Energy Patterns in Conferences
Weaving patterns of information as a context for higher levels of integration
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A tentative exploration of the different patterns of information which may emerge at any time during the course of a meeting - and the special problems and opportunities to which they may give rise. Originally distributed by the Union of International Associations [searchable PDF version]
Meetings are frequently taken to be a success
Since meetings provide the principal arena in which the possibilities for the future are articulated, and the resources for change are apportioned, it is fruitful to keep challenging the way in which meetings are currently conceived.
Is it possible that there may be significantly more fruitful ways to hold meetings ? What could a "perfect meeting" be like next year - and 500 years from now ?
One new way to understand meetings, which suggests many possibilities for their improvements, is in terms of "patterns of energy". The question is what kinds of "energy" or information are exchanged in a gathering in order to give it focus, to move it forward, and to maintain a healthy relationship among the different positions represented. And what are the component parts on any such pattern.
This document is one attempt to clarify these issues. It is based of a wide range of materials (see the references, and notably Patterns of N-foldness; comparison of integrated multi-set concept schemes as forms of presentation, 1984). The methodology is described in Beyond Method; engaging opposition in psycho-social organization (1981) and derives from earlier work on Representation, comprehension and communication of sets; the role of number (1978). The materials have been presented here in a sequence from 1 to 12 in some detail, followed by 13 to 20 in a much more exploratory approach, followed by an example of the I Ching 64-fold pattern as explored for networks and meetings. [The "articulation exercise" described with respect to patterns 1-20 has subsequently been presented to take advantage of hyperlinking in Distinguishing Levels of Declarations of Principles; that with respect to the 64-fold pattern in Transformation Metaphors for sustainable dialogue, vision, conferencing, policy, network, community and lifestyle (1997)]
The suggestion, whether implicit or explicit, in many of the sources used, is that patterns of interaction amongst people (or conference sub-groups) holding different views can be usefully identified. Some authors favour 3-fold patterns, others 4-fold, 5-fold, 6-fold, 7-fold, 8-fold, etc. Some authors, notably Kuchinsky (following Bennett) and Allen, have presented these patterns in a sequence as in this document -- applying them to the management of organizations.
In this document the relevance of such patterns to conferences is explored. The document is very much a first draft and suggestions for improvement are welcomed -- notably with respect to the challenges, questions and relevant metaphors. It has the merit of drawing attention to other approaches which focus on one or other pattern.
There is a major difficulty in making effective use of such information. As will be seen in exploring the 4-fold or 6-fold patterns, a presentation of this kind corresponds to one specific kind of "energy" in such a pattern. It is necessarily a very partial presentation. For the patterns to "work", other complementary energies must also be activated. This requires different styles of contribution to the work of the conference.
Despite this inherent trap, hopefully this document identifies an opportunity in conferences to use a set of energy or information patterns, whether interlinking participant roles, specialized groups or styles of information presentation. One complementary approach which moves beyond the distinctly sterile "left-brain" nature of this document, is through the use of metaphors to reinterpret the patterns in more organic terms. Some references are made to possible metaphors appropriate for each pattern. Metaphors for understanding conferences in a more fruitful light are explored in an accompanying document (extracted from the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential).
One mechanistic metaphor through which to understand the value of such a set of patterns as a whole, is that of a conceptual or energy "gearbox" (1st gear is used for some purposes, 4th gear for others, etc). The important thing for a meeting is to be able to "shift gear", and not to get confused about "which gear we are in" at any point in a discussion. Another metaphor, more organic, is that of a pattern of crop rotation.
More speculatively, such patterns may be viewed as exercises in collective "basket-weaving" or building "bird cages". As In the Sufi tale, if the container is well-designed, it may prove appropriate to a higher level of significance.
No single formulation (Including this one}, nor any logically integrated setof formuIa- tion, adequatelay ancompasses the nature of the development process. Every position or formulation is therefore suspect. When it is formulated within a domain of unquestioned consensus, this potential doubt is inactive, thus establishing a boundary of uncritical discourse which inhibits development.
Examples: A conference as a whole. An organization.
Conference challenge: No unity exists apart from interested attention. In a conference, any situation to which the gathering directs its attention is thus transformed into a unity, but some exemplify the systemic attribute of universality more strongly than others. Wholeness is universal and omnipresent, but relative; it may be transformed into identity. The combination of confused immediacy and the expectation of finding an organized structure imbues the situation with the potential for progress. It is what it is, but it holds the promise of being more than it appears to be.
The initiator of any enterprise necessarily creates a much smaller world than the context encompassing it. The basic difficulty remains as acute for the one called to the path of action as for the one called to the path of contemplation: to overcome preference. Since overcoming preference is repugnant to human nature as it is bom, discipline must be invoked and practiced.
Questions: How to distinguish between a simplistic (reductionistic) concept of undifferentiated, unity or consensus - with all its totalitarian implications - and a richly diversified concept of unity, in which each distinction has its role and function?
Possible metaphors: Gaia, circle, ecosystem, solar system, sun, human being, community. Articulation exercise: Inadequacy of formulations
Cautions: Over-simplifying wholeness - the holographic paradigm (William Irwin Thompson):
"I hope the public will not do to the metaphor of the hologram what they did to the model of the lateralization of the brain. Omstein's ideas were overgeneralized ad nauseam. And this encouraged a good deal of "misplaced concreteness". In which highly complex psychologic psychic states were simply looted in physiological processes. Pribram and Bohm are doing good work, but I hope we will give them the necessary space to do that work and not jump in with an overgeneralized advertising campaign"
Articulation exercise: No single formulation (including this one), nor any logically integrated set of formulations, adequately encompasses the nature of the development process. Every position or formulation is therefore suspect. When it is formulated within a domain of unquestioned consensus, this potential doubt is inactive, thus establishing a boundary of uncritical discourse which inhibits development
Examples: Some dualities which introduce tension into the conference dynamics:
Conference challenge: A conference defines and organizes space (namely a conceptual domain or territory) and time (the rhythms in which attention is devoted to portions of that territory). A conference introduces "curvature" into the space-time continuum of society - just as participants introduce curvature into the continuum of the conference for themselves - through the energy and focus of their individual preoccupations. Any such curvature necessarily distorts the flow of information in the larger whole.
