strategic proposals framed as "the way" forward. This pattern could be recognized in various forms of imperialism, colonialism, neo-colonialism, as well as their religious analogues. A dramatic manifestation might be the "laying down" of a western worldview in a non-western country through a process of carpet bombing.

Lore vs. Law: a homophonic challenge in a homophobic society?

Simultaneously with preoccupation with bloody conflict in Syria, extensive world-wide media coverage has been given to incidents relating to the legal and moral issues of marriage between homosexuals (gay marriage, same-sex marriage), and to multiple international confrontations with the forces of law and order by topless feminists of the femen movement. Eliciting less violence have been the issues relating to marriage of members of the Christian clergy and to concerns relating to the appropriateness of the ordination of women and their appointment as bishops.

As a strange complement to these mediatised manifestations of "homophobia", it is curious to note the recognition of a "homophonic" phenomenon -- famed as the "lore-and-order" pronunciation of "law-and-order". As remarked, for example, by Janet Holmes (An Introduction to Sociolinguistics, 2001): On radio and TV, Lore and Order is replacing Law and Order in the speech of all announcers (p. 342). Related homophonic arguments have been raised regarding potential confusion of "terrorists" with "terrarists" (War against Terra, 2002; Tom Engelhardt, Terracide and the Terrarists: destroying the planet for record profits, Transcend Media Service, 27 May 2013).

As yet to be recognized are the cognitive implications of such conflation for many, especially those with questionable relations with "the law" and a questionable understanding of it.

Especially curious in this respect is the use of "lore" in relation to "order" in some official publications in Australia. For example, the Australian Crime Commission (Building lore and order for the national crimefighter). and the Australian Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research, which notably set up an interactive website to test understanding of the behaviour of citizens (Challenges: Lore and Order, The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 April 2007). It is unclear to what extent this terminology is particularly influenced by concerns with Aboriginal lore and its relationship to Australian social order.

In exploring the contrast between "law" and "lore", it is appropriate to note concern at how "lore"may be confused with "folklore" (Elliott Oring, Folk or Lore? The Stake in Dichotomies, Journal of Folklore Research, 2006). As distinguished in English Language and Usage (Difference between "lore" and "folklore"):

The missing dimension in such distinctions is evident in the tendency to use "folklore" to frame and deprecate "lore", as a body of quaint cultural curiosities (however interesting they may be from an academic perspective or for the appreciation of tourists). This framing obscures the manner in which "lore" may be especially used to denote a profoundly meaningful experiential reality for the people engaging with it or embodying it. This is notably the case with the manner in which lore is carried by a language -- with all that is then implied by endangered languages (Save native knowledge stored in tribal lore, The New Indian Express, 11 May 2013).

Rule of Law vs. Rule of Lore

Although "lore" suggests an obscure notion of little relevance in modern society, this appearance is deceptive. The function with which it is associated is more widely recognized in many references and appeals to "values" -- as with indications of the fundamental importance of elusive "family values" or a "sense of community", especially in the case of "neighbourhood values". Efforts may be made by politicians to appeal to "American values" or "Englishness" -- especially in populist and nationalist discourse. Use may be made of "culture" as an alternative, especially on the occasion of mergers between corporations governed by a different lore (Peg Neuhauser, Corporate Legends and Lore: the power of storytelling as a management tool, 1993). Such elusive values acquire a degree of "legitimacy" through formalization in documents such as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights or the Global Ethic.

The term "lore" is however evident in recognition of "gang lore", or in groups cultivating traditional historical bonds, as with "Celtic lore" -- or even "military lore" (Vietnam Military Lore; Martin Schmitt, The Court-Martial as a Source of Military Lore, 1951). The phrase "lore and orders" was used to caption the account of the one-day experience of a journalist as a West Point Academy cadet (Rob McFarland, Stepping into the line of fire, The Sydney Morning Herald, 20 November 2011). Masonic lore and fraternity lore provide other examples -- especially given the latter's problematic relationship with hazing rituals.

Given the issues of gun control, of current significance is use of "gun lore" (Gun Lore versus Contemporary Reality, 24 January 2013), and the specific recognition, noted by Kylie Schultz, that "American history is steeped in gun lore" (America's Gun Culture: a revolution on the horizon? The International, 22 December 2012; Jane Caputi, The New Founding Fathers: the lore and lure of the serial killer in contemporary culture, Journal of American Culture, 1990). Also evident is use of the phrase "drug lore", implying a particular form of "rule", as with a report of the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation (Drug Lore: the questioning of our current law, 1996).

All such allusions imply a sense of "rule of lore", however this may be deprecated. This suggests the importance of recognition of the strategic coherence offered by "tribal lore" -- with which Western coalitions are desperately faced in arenas such as Afghanistan. The inability of many Western countries to engage effectively with "gang lore" in their own disadvantaged communities emphasizes the challenge (Teenagers ruled by vicious gang lore, London Evening Standard, 25 April 2002).

