7 February 2022 | Draft
Boundary preoccupations: geopolitical, cognitive and otherwise
Conflation of binary cognitive modalities in politics and sport
Boundary complexification: 3D, 4D, and more
Australia as cynosure for binary thinking worldwide: "anyone for tennis"?
Hyperobject traces and indications: a subtle cognitive ecosystem?
Hyperobjective entanglement: sacredness, wickedness and the witch meme
Imagining Guernica redesigned
Contrasting orientations indicative of complementary cognitive modalities
Living as a hyperprocess in a hyperobject as a hyposubject?
Multiple perspectives: There is no lack of commentary and explanation with regard to the surreal nature of the current times (Surreal nature of current global governance as experienced, 2016). Emphasis is commonly placed on the pervasive sense of meaninglessness -- with various parties to be appropriately blareschmed. The pattern has been most recently exemplified by the worldwide media attention given to the extraordinary saga surrounding the participation of Novak Djokovic in the Australian Tennis Open -- and its dramatic final prevention by the Australian government (Australian Open organisers 'deeply regret' Novak Djokovic saga, Al Jazeera, 18 January 2022; Binoy Kampmark, Dangerous Precedents and Hypothetical Threats: the deportation of Novak Djokovic, Australian Independent Media, 17 January 2022).
The value of recognizing a complex of "antitheses" is usefully indicated by the following examples cited by the Cambridge Dictionary:
In a period of crisis of crises the pattern evokes the question of how to perceive any crisis -- through what images it may be variously framed, as considered separately (Interrelating Multiple Ways of Looking at a Crisis: beyond the pandemic discipline of the one right way, 2021). Given the cognitive challenge any crisis clearly constitutes, it could be argued that conventional images and metaphors may be totally inadequate -- if not dangerously misleading.
"Something" radically distinctive would appear to be required if any solution is to avoid being a feature of the problem. One inspiration in that regard is the role that has been played by the bombing of Guernica as a tragedy of the not-so-distant past -- commemorated through the symbolic significance attributed to it through the much-cited painting by Pablo Picasso (Guernica, 1937).
Shifting perspective: The painting is regarded by many as the most moving and powerful anti-war painting in history. Appropriate to the nature of the cognitive challenge, interpretations of Guernica vary widely and contradict one another (T. J. Clark, Picasso and Truth: from Cubism to Guernica, 2013). As indicated in one commentary:
The genius of Guernica is that it successfully combines dreamlike (some might say nightmarish) elements of Surrealism with the multiple-perspectives of Cubism. It was a shocking painting, both for its modern, Cubist style and for its haunting subject matter. (Guernica by Pablo Picasso, EmptyEasel)
As an exemplar of Cubist artwork, the bombing of Guernica as an "object" is analyzed in the painting -- broken up and reassembled in an abstracted form. Instead of depicting its elements as from a single viewpoint, Picasso depicts the subject from a multitude of viewpoints to represent the subject in a larger context. This implies a paradoxical aperspectival perspective as potentially the most relevant -- and fundamental to any reimagined Guernica.
Cubism has been considered the most influential art movement of the 20th century (Steven Gambardella, How Cubism Changed The Way We See The World: a history of Cubism and why it's important, The Sophist, 13 January 2019). It has framed the challenge of coherently interrelating a kaleidoscope of imagery, perhaps to be understood as a hyperimage (Felix Thürlemann, More than One Picture: an art history of the hyperimage, Getty Publications, 2019)
Reimagining Guernica as a hyperobject: Given the cognitive challenge the painting is so widely held to address, it could then be asked whether there is a case for imagining a "Guernica" appropriately indicative of the tragedy of the cancel culture of the current period and its complex of antitheses. All are under threat of being annihilated by an other. Each may well experience life in terms described as kafkaesque or entrapped in a Catch-22 situation.
Would a reimagined Guernica be sufficient as a static image in 2D, or do the advances in information presentation imply that the imagination needs to be engaged otherwise, and to a higher degree -- dynamically in 3D or 4D, for example? Is some form of hypnotic quality a necessity, given the power exerted by the crisis imagery currently disseminated by the media?
Rather than as an image readily imagined in conventional terms, is such an image better understood as a "hyperobject" -- whatever that may now be deemed to indicate? (Timothy Morton, Hyperobjects: philosophy and ecology after the End of the World, University of Minnesota Press, 2013; Hyperobjects: an excerpt, Academia.edu; Introducing the Idea of 'Hyperobjects': a new way of understanding climate change and other phenomena, High Country News, 19 January 2015)
Discussed further below, they have been held to be entities of such vast temporal and spatial dimensions in relation to human life that they defeat traditional ideas about what is indicated -- associated with references to hyperreality. Examples include global warming, a black hole, or the biosphere (Elizabeth Grace Boulton Climate change as a 'hyperobject': a critical review of Timothy Morton's reframing narrative, Wiley interdisciplinary reviews: Climate Change, 7, 2016, 5).
As yet to be explored is the manner in which hyperobjects might clash and how this might be experienced. The scope of such dynamics in an information society recalls commentary on the clash of galaxies in the universe -- and hence, potentially to be understood as hyperobjects -- the appropriateness of the title of Samuel Huntington (The Clash of Civilizations, 1996).
Anti-otherness: The original Guernica is upheld as an articulation of anti-war insight. In a cancel culture there is no lack of problematic concern with the threat of other expressions of "anti" -- if not of otherness in general -- as explored separately (Elaborating a Declaration on Combating Anti-otherness -- including anti-science, anti-spiritual, anti-women, anti-gay, anti-socialism, anti-animal, and anti-negativity, 2018).
An obvious example for many at this time is the perspective of "anti-vaxxers" -- highlighted as a primary concern in the Djokovic saga in relation to the Australian Tennis Open. In the same period the attitude has been emphasized by declarations by iconic figures, curiously ignoring highly deprecated historical processes with which such advocacy can be readily compared:
The original tragedy of Guernica took the form of aerial bombing of civilians in the cultural capital of the Basque people during the Spanish Civil War (Harry Blain, Guernica and the perversion of the Spanish Civil War, Open Democracy, 3 May 2017). It was carried out at the behest of Francisco Franco's rebel Nationalist faction by its allies, the Nazi German Luftwaffe's Condor Legion and the Fascist Italian Aviazione Legionaria. Seen as a war crime by some historians, and argued as a legitimate attack by others, it was one of the first aerial bombings to capture global attention.
Systemically interpreted with respect to its relevance at this time, who can be controversially recognized as "nationalists"? What is the modern equivalent in an information-based society of "aerial bombing" of global import? What minority culture, characterized by a little-known "language", bears comparison with the Basque civilians? For which "nationalists" are you a "Basque" -- and for whom are you a "nationalist"?
Elusive aesthetic coherence: As a hyperobject, any coherence a reimagined Guernica might then offer is necessarily elusive -- implied rather than readily graspable (Engaging with Elusive Connectivity and Coherence: global comprehension as a mistaken quest for closure, 2018). As with the original, there is a fundamental shift to an otherwise impossible reconciliation of disparate elements -- one that is only enabled and given credibility through aesthetics. It is beyond the conventions of rational explanation, as with the controversy evoked by the Cubist original.
This aesthetic shift -- as a form of paradigm shift -- is consistent with that long considered necessary for the comprehension of the most fundamental characteristics of nature whose complexity could be appropriately assumed to be as great as human life and psychosocial organization:
The evocation of an aesthetic perspective and the connectivity it offers frames the question of the "translation" it may imply, as explored by Harri Mäcklin (When art transports us, where do we actually go? Aeon/Psyche, 11 January 2022). It is therefore most surprising to note that some recent thinking of quantum physicists has addressed the cognitive challenges it poses through QBism (Quantum Bayesianism). Pronounced "cubism" this could be understood as reinforcing the appropriateness of the quest for a reimagined Guernica.
Invasive entanglement -- cognitive stickiness: More challenging, and associated with its hypnotic quality, is the cognitive entanglement of any observer -- or any effort at dissociated observation. As expressed by Kenneth Boulding:
Our consciousness of the unity of the self in the middle of a vast complexity of images or material structures is at least a suitable metaphor for the unity of a group, organization, department, discipline, or science. If personification is only a metaphor, let us not despise metaphors - we might be one ourselves. (Ecodynamics; a new theory of societal evolution, 1978)
In a context of promotional hyperbole, how indeed to manage that relation with a hyperobject -- especially when the natural tendency is to have recourse to explanatory tools which preclude insight of requisite dimensionality? More problematic is the degree to which a hyperobject is aggressively invasive -- effectively promoted persuasively as a feature of the media by which it is advertised. Technically this can be recognized in the requisite proactive stickiness of clickbait with its cognitively seductive dimensions.
Seen in this light any hyperobject frames the question as to when any "object" can be recognized as a weapon. How might a hyperobject be weaponized as an instrument of memetic warfare or in framing the arena of such warfare? Such questions are indicative of the ambiguity of any understanding of it as a static "neutral" object. Paradoxically, in reimagining Guernica, such ambiguity is itself indicative of the aggressive dynamics potentially associated with "anti-" -- a paradox most fruitfully indicated by Eastern understandings of martial arts celebrated in haiku poetry (Ensuring Strategic Resilience through Haiku Patterns: reframing the scope of the "martial arts" in response to strategic threats, 2006).
The hypnotic quality can also be explored as an attractor. In effect a hyperobject merits recognition in the language of complexity as a "strange attractor". How does the Cubist painting "work" cognitively in this respect? What kind of experiential "shock and awe" is required of a reimagined Guernica? Far more speculatively, any understanding of the dynamics of a hyperobject as a wormhole is indicative of the sense in which it is imagined as offering a gateway or portal for travel to other parts of the knowledge universe.
In a cancel culture in which everything can be called into question -- including any hypothesis with regard to a hyperobject -- envisaging the design of a new Guernica can be usefully inspired by that of ITER (International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor), as discussed below and separately (Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor, 2006). There the challenge is the design of a physical container for a form of matter capable of destroying the container itself
The focus here on a catalytic "form" is partly inspired by the arguments of Johan Galtung elaborated in the Forms of Presentation sub-project of the United Nations University project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Human Development, as discussed separately (Forms of Presentation and the Future of Comprehension , 1984).
It is only too readily recognized the extent to which the world is bedevilled by a preoccupation with boundaries and borders, geographical and otherwise, exemplified by Korea, Ireland, Taiwan, and Palestine, to name but a few -- with Ukraine especially prominent at the time of writing -- in addition to issues relating to refugees and migration. Media coverage of the recent saga of Australian Tennis Open, and the participation of Djokovic, has highlighted particular concern with national boundaries and sensitivity regarding security issues.
The primary focus is most obviously on boundaries defining national borders and whether movement across them is readily enabled. Far more subtle are the notional boundaries variously valued with respect to culture and ethnicity -- and the role of such boundaries with respect to collective identity. The matter is central to concerns regarding the openness of society -- or its converse (Karl Popper, The Open Society and Its Enemies, 1945; Mark Gibney, Open Borders? Closed Societies?: the ethical and political issues, 1988).
