14 January 2006 | Draft
Ensuring Strategic Resilience through Haiku Patterns
reframing the scope of the "martial arts" in response to strategic threats
- / -
Conventional attributes of haiku
Semantic and epistemological potential of haiku
Experiential focus of poetry
Haiku and the martial arts
Strategic potential of haiku
Catalytic role of haiku in kairotic time
Existential quality of life-and-death decisions
Haiku and strategic decision making
Natural cognitive templates offered by haiku
Cognitive configuration of haiku -- and dimensions of strategic engagement
Configuring the pattern that connects
Strategic potential of cognitive commonalities between poetry and music
Beyond knowledge -- to wisdom?
Published in Journal of the Interdisciplinary Crossroads, Volume 2, No. 3, December 2005 [text]
The General Assembly of the World Academy of Art and Science (Zagreb, November 2005) had as its theme the Future of Knowledge (Evolutionary challenges of the 21st century). The meeting was accompanied by an invitational NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Security in Knowledge-based Society (Developing resilience in societies at risk and threatened by terrorism). Some participants attended both events. As was pointed out by Pieter Drenth (All European Academies), the distinction between "art" and "science" in English is bridged and encompassed, in some other European languages at least, by variants of the single German term "wissenschaft". This can be well translated by "ways of knowing".
With regard to any distinction between art and science, it was also pointed out that the military and security preoccupations of NATO strategists and tacticians can also be understood in terms of "martial arts" -- notably as articulated in classical texts on strategy favoured in western military academies (cf Sun Tzu, The Art of War; Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings: the classic guide to strategy). In this particular sense the "arts" were well represented on that occasion in the NATO event, whether or not the aesthetic dimensions were considered by participants in the WAAS event as meriting as much attention by the "sciences" -- despite the aesthetic qualities characteristic of the most fundamental theories extolled by scientists. One particular WAAS workshop was however devoted to the "organization of knowledge for human benefit" in which the aesthetic dimension was emphasized as fundamental to the comprehension and organization of complexity, and the mnemonic requisites of its communication and memorability in policy-making (cf Union of Intelligible Associations: remembering dynamic identity through a dodecameral mind, 2005).
The following argument endeavours to draw together these various cognitive threads through an exploration of the Japanese art of haiku, notably in the light of references to it by Swedish Ambassador, Kai Falkman, who participated in both the WAAS and NATO events. Falkman, President of the Swedish Haiku Society, focused on the interest in this art form of Dag Hammarskjöld, a writer of haiku, who during his mandate as Secretary-General of the United Nations, was especially preoccupied with security issues. UNESCO, one of the funders of the WAAS gathering, featured haiku through the website of its Italian National Commission, in collaboration with the World Haiku Club, on the occasion of World Poetry Day in 2002.
The following comments on haiku benefit notably from the insights of Kai Falkman (The String Untouched, translation of En Orörd Sträng, Ordfront, 2005).
Haiku is essentially a very short poem depicting a specific experience in nature or in a human context. It is contrasted with a related form, senryū, which tends to be about human foibles while haiku tend to be about nature -- senryū are often cynical or darkly humorous while haiku are serious.
The traditional Japanese rules for haiku require the use of 17 syllables grouped into three lines composed of respectively 5-7-5 syllables. These rules are applied in a multitude of languages by a worldwide "haiku movement" (cf World Haiku Club; Haiku International Association) [more]. The emphasis is clearly placed on succinctness and appropriateness, requiring extremely careful consideration of the pattern of words used and the effect they together create. The superfluous is excluded. In the words of Antoine de Saint Exupery, "Perfection is achieved, not when there is nothing more to add, but when there is nothing left to take away."
Non-Japanese haiku poets have explored an even more abbreviated 3-5-3 form of haiku, as explained by Keiko Imaoka (Forms in English Haiku) in discussing the linguistic circumstances that necessitate shorter English haiku to be more loosely structured than Japanese haiku:
The core feature of haiku is an experience described in a concrete image designed to evoke the same experience in the reader. A good haiku is not simply a static description. Three valued attributes are:
Stress is placed on the concreteness of the images. Purely abstract or intellectual concepts are not considered valid haiku -- irrespective of their conformity with the formal rules or the value of the experience they may engender. Meaningful insights overtly expressed are considered as an imposition, potentially alienating to the reader. This is an implicit aesthetic that is discovered by a receptive sensitivity rather than an invasive technique. A degree of detachment or distance is valued. Although the concrete images may be anchored in the immediate or distant past -- perhaps specifically associated with a season -- the effect sought is an experience in the present moment, the immediate here and now (cf Kate Hall, Mirroring the Moment, 2001)
In discussing a related art form, haiga, Susumu Takiguchi (Haiga: this delicious cocktail of art, poetry and calligraphy , World Haiku Review, 3, 2, December 2003) provides the aesthetic framework for haiku:
This true-to-life sincerity of haiku is called makoto.
In reviewing current approaches to haiku, A.C. Missias (Contemporary Haiku: Origins and New Directions) notes that:
Masako K. Hiraga ('Blending' and an Interpretation of Haiku: A Cognitive Approach, 1997) has explored the function of haiku in relation to conceptual blending. This is described as:
Dag Hammarskjöld was especially struck by the semantic and mnemonic role of haiku as he noted in his first haiku poem (1959):
Beyond the merits of aphorisms or epigrams (cf VSM de Guinzbourg, Wit and Wisdom of the United Nations: proverbs and apothegms on diplomacy, 1961), a haiku might be understood to be a form of semantic catalyst. From a learning perspective it might be understood to be in a class similar to a koan or a mantra in spiritual education. It is a trigger for surprising experiential insight through evoking an unfamiliar pattern of associations to sustain the emergence of such an insight. Zen writer R H Blyth defined a haiku as 'the expression of a temporary enlightenment in which we see into the life of things'.