US Rule of Lore? An unusual appreciation is offered on behalf of the Foundation for Economic Education, by Sheldon Richman (The Rule of Lore, The Freeman, 2 August 2012), with respect to the USA:

"This is a nation of laws not of men (and women)". How often have we heard this said? It is accompanied by the claim that it's Congress's job to make the laws and the Supreme Court's job to interpret them, along with the Constitution. Or, to put it in the shorthand: judges should not make the law. It seems like a tidy division of labor, but there is a certain problem -- namely, that the line between making and interpreting law is exceedingly fine -- if it exists at all. Indeed, interpreting the law is tantamount to making it. Interpretation is a creative act. Since in our society it is men and women who write and interpret the laws (and the Constitution), the rule of law is necessarily the rule of men and women.... Constitutions and laws do not speak for themselves. People must decide what they mean. This is by nature a controversial truth from which there is no escape. Seemingly clear language is often argued about for years, indeed decades and centuries

Native American Rule of Lore? One understanding is offered (with thanks to Jack Park) by the following quotation of John Lame Deer (Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions, 1972):

Before our white brothers came to civilize us we had no jails. Therefore we had no criminals. You can't have criminals without a jail. We had no locks or keys, and so we had no thieves. If a man was so poor that he had no horse, tipi or blanket, someone gave him these things. We were too uncivilized to set much value on personal belongings. We wanted to have things only in order to give them away. We had no money, and therefore a man's worth couldn't be measured by it. We had no written law, no attorneys or politicians, therefore we couldn't cheat. We really were in a bad way before the white men came, and I don't know how we managed to get along without these basic things which, we are told, are absolutly necessary to make a civilized society.

Non-Western Rule of Law? Randall Peerenboom (Varieties of Rule of Law, Asian Discourses of Rule of Law, January 2004), stresses that in striking contrast to the many volumes on rule of law in the Western literature, relatively little work has been done on clarifying alternative conceptions of rule of law in other parts of the world, including Asia:

Rule of law is an essentially contested concept. It means different things to different people, and has served a wide variety of political agendas.... That is both its strength and its weakness. That people of vastly different political persuasions all want to take advantage of the rhetorical power of rule of law keeps it alive in public discourse, but it also leads to the worry that it has become a meaningless slogan devoid of any determinative content....

At the same time, critics in Asia and the West note that rule of law is closely associated with Western liberal democracy and wonder whether rule of law will take root given the different cultural, economic and political context. China and Vietnam reject democracy, while Singapore and Malaysia arguably remain soft authoritarian states despite democratic trappings. South Korea, Taiwan, the Philippines, Thailand and Indonesia have become democratic or are in the process of democratizing, but democracy remains weak and has yet to be consolidated in several of them.

Peerenboom notes contrasting views on the nature and value of the rule of law:

Despite widespread support for aspects of the Washington consensus that economic development requires the legal foundations of capitalism and a regulatory framework sufficient to attract FDI, some critics argue some Asian countries have been able to obtain sustain economic growth without rule of law. Other commentators portray the attempts of Western governments and international organizations to promote rule of law in Asian countries as a form of cultural, political, economic and legal hegemony. Some claim that liberal democratic rule of law is excessively individualist in its orientation and privileges individual autonomy and rights over duties and obligations to others, the interests of society, and social solidarity and harmony. This line of criticism taps into recent, often heavily politicized, debates about "Asian values," and whether democratic or authoritarian regimes are more likely to ensure social stability and economic growth. It also taps into post-colonial discourses and conflicts between developed and developing states, and within developing states between the haves and have-nots over issues of distributive justice. In several Asian countries, arguably in all countries, it has resulted in an attempt to inject local values into a legal system established by foreign powers during colonial occupation or largely based on foreign transplants.

Summarizing his argument that there is little agreement over what justice is, Peerenboom cites a comment of Vitit Muntarbhorn to the effect that:

The Thai term for the rule of law is "Luck Nititham", implying a precept of law based upon a sense of justice and virtue -- not an easy notion to grasp in a concrete sense. There is thus a kind of mythification of the term as a linchpin of our society, when in reality it is steeped in popular incomprehension rather than comprehension. This mythification dilutes the impact of the notion of the rule of law, precisely because the distance between people and the notion itself is often extreme -- and that gap results in what can be described as the rule of lore. [emphasis added]

Maori Rule of Lore: For a speaker to the New Zealand Parliament on the question of The Pacific regional consultation for MPs on the Pacific Plan , Human Rights Conventions and Standards and their application to domestic law, policy and practice (29 October 2007):

Some years back I convened a working group... on the relationship between law and culture. While it made me aware of the difficult issues, it also provided an opportunity to see a way through those issues because at the end of the day all peoples want to be treated fairly and equitably and according to the rule of law and the rule of lore.

It is appropriate to note that in New Zealand the Maori King Movement of the 1850s sought to establish a monarchy designed to achieve unity among all regions of the islands and thus weaken the potential on the part of the British to "divide and rule". This was seen as a step towards establishing Maori lore and order. Central to such lore, and the order to which it gave rise in Maori culture, is the Polynesian understanding of tapu -- one of the strongest forces in Maori life and Maori spirituality. It can be interpreted as "sacred", as "spiritual restriction" or "implied prohibition" -- thus involving rules and prohibitions, hence "taboo".