Questions: Who manipulates such space-time and how? How can one navigate through it?
Possible metaphors: Breathing, walking
Articulation exercise: Opposition/Disagreement
2.1 New initiatives, including this one, are formulated by taking and establishing a particular position in opposition to whatever is conceived as potentially denying it. The nature of the initiative is partly determined by the way in which the challenge or initial absence of any opposing position is perceived and the possible nature of the response. It is the immediacy with which the challenge is perceived that empowers the initiative.
2.2 The taking of a position as a result of a new initiative engenders or activates a formulation which is its denial. Every formulation is therefore necessarily matched by an initiative which is incompatible with it, or opposed to it, or takes an essentially different direction from it. This opposition is fundamentally unmediated and as such cannot be observed or described. It can only be comprehended through identification with one of the opposed positions.
Some triple complementarias (Arthur Young):
Colour-coded thinking (diagram above) (Jerry Rhodes and Sue Thame):
Conference challenge: The presence of contradictions, opposing factions and polarization in a conference, tends to engender some third force or position which mediates between them. The mediating role may however shift between any of the three - an eternal triangle of shifting bilateral coalitions and oppositions.
Questions: What are the questions/challenges faced by those holding each role? What are the insights characteristic of each position? What are the blindspots / illusions of each?
Possible metaphors: ??
Articulation exercise: Dialectic synthesis
3.1 A form, through the affirmation of its existence, exerts pressure in response to its context which acts as an impulse for the continual transformation of the latter. As antecedent of any such transformation, it subjects any outcome to constraints. To the extent that the nature of the pressure on its context is unrecognized, any action initiated is distorted or unregulated in its impact on the context.
3.2 A form existing in the present stands in opposition to other pre-existing forms within the same context. As a result it is constrained by them to be of the necessary scale and proportion to oppose the pre-existing forms most dynamically. Within a given context, however, an opposing form of a particular type may be engendered which has been superseded in other co-present contexts. Forms corresponding to different stages of development may thus re-emerge and co-exist if the communication between contexts is obstructed in any way. To the extent that ignorance concerning this obstruction prevails, contexts become progressively more restricted, such that the dynamism of the opposition of the forms engendered within them diminished with a corresponding increase in the inertia or resistance associated with the least developed forms.
3.3 Opposition between two forms tends to give rise to a new form which has properties characteristic of both of them as well as new mediating properties unique to itself. The new form interrelates or harmonizes the original opposing forms. It reconciles them at a new level of expression of unity, whether or not they then disappear. The potential existence of the new form is therefore partially implicit (although incomplete) in each of the opposing forms prior to its generation. It thus functions as a stimulus or attractant by providing a pattern for their interaction and the organization of its outcome. Once created, the form will in its own turn prove inadequate and be opposed and superseded by more adequate forms whose nature it partially defines. The attraction of a particular form may however prevent the energetic development of this process.
Some paradigms of four-fold discourse include:
Movement of knowledge and information in culture space (Max Boisot):
Knowledge and information flow through culture space (see diagram above): Upward towards greater codification; downward towards less codification; rightward towards more diffusion and leftward towards less diffusion, thus irrigating culture space with information. New knowledge is created when the actions of the four vectors resolve themselves into a clockwise flow, where each vector represents a distinct phase in the build up of new knowledge (scanning, problem solving, diffusion, absorption).
Four philosophies of management (Charles Handy):
Four-fold logic (adapted from K Mushakoji and T Yamauchi):
It is useful to consider the following four alternative modes as ways for a conference - or the participants individually - to deal with information:
Conference challenge: The stability of a conference is ensured by its ability to shift harmoniously between four counter-acting conditions through the excess of anyone of them are counter-balanced. Less creatively this may take the form of a co-existence of four distinct emphases, whether or not any transition between them is feasible or attempted.
Possible metaphors: Walking by quadrupeds
Articulation exercise: Developmental interaction
4.1 In a set of forms, one form acquires a dominant status at any one time. As such it establishes the formal pattern of relationships between other forms by observing and distinguishing their elements, and interpreting their significance. Any infringement of this monopoly of power is met by a conscious reaction on the part of those associated with it who strive for position within the framework it supplies.
4.2 In a set of forms, one or more forms acquire a recessive or sub-dominant status at any one time. As such they are characterized by both minimal inherent organization and high inertial resistance to transformation. Any attempt to change those associated with such forms is met by unconscious reaction.
4.3 In a set containing a dominant and a dominated form, the pattern of relationships governed by the dominant form proves progressively more inadequate as a framework for handling the accumulation of new information and experience. Inconsistencies, contradictions and incompleteness gradually accumulate and become increasingly apparent as conditions change. The dominant form alone does not contain the variety to encompass and control the complex conditions to which it is exposed. The value of the recessive or inferior form becomes correspondingly apparent by contrast. The unconscious or impulsive actions of those associated with both forms serve merely to aggravate the condition and to highlight the absence of a form providing any adequate sense of direction or functional orientation for the whole.