This philosophical or spiritual emphasis is highlighted in the words of one web commentator:
According to his disciple Doho, Basho would "enter into the object, the whole of its delicate life, feeling as it feels. The poem follows of itself." (cf Takahashi, Shinkichi, Afterimages: Zen Poems, 1972). The approach to "seeing the pattern", emphasizing direct and immediate experience without defining the way things are, was notably developed by Ch'eng I (Cheng Yi), a scholar of the Sung Dynasty (c.1033-1107 AD) who saw the pattern as unitary, its divisions being multiple. For him: "The pattern does not define what things are, the pattern refers to the ways things function and interact." [more]
J.W. Hackett (The Way of Haiku, 1969) writes with the conviction that:
In discussing meaning beyond reason, Timothy J Munson (Technologies of Sin and Salvation: capital, communication and human experience in this age of the perpetual innovation economy) argues that:
This accords with a particular understanding of western poetry as articulated by Alice Oswald (Wild Things, Guardian, 3 December 2005) in contrasting "nostalgia" with "immediacy", notably as exemplified by the poetry of Ted Hughes:
The challenge of the sheer present is that faced by any strategy that is required to deal with the urgent challenges of the moment, typical of the preoccupations of the martial arts -- but hopefully also of all those locked tragically into other kinds of life-and-death situations. Hence the relevance of poetry-making as a template for policy-making in the face of emergencies (cf Poetry-making and Policy-making: Magic, Miracles and Image-building, 1993).
Sakusen is the Japanese term for the art of military strategy. Daisetz Suzuki (Zen and Japanese Culture, 1970), in his description of Zen, illustrated its surprising role in the philosophy of the samurai, and subtly portrayed in the relationship between Zen and swordsmanship, haiku, tea ceremonies, and the Japanese love of nature.
Seamus Mulholland (Philosophy and the Martial Arts, 2004) highlights the aesthetic quality of eastern martial arts:
Similarly it is stated elsewhere that:
Another study endeavours to demonstrate that martial arts should be rethought as a rightful part of the forms of artistic representation (Short study of the artistic question in the martial arts and kenpo karate; see also Suresh Awasthi, Martial Arts and Performance Tradition, 2005).
Most martial arts schools, especially the more modern, sport-oriented, competition-based programs, fail to blend in a philosophical curriculum. Traditionally, however, the fiercest samurai also trained in brush painting, flower arrangement, haiku writing, and solving conundrums that foster a positive ethic. [more] The 17th century samurai Yamamoto Tsumetomo (Bushido: The Way of the Samurai, 2001) was the author of a key text (Hagakure: the Book of the Samurai, 1979) in the early training of samurai in the Bushido code of the "Way of the Warrior". Its circulation was long restricted to an inner circle prepared for death at any moment in the unquestioning service of their masters. The author had a long-standing interest in poetry and a recent translation is prefaced by two of his haiku.
The role of the Hagakure might be compared in a modern context to a set of guidelines developed by the Pentagon's PsyOps program at Fort Bragg as psychological input to the training provided by the Western Hemisphere Institute for Security Cooperation (previously the School of the Americas). Other parallels, relating to the "Way of Bush", and "Bush-I-Do", have been the subject of extensive satirical commentary (cf Evan Eisenberg, Bushido: the Way of the American Warrior, New Yorker, 7 June 2004; Alan Bisbort. Bushido and Bushito: Our new fatal code of conduct, American Politics Journal, 2003). The insistence of American foreign policy under George Bush on the binary logic that "You are either with us or against us" [more more more], nevertheless has a strange resonance with the principle enunciated in the Hagakure that:
However, the modern "armchair warrior", so ably described by Eisenberg, makes his "quick choice" in relation to the death of others, rather than to any honourable personal sacrifice in a higher cause -- a modern perversion of the Bushido code of honour (cf Honour Essential to Psycho-social Integrity: challenge of dishonourable leadership to the nameless, 2005). The perversion is all the greater in that the armchair warrior only engages in such killing, from on high, through the protection of virtual or procedural interfaces -- however real the killing perpetrated.
The relation between the martial arts and haiku is further clarified by Bruce Ross (Liveliness in Japanese and American Haiku, World Haiku Review, 2002) as follows:
Kai Falkman comments on one of Hammarskjöld's haiku:
Falkman focuses on the sense of necessity to find life in words and thus counteract the death that men wreak with their weapons -- even while they are being used.
Hammarskjöld would seem to have recognized the importance of the haiku in disciplining his own thinking to evoke appropriate strategic insight -- even though this was a discipline he applied in private and unknown to others at that time. In what may be one of the most extreme ironies of the times, and an illustration of the dysfunctional potential of haiku, as a devotee of language the US Secretary of Defense (and therefore the principal representative of the leading member of NATO), Donald Rumsfeld is known to insert haiku into press briefings, as noted by Hart Seely (Pieces of Intelligence: the existential poetry of Donald H. Rumsfeld, 2003):
There is an experiential reality intuitively recognized at the core of the martial arts through the risky juxtaposition of life and death. Haiku constitutes a communication modality for essential understanding of its nature and quality. That understanding points to the dynamic opportunity of the transformative potential of the shifting patterns in such moments -- the aesthetic immediacy essential to paradigm change. Haiku effectively attune the mind to surprises. From a martial art perspective it might well be considered to be the strategic antithesis of a "zero-sum game" typical of much strategic thinking (but see Tom Czerwinski, Nonlinearity and Military Affairs: a working bibliography, 1999; Terrorism, Nonlinearity and Complex Adaptive Systems: Links to online papers). This is a situation in which a participant's gain (or loss) is exactly balanced by the losses (or gains) of the other participant(s).
Stealth is of course a vital component in deploying an effective strategy against a deadly enemy. It is therefore to be expected that the insights emerging from the gathering as a whole regarding the strategic role of haiku as a pattern language should have a hidden dimension -- consistent with the organization of the NATO event unbeknownst beforehand to those in the WAAS gathering not invited to it. A variety of covert agendas were played out by various factions.