Echoing the Maori understanding, is a more recent engagement with the lore cultivated imaginatively in relation to Lord of the Rings in New Zealand (where the movie adaptation was filmed). It is appropriate to note that the country has variously claimed to be "Home of Middle-earth". This leading role has been reprised in an epic fantasy The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, which had its world premiere in Wellington (November 2012). The city was variously transformed into the "Middle of Middle-earth" with the complicity of the City Council (New Zealand's capital Wellington renamed for Hobbit premiere, 27 November 2012). This extended to a widely-cited "alternative currency" (Hobbit coins worth thousands to become legal tender in New Zealand, The Telegraph, 10 October 2012).

It might however be readily assumed that the realm of fantasy is well and truly disassociated from that of official reality as reinforced by conventional institutions. It is therefore remarkable to note the efforts of New Zealand to engage with that realm as evidenced by the indication of film locations of iconic events in the Lord of the Rings on maps of the country for the benefit of tourists. More remarkable is the initiative of Air New Zealand in developing a new variant of the standard safety video for passengers by which travellers have long been bored. As noted by The Economist (Safety videos: Safety on Air Middle Earth. 31 October 2012), its most recent effort -- entitled An Unexpected Briefing (now distributed via YouTube) hints at movie associations with elves, wizards and dwarves peopling mythological Middle Earth. For The Economist:

Given the humdrum information required of a safety video, it's admirable to see Air New Zealand continually trying to produce something with a bit of entertainment value. This is one of its best efforts -- passengers will certainly watch.

Australian Rule of Lore: The interface in Australia between Aboriginal culture and European culture has engendered the most extensive exploration of the relationship between the "rule of law" and the "rule of lore" -- as the traditional or customary law of the tribal peoples of that land. Understanding of the nature of lore in that context is enabled for various purposes:

One official report by a Committee of Inquiry into Aboriginal customary law by the Northern Territory Law Reform Committee includes a valuable background paper (The recognition of Aboriginal law as law). This paper sets out the extent to which general Australian law recognizes Aboriginal customary law as law. Of particular interest is the critical response to this effort by Les McDonald, as Chief Lore Officer of the Aboriginal Embassy Victoria -- who, as an activist, maintains a strong web presence regarding the issues. He raises the following questions in annotations to that report in a blog (Lore and the Law, BeBuyBac: The Concerned Australians, 22 January 2010):
  1. Considering the meaning of terra nullius, Did English law also apply to the natives?
  2. Were the natives of this land civilized?
  3. Did the natives have Lore, jurisdiction to make laws for their society people of this land?
  4. Were courts created for the natives?
  5. Should the Aboriginal Lore system, be recognised for other purposes, then just "land title"?
  6. Is Aboriginal Lore, a religion with rules of (Law) Lore?
  7. Did the Commonwealth of Australia, have power to make laws for the Aboriginal people before 1967?
  8. Should the Constitution be altered, without any referendum being put to the people?
  9. Should Aboriginal traditional Lore be recognised by the courts in all cases. and not just native land title issues?
  10. Should an Aboriginal person be denied the rights of protection and practice of traditional Aboriginal Lore, just because that person now lives in a city or suburb?
  11. If a state law, has or is causing an unnecessary hardship on the Aboriginal people, then should traditional Lore be considered, as the supreme Law for the Aboriginal people?
  12. Should the Australian courts recognise traditional Lore, as an old custom?

As with "folklore", there is a tendency to deprecate the implications of "lore", as exemplified by recent news reporting of 3.5 million hectares of Gawler Ranges returned to Aboriginal title (, 20 December 2011) under the ambiguous title Outback court's rule of lore (Adelaide Talks, 19 December 2011).

Rule of religious lore? There is a case for exploring the manner in which appreciation by the religious, potentially inspiring conflict, is governed to a degree by a form of religious lore (Selwyn Gurney Champion, The Eleven Religions and their Proverbial Lore: a comparative study, 1945).

Rule of lore in fantasy: Much fantasy literature, and its adaptation to other media, achieves a degree of attractiveness through an articulation of the lore of imagined cultures, as in the Discworld series, for example -- resembling an anthropological articulation in others (Hermann Hesse, The Glass Bead Game, 1943; J. R. R. Tolkien, The Lord of the Rings, 1954; M. A. Foster, The Game Players of Zan, 1977; etc). These may well emphasize the rule of lore. The origin of Tolkien's magnum opus has been appropriately described by Tom Shippey (Lore and Order, The Sunday Herald, 9 December 2001).

Rule of lore in virtual reality: Of particular interest is the relation between law and lore within virtual environments. In Second Life, for example, there has been a continiuing examination of its implications. Whilst characterized by their own "lore" in the more cultural and mythical sense, this may acquire a regulatory dimension. Additionally provisions may need to be made for the legality of the (financial) transactions with non-virtual reality. Social networking, as a form of virtual environment in its own right, could be expected to be governed to a degree by some form of Twitter Lore, Facebook Lore, or the like.

Contrasting fantasies of singularity and plurality

The variety implied by the above considerations is variously apprehended in practice -- in widely contrasting ways which are partially enabled by individual and collective imagination.

Law and order as imagined by government: The processes of governance are necessarily highly entangled with how law and order are imagined, elaborated and enforced by government -- and so framed in engaging with the public.The body of law is understood as a singularity, whether or not it is recognized as a body composed of a multiplicity of laws -- to which additions and modifications are made through the legislative process. It is through such law that order is framed and enforced. For government, law and order is of its own making and the legitimating framework for its action. The withholding of action to those in need may well be framed in terms of the overriding "rule of law".

