26 January 2015 | Draft
Eliciting Insight from Covert Operations by US
Understanding global governance otherwise in response to THEM
- / -
US: Universal Synthesizer or Universal Sympathizer?
THEM: Terrifying Hypothetical External Mentalities?
THEM as the "borgification" of US
Covert operations by US in response to THEM
Eliciting insight from covert "usification"
Eliciting meaning through creative imagination
Given the seemingly chaotic global situation, there is a strong case for eliciting new insight -- new thinking -- to clarify present opportunities for global governance. The amount and variety of information is such that everyone is essentially overloaded -- snowed in, if not snowed down -- with limited capacity to accord attention to vital processes. In a sense there is therefore a need for what might be appropriately caricatured as a set of We-Key Leaks -- irrespective of how diplomatic they may be.
The challenge could be framed as one of intellectual property, namely one of reappropriating that which has been systematically misappropriated (Reclaiming the Heritage of Misappropriated Collective Endeavour, 2007). It is in this sense that there is a case for reframing understandings of US faced with the challenge of THEM. This is the dilemma posed by the "us and them" framing which currently dominates thinking with regard to global governance -- supported by the argument that one is either with us or against us.
The misappropriation would seem to be associated with enabling and promoting the externalization of "us", implying a bond which is less than self-evident. The nature and meaning of "we" is then less than meaningful to many, however much the sentiment is promoted in a quest for solidarity. The further implications of the sentiment may also be questionable (The Consensus Delusion: mysterious attractor undermining global civilization as currently imagined, 2011).
The argument here therefore explores the dynamic within a reappropriated US, understood as Universal Synthesizer or Universal Sympathizer -- aspiring to global organization and expression of identity, through the embodiment of the highest values. This cognitive dynamic is recognized as challenged by the negativity of Terrifying Hypothetical External Mentalities (THEM) seeking to undermine the coherence articulated and sustained so positively by US.
The approach could be criticized through arguments analogous to those challenging any moral equivalence between the actions of US and the actions of THEM -- as made by a former Ambassador of US to the UN (Jeane Kirkpatrick (The Myth of Moral Equivalence, 1986). This is consistent with the argument of Madeleine Albright, another Ambassador of US to the United Nations, when questioned on whether the sanctions against Iraq (killing more children than at Hiroshima) were appropriate. Albright replied: "I think this is a very hard choice, but the price -- we think the price is worth it." (We Think the Price is Worth It, Fair, 2001).
There is however an argument for "mirroring" in the case of moral equivalence, as separately argued (Mirroring Global Moral Equivalence, 2010; My Reflecting Mirror World: making my World Summit on Sustainable Development worthwhile, 2002). As understood here, this mirroring can be fruitfully taken further through recognition of a form of metaphorical equivalence (Radical Cognitive Mirroring of Globalization: dynamically inning the unquestioningly outed, 2014).
If this is indeed to be understood as myth, the myth is usefully explored in terms of subtler insights into the role of myth (Karen Armstrong, A Short History of Myth, 2005). It is also potentially consistent with the work of Joseph Campbell (The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: metaphor as myth and as religion, 1986) and of ecophilosopher Henryk Skolimowski (The Participatory Mind: a new theory of knowledge and of the universe, 1994).
Any such metaphorical equivalence (or correspondence) appears convoluted -- and perhaps necessarily so. However its rejection fails to take account of the degree of unreason and absurdity which now characterizes global governance and its collective decision making processes. This has been variously argued by Charles Handy. The Age of Unreason, 1991; The Age of Paradox, 1995) and by others (Michael Foley, The Age of Absurdity: why modern life makes it hard to be happy, 2011).
At the time of writing this degree of failure of global governance is marked by a new venture in the previously much-deprecated process of "printing money" (ECB launches 1 trillion euro rescue plan to revive euro economy, Reuters, 22 January 2015; Europe's Massive Quantitative Easing Scheme Just Arrived, Business Insider, 22 January 2015; Why printing money won't work for Europe, The Telegraph, 23 January 2015). To many the initiative will indeed be considered the height of unreason and absurdity. With such logic, why deny such largesse to the most impoverished -- a strategy hitherto claimed to be unreasonable?
US: Universal Synthesizer or Universal Sympathizer?
Cognitive significance of "we": The radical understanding of US appropriate to the times is intimately associated with the cognitive significance of "we". The latter tends to imply a sense of togetherness and bonding which transcends conventional conceptualization and categories -- being more a cognitive feeling than a category. It is the space within which we move and have our being. The feeling is intensively cultivated in team-building within collectives.
Understood in this way however it readily becomes a focus for all the manipulative techniques of consensus building which continue to be criticized by such as Noam Chomsky (Manufacturing Consent: the political economy of the mass media, 1988). It is in this sense that the feeling -- and the significance attributed to it with respect to group consensus -- may be challenged as a delusion, as separately argued (The Consensus Delusion, 2011). People are of course free to subscribe with all their being to that delusion and to derive their sense of well-being from doing so -- and to express satisfaction with that belief. The question is whether this meets the needs of many at this time.
A more radical understanding of "we", and therefore US, could be framed by the phrase By We, I mean Me. It is within the cognitive domain framed by I/Me that moment-by-moment processes are misappropriated by their attribution to externalities -- through misunderstanding of US and the powers imputed to it. The question is how may US be reappropriated by those who wish to engage otherwise in global governance?
Concrete proof of existence? The delusional nature of US, as conventionally presented, is surprisingly evident in frequent use of terms such as "international community". This is commonly used to refer to a broad group of peoples and governments of the world -- implying the existence of a common point of view towards such matters as specific issues of human rights. It is somewhat ironical that the term is now conflated -- if only in the eyes of those seeking such support -- with the US-led coalition undertaking frequent missile strikes in Iraq and Syria (at the time of writing).
The difficulty for this view is that it is as legitimate to question the existence of the international community as a reality as it is for the existence of deity to be questioned by Richard Dawkins (The God Delusion, 2006). Denial of the "reality" of either is of course a matter of the greatest controversy. However there is no concrete proof of the existence of either, most notably in terms of the criteria of evidence required by international law, or within the legal framework of any country. Both are a figment of the imagination, possibly to a greater degree than Al-Qaida, as separately argued (Cultivating Global Strategic Fantasies of Choice: learnings from Islamic Al-Qaida and the Republican Tea Party movement, 2010).
Is evidence of missile strikes to be considered as evidence of the existence of that community -- any more than a lightning strike is evidence of deity? [As an Act of God, the latter theme is insightfully explored in the Australian comedy The Man Who Sued God (2001)]
Existence of collective entities: Such argument can however be extended to other entities whose existence is claimed by virtue of international law or other such instruments. To what extent does the United Nations "exist"? In whose eyes does it exist and how concrete is the proof for its existence, namely by whom is that proof experienced as meaningful? Do its various buildings constitute "concrete" proof for an entity whose very nature is claimed to transcend any particular building -- as with the Catholic Church?
How can any individual engage in effective dialogue with the "United Nations" as a means of being (personally) assured of its existence? Going further, to what extent does the ability to engage in "discourse" offer a sense of existence -- as exemplified by that with an animal, a tree, or a mountain, or with the methodology offered by the Turing test?
It is appropriate to note that within living memory a number of empires have been claimed to exist -- on some basis -- but have now ceased to exist, at least as originally conceived. These include the British Empire, the Russian Empire, the Dutch Empire, the Italian Colonial Empire, the French Empire, the German Empire, the Japanese Empire, and the Ottoman Empire. Wikipedia presents a List of largest empires, some lasting many centuries. Each raises the question as to the extent to which it can be imagined to have existed and the meaning to be attached to the cessation of that existence -- especially when it may continue to be a focus of inspiration, as with the Caliphate, or perhaps the Holy Roman Empire (as a desirable future development of the European Treaty of Rome).
There is now extensive discussion of the nature of American imperialism (Rodrigue Tremblay, The New American Empire, 2004; Emmanuel Todd, After the Empire: the breakdown of the American Order, 2004) -- with its historical roots in the doctrine of Manifest Destiny (having a degree of influence on elaboration of the German doctrine of Lebensraum). As with the transmogrification of the inexistant British Empire into the Commonwealth of Nations, it has been argued by Joseph Nye that the imperial ambitions of US could best be reframed in terms of so-called soft power (Soft Power: the means to success in world politics. 2005; The Paradox of American Power: why the world's only superpower can't go it alone, 2002). Currently these aspirations are taking the form of secretive negotiations to ensure hemispheric integration through elaboration of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) and the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) -- potentially enabling a variety of essentially covert operations. Ironically the community of peoples it is implictly sought to recognize in this way could be understood as corresponding in significance to that attributed to the Islamic Ummah, namely a Commonwealth of Believers sharing similar values -- however these are to be understood as divinely inspired.