As noted above, haiku has the ability to hold multiple levels of meaning regarding its transformative implications in a manner somewhat reminiscent of conventional levels of secrecy and security classification. Consistent with this perspective, haiku is associated with "disappearing" according to Gabriel Rosenstock (Haiku: the gentle art of disappearing, 2004) -- especially in the case of haiku that are not superficial and unmemorable due to the intrusion of the grosser aspects of thinking [more]. He compares the condition with that of flow as identified by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life, 1998). Rosenstock recognizes that the concatenation of events triggering haiku moments make of them a singularity (as discussed below).
Such indications suggest that the nature of the "strategy" most appropriately associated with haiku may well be that otherwise associated with the Tao as both transcendent yet immanent, manifesting itself most powerfully through the forces of wu-wei ("nonaction") and yu-wu ("nonbeing"). It is such insights that are most valued in the traditional martial arts (cf Key Sun. How to Overcome without Fighting: an introduction to the Taoist approach to conflict resolution, 1995). As is frequently stated, wu-wei -- the principle of "nonaction" -- is not inactivity. As described by Alan Watts (Tao: The Watercourse Way, 1977), wu-wei is the right action of letting nature take its course, namely a minimalist way of finesse rather than force. Strategically it is a way to roll with the punch, to swim with the tide, to go with the flow. Thus wu-wei is not so much the absence of effort as it is right effort, effort used wisely, such as in the martial arts. It is poetry in motion -- as with haiku -- in which balance is not static. Classic haiku may indeed be associated with the quality of water (cf Sam Hamill.The Sound of Water: Haiku by Basho, Buson, Issa and Other Poets, 1995).
This emphasis on the logic of flow and water has been explored by Edward de Bono (Water Logic, 1993; I Am Right-You Are Wrong: From This to the New Renaissance : From Rock Logic to Water Logic, 1992 ) who contends that traditional logic is static, based on the solid foundations of "is" and identity. In contrast to this traditional "rock logic", he proposes a "water logic" based on "to" and the flow of the mind: "What does this lead to?" as opposed to "What is...?" He argues that this new logic is surprisingly easy to learn and to use, and results in a visual "flowscape", which allows people to lay out and then look at their thinking.
Haiku, conventionally understood might be considered as the antithesis of any action orientation. In this light, any association of haiku with the conventionally operational focus of strategy must then necessarily have an essentially "non-operational" quality in order to manifest itself most powerfully through "non-action". Writing haiku might then be usefully contrasted with casting "spells", which it might otherwise resemble in providing an operational focus for thinking. As discussed elsewhere (Poetry-making and Policy-making: Magic, Miracles and Image-building, 1993):
In contrasting spells with haiku, it is appropriate also to contrast them with commercial advertising jingles -- a feature of marketing strategies -- namely as memorable slogans usually set to an engaging melody. Jingles are memes constructed -- somewhat like love charms -- to stay in a person's memory and are often nostalgically remembered decades later, even after the associated "brand" has ceased to exist.
Thomas Hemstege (Hail, Herbs, and Turnips: Haiku and its Models in the Natural World, Modern Haiku, Vol. 35:1, Winter Spring 2004, 31) usedully reframes the widespread understanding that haiku are nature poems:
The notion of "kairos" (chairos) can be traced back to the rhetoric of Sophists who held that the effectiveness of speech is determined by the timing within "cultural and political contexts". It has been explored in relation to science (cf C R Miller. Kairos in the rhetoric of science, 1992). A distinction is made between "kairotic decision-making" and the normal decision-making characteristic of chronological time. Kairos may be described as an "irreducible singularity" -- an experiential singularity in contrast with, or by analogy to, a technological singularity. How the singularity of experience can be thought through the concept of a "technics of the self" is explored by Jean-Philippe Milet (Experience as Technique of the Self, Tekhnema 2: Technics and Finitude, Spring 1995).
The relation between haiku and decisive moments -- the "right time" -- has been widely explored. A haiku experience may be considered an embodiment of kairotic time -- the time in which fundamental decisions may be appropriately taken. The strategic notion of seizing kairotic moments as opportunities has been widely publicized by the injunction Carpe Diem in the movie Dead Poets Society. Such moments may be understood as marking the very essence of humanity (cf The Isdom of the Wisdom Society: Embodying time as the heartland of humanity, 2003).
Of related interest is the challenge of being seized by such decisive moments when faced with an unforeseen opportunity to stand up and be counted as holding views, or taking initiatives, that contrast with those of the majority -- possibly involving a high degree of risk and even mortal danger. Such decisions may be seen, whether at that time or from a historical perspective, as constituting a kairotic turning point -- bringing wider long-term significance to the moment (cf Engaging Macrohistory through the Present Moment, 2004).
Damir Ibrisimovic (in a personal communication) makes the point that:
The realm of the spirit is held to operate in kairotic (chairotic) rather than chronological time. This has been descibed by Mircea Eliade (The Sacred and the Profane) as "sacred time" [more]. The cyclic nature of sacred time has been described as follows:
According to Kay Stone (The Golden Woman: Dreaming as Art, 2004):
This challenge may be at the core of reconciling faith-based and evidence-based reality in these times. Being in love may also be characterized by kairotic moments. As various commentators suggest:
The quasi-mystical understandings of kairos are a particular focus of some theologians, notably with respect to kairotic moments of sacred ceremonies. As noted in a sermon by S. James Steen in making the contrast with chronological time:
The kairos of Biblical geo-politics in the 21st century, as explored by Kim Yong-Bock (Theology of Life: Wisdom of the Whole Life as an Alternative Foundation, 2001). For example, the World Student Christian Federation Asia-Pacific Region indicated in 2004:
Natasha Artemeva (Traveling in Space and Time: A Study of Learning Trajectories in Student Acquisition of Engineering Communication Strategies, 2003) offers a relevant analysis of "strategies" in terms of learning and the configuration of kairotic time by students, citing a variety of authors:
Yates and Orlikowski (2002) have emphasized the possibility of kairos "as enacted, arising when socially situated rhetors choose and/or craft an opportune time to interact with a particular audience in a particular way within particular circumstances" (p. 109). They do not deny the forces of rhetorical situation which constrain the possible responses, but they emphasize that the rhetor is an integral part in creating the kairotic moment.