The framework is typically extended or projected in the power relations between states -- notably in aspiration to greater relative power. This is especially to be seen in collective preoccupation within the US with its identity as a superpower, and how this is to be perpetuated at any cost. The culture of "Being Number One" is used as a justification for ever increasing military expenditure. The underlying belief, echoed in the argument below, is succinctly embodied in the slogan: There can be only one.

This belief is fundamental to a prevalent understanding of leadership, even to be interpreted as its definition. There can be only one leader. Hence the imaginal socio-political fantasies associated with "the most powerful man in the world" -- "Our Leader ! ".

Law and order, as imagined by government, are necessarily much challenged -- if not existentially challenged -- by other ways in which each may be imagined, as suggested above (Cultivating Global Strategic Fantasies of Choice: learnings from Islamic Al-Qaida and the Republican Tea Party movement, 2010). The existence of other forms of "nongovernmental" and "informal" organization may be equally challenging to some countries, as has been the case with respect to "NGOs", "multinational corporations", "liberation movements" and "organized crime" (Interacting Fruitfully with Un-Civil Society: the dilemma for non-civil society organizations, 1996).

Lore and order as imagined by the people: The imagination of the people is variously evoked and evident in the following:

Online games, including Battlefield 2, Halo 3, Counter-Strike, and Call of Duty: Black Ops, are notably used by the military to train operatives in conditions resembling those currently so evident in Syria. Some have been developed with financial assistance from the military for that purpose. Millions can engage on a nightly basis in "jihad", "crusades", or their containment -- encouraged, enabled and empowered by online gaming lore.

Arguably there is far greater imaginative engagement with such games throughout the world than with current media coverage of the conflict in Syria. People achieve greater imaginative control over the dynamics and realities of street fighting in "Syria" via such realistic role-playing simulations than through the hypocritical arguments of the leadership of the international community ensuring the supply of arms to that arena.

It is appropriate to note that lore is valuable and meaningful to individuals precisely through the manner in which it gives depth to self-esteem and to personal engagement with experiential psychosocial reality -- however that is interpreted. This may well be associated with fantasies analogous to that mentioned above -- of "being number one".

Lore and orders as a pattern of habit: There is a case for recognizing lore as constituting an unexamined worldview with which engagement is essentially unconscious. As such it conditions behaviour rather than offering guidelines to be consciously recognized -- to be explained as "how things are done", and by implication, "how they ought to be done". Whilst this may be deprecated as a characteristic of tribal society, the role of "lore" in institutional socialization merits careful attention in the light of the arguments of John Ralston Saul (The Unconscious Civilization, 1995). The term could be seen as an appropriate descriptor of what is deliberately instilled, implanted or inculcated in many educational environments and other institutions. As such it may be most evident as an habitual pattern of response to situations -- characteristic of a particular mindset or "style" -- whether of Ivory League universities, military academies, or major corporations.

Such unconscious habitual response is problematically related to authority and the interpretation of "orders" rather than "order". Institutions instil an unquestionable obedience to orders and due process as a desirable trait. The consequence is evident in the fatalities in the extreme cases of Adolf Eichmann, with respect to the Nazi hierarchy, and of Kofi Annan, with respect to the UN hierarchy (Perplexing Symmetries in Obedience to Orders: equivalencies in the moral abdication of Adolf Eichmann and Kofi Annan? 1998).

Embodying the law: taking the law into one's own hands

Dissidence: With respect to the complex relationships between "law" and "order", these may be understood such as to encourage those able to do so to "take the law into their own hands" to administer justice as they see fit without recourse to the usual law enforcement or legal processes. It is this response which is of concern in cases such as the following:

The concern may be evident internationally with respect to rogue states at one extreme, and with respect to instances engendered according to the model of the Permanent Peoples' Tribunal at another.

Being a law unto oneself? In the case of leaders otherwise empowered to act within a consultative framework providing checks and balances, there may be a degree of recognition that the leader has overridden those constraints and "become a law unto himself", following his own inclinations (rules of behavior, etc), acting independently or unconventionally, especially without regard for established mores. Indicative examples include:

There is every probability that protestors in Turkey and Egypt, and opponents in Syria, would currently perceive Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Mohamed Morsi and Bashar al-Assad as having become a "law unto themselves".

The situation is further complicated by those perceiving themselves as being especially empowered by a unique relationship with divinity -- as was the case with Bush and Blair (Andy McSmith, Blair: 'God will be my judge on Iraq', The Independent, 4 March 2006; Ewen MacAskill, George Bush: 'God told me to end the tyranny in Iraq', The Guardian, 7 October 2005). The concern was noted in a ruling by the US Supreme Court (Reynolds v. United States, 98 U.S. 145, 1879):

Laws are made for the government of actions, and while they cannot interfere with mere religious belief and opinions, they may with practices.... Can a man excuse his practices to the contrary because of his religious belief? To permit this would be to make the professed doctrines of religious belief superior to the law of the land, and in effect to permit every citizen to become a law unto himself.

