Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
University of Earth Alternative view of segmented documents via Kairos

1983

Implications of Development through Alternation

- / -


Part 9 of Development through Alternation. Augmented version of a paper originally prepared for Integrative Working Group B of the Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development (GPID) project of the Human and Social Development Programme of the United Nations University (UNU). This document was originally distributed as a separate monograph in 1983. The paper provides a structure linking reviews of alternation as it emerges in studies from a wide range of sources. The paper is in 9 separate parts [searchable PDF version]

0. Introduction / Abstract

1. Monopolarization
1.1. Questionable answers
1.2. Forms of truth
1.3. Accumulative answers
1.4. Developing a new "meta-answer"
1.5. Decodification of analyses of capital accumulation
1.6. "New International Conceptual Order"
1.7. Accumulation and development
1.8. Development of accumulation
1.9. Domains of significance

2. Antagonistic dualities: polarization and paradox
2.1. Oppositional logic
2.2. Polarity
2.3. Paradoxes and antinomies

3. A third perspective
3.1. Beyond method
3.2. Constraints on a meta-answer
3.3. Meta-answer patterning
3.4. Containing discontinuity through aesthetics
3.5. Observer entrapment and micro-macro complementarity
3.6. Order through fluctuation: dissipative structures
3.7. Opening and closing: alternation for discontinuous learning
3.8. Third-perspective "containers": patterns of alternation
3.9. Revolutionary cycles of alternation
3.10. Trialectics: a logic of the whole

4. Threshold of comprehenisibility: a fourfold minimal container?
4.1. Omnitriangulation: interlocking cycles
4.2. Number and time
4.3. Logos and lemma for interparadigmatic dialogue
4.4. Epistemological mindscapes
4.5. Complementary languages
4.6. Nonlinear cybernetics
4.7. Modes of managing

5. Further constraints on conceptual container design
5.1. Cyclic self-organization requirements
5.2. Encompassing system dynamics
5.3. Encompassing varieties of form

6. Comprehension and learning
6.1. Non-comprehension "holes"
6.2. Discontinuity: comprehension and internalization
6.3. Pattern accumulation in a learning society

7. Complexification of integration
7.1. General systems and holonomy
7.2. Cognitive systematization
7.3. Wholeness and the implicate order
7.4. Health and space-time
7.5. Dissonant harmony and holistic resonance

8. Development of comprehension and compehension of development
8.1. Interwoven alternatives: organizational tensegrity and resonance hybrids
8.2. Non-comprehension as a structuring characteristic of a learning society
8.3. Learning cycles
8.4. Patterns of alternation: a musical key from a political philosopher
8.5. Patterns of alternation: an agricultural key from crop rotation
8.6. The entropic crisis and the learning response
8.7. Alternation between energetic expansion and mentalistic reduction
8.8. Uncertainty: the source of meaning
8.9. Morphic resonance
8.10. Toward an enantiomorphic policy
8.11. Game comprehension and identity transformation
8.12. Ecodynamics and societal evolution
8.13. Language of probabilistic vision of the world

9. Implications
9.1. Implications for agreement and consensus
9.2. Implications for action formulation
9.3. Implications for values and norms
9.4. Implications for organizations
9.5. Implications for unemployment
9.6. Implications for the developmental responsibility of answer domains
9.7. Implications for forms of presentation
9.8. Implications for information processing
9.9. Implications for the human self-image

10. Conclusions

Notes
References

 

9.1 Implications for agreement and consensus

This paper arose from recognition that however excellent any "answer" may appear to its advocates, there will always be others who find good reason to argue or act against it in the interests of their own conception of human and social development. Furthermore, most answers, if they recognize the possibility of such rejection or accord importance to it, either make somewhat naive provisions for "educating everybody" or advocate processes which would lead to much more violent procedures for limiting the influence of those who hold any opposing viewpoint.

Without considering the political realm, the difficulties of achieving any consensus are quite obvious in the realm of scholarly discourse. For a scholar to agree, without qualifications, with the views of another effectively involves loss of identity as an uncreative "follower". The further development of the scholar can only come about by disagreeing and thus distinguishing himself from his peers - distinction is acquired by engendering difference. Quite concretely his career may even depend upon the production of well-argued counterarguments. A similar situation exists in the political realm.

The previous sections suggest that the kinds of consensus or agreement which evoke responses perceived as conflictual must necessarily continue to occur. They are a feature of psycho-social dynamics, whether they are the hawk/dove, ecology/industry, right/left, or other varieties. Universal agreement at this level could only be achieved at the price of psycho-social stagnation.

Another possibility arises where an answer is deliberately formulated to "resonate" with one or more antagonistic alternatives. Consensus of a different kind then becomes possible through shared recognition of this resonance. The resonance pattern then defines in energy terms a "structure" which could not exist if defined monolithically. Thus, for example, neither of the answers of the two parties in a 2-party political system can accept the need for the other to hold power. In French politics even though explicit use is made of "I'alternance", it is only used to mean the one-off transfer of power to the favoured party. The alternation between the two answers is only recognized implicitly, de facto, or for public relations purposes, never as a process in which the two answers have necessarily to participate given their complementary limitations (which they would deny).

Another example is disagreement as to whether it is now "night" or "day". Clearly a global perspective shows that it is night for some and day for others. From a local perspective such a view constitutes equivocation, although the alternation of night and day in time is necessarily accepted. In an interstellar spaceship the question of whether it "is" night or day is inappropriate, although the passengers will need to impose a night/day cycle upon themselves to maintain their health. Alternation between contrasting conditions is indeed important to the health of any system.

Further work is required to clarify the nature of possible resonance patterns - especially those already effectively in use. The problem is to render such alternation more credible as a foundation for social interaction. One approach is to explore patterns of alternation within sets of increasing numbers of different perspectives. Such patterns may be more capable of acting as a basis for social organization when the number of alternatives is greater than the range 2-7 with which the human mind seems to be comfortable. This is the question of the discontinuous "organization" of disagreement explored elsewhere (22). Alternatives in disagreement are necessary to the health of any system, if the "organization" is appropriate.

Finally there is the very specific question of the relationship of paper like this one to others which disagree with it. The argument has been that any response must resonate or "dance" with its own negation, or with positions that negate or deny it. Alternation is obviously not the whole truth. It is a response to the mind-set which claims to have encompassed such truth with a fixed set of categories lacking any self-transformational dynamic or internalization of opposition. Moreover it is specifically designed as a way of not occupying the central space from which new insights about truth emerge. It is one perspective on the relationship between partial truths, some of which must (in order to fulfil their function) necessarily deny both their partiality and the importance of clarifying any such a relationship. The alternation proposed between global uncertainty and local specificity is a response to this aspect of reality. The denial of such alternation is however necessary to the renewal and development of the perspective which gave rise to it. In a self-referential perspective there is necessarily a degree of paradox. The question is whether it is appropriately contained and whether the "container" can be further developed.

9.2. Implications for action formulation

Stress has been placed on the pattern of essentially opposed modes of comprehending the nature of the problematique and the useful priorities in responding to it. This implies a built-in uncertainty necessary to contain the essential uncertainty encountered in a dynamic developing society {cf. Ashby's Law).