4.4 In a set containing a dominant and an inferior form, and characterized by contradictions, adequate control is usually maintained through the momentum of working processes governed by the dominant form. Any deviation is corrected by a conscious integrative action on the part of those associated with that form. As the contradictions cease to be held in restraint in this way. the source of control is effectively transferred from the dominant form to the inferior form which thus emerges to take its place. To the extent that this transfer of control is resisted, the change is likely to be violent rather than smooth.
Example: Resonance hybrid: an illustration of variable organizational geometry:
Some chemical molecules cannot be satisfactorily described by a single configuration of bonded atoms. The theory of resonance is concerned with the representation of such molecules by a dynamic combination of several alternative structures, rather than by any one of them alone. The molecule is then conceived as "resonating" among the several structures and is said to be a "resonance hybrid" of them. The classic example is the benzene molecule (represented above) with 6 carbon atoms. This is one of the basic components of many larger molecules essential to life. Its cyclic form only became credible when Kekulé showed that it oscillated between structures A and B. Linus Pauling later showed that it in fact alternates between all five forms above (and as such requires less energy than any one of them alone).
This concept can be used in designing, describing, or operating organizations, especially fragile coalitions or volatile meetings. It may provide a key to the "marriage" between hierarchies and networks. It could also be used to interrelate alternative definitions (or theories, paradignms, policies, etc), especially where none of them is completely satisfactory in isolation. The underlying significance then emerges through the resonance between the set of alternatives.
Conference challenge: For the activities of a conference to acquire wider significance, and to offer the potential for transformation, a fifth dimension must emerge, effectively giving the gathering a focus of identity (or centre of gravity) through which it can relate as a whole to the wider comunity. Such a five-fold configuration permits a conference to accumulate the potential for future action.
Possible metaphors: Chemical resonance hybrid (benzene molecule)
Articulation exercise: Constraints on existence
For a form to exist and acquire any momentary significance, it must:
5.1 bear a consciously recognized relationship to a context. If this relationship is ignored the form effectively merges into the context and cannot be distinguished from it due to the absence of any recognized boundaries or limits.
5.2 be sufficiently general to be perceived as relevant to other variants of the phenomenon detached from immediate perception within the domain of discourse. If it is so general that it is perceived as relating to too wide a range of phenomena, then its significance is lost. Or, alternatively, it becomes so detached from immediate perception that its significance becomes fragmented into seemingly unrelated facets which arouse differing degrees of attachment or rejection.
5.3 be perceived as relating to tangible phenomena of immediate relevance. But ifthis relationship is so strong as to be perceived as merely a reflection of those phenomena or identical with them, then its significance is lost or engenders contradictions, confusion and associated conflict.
5.4 be perceived as sufficiently complex to encompass the complexity. If this is too much greater than that of the phenomena, its significance is either lost or a faith in the form may be engendered which is then valued for its own sake, independently of the phenomena, and possibly as being in some way superior to them.
5.5 be sufficiently simple to be a comprehensible vehicle for intention. But if it is perceived as too simple (or trivial) the significance is lost The unchannelled intention then reinforces inactivity or degenerates into sublimated forms of action.
Six forms of intelligence (Howard Gardner):
(a) Linguistic intelligence: Sensitivity to sounds, rhythms, inflections and meter, a special clarity of awareness of the core operation of language. Characteristic of poets; universally relevant in order to convince others, to remember information mnemonically, to explain something clearly, and to understand language itself. (b) Musical intelligence: Relating of emotional and motivational factors to perceptual ones; music is a way of capturing and communicating feelings and knowledge about feelings. It seems to be used in exploring and interpreting other forms of intelligence. (c) Logical/mathematical intelligence: Ability to identify and then solve significant problems; memory for repetitive patterns and the ability to compare and operate upon such patterns mentally; and an intuitive feel for logical relationship amonst classes of conceptual objects. (d) Spatial intelligence: Accurate perception of the physical world; ability to transform or modify these perceptions, and the recreating of certain aspects of visual experience without relevant physical stimuli - these are all part of spatial ability. (e) Bodily-kinesthetic intelligence: Skill in controlling bodily movements and in the ability to manipulate objects combine in this intelligence, which has been valued in many cultures as the harmony between mind and body - the mind trained to use the body properly and the body to respond to the mind. It reaches its height in dance, which has supernatural connotations in some cultures, and in other performing roles. (Low bodily-kinesthetic intelligence is equated, in India for example, with immaturity.) (f) Personal intelligence: Centred on the concept of the individual self and may be considered as: ** Access to one's own feeling life - this is the development of the internal aspects of a person and the ability to detect and symbolize complex and highly differentiated sets of feelings. ** Ability to notice and make distinctions among individuals - to read even the hidden intentions and desires of others and to use this knowledge to influence their behaviour. Development of these intelligences leads to self-maturity and to personal knowledge of one's self as a unique individual.
Six thinking 'hats' (Edward de Bono):
Conference challenge: Conference processes need to offer the gathering the possibility of periodic renewal as it moves towards some emerging goal. This takes place through the cyclic repetition of a disruptive phase, moving towards the goal, and a restorative phase, through which the capacity for such action is regenerated. It is through the experience of such cycles that the conference is collectively experienced as "coming alive" and having "a life of its own".
Possible metaphors: ??
Articulation exercise: Coherence through renewal
Sustaining the coherence of a form through its continual renewal requires:
6.1 a focussed reaffirmation of the existence of the elements which ensure its integrity. To the extent that this reaffirmation is lacking, knowledge of its structure is eroded and the boundaries of the form become confused or dissolve.
6.2 redefinition of the form to distinguish it from the superficial features of encroaching alternative forms with which it interacts. These may appear more attractive if concentration is relaxed. To the extent that this transformative process is lacking, aspects of the alternative definitions may be partially incorporated, thus progressively destroying the form as an integrated structure by formation of a hybrid or an agglomerate.
