-- / --
Experiential operational descriptors
Engagement with indwelling intelligence through nature
Engagement with indwelling intelligence through buildings and artefacts
Indwelling intelligence of the human body
Indwelling intelligence in personal life experience
Indwelling intelligence through encounter with an "other"
Indwelling intelligence within collectives and communities
Indwelling intelligence within systems of belief
Branding barrier, semiotic barrier and status barrier
"Universal" intelligence from an "unconditioned" perspective?
Indwelling intelligence from an extraterrestrial perspective
Intraterrestrials? Outdwelling intelligence? Cyclic intelligence? Mirror awareness?
Periodic possibility: an alternative presentation
Intelligence and Ignorance: a necessary complementarity?
Dynamic of indwelling intelligence: questioning learning
Engendering global confidence through sustaining an indwelling question
This is a reflection on the meaning that could be associated with "indwelling" and more specifically with "indwelling intelligence" -- and what might then be its "global" implications.
The term "indwelling", as indicated by any web search, is most commonly associated with the extremes of indwelling prosthetic devices (notably urinary catheters) and its use by Christianity in reference to the indwelling Spirit of Christ. Whilst understanding in relation to the latter use merits respectful attention, the concern here is with what it might otherwise imply -- beyond any exclusive appropriation in support of a particular worldview.
References to indwelling readily invite controversy with those who challenge the legitimacy or primacy of the subjective, the experiential or the intangible -- or seek to accord some reality to that mode. In the following discussion the capacity to name such forms of "indwelling", and to make declarative statements regarding them, is challenged as being only questionably related to the experiences and insights so named.
The concern here is to juxtapose a variety of clues from the literature which provide a context implying the nature of a modality with which "indwelling intelligence" might be associated. The question is whether it is possible to make useful qualitative distinctions (of higher dimensionality), without necessarily attaching conventional labels (of lower dimensionality) such as to justify some form of exclusive or proprietary "branding", as tends to be the case. In that respect it is argued that there is a "semiotic barrier" through which it is necessary to pass so as to achieve a more detached perspective.
A primary concern is the increasingly apparent disconnect between words -- often characterized as "empty" -- and commitments in a political context from which viable global strategies are expected to emerge. This has been most recently apparent with respect to the final outcome of the Earth Summit (Rio de Janeiro, 2012) whose content was characterized as filled with "weasel words" (Rio+20: Many "mays" but few "musts": a limp agreement at the UN's vaunted environmental summit, The Economist, 23 June 2012).
This disconnect is evident in the widespread concern with the breakdown in confidence in systems which it has now been recognized are unexpectedly dependent on it to a high degree -- as has proven to be the case with the global financial system and the euro. Following a decade of questionable investment in "hearts and minds", there is now much preoccupation with "confidence building" -- but with little sense of how this is to achieved. Such confidence has been assumed, perhaps far too readily, to be connected in unchallenged ways to "money", "growth" and "respect for authority".
In a period in which security concerns have given a special sense to exclusive acquisition of "intelligence" on a global scale, there is a case for exploring the implications of other understandings of intelligence in a global knowledge-based society. What of distributed intelligence, collective intelligence, self-reflective intelligence and the nature of indwelling intelligence -- as a complement to corresponding forms of ignorance?
The exploration concludes with the question: If sustainable "growth" is upheld as the definitive answer, what then is the mysterious "indwelling question" through which it can be sustained globally?
This argument derives much of its richness from the inferences of citations of various lengths. Their presentation runs the risk of obscuring the thread of the argument. The presentation is complicated by the variety of ways in which subtle experiences may be described through terms whose particular usage may be ambiguous and controversial -- even variously challenged as implying degrees of misunderstanding. In this sense the exploration is one of finding fruitful ways to present partial comprehension, for which an argument was developed separately (Towards the Dynamic Art of Partial Comprehension, 2012).