Use of the term uncertainty raises the question as to whether the conceptual problems experienced in some realms of physics are not also to be found in some realms of the social sciences. Specifically is there some form of generalized Heisenberg Principle of Uncertainty of which it is important to take account in formulating any coherent pattern of actions?

This question has been explored by Garrison Sposito (1 37) who clarifies the significance of a study by Richard Lichtman (138) on indeterminacy in the social sciences.

Lichtman's demonstration involved the premise that the response of social phenomena to investigation is entirely the result of rational processes, "the result of their acting to realize purposes they have consciously elaborated and endorsed". Sposito asks what happens if the opposite assumption is made. "Suppose the social phenomena do not control their responses to observation, but instead manufacture them to realize purposes unconsciously elaborated and endorsed." He draws attention to the situation in which human beings experience anxiety concerning the content of their experiences. Healed-over wounds of experience, not held consciously, can be laid open rather easily if the repressed experience which fostered them is repeated either in fact or suggestion. This triggers an uncontrolled aberration in behaviour well known in the therapeutic context as transference distortion.

Sposito then tentatively formulates a version of the Heisenberg Principle operative in the social sciences as:

If the observation of social phenomena entails direct communication between human beings, one of which is the agent of observation, and transference distortions occur, then the results of the observation will not be completely objective, but will reflect latent facets of the personalities of those involved.

Clearly the "agent" could also be a group or school of thought, there being sufficient evidence of the dramatic communication difficulties between schools of thought. The possibility that each such school or collectivity carries repressed experiential "wounds" which partially determine its response is worth further investigation. As Sposito stresses:

"The interference phenomena engendered by transference distortions are uncontrollable in that they do not follow from purely rational processes and are not known to those who manifest them. Finally and most significantly, the interference phenomenon connects the social scientist inextricably with the objects of his inquiry (both heretofore logically independent entities) because the behaviour of the former induces unpredictable behaviour in the latter and vice versa."

The possibility then exists that the discontinuities between answer domains are governed by transference distortions caused by repressed (historical) experiences which are triggered by the nature of their responses to each other. Each effectively represents the other's "poison" and has been engendered to fill a niche from which an appropriate response can be made.

In such a situation the question is then how to formulate a "methodological" framework to interrelate such dramatically opposed perspectives - specially when the problem is to anchor the valid concerns of such complementary perspectives in a coherent pattern of actions.

One approach is to envisage a series of statement levels of decreasing uncertainty. Thus in the first and most general statement the uncertainty would be most explicit. As such the statement corresponds in nature to the degree of universal consensus which can be realistically expected in a complex society. Succeeding statement levels would reduce the apparent uncertainty through the formulation of sets of increasing numbers of parallel statements of decreasing ambiguity. The uncertainty is then implicit in the unidentified relationship between those statements and between those whose associate themselves with one or another. It is the dynamics between such statements which then "explicate" or "carry" the uncertainty. The lower the level of the statement, the more concrete and action oriented it can be made - but the more difficult it becomes to formulate any coherent statement to interrelate statements at that level. The higher the level of the statement, the more coherent it can be - but the greater the degree of uncertainty which must be built into it to adequately reflect a consensus.

This approach then provides a realistic method for ordering and "packaging" statements. It reflects the dynamics inherent in any supposed consensus concerning a "new order" - in contrast to current sets of "static" conference resolutions which conceal the dynamics that thend subsequently to undermine the significance of such declarations.

This approach was advocated in a "methodological preamble" as an ordering device for the conclusions of the UN University project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development, on the occasion of the drafting meeting for the final "integrated" report (Port-of-Spain, December 1982). The sets of statements at each level were designed to reflect the contrasting methodological emphases and priorities represented in the deliberately diverse project, some of which took the form of GRID sub-projects. The statements suggested were:

1. Formulation of any clear and unambiguous understanding of development, such as at the macro-societal level or in terms of structures, tends to introduce ambiguity into the significance of the necessary complementary understanding of development, such as at the individual level, or in terms of processes. This ambiguity engenders uncertainty which is a healthy characteristic of the freedom inherent in the processes of a learning society. Any non-trivial single statement concerning development must therefore necessarily incorporate aspects of the development dynamics associated with the response to this uncertainty, or else run the risk of failing to encompass the richness of development potential.

2. Such ambiguity in understanding may be reduced for purposes of presentation by contrasting the aspects of development in terms of opposing mind-sets which engender the dynamics characteristic of the development process. The mind-sets selected as extreme examples here are the epistemological, metaphysical, axiological, and space-time frameworks considered as dimensions of the multidimensional space within which development may be understood. Polar extremes characteristic of each framework may then be clustered into bipolar configurations of elements of understanding. These then encode the real-world tensions and disagreements they imply:

2.1 Alpha-cluster: This groups the mind-sets associated with atomistic epistemologies, secular metaphysical frameworks, relativistic axiological frameworks, and linear space-time frameworks. Discontinuities between isolated local elements are highlighted, as well as the conflictual dynamics between them.

2.2 Beta-cluster: This groups the mind-sets associated with holistic epistemologies, transcendental metaphysical frameworks, absolutist axiological frameworks, and non-linear space-time frameworks. Global features are highlighted but with loss of ability to distinguish clearly the dynamics of local elements bound together into a seamless continuity.

3. Understanding of development may be given a more concrete form by orienting any description in terms of the constraints on action implied in any practical response to the contrasting perspectives above. Any understanding may thus be further qualified in terms of:

3.1 The necessarily limited domain of its validity, or its relevance to any unique concrete situation.

3.2 The participatory, historical, or self-reflexive processes whereby the understanding is engendered.

3.3 The ongoing learning processes of critical re-examination of the questions to which it attempts to provide an answer.

This approach has been explored down to the 20th level in a separate paper (22) based on concept sets from a wide variety of disciplines and cultures (23). The intention was to "anchor" the approach in accepted conceptual frameworks as an appropriate foundation for the clustered pattern of complementary action programmes which can be associated with each such statement. Clearly at the higher levels the statements deal mainly with principles, whereas it is at the lower levels that the most concrete actions emerge in detail. At any given level an alternation between the emphases of each of the (complementary) statements is called for in order to ensure a balanced, coherent pattern of action capable of absorbing its own excesses. This has interesting implications for organization design.

9.3. Implications for values and norms

There is a widespread belief that a universal set of values can be formulated for the global community, possibly elaborated in the form of a hierarchy. A great deal of hope is placed in the possibility that everyone naturally accepts that "peace", "love", and "justice", for example, are unquestionable "goods", or that people can be educated into this understanding. The arguments of this paper suggest that, whilst efforts in this direction are necessary, they are of local rather than global significance.