6.3 repeated effort to understand the essential or general characteristics of the form which underlie any particular set of superficial features and thus not bound by them. To the extent that this understanding is lacking, the superficial features condemn the form as unnecessarily constraining, unsatisfactory, with consequent reactions.
6.4 periodic detached recognition of its wider significance and how its development can best be controlled in relation to this. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, transformation of the form is blocked because of the narrow perspective with which it is viewed.
6.5 recognition of the contextual structuring constraints, qualitative characteristics and challenges which ensure its stability, and in terms of which it may be transformed. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the stability of the form is undermined by doubts concerning its present relevance.
6.6 adaptation of insights concerning its possible development to a realistic strategy for its actual development. To the extent that this adaptation is lacking, any strategies formulated will be impractical and will result in maldevelopment of the form.
Seven axes of symmetry are exhibited in the cuboctahedron (on the left). It is named the vector equilibrium, and considered a structure of fundamental significance by Buckminster Fuller because of its transformative properties. These are illustrated when flexible ioints are used as shown above. It will then contract symmetrically due to the instability of the 4-fold square faces. This contraction is identical to that of 12 spheres packed around a 13th, when the latter is removed. The flexible model will also take up many asymmetric forms.
Conference discontinuities (adapted from Rene Thom):
In any conference governed by potential, in which behaviour is determined by no more than four basic modes of action, only seven qualitatively different types of discontinuity are possible. In other words, where experience indicates that "something has to give", there are only seven fundamentally different ways for it to do so:
Seven axes of methodological bias (W T Jones):
(a) Order vs disorder: Namely the range between a preference for fluidity, complexity, muddle, disorder, chaos, distrust of conceptual analysis, etc. and a preference for system, structure, conceptual clarity, classification of experience, etc. (the "neat package"). (b) Static vs dynamic: Namely the range between a preference for the changeless, eternal, fundamental patterns (archetypes) etc. and a preference for movement, for variability, explanation in genetic and process terms, etc. (c) Continuity vs discreteness: Namely the range between a preference for inclusiveness, wholeness, unity, fundamental identity, etc and a preference for discreteness, discontinuities, radical alternatives, plurality, diversity, etc. (d) Inner vs outer: Namely the range between a preference for being able to project oneself into the objects of one's experience (to experience them as one experiences oneself), and a preference for a relatively external, objective relation to them as an observer of material substance. (e) Sharp focus vs soft focus: Namely the range between a preference for clear, direct experience, clarity, distinctness, vividness and a preference for blurred edges, fuzziness, melding, penumbral threshold experiences which are felt to be saturated with more meaning than is immediately present and as revelatory of inner significance. (f) This-World vs Other-World: Namely the range between a preference for hard-headed realism, etc. and a preference for discontent with the here-and-now in favour of the exotic, the supernatural, the idealistic, unreality of the material world, etc. (3) Spontaneity vs process: Namely the range between a preference for chance, freedom, accident, unpredictability, etc and a preference for explanations in terms of laws and definable processes.
Conference challenge: For a conference to become self-regulating, rather than dependent on some reductionistic mode of organization, a transformational super-structure is required. This reconciles its evolution towards self-actualization (the innovative acquisition of new and unforeseen dimensions or qualities) and the dissolution of any acquired identity for integration to permit integration as an organ of the wider social environment. A seven-fold pattern of energies is required to provide continuity through such gains and losses of significance.
Possible metaphors: ??
Articulation exercise: Modes of change
Under certain conditions the only form of change perceived as effective:
7.1 is through the willful destruction of a prevailing form, whether or not a new or more adequate form can be substituted in its stead. This approach is favoured when the existing form is perceived as essentially static and an inhibitor of any form of dynamism or growth.
7.2 is through supportive interaction (dialogue) with the various perspectives formulated within the community concerned. Through such participative involvement on the part of the change agent as a sympathetic catalyst, a new community viewpoint can develop naturally from its existing foundations and be transformed. This approach is favoured when existing methods are perceived as implying destructive discontinuity or the imposition of inappropriate external formulations which would do violence to the community's growth and thus effectively retard it
7.3 is through the formulation of a new all-encompassing philosophy (paradigm, theory, or strategy) as the reference framework in terms of which change can be initiated and undertaken. This approach is favoured when the diversity of existing initiatives is perceived as breeding confusion, dissipating resources, and undermining any possibility of a new level of collective achievement for the community as a whole.
7.4 is by enabling a more sensitive recognition of the variety of existing forms and the manner in which, through their various (and possibly discordant) interactions, they already constitute a rich and harmonious pattern saturated with meaning at a deeper level of significance. This approach is favoured when there is concern that new forms advocated are insensitive to and detached from the inherent harmony in those which have already been organically integrated into the tissue of lived reality.
7.5 is through the formulation of laws and definitions concerning observable processes on the basis of controlled investigation of their properties. Through such forms control is obtained over the processes which can then be used to restructure the environment according to their possibilities. This approach is favoured when there is concern that the processes of change are clothed in superstition, mystification, and are attributed solely to chance, or accident, or inexplicable agents acting spontaneously beyond the control of man.
7.6 emerges by renunciation of forms based upon the spatio-temporal world in favour of other factors and frames of reference to which appeal may be made. This approach is favoured when there is recognition that manipulative control of particular sub-systems of the external physical environment is only partially satisfactory (even when it is complete), and that less tangible dimensions need to be taken into account Any such forms are frequently at least partially based on transformations of the inner world of the individual as it relates to the external world.
7.7 is to design configurations through which the full range of existing forms in opposition to each other can function creatively as complementaries, compensating for each others limitations and excesses. This approach is favoured when there is concern that the various approaches to change are functioning together so discordantly that some new form of dynamic order is required which provides a context for their different, and essentially incompatible, orientations.
