5 May 2015 | Draft
Marrying Strategic White Holes with Problematic Black Holes
Questionable role of officiants in the engagement process and nuptial arrangements
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Produced in celebration of the encounter of 28 April 2015 between
Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations)
and Pope Francis (of the Catholic Church)
to discuss climate change and Mediterranean migration
Doom-mongering and hope-mongering
Cognitive mystery of holes
Emotional blackmail by officiants
Systematic misrepresentation by officiants
Consummation: officiant participation in the end game
Imaginatique: new thinking and creative imagination?
Ludique: game-playing and fun, funding
Mediating imaginative game-playing
Funding a fun-dead marriage between problematique and resolutique?
Dynamics between hypothetical and metaphysical holes
Systemic neglect in unimaginative appeals
Empowering enlightenment through sexy technomimicry?
The historic encounter of 28 April 2015 between Ban Ki-moon (Secretary-General of the United Nations)
and Pope Francis (of the Catholic Church) occurred in a week in which considerable concern has been aroused by the unprecedented level of fatalities associated with attempts by migrants to reach Europe from the African coast. Separately, both have expressed deep concern in the past at current problems and their strategic implications (Vatican official calls for moral awakening on global warming, The Guardian, 28 April 2015; Ban Ki-moon attacks EU plans for strikes on Libyan smugglers' boats, Financial Times, 28 April 2015).
The Pope used the occasion to share a joint report from the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (Climate Change and The Common Good: a statement of the problem and the demand for transformative solutions, 2015).
The concern in what follows is the manner in which global problems are articulated and calls for global action are made -- as they have been made many times over decades past. More specifically it is concerned with the manner in which those framing the problems, or the strategic solutions, present themselves as dissociated from the problem in adopting a role of officiant in what can be seen as an engagement between problem and solution.
There is nothing new to the dynamic between global problems and global solutions, as extensively documented in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. There is therefore a case for considerable wariness in accepting any new promise of engagement between them. For that reason it is useful to reframe the dynamic in other terms through which the process can be explored with "new thinking", as argued by Edward de Bono (New Thinking for the New Millennium, 1999)
It is in this sense that a complex problem -- readily recognized as a so-called "wicked problem" in policy terms -- can be understood as a black hole in astrophysical terms. That metaphor is notably used for financial deficits, especially those recognized in public finances at the global level (Rodrigue Tremblay, Financial Black Holes and Economic Stagnation, Global Research, 19 October 2011).
Engaging with that global problematique, any global resolutique might then be framed as a strategic white hole. In astrophysics this is a hypothetical region of spacetime which cannot be entered from the outside, although matter and light can escape from it. In this sense, it is the reverse of a black hole, which can only be entered from the outside, from which nothing, including light, can escape.
The terms problematique and resolutique have been variously promoted in documents of the Club of Rome, as separately discussed (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007). Little use has been made of white hole as a metaphor, however, with the notable exception of a work by Peter Russell (White Hole in Time: our future evolution and the meaning of now, 1992).
Mixing metaphors, the issue of the times is how problematique and resolutique -- as black hole and white hole -- then engage with each other. Within the global community this encounter can be explored in terms of a marriage. The challenge is then the archetypal one of that between Beauty and the Beast, potentially framed as that between poetry-making and policy-making (Poetry-making and Policy-making: arranging a marriage between Beauty and the Beast, 1993). It is with respect to the manner in which engagement and marriage are framed that the role of the "officiant" is of such apparent significance. Naturally both the Secretary-General of the United Nations and the Pope of the Catholic Church are prominently positioned on a moral high ground -- seeing themselves so, and as eminently qualified to pronounce on the dynamics of the process.
Is there anything that can be learned from mixing metaphors in this way, such as to reframe fruitfully the futile pattern to which so many in the global community are habituated?
Doom-mongering and hope-mongering
There is no lack of declarations by officiants, on behalf of the constituencies they represent in particular, regarding aspects of the global problematique, its immediate implications and its consequences in the longer term. The officiants are skilled at framing woe, although they may well be highly selective regarding which features of the global problematique feature in such declarations. As with preachers of the past, it is through rhetoric regarding the "hell fire" which awaits humanity that officiants position themselves as the voice of responsible authority.
Arguably the officiants are tardy, if not very tardy, in reflecting concerns which others have long expressed. Typically they are subject to pressures from vested interests to whom they are beholden and who are anxious that prominence not be given to certain issues. This has been remarkably evident in the case of climate change. The pressures on UN Earth Summits are a demonstration of this, as was well demonstrated by the UN Climate Change Conference (Copenhagen, 2009), as separately discussed (United Nations Overpopulation Denial Conference exploring the underside of climate change, 2009; Insights for the Future from the Change of Climate in Copenhagen, 2010).
Officiants can be similarly effusive in either denying the uncomfortable reality of the problematique in the longer term or in stressing how appropriate action can respond effectively to the issue -- typically in the short-term. Using business metaphor, it could be said that officiants have a heavy investment in "fire-fighting" as a means of avoiding longer=term considerations.
The message is essentially either that the doom-mongers are (deliberately) misrepresenting the problematique and its causes or are failing to recognize the opportunities for such action. Again, as with preachers of the past, it is through the rhetoric regarding the "heavenly rewards" which await humanity that officiants position themselves as the voice of responsible authority in showing the way forward. Use of "sustainability" becomes a form of holy grail to be sought through appropriate strategic initiatives (In Quest of Sustainability as Holy Grail of Global Governance, 2011).
In an information-based global society, the black hole and white hole of astrophysics can be recognized as information processes -- more generally understood. In those terms, the black hole can only be entered from the outside, allowing nothing to escape from it. Is this the essential nature of the "attractive" power of global problems, namely that anything with which they become associated is sucked into them -- as is characteristic of problematic wickedness, as understood by the policy sciences? No insight emerges from the outcome of this process. Understood in energy terms, such problems are the ultimate drain on the resources of civilization -- as implied in the case of financial black holes.
Although such psychosocial dynamics are recognizable to a degree in the case of global problems, more intriguing is any fruitful correspondence in the case of white holes. Understood by astrophysics to be realms which cannot be entered from the outside, the escape of matter and light from them is nevertheless held to be possible.
Can this be usefully related to a realm underlying any resolutique, namely what might be termed an "axiomatique" (in the French language which engendered the other terms)? It is not however recognized as such in the policy sciences, although considered significance is attached to axioms, axiology and other value-related terms in the fundamental articulation of initiatives, especially in logical terms. French usage would seem however to hold more general insights of value to this argument (as with resolutique):
- La raison ajoute des conceptions imaginaires à ses conceptions naturelles, et leur donne la même autorité axiomatique. (T. S. Jouffroy, Nouveaux mélanges philosophiques,1842, p. 36.)
- Saint-Just donne l'exemple; son ton même est définitif. Cette cascade d'affirmations péremptoires, ce style axiomatique et sentencieux, le peignent mieux que les portraits les plus fidèles. Les sentences ronronnent, comme la sagesse même de la nation, les définitions, qui font la science, se succèdent comme des commandements froids et clairs. ... C'est le style guillotine. (Albert Camus, L'Homme révolté,1951, p. 159).
- Vers la fin du xixe siècle, les conceptions essentielles de Cantor avaient donc gain de cause. Nous avons vu que, vers cette même époque, la formalisation des mathématiques s'achève et que l'emploi de la méthode axiomatique est à peu près universellement admis. (Nicolas Bourbaki, Eléments d'histoire des mathématiques,1960, p. 46.)
- Dans le symbolisme que nous avons décrit précédemment et avec l'aide de machines à calculer arithmétiques, les trois problèmes de la déduction, de la démonstration et de l'axiomatique trouvent aisément une solution complète. (Louis Couffignal, Les Machines à penser,1964, p. 114).