The following table is therefore one tentative effort to provide a form of summary (necessarily simplistic). The organization of the table is itself a challenge since the items in the first and second columns tend to defy adequate description by their very nature. The purpose of the first column is indicative with the expectation that the same experiential significance may be variously associated with its different terms (or not) as they apply to the second column. The meanings associated with the items in the second column may themselves overlap in various ways in their use in literature of different kinds. Some comments on the distinctions enabled by the other columns are provided beneath the table.
|Framing fruitful ways to present partial comprehension (tentative)|
"vehicle" or "arena" of manifestation
With respect to the other columns in the table:
The significance of what have here been termed "operational descriptors" calls for some further comment, although the understanding associated with these terms is better suggested by citations from the literature. The terms identified include: innate, inspired, driven, imbued, implicit, tacit, imagined, sense, presence, possession, embodied, indwelling:,
Indwelling: This term is the focus for this exploration through implying, to a greater degree than those above, an inner activating or guiding force. As becomes evident from the citations below, its significance has been effectively appropriated by religion, most notably Christianity -- despite the communication challenges highlighted in the discussion below of the "semiotic barrier" and the "branding barrier", and the questionable assumptions to which these give rise. Despite such reservations, the volume of insightful studies relating to indwelling in this context merits careful attention as offering clues of greater generality. Of particular interest however is a review of word usage relating to Dwell /Dwelling (The Pioneer's New Testament, #82) -- given that "indwelling" can only be inferred from Biblical texts.
With respect to "indwelling", the paradoxical relationship between "inside" and "outside", especially in the light of any higher order of dimensionality, has been very fruitfully clarified in terms of the geometry of the Mobius strip and the Klein bottle by Steven M. Rosen (Topologies of the Flesh: a multidimensional exploration of the lifeworld, 2006; Dimensions of Apeiron: a topological phenomenology of space, time, and individuation, 2004).
Cognitive prostheses: There is an appropriate irony to the more readily recognizable use of "indwelling" or "implant" with respect to prosthetic devices (urinary catheters, microchips, pacemakers, neural prostheses, and the like), as noted above. Use of "indwelling" in the table above may well imply a form of "cognitive prosthesis" of which various forms are already recognized (Kenneth M. Ford, Cognitive Prostheses ; J. L. Arnott, N. Alm and A. Waller, Cognitive prostheses: communication, rehabilitation and beyond. Proc. IEEE Conference on Systems, Man and Cybernetics, 1999).
Implant: Both education and propaganda may be understood in terms of "implanting" an idea -- of which "sustainability" is a contemporary example. Understood as "inception", the process has been highlighted by the movie Inception (2010) and explored as a theme of popular culture (Thorsten Botz-Bornstein, Inception and Philosophy: ideas to die for, 2011; David Kyle Johnson, and William Irwin, Inception and Philosophy: because it's never just a dream, 2011). This is the characteristic function of any "guiding image" as cultivated in religious practice and some forms of meditation. Rather than being deprecated as the "opium of the people", some forms of religion could be more appropriately recognized as "cognitive prosthetics".
Meta-pattern: More interesting is the sense in which the table is indicative of the progressive emergence, or recognition, of the "meta-pattern" identified by Gregory Bateson (Mind and Nature: a necessary unity, 1979), as previously discussed (Hyperspace Clues to the Psychology of the Pattern that Connects, 2003; Walking Elven Pathways: enactivating the pattern that connects, 2006).
This cluster has been explored in some detail separately ("Human Intercourse": "Intercourse with Nature" and "Intercourse with the Other", 2007), including citations of the following authors.
|Authors on engagement with indwelling intelligence through nature|
|Quotations A-L||Quotations M-Z|
Simon L. Altmann
Annie Payson Call
De Montfaucon de Villars
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Joseph H. Kupfer
William H. McNeill
G. E. Moore
John F Morris
Marion M Scott
Christopher M. Stahnke
Henry David Thoreau
E. B. Titichener
S F Timashev
Vincent van Gogh
Joseph H.H. Weiler
Alan Woods and Ted Grant
Of particular interest, despite this variety of citations, is the ease with which such perception can be dismissed as meaningless. This is of particular concern to indigenous peoples whose identity is more intimately associated with nature, a sense of "spirit of place", and/or of the "spirit of the land", as in the case of Australian Aborigines, for example (cf Robbie Thorpe, Relationship to the Land, 1994; Darrell A. Posey, Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity: a complementary contribution to Global Biodiversity Assessment, 1999). In some indigenous cultures, the environment may itself be experienced as "intelligent" to an unusual degree (cf Jeremy Narby, Intelligence in Nature: an inquiry into knowledge, 2005).