Symbolic boundaries: The sense of boundaries has been extended beyond the geopolitical in a recent compilation by Andréanne Bissonnette (Borders and Border Walls: in-security, symbolism, vulnerabilities, 2020). This follows an earlier review by Michele Lamont (The Study of Boundaries in the Social Sciences, Annual Reviews of Sociology, 28, 2002). Considerable importance has been given controversially to the symbolism of boundaries by President Trump (Kavita Bedford, Trump and the symbolism of borders. The Point Magazine, March 2017). In commenting on the matter, Edgar Campos (Border Walls and Symbolic Boundaries, The Society Pages, 18 April 2017) notes:
The border acts as the physical manifestation of and “us versus them” mentality by reinforcing differences between groups, which often limits all positive contact between groups and can lead to negative stereotypes...Symbolic boundaries use specific cultural distinctions in order to distinguish one group from another, often along racial, ethnic, and religious lines
Symbolic boundaries continue to be fundamental to the inadequacies of inter-national, inter-disciplinary, inter-faith, inter-racial, inter-linguistic and inter-cultural interactions. Given their obvious importance, it is curious how constrained is the effort to recognize and address these -- other than in a manner which is readily described as tokenistic. The point is explored by Frank Furedi (Why Borders Matter: why humanity must relearn the art of drawing boundaries, 2020) usefully recognized as a follow-up to his earlier influential study (The Culture of Fear: risk-taking and the morality of low expectation. 2020).
Migration: The manner in which the different kinds of boundaries are variously entangled is especially highlighted by issues associated with migration, as illustrated by the following:
Two-dimensional boundaries: a shared focus of nations and sport: It is curious to note the extent to which boundaries are a primary concern in both sport and political life. Arguably ball-games are a comfortable means of avoiding -- "subunderstanding" -- the more fundamental challenge of boundaries and the threatening manner in which they may be breached.
Exceptionally curious, if not extraordinary, is the manner in which contrasting forms of boundary became entangled in the case of Djokovic. Of course for Australia the purported concern has been whether Djokovic should enter and remain within its national boundaries -- framed as a vital matter of national security. For tennis players it is of course a matter of the skill in placing the ball within boundaries defended by any opponent.
Protection and defence of boundaries is recognized as extending metaphorically to the dynamics of political discourse between opposing parties. The Federal Court case could indeed be seen as a form of tennis which Djokovic is held to have first won and then lost and the Government is held to have lost and then won (Djokovic versus the Australian Commonwealth, Australian Independent Media, 11 January 2022)
Openness: It is in this larger context that reference is made to openness in sports. Thus in sports terminology an "open" refers to a sporting event or game tournament that is open to contestants regardless of their professional or amateur status, age, ability, gender, sex, or other categorization. Opens are common in sports such as golf, tennis, bowling, badminton, volleyball, and squash.
There is apparently no corresponding use of "closed", although this exclusivist characteristic may be evident in practice -- minimum performance standards or eligibility criteria may apply in some sports. Striking examples of the issues have been offered in the 1988 Winter Olympics by the case of a ski-jumper named by the media as Eddie the Eagle, as with the swimmer named as Eric the Eel in the 2000 Summer Olympics. A high degree of controversy has been evident with regard to transgender participants in sport (Bethany Alice Jones. et al,, Sport and Transgender People: a systematic review of the literature relating to sport participation and competitive sport policies, Sports Medicine, 47, 2017, 4).
The formal appropriation since 1969 of "open" for the Australian Open (as managed by Tennis Australia) is therefore of particular value given the clarification as to its meaning in an Australian Supreme Court in relation to the case of Djokovic. The tournament is the first of the four Grand Slam tennis events held each year, preceding the French Open, Wimbledon, and the US Open. It includes men's and women's singles; men's, women's, and mixed doubles; junior's championships; and wheelchair events.
Engendering social unrest: The Australian Federal court ruled on the risk of instability and unrest which the continued presence of Djokovic might engender in the light of his inferred association with the perspectives of the unvaccinated (Djokovic could have inspired anti-vax Australians, court says, BBC News, .20 January 2022; Federal Court releases reasons for Novak Djokovic visa decision ABC News, 20 January 2022). Arguably this reframes the sense in which the Australian Open is appropriately considered to be "open" rather than "closed in some manner as yet to be fully understood. What indeed might such reframing imply for the future, as explored by Binoy Kampmark (Dangerous Precedents and Hypothetical Threats: the deportation of Novak Djokovic, Australian Independent Media, 17 January 2022)?
How indeed might such reframing extended to other countries, given the assertion with respect to the French Open by Emmanuel Macron (Unvaccinated Novak Djokovic may be forced to miss multiple grand slams, News, 18 January 2022)? In the case of Australia itself, how might this extend to other "opens" such as: Australian Open (badminton), Australian Open (golf), Australian Open of Surfing, and Australian Open (squash).
By comparison with the threat to the Australian public of any implied promotion of unvaccinated perspectives -- upheld as an unquestionable form of misinformation -- it is then useful to consider how an Australian Federal Court might rate and rank presumably lesser threats. Consider the case of a player identified with the promotion of: indigenous land rights (given high sensitivity to this issue); climate denial; rights to civilian gun ownership (as with the NRA in the US); LGBT, or rights of transgender participants; a freedom or secessionist movement; Black Lives Matter; white supremacy; radical Islam; Pentecostalism (in the light of its Seven Mountains Manifesto); opposition to meat consumption; the Wiccan movement (especially in the case of female participants)
The prevailing confusion is highlighted by the granting of a visa to a far-right commentator (Muslim groups want a 'proper explanation' on decision to grant Katie Hopkins a visa, SBS News, 25 January 2022). Such confusion is reminiscent of the case of Jesse Owens, a black American who triumphed at the 1936 Olympic Games in Berlin, subsequently credited with single-handedly crushing Hitler's myth of Aryan supremacy.
Especially intriguing are the implications of any "background check" of players. In this respect of interest is the investment portfolio of those top players who are especially wealthy. Significant in that regard is a report on Djokovic (Melissa Davey, et al, Djokovic-backed 'biotech' firm's approach likened to homeopathy, The Guardian, 21 January 2022).
What investments by players would be ranked as inappropriate -- being liable to engender public unrest? Would investment in military hardware, slum housing or a polluting technology be recognized as appropriate? Could background checks be extended to criminal records or morality -- in potentially inspiring unrest? Would a player with a criminal record, who had "done time", be entitled to play -- perhaps one previously identified as a terrorist (Nelson Mandela, Jomo Kenyatta, Menachem Begin)?
Given Djokovic's claimed role as a dangerous representative of anti-vaccination strategies, it is most curious that his final legal arguments in the Supreme Court did not use the opportunity to confront the mainstream narrative (supposedly unquestionable) with alternative perceptions as vigorously articulated by others. With the emphasis placed by the Australian government on the threat that his presence constituted to Australian "public interest", to what extent is failure to clarify such a threat in a Supreme Court to be recognized as problematic in its own right?
The Australian tennis saga in the case Djokovic, and its formal clarification by the highest judicial body, suggests that the understandings of borders and boundaries could benefit from consideration in more abstract terms. Geometry and topology offer many insights in that regard.
What do borders and boundaries share when considered in that light? The question is especially pertinent in the two dimensions characteristics of most ball games and the organization of the political arena -- notably given the manner in which ball-game metaphors are employed to describe political processes. It is somewhat extraordinary that the vast majority of ball games are of a binary nature -- a pattern shared by the political organization of government and opposition (Destabilizing Multipolar Society through Binary Decision-making: alternatives to "2-stroke democracy" suggested by 4-sided ball games, 2016)
A degree of conflation is particularly evident with respect to "crossing the line", and the fundamental importance associated with being "in" or "out" -- matters of the greatest relevance in both contexts. In sport the skill most admired is the manner in which a ball can be placed to the disadvantage of the opponent. Ironically, in a peculiar sense, the Australian government played a form of boundary game with the acknowledged world champion of boundary games in tennis -- skillfully restricting his ability to play.
That use of such language is far from trivial is evident in the use of ball-game metaphors to frame the evolving crisis regarding Ukraine:
Missing is an articulation of boundary dynamics in a "language" which would hold both the ball-game perspective and that of government. Arguably, through the Djokovic saga and its esteem for ball games, Australia has effectively positioned itself as the primary exponent of a binary cognitive modality -- specifically precluding consideration of any greater complexity. This condition could be caricatured by any strategic response to complexity, namely possessed only of a binary hammer, every problem looks like a nail.
Fields and plans: It is too readily assumed that boundaries are simply delineated -- defined by a simple line. This simplification extends to the "fields" which are thereby defined. The pattern is evident in the image of standard tennis court (below left). Countries are defined by an elaboration of that principle. The pattern is extended by implication to fields of knowledge, as cultivated by distinct disciplines -- anxious to protect their distinctive identity. The implied two dimensionality is also evident in planning and the distinctive organization of institutional responsibilities.
|2D: Tennis court
Conventional ball-game boundaries
|3D: Contiguity mapping with Szilassi polyhedron
Schematic of Commonwealth of Australia
|Changing boundary rules between states of Commonwealth of Australia|
|NielsF, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons|
Goals and holes: Curiously there is an implicit three dimensional challenge to such planar understanding notably highlighted in many ball games in which the objective is to place the ball in a goal. This is typically a net which is outside the plane of fields. Any kind of goal could be considered in this light.
More intriguing is the sense in which the goal can be understood as taking the form of a hole -- with a field itself potentially to be seen in this way, especially if it is a target vulnerable to invasion by an "outsider".
Configurations of fields, holes and goals: Whereas a tennis court is an example of a planar configuration of fields, geometry indicates far more complex possibilities, as extensively discussed separately (Engaging with Globality -- through cognitive lines, circlets, crowns or holes, 2009).
In such a context, it is appropriate to note the relation between field and court with the latter featuring as a tennis court, in a court of law, and the court of public opinion -- and especially given their interplay in the Djokovic saga, then readily understood as a "three ring circus" (Emma John, The Djokovic circus allows us to see all our Covid prejudices being played out, The Guardian, 16 January 2022). Also intriguing is recognition of the process of "shifting the goal posts" in any planning process.
Szilassi polyhedron: Of some relevance to this argument in relation to the Commonwealth of Australia is its configuration as a federation of seven states. These can of course be presented as a conventional two-dimensional map. This obscures any sense of their relationship to each other in the federation through which the Commonwealth is understood as a whole. It is therefore of potential interest to note the unique property of a Szilassi polyhedron in 3D as shown above. It is constructed from seven hexagonal faces with the unique topological quality that each face within the polyhedron directly touches every other face within the 3D configuration -- as do the the states of the federation in principle.
The configuration is highly unusual (as depicted above centre) -- taking a toroidal form -- with the central hole indicative of the Australian Capital Territory (Canberra). Although seemingly obscure, the Szilassi polyhedron figures as one of the works of monumental art -- with the Mobius Strip -- in Reconciliation Place (Canberra). This is located between the National Library and High Court of Australia, as a tribute to the Indigenous people of Australia.
The animation (above right) offers an indication of the border changes between states in response to the pandemic, of which 61 were noted in the case of Queensland.
Trajectories and knots: Any possible complexification can be explored otherwise through the movement of a ball in relation to such a configuration. Given the insights of the Uncertainty Principle, there is an argument for interrelating the elements of the geometry: does the ball trace out boundary lines and/or frame invasion of a field? When is a field a goal (to be invaded) or when is a goal to be understood as a field (to be explored)? Such questions are indicative of a sense in which a ball-game can be understood as a knot, as explored by topology.