There is then some intuitive appeal to the sense in which the values, so frequently cited in political d strategic discourse, are associated with an essentially impenetrable realm -- one whose nature is inherently unquestionable. This can be understood as a white hole -- from whch an"matter and light" emerge such as to inform and determine any strategic resolutique. Being the very fundament of such undertakings, it is necessarily beyond any legitimate challenge. This is consistent with the understanding of axioms in mathematic and logic, namely that they are simply posited and cannot be proven.
The dynamics of hope in an information-based society can then be usefully explored as white holes. It is from such a perspective that hope-mongering calls for greater understanding as a process in which officiants notably engage in offering heavenly "carrots" to a population faced with a prospect of hopelessness (Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "credit crunch" focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset, 2008).
Cognitive mystery of holes
The intriguing commonality to both kinds of "hole", whether for astrophysics or as metaphors, is the sense in which they are so all-encompassing in experiential and cognitive terms that they do not allow for meaningful discourse. Whether as problematique or resolutique (axiomatique), they overwhelm any effort to engage with them cognitively. They are a particular challenge to belief and credibility -- as has become remarkably clear in discussion of confidence and trust as a consequence of the financial crisis and emerging recognition of the degree of complicity of authority in abuse of trust (***).
This sense of being overwhelmed may be articulated by using more familiar metaphors, such as "hurricane" or "avalanche" in the case of problems (as was the case of the subprime crisis and what followed). There is a sense of being "snowed under" -- if not "snowed". The wicked problem-- and its essential wickedness -- trumps all other considerations. In the case of the current devastating earthquake in Nepal, both problem and solution take precedence over everything else -- knee-jerk reactions and fire-fighting become the strategic style, Learning which could have taken place in the past is left to the future -- when it will in all probability be further postponed. It is unclear that disasters encourage fruitful collective learning (Enabling Collective Intelligence in Response to Emergencies, 2010; Anticipating Future Strategic Triple Whammies: in the light of earthquake-tsunami-nuclear misconceptions, 2011; Disastrous Floods as Indicators of Systemic Risk Neglect: implications for authoritative response to future surprises, 2011)
How do such situations function as cognitive "holes in reality"? Should they rather be understood as "wholes" of a nature so mysterious that only the officiants are capable of offering guidance -- as with any pritesthood of the past? Remember the abuses and mystification with which they were associated, however? Most recently these have been evident in the scandals and coverups relating to the sexual abuse by clergy at every level of the Catholic hierarchy.
As noted separately (Cognitive mystery of holes, lacunae and incompleteness, 2014), of particular relevance is the remarkable exploration by Roberto Casati and Achille C. Varzi (Holes and Other Superficialities, 1994) -- with respect to the borderlines of metaphysics, everyday geometry, and the theory of perception (reviewed by Steven A. Gross, What's in a Hole? The Harvard Review of Philosophy, 1994). They seek to answer two basic questions: Do holes really exist? And if so, what are they? As they indicate in an extensive entry on holes in the Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy:
Hole representations -- no matter whether veridical -- appear to be commonplace in human cognition. Not only do people have the impression of seeing holes; they also form a corresponding concept, which is normally lexicalised as a noun in ordinary languages...Moreover, data from developmental psychology and the psychology of perception confirm that infants and adults are able to perceive, count, and track holes just as easily as they perceive, count, and track paradigm material objects such as cookies and tins... These facts do not prove that holes and material objects are on equal psychological footing, let alone on equal metaphysical footing. But they indicate that the concept of a hole is of significant salience in the common-sense picture of the world, specifically of the spatiotemporal world.
Conundrums noted by the authors include:
- It is difficult to explain how holes can in fact be perceived.... a causal theory of perception would not apply to holes. Our impression of perceiving holes would then be a sort of systematic illusion, on pain of rejecting causal accounts of perception...
- It is difficult to specify identity criteria for holes -- more difficult than for ordinary material objects. As holes are immaterial, we cannot account for the identity of a hole via the identity of any constituting stuff. But neither can we rely on the identity conditions of its material host... And we cannot rely on the identity conditions of its guest, for it would seem that we can empty a hole of whatever might partially or fully occupy it and leave the hole intact.
- It is equally difficult to account for the mereology of holes. Take a card and punch a hole in it. You have made one hole. Now punch again next to it. Have you made another hole?... what prevents us from saying that we still have one hole, though a hole that comes in two disconnected parts? After all, material objects can be disconnected... Perhaps holes may be disconnected, too? If so, perhaps we have just punched a single, disconnected hole?
- It is also difficult to assess the explanatory relevance of holes. Arguably, whenever a physical interaction can be explained by appeal to the concept of a hole, a matching explanation can be offered invoking only material objects and their properties.... Aren't these latter explanations enough?
The focus of that argument is on holes as they may be perceived in tangible objects. The argument is not extended to the implications for intangible holes -- for which tangible holes are used so frequently as a metaphor. However tangible they may be considered to be, hole is the metaphor of choice for atomic physic and astrophysics. Of particular interest is how "hole" may relate to the argument of Terrence Deacon (Incomplete Nature: how mind emerged from matter, 2012), or the incompleteness theorems of Kurt Gödel, notably as discussed by Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an eternal Golden Braid, 1979), as well as his ontological proof of the existence of God. As presented by Deacon:
The problem is this: Such concepts as information, function, purpose, meaning, intention, significance, consciousness, and value are intrinsically defined by their fundamental incompleteness. They exist only in relation to something they are not.... The "something" that each of these is not is precisely what matters most. But notice the paradox in this English turn of phrase. To "matter" is to be substantial, to resist modification, to be beyond creation or destruction -- and yet what maters about an idea or purpose is dependent on something that is not substantial in any obvious sense. So what is shared in common between all these phenomena? In a word, nothing -- or rather, something not present. (p. 23, emphasis in original)
Of relevance to the argument here, the points made above were presented in a more general discussion with regard to the "theology" and belief with which any "axiomatique" is associated (Is the World View of a Holy Father Necessarily Full of Holes? Mysterious theological black holes engendering global crises, 2014). The phrase "full of holes" can of course be applied to the articulation by science of both problematique and resolutique (Scientific Gerrymandering of Boundaries of Overpopulation Debate, 2012; Lipoproblems: Developing a Strategy Omitting a Key Problem: the systemic challenge of climate change and resource issues, 2009).
Emotional blackmail by officiants
The focus here is the extent to which the officiants of engagement between problematique and resolutique themselves engage is a strange process of emotional blackmail, as discused separately (Exploiting suffering as a means of moral and emotional blackmail, 2013) in a section of a more general argument (Enabling Suffering through Doublespeak and Doublethink, 2013). This explored the manner in which the various forms of doublespeak are blended cynically into the process of deploring suffering, as separately discussed (Vigorous Application of Derivative Thinking to Derivative Problems: transcending bewailing, hand-wringing and emotional blackmail, 2013):
As indicated by the title, the concern... is with the nature of authoritative analysis of any problem situation such as to avoid any focus on generative factors. The subtitle is indicative of a secondary concern that this avoidance ensures every opportunity for many to wring their hands in compassionate despair for those who suffer as a consequence. For those variously claiming the highest moral authority, this may then be reinforced by their vacuous appeals to others of lesser standing to enable the resolution of the problem -- a form of emotional blackmail further reinforced by daily media coverage of that suffering.
As further noted:
Possibly most offensive at this time is the "hand-wringing" by authorities... This is reminiscent of that given prominence by Pontius Pilate in "washing his hands" to show that he was not responsible for the execution of Jesus, and in thereby reluctantly sending him to his death (Matthew 27:24). Associated with this process is the emotional blackmail by which responsibility for the current global condition is thereby allocated to others.