The problem is partly one of comprehension. Such terms are understood very differently in different cultures and languages. They also lend themselves to every variety of (mis)interpretation. Most of the world's problems can be said to result from actions guided by differing interpretations of "peace", "love" and "justice" - the other person's interpretation always being perceived as at fault. As noted by the Director-General of UNESCO, Rene Mahen:

"Behind the misty wall of words, the diverse, even contradictory, interpretations, motivations and utilisations are an indication of fundamental divisions concerning values. In particular, the most basic human rights are more frequently invoked as a weapon of attack or defence against some party, rather than recognized and practised as the royal road to a positive relationship between individuals and groups in an objective form of fraternity." (15th General Conference, Paris, UNESCO, 1968)

The arguments of this paper suggest that it is somewhat simplistic to expect the word "justice", for example, to carry the full set of connotations necessary for it to fulfil all the functions expected of it. As noted in the previous section, global consensus on any of these terms, or any set of them, can best be conceived as being characterized by an inherent uncertainty. This uncertainty is not to be regretted, however, for it is that which is a guarantee of the dynamics through which a more profound understanding of values emerges. A neat definition of any value can only be of significance to a necessarily limited local group prepared to be bound in that way for some period of time, until its members are once again transformed by the global dynamics.

This said it is not simply a question of accepting value relatevism. As Boulding points out:

"There is not, of course, a single set of human values and each human being has his or her own set. There are however processes in the ecological interaction of society by which these differing values, though not reduced to a single set, are at least coordinated in an ongoing evolutionary process." (152, p. 22)

The question is then how the holding of any particular value fits into some such dynamic framework through which it is transformed by learning processes. Particular understandings are then better conceived as local way stations on learning cycles composed of complementary value sets. What is as yet far from clear is how such cycles are interlinked and how the transition to cycles encoding greater uncertainty can be accomplished. Aspects of this question have been explored in relation to sets of human needs in an earlier paper (24).

The key question then remains by what norms should action be guided. Clearly people can only be adequately motivated by the values they fully understand. Local values necessarily avoid the uncertainty inherent in global values to which local communities may have an equivalent of the body's immune response reaction. Until such local values are acknowledged, respected and given a place within any global value framework, it is not to be expected that local communities will respond, other than in token form, to global values. This response is effectively a built-in safeguard. Local "shoulds" are a response to local conditions. Global "shoulds", as we are currently able to define them, are insensitive to the variety of local demands and are therefore effectively disempowered. They would engender a highly vulnerable society if expressed locally in their present form, aside from the possibilities of abuse.

At present the need is therefore for different local groups to act in terms of the different local values they perceive as meaningful. "Local" includes the "peace" movement(s), the "human rights" movement(s), the "green" movement(s), the "development" movement(s), etc. whose fundamental differences are an indication of the non-global nature of their specialized preoccupations. The spastic or paralyzing global consequences of such differences may be overcome when values can be embodied as phases in learning cycles, with a lobal/global dimension, rather than perceived as static categories invoking territorial dynamics.

9.4 Implications for organization

Organizations tend to assume that the world would be a far better place if the bodies that oppose them did not exist. This is a necessary consequence of their specificity. The arguments of this paper suggest that not only do organizations need opposition to fulfil their functions in relation to healthy human and social development, but in a healthy organization opposition to policies must necessarily be internalized. The question is then how to bring this about without tearing such a system apart or simply paralyzing it. The response would seem to be a more conscious use of time to enable alternative policies to hold sway in different phases of a policy cycle.

The danger with any particular policy, as this paper has argued, is that it must necessarily have inherent limitations in order to be practical and comprehensible to those who must implement it. When "discovered" these limitations must necessarily be ignored by its advocates, who must necessarily stress the limitations of the policy it is intended to supplant. In conventional organization major switches in policy are usually accompanied by the rejection of those responsible for the old policy as "incompetent" or "out-of-date" and the triumphant entry of the "young tigers" to implement the new one for which they have successfully campaigned. The newcomers tend to ignore the fact that the limitations of their policy will subsequently become apparent and that they in turn will be rejected. (If they are conscious of this they may well devote much of their efforts to profiting personally from their temporary advantage.)

Such policy swings are evident in relation to most polarized issues: centralization/decentralization, ecology/industry, labour/employers, right/left, science/culture, grass-roots/global, freedom/constraint, etc. In each case a policy stressing one extreme must eventually prove self-defeating. The swing towards a policy extreme is however essential to the healthy dynamics of an organization, provided that such swings occur within a cycle. The respiratory cycle of inspiration/expiration provides a useful analogy - especially in the light of attempts to terminate it by "holding one's breath". Each portion of the cycle counteracts the excesses or absorbs the "negative" by-products of other portions of the cycle, just as in the case of crop rotation (discussed earlier). A cycle of this kind is self-stabilizing as opposed to monopolar policies which are essentially uncontrolled. The violent dynamics of issue polarization can only be effectively contained by policy cycles involving alternatives over time. (In mechanics the two-body problem can only be contained by rotation.)

From a developmental point of view, the advantage of policy cycles is that they enable individuals who identify with one portion of the cycle to move with it whilst they are "winning" and then to renew their approach whilst they are "losing" - having been made aware of their limitations (cf. the Democrats following the 19S1 USA elections). Lasting development results from the cycle as a whole (cf the Cannot work cycle) and not simply from some particular part of it. A policy cycle also has the built in variability to enable it to respond to a changing environment.

The question is then how to enable such policy cycles to emerge within an organization. In fact they are implicit in the policy struggles of any organization. The problem is how to enable the cycle to operate through a succession of phases which need to be rendered more explicit. This needs to be explored in a separate study but simple thought experiments can be envisaged for the initial explorations of this possibility. For example an organization could decide to further decentralization policies for a fixed period, then switch to centralization policies for a corresponding period, then repeat the cycle. Many organizations do this anyway but only as a somewhat spastic succession of responses to external conditions or perceived incompetence. In organizations such switches are often the only way that staff can maintain the impression that "something is happening" and that they can further their careers by riding with (or opposing) the policy shift.

The creative challenge in organizations of the future should be to find better cycles, not to maintain one's grasp on a particular phase of a cycle as at present. The question becomes more interesting when such cycles are perceived as having more than two phases, and even more so when a number of such cycles are "co-operating". In fact it is the interlocking of such cycles, through their mutual "entrainment", which should lead to more powerful forms of multi-phase cyclic organization. A metaphor illustrating the increasing stabilization resulting from such interlocking is that of the series monocycle, bicycle, tricycle....(possibly starting with the pogostick). In the first there are severe problems of balance making it difficult for non-experts to ride. The second can be ridden after a limited learning experience, whilst the third requires only minimal experience. With each new member of the series the question of direction acquires more importance than that of balance. (The metaphor also suggests the question as to how many "cycles" are involved in the design of an automobile, a helicopter, etc.)

It is in this respect that Buckminster Fuller's work is very suggestive because a good way to model such interlocking is by perceiving the cycles as sharing a common centre around a sphere. In organizational terms the points of interlock between different cycles then emerge as functions and strategies which are "violently" opposed from some other interlock points, strongly supported from others, and of little importance to others.

The lines of mutual support can then be modelled by the continuous network around a spherical tensegrity as discussed elsewhere (99). Such a network is of a different quality to that of many contemporary "networks" engaged in "networking", for these are too often characterized by "flabbiness" (100). A network of the kind envisaged might be better described as a "resonance network" having an inherent development dynamic.