The relevance to governance of the knot meme can be variously discussed. For example, it is used by Michael Lesher in introducing discussion of the current problematic prevalence of lies:
Remember the good old days at the beginning of the COVID coup – before the new dogmas started to tangle themselves into self-contradictory knots? (Truth or Covid? (or, “why we know everything they're telling us is a lie”) OffGuardian, 28 January 2022)
The images below offer contrasting examples of how fields in a configuration may be entangled when the ball has a trajectory been one court and another.
Commenting on a session of the World Economic Forum, John Jullens argues that: It's as if the global economy is being strangled by a gigantic Gordian knot from which it cannot untangle itself (The Gordian Knot of Global Economic Growth, Strategy-Business, 15 October 2013). In the absence of depictions of such a knot in cognitive terms, the implication that the dilemmas of global management might be explored topologically as a knot merits consideration in the light of the mathematical interest in the endless knot, the trefoil knot, the cinquefoil knot, and the septfoil knot (as shown below).
|Challenges to imagining toroidal life?
(Reproduced from Imagining Toroidal Life as a Sustainable Alternative From Globalization to Toroidization or back to Flatland?2019)
|Trefoil knot||Cinquefoil knot||Septfoil knot||Seifert surface
bounded by a set of Borromean rings
|By Jim.belk Animation: MichaelFrey (talk) - Own work, Public Domain, Link||By Jim.belk - Own work, Public Domain, Link||By Jim.belk - Own work, Public Domain, Link||Reproduced from Wikipedia
This would be consistent with the psychological significance associated with knot topology by Jacques Lacan and R. D, Laing -- in respect of individual "self-governance". (R. D. Laing, Knots, 1972; Jean Michel Vappereau, Knot: the theory of the knot outlined by Jacques Lacan, Lacanian Works, July 1996). Especially intriguing with respect to the higher dimensionality of string theory, is the choice of "string" as a metaphor, given the contrasting importance attached to "knot" as a metaphor by psychoanalysis.
Borromean interlocking of fields: The Borromean ring configuration is of great significance in logic and mathematics. It has been chosen as the logo of the International Mathematical Union, as in the design by John M. Sullivan (New IMU Logo based on the tight Borromean rings, 2006; Charles Gunn and John M. Sullivan, The Borromean Rings: a video about the new IMU Logo, 2008). Their relevance to the coordination of socio-political systems is typically ignored, whatever role they may have in dialogue informed by symbolic dimensions.
|Examples of 3-fold articulations of Borromean rings of relevance to coordination of political systems?
(Reproduced from Engaging with Elusive Connectivity and Coherence Global comprehension as a mistaken quest for closure, 2018)
|Representation of rings interlocking according to the Borromean condition|
|Early depiction of
|3D representation||International Mathematical Union
|Reproduced from Wikipedia|
Knot tables and ball-related trajectories: As noted above, the relation between knots and cognitive processes has been a concern to psychiatrists. Laing expanded the view of the “double bind” hypothesis put forth by Gregory Bateson and his colleagues, formulating a new concept to describe the highly complex situation that unfolds in the process of "going mad", namely an "incompatible knot". Arguably global society is currently in a condition which merits recognition as a form of knot inhibiting meaningful dialogue. Knot theory and knot tables (as shown below) are potentially relevant to the possibility (Cognitive embodiment of knots: knotting and knitting processes, 2021).
Of particular interest is the "knot" within which a tennis ball or baseball can be understood to be wrapped. As depicted below, it is potentially indicative of a form of self-reflexivity and self-penetration -- of the kind on which psychiatrists have focused (Globalization: playing ball, self-reflexivity and self-penetration? 2021). Speculation can be taken further with reference to widespread use of the baseball cap (Correspondence between the baseball curve and the baseball cap? 2020; Baseball Cap Implications in the Quest for Global Hegemony: comprehension of elusive order through the dynamics of angels and demons, 2020).
|Knots and ball seam curves|
|(Reproduced from Dynamics of N-fold Integration of Disparate Cognitive Modalities , 2021)|
|Table of all prime knots with up to seven crossings
represented as knot diagrams with their medial graph.
|Baseball / Tennis ball
|Baseball cap in
relation to seam curve
|User:Jkasd and User:Christian.Mercat, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons||Interactive 3D variant|
Minimal knot of requisite complexity? If a knot or juggling pattern could be understood as "holding" the requisite variety of cognitive operations for a viable system, there is a case for exploring a recently discovered knot which has been the focus of extensive attention. This is most succinctly presented by Louis Kauffman (Pattern, Sign and Space: Mereon Thoughts. University of Illinois at Chicago, 2003). Otherwise known and visualized as the Mereon Matrix and the Mereon Trefoil, its potential significance is elaborated in a far more extensive work (Louis H Kauffman, et al, The Mereon Matrix: everything connected through (k)nothing, 2018; frontmatter) to which detailed reference is made in the conclusion of a related exploration (Identifying Polyhedra Enabling Memorable Strategic Mapping, 2020).
Animations offering contrasting perspectives on the Mereon Trefoil pattern
|Interactive version in X3DOM
Animations adapted from X3D models kindly produced by Sergey Bederov of Cortona3D.
Of particular interest is use of the knot as a container for the movement of a ball along its length as shown below. This helps to indicate the ambiguity by which movement of the ball both defines the knot and "invades" the fields "delineated" by the interlocking loops of the knot. The significance of ball and field is then entangled in a manner indicative of that between field and goal. This offers ways of reflecting on the challenges of inter-disciplinary initiatives in which the disciplinary fields are entangled and subject to mutual "invasion" -- as with their inter-national and inter-faith analogues.
|Screenshots of wireframe renderings of animations immediately above (with inclusion of moving ball)|
|Interactive version in X3DOM (click there for wireframe rendering)|
The sense of invasion as self-penetration is discussed separately (Globalization: playing ball, self-reflexivity and self-penetration?2021). There is the intriguing possibility that each loop is a partial approximation to an incomplete torus -- then to be understood as framing a disk in process of being twisted. The surface then bears comparison with a Seifert surface (as depicted above). The trefoil might then be understood as a static condition of a set of several spinning disks, each of the kind described as an Euler's disk, but with a different axis of spin,
Quantum paradigm shift: The conventional focus on the static nature of fields is currently challenged by the cognitive implications of the ongoing shift to a quantum perspective. Related insights have been extensively developed and clarified with respect to international relations by Alexander Wendt (Quantum Mind and Social Science: unifying physical and social ontology, 2015; The mind-body problem and social science: motivating a quantum social theory, Journal for the Theory of Social Behaviour, 48, 2018, 2). Given the implications for governance, of further relevance is Wendt's provocative argument that individuals merit recognition as "walking wave functions", as discussed separately (On being "walking wave functions" in terms of quantum consciousness? 2017).
With respect to conventional boundaries, Wendt notes that constructs like nation states (as with "USA", "Russia", or "Australia") are effectively legal fictions -- especially from any hypothetical extraterrestrial perspective. The argument can be readily extended to the fields configured by science and religion and the nature of their "existence". Citing Wendt, David Orrell asks when will economists let go of physics envy to embrace the quantum revolution? (A Softer Economics, Aeon, 1 February 2022). His critique offers valuable insight into the problematic responses of both physicists and social scientists to the unconventional insights offered from a quantum perspective.
Animations of the movement of a ball within the knot (such as those above) are potentially helpful to reflection on the paradoxical quantum implications of superposition and entanglement -- especially if the number of circulating balls is increased and they pass through each other.
Laws of Form: In the midst of the Djokovic saga the prime minister of Australia was constrained to make the seemingly fundamental assertion that Rules are Rules (Andrew Reid, 'Rules are rules': Scott Morrison hits out after Djokovic bombshell, Yahoo Sports, 6 January 2022; Jonathan Talbot, 'No one is above the rules': Scott Morrison responds to Novak Djokovic visa rejection at Melbourne Airport, Sky News, 6 January 2022). The assertion frames the question as to whether it constitutes a rule in its own right. The irony has been variously noted, as by Callum Foote (Yes, “rules are rules” Scott, you invent them, break them, subvert them and ignore them 14 January 2022):
PM Scott Morrison came out strongly against Novak Djokovic again this week, claiming "rules are rules … no one is above these rules". Yet the list of this government's broken rules is prolific.
Part of the problem seems to lie in a missing link in the relation of mathematics to logic which has been provided, with the encouragement of Bertrand Russell, by George Spencer Brown (Laws of Form, 1969). As discussed separately, he argues that: nobody hitherto appears to have made any sustained attempt to elucidate and to study the primary, non-numerical arithmetic of the algebra in everyday use which now bears Boole's name. And again:
That mathematics, in common with other art forms, can lead us beyond ordinary existence, and can show us something of the structure in which all creation hangs together, is no new idea. But mathematical texts generally begin the story somewhere in the middle, leaving the reader to pick up the thread as best he can. Here the story is traced from the beginning.
The result of Spencer Brown's formal exercise to separate what are known as algebras of logic from the subject of logic, and to re-align them with mathematics is the explicit, and extremely elegant logical re-integration of the observer. His final chapter, entitled "reentry into the form" commences with:
The conception of the form lies in the desire to distinguish. Granted this desire, we cannot escape the form, although we can see it any way we please (p. 69).
It ends with:
An observer, since he distinguishes the space he occupies, is also a mark... In this conception a distinction drawn in any space is a mark distinguishing the space. Equally and conversely, any mark in a space draws a distinction. We see now that the first distinction, the mark, and the observer are not only interchangeable, but, in the form, identical. (p. 76)
(Daniel G. Schwartz, Isomorphisms of G. Spencer-Brown's Laws of Form and F. Varela's Calculus for Self-Reference . International Journal of General Systems.6, 1981, 4)
Unsayable and unsaid: The challenge of thriving in this cognitive environment is then less a question of locating relevant literature, learning the knowledge it contains, or citing it to justify positions to others. Nor is it a question of who has been there before, or any criticism from some other perspective of "rediscovering the wheel". The question might even be the validity of the external frame from which that question could be asked. By whom is one to be persuaded, about what and why -- and why should one seek to persuade? To what extent is any essential incommunicability a matter of Ludwig Wittgenstein's concluding phrase: Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must be silent (Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus, 1921).
As discussed previously (Evolutionary influence of the absent, 2011), with respect to the argument of Terrence W. Deacon (Incomplete Nature: how mind emerged from matter, 2011), a key factor with respect to the emergence of knowledge may be intimately associated with what is missing -- a point succinctly made in the contrast between the print and online summaries of his argument (The importance of what is missing, New Scientist, 26 November 2011; Consciousness is a matter of constraint, New Scientist, 30 November 2011). For Deacon:
... have we been looking in the wrong places for clues? ... brain researchers and philosophers of mind have focused on brain processes, neural computations and their correspondences with the material world. But what if we should be focusing on what is not there instead? ... I believe that in order to overcome this stalemate we need to pay more attention to what is intrinsically not present in everything -- from life's functions and meanings to mind's experiences and values. [emphasis added]
Openness and closure: There is an interesting sense in which geometric metaphors are about enclosure of "space" -- as with "field"-- are themselves significant according to the epistemological arguments of Hilary Lawson (Closure: A Short History of Everything, 2002). The aspiration of physicists could be seen as a device to enclose space and time such as to preclude any new thought on the matter -- reminiscent of forms of "lock-in" and escalation of commitment (familiar in decision-making processes), technological lock-in, or customer lock-in (familiar as a marketing strategy).