Especially significant to the current argument is the manner in which human rights and the law are increasingly used as a form of decorative "fig leaf", variously adjusted to conceal the "erogenous zones" through which the problematique is engendered and sustained. Appeals to the "law" and its constraints then obscure the extent to which behaviour is conditioned by some form of "lore" to which little reference is made, as separately discussed (Law and Order vs. Lore and Orders? Imagining otherwise the forceful engagement of singularity with plurality, 2013).
A more clearly recognized situation is offered by the military and security services in their portrayal of the security problematique with which they consider their societies to be confronted -- and the absolute necessity for periodic increases to the military budget to safeguard the future. To what extent does their presentation constitute an exercise in emotional blackmail? Analogues are evident in response to other unquestionable budgetary situations presented as a case of "saving lives" -- as is typical of health-related proposals. That argument is extended to other domains, notably with respect to exploiting the environment. Then it is presented as "saving livelihoods" -- namely "saving jobs".
Another example is offered by a current issue of The Economist, a journal renowned for its responsible analysis. This was themed on the topic: Europe's boat people: a moral and political disgrace (25 April-1st May 2015). The entire focus was on the immediate
tragedy with respect to Mediterranean migration, with the emphasis on how refugees should be more appropriately
accepted in far larger numbers by Europe.
There was only the briefest mention that: "And in the long run migration
north to Europe will never be just a matter of refugees...And the
population there [in Saharan Africa] is expected to double over the
next 30 years".
Despite this, the various mini-graphs offered stop at 2015. There is no analysis with respect to longer time scales. This is curious for a discipline typically so assiduous in the estimation of future economic impacts. Is it the case that the loss of human life in the future in greater numbers is in some strange and skillful way "discounted" in relation to the need for immediate commitment to focus on those who pose an immediate challenge?
What exactly is
causing the population to "double over the next 30 years"? Would it
not be strategically responsible to consider either how to constrain
that rate of increase or to consider how Europe is to absorb such
numbers -- given its own crises of unemployment, housing, social
security, and the like?
Like it or not, such questions are being asked by right-wing parties
-- with the unrest for which they are liable to be a focus, What
seems so intellectually dishonest is the incapacity to address the
issue of population pressure and the vested interests which have so
surreptitiously supported it. The preferred focus then constitutes a form of
short-term emotional blackmail with little attention to the long-term
suffering already in the pipeline -- reframed curiously as somehow acceptable by future generations.
Systematic misrepresentation by officiants
Whether as problematique or resolutique, there are strange commonalities to the discourse by officiants in their "representation" of the challenge and opportunity:
- unquestionable insight, namely the sense in which officiants have especially privileged understanding of the:
- resolutique, and are to be considered to be identified in some way with that as a strategic answer, irrespective of views to the contrary
- problematique, and are to be considered the most relevant in framing the methodological questions and challenges it implies, irrespective of views to the contrary
- global consensus as a moral obligation, namely the problem is so great or so urgent (as we should all agree), that it is absolutely inappropriate to question the framing offered by the officiant. There is a sense in which the officiants endeavour to play a card which will trump every other argument, or undermine the manner in which they are currently positioned on the moral high ground. This modality is reminiscent of that of individual religions seeking global adherence to their particular belief -- a pattern now strangely emulated by science, as separately argued (The Consensus Delusion: mysterious attractor undermining global civilization as currently imagined, 2011).
- ungrounded appeals, primarily of value for public relations purposes:
- addressed in part to nonexistent collective entities, namely those whose very existence is in reality questionable ("global community", "international community") and who are unable to "receive" such communications
- appeal for resources (given the urgency again), namely the need for everybody to contribute to the budget of those responding to the problematique through some strategic resolutique. This is seen as a totally justified means of by-passing the inappropriateness of other financial streams and priorities -- to which some may (irresponsibly?) accord greater relative priority. The appeal may be phrased in terms of "if only people would contribute X" then particular lives could be saved. Persuasive images of the suffering are presented to that end -- images to which "no one with any humanity" can be indifferent
- unrealistic articulation of strategic proposals, failing to take into account factors which have mitigated in the past against more than their token implementation (Recognizing the Psychosocial Boundaries of Remedial Action: constraints on ensuring a safe operating space for humanity, 2009)
- revalidation of the role of the officiant through the process of articulating that which is beyond question. Any failure in this respect is viewed as undermining a role vital to safeguarding human lives
- act now -- save lives -- don't think, or question the need !
Missing from the process is any recognition of the manner in which urgency is exploited to distort communication regarding problematique or resolutique. This takes several forms:
- focus on the short-term (as noted), precluding any consideration of the longer term (as in the framing by The Economist). Forget the future, the problem is now
- designing out factors of relevance to evaluation of the situation (Uncritical Strategic Dependence on Little-known Metrics: the Gaussian Copula, the Kaya Identity, and what else? 2009). As made remarkably clear there, in the case of climate change, an official report explicitly set aside the population factor in the Kaya Identity:
The challenge - an absolute reduction of global GHG emissions - is daunting. It presupposes a reduction of energy and carbon intensities at a faster rate than income and population growth taken together. Admittedly, there are many possible combinations of the four Kaya identity components, but with the scope and legitimacy of population control subject to ongoing debate, the remaining two technology-oriented factors, energy and carbon intensities, have to bear the main burden....
- failure to acknowledge
- present suffering has been "designed in" by previous systemic neglect in a pattern which will in all probability be perpetuated in the future
- indifference to suffering has been institutionalized. This is evident to a degree in the tardy limited responses to the earthquake disaster in Nepal (with fatalities exceeding those in the Mediterranean in the same week), as has been evident with previous natural disasters
The naivety or cynicism of officiants is especially evident in the assumption that they appear to make that their role is as respected as it may have been in the past. Very active debates address the challenge of the democratic deficit however. The point is usefully made by the cover theme of a recent issue of Newsweek (17 April 2015): Democracy isn't working, as asserted by a would-be officiant in this period, namely Tony Blair.
Blair offers the spectacle of a former officiant whose Catholic faith and strategic complicity (which he continues to defend) successfully contributed to the destabilization of the Middle East -- with the ever greater suffering there at this time. Irrespective of the analysis by Blair, the point to be made is the widespread sense that:
The system's broken. Nothing changes. All politicians are the same. Why vote? It's a popular refrain, particularly among the young. People feel cut off from the po9litical process and unrepresented by the political elite. Just 16 per cent of Britons say they trust politicians -- that's even worse than bankers. We're living through a crisis of mainstream politics says Carl Miller at London-based think tank Demos. Voter turnout has been steadily declining in established democracies in Europe, Latin America and the US for the past few decades. (Niall Firth, We the People, New Scientist, 25 April 2015)
Would-be officiants at the engagement and nuptials of problematique and resolutique are no longer credible or trustworthy -- as many surveys indicate. They invite suspicion through what they fail to address (Global Strategic Implications of the "Unsaid": from myth-making towards a "wisdom society", 2003). This has been exacerbated by the revelations of the extent of invasive surveillance by those in power.
Consummation: officiant participation in the end game
Their prominence as officiants constitutes a challenge for all concerned in the marriage-and-nuptial process of problematique and resolutique. To affirm their role, they necessarily aspire to be "in at the end game" to the extent possible. Understood as a marriage, this may be limited to some ceremonial blessing. The difficulty for an officiant is any expectation of involvement in the "nuptials" -- in the "implementation" thereafter.
The dilemma is evident in the case of any priestly officiant. In more secular terms, the question is evident in the case of any facilitation process. To what extent is there a need for the facilitator to be present as the relationship evolves? Does meaningful consummation require that the parties explore their intercourse by themselves? How is the absence of the officiant ensured? Or is it the case that intercourse between the parties requires such a presence?