On a larger scale, with respect to the global ecosystem as a whole, there is a case for attention to the "intelligence" that might be imputed to phenomena such as the Great Ocean Conveyor, given the symbolic echoes it offers to the variants around the world of the myth of the Rainbow Serpent -- and especially in the light of metaphorical use of "conveyor" (Potential Misuse of the Conveyor Metaphor: recognition of the circular dynamic essential to its appropriate operation, 2007). It is appropriate to recall the manner in which deities have traditionally been variously associated with most natural phenomena -- for reasons which the future may consider appropriate to a degree, given the challenge of responding to an increasingly dangerous " disconnect" between humanity and the environment.
This cluster of course evokes the nature of the intelligence with which controversy regarding "intelligent design" is associated. Understandings of this intelligence are readily associated with the comprehension of particular religious "brands" and the deity of choice -- necessarily to the exclusion of the deities preferred by others and "branded" otherwise. This thereby precludes the possibility that the nature of that intelligence may beyond human comprehension -- and potentially more inclusive than is so readily assumed.
It had ceased to be dark; we walked in a dim twilight, breathing through the dimness the breath of the spring. A wondrous change had passed upon the world--or was it not rather that a change more marvellous had taken place in us? Without light enough in the sky or the air to reveal anything, every heather-bush, every small shrub, every blade of grass was perfectly visible--either by light that went out from it, as fire from the bush Moses saw in the desert, or by light that went out of our eyes. Nothing cast a shadow; all things interchanged a little light. Every growing thing showed me, by its shape and colour, its indwelling idea--the informing thought, that is, which was its being, and sent it out. My bare feet seemed to love every plant they trod upon. The world and my being, its life and mine, were one. The microcosm and macrocosm were at length atoned, at length in harmony! I lived in everything; everything entered and lived in me. To be aware of a thing, was to know its life at once and mine, to know whence we came, and where we were at home--was to know that we are all what we are, because Another is what he is!
With respect to Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Walter Horatio Pater (Coleridge, 2004) notes his:
... characteristic watchfulnes for the minute fact and expression of natural scenery pervading all he wrote -- a closeness to the exact physiognomy of nature, having something to do with that idealistic philosophy which sees in the external world no more concurrence of mechanical agencies, but an animated body, informed and made expressive, like the body of man, by an indwelling intelligence... (p. 19)
Another relevant approach to the nature of indwelling intelligence in nature is through the order in nature, as explored by Christopher Alexander (The Nature of Order: an essay on the art of building and the nature of the universe, 2003-4) or by Keith Critchlow (The Hidden Geometry of Flowers: living rhythms, form and number, 2011). These highlight the unresolved issue of future understanding of the relationship between intelligence and perceived order -- again evoking the question of intelligent design. The notion of "design" does however imply the finished outcome of a process of prior intelligence rather than an ongoing process within which intelligence continues to be dynamically and actively indwelling in some way. Such apparent dilemmas may arise from current limitations of human comprehension or preference for simplification.
The matter is further reframed by the arguments of such as Gregory Bateson (Mind and Nature: a necessary unity, 1979), Henryk Skolimowski (The Participatory Mind: a new theory of knowledge and of the universe, 1995) or David Abram, (The Spell of the Sensuous: perception and language in a more-than-human world, 1997).
Special significance is readily associated with buildings and monuments, notably as sacred sites or memorials. They may well be the focus of pilgrimages. On a smaller scale such significance is attached to tombstones. The pattern is evident in the esteem associated with ancient temples, pyramids of past civilizations, or the most ancient monuments -- such as Stonehenge, or even fairy rings. These may remain the focus of ceremonies for some.
Beyond the current role of "memorial gardens" is their relevance as one of the aids to memory according to the traditional method of loci. As with memory palaces and memory theatres, these are mnemonic devices relying on memorized spatial relationships to establish, order and recollect memorial content. It might then be appropriately argued that such places have a form of "indwelling intelligence". This might be considered even more valid in the case of buildings, notably temples and cathedrals, deliberately designed through their "sacred geometry" proportions in order to hold and reflect insight.
Of relevance to this argument is the significance attached to sacred relics, whether by religions such as Christianity, or by indigenous communities in relation to the skeletal remains of their ancestors.