The complementary roles of closing and opening have been explored by Orrin E. Klapp (Opening and Closing; strategies and information adaptation in society, 1978), as discussed separately (Openness and Closure in Pattern Language, 2012) . Much has been made in recent years of an "open society" and of an "open source" approach to knowledge management -- in contrast with previous enthusiasm for closure, and continuing advocacy thereof (as epitomized by ACTA).
With respect to one major strategic response to the pandemic, there is a certain irony to the focus on limiting "close contact" through social distancing as a restrictive response to the appeal of openness. ***
Possession: It is curious to note the extent to which ball games -- and their analogues with respect to any bounded field or domain -- typically involve a highly developed sense of exclusive possession. A field of preoccupation of any kind readily evokes an overriding sense of property -- as with control of any ball (or its analogue) within it. It invites comparison with the defence of a goal. In the case of the pandemic, this has been especially problematic in relation to vaccine patents -- held restrictively irrespective of any fatal implications (and the hole engendered in national budgets).
The issue is especially evident with respect to the cultural property that is the preoccupation of academic disciplines, religions and political ideologies. It can be understood as an unspoken characteristic of the innovation promoted through the Triple helix model of innovation and the focus on copyright (Future Coping Strategies: beyond the constraints of proprietary metaphors, 1992). There is considerable irony to the possibility that the relationship between fields as the frames of on which Einstein focused avoids a more fundamental issue of how they are "possessed" (Einstein's Implicit Theory of Relativity - of Cognitive Property? Unexamined influence of patenting procedures, 2007).
Australian identity: The challenge of boundaries could be considered fundamental to Australian identity -- although readily denied and reframed by many. The challenge dates back to the perception of Australia as Terra Nullius. It is evident in the challenge to celebration of Australia Day, controversially reframed by the indigenous population as Invasion Day (Chris Sweeney, A national holiday where murder and enslavement are celebrated, RT, 25 January 2022).
Boundary roads: The point is curiously made by Kathleen Feain:
Have you ever wondered why there are so many Boundary roads throughout the larger cities within Australia? Boundary roads are a remnant from our colonial past, which was characterised by the subjugation of Aborigines to the implanted government, police forces, schools and churches. The lasting impacts of this domination upon the collective consciousness of an entire population aren't regularly discussed in today's society. During the mid-1800s, in various settlements across the country, laws were passed which established boundary lines for the purpose of better aligning the streets and regulating the local police forces. In effect, these laws allowed curfews to be placed on Indigenous people, which exiled them outside the boundary lines of various towns. Brisbane has the most Boundary roads out of any city in the country; the Police Towns Act of 1839 allowed police to ride through towns on horseback at 4pm every day, cracking stockwhips as a warning for Aboriginal men, women and children to leave. On Sundays, Aboriginal people weren't allowed to enter within the boundary lines. This inhumane treatment was justified in the Act under the heading: “Removing and preventing nuisances and obstructions”.(Breaking Boundaries, Catalyst, 29 September 2013)
The perception is reinforced by the use of internment camps in Australia, historically with respect to foreigners in wartime and currently with respect to asylum seekers, and envisaged with respect to the unvaccinated.
Authoritarianism: Many references now note the emergence of authoritarianism in Australia, with some framing this in terms of fascism;
The latter notes that as Australia's security laws become more authoritarian – on the basis of supposed threats from terrorism and China – their lack of oversight threatens its democratic foundations. The Djokovic saga has been recognized as clarifying this (Greg Barns, Djokovic deportation reveals Australia's authoritarian mindset, Nikkei, 18 January 2022). Personal views are now seen as reason enough to deny entry to Australia by any high profile person.
Capacity to engage with complexity? Various challenges raise the question as to whether the boundary sensitivity of "Fortress Australia" are strategically appropriate for the future:
The acquisition of major defence capital assets is of a scale and complexity that presents 'formidable and ever-increasing challenges'... Australia's experience is no exception... defence projects in Australia are of a level higher in complexity than projects in Australian organisations in other sectors... defence projects are not only more complex but that generally Defence is managing a higher number of these complex projects during any given period compared to others in Australia...
This degree of complexity is part of a continuing trend which is expected to increase...Thus, complexity is unavoidable and risk inherent in any major Defence acquisition project is a key source of complexity. (Chapter 4: Challenges for defence procurement: Large, complex and costly undertakings)
The possibility of space conflict seems to be growing as more countries and private companies enter the sector. The Bulletin's January issue examines worsening international security, military moves beyond Earth's orbit, and a complex space war game involving China, the US, and their allies. (John Mecklin, (Why the final frontier should not become the final battleground, Conflict in Space, 78, 2022, 1)
That's not how we tend to view things in the West. But the Russian military has articulated a sophisticated doctrine that sees war and peace as a continuum where different tools are applied at different stages, sometimes in sequence, sometimes together, though with the same strategic aim. And that ultimately is why the conflict has already been joined. The only question is how far along the "grey zone" continuum President Putin is willing to go. What is under way at present is the essence of "grey-zone warfare" -- the blurring of the boundary between peace and war. (BBC News, 26 January 2022)
The virus's genome is 30,000 letters long, which means that the number of possible mutation combinations is mind-bogglingly huge.... Scientists try to conceptualize these possibilities in a "fitness landscape" -- a hyper-dimensional space of peaks and valleys. The higher peaks the coronavirus discovers, the "fitter," or better at infecting people, it becomes. The more the virus replicates, the more mutations it tries out, the more ground it explores, and the more peaks it may find. To predict what the coronavirus could do next, we would simply need to know the topography of the entire fitness landscape -- which, maybe you've guessed, we do not. Not at all. Not even close
These indications can be seen in terms of a progressive erosion of the strategic "depth" offered by a requisite variety of contrasting perspectives through promotion of binary thinking. Such depth has long been offered by use of Red Team / Blue Team competition, most notably in the military. This contrasts with the "Cyclopean" vision offered by authoritarianism (Cyclopean Vision vs Poly-sensual Engagement, 2006). The promotion of universal vaccination as a panacea by Big Pharma can be explored in that light (Psychosocial Transformation by "Pill Pushing"? Model-making, strategic advocacy and the myth of the "red pill", 2017).
If truth calls for two eyes, as argued by John Robinson (Truth is Two-eyed, 1979), the efforts to suppress any "second eye" in the promotion of universal vaccination is reminiscent of the proverb In the land of the blind, the one-eyed man is king. Who might now be fruitfully recognized as the "blind" -- faced with the authority of the "one-eyed"?
"Tennis anyone?" As extensively described by Wikipedia, the phrase "anyone for tennis?" (and its variants) is used to invoke a stereotype of shallow, leisured elites -- with tennis seen as a posh game for the rich (with courts popular at country clubs and private estates). It has become a stereotypical entrance or exit line given to the young of this class in superficial drawing-room comedy.
As such, use of the phrase bears comparison with the binary-thinking cultivated casually as a default by Australian strategic elites -- irrespective of the complexity and urgency of a situation (Tom Ferraro, Tennis and Social Class in America, Long Island Tennis. 3 April 2018; Oliver Bennet, The Spectator's Guide to Sporting Snobbery, The Independent, 21 July 1996).
There is a sense in which the many appeals for dialogue, in response to the crises of the times, are effectively appeals for a simplistic mode of binary dialogue as implied by "tennis anyone".
Reframing "tennis opens" as "tennis closeds"? Given its constrained response to complexity, as exemplified by the Djokovic saga, it is somewhat amazing that Australian sports should continue to promote "Tennis Open" to such a degree.
With respect to the potential for threatening internal social unrest, China's handling of the Beijung Winter Olympics of 2022 bears comparison with Australia's handling of the Djokovic case. (Geopolitics cast a cloud over Beijing Winter Olympic Games, Sydney Morning Herald, 3 February 2022). Can the Olympic Games be said to be "open" any more than the Australian Tennis Open? Do both offer instances of "restrictive sporting practices" analogous to the much-deprecated "restrictive trading practices"?
The constraints which have become only too apparent suggest that use of "open" could be challenged as deliberate misinformation -- when "closed" would be far more accurate.
The very question as to what a hyperobject "is" is necessarily problematic. For example, it could be said to be a Gestalt whose nature and existence eludes conventional comprehension. References to some such Gestalt from other perspectives are evident in
The challenge of what cannot be fully comprehended is naturally an invitation to speculation, especially when framed by reference to "hyper", as with the following by this author:
The matter can be explored otherwise through approaches to the comprehension and appreciation of ignorance (Nicholas Rescher, Ignorance: on the wider implications of deficient knowledge, 2009).
Constrained comprehension of hyperobjects: As suggested above, most notably in the clarifications variously offered by Timothy Morton, a hyperobject is usefully understood as "something" which exceeds and overwhelms human capacity to engage with it by conventional means. In that sense, paradoxically, it cannot be readily indicated as to what it "is" -- truthfully -- without evoking alternative assertions in that regard. These may well take the form of condemnation of the truthfulness of the proponents of each.
In the light of the arguments of Magoroh Maruyama, any individual assertion of what a hyperobject "is" can be usefully recognized as an instance of "subunderstanding" (Polyocular vision or Subunderstanding? Organization Studies, 2004) -- as discussed separately (Patterns of questions indicative of the subunderstanding of now, 2014).
Especially relevant with regard to the proactive nature of a hyperobject is the insight of management cybernetician (on Le Chatelier's Principle as applied to social systems):
Reformers, critics of institutions, consultants in innovation, people in short who "want to get something done", often fail to see this point. They cannot understand why their strictures, advice or demands do not result in effective change. They expect either to achieve a measure of success in their own terms or to be flung off the premises. But an ultra-stable system (like a social institution)... has no need to react in either of these ways. It specializes in equilibrial readjustment, which is to the observer a secret form of change requiring no actual alteration in the macro-systemic characteristics that he is trying to do something about. (The cybernetic cytoblast - management itself, Chairman's Address to the International Cybernetic Congress, September 1969)
Problems as hyperobjects? The case for understanding climate change as a hyperobject was indicated above. It is then appropriate to ask whether there is a particular set of problems which are best recognized as hyperobjects -- climate change being one of them, as with the Anthropocene extinction. For such problems, these point to a sense in which it is questionable whether one can "get one's head around them" -- whether they can be "grasped" (Sanjay Sarma, Grasp: The Science Transforming How We Learn, 2020) as can be speculatively explored (Beyond Harassment of Reality and Grasping Future Possibilities: learnings from sexual harassment as a metaphor, 1996).
Are hyperobjects effectively experienced as puzzles or riddles (Global Governance as a Riddle: but is a solution the answer to the question? 2018). Is a pandemic then to be usefully understood as a hyperobject, as has been suggested (The Crisis as Hyperobject Rapt Studio. 17 September 2020)?
Of potential relevance to any understanding of a hyperobject is the widespread interest in convergence on a "singularity" of some kind -- especially a technological singularity (Emerging Memetic Singularity in the Global Knowledge Society, 2009). Of interest from that perspective is "Jerusalem" as a hyperobject, given its symbolic complexity and what that engenders (Jerusalem as a Symbolic Singularity: comprehending the dynamics of hyperreality as a challenge to conventional two-state reality, 2017).