Organizations of this type may well exist already. One could even argue that the powers behind any political scene cynically accept or encourage policy alternation as a way of controlling and "culling" the ambitious "hot heads" who emerge in connection with any particular policy. Such a model may indeed be an appropriate way to describe a healthy community which has emerged organically without having been deliberately designed. The problem is that our perceptual/conceptual habits impede our recognition of more integrated patterns of this kind.

It is for this reason that there is great need for a new use of computers to stablize the conceptual "scaffolding" whilst such cylically based organization is brought into operation - or until our comprehension can adapt to understanding existing organizations in this light. Computer assistance is required to order the detailed communication pathways and protect the conceptual or organizational "ley lines" until new habits have been developed. Computers need to be used to continually re-encode the organization structure so that it remains comprehensible. The classical organization hierarchy chart (used by most intergovernmental bodies and ministries) is a severe handicap which reinforces dangerous misconceptions of organizational reality and possibilities for development.

Boulding suggests that the urban revolution and the rise of civilization may have been produced more by social invention in the field of organization than by any associated material inventions. The first of these innovations was the specification of roles linked by a structure of communication and the second was the development of multi-layered organizational hierarchies (152, pp. 212-5). Given the present institutional "allometric" crisis, the question is how any further innovation might be conceived in the light of the above comments. The response may well lie in rendering dynamic the static concept of role (and the associated notion of job "slot"). Any role could then be redefined as the intersect of one or more learning phases which can be conceived as potentially organizable into nested levels of learning cycles by which uncertainty is more or less successfully contained.

Finally, as argued elsewhere with regard to the possibility of tensegrity conferences, a cyclic approach of this kind could be of great significance in the design of more effective meetings - as temporary organizations. There is much to be said for enabling the assembled human resources to interweave in a more integrated manner designed to facilitate transformations in the conceptual or organizational response to any set of problems. Here too computers could be of assistance, especially given the short time available. There is even a case for envisaging meetings in which the art of "casting" is computer assisted to ensure that the conflicting tendencies stressed by the powerful personalities assembled can interweave "dramatically" to engender a correlated set of transformative cycles - counteracting the excesses of each and providing space for the emergence of their individual and collective wisdom. Presumably the art of personnel selection, testing and management is moving in this direction.

9.5. Implications for unemployment

The world community has had to recognize a succession of problems (e.g. environment, energy) which have each cut dramatically across discipline and institutional boundaries and across prevailing systems of values. Each may be considered as a learning crisis arising from a collective blind spot. It would appear that the next of these is to be "unemployment". This problem tends to be conceived in the traditional terms of the absence of job "slots" and the necessity for their creation. As the crisis increases in proportion, this tendency will be reinforced, despite the economic impossibility of creating sufficient jobs under present conditions. Severe social unrest has been predicted, especially when social security schemes cease to provide an adequate cushion. And, even when jobs and social security are not a problem, a "leisure" problem is increasingly recognized, particularly for the younger generations.

The arguments of this paper suggest the possibility of a more creative approach. The root of the conceptual problem lies in the mutually exclusive specialized concepts associated with the activities "employment", "leisure" and "learning" of which the first two provide primarily "money" and "distraction/relaxation" respectively. A more general concept which incorporates these aspects, could be denoted by a term such as "employment of time".

The difficulty is that this concept is at present too vague to engender social structures and processes through which society could be organized. The present system is founded on the tangibility of the structures and exchange processes required to produce and distribute goods and services, especially those associated with the most basic material human needs. The question takes on a different light, which is less uncompromisingly negative in its connotations, if everybody is considered as being already fully employed. Then it becomes a matter of how they are employing their time and in what ways these activities (could) interweave in an exchange of values which is fulfilling - be it in a physical, affective, intellectual or spiritual sense.

In this light it is less a question of creating job slots into which people can be inserted as economic units, and more a question of how to give form and economic viability to activities which are already accessible to people - activating or enhancing latent production and exchange processes, many of which are considered characteristic of a better "quality of life". As illustrated by Attali's review of the potlach system (5), people are necessarily engaged in processing psycho-social "energy", whether this is considered in monetary, symbolic or other terms. The present difficulty could be said to arise from the ruthless reinforcement by economists of a conception of economic organization based on material goods, totally precluding the existence or credibility of any more general system in which material needs would merely be one important component.

Rather than a notion of "job slots", it would be preferable to consider every individual as already participating in a variety of "learning phases". Some of these involve production and/or consumption of material goods, whereas others might only involve production and/or consumption of symbolic goods. Clearly the greater the involvement in the symbolic components of the system, the lower the probable strain on the material components.

This does not avoid the problem of the need for material goods but it reduces its importance considerably - as the Roman's recognized with their cynicai circus policy (matched by its modern media counterpart). Perhaps the problem can better be conceived as the psycho-social organization of attention and the "energy" flows with which this is associated, particularly in relation to "value" and "the significant". It is then less a question of state-controlled manipulation of the media and public opinion, and more a question of catalyzing the self-organization of grass-roots learning phases and discovering how they can be interwoven to sustain exchanges of greater value.

The tragedy of the "unemployment crisis" is that economic theory, and the institutions it has engendered, has systematically discredited the participation of individuals in any local symbolic economy in which they are naturally "employed". (As an extreme example, an old lady seated on a bench in an Italian village square "doing nothing" probably considers herself "fully employed", and is perceived as such by the community.) The functions of the symbolic economy have been partially replaced by the leisure system and the social security system but neither of these encourage individuals in any desire they may still have to initiate new employments of their time which can be organized with those of others into more productive learning experiences. Gang vandalism is a frustrated response to this condition.

The key to the "unemployment crisis" may well be that of making local symbol economics self-sustaining so that from them self-sustaining material economics may once again emerge where appropriate. The problem is how time may be better employed by an individual, in association with others, to sustain a more fulfilling involvement in the community. It is unfortunate that this is narrowly conceived in terms of the production of material goods and services in return for monetary tokens.

9.6. Implications for the developmental responsibility of answer domains

The natural tendency of any answer domain to act as a focal point for all significance clearly introduces a distortion in the general field of significance. This necessary distortion can be set in a more fruitful context if it is seen as one extreme in an alternation process (as with an extreme position in the swing of a pendulum). But the question is then how is the limit of the swing to be sensed in relation to the answer domain. What are the limits to answer domain expression which suggest the need for some other mode to correct for its excesses and compensate for its failures?

This problem has effectively been evoked in the whole debate on the social responsibility of science, especially in relation to nuclear physics, weapons research, and genetic engineering. But the weakness of this debate is precisely that it has tended to focus on isolated "scapegoats". Other answer domains have thereby been rendered "innocent".

A more healthy approach, in the light of the arguments of this paper, could well be to consider all answer domains "guilty" to some degree at this time. The question is how to identify the nature of this guilt in the face of protestations of innocence by eminent authorities on the part of each domain.