Embodiment of the law: The law can be understood as embodied primarily in written texts. As noted with regard to law by the Chicago School of Media Theory:

But the law as medium does not end with the written word, the "letter of the law"; it needs...the promise of enforcement... law is [then] "viewed, with more or less of personification, as an agent uttering or enforcing the rules of which it consists.". This second definition casts for example the policeman as a medium, as the literal embodiment of the law as medium. It also highlights that the law functions as a written medium but also as one that is enacted or performed ("uttering") by its representatives. The concept of the law's physical representatives leads collectively to that of its institutional representations, the institutions that shape and execute it, such as courts of law and legislative bodies.

A challenge in any society is then the relationship with those recognized to be an "embodiment of the law". Most typically this is indeed evident in the case of a policeman. Increasingly this may be questionably extended to representatives of security services.

With respect to a political leader such as Nelson Mandela, valuable insights are offered by Elleke Boehmer (Nelson Mandela: A Very Short Introduction, 2008) in a section on "embodiment of the law":

From the time of his entry on to a wider political stage with the Defiance Campaign, Mandela was aware not only that the leader's political prospectus should encapsulate his people's aspirations, but also that his physical presence in performance could be seen to configure the nation's dreams

Citing Derrida, Boehmer notes that Mandela stood for a higher justice: ..[Setting] himself against the code within the code he became the ultimate expression of the rationalist legal tradition associated with the Enlightenment....

Following the 1990 rrelease, when his image once again went public, then, too, Mandela the man worked together with the myth his organization had built to express, in particular, representativeness. He vigorously rejected any notion of occupying an elevated position, and spoke of the danger of personality cults in African politics.

For a charismatic leader, or a person in a position of power, appreciation of possibility and unconstrained egoic inflation may also lead to a mode of self-appreciation -- perhaps to be characterized by the phrase "being full of oneself". This has been partially explored in the popular Highlander fantasy move series. This is focused on the competitive relationships between immortals -- emphasizing the signature motto: There can be only one.

Embodying the lore: taking the lore into one's own hands

Radicalism: As partially implied in the case of Mandela, individuals can engage radically with myth and embody it for themselves, for a group, or for wider society. This is a mode characteristic of charismatic individuals identifying with prophecy and seeking to fulfil it. The lore of tradition and imagination is creatively reframed or interpreted as law thereby laid down.

Given the extent to which society is now engendering myths, notably with role-playing games and blockbuster movies featuring heroic exemplars, there is a wide choice of myths through which people can reframe their reality and reinvent themselves -- whether or not this is deprecated as fantasy or appreciated as radical creativity (Reinventing Your Metaphoric Habitat, 1992). Various skills amy be employed to enable people to reinvent themselves and to create a new myth regarding who they are -- whether only to convince others or as a radical form of personal transformation.

Such processes may be evident in other ways in the case of practitioners of a discipline, notably extreme sports and martial arts, in which an individual is recognized as an exemplar of the associated skills -- reframing their expression in unique ways (Existential Embodiment of Externalities: radical cognitive engagement with environmental categories and disciplines, 2009).

Being a lore unto oneself? There is a sense in which the elders of a society, especially in a traditional culture, both embody the lore and become a form of "lore unto themselves". This is notably evident in the case of much admired spiritual teachers (the gurus of Hindu tradition, the sheiks of Sufi tradition, etc). The role of such people, and its limitations, has been made strikingly evident in the Gathering of Wisdom Keepers on the occasion of the UN Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 1992) and subsequently.

Again the practitioners of extreme sports, and the activities of lone adventurers, are indicative of the cognitive transformation through which a person becomes a lore unto themselves in fulfillment of a personal myth. This is of course evident in the case of hermits -- and the archetypal Desert Fathers.

Although the phrase "a law unto himself" is used to imply that a person makes his own rules and is not subject to the same rules and conventions as others, the biblical origin of the phrase suggests a subtler understanding. In St Paul's epistle to the Romans (King James version, 2:10-15):

For not the hearers of the law are just before God, but the doers of the law shall be justified. For when the Gentiles, which have not the law, do by nature the things contained in the law, these, having not the law, are a law unto themselves: Which shew the work of the law written in their hearts, their conscience also bearing witness, and their thoughts the mean while accusing or else excusing one another.

This suggests that the Gentiles are not "a law unto themselves" in the general modern sense, rather they are subject to the same law as the Jews, even though they have acquired their knowledge of it by a different route.

The phrase is considered otherwise by Stephen Charnock, a Puritan divine, in a commentary on Psalm 119 (verse 47-48) of the Bible:

Before the new creation, there was no affection to the law: it was not only a dead letter, but a devilish letter in the esteem of a man: he wished it razed out of the world, and another more pleasing to the flesh enacted. He would be a law unto himself; but when this is written within him, he is so pleased with the inscription, that he would not for all the world be without that law, and the love of it; whereas what obedience he paid to it before was out of fear, now out of affection; not only because of the authority of the lawgiver, but of the purity of the law itself. He would maintain it with all his might against the power of sin within, and the powers of darkness without him. He loves to view this law; regards every lineament of it, and dwells upon every feature with delightful ravishments. If his eye be off, or his foot go away, how doth he dissolve in tears, mourn and groan, till his former affection hath recovered breath, and stands upon its feet!

Such biblical commentary suggests the possibility of a fruitful "cognitive marriage" betweeb "law" and "lore".