Evil aspect of hyperobjects? The complexity of the problems labelled by the policy sciences as "wicked problems" suggests they they may be usefully indicated as hyperobjects. In that context they are held to be those that are difficult or impossible to solve because of incomplete, contradictory, and changing requirements that are often a challenge to recognition. Reference to "wicked" then associates hyperobjects with the highly controversial understanding of "evil" and the claims to its existence as variously embodied (Existence of evil as authoritatively claimed to be an overriding strategic concern, 2016; Needing Evil Elsewhere, 2001).
It is from such a perspective that a pandemic is clearly associated with evil in contrast to insights embodied in religion as the traditional response. If evil is however to be recognized in some way as characteristic of a hyperobject, the engagement with religion then raises a complementary possibility (William Thomas, Is God a Hyperobject?). Their complexity would then suggest that this is especially the case with respect to any pantheon with deities and demons variously appealing to some, or requiring appeasement by others: Hyperobjects as "meta-patterns"? (Meta-pattern via Engendering and Navigating "Pantheons" of Belief? 2021).
There is little difficulty in understanding how those resistant to conventional responses to the perceived evil of a pandemic are then readily framed as evil in their own right. This is increasingly highlighted in the case of the response to "anti-vaxxers" -- with the latter tending to frame the efforts at universal vaccination as evil in their own right. By implication, universal vaccination is then framed by some to be unquestionably a universal good. Such dynamics are characteristic of any engagement with a hyperobject.
Values as hyperobjects?The argument can be similarly developed in relation to what are deemed the most fundamental human values -- variously defying comprehension or evoking controversy (Human Values as Strange Attractors, 1993). To what extent do peace and justice merit exploration as hyperobjects -- especially when understood dynamically (Freedom, Democracy, Justice: Isolated Nouns or Interwoven Verbs? Illusory quest for qualities and principles dynamically disguised , 2011)
Hyperobject emergence as "mass formation"? Widespread controversy has recently been evoked by Mattias Desmet in expressing concerns about some pandemic data that might be causing the lack of empathy and segregation recently evident in the western world. Mattias identified four psychological conditions that may have resulted in crowd madness (or "mass formation psychosis") during the pandemic. These are: lack of social bond and isolation, experiencing life as meaningless, free-floating anxiety, and free-floating frustration and aggression.
When these conditions are all fulfilled, any narrative cultivated through the mass media identifying an "object" of the anxiety and providing a strategy to deal with that "object" engenders mass formation. The process provides the masses a sudden connection to a heroic struggle allowing them to meet their needs and provides them with a release -- giving them a new social bond and meaning that has been lacking (Dina Osman, What is Mass Formation? And why it's important to understand it, Medium, 28 December 2021).
Mass formation is described as a form of collective hypnosis, but is challenged as a controversial theory on how the public is being coerced into getting vaccinated (Ryan Basen, Just What Is Mass Formation Psychosis? Medpage Today, 22 January 2022; Bruce Y. Lee, What Is Mass Formation Psychosis? Robert Malone Makes Unfounded Covid-19 Vaccine Claims On Joe Rogan Show, Forbes, 2 January 2022; Angelo Fichera and Josh Kelety, Unfounded theory used to dismiss COVID measures, AP News, 9 January 2022). Such responses may well result in its suppression as misinformation.
As is potentially characteristic of the dynamics associated with a hyperobject, such uncritical defensive reactions are to be expected. Mass formation may indeed be associated with processes evident in the well-studied fields of crowd psychology and cult formation (William Sims Bainbridge and Rodney Stark, Cult Formation: three compatible models, Sociological Analysis, 40, 1979, 4; Robert J. Lifton, Cult Formation, The Harvard Mental Health Letter, 7, 1981). More controversially, they may be associated with the manufacture of consent, dumbing down and groupthink (Edward S. Herman and Noam Chomsky, Manufacturing Consent: the political economy of the mass media, 1988). Groupthink featured notably in the assessment of the response to 9/11 (Learning from the 9/11 response: groupthink and failure of imagination, 2005).
Avoidance of hyperobject recognition: Processes of denial are notably evident in relation to a hyperobject, especially given challenges to comprehension of its existence -- what ever that may be deemed to mean. For the religious, the issue is only too evident in the denial of deity in a secular society
The case of climate change is the most cited example. Far less obvious is that of overpopulation -- irrespective of the extent to which it may underlie or aggravate climate change and resource-related issues (United Nations Overpopulation Denial Conference: exploring the underside of climate change, 2009; Are Environmentalists and Climate Scientists in Denial? Climate change recognized as primarily a psychological challenge, 2019; Lipoproblems: Developing a Strategy Omitting a Key Problem the systemic challenge of climate change and resource issues, 2009). The latter implies a particular relation between a hyperobject and speculation regarding a "lipoproblem".
The issue of avoidance is central to the apocalyptic film Don't Look Up (2021). It tells the story of two astronomers attempting to warn humanity about an approaching comet that will destroy human civilization. The impact event is an allegory for climate change, and the film is a satire of government, political, and media indifference to the climate crisis.
The matter can be considered more generally, suggesting a relation between a hyperobject and a cognitive trap (Question Avoidance, Evasion, Aversion and Phobia: why we are unable to escape from traps, 2006). Response to the pandemic offers a particular example (Social Distancing under Conditions of Overcrowding? Weaponising mass distraction from overpopulation denial? 2020; Local Reality of Overcrowding -- Global Unreality of Overpopulation, 2019).
Sacred values: It is perhaps curious that a global society preoccupied with truth and trustworthiness should be characterized by the extremes of secularism and religious belief -- with all the contradictions these may together imply. Within that context an extraordinary recourse is notably made to one of the compilations of writings deemed sacred, namely the Bible. This is a central feature of oath-taking seen as a guarantee of truth and integrity. This is especially evident with respect to any oath-of-office pledged by the leadership of countries in taking up that function. As indicated by the Encyclopedia of the Bible, an oath is recognized as a solemn appeal to God in attestation of the truth of a statement or the binding character of a promise. It may therefore feature in judicial proceedings as a prerequisite for the presentation of evidence.
Although it may be simply indicated as the "Bible", it is a highly complex compilation of writings which takes many forms -- including and excluding particular writings and subject to many translations (whether in the past or currently underway). Few would claim comprehension of this complexity or appreciate its many nuances without reservation. In this sense it could be argued that the "Bible" merits recognition as a hyperobject. The Bible, or portions of it, is sacred to a number of faiths highlighting as a "mystery" the cognitive challenge it poses -- especially given its contradictions and the conflicts these may engender.
Within that context, the King James Version (KJV, is an English translation of the Christian Bible. It was commissioned in 1604 and published in 1611, by sponsorship of King James VI and I. Known as the Authorized Version, this has been variously called the most influential version of the most influential book in the world, in what is now its most influential language, and the most important book in English religion and culture, and the most celebrated book in the English-speaking world. Although that version is widely accepted, alternatives are proposed in different contexts -- whether or not this is recognized by the wider public faced with its use for oath-taking. Noted for its "majesty of style", it has been described as one of the most important books in English culture and a driving force in the shaping of the English-speaking world.
A point to be emphasized is the extraordinary extent of how intimately -- and formally -- the "Bible" is associated with what are deemed to be the highest values of a society subject to Christian influence -- particularly in processes with a requirement for oath-taking of some form. It could be understood as constituting a form of "gold standard" in that respect -- especially with regard to truth and trustworthiness.
Underside of Biblical significance? The centuries in which the Bible has been deemed as the unquestionable standard of Christian value have of course been witness to horrific events. These were often instigated by those acting in the name of Christianity -- even armed with the Bible in seeking oaths of allegiance to those values, by force if necessary. The period with which King James was associated was especially significant in its treatment of those whose allegiance was held to be questionable. Not to be forgotten is that the bombing of Guernica was carried out by Christians, some of whom -- in the case of the Germans had belt buckles with the slogan Gott Mit Uns.
It is therefore somewhat extraordinary to note the failure to recognize the potential influence of the thinking embodied in a work authored by King James prior to his sponsorship of the translation of the Bible. The earlier work was titled Daemonologie, In Forme of a Dialogue, Divided into three Books: By the High and Mighty Prince, James... (1597). It is a philosophical dissertation on the various methods of ancient black magic. It was reprinted again in 1603 when James took the throne of England. (Brett R Warren (Ed.), Daemonologie [of King James]: A Critical Edition, Expanded In Modern English with Notes, 2016).
As a study of demonology it clarified the methods by which people could be troubled by demons. It was designed as a political yet theological statement to educate a misinformed populace on the history, practices and implications of sorcery and the reasons for persecuting a witch in a Christian society under the rule of canonical law. This book is believed to be one of the main sources used by William Shakespeare in the production of Macbeth.
As noted by Wikipedia, Daemonologie assisted in the creation of witchcraft reform, heavily inspiring Richard Bernard in writing a manual on witch-finding in 1629 titled A Guide to Grand-Jury Men, which advised judicial trial procedure to take a stronger investigative approach to acquiring and analyzing evidence and obtaining witnesses to be present during witch-craft trials. There was also an influence on Matthew Hopkins in his work as a witch-finder between 1644 and 1646 in which an estimated 300 witches were tried and executed. In the year of Hopkins' death, 1647, he published The Discovery of Witches which directly cited Daemonologie as a source for creating methods in discovering a witch.
Such guides followed the earlier publication of the Malleus Maleficarum (1486) recognized as the best known treatise on witchcraft and demonology of the 15th century from a Catholic perspective (Christopher Mackay, The Hammer of Witches: a complete translation of the Malleus Maleficarum, 2009).
Recognition of those currently embodying evil intent: Arguably the preoccupation of King James with demonic embodiment is matched in the present period by the recognition of recent presidents of the USA:
Such assertions of the not-too-distant past have been echoed from an Australian perspective (China and Russia an 'Unholy Alliance': Australian Defence Minister, Lead Right News, 10 February 2022), immediately following a meeting in Melbourne of the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue on the Indo-Pacific region.
More to the point, the challenge is the recognition of individuals embodying evil and the need for any modern equivalent of a "Hammer of the Witches". Following on the procedures of the era of Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Committee on Un-American Activities (HUAC), it is to be expected that these would be found in processes for the detection of radicalisation, extremism and terrorism possibly deployed in so-called black sites.. More controversial is the adaptation of these processes to those resistant to mainstream narrative, for example to those opposed to vaccination. How indeed to detect the unvaccinated and to isolate them appropriately -- if they are not to be eradicated?
A major difficulty is the extent to which those in authority (recognizing the evil embodied by others) are in turn themselves held to embody it ((Framing by others of claimants of evil as evil, 2016).
Especially problematic has been the manner in which women have been associated with evil down the centuries and in many cultural contexts currently (George Lakoff, Women, Fire, and Dangerous Things: -- what categories reveal about the mind, 1987; Elise M. Boulding, The Underside of History: A View of Women through Time, 1976; Cultures of Peace: The Hidden Side of History, 2000).
If the biblical narrative is in any way to be compared with the current mainstream narrative of Christian society regarding the unvaccinated, is there an "underside" characterized by demons which is inadequately recognized?
Propaganda: ***** Morelli
Continuing relevance of the witch meme: Despite widespread deprecation of reference to the demonic and demons, any recognition of evil tends to encourage related usage -- if only in common parlance. Somewhat ironically this contrasts with the appreciation accorded to angelic and angels.