Within an aesthetic framework, significance may be attached to the ability to "talk to objects" or to experience the ability of objects to "speak to" an observer. By extension, within a religious framework, this may acquire very special significance in the relation with icons and religious statues -- which politicians deprecate at their peril.
The nature of "indwelling intelligence" can also be explored through the sense in which computers are seen as enabling some form of intelligence, most notably in the case of artificial intelligence and its expected future evolution. With the expectation that robots may come to be considered "conscious", to what extent might a robot then be understood as having an "indwelling intelligence" -- or experienced as such, as can already be the case with domestic animals? Speculation regarding the emergence through the worldwide network of computers of a global brain, potentially enabling "planetary consciousness", also implies a form of indwelling intelligence (as discussed further below).
The traditional relationship with "icons" may be expected to develop in unexpected ways as those on computer screens are further enabled by semantic web facilities. For many "indwelling intelligence" may be readily inferred in their future interaction with synthetic personalities, synthetic personalisation and the creation of artificial personalities.
Also of interest is the extent to which computer-enabled buildings are now recognized as "intelligent buildings", with extended implications for building complexes as "intelligent environments", most notably as the context for a "centre of excellence", arguably characterized by "indwelling intelligence". However, as Christopher Alexander has argued, traditional buildings which have emerged from intelligent adaptation to their environment may well be described as inherently "intelligent" (The Timeless Way of Building, 1979) -- and from which he derived a "pattern language" (A Pattern Language: Towns, Buildings, Construction, 1977).
The argument may be further developed by considerations of "technomimcry" (Technomimicry as analogous to biomimicry, 2011) -- and the manner in which the totality of technological systems imply forms of indwelling intelligence, of a nature yet to be understood (cf. Erik Davis, Techgnosis: myth, magic and mysticism in the age of information, 1998; Robert D. Romanyshyn, Technology as Symptom and Dream, 1989). Again this raises the question of how any "indwelling" of intelligence is related to understandings of the nature of the perceiving process, as separately discussed (¡¿ Defining the objective ∞ Refining the subjective ?! Explaining reality ∞ Embodying realization, 2011).
An early example of possible relevance is Tomb 33, larger than most of those of the more famous pharaohs in the Valley of the Kings, and hailed by archaeologists as the greatest mystery of its time. It is unique in that it was built for an archivist Petamenophis (ca. 690-656 B.C.) -- "Sealbearer and Sole Beloved Friend, Lector and Scribe of the Records" of King Haremhab. Petamenophis indicates to people of the future, with respect to the hundreds of meters of frescoes covered with hieroglyphics: Those who will yet be born, may they enter the tomb and see what is inside. You who enter this tomb, look and try to understand. Read and restore these inscriptions. He is tentatively credited with reviving the Book of the Dead tradition, notably due to the proportion of related funerary inscriptions.
Use of "inscription" by a scribe, as a complement to "description", raises the possibility of an alternative mode of engagement with reality through the worldview of the time -- perhaps partially echoed by current enthusiasm for tattoos, piercings and graffiti, and perhaps to be contrasted with the controversial Museum of Old and New Art (MONA). Could present-day de-scribing be fruitfully understood as the de-facing or removal of in-signia -- of inner meaning -- privileging de-signing to obscure the process of de-meaning? (cf. Definitional Boundary Games and De-signing the 21st Century, 1995).
This cluster is particularly valuable to the more general argument through the manner in which it gives "scientific" credibility to a form of "indwelling". The dimensions of this cluster can be usefully distinguished in terms of:
Unfortunately meaning is a big, messy, multidimensional concept that is applied to everything from grandiose notions like the meaning of life all the way down to the specific meanings of single words or even morphemes.