Of relevance to the argument is the nature and degree of existence of such entities as the G-20 Group Major Economies and of the G20 Group of Developing Nations -- upheld as quasi-legal at best -- despite the value attached to their debates as a feature of global governance. A similar point could be made with respect to the Group of Thirty leading financiers and academics which claims to deepen understanding of global economic and financial issues and to examine consequences of decisions made in the public and private sectors related to these issues. For whom do such entities "exist"? How might the sense of such existence be distinguished from that attributed to the Catholic Church, and claimed by it?
Related questions have been evoked in the past regarding the controversial "existence" of multinational corporations, possibly as contrasted with "transnational corporations". This could be considered an extension of the debate regarding corporate personality, namely the reality of the "existence" of corporations -- even under national law -- and the rights which follow (controversially) from that.
Similar questions can be raised with respect to supposedly representative assemblies, whether in the form of the General Assembly of the United Nations, or the World Economic Forum -- with the latter claiming to be otherwise representative and upheld by many as of greater significance. There is however little question regarding the claims emphatically made for their significance, especially through their investment in public relations and media coverage. Does this constitute evidence for the reality of their existence, any more than other media presentations supposedly distinguished as fictional? What proportion of the global population would consider that the world such entities frame is of greater reality -- more meaningful existentially -- than that of the Harry Potter series or Lord of the Rings ?
Radical constructivism? The argument can of course be extended to nation states, including the United States. To what extent does the latter "exist" and for whom is there meaningful concrete proof of that existence? Do powers of taxation and incarceration constitute proof? More specifically does the use of force constitute proof -- especially when others claiming existence also use such force, even though their existence is variously considered illegitimate? Do gangs and international criminal networks exist -- as is so frequently claimed?
Such possibilities are explored through variants of so-called constructivist epistemology as a branch in philosophy of science maintaining that knowledge of the world is always a human and social construction. As noted by Wikipedia, the approach has taken specific forms, most notably with respect to constructivist sociology, constructivist psychology and constructivist education. The possibility has framed cultural constructivism and critical constructivism, as well as radical constructivism. In all such cases "existence" is to a high degree a matter of conventional definition -- often as much by those associating themselves directly with the entity as by those attributing reality and meaning to its existence, and benefitting therefrom to some degree. The argument is that of psychosocial reality as a social construct (Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge, 1966).
So framed, coming to know is a process of dynamic adaptation towards viable interpretations of experience. The knower does not necessarily construct knowledge of a "real" world. Knowledge is therefore a result of a self-organized cognitive process through which reality is created by each. An objective reality is not necessarily denied, rather it is held that there is no way of knowing what that reality might be. Mental constructs, constructed from past experience, help to impose order on one's flow of continuing experience. However, when they fail to work, because of external or internal constraints, thus causing a problem, the constructs change to try and accommodate the new experience (Ernst von Glasersfeld, Key Works in Radical Constructivism, 2007).
With respect to constructivism in international relations, the claim is made that significant aspects of international relations are historically and socially constructed, rather than inevitable consequences of human nature or other essential characteristics of world politics. The implications have been conveniently reviewed by Yucel Bozdaglioglu (Constructivism and Identity Formation: An Interactive Approach. Review of International Law and Politics, 2007) in the light of the arguments of other authors (Christian Reus-Smit, Imagining Society: constructivism and the English School, British Journal of Politics and International Relations, 2002; Dale C. Copeland, The Constructivist Challenge to Structural Realism, International Security, 2000;
Ronen Palan, A World of Their Making: an evaluation of the constructivist critique in international relations, Review of International Studies, 2000).
"Nation states"? Such thinking thus frames the question of whether and how the "United States" exists, as it continues to be variously explored (Does America even exist? 31 December 2011; Does America Still Exist?; Richard Rodriguez, Does America Still Exist? Fudan University, 2012), most notably by Stephen Clarkson (Does North America Exist? Governing the Continent after NAFTA and 9/11, Woodrow Wilson Center, 2008).
The question with respect to US is currently of great relevance in the light of the ongoing debate regarding the right to exist of Palestine -- recognized as it is by the vast majority of countries (John V. Whitbeck, The State of Palestine Exists, The Huffington Post, 1 September 2013). To what extent can US be held to exist, or to have a right to exist?
There is great irony to the fact that current controversy regarding arguments with respect to the existence of God can be understood to be as questionable as those with respect to the existence of the "United States" or "Israel" -- whether framed in scientific, legal, historical or theological terms. Within each of these frames, the issue is the nature of "concrete proof" and the manner in which its status and credibility is determined, as with fiat currency. Hence the concern regarding adherence to so-called "fiat beliefs". The current massive exercise in "printing money" is therefore of relevance (ECB launches 1 trillion euro rescue plan to revive euro economy, Reuters, 22 January 2015). Given such an example, the more general question is whether there are other instances in which demands for concrete proof could be appropriately and rightfully made (10 Demands for Concrete Proof by We the Peoples of the World, 2012).
Existence of global problems? Within such a context, there is further irony to the fact that denial of the existence of global problems may be made by entities whose existence is itself questionable.
However this process of systematic denial of problems, and the justification for it, could then be applied to the existence of those engaging in it. As a cognitive device for the clothing of reality by authority, the situation is reminiscent of the famous tales regarding The Emperor's New Clothes and The Boy Who Cried Wolf, as discussed separately (Entangled Tales of Memetic Disaster: mutual implication of the Emperor and the Little Boy, 2009).
A striking example is provided by climate change, which has been described as an inconvenient truth. The inconvenience of what may be claimed as truths is then potentially applicable to the existence of the deniers themselves (An Inconvenient Truth -- about any inconvenient truth, 2008). The challenge of the existence of any consensus in that case is variously evident (Lawrence Solomon, The Deniers: the world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud, 2008; Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway, Merchants of Doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming, 2010).
Potentially of greater relevance is the denial of the existence of overpopulation as a global problem -- by collective entities whose existence is itself of questionable credibility (United Nations Overpopulation Denial Conference: exploring the underside of climate change, 2009; Institutionalized Shunning of Overpopulation Challenge: incommunicability of fundamentally inconvenient truth, 2008; Scientific Gerrymandering of Boundaries of Overpopulation Debate, 2012). This leads to remarkable institutional contortions through which belief in the non-existence of potential significance is circumvented (Lipoproblems: Developing a Strategy Omitting a Key Problem -- the systemic challenge of climate change and resource issues, 2009).
Global governance? There is therefore a curious sense in which a vast array of entities claim to be instrumental in processes of global governance, or its national or local variants --or are so claimed. A high proportion challenge and deprecate the existence and relevance of others. The unfortunate fact at this time is the degree to which global governance is in a state of chaos, variously denied and manipulated by entities who claim legitimacy and special knowledge in that respect. An obvious example is offered by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant
This array of entities might be assumed to be variously "making sense" of the challenges of global governance. There is however relatively little evidence of this -- if any -- given the interplay of claims and counterclaims. The existence of the Global Sensemaking initiative might even be considered evidence of challenges in this respect.
It is therefore appropriate to consider that this externalization of existence is a vast charade of questionable efficacy -- despite vigorous claims to the contrary, most dubiously by those deriving financial and status benefits from that charade, whether or not it is fruitful in experiential terms for many. Should the so-called Global Village now be reviewed as a Potemkin Village (Marshall McLuhan and Bruce R. Powers, The Global Village: transformations in world life and media in the 21st Century, 1992)? The possibility has been separately explored (Globalization within a Global Potemkin Society: a strategic challenge to proactive participation in society, 2000).
Given that US, as conventionally presented, variously claims to be the vital key to fruitful global governance -- perhaps as some form of Universal Synthesizer or Universal Sympathizer -- can such claims be challenged as merely features of the charade? In what sense does US provide a meaningful universal synthesis or offer universal sympathy -- other than in the most tokenistic terms, as with various religions? The question is especially relevant in the light of the purported existence of THEM?
It is in this sense that We (meaning Me) have an as yet poorly explored role in global governance of the present chaotic situation, as perpetrated and sustained by US. Essentially "We" have to reappropriate what has been effectively "outsourced" in cognitive terms to US -- now proven to have questionable deliverability capacity (even according to its own criteria).
Experiential engagement with global governance: So framed the question is then what fruitful meaning is one -- meaning "Me" -- capable of attributing to "global"? The question challenges the disposition to associate "global" with the experience of the Earth as a sphere, as separately discussed (Future Generation through Global Conversation: in quest of collective well-being through conversation in the present moment, 1997; Irresponsible Dependence on a Flat Earth Mentality -- in response to global governance challenges, 2008).