It is of course the case that the development of the process of intercourse may become fruitless. Marital conflict is a well recognized challenge for which the assistance of marriage consultants may be sought. Are parallels to domestic abuse to be considered with respect to the co-habitation of problematique and resolutique -- especially understood within a single planetary context? One framework for exploration of this metaphor is the speculative dystopian novel by Margaret Atwood (The Handmaid's Tale, 1985), notably in the light of its exploitation of homonym. Set in the near future, in a totalitarian Christian theocracy, the novel explores themes of women in subjugation and the various means by which they gain agency.
The sense of gaining agency usefully raises the question as to whether it is the problematique or the resolutique that should be considered as dysfunctionally dominant in global civilization at this time. Clearly there is a widespread assumption (and a desire) that the resolutique should be "dominant" and that the problematique should be "subjugated". This recalls the attitude of many officiants in relation to conventional marriage, especially when the woman is considered in some way associated with sinfulness. The issue is echoed in other debates regarding the role of women in policy-making as indicated by the need to create the Women's Forum for the Economy and Society as a counterpart to the Davos Forum, as discussed separately (Women and the Underside of Meetings: symptoms of denial in considering strategic options, 2009)
The pattern of frustration, abuse and fruitlessness which has characterized the relationship between problematique and resolutique could benefit from insights from the overly familiar marital situations of many -- whether the marriage was arranged, inspired by romance, or otherwise. Thinking could be taken further from the current challenges of same-sex marriage and transgender dilemmas, as separately discussed (Marrying an Other whatever the Form: reframing and extending the understanding of marriage, 2013). As is evident from the debate within the Catholic Church, the role of the officiant with respect to unconventional forms of marriage has yet to be clarified. Could it be the case that the manner in which the role of women is questioned echoes the inadequacy of thinking with regard to the articulation of a fruitful resolutique -- as some have argued with respect to board level participation of women at the highest level of governments and corporations facing challenges.
As in any marriage, the subjugation may well be simplistic and extreme -- lacking the subtlety with which fruitful marriage might otherwise be associated. The manner in which many strategies are promoted and implemented could well be said to be characterized by (structured) violence of this kind, whether subtle or otherwise. There is a case for exploring insights from the reverse situation in which it is the problematique which is dominant -- as might be said with respect to the overwhelming role of wicked problems, constituting a challenge for any strategy. More interesting could be forms of marriage between resolutique and problematique in which any power relationships were better understood in dynamic terms over time, notably in terms of alternation (Development through Alternation, 1983).
Far more provocative is the manner in which intercourse is framed and organized in animal husbandry. Is this a challenging model for a possible relationship between problematique and resolutique? The focus within that context is breeding. The role of the officiant is then as breeder, notably preoccupied with blood lines and genetic purity. This is reminiscent of the special use of "line" with respect to legacy in some male-dominated spiritual traditions. Especially intriguing within this metaphor are those species (such as camels) in which breeding requires the very particular hands-on assistance of the breeder. Given the challenges of intercourse between problematique and resolutique, should such participation be considered appropriate by officiants?
Imaginatique: new thinking and creative imagination?
Missing from the argument regarding marriage is the imagination with respect to its framing from the perspective of the participants. A distinction is required from the imaginary framework offered by the officiant, especially from a religious or administrative perspective. For a faith-inspired officiant, the ideal is that the marriage conform to that framed by the faith -- a marriage "made in heaven", with the blessing of divinity. Any other imagination is liable to be dismissed condescendingly as fantasy, whether charming or misguided.
This perspective is seriously obsolete in the eyes of many inspired by their relationships with a significant other -- as with Goethe's elective affinity. It could well be said that there is an "unimaginable" degree of investment in such a relationship -- essentially carried and inspired by imagination beyond that of officiants. The latter have no effective role to play in this -- whatever they may choose to deprecate with respect to its tangible manifestations. Other's may however nourish such imagination, notably through novels, songs, myths, imagery, and the like (Imaginal Education: game playing, science fiction, language, art and world-making, 2003).
This issue could be considered as fundamental to the widespread call for "new thinking" -- even as expressed by officiants (Annan calls for 'new thinking' in Mideast process, The Irish Times, 22 February 2002; Gorbachev's New Thinking, Foreign Affairs, 1 February 1989), or as articulated by the Cambridge Trust for New Thinking in Economics. Bluntly stated, few official reports are characterized by the quality of imagination attractive to larger proportions of the population, and certainly not of the kind to inspire any marriage in the sense explored here. The point has been separately argued (Engendering 2052 through Re-imagining the Present, 2012) -- which took the form of a review of an essentially unimaginative report presented to the Club of Rome (Jorgen Randers, 2052: a Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, 2012).
Curiously it is innovators in technology who offer highly imaginative frameworks, most obviously manifesting in interactive gaming, virtual reality, the prospect of space exploration, and the like. They then function, to some degree, as surrogate officiants. They too may fantasize about their role in enabling more fruitful governance -- a more fruitful marriage between problematique and resolutique (John R. De La Mothe, Science, Technology and Global Governance, 2014; Benjamin Barber, Dysfunctional Nations, Rising Cities: the opportunity facing Silicon Valley, 2015 State of the Valley Conference; Jonathan Visbal, Governance Lessons from Silicon Valley, Bloomberg Business, 13 May 2008)
Given the concern articulated above regarding the democratic deficit, it is appropriate to note that the above-cited contribution by Niall Firth (We the People, New Scientist, 25 April 2015) indeed reviews a range of "new flavours" for democracy: direct democracy, representative democracy, liquid democracy, and deliberative democracy. What could be considered extraordinary, in a period when the democratic system is recognized as "broken", is the limited range of alternatives under consideration. How is it that more extensive use is not made of simulation of more generic models from which a greater range of possibilities might emerge for consideration?
This lack of stimulus to imaginative thinking can be contrasted with the speculations of astrophysicists as discussed separately (Eliciting a Universe of Meaning -- within a global information society of fragmenting knowledge and relationships, 2013; Proposed universes and their conversation potential, 2012). As indicated there, recent research by Stephen Hawking and colleagues (Accelerated Expansion from Negative Lambda, 2012), has shown that the universe may have the same surreal geometry as some of art's most mind-boggling images (Lisa Grossman, Hawking's 'Escher-verse' could be theory of everything, New Scientist, 9 June 2012). This offers a way of reconciling the geometric demands of string theory, a still-hypothetical "theory of everything", with the universe as observed -- through a negatively-curved Escher-like geometry (essentially a hyperbolic space).
The recent results of astrophysics rely on a mathematical twist previously considered impossible, namely the use of a negative cosmological constant rather than a positive one. The new approach provides a description of "all the possible universes that could have been -- including ones in which the solar system never formed, or in which life might have evolved quite differently". Making conventional use of a positive cosmological constant, it had proven impossible to describe universes that were "anything more than clunky approximations to reality." A plethora of universes have now been generated from wave functions with negative cosmological constants.
Why have a "plethora of democratic systems" not been generated to invite imaginative reflection and debate? Where is the equivalent for democracies of the summary by John D. Barrow (The Book of Universes: exploring the limits of the cosmos, 2012)? Is it too readily assumed that a viable democratic system demands less creative thinking than that devoted to the manner whereby the universe is governed? Or is it more a case of conventional apathy and acceptance with regard to ungovernability, as separately discussed (Ungovernability of Sustainable Global Democracy? 2011).