Of far greater relevance to this argument is the surprising use of "witch-hunt" by individual leaders as a means of framing the manner in which perceived misdemeanours are subject to aggressive investigation by their critics (Annalisa Quinn, How Did 'Witch Hunt' Become the Complaint of the Powerful? The New York Times Magazine, 6 June 2017). The most striking example is use of the term by Donald Trump who has been noted to have tweeted the term nearly 300 times since becoming president (What Trump Really Means When He Cries 'Witch Hunt' (The Nation, 28 October 2019), as variously discussed (Tony Fels, The Return of the 'Witch Hunt' Analogy (Quillette, 27 October 2019)
Other examples include:
Typically seen as obstruction of justice probes by the powerful, they tend to culminate in impunity regarding the claimed misdemeanours.
Pardoning the "witches" of the past: An estimated 50,000 people were condemned to death for witchcraft across Europe between 1580 and 1630, around 80% of whom were women. Over 100 European historians have signed a manifesto entitled They weren't witches, they were women. In a series of extraordinary initiatives that historical persecution of "witches", has been variously addressed in Norway, Switzerland, Scotland, the Spanish region of Navarre, and Catalonia. A precedent was set by the Massachusetts House of Representatives which proclaimed the "witches" condemned in the Salem witch trials to be innocent:
Scotland: Naira Davlashyan: Scotland could soon pardon thousands of women executed for witchcraft centuries ago (Euronews, 21 December 2021); , Patrick Reilly: Scotland may pardon thousands of 'witches' it executed hundreds of years ago (New York Post, 7 January 2022); David Cowan: Witch apology would 'send powerful signal' (BBC Scotland, 7 January 2022). Between the 16th and 18th century 3,873 people were accused of witchcraft. Of those accused, 2,600 were convicted and executed. They were typically strangled and burnt at the stake after they were subjected to torture (Paul English, Scotland prepares pardon for the 'witches' it executed, The Times, 19 December 2021).
Catalonia: Catalonia pardons women executed for witchcraft (BBC News, 28 January 2022); Hannah Brown, Catalan campaign inspired by Witches of Scotland achieves pardon for women executed for Witchcraft (The Scotsman, 27 January 2022); Catalonia's parliament pardons hundreds of women executed for 'witchcraft' (Euronews, 26 January 2022); Stephen Burgen, Catalonia to pardon up to 1,000 people accused of witchcraft (The Guardian, 27 January 2022)
Norway: Jill Beatty: The evil north: Vardø's witch trials (Norwegian American, 28 December 2016)
Switzerland: Garry Littman: Where witch trials began and where the last European woman was executed for witchcraft (Le Temps, 23 October 2020); Isabelle Eichenberger, No one tortured witches like the Swiss (Swissinfo, 14 September 2009) noting that cantons are in process of rehabilitating some of those they executed in past centuries - with the last case as recent as 1782.
For a country currently seeking membership of the EU, such initiatives contrast strangely with the recent witch-hunt accusation against Australia by the President of Serbia regarding the treatment of Djokovic (Serbian President says Djokovic was the focus of a witch hunt, ABC News, 17 January 2022). The unusual degree of superstition in Serbia is however renowned, notably regarding witchcraft (Slavic Folklore – Vila's, Witchcraft and Mythical Creatures, Meet the Slavs, 29 October 2013; The "witches" of eastern Serbia, 3 June 2021).
Systemic pattern? There is a case for comparing in systemic terms the remedial processes purportedly offered by demons (via witches) with those offered with the blessing of religion (including vaccination at this time). The issue is exemplified by reference to "snake oil", as descriptive of deceptive marketing, especially as health care fraud. Historically this has been most strikingly evident in the sale of indulgences by the Catholic Church as a means of reducing the amount of punishment an individual has to undergo in the afterlife for sins,
The widespread abuse of this process by "pardoners" was a major factor in the Protestant Reformation. Any presentation of vaccination as a moral obligation therefore calls for careful and explicit distinction from such past practices (Vaccination is 'moral obligation', Pope Francis insists, The Nation, 11 January 2022; Douglas Farrow, Whether there is a moral obligation to be vaccinated, The Catholic World Report, 9 April 2021). It could be considered ironic that many countries are now witness to "protests" against the perceived abuses associated with mandatory vaccination -- in anticipation of a "reformation".
One point of departure in any approach to a redesign is to base it on Picasso's original Guernica. A major concern, as noted above, is the extent to which it continues to be subject to copyright -- potentially in total contradiction with the intentional of the painting. The copyright situation seems however to be in a state of flux -- perhaps appropriate to its current significance.
In the light of the arguments above, design possibilities could be inspired by various experiments in rendering the elements of the painting into 3D -- initiatives themselves potentially subject to copyright: Lena Gieseke: Guernica in 3D (University of Georgia); Aaron Muszalski, A 3D Exploration of Picasso's Guernica by Lena Gieseke, 20 July 2008; Guernica 3D (Sketchfab)
Given the "cubist" inspiration of the original, another approach is therefore to wrap the original image around other polyhedra, as in the experiments below -- variously lending themselves to transformation.
|Animations of projections of Guernica onto selected polyhedra|
|Dodecahedron||Icosahedron||Icosidodecahedron||(Un)folding of icosidodecahedron|
Those above can be variously transformed geometrically, as shown below, suggesting the further possibility of exploring a much wider range of polyhedra for such mapping (Identifying Polyhedra Enabling Memorable Strategic Mapping, 2020).
|Projections of Guernica onto selected polyhedra|
Those above offer the further suggestion that the redesign calls for a dynamic of some kind -- possibly one involving morphing between alternative forms as shown below.
|Distinctive morphing of projections of Guernica onto selected polyhedra|
Design dilemma? Whilst the design metaphors indicated by the above images encourage consideration of alternatives, they also serve to highlight an issue regarding the adequacy of any reimagined Guernica. The issue is in fact evident in appreciation of the original and the elements by which it is composed. Depending on the observer, its elements may together point to the shocking significance justifying its claim to being the greatest anti-war painting -- especially through the cognitive effects of the cubist techniques employed. On the other hand, the elements may be readily seen as a meaningless jumble offering no coherence -- an alienating visual mess.
One approach which takes account of such potential alienation is that of the stereogram in which it is for the observer to adjust the manner of perceiving the image to recognize a degree of coherence. One variant is the random dot stereogram requiring a pair of images. Another is the autostereogram, namely is a single-image stereogram (SIS), designed to create the visual illusion of a three-dimensional scene from a two-dimensional image. As noted by Wikipedia:
In order to perceive 3D shapes in these autostereograms, one must overcome the normally automatic coordination between accommodation (focus) and horizontal vergnce (angle of one's eyes). The illusion is one of depth perception and involves steropsis: depth perception arising from the different perspective each eye has of a three-dimensional scene, called binocular parallax.
The autostereogram can be seen as a metaphor indicative of the requirement of a redesigned Guernica in which -- rather than "points" -- it is composed of disparate elements which can be "re-cognized" as together having a shocking significance.
Mandala design metaphor: The variety of mandalas (and yantras) can be understood as seeking to elicit a cognitively insightful "shock" following appropriate meditation. This suggest the possibility of using the mandala metaphor as the basis of a redesigned Guernica. The design problem is necessarily one of reconciling appropriately a "disparate jumble'' of elements and degrees of symmetry (characteristic of yantras) -- both of which may fail to elicit a higher order of cognitive depth.
A point of departure in such an exercise is the so-called "discordian mandala" engendered from the controversial Principia Discordia -- as potentially one acknowledgement of the "anti" challenges addressed by Guernica. This suggests the possibility of a complementary "concordian mandala" with both taking account of of the fundamental significance of the Borromean link (noted above). This has been separately explored:
"Cognitive fusion" Arguably the key to the redesign of Guernica is evocation of the "shock and awe" required to address the dynamics of any form of cancel culture -- and the various form of "anti" (as noted above). It might then be asked what meaning could be associated with "cognitive fusion" and the integrative perspective it implies it a disparate and seemingly incommensurable elements. The metaphors indicated above do not seem to hold the counter-intuitive, paradoxical twistedness with which that is potentially associated.
A clue to another design metaphor, as noted above, is the design challenge of the ITER nuclear fusion reactor currently under construction (Jonathan Amos, Major breakthrough on nuclear fusion energy, BBC News, 9 February 2022). This calls for the design of a container for a form of matter -- nuclear plasma -- which is inherently capable of destroying that container. The cognitive analogue is discussed separately (Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing (ITER-8), 2006) in the following sections:
This metaphor frames the question as to what is the cognitive analogue to nuclear plasma and how might an appropriate conceptual container be designed. Ironically the challenge bears a strong resemblance to that framed by alchemists of centuries past, including Isaac Newton. They have been disparaged for their preoccupation with the quest for a container for a universal solvent -- capable of dissolving any such container.
Tennis and basketball seam curve: In the light of the conflation highlighted above, there is a delightful irony to the design clues for a redesigned Guernica which are offered by the familiar tennis ball seam curve. This derives from the so-called tennis ball theorem. In geometry this states that any smooth curve on the surface of a sphere that divides the sphere into two equal-area subsets (without touching or crossing itself) must have at least four inflection points, points at which the curve does not consistently bend to only one side of its tangent line.
however unconsciously, the curve offers a curiously indirect appreciation of global order in the light of the worldwide familiarity with sports balls, as most notably suggested by their stitching patterns,(Game ball design as holding insight of relevance to global governance? 2020). The latter also notes the case of the association football. The tennis ball seam curve is of the same form as that of the baseball curve of 108 double stitches (Seam Curve on Sports Balls, Wolfram Demonstration Project).
There is the further suggestion that the form of sports visors in general, and the baseball cap in particular, might bear an unsuspected relation to that curve -- with cognitive and strategic implications (Enabling flying capacity with "headgear" -- cognitively comprehended? 2020; ;Baseball Cap Implications in the Quest for Global Hegemony, 2020). In the case of the association football, for example, the stitching pattern (or its emulation) is that of a spherical truncated icosahedron -- one of a set of regular polyhedra of symbolic significance in their own right.
The question is explored more conventionally through the need to develop projections of the spherical globe in 3D to enable its representation in 2D on printable maps. Many such projections have been explored to that end (List of map projections, Wikipedia). The manufacture of balls used in sports poses the problem in comprehensible physical terms, namely how to curve materials in 2D in order to create a viable ball in 3D. (Re-membering the Globe from a Flatland Perspective: reconciling in 3D the Vitruvian archetype with sports ball curves, 2020
Global interrelationship of distinctive orientations: The earlier argument offered interactive models in 3D of the "tennis ball curve" (and the baseball curve). Views of the same curve from different perspectives are presented below with quarter portions distinctively coloured. These 4-fold perspectives all suggest how the pattern could lend itself to "simplification" to a 2-fold pattern -- a reduction convenient from a binary perspective. With respect to a reimagined Guernica -- as a crisis to be confronted -- a key question is in how many distinctive ways should it lend itself to being perceived, as discussed more generally (Interrelating Multiple Ways of Looking at a Crisis, 2021).
|Mutually orthogonal views of the tennis ball / baseball curve in 3D|
|Adapted from images of Robert Ferréol (Bicylindrical Curve, 2018)
Interactive variant in 3D (x3d)
Both the simplicity and complexity of the "tennis ball curve" can be understood through the following screen shots -- with and without the ball around which it curves. Despite its relative complexity, or because of it, its elusive elegance can be readily appreciated.
|Screen shots of 3D model of tennis-ball/baseball curve|
|One perspective||Another perspective|
|without ball||with ball||without ball||with ball|
|Interactive variant in 3D (x3d)|
Rather than its recognition as a 4-fold or 2-fold pattern, the curve can be recognized as suggestive of an 8-fold pattern indicated by its passage through 8 octants as shown in the screen shots below, as discussed separately (Non-linear pathways curving between octants, 2006). The octants are then to be understood as indicative of distinctive cognitive modalities vital to the dynamic integrity of the whole.
|Tennis-ball/Baseball curve indicative of transformative movement between octants|
Requisite variety of cognitive modalities? The excessive reliance on binary thinking can be usefully challenged -- as above. It is however intriguing to note that recognition is accorded to modalities ranging from 3-fold to 9-fold, partially in accord with the argument of George Miller (The Magical Number Seven, Plus or Minus Two: some limits on our capacity for processing information, Psychological Review. 1956; Nelson Cowan, George Miller's Magical Number of Immediate Memory in Retrospect: observations on the faltering progression of science, Psychological Review, 122, 2015, 3), as discussed separately (Comprehension of Numbers Challenging Global Civilization, 2014).