How then is "My world" to be "governed" -- in experiential and cognitive terms? This also frames the question as to what is the "one" through which such coherence is to be found. Rather than being "outsourced" as categories, for which hypothetical entities are erroneously assumed to have competence and appropriate powers, how does "one" then "get its act together" to enable and sustain the processes of global governance?
Such questions frame the need to develop an understanding of the "space" within which any sense of global order can emerge -- in its most integrative and fulfilling modality (for Me). Rather than the noosphere being outsourced as a hypothetical externality, the issue is how it is embodied as a living reality with which one is identified and from which any sense of global order emerges.
How does one engage in the ordering process through which a sense of globality becomes meaningful? More intimate means are required than has been apparent through references to mistakenly external processes, purportedly characteristic of the realities of global civilization and globalization -- realities currently of the most hypothetical nature.
How then is the array of internal entities to be understood -- as the ecosystem of an internal noosphere, mysteriously related to external realities as figments of individual imagination? Separately it has been argued that this understanding can be fruitfully explored through sound metaphors, rather than the more conventional use of words or images (Toneship design to enable noonautics by the voices of civilization? 2015). As a pattern of "voices" within the global context, such tones suggest that the elusive sense of an "international community" might for example be usefully reframed as an "internotional community"(Enactivating Multiversal Community: hearing a pattern of voices in the global wilderness, 2012).
THEM: Terrifying Hypothetical External Mentalities?
Use of THEM as an acronym is clearly appropriate as being:
- terrifying; its fearsomeness is cultivated by US by every means possible, whether for purposes of entertainment, as a means of manipulating policy agendas, or in order to ensure increase in security budgets and related weaponry.
- hypothetical in some measure since concrete proof is treated as classified and little emerges from the procedures of enhanced interrogation. Those claimed to be leaders of THEM are typically assassinated (as with Osama bin Laden) rather than being brought to trial to clarify (through public questioning) the reality of the threat they are claimed to represent. THEM are hypothetical to the extent that their reality as a collectivity remains unestablished -- except as claims made by those with an interest in reinforcing their own status and claims to privileged knowledge
- externalities in that their reality is explicitly dissociated from any internal predisposition to fear, from whatever this might arguably arise. Cultivation of a culture of fear and a politics of fear reinforces this dissociation, as noted by Frank Furedi (Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right, 2005; Culture of Fear Revisited, 2006 ), by .
- mentalities in that they represent worldviews dissociated from what is conventionally framed as normal -- hence readily to be understood as abnormal and typically framed in terms of extremism (Norms in the Global Struggle against Extremism: "rooting for" normalization vs. "rooting out" extremism? 2005).
There is considerable irony to the extent to which US frames itself as confronted by THEM, namely by those who refuse to subscribe to the worldview promoted by US and for which consensus is so widely and manipulatively sought. This is reinforced by the foreign policy argument that one is either with us or against us (Us and Them: Relating to Challenging Others -- patterns in the shadow dance between "good" and "evil", 2009).
This understanding can be explored in terms of a "camp-us" mindset, as discussed separately (Changing Patterns using Transformation Pathways: exploring "camp-us" inspiration by an alien world view as a metaphor, 2015). There the point is made that, according to this simplistic pattern, every THEM of course has its own "camp-us" mindset to frame those who disagree as THEM. There is seemingly no effort to clarify this challenging contrast in perception through frameworks of higher dimensionality. Rather it is always a condition as framed by Edward de Bono (I Am Right, You Are Wrong, 1991).
The irony derives in part from the questionable extent to which THEM exist, especially from any dependence on legal conventions in defining existence. This is the question originally raised in relation to Al-Qaida (Cultivating Global Strategic Fantasies of Choice: learnings from Islamic Al-Qaida and the Republican Tea Party movement, 2010). The pattern continues to be evident with respect to the Italian and to ISIL The capacity to launch missiles against targets and cause death -- collateral or otherwise -- does not in itself constitute concrete proof of existence.
The irony also derives in part from the sense in which the terrorism attributed to THEM is intimately associated with US, as noted by Noam Chomsky (America, the World's Leading #1 Terrorist State, AlterNet, 3 November 2014; Who are the Global Terrorists? 2002). He argues that the covert operations of US now routinely resemble acts of terrorism.
The purported reality of THEM is consistent with a long tradition dating from the fear instilled by those claiming the power of witchcraft and sorcery to remedy a condition -- at a price. It was only too evident in the period of religious witch hunts in which the Catholic Church engaged with the support of the Inquisition -- a pattern to be replicated in the United States by early colonists, as with the Witches of Salem. It has served well as a means of framing governance, as previously argued (Promoting a Singular Global Threat -- Terrorism: Strategy of choice for world governance, 2002).
Presumably, with the full support of his science advisors, the pattern was given greater conventional legitimacy as a threat by Barack Obama in his specific assertion in the course of his acceptance of the Nobel Peace prize: For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world (Remarks by the President at the Acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 2009). In terms of concrete proof, there is now no means of distinguishing claims for the existence of such a threat from its reality -- given the extent to which it is clearly in the interest of some parties to promote fatal incidents -- including false flag operations -- then framed as constituting such a threat.
It is of course the case that threat and fear are much valued as a psychosocial stimulus, whether in the form of tales of bogeymen -- or the nightly slaughter purveyed by the media and framed as entertainment, with its extension into the bourgeoning market for video games and other simulations.
There is of course a further irony, frequently rehearsed for purposes of entertainment, that conventional government is mined and manipulated by so-called rogue elements, or by forms of secret government (or black government). Again the issue is whether such world views -- as enthusiastically documented by conspiracy theorists -- constitute concrete proof for the reality of the existence of THEM as so imagined
THEM as the "borgification" of US
There is considerable irony to the fact that THEM is how many perceive the United States. With respect to terrorism, as one writer confirmed: I have seen the enemy and it is us (Joan Chittister, Pogo may have been right, National Catholic Reporter, 17 June 2003). Worded otherwise, this is cited as: We have met the enemy and he is us. The theme continues to be variously explored (Roger Koppl, Them is Us: more thoughts on Oslo and multiculturalism, ThinkMarkets, 26 July 2011; Danny Duncan, When Them Is Us, Sojourners, September/October 2005).
Archetypal aliens: One archetypal form of THEM is that elaborated extensively in the widely distributed Star Trek series as the Borg. Of them Wikipedia notes:
Borg is a collective proper noun for a fictional alien race that appears as recurring antagonists in various incarnations of the American television and film Star Trek franchise. The Borg are a collection of species that have been turned into cybernetic organisms functioning as drones of the Collective, or the hive. A pseudo-race, dwelling in the Star Trek universe, the Borg force other species into their collective and connect them to "the hive mind"; the act is called assimilation and entails violent abductions, and injections of microscopic machines called nanoprobes. The Borg's ultimate goal is "achieving perfection".
The Borg are presented primarily as an invasion threat to the United Federation of Planets. As with the (imagined?) threat to US characterized as terrorism? The Borg have now become a symbol in popular culture for any juggernaut against which "resistance is futile". As with US?
Whilst the Borg are one early archetypal form of alien, Hollywood continues to be prolific in its production of creative representations of alien horror, most obviously Alien (1979) and its sequel Aliens (1986). Wikipedia offers a very extensive List of films featuring extraterrestrials including: Alien Abduction (2005), Battle for Terra (2007), Battle: Los Angeles (2011), District 9 (2009), Illegal Aliens (2007), Invasion of the Pod People (2007), Transformers (2007), and Transmorphers (2007). How is the widespread need for such experience to be understood? To what depths of the human psyche does it appeal? Echoes of the appeal of the slaughter in the Colosseum of Imperial Rome?
Conflating reality and imagination: Of great relevance to this argument is the extent to which modern articulation of the horrific and the evil is readily conflated in the imagination with THEM -- in their opposition to US. The documented collaboration between Hollywood and the Pentagon may be indicative that this is an instance of social engineering -- a feature of ongoing psychological warfare anticipating the need to cast THEM in a form worthy of every defensive measure ("with the gloves off", namely free of any constraint). A relevant perspective is offered by Chon Noriega (Godzilla and the Japanese Nightmare: when "Them!" is U.S., Cinema Journal 27, 1987)
The conflation process is exemplified by recent instances in which the "alien" (unhuman) actions of Islam-inspired ISIS have been framed as pure evil
(Beheading versus Befooting: in quest of the lesser evil for the greater good, 2014). There is however a degree of irony to this with respect to the purity of evil associated specifically with beheading, given that this method of capital punishment (by guillotine) was last employed in France in 1977 -- long after it became a permanent member of the UN Security Council. How evil is Charlie Hebdo in comparison with the frequent missile strikes on Iraq and Syria by the those claiming to be the forces of "good", whilst ensuring a greater number of fatalities?.