How is it that the title of a separate compilation by Hawking can carry a message which is not explored more imaginatively with respect to democracy (The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: the most astounding papers of quantum physics -- and how they shook the scientific world, 2011). Following Martin Luther King's much-cited speech, I Have a Dream (1963), where are the dreams that democracy is made of? How might they shake the world?
Or is the assumption made that humanity lives in a "one-dream" global civilization -- based on an increasingly vain quest for its expression in reality? Curiously Hawking's title is a further a play on words of relevance to any imaginative approach, namely both a song (Carly Simon, The Stuff That Dreams Are Made Of, 1987) and a study of the role of science fiction (Thomas M. Disch, The Dreams Our Stuff Is Made Of: how science fiction conquered the world, 1998). Such imagination is further expanded by Steven M. Rosen (Dreams, Death, Rebirth: a topological odyssey into alchemy's hidden dimensions, 2014).
Imaginative use of metaphor is clearly central to the possibility of a more fruitful marriage, as clarified 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 (Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, 1995).
Is there a need to recognize an "imaginatique" to enable a fruitful relationship between problematique and resolutique, as separately argued (Imaginatique and Irresolutique, 2007). Why are officiants so unimaginative?
Ludique: game-playing and fun
The argument above suggested a relationship between axiomatique and resolutique, with the former being strangely implicit in the latter. Another strange relationship meriting attention is that between resolutique and "irresolutique". As noted in relation to imaginatique , the "shadow" of the resolutique is what might be termed the irresolutique (Imaginatique and Irresolutique, 2007).
Whilst the resolutique may indeed be a "global approach at every level of societies within a global perspective to interactive solutions destined to solve problems", as a new enabling methodology, it also carries the challenge of resolve, resolution and political will -- and irresolution as the basic lack thereof. Whilst international institutions engender a plethora of "resolutions" in response to the global problematique, it is only too clear that this is effectively a form of game-playing with only token convergence on effective implementation. The dynamic could even be explored as an art form skillfully framed by blame-gaming of every form (The Art of Non-Decision-Making, 1997).
The earlier discussion suggested a relationship between irresolutique and game-playing amongst those mobilized in support of any collective project, as is typical amongst those within any institution, between its departments, or in any process of inter-institutional, inter-disciplinary or inter-faith "collaboration". This might be usefully framed with the term "ludique" in the light of the seminal text on the matter (Johan Huizinga, Homo Ludens: a study of the play element in culture, 1955).
It is difficult to overestimate the focal role played by playfullness and humour in sustaining meaning in daily life, even under the most disastrous conditions. Less evident is the nature of their role in other domains (Humour and Play-Fullness: essential integrative processes in governance, religion and transdisciplinarity, 2005). How does such a function translate into the enabling operacy of a resolutique? A central concern is why people worldwide enjoy humour, as variously explored (Matthew M. Hurley, et al, Inside Jokes: using humor to reverse-engineer the mind, 2011; Marvin Minsky, Jokes and their Relation to the Cognitive Unconscious, 1980). Does it function as an enabling catalyst for fruitful intercourse? The study by Hurley is relatively unique in asking what is hnmour for from an evolutionary perspective.
Such subtle possibilities of transforming the irresolutique into the resolutique need to be more effectively understood. Properly framed this may be more a matter of "guiding the canoe" than "pushing the river" -- an exercise in strategic aikido. It is more powerful imagery which could prove the best catalyst for such reframing, both amongst elites and amongst the wider public, and as a vehicle for the transfer of insights between them. The information tools generated by industrial society need to be adapted to capture insight, and to carry and present the wisdom of all ages, in a manner directly relevant to the strategy-empowering exercise required at all levels of society.
Whilst game-playing is felt to be very real, this is typically not rendered explicit in the articulation or assessment of that collaboration, or in the manner in which it was originally designed. It is an emergent dynamic which effectively functions as an attractor that is typically of greater significance than those of the explicit objectives associated with progress towards the resolutique. It is the stuff of daily office gossip and bureaucratic game-playing: who is "up" or "in", who is "down" or "out", and who successfully did what to whom, and the success or failure of any actions in revenge. It typically interfaces with unethical operations, whether minor or major, possibly even criminal in nature -- a form of "black economy". These rarely ever figure in any reporting of reasons for the problematic performance of a collective endeavour. It is "real" but "implicit" -- and may well be the "only game in town".
The question discussed separately is how fruitfully to relate these dynamics (Interrelating problematique, resolutique, "imaginatique" and "irresolutique", 2007). Clearly, imagination plays a central role in assessing play and the opportunities it represents. Irrespective of its cynical condemnation in any strategic initiative, it may well be that it is in terms of game-playing that opportunities are assessed -- hence the extensive study of game-playing in relation to the policy sciences.
Mediating imaginative game-playing
Missing from the argument so presented is the sense of fun associated with imaginative game-playing. Whilst marital relationships (and prior courtship) may involve game-playing in its strategic sense, it is the interplay of imagination and fun which is vital to fruitful engagement. Again this interplay is essentially beyond the scope of the officiant. With respect to this argument a key question is then how "fun" emerges as significant in the relationship between problematique and resolutique. The question can be framed in a more particular manner in terms of the fun many derive from engaging creatively with a problem -- in many domains, but notably in technology and mathematics. Situations in which "the fun is taken out of" engagement with a problem do not favour creativity.
A schematic relationship between problematique, resolutique, imaginative and irresolutique was presented in a previous exercise (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007). As a development of it, the various threads of this argument could be tentatively interwoven in the following schematic. This is helpful in suggesting distinctions between:
- creativity and imagination, best recognized in considering creativity inspired by only limited imagination, and imagination characterized by limited creativity and originality
- fun and play, best recognized in considering fun without play (and the patterns of variations the latter may offer), and play without fun (as in some more mechanical forms of game-playing)
As a form of Venn diagram, the schematic isolates a central zone in which the four threads interweave as a context for fruitful intercourse between problematique and resolutique.
|Interweaving modalities framing fruitful intercourse between problematique and resolutique
Such a schematic can clearly be developed in a variety of ways to evoke a variety of connotations -- of which the vesica piscis is but one. Of particular relevance to global governance is the sense in which its dimensions recall the functional and symbolic role of circuses and their amphitheatres -- and their extreme importance to governance in engaging the support of the population throughout the Roman empire. The media now perform an equivalent function -- hence the phrase "media circus". The "sustainability" of the Roman empire over centuries is worth recalling. Numerous comparisons of present civilization with that empire have been made (J. Rainsnow, Entertainment, Politics, and the Soul: lessons of the Roman games; Jack Curtis, Bread and Circuses: the last days of the American Empire, American Thinker, 29 March 2013).
The question is whether the dimensions of the schematic were more readily evident and focused in practice in the Roman circuses than is currently the case through the media. Of relevance is the question of Amy Scanlon cited by William Astore (Bread and Circuses in Rome and America, The Huffington Post, 6 October 2013): Could our society be sliding towards those Roman attitudes in a bizarre sort of way? Scanlon's argument is that:
Basically ancient Rome was a society that completely revolved around war, and where compassion was considered a vice rather than a virtue... To a Roman compassion was a detestable vice, which was considered both decadent and feminine. Watching people and animals slaughtered brutally [in the arena] was seen as a way to keep the civilian population from this 'weakness'...
It is difficult to deny that global civilization is currently oriented around war to a high degree -- whether actual or virtual -- celebrated in forms of entertainment which are difficult to distinguish from reporting of ongoing conflicts and slaughter. For Ben Moreell (Of Bread And Circuses, The Freeman, 1 January 1956):
A twentieth-century repetition of the mistakes of ancient Rome would be inexcusable. Rome was eight and a half centuries old when the poet, Juvenal, penned his famous tirade against his degenerate countrymen. About 100 A.D. he wrote: Now that no one buys our votes, the public has long since cast off its cares; the people that once bestowed commands, consulships, legions and all else, now meddles no more and longs eagerly for just two things, bread and circuses....[panem et circenses].