For D.T. Suzuki: "A haiku does not express ideas, but puts forward images reflecting emotions." Commentators have remarked on the nature of poetry in war time -- notably that of soldiers in the trenches of World War I, constantly faced with the possibility of imminent death when they charged into minefields under fire. Such existential moments are also faced by any soldier in hand-to-hand combat, or by civilians exposed to unchecked military brutality.
The relationship with the "other" in a life-and-death situation provides one of the most powerful, and potentially traumatic, experiences in any mortal combat. In the more conventional sense of the "haiku moment", as noted by R.H. Blyth (History of Haiku, 1963): 'Haiku is the apprehension of a thing by a realization of our own original and essential unity with it.' . But beyond this experience, in a combat situation -- or in the interaction of a combatant with a "civilian" about to be killed -- is the sense of identity intuited between the two parties. As noted by James W. Hackett (That Art Thou: A Spiritual Way of Haiku, 2005): "Basho was influenced by this ancient spiritual principle and urged its use in creating haiku poetry. Zen interpenetration is, in a very real sense, the consummation of the haiku experience...'.
This "interprenetration" may well apply to the relation between torturer and prisoner in an interrogation process -- a particular example of a widely practiced military "art" (cf Mark Bowden, The Dark Art of Interrogation, The Atlantic Monthly, October 2003; Giles Tremlett, Anarchists and the Fine Art of Torture, Guardian, 27 January 2003; S. Brian Willson, Torture Is an American Value: Reality vs. the Rhetoric, Vietnam Veterans against the War, Fall 2005; Darius Rejali, A long-standing trick of the torturer's art, Seattle Times, 14 May 2004) [more]. This interpenetration may result in a form of traumatic bonding as noted by Sam Vaknin (The Psychology of Torture):
There is however also great similarity between the experience of a practitioner of the martial arts and that of dance. For example, Kirsi Monni. (The Poetic Movement of Being, 2004):
Acts of suicide bombers may themselves be understood as meriting reflection as kairotic moments. Gene Brooks (The Last American Awakening: the revivals in the Confederate Armies as part of the Great Prayer Meeting Revival 1858-1865, 1997) highlights the relevance of kairotic moments:
The glory and the tragedy of the "passing moment" and the "moment of passing" -- in their life-and-death significance in combat -- are brought into focus through haiku (cf Sic transit gloria mundi).
Kairotic time may be understood as the moment in which the "life and death" decisions (noted above) may have to be taken, even if they do not involve physical death. Writing so-called death poems is a characteristic of both Chinese and Japanese Zen monks (writing either Chinese style poetry kanshi, waka or haiku), and by many haiku poets, as well as those who wish to write -- notably prior to suicide [more]. Some kamikaze pilots wrote haiku prior to their suicide mission [more | more]. As documented by Emiko Ohnuki-Tierney (Kamikaze, Cherry Blossoms, and Nationalisms: the militarization of aesthetics in Japanese history, .2002), the symbolic importance of cherry blossoms, through their brief flowering and poignant scattering, become the quintessential symbol of tokkotai sacrifice -- resulting in an "aestheticization of death".. From such a perspective, has sufficient attention been given to the final message of modern suicide bombers -- or to the moment in conflict situations where the risk of death is imminent and special strategic intuition is most called for?
According to John Carroll (Retreating From 'The Death Ground', Boston Globe, 22 May 2001):
Others have argued that many organizations may usefully be understood to be effectively operating on "death ground", if only metaphorically. It is perhaps in this sense that haiku can configure understanding of the essential strategic situation and the transformative opportunities it represents.
There is a case therefore for recognizing a similarity between such haiku and elements of the commentary on an individual condition of change in an I Ching hexagram, such as the "judgement", or the "image" (cf Transformation Metaphors derived experimentally from the Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching), 1997; Embodying the Sphere of Change: Reframing metaphors of the I Ching as a codification of the patterns of change, 2001). The poetic quality of a "judgement", and its resemblance to a haiku poem, is illustrated by the following examples:
It is to be expected that the poetic form of this Chinese pattern of 64 transformative decisions ("the Book of Changes") might take the form of haiku, at least when translated into Japanese. The same might be said of the Tao Te Ching (cf Commentary on Tao Te Ching Interpretation: and the possibility of higher order patterning, 2003) notably when interpreted succinctly (cf Tao Te Ching Interpreted Succinctly, 2003). In Imperial China the I Ching was of course valued as a tool of policy-making appropriate to what is now termed kairotic time. The I Ching was in fact required reading for the Chinese civil service for about 1,000 years. One might well ask what tools of comparable complexity and scope are currently used with respect to global governance -- and whether they too will last a millennium, or be replaced by others whose logic would now seem to lack any credibility. In effect an I Ching "condition" might be understood as embodied into a haiku in order to offer the possibility of engaging with the condition in order to transform it.