Dynamic relationship between domains of order in global civilization

Especially as made clear by the cultural associations of the mindscapes distinguished above by Magoroh Maruyama, these are variously distributed through a global civilization. This recognition is a theme of the work of Geert Hofstede (Culture's Consequences: international differences in work-related values, 1984). The biases distinguished by W. T. Jones (see above) suggest the presence of all of them within each culture, to whatever degree. What has been less systematically explored are the interfaces and transformation between forms of order -- as most notably suggested metaphrcally by the relationship between the different forms of water, with which most are familiar through the weather and cooking.

Contrasting archetypal forms of order: In considering a preferred form of order, metaphorically a choice could be made between:

The interdependence of these very distinct forms of order in relation to sustaining life is exemplified in the Rift Valley Lakes region of East Africa -- from which humanity is believed to have emerged. There the interplay between volcanic eruptions, mineral-rich dust, and lake water, continues to provide a nutritious environment for flamingos, and the fish by which they are nourished.

Ecosystem of forms of order: Of greater relevance to this argument is a more fundamental dynamic form of order associated with the processes interrelating various forms of order as an ecological system of orders (Through Metaphor to a Sustainable Ecology of Development Policies, 1989). The nature and manner of the psychosocial transitions (and interfaces) between such forms, is suggested metaphorically by water (as noted above). It is also suggested by the relationship between the "kingdoms" of life forms, as variously distinguished by biology (as noted above). The argument reinforces the sense in which "order" can be understood as taking a variety of interrelated forms -- rather than being assumed to be "uniform".

From this perspective there is a certain irony to arguments for "family values" in that, ideally, a child benefits from the dynamic complex of relationships between the two contrasting ordering principles associated with the father and mother as archetypes. Arguments in favour of a patriarchal or a matriarchal order are a challenge to this. This also has implications for arguments promoting a sense of Fatherland over Motherland, or vice versa.

The difficulty of reconciling fundamentally distinct forms of order of strategic relevance can be explored in symbolic and geometric terms (Middle East Peace Potential through Dynamics in Spherical Geometry: engendering connectivity from incommensurable 5-fold and 6-fold conceptual frameworks, 2012). Especially valuable are metaphors of alternation between different forms of order, as with crop rotation or walking (Metaphors of Alternation: an exploration of their significance for development policy-making, 1984; Sustainable Cycles of Policies: crop rotation as a metaphor, 1988)

Tentative array of "functions" The themes evoked in this argument are readily confused, conflated and entangled. The following 12-fold table offers one way of distinguishing them. One thread of the discussion highlights the singular superordinate dimension of the first column. Another notes the plurality of mutually challenging forms evident in practice, as in the second column. The argument has given emphasis to the manner in which experiential embodiment may be valued as meaning-full engagement, as indicated by the third column.

Transcendent Principle
Manifest Forms
Order Order as superordinate principle Varieties of orders Embodying order experientially
Law (conventional) Law as superordinate principle Collections of laws Embodying law experientially
Force Force as superordinate principle Variety of forces Embodying force experientially
Lore (customary) Lore as superordinate principle Varieties of valued customs Embodying lore experientially

Using a 12-fold table draws on previous arguments justifying such a pattern of distinctions as suggesting an integrative system of "adequate complexity" in cognitive cybernetic terms:

Any such pattern can be tentatively explored in greater detail in the light of the arguments of Arthur M. Young (Geometry of Meaning, 1976), as in:

These have the advantage of suggesting the tentative representation of the elements of the above table in a circular configuration in which they "interlock" -- with potential integrative, systemic and mnemonic implications. Thus, from the above table, each of the three columns forms a distinct triangle in the schematic below. Similarly each of the four rows forms a distinct square. Each of the 12 "functions" is thereby associated with one distinct square and with one distinct triangle.

12-fold interplay of order, law, force and lore (tentative)

As suggested in the adaptation of the insights of Young (above), it is possible to explore the embodiment of a dynamic within this 12-fold pattern -- potentially vital to sustainable (self) governance, appropriately informed by principle. Of particular value is Young's appreciation of the implication of time within the "learning-action cycles" of processes associated with the pattern (Strategic Embodiment of Time: configuring questions fundamental to change, 2010).

As the representation of a dynamic system, the schematic implies a shifting emphasis between complementary modalities within the pattern. This is indicative of the manner whereby it is not "lore" rather than "law", but rather an alternation between those emphases which individually each is challenged to encompass in practice. The same applies to other complementary functions of the pattern, especially singularity-plurality and embodying-articulation (of variety).

Whilst recognition of variety has a value, it is the processes of embodying the shifts between its elements which can best be recognized as a form of "cognitive dance" -- a process of shapeshifting (En-minding the Extended Body: enactive engagement in conceptual shapeshifting and deep ecology, 2003). The cognitive challenge recalls Young's aspirations, as designer of the Bell helicopter, to design a "psychopter" (Engendering a Psychopter through Biomimicry and Technomimicry: insights from the process of helicopter development, 2011).