Here was a once-proud people, whose government had been their servant, who had finally succumbed to the blandishments of clever political adventurers. They had gradually relinquished their sovereignty to government administrators to whom they had granted absolute powers, in return for food and entertainment. And the surprising thing about this insidious progression is that, at the time, few realized that they were witnessing the slow destruction of a people by a corruption that would eventually transmute a nation of self-reliant, courageous, sovereign individuals into a mob, dependent upon their government for the means of sustaining life.
Of remarkable significance in this context is the strange attractor associated with elegance -- curiously fundamental even to the operation of the Roman circuses. This is variously evident in the four dynamics of creativity, imagination, fun (especially humour), and play (especially music). In the schematic, these appropriately frame the subtlety of the central attractor of fruitful intercourse, however this is understood (Enacting Transformative Integral Thinking through Playful Elegance, 2010; "Human Intercourse" "Intercourse with Nature" and "Intercourse with the Other", 2007).
Funding a fun-dead marriage between problematique and resolutique?
However relevant (or not) it may prove to be in fact, there is a case for recognizing how important fun may be to the funding of any successful marriage between problematique and resolutique. Clearly many marriages fail both for lack of fun and for lack of funding. Whilst the play on words may be questionable, other than as a provocative mnemonic, it is useful to recall the extent to which the "funding" of strategic initiatives may in fact be based on non-monetized transactions. As noted by Anthony Burgoyne (Non-monetized Economies, 17 July 2010):
Non-monetized economies are more important than monetized economies. When economists or game theorists ignore this, they make mistakes in their analysis of rationality. A monetized economy is the sum of the transactions where money is exchanged... The non-monetized economy includes everything from parent-child interactions to having a dinner party to gazing at the starry sky. In all these cases, there is creation of value, but there isn't as simple a way to quantify an estimate of it. Yet, these non-monetized transactions or activities form the majority of what is valuable in a person's life.... The problem with monetized economics is that it is radically incomplete. When people worry about monetized economics, they are worrying about something that is a part of the overall economy.
Valentine M. Moghadam and Arvo Kuddo (Global Employment: an international investigation into the future of work, 1995):
In the service economy, it would appear that the link between montarized and non-monetarized activities is one of interdependence and that a growing part of these non-montarized activities are forms of productive work in the sense of contributing to the wealth of nations and in some cases contributing even as essential elements in the functioning of the monetarized world itself. There is probably a question of optimum equilibrium of the monetarized and non-monetarized activities, where their synergy is more and more important (p. 99)
Juliet Schor discusses aspects of the phenomenon as the sharing economy -- a more widely accepted label (Debating the Sharing Economy, Great Transition Initiative, October 2014):
Coming up with a solid definition of the sharing economy that reflects common usage is nearly impossible. There is great diversity among activities as well as baffling boundaries drawn by participants... When I posed these questions to a few sharing innovators, they were pragmatic, rather than analytical: self-definition by the platforms and the press defines who is in and who is out. Sharing economy activities fall into four broad categories: recirculation of goods, increased utilization of durable assets, exchange of services, and sharing of productive assets.
A contrasting approach to this understanding is through "psychic income", as discussed separately (Psychic Income) and usefully reviewed from a particular perspective by E. Glen Weyl (Psychic Income, Taxes and the Allocation of Talent, December, 2007). Challenging conventional economic notions of "productivity", it can be briefly defined as follows:
- Something apart from money that you get from your job, and which gives you emotional satisfaction such as a feeling of being powerful or important. (Financial Times Lexicon)
- Rewards (as in prestige, leisure, or pleasant surroundings) not measurable in terms of money or goods but serving as an incentive to work in certain occupations or situations. Example: a creative artist can reap a psychic income that money cannot match. (Merriam-Webster Dictionary)
- The value of an item over and above its cost. For example, one may spend $100,000 on one's first house, but this is offset psychologically by the pride of owning a home. Psychic income is intangible, but can add value. (Financial Dictionary)
- Put simply, it's whatever rewards you derive from your job that can't be neatly quantified by a dollar sign. And those rewards can be just as important as a paycheck (CNN/Money):
In this respect what is seldom if ever explored is the extent to which the repeated appeals by officiants for funding in monetary terms are associated with any recognition of the role of psychic income and fun -- understood as interrelated intangibles. Are the appeals then perceived by most people as simply "a drag"?
The point can be explored otherwise by considering the civil response to any major disaster -- as with the Nepal earthquake at the time of writing. Institutions frame the response in terms of the need for funding in monetary terms -- and its appropriate authorization. Significant delays -- reducing the ability to respond to suffering in a timely manner -- are associated with the mobilization of such funds and their effective use (Nepal government criticised for blocking earthquake aid to remote areas, The Guardian, 2 May 2015). Meanwhile, on the ground, considerable "energy" is deployed "productively" by citizens in response to those in need -- possibly with only the most modest support from local institutions.
Missing from typical systemic analysis is recognition that monetized funding is a tangible token of confidence in a fundamental sense. However such collective confidence may manifest in non-monetized forms, as exemplified in the event of disaster and civil unrest ('No one has come': one week on, Nepal quake victims help themselves, The Observer, 2 May 2015). Whilst money may indeed be recognized as "energy", there are forms of such energy which do not take monetary form, as discussed separately (Reframing Sustainable Sources of Energy for the Future: the vital role of psychosocial variants, 2006; Massive Elicitation of Psychosocial Energy: requisite technology for collective enlightenment, 2011).
A major limitation of officiants in framing a fruitful relationship between problematique and resolutique is that their imagination does not extend to dimensions associated with fun. The funding for which they so desperately appeal is in monetary form. Not only are the dynamics associated with fun totally absent from that appeal, but it is only too readily recognized that mobilizing funds in this way is associated with the high probability that they will not be used as intended. In fact the funds become tokens in various forms of institutional game-playing from which vested interests may seek to benefit -- undermining the initiatives for which appeals were made. Hence the value of the provocative mnemonic "fun-dead" strategic initiatives.
With respect to the non-monetized dimension, it is appropriate to note the role that monetary wealth played in imperial Rome, in contrast to honour as being a form of non-monetary wealth (Joseph H. Hellerman, Reconstructing Honor in Roman Philippi: Carmen Christi as Cursus Pudorum, 2005). Hellerman notes that loss of honour was apparently a more grievous calamity in that period than financial loss. He argues that the cursus honorum, the formalized sequence of public offices that marked out the prescribed social pilgrimage for aspiring senatorial aristocrats in Rome (and which was replicated in miniature in municipalities and in voluntary associations), forms the background against which Paul has framed his picture of Jesus in the great Christ hymn in Philippians 2. In marked contrast to the values of the dominant culture, he argues that Paul portrays Jesus descending what the author describes as a cursus pudorum ('course of ignominies').
Usefully to be considered as an intrinsic feature of the axiomatique, the relevant question is how the associated dynamics now manifest to influence the relationship between problematique and resolutique -- whether within elites or within urban gangs (Honour Essential to Psycho-social Integrity: challenge to the nameless of dishonourable leadership, 2005). It is striking that honour features prominently in the current military ethic (as in classical Rome), in criminal networks, and in sport. It is a focus of aspirations of academics for a Nobel Prize (for example).
The widespread use of the laurel leaf symbol, notably for United Nations agencies and "laureates", is a further indication of its continuing value. Remarkably honour is cited as fundamental to some of the most violent forms of domestic abuse -- with respect to adultery and the like -- curiously related to the fruitfulness of sexual intercourse, The question is how appropriate is the sensitivity to this dimension with respect to enabling a healthy relationship between problematique and resolutique.