Hive mind as the epitome of alien horror? As portrayed, the Borg -- and their hive mind -- offer the considerable advantage of being comprehensible in terms of the explosion of the role of the internet and social media, and the nature of psychosocial participation in such facilities. This has been the subject of extensive commentary (Susan Greenfield, Mind Change: how digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brains, 2014; Nicholas Carr, The Shallows: how the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember, 2011; Sherry Turkle, Alone Together: how we expect more and more from technology and less and less from each other, 2013).
There is extensive debate on the extent to which there is an emergent form of hive mind (Jason Castro, You Have a Hive Mind, Scientific American, 1 March 2012; George Dvorsky, How Much Longer Until Humanity Becomes A Hive Mind? io9.com, 15 March 2013). This can now be related to the emerging debate on the probability that artificial intelligence will supercede human intelligence in some way, with ever increasing control of social processes (Stephen Hawking, Artificial intelligence could spell end of human race, The Guardian, 2 December 2014; Richard Ingham and Pascale Mollard, Artificial intelligence: Hawking's fears stir debate, Phys.org, 6 December 2014). The debate highlights the role of so-called swarm intelligence.
Arguments in this respect are developed with regard to detection of the emergence of a global brain -- irrespective of its apparent lack of an integrative function at this time, as separately discussed (Corpus Callosum of the Global Brain? Locating the integrative function within the world wide web, 2014).
Borgification: A process of so-called borgification has been recognized -- whether in relation to such arguments or separately. It has been variously understood as:
- Borgification is the assimilation of established external resources and organisational aspects into the network's holistic system of organisation. It extends the unified network into other foreign "legacy" informational environments such as operating systems, language environments, document repositories, applications and organisations. (Organic Design)
- To forcefully subsume something into a larger system or whole, with blatant disregard for the individuality of the thing to be subsumed. (Urban Dictionary)
- Borgification' is a term I have invented to describe the process of removing people's ability to think and walk with God by the corrupting of God's clear instructions in His word. They have received a venomous virus that perverts their sight and ability to hear and obey the word of God. (Rory's Blog)
- Ultimately, the transhumanist movement means the loss of the physical human body as we know it, or its total destruction as we seek immortality inside a computer. It would also mean to some degree a loss of autonomy as our mind and very being are openly connected to the rest of the world. Will this world be more human, or will we have lost the very core of what makes us human? Perhaps we ought to pause before taking that step towards borgification (Melanie Unruh, Transhumanism: Towards Borgification, 12 April 2010)
Curiously the long-articulated threat of "terrorism" by THEM is now being displaced by the manner in which cyberwarfare is framed (Zachary FryerBiggs, Poll: Cyberwarfare Is Top Threat Facing US, Defense News, 5 January 2014; Michael Pizzi, Cyberwarfare greater threat to US than terrorism, say security experts, Aljazeera America, 7 January 2014). Intelligence and defence officials are now warning of a "cyber Pearl Harbor".
The difficulty in this situation, now that espionage by one country against friends has been framed as "normal" -- with the claim that "everybody does it" -- is how cyberwarfare is to be distinguished from highly competitive use of artificial intelligence, as in algorithmic trading of stocks. Presumably such warfare would then be understood by analogy with warfare between "hemispheres" of the global brain -- with the pathological condition this implies (from a medical perspective).
"Themification" of US? Such arguments offer a sense in which THEM is becoming US -- or is it a case of US becoming THEM? Is the distinction meaningful in the current condition of global civilization? It is readily understandable that any conventional sense of US is becoming very confused. What then of the locus of evil, given the assertion by Barack Obama: For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world (Remarks by the President at the Acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, 10 December 2009)? To what is he referring with such assurance?
Covert operations by US in response to THEM
Extremism vs Radicalism? Efforts have been made in conventional discourse to reframe threat as being especially associated with extremism, as indicated above (Norms in the Global Struggle against Extremism: "rooting for" normalization vs. "rooting out" extremism? 2005). Extremism is now to be understood as "the" threat -- irrespective of new assessments of cyberwarfare. Presumably it is extremism which is now held to be the driving force of cyberwarfare and of any other emerging intractable problems of global civilization -- including climate change?
How extremist should the 3% of scientists denying climate change be considered to be -- and how much of a danger to humanity (The Myth of the Climate Change '97%' Wall Street Journal, 26 May 2014; The Wall Street Journal denies the 97% scientific consensus on human-caused global warming, The Guardian, 28 May 2014)?
Curiously it can be argued that it is the logic of objectivity and externality -- unquestionable by definition -- that can be fruitfully recognized as extremism in its most ultimate form. This effectively denies subjectivity and internality -- otherwise valued as embodying the highest qualities of human culture and civilization. Most curiously it could be said that such extreme objectivity necessarily denies the much-acclaimed meaning of love -- presumably then to be framed as an illusion of subjectivity or intersubjectivity.
Radical subjectivity? This then raises the question as to how radicalism has come to be confusingly framed as a particular characteristic of extremism. Adopting a subjective perspective -- whether with respect to love, conviction or creative insight -- can indeed be held to be a radical reframing of a worldview. Conversion to any religious beileif is readily perceived as radical -- with limited ability to distinguish between the problematic implications of Islamic radicalism and those of the other Abrahamic religions. A distinction is then required between the radicalism of externality -- with an associated radicalization of society in those terms -- in contrast with radical internality and subjectivity, and the cognitive radicalization that this then implies.
The former systematically excludes the latter (and could be mnemonically associated with "E"). The latter is a process of reappropriation, namely a recovery of what has been remaindered (and could be mnemonically associated with "R"). Somewhat ironically, it could be understood through "re-cognition" of the process of remaindering, as separately discussed (Reintegration of a Remaindered World: cognitive recycling of objects of systemic neglect, 2011).
Curiously again, given Obama's assertion with respect to "Evil", is the assumed locus of evil in this psychosocial context. This question is matched by that of whatever is associated with the countervailing sense of "Good". Is it to be held as naturally associated with "Religion", given the subjectivity on which it is dependent -- and as conventionally instanced by US, even in court proceedings requiring the swearing in of witnesses? More provocative is the sense that "Evil" emerges from the end of a terrorist weapon, whereas "Good" emerges from any weapon deployed by US -- by definition, in both cases. The arguments are both ridiculous and surreal.
Subjectivity? Essentially this argument relates to the process of how one takes ownership of what is conventionally projected onto externalities (En-minding the Extended Body: enactive engagement in conceptual shapeshifting and deep ecology, 2003). Having successfully reappropriated US, cancelling the outsourcing of associated processes and the dependence on them as an externality, it is then useful to review the form which covert operations take internally, under the cover of "subjectivity" -- if these terms are adequate to the paradoxical nature of experiential reality, as separately discussed (¡¿ Defining the objective ∞ Refining the subjective ?!: Explaining reality ∞ Embodying realization, 2011).
This approach is especially appropriate since conventional government claims to be acting in the name of the people. So framed, can it again be argued (as above) that the covert operations of US routinely resemble acts of terrorism?
Of some relevance is the language used by heads of state and royalty in referring to themselves as "We" -- namely the royal we, or "majestic we". This has been caricatured in the case of Margaret Thatcher and General de Gaulle. As a representative of US, the use of the expression by Madeleine Albright, was noted above (We Think the Price is Worth It, Fair, 2001). Whether they thought of themselves as "US" in some way may never be determined. Clearly such expressions are consistent with assumptions regarding the experience of being sovereign over one's own domain. Could everyone benefit from exploring such a worldview (Psychosocial Implication of Without Within: enjoying going solar for oneself, 2013)?
More challenging is the sense in which that internal domain which one inhabits otherwise can be considered a form of Terra Nullius -- under extreme threat from the aspiration to global domination by US as externally conceived.
Covert operations: As noted by Wikipedia, , according to the US Department of Defense Dictionary of Military and Associated Terms, a covert operation is "an operation that is so planned and executed as to conceal the identity of or permit plausible denial by the sponsor." It is intended to create a political effect which can have implications in the military, intelligence or law enforcement arenas. Covert operations aim to fulfill their mission objectives without any parties knowing who sponsored or carried out the operation. Wikipedia offers the following as examples
What subjective analogues might be fruitfully imagined in the light of such suggestive patterns? Is subjectivity to be understood as "acting under cover", namely "covertly"?
Secrecy: The Wikipedia description distinguishes covert from clandestine operations. In a covert operation, the identity of the sponsor is concealed, while in a clandestine operation the operation itself is concealed. Put differently, clandestine means "hidden," while covert means "deniable." The term stealth refers both to a broad set of tactics aimed at providing and preserving the element of surprise and reducing enemy resistance and to a set of technologies (stealth technology) to aid in those tactics. While secrecy and stealthiness are often desired in clandestine and covert operations, the terms secret and stealthy are not used to formally describe types of missions.