Some more obvious examples are:

There are many such domains whether scholarly, ideological or practical. In each such case, often acting systematically through their respective intergovernmental institutions, they proceed as though their contributions to society constituted an unmitigated good. Individual abuse aside, the value of their contributions can only be questioned at the risk of ridicule, and thus constitutes a perfect disguise for every possible systematic abuse. Furthermore it would appear to be the interferences between the processes sanctioned by such domains which has engendered many features of the current social crisis. As Nalimov remarks: "The ecological crisis is, perhaps, a conflict of two languages which suddenly came into too close contact." (160, p. 14)

This suggests the need for a far more systematic awareness of the impact of answer domains on society as a whole. Just as industry has been called to order in some countries and required to produce "environmental impact statements", it would seern appropriate that some "societal impact statement" should be developed for each answer domain. This should clarify dimensions to which the domain is insensitive, despite its mobilization of relevant resources and encouragement of a favourable media image. It is not a question of seeking scapegoats, but rather of developing recognition of the inherent limitations of each domain. There is even a case for creating an international tribunal before which the degree of innocence or guilt of a domain can be clarified by interested parties. Thid would also provide an environment within which to clarify, for example, the necessary limitations on the perspectives of employers and of organized labour and the manner in which both neglect the perspective of consumers. Such a forum could also help to clarify how alternation with the perspective of some other answer domain(s) might remedy any imbalance.

9.7. Implications for forms of presentation

This paper has stressed the limited value of various conventional modes of expression. These arguments necessarily apply also to papers of this kind. The question is whether it is possible to devise some means of by-passing the desperately slow learning cycle associated with research-education-policy formulation-implementation in a world in which the education gap is increasing rapidly. If the current crisis is to be taken seriously, people must acquire access to an appropriate response by some other means. The problems of doing so have been reviewed in earlier papers (27, 108, 109, 110).

The unfortunate characteristic of answer propagation as currently practised with all the skills of media specialists is that it is conceived in terms of mechanical metaphors such as "hitting" a "target" audience and achieving "impact". This is the approach used both by the public information programmes of the United Nations family of organizations and by grass-roots initiatives such as the current Planetary Initiative for the World We Choose. This could be described as a "particle" approach acting to achieve the displacement of people from one mind-set to another. The arguments for this paper suggest the need for a complementary "wave" approach acting to achieve the entrainment of people in terms of their current mind-sets. Propagating an answer by resonance may prove to be a more appropriate mode in dealing with the "field" of world opinion. Particle propagation tends to be considerably slower than wave propagation, as well as being easily blocked or deflected.

The challenge is to make available something simple enough to be comprehensible and yet "seductive" enough to retain peoples involvement. On the other hand, if it is to be of any value at this time, it must also be sufficiently complex and coherent to encompass the complexity of a social reality in crisis, and yet empower people to act together to contain the crisis in such a way as to be transformed by the unique learning opportunity it constitutes. This is a tali order, far beyond the capability or ambition of conventional international programmes.

Under the circumstances it is appropriate to look at unconventional possibilities. One approach is through existing processes, penetrating all levels of society, which already hold most peoples attention, transform their awareness, and govern their actions. The challenge would then be whether it was possible to "code" onto these, as a kind of "carrier", a second level of meaning. The "double meaning" should then offer a totally new set of insights suggesting new patterns of action.

Some possibilities for this approach are:

(a) Popular music and dance: This has however been tried already with peace songs and UNICEF concerts. Its weakness is that it is inherently a right-hemisphere approach fussed on specific messages. More may be achieved by the traditional technique of attaching meaning to dance patterns.
(b) Spectator competitive sport: The weakness here is the passive role adopted by the spectator. It also seems difficult to encode a rich new level of meaning onto games, although Sallantin's work might change this. On the other hand, many ball games encode alternation processes, as Thompson effectively points out. If it were possible to develop another seductive level of interpretation of football, for example, this could propagate extremely rapidly and activate a more dynamic pattern of apprehending the current social condition. It is quite possible that such an interpretation is already active implicitly, below the conscious threshold, and is the basis for fascination with such games.
(c) Strip cartoons: The problem here lies in the constraints on their production, distribution, and use. Note however that the UN University and UNESCO are supporting Yona Friedman's innovative use of this medium (70).
(d) Rumour, scandal, and humour: Here the difficulty is in ensuring some coherence and force to the pattern of meanings, despite the advantages of the speed of dissemination.
(e) Astrology and divination: These lend themselves to multiple levels of meaning within a coherent framework, but the difficulty lies in the settings in which they are used.
(f) Traffic circulation: The familiar movement of traffic offers a very explicit substrate onto which the relationship between conflicting purposes can be encoded. It clarifies possible relationships between traffic moving in opposite directions and in cross-cutting roads to (or from) which access may be required. The control of such cross-over points by traffic lights provides an interesting example of alternation (possibly privileging certain traffic streams at certain times by adjusting the cycle). The progressive complexification draws attention to co-present developmental stages involving one-way traffic, round-abouts, filtering systems, clover-leaf intersections, underpasses as well as the contrast between highways and side roads. Present policy control in this metaphor can be compared to a procession (or "progress") in one direction with the support of security forces. This requires that all access roads be blocked off and all opposing traffic suppressed. When the procession has petered out, another such "convoy" may be organised in the opposite direction for the traffic stream blocked by the first. This reflects a distinctly antiquated approach. It takes no account of the sophisticated blend of control and delegation of responsibility to drivers which is characteristic of modern traffic patterns. These feature "public" and "private" vehicles, pedestrian-only streets, and a complete openness to traffic for different official and unofficial purposes (holiday, goods transport, business, aid, etc.).
(g) Myth, legend and tales: These are traditional carriers for double meanings. (Note the current attempts to distribute Sufi tales.) The question is whether the world's problems could be readily coded into active myths in such a way as to engender appropriate responses. They suffer from the childhood contexts in which they are first heard and have lost significance in industrialized countries.
(h) Dialogue: This has been an explicit concern of the GPID project. The problem is how to engender more fruitful dialogue. The available models for the dialogue process tend either to be overly structured as artificial impositions within any social context or excessively unstructured in reaction to that alternative. As with networks they may then be characterized as suffering from "flabbiness". Better guiding metaphors are required for the dialogue process which is in principle an excellent model of alternation.
(i) Weather and ecosystem: The case for this substrate was argued in an earlier paper (110), although there the emphasis was placed on the generation of "maps". The relationship of geographical metaphors to world hypotheses, such as the four of Stephan Pepper (158), has been reviewed by Anne Buttirner (159), both as a means of illustrating the value of looking at some of the root differences underlying contrasting modes of analysis and description, and in order to discover new metaphors to "elucidate some of the connections between descriptive and normative practice". Buttimer sees this as a way of affirming the possibility of a plurality of potential stances on the diversity of experiences. Such an approach has the merit of being universal, rich and engendering active involvement. But as a carrier it is not yet sufficiently "seductive". At a less conscious level, this approach has however been successfully used by animistic cultures. Specific animals may also be perceived as encoding a design response, which attempts to provide an "answer" to the "containment of uncertainty". This is achieved in one approach by functions based on the interference patterns generated by bilateral symmetry (eye, ear, brain), quadripedal organization of mobility, with a five-fold organization of manipulators.
(j) Sex, courtship and family life: Given the vital significance, described earlier, of the dynamic relationship between "opposites" or "incompatibles", there would seem to be a strong case for coding this onto the essential dynamism of courtship, sex and the restraints thereon. This is complex, "seductively" fascinating, universal, participative, and (directly or indirectly) a major preoccupation of most people who consequently have an extensive understanding of its many dimensions. It also has a productive dimension in the coherent pattern of value-loaded interpersonal relations it engenders through birth and bonding. The transformative power of sex (brought to light by Freud) is also well-recognized by the younger generations, possibly because of conservative attempts to regulate it. It has already acquired political significance through feminist concern for sexual and family politics. Sex thus has credibility (to coin a phrase) far in excess of any "international development programme". Note that sex has been used as a substrate for spiritual meanings in tantric yoga, in Hindu temple sculpture, and less explicitly, in classic Persian poetry, and in many myths and symbol systems. Finally it is a major preoccupation in the audio-visual media.