In a personal communication, Gianni Tibaldi draws attention to the contrast between two related notions:
More intriguing then is the possibility that the sense of a "strategic space" in which forces, opportunities and threats are compared may be understood as a form of hyperspace in which such insights can be mapped (cf Hyperspace Clues to the Psychology of the Pattern that Connects in the light of 81 Tao Te Ching insights, 2003). This possibility relates to parallels and resonances between strategies of poetry-making and policy-making (cf Poetry making and Policy making: arranging a marriage between Beauty and the Beast, 1994). A classic strategic situation in chess, the French defence opening, has, for example, been described in haiku:
Given the nature of humour, it too may serve to mark moments in kairotic time -- especially as celebrated in the "crazy wisdom" insights of some Taoists. In this sense, as the "non-serious" complement to haiku, the often cynical or darkly humorous senryū may have a distinct role to play in relation to insights into psychosocial relationships (cf Humour and Play-Fullness: essential integrative processes in governance, religion and transdisciplinarity, 2005). As a strong advocate of humour in relation to creativity, Edward de Bono, through his "Creative Team", has proposed a 4-line variant on haiku -- the bonto -- for use on the web. Rules for line content are:
Some suggestions have been made for the use of haiku in reframing organizational management situations (Edwina Pio. What's Stopping You? Find out through Haiku, Workplace Spirituality).
The cognitive guidelines to strategy that are offered by nature are well illustrated by the classical work of Miyamoto Musashi (The Book of Five Rings: the classic guide to strategy). The chapters of this book, the 5 rings, are organized in terms of the qualitative insights offered by different approache or attitudes to battle, just as there are different physical elements in life A more grammatically appropriate term would be "discipline":
Such metaphors may perhaps be understood more meaningfully as qualitative descriptors of "ways of knowing" -- from the perspective of that with which one identifies -- faced with that with which the identity is obliged, or chooses, to engage. This may be framed as an "other", whether hostile (an opponent or an enemy) or sympathetic (a relative, a friend, or a lover). It may be reified as tangible, as in the case of an objective threat, or dematerialized as intangible, as in the case of a threat invisible to others. It is the "feeling" with which one engages what is defined as reality. This feeling quality may be effectively embodied in a haiku.
Further to his discussion of haiku and the martial arts, Bruce Ross (Liveliness in Japanese and American Haiku, World Haiku Review, 2002) clarifies the role in relation to nature:
Nature effectively provides readily comprehensible templates for a wide variety of relationships, strategies and transformations (metamorphoses) -- whether familiar or unusual. In consequence, this "meme pool" is globally organized so as to sustain its integrity. This ensures that insights (as "memetic complexes"), ordered through haiku in resonance with it, will themselves be coherently organized irrespective of the limitations of formal models (cf Psychology of Sustainability: Embodying cyclic environmental processes, 2002 ). This meme pool is to be experienced as neither static nor neutral. In effect it encodes both the dynamic of the existential experience of "terrorism" and the preoccupations of the vigilant security it evokes.
The strategic relevance is illustrated by the entry in Wikipedia on biomimetics as the application of methods and systems found in nature to the study and design of engineering systems and modern technology:
Numerous experiments of very unequal quality and ambition have been undertaken (see references below), primarily from a western artistic or educational perspective, in order to configure poetry in three dimensions, notably using virtual reality (VRML) and/or hypertext (HTML) techniques for conveneient display and manipulation on web browsers.
The technical feasibility of modelling haiku poetry in virtual reality has notably been demonstrated by Michael Kolitsky, director of Instructional Technology at Rowan University. For example, he uses VRML technology to compose what are in effect cubes of poetry where the second line of seven syllables serves as the building block for four poems that are read horizontally or vertically. In his work in 1999, one seven-syllable line serves four first and last lines to form four poems. The four poems are color coded on his computer and the middle line alternates through each of the four colors to provide continuity for each poem. Additionally, the edges of the poems form another poem. [more].
At this early stage the range of such experiments offers cognitive surprises that are cause for reflection that invites further experimentation -- especially in order to engage students. It is too early to conclude how such techniques can best be used to configure semantic content to engender and hold new levels of significance.
Given the close association of haiku with the martial arts, it is appropriate to note the significance of dimensionality in strategic situations. In the tradition of western swordsmanship, the swordsman is understood to be able to adopt essentially 14 recognizable and effective fighting postures (guards/wards/stances) overall. Of these five are major universal ones that correspond to High, Middle, Low, Hanging, and Back positions [more]. Fencing theory specifies a set of these positions either on guard in preparation for defence against attack or in preparation for attack. Parries deflect the attack by simply moving in a variety of directions, from one position to another. These positions are distinguished as: Prime, Seconde, Tierce, Quarte, Quinte, Sixte, Septime and Octave [more | more]. Fencers thus have a set of moves that they can apply in different strategies, although the time between fencing moves or turns is measured in milliseconds (cf Nick Evangelista, The Inner Game of Fencing: Excellence in Form, Technique, Strategy and Spirit, 2000; The Art and Science of Fencing, 1999).
Western fencing is recognized to be primarily a "mental discipline", calling for subtlety, in addition to physical speed and agility -- which by themselves may well be inadequate. Modern foil fencing is the direct descendant of dueling -- of combat likely to end in death. As such it retains a visceral "edginess" that is part of the mental discipline that is learnt. Fencing combines learned reflexive skills with considered responses to observation of an opponent, applied psychology and strategy. [more]
Surprisingly poetry has indeed had a role to play in western fencing. As noted by J. Clements ('To the Two Hand Sword': Analysis of a 15th Century English Fencing Poem): "At the time, rhyming verse was a common means of remembering lessons in all subjects. The use of verse as well as metaphor combined with the abstract nature of describing fighting concepts gives the material a cryptic quality". The role of fencing as a metaphor, especially in dialogue, has been well recognized (cf Robin Varnum. Fencing with Words, 1996).
Of perhaps greater interest however are the eastern traditions of martial arts, especially those with seemingly unjustified relationships to haiku.