Given the variety of proposals, as yet missing is any clarity on when a particular framing is appropriate and how the modalities framed by one proposal are to be understood as related to another (Systems of Categories Distinguishing Cultural Biases, 1993; Patterns of N-foldness: comparison of integrated multi-set concept schemes as forms of presentation, 1980).
The geometry of the tennis ball curve, with its smoothly changing orientation, is especially valuable in allowing various degrees of segmentation according to preferences for 2, 4 and 8 modalities. A number of sports recognize distinctive postures or orientations which suggest a cognitive analogue potentially most evident in dialogue (The Eight Basic Shots In Tennis, Tennis World, 2019; The Eight Fencing Parries, YouTube, 3 September 2008; Breaking Balance in Eight Directions, AikiWeb Aikido Forums). There is of course the challenge of how the extensive 6-fold articulation by Edward de Bono might be related to it (Six Frames For Thinking About Information, 2008).
Dynamic connection with complexity: Guernica is inherently complex with the need for requisite complexity seemingly calling for recognition. However such complexity readily engenders a dysfunctional cognitive disconnect. The means of enabling connection with complexity therefore merits particular consideration. The Mereon Trefoil (animated above) could be considered an exemplar of requisite complexity posing such a challenge to comprehenion. One approach to its comprehension is through the manner by which it ican be engendered, as illustrated by the remarkable 3D animation of Sergey Bederov (below right).
The animation shows how the Mereon Trefoil is generated from a torus by rotating a circle of 3 spheres moving around the torus, then rendering visible the winding path they trace in the course of the combined movements. For clarity the animation is also reversed. Bederov's technique can also be applied using 2 spheres moving around a torus oriented vertically (below centre). In this case it generates a more classical trefoil. With the same method, using 1 sphere, another form can be generated in 3D (below left). The animations are unfortunately jerky due to constraints on video recording and web display. (Smoother interactive 3D variants can be explored using the X3D variants as indicated, and potentially via an X3DOM context)
|Animations indicating the generation of relatively complex forms around s torus
Adapted from models developed by Sergey Bederov of Cortona3D
|Classic twisted form (screen shot)||Classic trefoil generated around a torus||Mereon trefoil generated around a torus|
|Interactive x3D||Interactive x3d|
The generation of the Mereon trefoil through the helical winding together of 3 spheres is especially relevant to fruitfiul comprehension of the complexity of the Triple Helix model of innovation, namely the set of interactions between academia, industry and government, to foster economic and social development. By contrast, the trefoil generated with 2 spheres offers a means of exploring the challenge of binary thinking -- exemplified by the reconciliation of the "headless hearts" and the "heartless heads", or between the "two cultures".
The form generated with 1 sphere is of interest in a period when a new logo is promoted for Facebook, rebranded as Meta (Kari Paul, 'Live in the future': Zuckerberg unveils company overhaul amid shift to metaverse, The Guardian, 16 February 2022; Gray Beltran, When a Logo Doesn't Risk It All: Meta's Brand Is Designed for Unknown Worlds, The New York Times, 10 November 2021).
Curiously the logo bears a strong resemblance to the seam curve of the tennis ball and baseball, as animated above and presented separately (Interactive display of tennis-ball / baseball curve in 3D -- with timed transparency of ball). As a hypotrochoid, the curve invites extensive commentary (Re-membering the Globe from a Flatland Perspective, 2020). This refers to the an Interactive display of generalized baseball and tennis-ball seam curves in 3D also developed by Sergey Bderov.
Necessarily of relevance to the argument, the Bederov approach can be extended to a greater number of spheres, and using different parameters, aas discuss separately.
Dialogue container? A reimagined Guernica, responsive to the antithetic dynamics of a cancel culture. would offer insight into a variety of orientations. This is otherwise readily reduced to binary resolution in dialogue, namely the eradication of one and the triumph of the other -- following a vote or a verdict. Dialogue of that form is only too evident in "parliamentary discourse" -- marked by insult, shouting and even violence. On a larger scale it is institutionalized in the "speciation" into multiple political parties with their characteristic orientations and antagonisms.
Missing is the sense in which the emergence of such variety is predictable as a systemic response to any proposal of a strategy (analogous to a "serve" in tennis). Curiously the number of political parties, with their distinctive modalities, is typically limited in practice to "seven, plus or minus two" as exemplified by the European Parliament (Experimental Visualization of Dynamics of the European Parliament in 3D, 2019).
Arguably this could be consistent with the distinctions made by Douglas Walton (Eight Types of Dialogue: How can logic best be applied to arguments? Logic Journal of the IGPL, July 1997). However other approaches would distinguish 3, 4, or 5, etc modes of dialogue with little effort to reconcile such patterns. One exercise resulted in a Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue (1998) adapted from distinctions made by Arthur Young (Geometry of Meaning, 1978).
The unfruitful collapse of binary dialogue can be contrasted with the trivial case of the Longest tennis volley rally (Guinness World Records) of 30,576 volleys, raising the question of examples of the longest binary exchanges in dialogue and their fruitfulness. More intriguing would be examples of dialogue engaging the interest of a maximum number of distinctive participants (and of an audience) for the longest period of time -- in contrast to a filibuster. How would the variety of participant perspectives contribute to the sustainability of the dialogue and prevent it collapsing unfruitfully? (Sustaining the Quest for Sustainable Answers , 2003).
Colour coding of contrasting perspectives? Edward de Bono uses six colours to distinguish the different thinking modalities mentioned above (Six Thinking Hats: an essential approach to business management, 1985). There are many examples of colour wheels of different complexity, of which the RGB images on the left below are indicative. There is however little consideration of how these might be suggestive in some way of a wider spectrum of cognitive modes than those used by Edward de Bono.
Colour coding also tends to be characteristic of the self-identification of political parties. This raises the question of how cross-party consensus could be appropriately colour coded -- as in the case of mainstream discourse regarding universal vaccination and the exclusion of any sense of requisite variety in response to complexity..
One exploration of such a possibility is to take advantage of the 64 cognitive modalities articulated by the classical Chinese I Ching, as discussed separately (Transformation Metaphors -- derived experimentally from the Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching) for sustainable dialogue, vision, conferencing, policy, network, community and lifestyle , 1997). These were notably presented in the circular form of Shao Yung -- influential in the thinking of Gottfried Leibniz in 1703 regarding binary coding (Anne D. Birdwhistell, Transition to Neo-Confucianism: Shao Yung on Knowledge and Symbols of Reality, 1989).
The pattern is notably consistent with that of a so-called compass rose (Ways of looking distinguished in terms of "compass" orientation, 2021). It is however suggestive of "directionalities" in cognitive space (which it traditionally purports to encompass). The clusters of 8 hexagrams around the circle could be recognized as cognitive articulations of the 8 trigrams in the Fuxi arrangement of the BaGua.
|Use of circles of colour as indicative of distinctive cognitive modalities|
|RGB colour wheel||RGB colour wheel||Colour coding of circle of I Ching hexagrams|
|Coding sequence (out-to-in)||Animation with inverse|
|DanPMK at English Wikipedia, CC BY-SA 3.0,||László Németh, CC0, via Wikimedia Commons|
Reference to a 64-fold pattern usefully recalls the 8 queens puzzle on an 8x8 chess board. The question is how the queens can be positioned such that they do not attack each other -- given that they are each capable of moving "powerfully" in any direction on the board. There are 92 solutions but only 12 do not involve simple reflection and rotation. The hexagram circle (above right) is organized into 8 complementary clusters. The RGB wheel on the left offers a 12-fold configuration.
The puzzle can be understood as indicative of the challenge of configuring an array of disparate cognitive modalities to highlight their complementarity, as discussed separately (Global Coherence by Interrelating Disparate Strategic Patterns Dynamically, 2019; Dynamics of N-fold Integration of Disparate Cognitive Modalities, 2021). The 8-fold puzzle is understood as the simpler variant of a greater puzzle only recently (partially) solved. As a clue to "peaceful" global organization, in the case of an n-by-n board, there are approximately (0.143n)n ways to place n queens so that none can attack each other. (Ben Turner, Mathematician cracks 150-year-old chess problem, Live Science, 4 February 2022).
The subtle complexity associated with the existence of hyperobjects offers a context in which to explore how living might be understood -- especially when confronted with the implications of a new Guernica as might be imagined in time of crisis. Could living itself then be speculatively explored as a hyperprocess given the mysterious manner in which it transcends individual biological processes (Hyperaction through Hypercomprehension and Hyperdrive: necessary complement to proliferation of hypermedia in hypersociety, 2006)?
Conventional understandings of living have been widely called into question in the face of uncertainty (Living with Incomprehension and Uncertainty: re-cognizing the varieties of non-comprehension and misunderstanding, 2012; Living as an Imaginal Bridge between Worlds: global implications of "betwixt and between" and liminality, 2011). The dynamic is all the more complex given the increasing implications of misinformation, whether characteristic of the mainstream narrative or attributed to its critics (Dying to Live, Living to Die, Lying to Live, and Living a Lie, 2015; Existential Challenge of Detecting Today's Big Lie: mysterious black hole conditioning global civilization? 2016; Licensed to Live? Licensed to Lie? Unlicensed to Die? Implications of universal vaccination -- voluntary or otherwise, 2021)
Enantiodromia: Understood as the emergence of the unconscious opposite over time, as explained by Carl Jung, enantiodromia is a characteristic phenomenon occurring when an extreme, one-sided tendency is dominating conscious life. The current unprecedented preoccupation with universal vaccination is an example of this. In time an equally powerful counterposition is built up which first inhibits the conscious performance and subsequently breaks through the conscious control. It is considered to be similar to the principle of equilibrium in the natural world. Any extreme is opposed by the system in order to restore balance. As a form of closure. the current consensus could itself be explored as a reaction within a hyperobject to the openness by which it is perceived to have been preceded.
Orrin E. Klapp argues that individuals and groups need to open and close themselves to information, as does the iris in adjusting the amount of light entering the eye according to circumstances (Opening and Closing; strategies and information adaptation in society, 1978; Overload and Boredom: essays on the quality of life in the information society, 1986). In this dynamic sense, the degree of assertion or denial is also a matter of conceptual circumstance.