The merit of the last two possibilities is that they effectively involve coding the world problematique back onto the world and onto human beings, which would seem to be a conceptually elegant response to the problem of self-reflexiveness (15). There is also merit in relating a conscious pattern of significance to a substrate by which people are usually governed unconsciously. In Jungian terms this is an appropriate and fruitful form of marriage between conscious and unconscious elements. Humanity's inability to relate creatively to aspects of these unconscious elements (e.g. the environment and the reproductive instinct) severely aggravates the problematique (e.g. environmental degradation and the population explosion).

Such an approach is not as incongruous as might be suspected. Mary Douglas, an anthropologist, has argued that the organic system provides an analogy of the social system which, other things being equal, is used in the same way and understood in the same way all over the world. The human body is capable of furnishing a natural system of symbols, but the problem is to identify the elements in the social dimension which are reflected in views of how the body should function or how its waste-products should be judged (139). In a more recent study she points out that according to the "purity rule":

"the more the social situation exerts pressure on persons involved in it, the more the social demand for conformity tends to be expressed by a demand for physical control. Bodily processes are more ignored and more firmly set outside the social discourse, the more the latter is important. A natural way of investing a social occasion with dignity is to hide organic processes." (140, p. 12)

But such dignity, despite its value, is essentially static and conservative, denying the dynamics of development, decay and renewal - more effectively contained by the essentially hum folk rituals of carnival, etc. It is then easier to understand how oversimplified and "inhuman" our highest ideals become when they reject such bodily functions as digestion, excretion and intercourse. Douglas points out how uncomfortable some religions are with the association of such processes with a deity and consequently the difficulty they have in dealing with whatever they reject. Similarly in society's major institutions, there is no explicit conceptual link with that of themselves which they reject. The attitude towards bodily waste products is indicative of the degree of creative acceptance of the "loss" portion of the cycles discussed earlier.

As might be expected from earlier arguments, she identifies four distinctive systems of natural symbols, namely social systems in which the Image of the body is used in different ways to reflect and enhance each person's experience of society:

  1. Body conceived as an organ of communication: "The major preoccupations will be with its functioning effectively; the relation of head to subordinate members will be a model of the central control system, the favourite metaphors of statecraft will harp upon the flow of blood in the arteries, sustenance and restoration of strength."
  2. Body seen as a vehicle of life: As such "it will be vulnerable in different ways. The dangers to it will come....from failure to control the quality of what it absorbs through the orifices; fear of poisoning, protection of boundaries, aversion to bodily waste products, and medical theory that enjoins frequent purging."
  3. Practical concern with possible uses of bodily rejects: As such it will be "very cool about recycling waste matter and about the pay-off from such practices....In the control areas of this society controversies about spirit and matter will scarcely arise."
  4. Life seen as purely spiritual, and the body as irrelevant matter: "In these types of social experience, a person feels that his personal relations, so inexplicably unprofitable, are in the sinister grip of a social system. It follows that the body tends to serve as a symbol of evil, as a structured system contrasted with pure spirit which by its nature is free and undifferentiated. The millenialist...believes in a Utopian world in which goodness of heart can prevail without institutional devices." (1*0, p. 16-17)

Clearly such distinct attitudes can well determine the kinds of political tendencies discussed earlier. It is unfortunate that Douglas did not broaden the scope of her study to include sexual behaviour. For although she recognizes its fundamental importance (140, p. 93), she confines her concern to the significance of attitudes to the waste-products (of a single body) in determining behaviour within family systems. An equivalent focus on sexual behaviour would provide insight into the ways in which attitudes to alternation are similarly encoded and into the possibility of employing courtship and sexual symbols to enrich understanding of alternation processes in society.

Another bodily activity which encodes alternation is of course respiration, a favourite preoccupation in Eastern philosophies (141). Again, however, this is focussed on a single body and is therefore far less controversial and "seductive" as a form of presentation. This is the price of being less rich as a substrate for the generative dynamics of the relationship between opposites.

Emmanuel Todd has explored the hypothesis that family relations constitute a model for the socio-political relations in each society. He points out that until recently this old hypothesis has provied quite useless due to the embryonic state of social anthropology. He argues that any such comparisons have lacked significance because of the narrowly eurocentric (cf. Addo (14)) concept of valid socio-political forms.

"Est-il difficile d'adrnettre que la repartition mondiale des ideologies politiques et religieuses ne definit pas une strcture dichotomique mais un ensemble multi-polaire et dont tous les poles - communistes, liberaux, catholiques, sociaux- Democrates, hindous, musulumans, bouddhistes - sont egalement normaux, legitimes et dignes d'analyse" (167, p. 12).

For Todd the family structure is an infralogical mechanism governing the reproduction of specific human values. This leads him to question the "grand illusion" that politics make society rather than the converse. Each culture, founded on a specific anthropological base, then engenders an ideological form of its own family values (167, p. 24).

Emphasizing that it is just one of many possible descriptions (167, p. 34), Todd starts with the value dimensions liberty/authority and equality/inequality which allows him to distinguish four family types on the basis of (in)equality of children rights to parental heritage, and possible cohabitation of married children with their parents.

He considers that this revision of a classic eurocentric study is unable to reflect the diversity of non-European family structures because it does not take account of the anthropological significance of endogamic marriage relations, especially characteristic of non-European cultures. Todd then presents seven (-lus one) family types which he associates with different socio-political systems:

The unfortunate feature of this presentation is that it appears excessively deterministic. This is in large part due to the absence of any indication as to how family structures themselves develop in conjunction with socio-political systems. It does not reflect the way in which ail such variants tend to emerge side-by-side within a given post-industrial society. In the light of the learning cycle approach, each such pattern is best viewed as a "frozen" portion of such a cycle - or as a "standing wave". Furthermore none of the modes is necessarily pure. As remarked in the case of Douglas, what is required is a study which brings out more clearly the rich variety of different types of alternation in the interactions between people (possibly conditioned by such family structures) and the transitions between them.

The approach advocated therefore involves the simple pleasure of activating a new metaphor which can enchant, empower, explain and orient approaches to the problematique through the user's own comprehension of the metaphor's significance. But the metaphor is only new in that it has not been widely used before, despite the fact that everyone has access to it. In Boulding's words: "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." (152, p. 345) The charm of it, as Bateson stated in concluding a conference on the effects of conscious purpose on human adaptation, is that: "We are our own metaphor." (112, p. 304). Unfortunately we have over-identified with the metaphor and have been unable to see ourselves in perspective. The lack of such self-reflexiveness could well prove to be an important contributory factor to the current uncontrolled attitude to procreation which is at the root of many current problems.