With respect to "clandestine", this raises the question of "from whom" the operation might be hidden and how. Again this is a theme of psychotherapy, especially with respect to any consideration of the unconscious. In what clandestine operations does one engage subjectively -- unknowingly or otherwise?
Identity: Such a distinction is potentially of great significance in the case of internalized operations. With respect to "covert", the question of how identity is to be recognized is of course fundamental to the classical philosophical dilemma of "Who am I", with all the questions and existential challenges it raises, as separately considered (Am I Question or Answer? Problem or (re)solution? 2006). In that sense identity is concealed by its essentially elusive nature although assumptions may be made for temporary convenience.
These assumptions notably offer every opportunity for deniability -- as is evident in the facility with which responsibility is denied. In honouring human identity through the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, why has it proved to be impossible to gain recognition for a Universal Declaration of Human Responsibilities -- or to the more general implications of either (Universal Declaration of Responsibilities of Human Intercourse, 2007; Universal Declaration of the Rights of Human Organization, 1971)?
Who indeed should "I/We" consider to be responsible? This is a process long explored in psychotherapy, most readily exemplified in the case of dissociative identity disorder (multiple personality disorder). As noted below, unresolved issues continue to be explored, as by Anil Ananthaswamy (The Man Who Wasn't There: investigations into the strange new science of the self, 2015).
Operations: Rather than framing the argument in terms of the external perspectives and frameworks of the disciplines of psychotherapy and psychoanalysis, it is of greater potential interest to consider how reported modalities (inappropriately considered as externalities) can be "re-cognized" as patterns characteristic of internal operations. Examples of such "re-appropriation", inspired by the covert operations above, could include:
- infiltration and espionage: as an internal operation the process is most obvious through the manner in which one "gets inside the skin" of another, "getting their number", and acquiring the capacity to predict and manipulate their responses -- with the otherness of the "other" necessarily understood as a figment of one's imagination. The process can also be understood in terms of undermining (or "white-anting") psychosocial constructs, otherwise considered as externalities. The mindset is evident to a degree in the (undercover) processes of gossip, and "spinning a line"
- misrepresentation, as widely practiced in evaluating and re-evaluating possibilities, engaging with the illusions they may constitute. It echoes in many respects the processes of media bias, as separately indicated (Vital Collective Learning from Biased Media Coverage: acquiring vigilance to deceptive strategies used in mugging the world, 2014). The most radical form of misrepresentation may be associated with not-saying in one form or another, namely cultivating or ensuring silence (Global Strategic Implications of the "Unsaid": from myth-making towards a "wisdom society", 2003).
- invasive surveillance:
current external instances of systematic surveillance (satellites, Total Information Awareness, and the like)
are indicative of requisite attentive attitudes to thinking processes
and the desirability of global accumulation of information. The operations of the US National Security Agency, with its accumulation of information at the Bluffdale Intelligence Community Comprehensive National Cybersecurity Initiative Data Center, offer a valuable indication for sustaining subjectively what might be termed a Notional Security Agency. "Global coverage" could be appropriately ensured through a subjective analogue to the so-called Five Eyes intelligence alliance -- perhaps then to be compared to insights associated with the Chinese Wu Xing process philosophy. The point has been partially argued separately (Anticipating When Blackbirds Sing Chinese, 2014).
- targetted assassination: as an internal process, this can be most readily recognized in the practice of shunning -- essentially "not-seeing" and "not "recognizing". In the electronic environment characteristic of drone operation, it is evident in the facility with which the presence of another can be blacklisted and blocked, most obviously through the process of "zapping" a channel via which the other can be experienced. This may be extended to a form of ethnic cleansing by excluding others collectively through some process of systematic profiling. There is a degree of irony to the similarity with which drone controllers ensure target acquisition prior to a missile strike and that of the actions of a viewer armed with a TV remote control -- both acting from the comfort of their armchairs. The irony is even more evident in that such zapping is used to terminate the unimaginative drone of representatives of US. More questionable is the degree to which successful assassination is framed with language such as "bug-splats" (George Monbiot, 'Bug-Splats', The Guardian, 17 December 2012).
- enhanced interrogation, as might characterize persistence in the intensive questioning of recalcitrant perspectives and world views, rather than conventional acceptance of habitual, superficial or token responses. This is perhaps epitomized by the intense self-questioning which precedes emergence of a new worldview, or a paradigm shift.
- destabilization of regimes: this can be explored with respect to changing mindsets and habits of mind, as variously recommended (Antonio de Nicolas, Habits of Mind: an introduction to clinical philosophy, 2000). It is a notable feature of the processes of critical thinking. The process can be further enabled through sabotage, namely undermining the significance of an alternative perspective in one's own thinking (Eddie Selby, Overcoming Self-Sabotage: how to understand and regulate destructive behaviors, Psychology Today).
- covert arms supply to sustain conflict: with the weaponry in question understood as arguments of various kinds. The covert nature of the process of their introduction into the dynamics sustaining conflict between completing worldviews is readily recognized.
- operation of secret bases: the network of military bases (of which the nature and existence of many is denied) is a characteristic of the quest for global dominion by US (Jules Dufour, The Worldwide Network of US Military Bases, Global Research, 15 November 2014). It offers a remarkable pattern for the operation of analogous secret bases within one's own psyche to which one is variously able to retreat as required, or from which to undertake covert operations. Curiously this facility is already remarkably developed by many, most notably with the aid of stimulants and hallucinogenics -- and/or through cultivation of imaginative worldviews. The establishment and use of such bases off-planet, to which elites could escape in the event of global crisis (as claimed by conspiracy theorists), is already echoed to a degree in the use of such aids to enable people to escape from conventional reality.
- elaboration of secret agreements: as with secret(ive) trade agreements (Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, etc) and those enabling intelligence sharing by security services (Five Eyes, etc), these are indicative of a pattern of exchange to be covertly employed by US to ensure connectivity between cognitive domains, disciplines and fields of knowledge which are conventionally considered necessarily separate, if not mutually irrelevant. Such covert agreements between hemispheres offer the prospect of global integration for US, as speculatively discussed (Engendering Viable Global Futures through Hemispheric Integration: a radical challenge to individual imagination, 2014).
- complicity with the underworld: the sense of an underworld is a continuing invitation to deniable complicity meriting careful consideration (Designing Global Self-governance for the Future: patterns of dynamic integration of the netherworld, 2010). The sense of a personal underworld of fantasies and imagination is readily recognized -- most obviously in relation to dreaming
These patterns can be readily understood as characteristic of a form of "shadow government" through which one's world is managed -- consistent with Jungian notions of a personality Shadow. Hence the value of the templates cited by conspiracy theorists -- extending into notions of "black government". Of value in this respect are the insights regarding their unconscious nature of John Ralston Saul (The Unconscious Civilization, 1995; The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World, 2005).
Homeland security? Covert operations are conventionally considered by US to be vital to ensuring the security of the "homeland". This recognition is helpful in encouraging "re-cognition" of the locus of home and what is necessary to ensure its security in psychological terms. There is a significant literature on the sense of place in relation to the qualities of "a place to be" -- and the fundamental desire to have a home to which to return (Yi-Fu Tuan, Space and Place, 1987; Edward Casey, Getting Back into Place: toward a renewed understanding of the place-world, 1993). Christopher Alexander frames this sense in terms of a "quality without a name" (The Timeless Way of Building, 1979).
For many the sense of home has been variously lost or eroded through displacement and through the conditions under which they are now expected to live according to the prescriptions and conventions of US. The experience of homelessness can be considered to be as many-dimensional as the experiential nature of home. It is in this respect that the patterns and practices of the Department of Homeland Security of US can be explored for clues as to the requisite concerted effort "to ensure a homeland that is safe, secure, and resilient against terrorism and other hazards" where the "interests, aspirations, and ways of life" of US (otherwise understood) can thrive -- reducing the vulnerability of US to terrorism, and minimizing the damage from attacks that do occur.
Notable in this respect is border and boundary control -- and any protective counter-espionage. However, rather than the conventional focus on "who" is permitted to enter, it is more appropriate to focus on "what" externalities should be accorded a degree of recognition (rather than being framed as figments of the imagination to be excluded or set aside -- whether or not these may appear to be a threat in any way).
Eliciting insight from covert "usification"
This argument endeavours to frame the opportunity for radical coherence in engaging otherwise with externalities (In Quest of Radical Coherence: a group design initiative, 1994; Existential Embodiment of Externalities: radical cognitive engagement with environmental categories and disciplines, 2009).