Dynamics between hypothetical and metaphysical holes
This argument exploits through metaphor the suggested correspondences between black-hole/white-hole, male/female and the problematique/resolutique dynamic. Each of the polarities can of course be understood through its tangible manifestations. However each is also as significant in its elusive, intangible nature -- possible more so. Each can usefully be considered a cognitive construct. This is especially the case with regard to the existence of the hypothesized astrophysical phenomena. It is evident in current reflection in sexual identity, irrespective of its physical manifestations.
It is then of interest to recognize that problems, as perceived by some, may be solutions as perceived by others. The resolutique for some may be the problematique for others. In this sense it is questionable to have associated "black" hole with problematique and "white" hole with resolutique -- with the further implication that the traditional male deprecation of the female as sinful could also be associated with black, in contrast with the male as white. As might be expected, the question of whether "black hole" has "racist" connotation continues to be the subject of debate. Clearly the issue of whether a particular strategic solution is "right" or fundamentally "wrong" is of related interest, especially when what is framed as a problem may well be a solution.
Any such sense of misrepresentation can be used to develop further the argument relating to a fruitful dynamic between those polarities -- fruitful intercourse of relevance to global governance. This suggests the possibility that clues to a more fruitful relationship may indeed lie in a more complex understanding of the challenging relationships in society between male and female, and between black and white. Some clues may indeed emerge from consideration of the relationship between the contrasting holes of astrophysics -- however invisible or hypothetical.
The associated paradoxes can be usefully framed by the Möbius strip (of which there are many imaginative depictions on the web). Although apparently extremely simple, it is potentially to be understood as a more complex rendering of the schematic above relating problematique and resolutique. Its advantage for purposes of illustration is that it appears to have two distinct surfaces -- whether understood as "black" or "white" -- but the twist in the loop is such that the two sides are continuous, namely the "white" is continuous with the "black". The form has the additional advantage of being reminiscent of various knots associated with romantic bonds or marriage.
|For a strip that apparently has two sides (black and white in this case), it is significant how difficult it is to depict a gradation of colour to indicate the manner in which the two colours blend into one another -- since the strip has only one side.
It is a form of this kind which can usefully guide and frame thinking about controversial distinctions which depend on perspective, as argued by Steven M. Rosen (Science, Paradox, and the Moebius Principle: the evolution of a "transcultural" approach to wholeness, 1994). Potentially of further interest is the manner in which it apparently frames two distinct "holes". Of even greater interest is recognition that the singular focus of "fruitful intercourse" (of the earlier schematic) can be associated with the central hole resulting from the fact that the loop can be seen as a torus. This central hole is invisible in the above depiction where it can only be inferred. It is very visible in many of the other depictions of the Möbius strip.
The form is also valuable in that it suggests how a perspective may need to be modulated as a consequence of any shift in point of view. Such a necessary shift is a common experience when moving around the planet -- or in male/female relations. The shift can be fruitfully understood in terms of "cognitive undulation" as a consequence of such movement, also to be understood in terms of alternation between contrasting modalities. The significance for individual identity has been explored by Douglas Hofstadter (I am a Strange Loop, 2007). The significance for collective identity can be similarly explored (Sustaining a Community of Strange Loops: comprehension and engagement through aesthetic ring transformation, 2010). Although such flexibility is a characteristic requirement of many occupations, it suggests the possible future emergence of what has been termed homo undulans by Daniel Dervin (Creativity and Culture: a psychoanalytic study of the creative process in the arts, science and culture, 1990).
The particular value of the reference to astrophysical holes is that they require a degree of disciplined exploration which it is difficult to deploy in the case of controversial psychosocial distinctions in which individuals, and their identities, are highly implicated. Especially relevant in the astrophysical case is the ability to address the complex dynamics of the "holes". These are not static but constitute major attractors in their environment -- exerting "pull". Such pull is of course evident in the relationship between the other polarities, most notably male-and-female, but also problematique-resolutique.
Another metaphor through which such polarities may be explored is that of the hemispheres of the brain and the lateralization of its functions (Engendering Viable Global Futures through Hemispheric Integration: a radical challenge to individual imagination, 2014). As the integrative bridge between the hemispheres,the corpus callosum can also be explored as a metaphor for the global integration of knowledge functions (Corpus Callosum of the Global Brain? Locating the integrative function within the world wide web, 2014).
Given that the categories through which the metaphors are explored are to some degree constructs of this period of human civilization, a further twist to the argument, and the nature of the dynamic, is the controversy between externality and internality, and between objective and subjective. This continues to arouse the strongest arguments (¡¿ Defining the objective 8 Refining the subjective ?! Explaining reality 8 Embodying realization, 2011). As noted by Bahar Gholipour, Up to 90 of your perception could be made up purely by the brain (BrainDecoder.com, 22 April 2015). In topological terms, the question is whether such categories relate more appropriately to "inside" or to "outside", whether there is continuity (as in the Möbius strip or the Klein bottle), or whether there is again some form of oscillation between the two points of view. Is the world best understood as inside or outside, or both (World Introversion through Paracycling Global potential for living sustainably "outside-inside", 2013)?
Such considerations frame the challenge of the locus of any officiant seeking to facilitate any marriage between contrasting worldviews. As depicted above the locus might be assumed to be at the cross-over point at the centre of the schematic. However from a three-dimensional perspective this locus is illusory and any effort to emphasize this association would be simply misleading and essentially unproductive. Potentially even more questionable is any effort by the officiant to be identified with the central hole, as evident in three dimensions. This endeavour would be consistent with the Biblical message: I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me (John 14:6). The challenge of such a message is that it conflicts with the perception of other belief systems -- especially including science, which holds an analogous view as being "The Way". Silicon Valley technocracy and the world of music suffer from similar handicaps.
Provocatively it could be said that the effort to occupy that position is effectively to block fruitful intercourse between polarized perspectives, whether male/female or problematique/resolutique. The officiant then effectively takes on the role of a contraceptive. This recalls the many references -- in the blunt language of Australia and New Zealand -- to people and institutions being a "condom on the penis of progress". Given the controversy with which the Pope is associated in relation to use of contraceptives, there would be considerable irony to his being caricatured in those terms.
With respect to any "naming" of that central hole, with which fruitful intercourse of higher dimensionality could be associated, various alternatives challenge any occupancy of the hole by officiants:
- For the Tao Te Ching: The Way that can be told of is not an unvarying way / The names that can be named are not unvarying names / It was from the Nameless that Heaven and Earth sprang/ The named is but the mother that rears the ten thousand creatures, each after its kind.
- For Christopher Alexander (The Timeless Way of Building, 1979, p. x):
There is a central quality which is the root criterion of life and spirit in a man, a town, a building, or a wilderness. This quality is objective and precise, but it cannot be named. The search we make for this quality, in our own lives, is the central search of any person, and the crux of any individual person's story. It is the search for those moments when we are most alive....
To the extent they are alive, they let our inner forces loose, and set us free; but when they are dead, they keep us locked in inner conflict. The more living patterns there are in a place... the more it comes to life as an entirety, the more it glows, the more it has that self-maintaining fire which is the quality without a name.
- For Reshad Feild (The Last Barrier: a journey into the essence of Sufi teachings, 2002), the essential challenge can be expressed in terms of "removing the point from which we view".