In Kenjutsu (Ninja swordfighting), for example, the person's strategic skills are framed in terms of five kamae, which can be thought of as a posture or attitude displayed physically, psychologically or both. These basic kamae (go ho) are:
The strategic classic on fencing by Miyamoto Musashi (The Book of Five Rings) is divided, as noted above, into five books: The Ground Book, The Water Book, The Fire Book, The Wind Book, and The Void Book. Successful swordfighting necessarily requires that these be dynamically and artfully configured in practice -- in ways that can be metaphorically, or poetically, described by patterns of relationships of mutual-supplement and mutual-restraint, such as the following::
Eastern martial arts tend to distinguish eight "directions of unbalancing" (kuzushi in Judo and Kendo) These may be associated with eight compass directions (in two dimensions) in which an opponent may be moved so as break their balance. In three dimensions they might be understood as the eight corners of a cube within which the fighter is centered. In Aikido these eight directions are understood as ways to move one's body (Unsuko), to move one's opponenent (Kuzushi), or to throw one's opponenent (Tsukuri). The eight directions and five postures (above) have been combined in different martial art traditions through movements, techniques, "energies", "gates", "stances" or "powers" (cf Michael P. Garofalo, Thirteen Postures of Taijiquan: Eight Gates and Five Directions, 2005; Michael P. Garofalo, Cloud Hands Taijiquan and Qigong Guides, Bibliographies, Links, Resources).
Such "directions of unbalancing" might be usefully explored in relation to the arts of propaganda, interrogation, and "re-education", as variously practiced in all cultures. They might be understood as the ways of "breaking" or "getting at" a subject of such arts -- notably with the assistance of torture.
A western equivalent to these "directions" is perhaps to be seen in esoteric and magical understandings of configurations of angelic or demonic powers -- most widely recognized in the use of pentacles for magical rituals and in the archetypal sugnificance attached to the Arthurian "roundtable". These may be reflected in sacred architecture. The configurations may well be associated with belief in the capacity -- through spells (analogous to haiku) and "words of power" -- to invoke and direct supernatural powers to strategic advantage. These potentials are now widely celebrated in blockbuster movies that excite the imagination with resonances to archetypal symbolism -- exemplified by the case of Lord of the Rings. As an exercise of the imagination, and prior to its elaboration, relevant insights into the cognitive status of such an enterprise was offered by its creator J R R Tolkien (On Fairy Stories, 1938), :
However, in the light of the theme of this argument regarding the aesthetic role of haiku in reframing the martial arts, it is appropriate to ask how the dramatic conflicts in Faërie, that are a theme of Lord of the Rings, contribute to an archetypal reframing of the martial arts.
In eastern symbolism, such frameworks are intimately related to the art of feng shui or geomancy, as applied to physical topography and strategically appropriate placement. The seriousness with which this is taken in developed Chinese societies is evident in contemporary building construction, urban planning and environmental design, notably in Singapore and Hong Kong [more]. Its value is recognized in education (cf Renée Heiss, Feng Shui for the Classroom: creating a focused learning environment, 2004). Feng shui is now being applied to the design of virtual environments. This is illustrated by a keynote presentation to an ACM Symposium on Virtual Reality Software and Technology (Seoul, 2000) by Michael Heim (The Feng Shui of Virtual Environments, 2000) that emphasizes its value in understanding flow, notably in group dynamics. It is recognized that corporations worldwide are now employing feng shui consultants to give them a competitive edge in respondoing to changing and challenging times (cf T. Raphael Simons, Feng Shui Strategies for Business Success, 2005) [more]. It is valued in relation to investment strategies.
Of particular relevance to cognitive coherence in practice is how the static positions are interrelated through flowing movement, as describeed, for example, in the case of the Chinese martial art known as Meihuazhuang:
Another example is provided by the martial art known as Ba Gua Zhang: ("Eight-Diagram Palms Shadow Boxing"):
It is understandable that ability to determine and coordinate appropriate strategic movement can be sustained cognitively by flexibily interrelated complex metaphors. These provide mnemonic frameworks capable of orienting thinking and associated action. Haiku -- as mnemonic markers -- can clearly provide a way of articulating an aesthetic meme complex appropriate to each such strategic insight. This is especially the case when the latter is of higher dimensionality than isolated natural aesthetic phenomena that could otherwise be used to encode the insight. It is not surprising therefore that the above-cited resource on martial arts includes a section on haiku (Michael P. Garofalo, Cuttings: Haiku and Short Poems Guides to Internet and Print Resources). Given this traditional relationship, the semantic, memetic, or mnemonic resonance between the poetic insight and the strategic (martial) art calls for greater exploration in support of more appropriate strategies..
It is of course the case that constant practice by an individual practitioner may obviate the need for such mnemonic devices -- since the body movements and reflexes then encode the strategic insight. However verbal devices triggering such insights are required in teaching such skills and in communicating strategic opportunities to others to evoke coherent collective action.
The contrast of these views to western strategic thinking was first elucidated by Scott A. Boorman (Protracted game: a Wei-Ch'i interpretation of Maoist revolutionary strategy, 1971) who notably indicated the advantages of strategic thinking inspired by the game of "go" (Wei-Ch'i in Chinese), compared to that inspired by the game of "chess", as applied to the Vietnam conflict [more | more]. Both perspectives can be usefully contrasted with that offered by James P. Carse (Finite and Infinite Games: a vision of life as play and possibility, 1986) where: "A finite game is played for the purpose of winning, and infinite game for the purpose of continuing the play" [more]. This brings into perspective the the transcendent integrity associated with honourable engagement with an opponent -- much-extolled as a feature of martial art (cf Honour Essential to Psycho-social Integrity: challenge to the nameless of dishonourable leadership, 2005).
The conjunction of the WAAS and NATO events made it possible for participants to configure the understanding of their strategic engagement with their underlying themes through a pattern of complementary haiku. This is the proper conclusion of that "bicameral" gathering -- the "pattern that connects" so vital to conservation of quality, in the terms of Gregory Bateson. That pattern was notably the title of a presentation by Robert Horn in the WAAS workshop on the organization of knowledge for the benefit of humanity (chaired by Michael Marien). The recogition of this elusive pattern has remained a challenge down the ages:
The Zagreb event would be the first global event to have given form to the transition between essential paradigms in this way -- thus establishing a gateway for future transitions. It is appropriate to note that Kai Falkman (The String Untouched, 2005) sees the 110 haiku written by Dag Hammarskjöld as constituting an autobiographical set of similar, although personal, import.