Global coherence: Any sense of "global" then derives from imaginative capacity to engender an encompassing integrative framework. The process may be facilitated by drawing upon a variety of disciplines of which mathematics may be of special relevance (Geometry of Thinking for Sustainable Global Governance: cognitive implication of synergetics, 2009). This is consistent with the arguments of George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez, Where Mathematics Comes From: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into being, 2000). However such arguments can be fruitfully married with those of theology (Mathematical Theology: Future Science of Confidence in Belief Self-reflexive Global Reframing to Enable Faith-based Governance, 2011).
The challenge would seem to relate to one of arraying, or configuring in some way, the figments of imagination -- as they are "carried" by categories and entities claimed by convention to be externalities existing "in reality". It is then irrelevant whether it can be claimed that "concrete proof" is available to substantiate that existence.
The resulting radical coherence then reframes what can otherwise only be perceived as systematic misleadership at the global level (Emergence of a Global Misleadership Council: misleading as vital to governance of the future? 2007; Framing the interplay of (mis)leadership and (mis)followership: challenges and responsibilities, 2007). Ownership can then be taken of any recognition of misleadership -- to be woven imaginatively into a more meaningful story, more capable of carrying whatever are esteemed as the highest values.
Ironically, the coherence of this argument can be clarified by juxtaposition of arguments relating to two "extremes", namely the confusion with regard to the sense of self and with that of how it is claimed the universe should be understood.
- Ambiguity in understanding of self: With respect to the self, as argued by Anil Ananthaswamy (The Man Who Wasn't There: investigations into the strange new science of the self, 2015; The Maladies of the Self: from autism to out-of-body experiences - what mental disorders are telling us about who we are, 2010):
From the Buddha to the modern scientist and philosopher, humans have pondered the nature of the self. Is it real or an illusion? Is the self in the brain, and if so where in the brain is it? Neuroscience is telling us that our sense of self seems to be an ephemeral entity created by the brain: that the self is an illusion - nature's most sophisticated sleight-of-hand. Yet this obfuscates a basic truth: we are our selves. Remove the self and there is no 'I' on whom a trick is being played, no one who is the subject of an illusion. What's more, when the self gets disturbed, the ramifications are so serious that suggesting to the sufferer that the self is an illusion is of little help.
Why is it so conventionally assumed that the self lends itself readily to unambiguous definition and description? Why make such an assumption oneself -- and by whom is that simplification encouraged?
- Ambiguity in understanding of universe: Ironically, given the current condemnation of extremism in any form, Ananthaswamy is best known in relation to astrophysics (The Edge of Physics: a journey to Earth's extremes to unlock the secrets of the universe, 2011; also published as The Edge of Reason) and consequently as a TED Conference speaker (What it takes to do extreme astrophysics, TED Conference, 2010). However, the New Scientist, with which he is closely associated, has now published the arguments of a famed physicist (Lee Smolin. You think there's a multiverse? Get real, New Scientist, 20 January 2015), now the focus of controversy (John Horgan, Troublemaker Lee Smolin Says Physics -- and Its Laws -- Must Evolve, Scientific American, 4 January 2015; Brian Appleyard, Physics: Superstitions and Allegories? 5 January 2015). Smolin writes:
Cosmology is in crisis. Recent experiments have given us an increasingly precise narrative of the history of our universe, but attempts to interpret the data have led to a picture of a "preposterous universe" that eludes explanation in the terms familiar to scientists. Everything we know suggests that the universe is unusual... If we reached into a hat filled with pieces of paper, each with the specifications of a possible universe written on it, it is exceedingly unlikely that we would get a universe anything like ours in one pick -- or even a billion. The challenge that cosmologists face is to make sense of this specialness.
It could well be asked whether such an assessment applies as much to global society as to the universe, especially given that most imagine their lives more readily within the former rather than the latter.
What is surprising is the extent to which those claiming the greatest expertise in the understanding of the universe should be confronted so frequently with doubts regarding its nature -- whereas those claiming expertise with regard to global society are distinguished primarily by their certainty as to its nature. Even more striking is the failure to recognize the role of the imagination with respect to the nature of the latter, in contrast with that regarding the universe -- as framed, for example, by Stephen Hawking (The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: the most astounding papers of quantum physics -- and how they shook the scientific world, 2011).
Given the freedom of astrophysicists to imagine the universe as they will, should one not reappropriate such freedom with respect to imagining the globality of the world one engenders and inhabits -- as speculatively imagined (Being the Universe: a Metaphoric Frontier, 1999; Enactivating Multiversal Community: hearing a pattern of voices in the global wilderness, 2012)?
Transcending limitations of the vision metaphor: It is curious how dependent has become society on what can be presented visually (text, images, etc), most notably in relation to "envisioning" desirable global governance. There are of course other senses (sound, taste, smell, feel) which potentially offer alternative metaphors -- possibly offering richer and subtler templates as catalysts to the imagination (Strategic Challenge of Polysensorial Knowledge: bringing the "elephant" into "focus", 2008; In Quest of Mnemonic Catalysts -- for comprehension of complex psychosocial dynamics, 2007).
For example, given the worldwide enthusiasm engendered by music, there is a case for exploring articulations of global governance in musical terms, notably through the interplay of US and THEM. This possibility has been variously explored (A Singable Earth Charter, EU Constitution or Global Ethic? 2006; Toneship design to enable noonautics by the voices of civilization? 2015). The possibility extends to drama through which that problematic relationship might be imaginatively reframed -- as with the epics of cultures of the past.
It is in this sense that there is a splendid irony to the framing if "usification" in dramatic terms. What might be perceived as the relevant epics of these times? How might externality be embodied, as has been variously discussed (George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy In The Flesh: the embodied mind and its challenge to western thought, 1999).
Usification? Whilst "usification" may appear to be a questionable term, it is appropriate to note the existence of an Annual US-ification of America Conference, of which it is claimed:
Doesn't the title of the conference speak for itself, truly and freely, as every God fearing American does? Well, let's break it down to an even simpler explanation so as a God fearing American baby would understand: you got yourself a collection of short plays with one Agenda: poking fun of America's past and present... "issues." We'll continue that great American tradition of keeping it simple:
Are you American enough to attend the U.S-ification of America Conference? This Patriots Day Week be the best damn American you can be and attend the U.S-ification of America Conference. A collection of short plays split into two play series with one agenda; poking fun at some of Americas past and present issues. Be American and attend the U.S-ification of America Conference damn it!
In the context of this argument, reference to this usage is necessarily questionable since the intentions of the organizers are somewhat different -- if not extremely different. However the example serves to make the point that "usification" is a process in which all are free to engage. Externalities can be subject to an imaginative "make over" and effectively "reinvented", just as some apply their energy to "reinventing themselves". Global society can be reimagined, as separately discussed (Engendering 2052 through Re-imagining the Present: review of 2052: a Global Forecast for the Next Forty Years as presented to the Club of Rome, 2012).
Transcending binary entrapment: The above argument calls into question the dependence on the binary logic of us and them, if only by implication. However it could be argued that the the case made for subjectivity/internal versus objectivity/external is but a variant of any entrapment in binary logic -- especially if internal (subjective) is presented favourably by contrast with external (objective).
There would seem to be a case for "seizing the bull by the horns" -- as the dilemma might be framed in terms of the skills of bull-leaping cultivated in a pre-Olympian sport, as speculatively discussed (The-O Ring and The Bull Ring as Spectacular Archetypes: dramatic correlation of theatre, theory, theorem, theology, and theosophy, 2014). It is profoundly curious how little attention is given to transcending dualities and the apparent contradictions which permeate philosophy, religion and strategic dilemmas.
Obscured by the argument above, one approach is to shift dynamically between the alternatives -- externality/internality, objectivity/subjectivity -- according to significance in the moment, and withdrawing from either in a process of alternation. Such a process is variously characteristic of biological life (inspiration/expiration, and the like). There is a sense in which this is already a living reality for many (Living as an Imaginal Bridge between Worlds: global implications of "betwixt and between" and liminality, 2011). It can also be argued that such alternation is a key to development (Policy Alternation for Development, 1984).
Whilst one understanding of this process could be that entities have no permanent existence as conventionally implied (irrespectiv of their ephemeral nature from an historical perspective), a more fruitful understanding is that "existence" is understood in terms of potentiality -- in potentia (Wanted: New Types of Social Entity: the role of the "potential association", 1971).
Curiously such alternation is implied by arguments for democracy. Mysteriously this process has however been profoundly undermined and inhibited by the framing of any opposition to US as problematic in the extreme -- a characteristic of THEM as fundamentally evil, if only potentially so (through being badly misguided). Conventional democracy can then be caricatured as the interplay of "good" (US) and "evil" (THEM) -- each side claiming to be the first in order to frame the other as characterized by the second.