These variously point to the need for any officiant, or any analogous perspective, to "get out of the way", rather than aspiring to "be the way". Fruitful intercourse is then appropriately understood as essentially self-organizing. The issue here is how best to comprehend the self-organizing dynamics between resolutique and problematique -- framed and enabled by the processes implied by creativity, imagination, fun and play. It is through these that individuals are engaged by the collective dynamic -- a dynamic echoed in personal experience, as explored by Nobel Laureate Doris Lessing (The Marriages Between Zones Three, Four and Five, 1980). There is a case for continuing exploration of the systematic patterns implied by such distinctions. Lessing's speculative exploration of gender politics in relation to societal issues is a valuable indicator of how intercourse between male and female can function as a widely comprehensible metaphor of the challenges of marriage between problematique and resolutique.
The concern here is the degree to which inspiring creativity and imagination are significantly lacking in the reports authorized and endorsed by officiants. One would be hard put to document the imaginative "new thinking" they have engendered -- beyond glossy presentations for purposes of public relations. Similarly one would be equally hard put to identify the role of play and fun in initiatives from which these are deliberately excluded. A curious exception is the work by Victor S. M. de Guinzbourg (Wit and Wisdom of the United Nations: proverbs and apothegms on diplomacy, 1961). Few would however deny the extent to which the dynamics of the global community are characterized by game-playing of the least attractive kind.
Systemic neglect in unimaginative appeals
Following the separately reviewed report of The Royal Society (People and the Planet, 2012), and that to the Club of Rome (2052: A Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years, 2012), the Pope has now presented the joint report of the Pontifical Academy of Sciences and the Pontifical Academy of Social Sciences (Climate Change and The Common Good: a statement of the problem and the demand for transformative solutions, 2015). The latter is introduced by a declaration announcing:
The Catholic Church, working with the leadership of other religions, can now take a decisive role by mobilizing public opinion and public funds to meet the energy needs of the poorest 3 billion people, thus allowing them to prepare for the challenges of unavoidable climate and eco-system changes. Such a bold and humanitarian action by the world's religions acting in unison is certain to catalyze a public debate over how we can integrate societal choices, as prioritized under UN's sustainable development goals, into sustainable economic development pathways for the 21st century, with projected population of 10 billion or more.
It is the phrase "working with the leadership of other religions" which marks the text as unrealistic. Many "other religions" have endeavoured to elaborate a Declaration Toward a Global Ethic, initially drafted by a Catholic theologian in cooperation with the Council for a Parliament of the World's Religions, for signature at that event in 1993. This was effectively as a means of giving focus to the "moral awkening" for which the Vatican now argues. However, in practice the Catholic Church has been notable for its non-participation in that process, whilst endeavouring to position itself as a focus of the much-challenged interfaith process now further exacerbated by faith-based conflicts in the Middle East (Learnings for the Future of Inter-Faith Dialogue: insights evoked by intractable international differences, 1993). The systemic inadequcies of the process are now well-disguised by what amounts to tardy public relations presentations and hope-mongering (The Man of the Year and a Champion of Interfaith: thoughts on Evangelii Gaudium of Pope Francis, Council for a Parliament of the Worlds Religions, Interreligious Movement Mission,News, 12 December 2013).
The report also includes the statement:
Over and above institutional reforms, policy changes and technological innovations for affordable access to zero-carbon energy sources, there is a fundamental need to reorient our attitude toward nature and, thereby, toward ourselves. Finding ways to develop a sustainable relationship with our planet requires not only the engagement of scientists, political leaders and civil societies, but ultimately also a moral revolution. Religious institutions can and should take the lead on bringing about such a new attitude towards Creation.
Unfortunately, under the heading How Did We Get Here, it is noted that: Human activities have changed the climate system through emissions of CO2, other non-CO2 greenhouse gases and particulate pollution. Vast transformations of the land surface, including loss of forests, grasslands, wetlands, and other ecosystems, are also contributing to climate change. Most significantly, as with the two other reports cited, no mention is made of the role of sexual intercourse in triggering this degradation and ensuring its perpetuation on ever larger scales. Ever increasing population growth is taken as a (desirable) given, with the expectation of ever-increasing migration from Africa into Europe in consequence, as noted above (Europe's boat people: a moral and political disgrace, The Economist, 25 April-1st May 2015). The process is exacerbated by long-term policies of the Catholic Church which uses the suffering as a form of emotional blackmail in the hope of triggering a moral awakening. There is however every possibility that it will trigger ever greater indifference to such suffering (Indifference to the Suffering of Others: occupying the moral and ethical high ground through doublespeak, 2013).
Consistent with such systemic neglect, such reports are marked by the fundamental failure to consider why analyses and appeals are so systematically ignored in practice, as separately argued (Recognizing the Psychosocial Boundaries of Remedial Action: constraints on ensuring a safe operating space for humanity, 2009; Collective Learning from Calls for Global Action, 1981). Effectively neutered by their methodology, reports by officiants are exercises in disempowerment because of their failure to recognize where the power is coming from in a planet of people.
Empowering enlightenment through sexy technomimicry?
As framed by the above argument, the question is then how to take seriously the psychosocial driving forces that are so skillfully designed out of a neutered future. How might a "sexy" future be envisaged -- enabled by the insights of technological innovation by which people are increasingly enthralled? Using the common electrical metaphor, how best to "get a charge" out of the extremes of doom--mongering and hope-mongering? How best to harness whatever "turns people on" -- rather than ignoring it completely?
The question can be understood as posing a challenge of method. The issue may not be so much whether certain insights are relevant. Rather than whether they fit into such a vision, it may be a question of how they fit. It is curious to note how sexuality is both deprecated as a strategic concern and accepted as an unquestionable given. The same might be said of technological innovation, despite the ways in which it may endanger the environment and quality of life.
Supposing it might be possible to engage insights from both technology and sexuality in some imaginative manner, how might this be "re-cognized"? Suggestively provocative titles in this respect might include:
If the design of drones has been inspired by bird-flying through the emerging discipline of biomimicry, could new modes of "flying" be discovered through technomimicry, as separately argued (Engendering a Psychopter through Biomimicry and Technomimicry: insights from the process of helicopter development, 2011)?
Similarly, if the challenge is one of engaging creatively with doom-mongering and hope-mongering, what is to be learned from the insights of Nikola Tesla (Reimagining Tesla's Creativity through Technomimicry: psychosocial empowerment by imagining charged conditions otherwise, 2014)? Given his skills in relating positive and negative charges to achieve light, might there be a means of relating the positive and negative by which psychosocial systems are challenged? There is the delightful possibility -- as yet unexplored -- that empowering collective enlightenment could be enabled through electrical metaphors.
In a period when there are ineffectual appeals for "moral awakening" (Vatican official calls for moral awakening on global warming, The Guardian, 28 April 2015), could such "awakening" be empowered by technomimicry -- as with "enlightenment"? Tesla's creativity clarified designs enabling a circulation between positive and negative in electromagnetic terms. In a period of moral challenge, what might be understood as "circulating" and how might this be enabled (From Quantitative Easing (QE) to Moral Easing (ME) a stimulus package to avert moral bankruptcy? 2010; Circulation of the Light: essential metaphor of global sustainability? 2010). What might be the analogue to the "light bulb" -- now so essential to worldwide "enlightenment"?
The argument and schematics above suggest forms of circulation in relation to imagination, creativity, fun and play -- together enabling and framing fruitful intercourse, understood in sexual terms or otherwise. These all involve an experiential dynamic by which people are attracted, engaged and "turned on". It is therefore extraordinary to recognize the degree of unexplored formal similarity between:
Missing from any formal description, characteristic of neutered reports, is how "sexy" might be embodied in the light of such technomimicry. There is some irony to the possibility that the Kama Sutra
might be instructive in this respect -- especially given their conventional deprecation by "contraceptive methodologies". One approach is to confront s variety of systematic approaches to otherness (Reframing the Dynamics of Engaging with Otherness: triadic correspondences between Topology, Kama Sutra and I Ching
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