As the focus of his earlier work, meaning grows from the visceral connections to life and the bodily conditions of life -- from the bodily sources of meaning, imagination and reasoning. However he now argues that:
In retrospect, I now see that the structural aspects of our bodily interactions with our environment upon which I was focusing were themselves dependent on even more submerged dimensions of bodily understanding. It was an important step to probe below concepts, propositions, and sentences into the sensorimotor processes by which we understand our world, but what is now needed is a far deeper exploration into the qualities, feelings, emotions, and bodily processes that make meaning possible. Once I took the leap into these deep, visceral origins of meaning, I soon realized that I was dealing with aspects of experience traditionally regarded as the purview of aesthetics. If this was true, then aesthetics must not be narrowly construed as the study of art and so-called aesthetic experience. Instead, aesthetics becomes the study of everything that goes into the human capacity to make and experience meaning. (p. x)
Johnson sees this approach as contrasting with much contemporary philosophy focusing exclusively on abstract conceptual and propositional structure, offering only a very superficial and eviscerated view of mind, thought, and language. For him the good news lies in the new sciences of the embodied mind:
In the past few years the cognitive neuroscientists have begun to entice even hardcore philosophers of mind and language to pay more attention to the vast, submerged continents of nonconscious thought and feeling that lie at the heart of our ability to make sense of our lives. (pp. x-xi)
Johnson's undertaking enriches the valuable literature on the embodied mind which he cites (as one of its key authorities), and which is variously discussed separately (Existential Embodiment of Externalities: radical cognitive engagement with environmental categories and disciplines, 2009; Embodiment of Identity in Conscious Creativity: challenge of encompassing "con", 2011; Self-reflective Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration (SETI): the universal criterion of species maturity? 2008).
Many subscribe to an inner "sense" by which their life is "guided" in some way -- even to the degree of sensing a pattern to life, possibly the sense of destiny or fate, so striking in the life experience of some individuals. This may be framed in the terms of a conventional religion. Other sources of inspiration and guidance may be deprecated as "supermarket spirituality". This inspiration can be understood as manifestation of a form of "indwelling intelligence".
The process of speaking in tongues (glossolalia), notably as recognized by some Christian denominations, is one in which people are held to be "filled with the Holy Spirit" enabling them to speak in unknown languages. The process of channelling, through which messages are held to be received from extra-dimensional beings, is variously distinguished from spirit possession and demonic possession. It is traditionally characteristic of shamanism, through which a practitioner reaches altered states of consciousness in order to encounter and interact with the spirit world. People in the arts may frame related experiences in terms of a muse.
Any preoccupation with personal development -- with the sense of individuation and maturation -- may be experienced in terms of emergent identity and a more fundamental sense of integrity. Discovering and becoming "who one really is" in this way could be held to be a response to an emerging sense of indwelling intelligence. This may be brought to a dramatic focus through a pattern of events sensed as being when "one's time has come", typically described in terms of experiencing the "fulfillment" of one's destiny.
In a separate review of the variety of forms of "Intercourse with the Other" (2007), an extensive table distinguished different modes of intercourse from a "benevolent", "malevolent" and "neutral" perspective. This naturally includes the transcendental nature of romantic love and the experience of its consummation. This array of possibilities can evoke the question of how the encounter may have been destined, and what "intelligence" guided that process -- as is often felt to be the case -- irrespective of its nature.
Exceptional charisma, maturity, wisdom, intelligence, integrity, grace, and the like, may be variously imputed to others -- experienced as being extraordinary and beyond the norm. They may be described as imbued with these qualities -- even "possessed" by them. The experience, or the capacity to distinguish those qualities, may also be interpreted as a mirror reflecting qualities dwelling mysteriously and unrecognized within oneself.
This potential can be usefully explored through various clusters.
Collective spirit and Zeitgeist: As articulated in the past by G. W. F. Hegel, the constitution is the collective spirit of the nation. The government,through the written constitution, is then the embodiment of that spirit. Each nation has its own individual spirit, and the greatest of crimes is the act by which that spirit is stifled. Political rhetoric continues to refer to the national spirit and constraints imposed on it by current developments and crises. More generally it could be understood in relation to the Zeitgeist, namely the general cultural, intellectual, ethical, spiritual, or political climate within a nation or even specific groups, along with the general ambiance, morals, sociocultural direction, and mood associated with an era.
Reference is readily made to the "spirit of Europe" or the "European spirit" -- and the possibility of experiencing it through academic, cultural programes and tourism. This may be related to rhetoric regarding the "soul of Europe" and concerns about its "soullessness", or that of its institutions. Similar language is used in relation to the United Nations, as in the words of the United Nations Secretary General, Ban Ki Moon: The Charter of the United Nations is the animating spirit and soul of our great institution (22 June 2011). The UN NGO Committee on Spirituality, Values and Global Concerns presents an annual Spirit of the United Nations Award. It is to be assumed that such references imply a collective form of indwelling intelligence. Unfortunately with respect to the "spirit" of the United Nations, the principal guardians of its Charter are precisely those who are the primary manufacturers of arms and who ensure their uncontrolled dissemination worldwide. It is also they who have obstructed the process of reform of the United Nations for decades.