The language of negative campaigning typically reflects this -- inviting the electorate to subscribe to both such beliefs. Little effort is made to reframe this dynamic and the language used -- in quest of more fruitful modalities of global governance. The individual, empowered by radical subjectivity, is however free to do so.
Eliciting meaning through creative imagination
Imagination: As noted above, claims as to the reality of externality can be reframed most readily in dramatic terms -- casting players into roles in an epic drama whose plot can have multiple twists and turns. For the individual it is the creative imagination with which the tale is imbued which engenders global coherence. It is through such reframing that coherence is ensured.
The individual can of course subscribe on occasion to an external reality -- patterns serving ironically as a source of inspiration. As with an early advertisement, it is a case of: By a Buick; something to believe in. Like any actor, the individual is free to switch the attribution of meaning between external and internal roles -- without permanent attachment to either. The art of the process would appear to involve transcending identification with either the internal or the external -- focusing rather on discovering what is associated with that process, and implied by it.
Of particular relevance to covert operations by US is then the ability to alternate between attributing reality to the "United States" (for example) and withdrawing all investment of significance in any such reality -- as a matter of convenience in navigating imaginatively the challenges of living in a global environment and sustaining its meaningful integrity. As with any actor in a play, it may be as appropriate for US to pretend that the "United States" exists -- perhaps for a documentary ritual of border control -- and then to disassociate from that notion as the drama evolves.
In contrast to constructivist arguments, for example, an interplay is then possibile between four perspectives: existence, non-existence, existence and non-existence, and neither existence nor non-existence, as explored by Kinhide Mushakoji (Global Iissues and Interparadigmatic Dialogue: essays on multipolar politics, 1988). Metaphorically, successive engagement with any perspective could be fruitfully compared with the existence and use of a "hold" or "grip" enabling support in the process of climbing a mountain. Understood in terms of conceptual "grasping", this can itself be fruitfully challnged (Beyond Harassment of Reality and Grasping Future Possibilities: learnings from sexual harassment as a metaphor, 1996).
This capacity reframes fundamentally the potential of any global drama in which "Palestine", "Israel", or "Tibet" might then be held to be significant -- briefly, for example, rather than permanently and unquestionably. The imaginative ability to "de-recognize" the "United States" for a time would similarly enable other virtual entities to exist for those who so wish, an Islamic Caliphate, a world Christian Community, and the like.
Rather than "derecognize", this might even be fruitfully understood as "decognize". This points to the potential significance of a recognition-decognition cycle which any sense of identity could fruitfully transcend (Emergence of Cyclical Psycho-social Identity: sustainability as "psyclically" defined, 2007). Such a cycle is reminiscent of the phenomenological epoché of Francisco Varela.
This process of dynamically reframing of Us and Them is curiously reminiscent of the games widely rehearsed by the young (Cowboys-and-Indians, Cops-and-Robbers, etc) in which roles are variously adopted for a time and abandoned. Skillfully practiced, such playfulness -- as "let's pretend" -- may be a vital key to covert global governance by US (Enacting Transformative Integral Thinking through Playful Elegance, 2010).
The current relevance of any such process of "make-believe" is strikingly evident at the time of writing (as indicated above) with respect to the decision of the European Central Bank to "print money" (ECB launches 1 trillion euro rescue plan to revive euro economy, Reuters, 22 January 2015). This highlights the interplay of imagination and credibility with which people are called to engage. Such efforts to elicit credibility in a virtual reality are curiously related in metaphorical terms to the expectation of "solidarity" in response to Islamic radicalism -- in a period when "liquidity" is sought for the financial system (Quantum Wampum Essential to Navigating Ragnarok: thrival in crisis through embodying turbulent flow, 2014; From Quantitative Easing (QE) to Moral Easing (ME): a stimulus package to avert moral bankruptcy? 2010).
Patterns: A vital question is then which patterns might prove fruitful to engaging in this process, namely to eliciting meaning as separately discussed (Eliciting a Universe of Meaning -- within a global information society of fragmenting knowledge and relationships, 2013). Possibilities include:
- Investment: Given the current disastrous operation of the global financial system -- understood as an externality -- there is a degree of irony to the extent to which the transcendent process of alternation may be understood through the patterns offered by language of finance and investment. The process can then be framed as one of investing or divesting attention, whether in relation to externalities or internalities, into figments of the imagination or otherwise (Investing Attention Essential to Viable Growth: radical self-reflexive reappropriation of financial skills and insights, 2014). This offers the strange sense of operating a personal stock market in which the value of specific investments rises or falls (Human Values "Stock Market": investing in "shares" in a "value market" of fundamental principles, 2006).
- Physics: The subtle insights of physics and astrophysics offer clues in this respect, as may be imaginatively explored (Being a Waveform of Potential as an Experiential Choice: emergent dynamic qualities of identity and integrity, 2013; Being a Poem in the Making: engendering a multiverse through musing, 2012). The "otherness" of THEM may then be encountered otherwise (Encountering Otherness as a Waveform In the light of a wave theory of being, 2013).
- Energy systems design: The degree to which information and imagination are associated in the process of invention offers insights into how psychosocial energy is engendered (Reimagining Tesla's Creativity through Technomimicry: psychosocial empowerment by imagining charged conditions otherwise, 2014; Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor: Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing (ITER-8), 2006; Enabling Governance through the Dynamics of Nature: exemplified by cognitive implication of vortices and helicoidal flow, 2010)
Interfaces: Given the degree of creative innovation regarding interfaces in a variety of technologies, this suggests that the interface between objectivity and subjectivity can be imaginatively explored in a simi liar manner. Insights are offered by the collaborative work of Douglas Hofstadter (Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies, 1995; Surfaces and Essences: analogy as the fuel and fire of thinking, 2012). The challenge is how to engage most fruitfully in the play of patterns to which solidity and fluidity are variously attributed and withdrawn. A notable interface is that with dream, and its challenge to imagination, as most recently explored by Steven M. Rosen (Dreams, Death, Rebirth: a multimedia topological odyssey into alchemy's hidden dimensions, 2014).
Curiously memetic warfare, which can be framed as superceding cyberwarfare, is readily explored as a kind of warfare between objectivity and subjectivity -- the challenge of the engagement with that to which solidity is imaginatively attributed as otherness (Missiles, Missives, Missions and Memetic Warfare: navigation of strategic interfaces in multidimensional knowledge space, 2001; Brian J. Hancock, Memetic Warfare: the future of war, Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, 1 August 2011). This is exemplified by reference to facts and concrete proof in a context in which their reality is authoritatively denied -- as with respect to climate change, or the US Senate Intelligence Committee report on CIA torture (Dick Cheney: Torture Report Is 'Full Of Crap', The Huffington Post, 12 December 2014).
Mystery of covert operations: Efforts to describe the processes of imagination through which meaning is engendered are themselves highly questionable as attempts to entrap "in-the-box" what is essentially "out-of-the-box". Such imagination is that of an agency which itself eludes conventional definition, operating as it does under the cover of subjectivity. Such efforts are now tragically reflected in the "imaginative" designs of new environments through use of concrete to create yet more "boxes" within which US are expected to live, despite covering the land with yet more concrete.
The problems of enclosure and premature closure can be provocatively explored through "USA-fication" rather than "usification" (as above) -- if only as a source of mnemonic catalysts. Some have already made use of the term for other purposes. This offers a way of enriching understanding of globality and any sense of global domination -- by US in its subjective sense. The following table is suggestive in this respect.
The table is a device through which a variety of understandings of USA-fication can be indicated, whether by its rows, or by its diagonals, or indeed by combining selected insights (one from each column). Other suggestive terms could of course be added, such as Autopoiesis (Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition: the realization of the living, 1973). In the light of the subsequent work of Varela on the phenomenological epoché (indicated above), it is appropriate to note his depiction of this cognitive process in terms of interlocking Borromean rings. Of particular relevance is the 3-dimensional representation of a set of such rings (chosen as the logo of the International Mathematical Union), as discussed separately (Exercise in imagining hypercomputing via hexagram patterning, 2014).
In the variant below the rings are coloured red-green-blue to contrast with the red-white-blue with which USA is conventionally associated -- specifically to suggest that the cognitive and strategic integration implied by "white" emerges only from the combination of the colours of the RGB colour mod)el. The implications of "white" cannot be directly appropriated. The cognitive implications of such use of the colour triangle has been made by Ron Atkin (Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional space? 1981) as discussed separately (Comprehension: Social organization determined by incommunicability of insights).
|Borromean rings in 3D
|RGB Additive colour model
|Images adapted from Wikipedia
Ideally this pattern, however depicted, recalls the kind of integrity associated with magic squares (or the fulfillment offered by sudoku). Conventional understandings of USA are then to be understood as a form of cognitive extremism restrictively reinforced by constitutional articulation. Any process of USA-fication seeks to recover subjectively what has been inappropriately projected onto such externality -- thereby empowering it to an unfortunate degree at the subjective expense of US.