Buddhist Eight-fold Way as applied to conferences:
Eight team-working roles (R M Belbin):
(a) Company worker Conservative, dutiful, predictable. Positive qualities: organizing ability, practical common sense, hard-working, self-discipline. Normal weaknesses: lack of flexibility, unresponsiveness to unproven ideas. (b) Chairman: Calm, self-confident, controlled. Positive qualities: capacity for treating and welcoming all contributions without prejudice, strong sense of objectives. Normal weaknesses: No more than ordinary in terms of intellect or creative ability. (c) Shaper Highly strung, outgoing, dynamic. Positive qualities: Drive and readiness to challenge inertia, ineffectiveness, complacency or self-deception. Normal weaknesses: Proneness to provocation, irritation and impatience. (d) Plant: Individualistic, serious-minded, unorthodox. Positive qualities: Genius, imagination, intellect, knowledge. Normal weaknesses: Up in the clouds, inclined to disregard practical details or protocol. (e) Resource investigator: Extroverted, enthusiastic, curious, communicative. Positive qualities: Capacity for contacting people and exploring anything new; an ability to respond to challenge. Normal weaknesses: Liable to lose interest once the initial fascination has passed. (f) Monitor-Evaluator: Sober, unemotional, prudent. Positive qualities: Judgement, discretion, hard-headed ness. Normal weaknesses: Lack of inspiration or the ability to motivate others. (g) Team Worker: Socially orientated, rather mild, sensistive. Positive qualities: Ability to respond to people and situations and promote team spirit. Normal weaknesses: Indecisiveness at moments of crisis. (h) Completer-Finisher: Painstaking, orderly, conscientious, anxious. Positive qualities: Capacity for follow-through; perfectionism. Normal weaknesses: Tendency to worry about small things; reluctance to let go.
Conference challenge: Enduring individuality is the source of continuing Initiative in a conference and provides a unique focus for the conscious inter-subjective experience of the gathering. This can only be embodied in an eight-fold pattern of energies.
Possible metaphors: ??
Articulation exercise: Constraints on change
8.1 In assessing any apparent need for change, care is required to avoid mistaken formulations of the environmental condition. These can lead, for example, to an impetuous response or action for action's sake, from the consequences of which recovery may be difficult
8.2 In formulating and planning any change initiative, care is required in selecting the point and manner of intervention. The constraints rarely offer the desired freedom of action and may easily be used as a focus for distracting dissatisfaction.
8.3 In formulating the nature of the change initiative, care is required in adapting any representation of it to avoid the temporary benefits of pleasing whoever is identified with the current condition or failing to acknowledge the difficulties to be encountered in changing it. These difficulties include weaknesses in those associated with the change initiative itself.
8.4 In implementing a change initiative as formulated, care is required that the initiative is not itself disorted by close association with the adverse conditions to which it responds or weakened by avoiding unpleasant decisions which have to be made to maintain the integrity of the response.
8.5 In sustaining a change initiative as formulated, care is required in ensuring its equilibrium with the intensification and expansion of activity due to confidence from successful experience with any adverse conditions encountered and with the distractions of contentment with positive achievements.
8.6 Once a change initiative has achieved its maximum deployment, care is required in responding to the limitations on any further development. The original direction of effort may well be deflected in the pursuit of further success, especially in response to any accumulation of negative assessments.
8.7 Once the essential task of a change initiative is approaching completion, care is required in deciding on the termination of activities as originally intended. It may seem natural to continue the activities or to institutionalize them. Positive encouragement to do so may be received from all concerned. Succumbing to these pressures creates the risk of entrapment by a pattern of activity which it may then prove difficult to terminate at any time.
8.8 After a change initiative has been terminated, care is required in evaluating the activities and the achievements in the light of the original intent in order to avoid subsequent dependence on them.
Personality styles in terms of the enneagram (Maria Beesing, et al):
(a) Ones: Avoid anger, dedicated to being perfect; honest, direct and fair. Alleviate their compulsive aggressiveness by moving toward the pride of Sevens (niceness). Their trap is perfection from which they are released by the idea of growth. (b) Twos: Avoid recognizing they have needs; pride themsleves on being helpful; dependency on others; often innocent of the real evils of the world. Alleviate their compulsive dependency on other's approval by moving toward the pride of Fours (uniqueness). Their trap is the concept of selfless service from which they are released by an understanding of grace. (c) Threes: Avoid failure; identify themselves with their achievements; focus on efficiency. Alleviate their compulsive aggressiveness by taking on the pride of Six (loyalty). Their trap is the stress on efficiency from which they can be released by an understanding of will. (d) Fours: Avoid ordinariness, in order to maintain their sense of uniqueness; compassionate; innate sense of symbolic expression. Their trap is the focus on authenticity from which they are released by identification with some larger context. (e) Fives: Avoid emptiness; preoccupied with increasing their store of knowledge; observers rather than participants; look for pattern in events, finding life full of meaning. Alleviate their compulsive defensiveness by taking on the pride of Eights (powerfulness). Their trap is the quest for knowledge from which they are released by a recognition of the bénéficient and synergistic function of inexplicable contextual forces. (f) Sixes: Avoid deviance, seeing life in terms of obedience to regulations and norms; concerned with making wrong decisions; sense of insecurity, external threat and the demands of others; genuinely hospitable, loyal; require unambiguous guidlines. Alleviate their compulsive dependency on conformity by taking on the pride of Nines (Iam OK). They are trapped by their idea of security and are released by a recognition of trust in a larger context (g) Sevens: Avoid pain and difficult situations, whether physical or psychologicl: optimistic and fun-loving people; reality is making plans; everything should be "nice". Alleviate their compulsive dependency on pleasure by taking on the pride of Fives (knowledge). They are trapped by their idealism and are realeased by an understanding of co-creation in a wider context (h) Eights: Avoid weakness, glorifying in a sense of strength; focus on the struggle for what is right; life as a power struggle; aggressive and remorseless; scorn compromise and gullibility; courageous. Move against their compulsion by taking on the pride of Twos (helpfulness). They are trapped by their idea of justice and are released by understanding compassion. (f) Nines: Avoid conflict feeling uncomfortable where there is lack of harmony; peace and restraint are all; reality is harmony; indolent and dependent on external stimuli; available and shock-proof; natural arbiters and mediators. Alleviate their compulsive passivity by taking on the pride of Threes (successfulness). They are trapped by their idea of self-abasement and are released by an understanding of unconditional love.