Effectively the individual haiku marked the complementary insights and transformative moments through which participants were able to pass in order to embody understanding of a new strategic initiative. A configuration of complementary haiku thus provides markers of decisive moments of learning on the interweaving thematic journeys of participants through the knowledge space engendered by the gathering (cf Cultivating the Songlines of the Noosphere: From presentations by representatives to embodying presence in transformation, 1996). Participants would have explored this pattern in a variety of sequences.
Such a configuration might be understood as a pattern of moments (of encounter) in kairotic time -- marked by haiku at the intersection of distinct journey experiences in chronological time. In any mind map of the event, this might be explored as a configuration of singularities juxtaposed through the interlocking of circular pathways -- as a skeletal framework -- in chronological time. From a strategic perspective, it is possible that the essence of the above-mentioned skill of the "five rings" of Miyamoto Musashi, lies in the cognitive "interlocking" of those rings in practice through a configuration of nodal insights held "secret" to ensure competitive advantage (cf Boyé Lafayette de Mente. Samurai Strategies: 42 martial secrets from Musashi's Book of Five Rings, 2005).
From the neural level underlying conscious experience, this interlocking of cycles might be associated with the resonance phenomenon of "phase-locking" described by neurophenomenologist Francisco Varela -- in which different brain regions are interconnected in such a way that their neurons fire in synchrony. As noted by Fritjof Capra (The Hidden Connections, 2002), in describing this emergence of transitory experiential states: "Through this synchronization of neural activity, temporary 'cell assemblies' are formed, which may consist of widely dispersed neural circuits." This model has been applied to understanding of awareness of the moment (Francisco Varela, Present-Time Consciousness, 1999). This work is complemented by that of Gerald Edelman and Giulio Tononi (Consciousness and Complexity, 1998) who describe exchanges of parallel signals within and among brain areas that ensure a momentary "dynamic binding" of groups of nerve cells through a process termed "re-entry". In the words of Capra: "Each conscious experience emerges from a functional cluster of neurons, which together constitute a unified neural process or 'dynamic core'" This integrative dynamic core of changing activity patterns is then neither a thing nor a location but a process of varying neural interactions.
The life cycle of any individual, gathering or group could then be understood as a configuration of moments of encounter in kairotic time -- in which the timeless quality of those moments is integrated -- as coeval "across time", namely across the sequences of chronological time in which they are experienced. As smaller circles (or lesser circles) on the surface of any spherical representation of the whole (see above), such an understanding is consistent with artistic depictions by Australian Aborigenes of the Dreamtime in which current reality is held to be embedded -- using a multiplicity of circles [more]. These might be understood as a living intuitive sense of the nature of the access points to "semantic wormholes" into deep time, in its psycho-cultural sense, from the shallowness of chronological time (cf Tom Griffiths, Travelling in Deep Time: La Longue Durée in Australian History, 2000).
Such configurations of kairotic time reflects the sense of "composing a life" as articulated by Mary Catherine Bateson (Composing a Life, 1989). Embedding moments of kairotic time in a configuration suggests a new way of intepreting the insights of management cybernetician, and poet, Stafford Beer (Beyond Dispute: the invention of team syntegrity, 1994) in his icosahedral patterning of an infoset of 12 "issues" by 30 people through syntegration [more | more]. His work suggests the posibility of a theoretical underpinning for the widespread (as indicated by any web search) organization of strategic insight into "30 ways" or "30 secrets".
Other potential structural metaphors offering related insights are:
Such structural understanding exemplifies the preoccupation of the Union of Intelligible Associations cited above (cf Union of Intelligible Associations: remembering dynamic identity through a dodecameral mind, 2005).
The configuration of knowledge then bears an interesting relationship to the mythic Net of Indra in the heavens -- attributed to a Buddhist Tu-Shun (557-640 A.D.) -- where at every crossing of one thread over another, there is a gem reflecting all other reflective gems, a fractal organization of knowing [more]. As a profound and subtle metaphor for the structure of reality, and of knowledge of it, Indra's Net has also been seen by a number of authors as a useful metaphor of the worldwide web (cf Martin Ryder, Augmentation of the Intellect: network instruments, environments and strategies for learning, 1994). Each object in the world is then not merely itself, but involves every other object in ways that have been a focus of postmodern exploration now rendered plausible, if not irresistible,.in the light of the field theories of modern physics (cf David Loy. Indra's Postmodern Net, Philosophy East and West, 1993). The "jewel" at each intersection is then to be understood as a mode of knowing in kairotic time exemplified in this aesthetic by the pattern of associations evoked by a single haiku poem.
The pathways of the figures above may be represented differently through the tensegrity structures with which they are associated -- and which inspired Stafford Beer in his use of the term "syntegrity". One representation is in the figures below, with the strings in tension (more visible in the right-hand figure) constraining the rods under compression into a spherical configuration. In figures with more rods, the circularity of the pathways become more apparent -- to the point that the rods on each pathway "kiss-touch" establishing the "continuity" of that pathway. This non-structural contact might also be understood as representing the jewel of kairotic experience -- a paradoxical, existential suspension between two stages of a pathway through the "tunnels" of chronological time.
Resonating with this "kiss touch" context, as developer of the cognitive strategic gaming tools through the HipBone Project (an ambitious web variant of Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game), Charles Cameron has a web facility using the juxtaposition of two quotes (or images):
Metaphoricaly again, the kairotic haiku moment may be understood as a form of non-linear "bridge" across the discontinuity resulting from the linearity along the pathway of chronological time -- and, as with the physics of sparks or lightbulbs, functioning as a source of light or enlightenment. Such understandings are echoed in the use of circlets of prayer beads -- each bead acting as a mnemonic marker pointing to a distinct moment of significance (Designing Cultural Rosaries and Meaning Malas to Sustain Associations within the Pattern that Connects, 2000).