9.8 Implications for information processing

The transformative right-hemisphere step advocated in the previous section can be advantageously complemented and challenged by a left-hemisphere focus on innovations in structured information processing. As argued in an earlier paper (81), the information systems currently installed or envisaged facilitate, in the Club of Rome's terms, maintenance (adaptive) learning but not innovative (shock) learning. This applies particularly to the development information systems promoted by the intergovernmental community. Maintenance learning calls for information systems in support of existing programmes for problems recognized in the past. Innovative learning calls for systems which enable unforeseen future problems to be anticipated:

"Innovative learning is problem formulating and clustering. Its main attributes are integration, synthesis, and the broadening of horizons. It operates in open situations or open systems. Its meaning derives from dissonance among contexts. It leads to critical questioning of conventional assumptions behind traditional thoughts and actions, focusing on necessary changes. Its values are not constant, but rather shifting. Innovative learning advances our thinking by reconstructing wholes, not by fragmenting reality..." (44, p. 42).

The systems required involve a degree of preparedness and an ability to redefine classificatory frameworks (not just to reshuffle and augment predefined lists of categories in a participative environment). These possibilities have been designed out of most existing systems. This may be seen in the cumbersome way in which the intergovernmental community has to re-equip itself at the information level for each newly discovered problem (e.g. environment, energy, etc.). The academic community is in a similar situation.

Bateson makes the point:

"At present, there is no existing science whose special interest is the combining of pieces of information. But I shall argue that the evolutionary process must depend upon such double increments of information. Every evolutionary step is an addition of information to an already existing system. Because this is so, the combinations, harmonies, and discords between successive pieces and layers of information will present many problems of survival and determine many directions of change." (29, p. 21)

As argued elsewhere (81): "Retrieval systems focus queries in the light of the user's existing knowledge and biases." The Club of Rome report notes: "We submit that many of the difficulties of learning today stem from the neglect of contexts." (44, p. 23) Soedjatmoko states: "Part of our incapacity to comprehend fully what is happening to us in the changing conditions of the world, despite the plethora of available information, lies in the operational inadequacies of present conceptual frameworks." (82)

What is needed at this time is a new variety of computer software which facilitates conceptual pattern formation as part of the inquiry process. The challenge is to facilitate accumulation of patterns, and of patterns of patterns. But this is not only a spatio-structural problem, but also a temporal-dynamic one of facilitating the discovery of the cycles of which existing categories are phases - as in Bohm's concern with "holocyclation" (93). This is in total contrast to current approaches which only meet the needs of users who assume that they know the pattern about which they require further information. Existing systems reinforce contextual ignorance and belief in the irrelevance of that of which users remain ignorant. This is valid locally but dangerous globally. There the challenge is to clarify how, when or where anything may become relevant. But even locally a category scheme which is unable to embrace the experience of a bird singing outside an office window is likely to be of dangerously limited value to any programme of human and social development. The categories of the United Nations Environment Programme, for example, ignore almost completely those species which do not have an economically significant relationship to man, thus effectively reinforcing the concept of the planet as a hydroponic system denuded of "non-functional" species.

A major disadvantage of the current approach to organizing information is that it is producer rather than consumer oriented, and is thus inaccessible to all but the most motivated learner - precisely the person who effectively already "knows what he wants" and has little interest in topics he consequently perceives as irrelevant, e.g. to his own planned production of further information The current approach does not face the challenge of designing non-manipulative information systems for people who do not know what they want, namely systems capable of responding to the condition of the uncommitted or apathetic who have not yet engaged in some development programme.

A different approach, that could be facilitated by video disc technology, would be one in which a discipline or topic was organized in terms of a number-based technique of fragmentation into sets. Information would be structured into learner-oriented units of different levels of content complexity (as is already done in programmed learning techniques). But the basic idea would be to deliberately arrange such units in sets of 1, 2, 3 or N elements. In any given set the units would be chosen and defined as complementary elements such that a pattern of relationships emerged between them. But the user would have the option of selecting sets in which the unit contents were such as to make the relationship neutrally comparative or mutually challenging, even to the point of negating each others positions. Thus the user could then alternate "backwards and forwards" through the information in terms of variables such as:

Organizing information in this way raises the interesting question as to how to identify, at a given level of complexity, the concept units to be included in such sets when the number of units equals 1, 2, 3 to N. For given choices of the last four variables above, what could be selected as the 10 key concepts of political science, for example? Where N is of the order of 150, the details of the nation-state system can obviously be elaborated. But what can be discussed in psychology when N=150?

This suggests that any information or argument should be presentable in such a multi-facetted form in order to facilitate learning - a possible basis for the organization of the proposed Encyclopedia of Social Science Concepts (under the auspices of UNESCO, ISSC and COCTA). It implies that a learner should be able to approach any topic in terms of his preferred decomposition of it into N elements, namely in terms of the number of distinctions or the degree of explicit difference with which he likes to work. Note that the problem in any policy or strategy situation is to maximize the number of factors the leadership can effectively grasp - and communicate, if popular approval is necessary. Information has to be packaged in terms of whatever value of N is acceptable. This technique has not been developed.

A special advantage of this approach is that it requires that units of information in conflictual relationship be juxtaposed, in case the learner wishes to be exposed to the nature of that conflict. In effect it calls for the ability to juxtapose both a viewpoint and that of its most explicit denial. This counteracts the tendency of "protect" users from "mis-informed" alternative viewpoints. And even when the viewpoints are simply different (N greater than 2), rather than mutually denying (N equal to 2), it enables the user to learn to distinguish between N shades of difference, and appreciate the variety detectable at that "diversity tolerance level".

An approach of this kind clearly offers many advantages in the exchange of information between people of different backgrounds - sharing mind-sets. Given the developing trend to write and exchange papers in a computer conferencing mode, this approach could well be used as a way of organizing such presentations of information - in contrast to the conventional near text mode such as used in this paper. It obliges the author, or some processing service, to work his way through the concepts inherent in his presentation at various values of N, rather than distribute lists of factors, points, principles, concepts or recommendations throughout the paper in various unrelated forms.

This obstructs the learner's access to the essence of "what he is getting at", at whatever values of N he is prepared to explore the information. Such an approach would free collective authors (such as the Brandt Commission, or the GPID project which inspired this paper) to interrelate a more complex pattern of concepts by which their collective understanding could be contained.

The need is for pattern building computer software to enable users to interrelate and nest their range of preoccupations in a flexible, non-simplistic manner which is inherently integrative. This is not to be confused with the extensive work on "pattern recognition". It is a question of facilitating category and symbol management in which boundaries are open to redefinition. It is such redefinition which facilitates transformative development.