Nine varieties of ground in battle (Sun Tzu):
"In respect to the employment of troops, ground may be classified as dispersive, frontier, key, communicating, focal, serious, difficult, encircled, and death:
Conference challenge: For a conference to respond effectively, learn from, and work with, real concrete situations, it must be able to deal appropriately with uncertainty and unpredictable environmental factors -- using them as catalysts for its own work process. Such ability can only be embodied in a nine-fold pattern of energies. The consequent harmonization is dynamic and indeterminate.
Possible metaphors: ??
Articulation exercise: Implementation of a transformation process
Implementation of a transformation process subject to real-world hazards:
9.1 Implementation of a transformative process subject to realworld hazards requires assembly of the necessary operational resources of an adequate quality. To the extent that assembly is impossible, or their quality is inadequate, the process will be handicapped and partially controlled by the nature of those deficiencies.
9.2 Implementation of a transformative process subject to realworld hazards requires precise and energetic clarification of the succeeding stages of the process. To the extent that this clarification is lacking, action will be confused and momentum will be insufficient to overcome unforeseen problems.
9.3 Implementation of a transformative process subject to realworld hazards requires recognition of deviation or conflict between resources assembled and process planning in the light of independent critical questions concerning the implementation process. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, or that the questions are poorly conceived, further implementation (together with any corrective action) will result in an imbalanced process vulnerable to disruption.
9.4 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires attentive preparation of the assembled elements to be processed. To the extent that this attentiveness is lacking, details of the preparation will be carelessly omitted or improperly executed thus jeopardizing the success of the operation.
9.5 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards necessitates a controlled manipulation of the prepared elements into an emerging configuration. To the extent that this manipulation is improperly controlled or that the correspondence between the action taken and the knowledge of the action actually required is otherwise inadequate, the results will be unsatisfactory.
9.6 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires dispassionate evaluation of the form emerging from the process in the light of the original intention and the current circumstances. To the extent that this evaluation is inadequate (and no corrective action is taken), the product may either not correspond to the original intention or be inappropriate to current possibilities for using it.
9.7 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires that the emergent product be appropriately detached from the process which gabve rise to it. To the extent that this separation is inadequate, or the relationship between the product and the process is otherwise confused, the resultant dependency relationship will jeopardize the value of the product.
9.8 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires controlled delivery of the product to its originally intended setting in the face of possible reactions against it. To the extent that there is over-sensitivity to such reactions, the delivery cannot be completed thus jeopardizing the original intent.
9.9 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires an appropriate attitude on completion of the process to ensure that it is evaluated within its proper context. To the extent that this attitude is lacking, efforts may then be made to associate either the product or the process to other contexts and initiatives. This distorts the originally intended significance of the initiative and runs the risk of confusing any new initiatives.
Ten Commandments as applied to conferences:
(a) The conference should not understand itself as being the ultimate authority but should recognize that it has a function to perform within a larger whole. (b) The conference should not represent the world as fixed and unchanging, for any such representation misleads, engendering misunderstanding that may last generations, and requiring remedial initiatives that are often painful. ' (c) The conference should not claim the ability to understand or act in the interests of all, for the world is complex and calls for sensitivity and comprehension beyond that of any one group. (d) The conference should not work continually but should phase its work so as to have periods of rest and reflection in which other modes of interaction prevail. (e) The conference should give full recognition to the initiative which led to the conference and to the cultural setting (or tradition) from which it emerged. (f) The conference should not engage in the destruction of any other entity. (g) The conference should not form partnerships with bodies already fully committed to collaborating with some other coalition of forces. (h) The conference should not attempt to obtain resources on which other bodies depend. (i) The conference should not misrepresent the actions of some other body. (j) The conference should not preoccupy itself with the relative advantages of other bodies, especially their resources or their network of relationships.
Conference challenge: In all conference processes there is creative, pattern-generating, activity that is not only the source of order but also the vehicle of disorder. When contained by a ten-fold pattern of energies, several sets of processes are able to compensate for one another's defects and produce an overall harmony that reacts on and sustains the individual structures.
Possible metaphors: The Ten Oxherding Pictures
Articulation exercise: Endurance of a form
The endurance of a form is conditioned by its built-in ability to:
10.1 recognize the probable consequences of initiatives it determines and thus ensure relationships to other formulations which are supportive of their mutual development. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, destructive initiatives emerge with ultimately negative consequences for the development of the original form.
10.2 recognize the determining causes of developments in its environment and thus establish supportive relationships for the development of other forms on the basis of its own experience. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the form develops parasitic or exploitative relationships with other forms which are ultimately detrimental to its own development.
10.3 recognize the characteristic inititives and responses engendured by other forms in order, by exercise of discrimination, to determine those with which a mutually beneficial association is possible. To the extend that this recognition is lacking, the formulation is continually drawn into illusory or mutually conflicting relationships with other forms, in an uncontrollable manner which provides no stable foundation for its own development and effectively conceals its possibility.