Systemic oversimplifications in practice

The tentative presentations above are of value in clarifying distinctions and conflations in the language used by politicians and in the media:

The schematic above is helpful in indicating how a complex "ecosystem" of cognitive functions tends to be vulnerable to "collapse" in practice. Thus:

A similar vulnerability to "collapse" through conflation may be evident in relation to the triangles of the schematic (the rows of the table above). For example:

These vulnerabilities to the collapse of a 12-fold cognitive system have been fruitfully addressed in terms of "polyocular vision" by Magoroh Maruyama (Polyocular vision or subunderstanding? Organization Studies, 2004). They have been addressed otherwise by mathematician Ron Atkin (Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional space?, 1981), as separately summarized (Comprehension: Social organization determined by incommunicability of insights).

The schematic might be used to trigger discussion as to which elements of the system represented were active in a dialogue and which had been effectively suppressed -- whether or not they constituted a key preoccupation of an "other" with which forceful relations were engaged. Also of relevance is their indication of learning patheways from (excessive) emphasis on one modality to remedial emphasis on another (otherwise underexpressed).

Possible psycho-geometrodynamics implied by order, law, force and lore?

The fundamental nature of order, law and force offers a reminder that these terms are shared with fundamental physics, specifically with the discipline of geometrodynamics. This is a continuing attempt to describe spacetime and associated phenomena completely in terms of geometry. Technically, its goal is to unify the fundamental forces. Very little of the thinking applied to these matters is reviewed in relation to preoccupations with order, law and force in current conflicts. Essentially it is considered irrelevant -- despite the fact that current thinking sustains a framework in which multiple deaths occur on a daily basis in arenas such as Syria.

Missing from the framing offered by physics are the implications of the psychosocial dimensions of belief and engagement. These might otherwise give rise to a discipline termed "psycho-geometrodynamics". Given the fluid nature of movements of opinion and belief -- and the "magnetism" of their attractors -- a similar argument could be made with respect to magnetohydrodynamics, namely a future discipline of the form "psycho-magnetohydrodynamics". This would be consistent with the arguments for exploring the design of a "cognitive fusion reactor" (Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor: imaginal transformation of energy resourcing (ITER-8), 2006). Such an enterprise emphasizes the extent to which the future is dependent on eliciting creativity and imagination thinking to address the concern articulated by Thomas Homer-Dixon (The Ingenuity Gap: how can we solve the problems of the future?, 2000).

The current inability to reframe violent dispute fruitfully suggests the value of a speculative review of possible analogies -- ironically emphasized by associating the "optics" of much-favoured strategic "vision" metaphors with speculation and imaginative formulation of any future-relevant image (even its "resolution").

The approach is reinforced by the recent comprehensive study by Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander (Surfaces and Essences: analogy as the fuel and fire of thinking, 2013), as a further development of Hofstadter's earlier work (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, 1979; Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies,   1995). The speculative approach can be framed as a form of imaginative quest (In Quest of Mnemonic Catalysts -- for comprehension of complex psychosocial dynamics, 2007; Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007).

A brief review could accept that current use of "law", "order", "force" and "lore" with respect to conflict may well be considered relatively undeveloped and inchoate by the future -- characterized by cycles of circular argumentation, finger-pointing and blame-gaming in a culture of vicious cycles (Dysfunctional Cycles and Spirals: web resources on "breaking the cycle", 2002). Correspondingly, the approach of physics may be seen as completely disassociated from experiential reality. The two domains may however lends themselves to a fruitful confrontation. There is a degree of similarity in:

Pointers for speculative interweaving might then include:

Together these imply the need for more radical consideration of how "law", "order", "force" and "lore" emerge and are sustained and embodied. The arguments of Douglas Hofstadter for self-reference are especially relevant to the degree of cognitive mirroring in the consideration of such possibilities ( I Am a Strange Loop, 2007), as separately discussed (Sustaining a Community of Strange Loops: comprehension and engagement through aesthetic ring transformation, 2010). This is notably relevant to any speculative process through which future order is imagined and envisaged (Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations, 2007).

How then to interweave and order the seemingly disparate arguments above? What pattern of order ensures their communicability and credibility -- and to whom?

Belief plays an especially evident role in sustaining confidence in the "lore" and credibility of contrasting domains of coherence through which their "force" is enabled and their "security" ensured. Curiously this is evident both with respect to confidence in the financial system and in the conflicts sustained by different theological interpretations, as argued separately (Mathematical Theology -- Future Science of Confidence in Belief: self-reflexive global reframing to enable faith-based governance, 2011).


The preoccupation of the above argument has been the unfortunate assumptions regarding a singular understanding of "law and order" and the desirability of its acceptance globally -- enabled, if necessary, by "forces of law and order". It has been stressed that this assumption deprecates or ignores the variety of laws and patterns of order. In particular it ignores forms of social order which may be sustained by a degree of psychosocial engagement associated with "lore" -- contrasting with that associated with "law" as conventionally understood.

The "law vs. lore" argument could be fruitfully reframed in terms of the classical sociological distinction between Gesellschaft and Gemeinschaft. In an increasingly globalized society enabled by jargon English, these terms then lend themselves to provocative, mnemonic reinterpretation as Ge-Sell-Shaft and Ge-Mine-Shaft. The first offers a reminder of the degree of overt socioeconomic dependence on persuasive "selling" and the manner in which globlization is "sold" as the only viable strategy. The second emphasizes the contrasting covert psychological importance associated with "mine" -- so fundamental to exclusive possession of property, especially intellectual property.