The role of game-playing as a way of comprehending the nature of Indra's Net has been explored by Charles Cameron (Hermann Hesse's Glass Bead Game: A Game Designer's Holy Grail...1997).
Rather than presenting insight through a single linear sequence of arguments, as a journey, the proper integrative outcome therefore combines qualitatively distinct ways of knowing, related (as in the traditional pattern of symbols discussed above) as:
A key achievement of the WAAS/NATO event might then be said to have been the framing of the challenge of global threats, such as terrorism, as an aesthetic challenge. There is a a terrible beauty to be found in weaponry and its destructive power -- as the product of the best scientific minds of the world. But beyond the aesthetic quality of the martial arts in destructive confrontation between deadly enemies, the event pointed toward an even stranger aesthetic of mutual transformation. The transhumanist theme explored at the WAAS event may be a physical analogue, as with the preoccupations of ISAAC/Einstein (Irreducible Semi-Autonomous Adaptive Combat / Enhanced ISAAC Neural Simulation Toolkit) as an "artificial life laboratory for exploring self-organized emergent behavior in combat". Haiku could be understood to offer a device for communicating its nature -- as well as the strategic opportunity and pathways it offers.
In his discussion of the relation between poetry and music, Damir Ibrisimovic (Imagination is greater than knowledge, 2005) notes:
William Harris (Metrics in Verse and Poetry: the cramping of free expression), in discussing that relationship, notes:
Such insights are reinforced by the suggestion of Francisco Varela (Phenomenology in Conscioness Research, 1996) that the best way to understand the nature of conscious experience is through a musical metaphor -- potentially implying the nature of the reinforcement offered by music. Frijtof Capra (The Hidden Connection, 2002) describes this as:
Operationally, the role of music in "organizing" human knowing is evident from its use to "psych up" combatants, or to terrify opponents (even in modern techniques of "psyops"), in addition to its traditional role as "sacred music" to dispose awareness to insightful modes of understanding. In the latter role it may play a major mnemonic role.
The potential importance of the aesthetic dimension in the future organization of knowledge -- the "search for a new program" through which collective reality is constructed -- is one requisite identified by Francisco Sagasti (The Twilight of the Baconian Age: background paper for a book of essays on knowledge, progress and development, 1997). Elsewhere (Knowledge Gardening through Music: patterns of coherence for future African management as an alternative to Project Logic, 2000) reference is made to the experimental use by some elite management schools of a working relationship with symphony orchestras as a catalyst for strategically relevant education.
Sagasti's other requisites are the recovery of a diversity of cultural perspectives on the human condition and the reinterpretation of the Promethean myth to include safeguarding non-western cultures and ecosystems. These address his recognition that:
A number of speakers at the WAAS event referred to the transition from information through knowledge to wisdom. Some specifically drew attention to the spiritual dimension beyond. As noted above, haiku are closely associated with a mode of expression favoured by Taoists sages and specifically those associated with "crazy wisdom". The emergence and recognition of wisdom is understandably challenged by a number of factors (cf Global Strategic Implications of the Unsaid: from myth-making towards a wisdom society, 2003; The Isdom of the Wisdom Society: Embodying time as the heartland of humanity, 2003, Being Other Wise: dynamics of a meaningfully sustainable lifestyle, 1998; Development beyond Science to Wisdom: Facilitating the emergence of configurative understanding in Councils of the Wise through computer conferencing dialogue, 1979).
The transition is most insightfully explored by Peter Collins through his work on holistic mathematics. He argues (in a personal communication) that chronological time can be linked very closely with a linear notion of dimension whereas kairotic time relates to a more mysterious circular notion:
Efforts to map the complex plane in terms of "real" and "imaginary" axes have shown that the Euler function also plays a role in describing the interior of the Mandelbrot set (cf Psycho-social Significance of the Mandelbrot Set: a sustainable boundary between chaos and order, 2005) [more]. Collins continues:
Collins sees this condition as quite similar to the experiential singularity (discussed above), arguing that "Indeed the culmination of the causal level -- which represents the pure spiritual experience of the unconscious - is often represented as an apex or point ('bindu') so that all spiritual meaning is concentrated in each moment (that is now empty of ego identification with conscious phenomena). He concludes:
The key question, given the potential mnemonic association of haiku with the martial arts and strategic decision-making, is to what degree (and how) such an art enables (or predisposes) the mind to take decisions in terms of "strategic intuition" (cf Lamar Tooke and Ralph Allen. Strategic Intuition and the Art of War, Military Review, 1995). Like those described in relation to the "flow experience" (cf Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, Finding Flow: The Psychology of Engagement with Everyday Life, 1998), such decisions might be described as:
From such a perspective, how would those variously motivated to undertake "violent" or "non-violent" strategies be empowered? Might they then be able to detect surprising transformations of their initial understanding of a strategic situation that would ensure a qualitatively superior outcome? How can kairotic moments be "evolved" through imbuing the context with greater significance -- imbuing the environment with intelligence? Would such thinking prove appropriate to the strategic challenge of terrorism? (cf Transforming the Encounter with Terrorism, 2002)
In the light of the arguments of Francisco R Sagasti (Knowledge and Innovation for Development: the Sisyphus Challenge of the 21st Century, 2004; Development Cooperation in a Fractured Global Order, 1999), notably his reference to the twilight of the 400-year Baconian era, the WAAS theme of the Future of Knowledge (Evolutionary challenges of the 21st century) can usefully be reframed in terms of providing a new kind of order to contain fragmentation.From such a perspective, the accompanying NATO workshop focus on Developing resilience in societies at risk and threatened by terrorism calls for new existential understanding of who is likely to be terrorized within such a fragmented order, and by what, and what strategic resilience is then possible (cf Varieties of Terrorism: extended to the experience of the terrorized, 2004).
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