10.4 recognize the developmental potential of other forms in order to adapt appropriately to such alternative perspectives for its own further development To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the potential of such alternative forms is misrepresented, thus undermining the future adaptability of the form and the refinement of its own development goal.
10.5 recognize the different levels or capacities by which other forms may be characterized in order to relate appropriately to them to further mutual development To the extent that this recognition is lacking, any relationships risk entrapment in apparent contradictions and in inappropriate responses to forms which stand in active opposition. In such circumstances the form may simply serve to spread dissension and blind awareness to particular expressions of a form.
10.6 recognize the pathways and goals of different modes of development characteristic of other forms and to adapt appropriately to an environment with such contrasting possibilities. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, other forms are actively condemned, often with considerable prejudice. The power and development of the form is then severely handicapped by the distortion and fragmentation of the actions it determines into rigidly polarized opposition to other forms.
10.7 recognize, through some process of detachment, those of its features which need to be gradually abandoned and those which need to be reinforced. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, rigid attachment to an unchanging form deflects any inherent dynamism into superficial matters of little consequence.
10.8 recall earlier stages in its development and the manner in which weaknesses were progressively eliminated. To the extent that this recollection is lacking, the form is unable to sustain any method for its own transformation and the necessary confidence is instead displaced into reinforcing attachment to existing weaknesses.
10.9 recognize the probable future states of forms and the probable circumstances of their termination. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the form tends to become the vehicle for negative intentions towards the positive achievements associated switch other forms, rather than channelling that intention to reinforce its own developmental momentum.
10.10 recognize in other forms the weaknesses to which they have developed an appropriate resistance. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the form becomes a vehicle for the development of destructive misperceptions which hinder any ability either to abandon the weaknesses they have overcome or to free other forms from such obstacles to their own development.
Example: Musical constraints on equitable development (E McClain)
The Hindu-Greek diatonic scale and its reciprocal: The smallest integers which can define the rising Hindu-Greek diatonic scale or its failing reciprocal scale lie within the octave double 1:2 = 30:60. Three tones, A, D, and G in the notation used here, are common to both scales so that there are only eleven total "cuts" in the tone-mandala. There are whole tones of both 8:9 and 9:10 and oversized "semitones" of 15:16, hence the divisions of the mandate are distinctly unequal. The numbers 50 and 36, representing f and b, are redundant in the mandala. Capital and small letters distinguish two classes of tones, the first "fixed", the second "movable".
A fundamental problem of music illustrates the difficulty of dividing any domain both equally and harmoniously as the number of parts increases. Musicians cannot sub-divide an octabe 1:2 equally by the "pure" ratios of rational numbers - this only leads to musical chaos arising from the incommensurability of musical thrids, fifths and octaves. The challenge, identified by Plato, is not one of giving equally to each, but rather of moderating such criteria in the interests of the whole - in this case sacrificing (some of) the interests of some of the participants for those of the conference as a whole.
The eleven tones of the tone-mandala above cannot be exceeded on the basis of whole numbers without encountering a tonal fraction which must be "sacrificed" in one way or another. Although subliminal to the ear in a melodic context (such as the conference as a whole), the sacrifice becomes audible during s monochord demonstration (namely in a smaller group context). This sacrifice, in the musical metaphor of Plato, is the fundamental dilemma of collective organization.
Conference challenge: In a conference, however ideal, unbridled creativity is profoundly destabilizing and can lead to the fragmentation of the gathering into discordant groups as their variety and number increase. To check this process calls for some means of limitation, preferably self-limitation, to maintain a comprehensible or appropriately harmonious pattern amongst them. Such self-constraint is understood through an eleven-fold pattern which fcilitates alternative perspectives on the same information. It provides the condition for mutual completion of structures of different kinds.
Possible metaphors: Tone scale
Articulation exercise: Empowerment and importance of a form
The empowerment and importance of a form is determined by the degree of:
11.1 the degree of constructive or destructive action with which it is associated and the manner whereby they are distinguished. 11.2 the degree of enrichening or impoverishing action with which it is associated. 11.3 the degree of protection or exposure with which it is associated. 11.4 the degree of assistance or obstruction with which it is associated. 11.5 the degree of bias or lack of bias with which it is associated. 11.6 the degree of security or danger with which it is associated. 11.7 the degree of confidence or doubt with which it is associated. 11.8 the degree of consolation or dejection with which it is associated. 11.9 the degree of inspiration and reinforcement with which it is associated. 11.10 the quality of remedial advice with which it is associated. 11.11 the power of the subtle qualities with which it is associated.
Example: Phases in a 12-phase learning/action cycle (adapted from Arthur Young):
(a) Observation: Act of considering- position determination; reactive learning based on immediate registration of phenomena; assessment of distance; "sizing up". (b) Significance: Recognition of momentousness, relevance (as relateds to "leverage"); recognition of "matters of great moment"; weight of facts; bringing matters into focus. (c) Commitment Faith in current paradigm or perception of reality; unexamined or habitual commitment to a process, projection or understanding, irrespective of inconsistent disturbing factors. (d) Adaptive change: Reaction; passive adaptation or change of position in response to changing circumstances. (e) Momentum: Recognition of the momentum of an issue, resulting from a change, namely the consequential transformation of awareness or perspective. (f) Decision or impulse to act or initiate a process determining the future. (g) Transformative action: Spontaneous initiation of transformative action; commitment to a new course of action. (h) Forcefulness engendered, experienced or embodied as a result of transformative action; constructive (or disruptive) action potential; enhanced sense of being. (i) Application: Achievement of a desired result by application of understanding (and adjustment of implicit beliefs) in response to external factors; working action on reality. (j) Control of transformative action. (k) Discipline: Establishment of a disciplined pattern of response; consolidated or harmonious control of action potential; holding forces in check. (l) Power of acquired knowledge: Know-how; integrated or embodied experience; capacity (including that of not acting); non-action.