Even more provocatively, both suggest a distinctive warning through the significance of "shaft" in urban jargon -- as widely used by so many to describe the experience of the financial community's impact on their livelihoods in the current crisis (e.g. How Boomers Got Shafted; Shafted Again: financial terrorists keep sticking it to the public).The sense of "mineshaft" does however offer a valuable reminder of the collective potential remarkably articulated by Susantha Goonatilake (Toward a Global Science: mining civilizational knowledge, 1999).

Periods of crisis make especially evident the "force" which may be associated with alternative forms of social order and their lore (Reframing Sustainable Sources of Energy for the Future: the vital role of psychosocial variants, 2006). The Arab Spring revolutions offer a set of examples, as with the Occupy Movement, and the 2013 protests in Turkey. The official framing of the latter protests, as "the action of extremists", exemplifies the failure to appreciate the existence of alternative forms of order (Framing the Global Future by Ignoring Alternatives: unfreezing categories as a vital necessity, 2009; Considering All the Strategic Options Whilst ignoring alternatives and disclaiming cognitive protectionism, 2009).

Prevailing notions of "law and order" may well be experienced by many (especially the young) as psychosocially sterile relative to the appeal of the "lore" of their culture and to meaningful engagement with it -- as exemplified and cultivated in online gaming, for example (Relevance of Mythopoeic Insights to Global Challenges: cognitive integration implied by the Lord of the Rings, 2009; The "Dark Riders" of Social Change: a challenge for any Fellowship of the Ring, 2002). The point is unfortunately emphasized by the roles of "gang lore", "drug lore" and "gun lore" -- and the challenges they represent.

As these examples indicate, any "lore" may well have characteristics deplored from other perspectives -- however psychically supportive they may be to those of that culture. Any form of "tribal culture" may be stultifying to those constrained by it -- as is evident in the preference for anonymity in some urban neightbourhoods as a relief from the invasive pressures of community lore. The schematic above could be elaborated further to reflect dysfunctional potentials including problematic characteristics of the "rule of law" ("red tape", "Catch 22", "Kafkaesque", and the like).

Conventional discourse over years in relation to ongoing conflict can be readily framed as "tired" and "wearisome" -- with little capacity in conventional dialogue to transcend blame-games, finger-pointing and disingenuous denial of complicity (Christopher Hood, The Blame Game: spin, bureaucracy, and self-preservation in government, 2010). Especially unfruitful is the oversimplistic focus on "solutions" based on particular forms of consensus and psychosocial development ("growth") -- in a period when the possibility of consensus, as conventionally promoted, is proving to be a strange delusion (The Consensus Delusion: mysterious attractor undermining global civilization as currently imagined, 2011). Imaginative exploration of disagreement is avoided (Using Disagreements for Superordinate Frame Configuration, 1992).

Ongoing conflicts may well be better framed by recognition of the role of the "tribal lore" (or "religious lore") which variously inspires and empowers them -- each seeking to uphold and defend the "lore" as they see it, especially out of respect for their tradition. The argument also applies to groups advocating "alternatives" (Green lore now treated as gospel, CathNews, 22 January 2007). Understood in this way, concern could be expressed for endangered forms of order, following analogous concern with endangered languages and endangered species. What "force" should be considered appropriate to enable their "security"?

Despite its sophistication, fundamental physics offers indications that the conceptual challenges of reconciling and integrating insights into "order", "force" and "law" -- let alone the psychosocial implications of engagement with them -- have yet to be meaningfully resolved. As suggested above, however, the conceptual process of physics can offer a degree of imaginative guidance through metaphor (Beyond the Standard Model of Universal Awareness: Being Not Even Wrong? 2010).

The questionable assumptions regarding singularity and plurality relate especially to "force" in contrast with "forces". Forces are readily associated with an array of military forces, or shadowy institutional forces "behind the scenes" -- questionably constraining change or distorting it to unfortunate ends. This plurality of forces is not associated with recognition of the variety of patterns of order and the forces they variously exert. Thus "orders" are unfortunately associated with the directives elaborated to impose the singular pattern in an effort to regulate the world -- and resisted for that reason.

Paradoxically appropriate, the singular order there is such explicit effort by authority to impose by force upon the world is complemented by an implicit singularity. That is the personal identity through which each embodies engagement with the variety of that world. The explicit rules of law and order, with which alignment is expected, are transformed by that inner singularity into bhavioural "curves" around it -- engendering a globality of meaningful lore as a protective interface.

As with the singularity of astrophysics however, this presents dangers as a "black hole" -- familiar to the many susceptible to depression -- effectively becoming a "mineshaft" into which one can fall. This suggests the value of exploiting other metaphors (Living as an Imaginal Bridge between Worlds: global implications of "betwixt and between" and liminality, 2011; Paradoxes of Engaging with the Ultimate in any Guise: living life penultimately, 2012; â¿ Embodying a Way Round Pointlessness ? 2012).

Potentially more engaging and attractive are intimations of an elusive underlying singular "force", associated with a transcendent unity whose nature is yet to be discovered and comprehended -- a potential celebrated in various forms of "lore", as for instance:

May the Force be with You !


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