Understood as indicative of three distinct functions, USA can be variously colour-coded as follows using the RGB model -- given the symbolic associations which may be associated by different cultures with each colour (most notably in flags and herladic symbols). Each pattern effectively circumscribes and implies the elusive significance of "white" -- as engendered by the combination of each colour.
The terms highlighted for mnemonic purposes notably place the emphasis on process and alternation -- a switch from the static implications of "states" to a dynamic sense, as separately argued (Dynamic Transformation of Static Reporting of Global Processes: suggestions for process-oriented titles of global issue reports, 2013). This contrasts the thinking associated with any "state of the union" with what a dynamic sense might imply, whether with respect to the USA or to the globe -- as with any "United Nations" analogue. It is therefore a challenge to simplistic understandings of "united" and "union", as possibly extended to any sense of "universal". This helps to frame the challenge of "liberating" integration from premature closure, as previously discussed (Liberation of Integration, Universality and Concord -- through pattern, oscillation, harmony and embodiment, 1980).
Especially intriguing is the dynamic reframing of "states", given the subjective implication for US. There is of course a degree of recognition of the variety of cognitive states and conditions amongst which one can alternate -- the covert operations of one's internal "weather" dynamics. Their number and nature naturally defy conventional definition. There is some irony to the fact that the number of states purportedly "united" by the USA should be of the same order as the number of such conditions identified and integrated by the I Ching from an existential decision-making perspective, as may be variously explored (Transformation Metaphors derived experimentally from the Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching): for sustainable dialogue, vision, conferencing, policy, network, community and lifestyle, 1997).
The elusive sense of a dynamic of emergence and integration suggested by the above pattern can also be speculatively explored in terms of the progressive transformation of human cognition, as implied by notions of "grokking" (Authentic Grokking: emergence of Homo conjugens, 2003). These can be considered as consistent with recognition of Homo undulans (Emergence of Homo undulans -- through a "grokking" dynamic? 2013), as argued by Daniel Dervin (Creativity and Culture: a psychoanalytic study of the creative process in the arts, sciences, and culture, 1990).
Christopher Alexander. The Timeless Way of Building. Oxford University Press, 1979
- The Man Who Wasn't There: investigations into the strange new science of the self. Dutton Adult, 2015
- The Edge of Physics: a journey to Earth's extremes to unlock the secrets of the universe. Mariner Books, 2011
- The Maladies of the Self. Duckworth, 2010
Karen Armstrong. A Short History of Myth. Canongate, 2005
Ron Atkin. Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional space? Penguin, 1981
Jamie Bartlett. The Dark Net. William Heinemann, 2014
Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann. The Social Construction of Reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge. Anchor Books, 1966
Yucel Bozdaglioglu. Constructivism and Identity Formation: An Interactive Approach. Review of International Law and Politics, 3, 2007, 11, pp. 121-144 [text].
Joseph Campbell. The Inner Reaches of Outer Space: metaphor as myth and as religion. Alfred van der Marck Editions, 1986
Nicholas Carr. The Shallows: how the Internet is changing the way we think, read and remember. Atlantic Books, 2011
Edward S. Casey. Getting Back into Place: toward a renewed understanding of the place-world. Indiana University Press, 1993
René Daumal. Mount Analogue: a novel of symbolically authentic non-Euclidean adventures in mountain climbing. Stuart, 1959 [summary]
Erik Davis. TechGnosis: myth, magic, and mysticism in the Age of Information. Harmony Books, 1998
Edward de Bono. I Am Right, You Are Wrong: From This to the New Renaissance: From Rock Logic to Water Logic. 1991
Antonio de Nicolas. Habits of Mind: an introduction to clinical philosophy. iUniverse, 2000
- Creativity and Culture: a psychoanalytic study of the creative process in the arts, sciences, and culture. Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 1990.
- A "Strange Sapience": the creative Imagination of D.H. Lawrence. University of Massachusetts Press, 1984
- The Aquarian Conspiracy: personal and social transformation in our time. J. P. Tarcher, 1987 [summary]
- Aquarius Now: radical common sense and reclaiming our personal sovereignty. Red Wheel/Weiser, 2005
Michael Foley. The Age of Absurdity: why modern life makes it hard to be happy. Simon and Schuster, 2011
- Politics of Fear: Beyond Left and Right. Bloomsbury Academic, 2005
- Culture of Fear Revisited. Bloomsbury Academic, 2006
Barry Glassner. The Culture of Fear: why Americans are afraid of the wrong things. Basic Books, 2000
Susan Greenfield. Mind Change: how digital technologies are leaving their mark on our brain. Rider, 2014
- The Age of Unreason. Harvard Business Review Press, 1991
- The Age of Paradox. Harvard Business Review Press, 1995
Stephen Hawking (Ed.). The Dreams That Stuff Is Made Of: the most astounding papers of quantum physics -- and how they shook the scientific world. Running Press, 2011
Douglas Hofstadter. Fluid Concepts and Creative Analogies. Harvester Wheatsheaf, 1995 [summary]
Douglas Hofstadter and Emmanuel Sander. Surfaces and Essences: analogy as the fuel and fire of thinking. Basic Books, 2012 [summary]
Carl Gustav Jung and Wolfgang Ernst Pauli. The Interpretation of Nature and the Psyche. Ishi Press, 2012
Jozef Keulartz. Using Metaphors in Restoring Nature. Nature and Culture, 2, 2007, 1, pp. 27-48 [abstract]
Peter Kruse and Michael Stadler. Ambiguity in Mind and Nature: Multistable cognitive phenomena. Springer Verlag, 1995
George Lakoff and Mark Johnson. Philosophy In The Flesh: the embodied mind and its challenge to western thought. Basic Books, 1999
George Lakoff and Rafael Núñez. Where Mathematics Comes From: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into being. Basic Books, 2000 [summary]
Humberto Maturana and Francisco Varela. Autopoiesis and Cognition: the realization of the living. Reidel, 1973
Marshall McLuhan and Bruce R. Powers. The Global Village: transformations in world life and media in the 21st Century. Oxford University Press, 1992
Evgeny Morozov. The Net Delusion: how not to liberate the world. Penguin, 2012
Kinhide Mushakoji. Global Iissues and Interparadigmatic Dialogue: essays on multipolar politics. Meynier, 1988
Joseph S. Nye:
- Soft Power: The Means to Success in World Politics. Public Affairs, 2005
- The Paradox of American Power: why the world's only superpower can't go it alone. Oxford University Press, 2002
Naomi Oreskes and Erik M. Conway. Merchants of Doubt: how a handful of scientists obscured the truth on issues from tobacco smoke to global warming. Bloomsbury Press, 2010
Eli Pariser. The Filter Bubble: what the Internet is hiding from you. Penguin, 2012
Frank Pasquale. The Black Box Society: the secret algorithms that control money and information. Harvard University Press, 2015
- Technology as Symptom and Dream. Routledge, 1989
- Mirror and Metaphor: images and stories of psychological life. Trivium Publications, 2001
Steven M. Rosen:
- Topologies of the Flesh: a multidimensional exploration of the lifeworld. Ohio University Press, 2006 [text]
- Dimensions of Apeiron: a topological phenomenology of space, time, and individuation. Value Inquiry Book Series, 2004 [text]
- Dreams, Death, Rebirth: a multimedia topological odyssey into alchemy's hidden dimensions. Chiron Publications, 2014
John Ralston Saul:
- The Unconscious Civilization. 1995
- The Collapse of Globalism and the Reinvention of the World. 2005
Henryk Skolimowski. The Participatory Mind: a new theory of knowledge and of the universe. Penguin/Arkana, 1994
Lawrence Solomon. The Deniers: the world-renowned scientists who stood up against global warming hysteria, political persecution, and fraud., Richard Vigilante Books, 2008
Emmanuel Todd. After the Empire: the breakdown of the American Order. Columbia University Press, 2004
Rodrigue Tremblay. The New American Empire. Infinity, 2004
Sherry Turkle. Alone Together: how we expect more and more from technology and less and less from each other. Basic Books, 2013
Ernst von Glasersfeld:
- Key Works in Radical Constructivism. Sense Publishers, 2007
- Radical Constructivism. Routledge, 1996
- Space and Place: the perspective of experience. University of Minneapolis Press, 1987
- Passing Strange and Wonderful: aesthetics, nature and culture. Island Press, 1993