Conference challenge: For a conference to function consciously in a fully integrated manner, it needs to be able to handle a pattern of twelve distinct energies through which it is able to manage its own transformation and relate effectively to its environment. A twelve-phase cycle defines the complete sequence of learning action conditions through which information is gathered, adaptive change takes place, transformative change is initiated, control is exerted, and knowledge is built up.
Possible metaphors: ??
Articulation exercise: Harmoniously transformative controlled relationship
A form in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment:
12.1 is characterized by forceful spontaneous intiatives appropriately guided by an implicit sense of opportunity and constraint Such action opens up viable new possibilities. If inappropriately controlled, it may be excessively violent, misguided, unfruitful or merely self-serving.
12.2 is characterized by a capacity to respond receptively to a comprehensive range of external Initiatives by providing appropriate frameworks within which they can be embodied and consolidated. To the extent this capacity Is lacking, such receptivity may be over-loaded leading to selective resistance, non-response or alternatively to their cooptation.
12.3 is characterized by a capacity to interrelate initiatives, creatively and explicitly, with contexts within which they can be further developed. To the extent this capacity is lacking, any such catalytic mediation becomes diffuse and lacking in continuity. Apparent contradictions are then a source of confusion rather than being perceived as aspects of an Intricate pattern of stimulating diversity.
12.4 is characterized by the gradual emergence of higher order organization in response to initiatives and constraints. If such emergence is absent or inhibited, the form engenders actions which are increasingly incapable of containing the forces to which they respond.
12.5 necessitates a degree of organization which enables it to respond fully, in an integrated uncompromising forceful manner, to a full range of external events of which it remains independent. To the extent that this capacity is inappropriately developed, such organization is characterized by domination, self-appreciation, and misuse of power.
12.6 necessitates intuitive readjustment of implicit assumptions in order to renew the capacity to respond appropriately to events in context. To the extent that this capacity is lacking, any response is inhibited or focussed on superficial detail.
12.7 is characterized by a capacity for detached evaluation of past development from a perspective which provides both an intuitive balance between relevant factors and a sense of integrative possibilities. To the extent that this capacity is lacking, evaluation of external factors is negative or indecisive thus hindering further development
12.8 is characterized by the capacity to respond spontaneously to higher order goals and possibilities even if the prevailing set of lower order goals and possibilities (with which it is identified) must be abandoned in order to do so. To the extent that the capacity for this transformation is lacking, the lower order goals and possibilities are distorted and reinforced to the detriment of further development
12.9 is characterized by the spontaneous initiation of higher order processes which are focused in order to transform the operation of pre-existing lower order processes by which it is governed. To the extend that this capacity is inappropriately developed, any processes initiated are misdirected to the detriment of further development
12.10 is characterized by an explicit pattern of control processes governing future possibilities, or current needs and opportunities. To the extent that this capacity is inappropriately developed, there is a tendency to over-control which is detrimental to further development.
12.11 is characterized by the capacity to engender appropriate design in the light of significant new insights which bring possibilities and constraints into focus in an unforeseen and fruitful manner, thus facilitating effective action for their development To the extent that this capacity is inappropriately developed, it results in automatic negative reaction to external initiatives and conditions, to the detriment of their further developments.
12.12 is characterized by a response pattern of reconciliation between all potential initiatives or conflicts. This unifying pattern thus acts as a stabilizing influence ensuring continuity, particularly between higher and lower-order processes. To the extend that this capacity is inappropriately developed, the response pattern becomes confused, reacting inadequately to spurious conditions.
The above table was subsequently (tentatively) adapted and developed further in Cycles of dissonance and resonance. See also adaptation to Typology of 12 complementary strategies essential to sustainable development and to Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue.
Articulation exercise: Creative renewal
Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to:
13.1 any impotence and enfeeblement of action associated with the form in its current mode.
Articulation exercise: Cycle of development processes
The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by:
14.1 static, unchanging forms.
Articulation exercise: Construction and development of form
Construction of form and the logical prediction of its future development requires:
15.1 direct or indirect observation of empirical facts, whether events, processes, or phenomena.
Articulation exercise: Values and assumptions
Recognition of the values underlying a form highlights any unfounded assumption that:
16.1 the form is without imperfection.
Articulation exercise: Relationship potential of a form
The relationship potential of a form to other forms, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing forms, is directly dependent on:
17.1 its relative imperfection. Absence of imperfection reduces dependency arising from formal incompleteness thus removing any basis for interdependency. However, the nature of the imperfection strongly influences the quality of interdependence with which the form can be associated.
Articulation exercise: Inadequate transformation attempts
Attempts at the transformation of form tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as:
18.1 the assembly or mobilization of operational resources in accordance with a predetermined concept. This tends to engender either subservience or considerable resistance and alienation of potential support. Such forcing initiatives may well prevent formation of linkages vital to the future integrity of the operation and may lead to its early abortion or a considerable limitation in its scope.
Articulation exercise: Qualitative transformation
Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) :
19.1 the assembly or mobilization of, in accordance with a predetermined concept
Articulation exercise: Significance of mutually constraining forms
The significance of mutually constraing forms emerges with:
20.1 their avoidance of unnecessary or excessive response to each other. To the extent that this forebearance is lacking, the significance is obscured by the turbulent nature of that response.
Example:A comprehensive hyperlinked example for conferences is given in the context of a more complex exploration, with respêct to dialogue, vision, policy, network, community and lifestyle set with respect in Transformation Metaphors (1997).
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