Some possibilities have been discussed in earlier papers (81, 114) to counter the current erosion of collective memory, namely negative societal learning. The related implications of information networks for a transnational university have also been explored (109, 115). It is to be hoped that the newly created, development-oriented World Centre for Computer Technology and Human Resources (Paris) will focus on such questions. They correspond to Attali's concluding plea for the mobilization of "technologies reductrices des couts d'organisation." (5, p. 295)

9.9. Implications for the human self-image

The current sterile debate, reinforced by the differences between Western and Eastern cultural traditions, as to whether the significance of an individual lies only in his individuality and its transformative development or only in his social context and its transformative development, can be viewed in a new light of the arguments of this paper. Each of these opposing views clearly offers valuable insights, but the transformative development of the human self-image results from the process of alternation between them.

The change of focus can perhaps be best illustrated by the possible reinterpretation of the "stimulus-response" image of man favoured by behaviourists. This focuses on the way in which a given stimulus gives rise to a given response (as well as on ways of conditioning the desired response). In a simplistic concept of organization a leader may be conceived as providing key stimuli and ensuring appropriate responses. This asymmetrical approach was the original basis for government and corporate funding of research on the uses of media.

In a symmetrical approach a stimulus from one individual gives rise to a response, which is in turn perceived as a stimulus to which the original stimulator in turn responds. The two parties can then continue alternating between the roles of stimulator and respondent in a resonant exchange in which each takes initiatives and is conditioned by responses. Whilst this is fairly obvious, the interesting question is how the resonant exchange may be "tuned" as a vehicle for the expression of more significant possibilities. Clearly the classic asymmetric approach is just an extreme example of forced tuning by one party in his own interest. Courtship behaviour can be an example of more symmetric resonance which is progressively tuned to levels of greater significance, if it is successful.

Of greater significance in a social context is the manner in which the individual engages in resonant exchange with each of the members of the groups in which he participates. Each exchange is necessarily different, but the question is how these exchanges interweave in a process of mutual entrainrnent to constitute the resonance pattern of the group. And how may such a resonance pattern be tuned in turn and how many different resonators can "fit" together into what sort of pattern?

In such a context the individual is as much a non-localized pattern of propagation through the resonance network as a locus of interference within that network. Each individual is partly encoded by all the people with which he is in contact - "we carry a bit of everyone within us". This approach not only suggests possibilities for interpretation of the individual in relation to others but also for the individual in relation to the sub-personalities which constitute his psychic make-up. He is as much a resonance pattern between such subpersonalities as identified with any one of them.

There has been much recent work on the biological cycles by which human beings are characterized. Time-budget analysis has demonstrated the variety of alternative activities in which humans involve themselves at different stages of development (145). The arguments of this paper suggest that there is a case for exploring the nature of a human self-image based on alternation, whether between activities, roles or modes of perception.

Validating the phases through which alternation takes place then places extreme phases in a new context. In the light of Paul MacLean's work on brain evolution (153), some phases may indeed be governed, for example, by the lower lirnbic brain corresponding to the "reptilian" phase of main's evolution. (Political leaders are occasionally perceived as functioning primarily in this mode when grasping to retain power.) But the point is not simply to condemn such phases and attempt to "rise above them".

Although such attempts are also appropriate, eliminating such phases completely would effectively destroy important behavioural pathways in the psycho-social ecosystem through which learning takes place. In the natural environment also it is not simply a question of eliminating "primitive" species, but rather of ensuring their appropriate function in the ecosystem. In this sense the alternation phases need to pass through all the "species" necessary to the healthy functioning of man's psychic ecosystem.

Seen in this light the widespread attempts to define some groups or modes of behaviour as "good" and others as "bad" do not help to move beyond the resulting dynamics. Human beings are much more richly textured than such simplistic categories imply - as any literature shows. Whilst labelling some as "guilty" and others, especially oneself, as "innocent" is a necessary behavioural pattern under certain local conditions, it is also necessary to be able to operate in the opposite mode. If we do not understand how we are part of the problem, we cannot understand the nature of the "answer" required. It is even more desirable to recognize that it is not a question of being guilty or innocent, but rather of being guilty and innocent as a responsible participant in the current global condition of society. In this sense being human is the ability to live creatively with this paradox.


Personal space sub-component of Group A's integrative schema
Modern physics consciousness/assumptions
Boundaries are arbitrary imposed by observer's relationship to observed
Complementarity of incompatible explanations
"The sun does not necessarily rise or set"
Dynamics: breathing (as a metaphor)

Classical (Newtonian) physics assumptions
Boundaries are mechanically defined
Observers relationship to observed implies not ambiguity
"The sun rises"
Dynamics: exercise

Personal space sub-component of an integrative group schema

"Metaphysical"
Conscious experiential involvement of observer in environment dissolving the observer-observed dichotomy
Japanese concept of hara (zen) and inner strength (and some western concepts of "maturity" and "wisdom")
Dynamics: sartori, samadhi, etc.

If nothing else, human beings are only partially defined by the static categories in each of the many conceptual "languages" which attempt such definition. The essence of being human is uncontained by the patchwork aggregate of these definitions - it is a "quality without a name". It can be more appropriately "defined", especially as a self-image by the person concerned, by the dynamics of alternation between the roles, categories, activities and modes of being by which people are usually characterized. A richer and more "global" understanding of being human lies in identification with the "dance" between these specific, "local" or temporary definitions. The "dancer" is not limited by such specifics through which he expresses himself. Experientially he is more closely identified with the process of "dancing". Hence the production of books on the conceptual frontiers of physics with titles such as: "The Dancing Wu-Li Masters". (60)

The relationship between the individual's different attitudional postures in the dance has perhaps been best clarified by David Bohm. Each of the series of conflicting images with which an individual identifies can be conceived as a lower-dimensional projection of a higher-dimensional actuality which is their common ground but which is of a nature beyond all of them thus constituting a challenge to comprehension. In this higher-dimensional ground an implicate order prevails in which what is is movement, represented in thought as the co-presence of many phases of that order. Any particular attitude or posture is ultimately misleading although necessary as a well-defined vehicle of expression of the movement characteristic of the undefined totality of that higher order (8, pp. 209-210). The special merit of Bohm's presentation is that he demonstrates that, far from being an inaccessible mathematical abstraction, "the experiencing of the implicate order is fundamentally much more immediate and direct than is that of the expliate order, which...requires a complex construction that has to be learned." (8, p. 206). His work is leading to a reassessment of the hoary mind-body question by combining his concept of "holomovement" with that of the holographic paradigm (155).

In effect it is not so much a question of the human self-image in the face of the undefined - certainty facing uncertainty. Nor is it only a question of "containing" the undefined by a configuration of responses. The challenge is to embody and express the undefined, as is intuitively recognized in the appreciation of the vitality of human spontaneity. The direction of human development may then be seen to lie in the progressive embodiment (or "marriage") of more fundamental forms of the paradoxical relationship between discipline and spontaneity. The current social development crisis may be interpreted as the crucible in which human beings learn to perceive themselves in such terms. The attitude called for by these uncertain times is thus one of disciplined spontaneity or spontaneous discipline. This is not achieved by the present schizophrenic alternation between "discipline" and "spontaneity" which makes of each mode a shadowy evil to be combatted by the other.

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