In Jungian terms, a thing psychically transmogrifies into its shadow opposite, in the repression of psychic forces that are thereby cathected into something powerful and threatening, as variously discussed with respect to the future of governance in the work of William Irwin Thompson (From Nation to Emanation; planetary culture and world governance, 1982). This principle of extremes transforming into each other is an explicit feature of in Taoism and yin-yang, as discussed separately (Psychosocial Energy from Polarization within a Cyclic Pattern of Enantiodromia, 2007; Toward an enantiomorphic policy, 1983; Stuart L. Hart, Enantiodromia and the New Age of Sustainability, 26 February 2017; David Myatt, Heraclitus – Enantiodromia).
In the case of Australia it is especially ironic to note that the manner in which the arrival of Djokovic was perceived by the public as a form of invasion (of Fortress Australia) -- in a period when Australia Day is celebrated for its discovery by Captain Cook. As noted above, the celebration is challenged by indigenous Aborigines and controversially reframed as Invasion Day, namely the date on which their traditional lands had been invaded (Most Indigenous Australians want date and name of Australia Day changed, poll finds, The Guardian, 26 January 2017).
The drama of the Supreme Court judgement with respect to the threat to the public interest offers another curious example by comparison with the Galileo affair. In that case he was prosecuted by the Roman Catholic Inquisition (as defender of the faith) for his support of the minority belief in heliocentrism, namely the astronomical model in which the Earth and planets revolve around the Sun -- contrary to the "mainstream" Catholic narrative of geocentrism, with the Sun revolving around the Earth. Allegedly Galileo was threatened with the use of the instruments of torture (on 22 June 1633), unless he recanted his heretical view (Galileo was forced to recant, Adam Smith Institute, 22 June 2019).
At the time of writing it is alleged that Djokovic is effectively recanting in order to be able to continue to play (Novak Djokovic to get vaccinated against COVID-19, The New Daily, 3 February 2022). Djokovic might be consoled by the phrase famously attributed to Galileo after being forced to recant: E pur si muove. Despite his recantation, the Church's proclamations to the contrary, or any other conviction or doctrine of men, the Earth does, in fact, move (around the Sun, and not vice versa).
Embodiment: Engagement with a hyperobject could be explored in terms of a form of mirroring of object and subject through which externalities are embodied in ways which are yet to be fully recognized (A Subjective Objection: Objecting to Subjection: interplay of questions enabling transcendence of fundamental dilemmas? 2016; Conditions of Objective, Subjective and Embodied Cognition: mnemonic systems for memetic coding of complexity, 2007; ¡¿ Defining the objective 8 Refining the subjective ?! Explaining reality 8 Embodying realization, 2011).
The inside-or-outside theme offers a continuing focus for reflection, as separately discussed (Global potential for living sustainably "outside-inside", 2013; Transformation of worldview from "inside-outside" to "outside-inside", 2013; Paradoxical cycling between "nside-outside" and "outside-inside", 2013; Imagining transcendence appropriately challenging to comprehension, 2013). The otherness so evident in a cancel culture could take a radically different form within a hyperobject (Encountering Otherness as a Waveform -- in the light of a wave theory of being, 2013).
Within a hyperobject the cognitive dynamic could be fruitfully explored in relation to sustainability (Annamaria Di Fabio . The Psychology of Sustainability and Sustainable Development for Well-Being in Organizations Frontiers in Psychology, 19, 2017, 8)).One approach is with respect to environmental cycles (Psychology of Sustainability: embodying cyclic environmental processes, 2002):
|The 'pattern that connects'
Elusiveness of sustainability
Contemporary ironies of sustainability
Sustainability and spin
Openness and closure
|Sustainability -- and the dependence on spin
Spinning an alternative
Transiting between realities
Transiting amongst a set of complementary alternatives
Reality, relativity and relativism
Cycles sustaining reality frameworks
Curiously the desperate quest for solutions to crises (climate, resources, etc) is framed as an external challenge with little evidence of any consideration of their cognitive implications as discussed separately (Existential Embodiment of Externalities: radical cognitive engagement with environmental categories and disciplines, 2009)
|Individual motivation: vain hopes in response to global crisis
Information vs Outformation
-- Emergent characteristics of knowledge-based society | Shifting semantic and epistemological ground
-- Malleable realities | Outformation and enactivism | Evanescent "facts"
-- Communication "surface" | Emergent transformation possibilities
|Individual motivation: radical possibilities in response to global crisis
-- "Re-cognition" of the environment | Cognitive implications for survival
-- Radical re-engagement
Metaphors as cognitive catalysts and vehicles
Exploration of "inner games": polarization, agriculture, construction, mining
Exploration of possible reframing: illustrative problem sets (Annex A)
|Rethinking Rubik's Cube: a mnemonic device for ways of knowing and engagement?
Investing significance in mnemonic aids
Augmenting the psychoactive function of a mnemotechnical device
"Cognitive toolkit" permitting identification and "holding" of integrative patterns
Appropriate technique engendered by creativity
Envisaging the future: "renormalization"? In the depths of a crisis of crises there is necessarily some reflection on the condition at the "end of the tunnel", whether framed as a return to normality or otherwise. Such reflection can be articulated as a dream, perhaps through imagining otherwise the UN's Sustainable Development Goals (Systemic Coherence of the UN's 17 SDGs as a Global Dream, 2021). An inspiration may be derived from insights of physics (Enabling the "New Normal" through "Renormalization": space-time crystals as metaphorical clues to global governance of the surreal, 2021). Recognition may be accorded to the problematic dynamics of realizing a dream in practice (Dreamables, Deniables, Deliverables and Duende: global dynamics "at the table" inspired by dining and wining in practice, 2015). The categories conventionally employed may themselves be called into question (Post-Apocalyptic Renaissance of Global Civilization: engaging with otherness otherwise? 2018).
Given the indications above regarding quantum reality, it is curious to note how objective reality may be better understood as a dream (John Horgan, Does Quantum Mechanics Reveal That Life Is But a Dream? Scientific American, 2 February 2022; Paul Levy, Quantum Physics: The Physics of Dreaming).
Framing through a dream offers a reminder of the widespread use of recreational drugs and the dependence on medication provided by the pharmaceutical industry. The opioid "epidemic" in the USA is indicative of the extent to which people already seek to live in an alternative reality. This condition has been anticipated and explored by Aldous Huxley (Brave New World, 1932), a tale recently adapted into an NBC Peacock streaming library under that name. As in the tale by Huxley, society is characterized by use of a drug named soma, ensuring that everybody is happy (Brave New World's Soma Explained (and why the society relies on the drug), ScreenRant, 17 July 2020).
In such a society would "everybody happy" be exemplified by everyone playing tennis, some other ball game -- or a non-physical analogue, as in dialogue? Missing from that dream is the extent to which entertainment is already dependent on a high order of violence and what that implies for sustainable happiness.
Hypersubject vs. Hyposubject? Widespread use is made of "hyper", typically associated with "fast" and "intensive" -- and by extension living in the fast track. It is therefore appropriate to note the reaction of Timothy Morton in instigating the use of hyperobject, as discussed above. He has subsequently made a radical distinction between hypersubject (as characteristic of those living in a hyperobject) and hyposubject (Timothy Morton and Dominic Boyer, Hyposubjects: on becoming human, 2021). Asserting that the time of hypersubjects is ending, the authors describe the focus of their explicitly speculative exercise in the following terms
Such speculation can be related to that regarding a successor to Homo sapiens -- possibly through grokking (Authentic Grokking: emergence of Homo conjugens, 2003; Emergence of Homo undulans -- through a "grokking" dynamic?, 2013; Cognitive Implication of Globality via Temporal Inversion: embodying the future through higher derivatives of time, 2018)
Slow movement towards hyperslow? A related reaction to the intensity of hyperfast within a hyperobject is evident in the slow movement, exemplified with respect to the consumption of food. Termed tang ping, A related initiative is now recognized as emerging in China (Ivana Davidovic, 'Lying flat': Why some Chinese are putting work second, BBC News, 16 February 2022).
Faced with the increasing challenge of bureaucracy -- usefully recognized as a hyperobject in its own right -- there is a strong case for recognizing that a hyperobject may be characterized as much by inertia as by any notion of speed or intensity. This suggests a case for adjusting radically to the pace of life implied, especially for the many forced to recognize that they have no future "in the fast track".
The possibility has been variously explored:
Despite the promoted implication of hyperconnectivity, this is matched in practice, and with increasing frequency, by an obligation to wait. This suggests the case for another appreciation of time (Waiting as an Experience of Fundamental Significance: commentary on web resources on types of waiting and anticipation, 2018).
Self-reflexivity: A cancel culture has the merit of eliciting questions, whether or not meaningful answers are to be found -- and whether or not the question/answer pattern is appropriate (Am I Question or Answer? Problem or (re)solution? 2006). It is a time of self-reflexivity (Hilary Lawson, Reflexivity: The Post-Modern Predicament, 1985), It might also be asked whether the engagement with features of that culture involves processes analogous to those of mirror neurons. Such neurons "mirror" the behaviour of the other, as though the observer were itself acting.
A sense of this process is evident in the variants of the phrase promoted in the Pogo comic strip by Walt Kelly (Larry Bush, The Morphology of a Humorous Phrase: "We have met the enemy and he is us", Humor in America, 19 May 2014). Far less evident is the nature of the cognitive embodiment of otherness -- any externality as noted above, and separately discussed (Degrees of Cognitive Engagement with Interrelated Global Categories, 2009).
Such identification can be contrasted with the free speech slogan I am Charlie (Je suis Charlie) adopted following the shooting at the French satirical weekly newspaper Charlie Hebdo. Many variants have been used with respect to victims of other disasters. Missing is the sense offered by Pogo of identification with problematic causes rather than with the victims of their actions.
There is naturally little effort to explore "I am pollution" or "I am torture", even when a degree of personal complicity can be recognized. Such a possibility can be explored with respect to individuals readily upheld as truly evil, as with Josef Fritzl (Looking in the Mirror -- at Josef Fritzl ? Global conditions on reflection, 2009) or with Anders Brevik (Gruesome but Necessary: Global Governance in the 21st Century? 2011).
The process can be understood to a degree through the challenge formulated as integration of the "shadow" -- as extensively explored by psychoanalysts and psychotherapists (Jeremiah Abrams and Connie Zweig, Meeting the Shadow: the hidden power of the dark side of human nature, 1991; Robert A. Johnson, Owning Your Own Shadow: understanding the dark side of the psyche, 1993). This is the archetypal scapegoat or shadow, present in everyone, is that part of the psyche normally the focus of blame or attack when the individual feels self-vindication is necessary to justify behaviour.
The shadow has its collective dimension, as noted by Michael Daniels (The Shadow in Transpersonal Psychology, Transpersonal Psychology Review, 2000):
According to Jung, there is another important dimension to the shadow -- its collective manifestations. Jung is referring here to the darkness that may be found as an undercurrent in all human groups, whether families, tribes, organisations, movements or large civilisations, as well as in human nature generally. For example, in the same way that the personal shadow is the dark complement of an individual's persona, a culture's dominant zeitgeist will cast its own dark, antithetical, collective shadow. At the universal level, the shining light of our self-professed and sometimes expressed humanity is complemented and counterbalanced by a very dark side to human nature.
Framed as a "humanitarian intervention", the process can be explored in relation to "Iraq" -- potentially also to be seen as a hyperobject (Attacking the Shadow through Iraq: Using the I-Rack to Put Western Civilization to the Question, 2002).
To what extent does reimagining Guernica then call for recognition that "We are Guernica" or "I am Guernica"?
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