The sense of collective spirit is of course well-recognized in local initiatives and especially through teams (cf. Jon R. Katzenbach and Douglas K. Smith, The Wisdom of Teams: creating the high-performance organization, 2003).
Collective consciousness and planetary consciousness: The shared beliefs and moral attitudes which operate as a unifying force within society may be described as collective consciousness and contrasted with collective unconsciousness (cf John Ralston Saul, The Unconscious Civilization, 1995). The growing awareness among human beings that they belong to the planet Earth as much as they belong to their nations, provinces, districts, cities or villages is termed planetary consciousness. This consciousness is integral insofar as it does not suppress or deny other levels of identity and belonging, but instead adds a holistic view to them that includes humanity and the planet as a whole (cf. Shinichi Takemura, Designing a Multiperson Planetary Consciousness, Huffington Post, 16 July 2010). These notions may again imply a degree of recognition of some form of indwelling intelligence (Ervin Laszlo, Science and the Akashic Field: an Integral Theory of Everything, 2007).
Collective memory: Indwelling intelligence takes a different form through the sense of collective memory, traditionally as folk memory and its appreciation as folk wisdom and folklore -- and the connection with ancestral knowledge. It refers to the shared pool of information held by any group. It is appropriate to note that Intangible Cultural Heritage (ICH) is promoted by UNESCO as a counterpart to the World Heritage focus on tangible aspects of culture. Again the question is the extent to which active "intelligence" is implied by collective memory in its various manifestations.
Of related concern is the manner in which collective memory is progressively eroded, as discussed separately (Societal Learning and the Erosion of Collective Memory: a critique of the Club of Rome Report: No Limits to Learning, 1980). Should this be considered as a form of collective (or civilizational) dementia? (cf. Pointers to the Pathology of Collective Memory, 1980).
Socially distributed cognition: Using insights from sociology, cognitive science, and the psychology of Vygotsky (cf. cultural-historical psychology), distributed cognition is a psychological theory which emphasizes the social aspects of cognition. This recognizes the coordination between individuals, artefacts and the environment through: embodiment of information that is embedded in representations of interaction, coordination of enaction among embodied agents, and ecological contributions to a cognitive ecosystem. Cognition is expressed as the process of information that occurs from interaction with symbols in the world. It considers and labels all phenomena responsible for this processing as ecological elements of a cognitive ecosystem. Cognition is then shaped by the transduction of information across extended and embodied modalities, the representations formed as result of their interactions and the attentive distribution of those representations toward a cognitive goal. Intelligence is then recognized as distributed, both between people, and a person and an object.
Civic intelligence: The term civic intelligence has been applied to individuals and to collective bodies, like organizations, institutions, or societies devoted to addressing public or civic issues. It is similar to John Dewey's "cooperative intelligence" or the "democratic faith" that asserts that each individual has something to contribute, and the value of each contribution can be assessed only as it entered into the final pooled intelligence constituted by the contributions of all. It is implied by the subtitle of the book by Jared Diamond (Collapse: How Societies Choose to Fail or Succeed, 2004) and to the question posed by that of Thomas Homer-Dixon (Ingenuity Gap: How Can We Solve the Problems of the Future? 2000). This suggests that civic intelligence will be needed if humankind is to stave off problems related to climate change and other potentially catastrophic occurrences. With these meanings, civic intelligence is less a phenomenon to be studied and more of a dynamic process or tool to be shaped and wielded.
Collective intelligence: A form of indwelling intelligence is implied as being engendered from the collaboration and competition of many individuals as collective intelligence, shared intelligence or group intelligence (cf. Tom Atlee, et al., Collective Intelligence: creating a prosperous world at peace, 2008). It appears through consensus decision making, in animals, humans and computer networks, as noted in sociobiology, and political science. It can be understood as an emergent property from the synergies among: data-information-knowledge; software-hardware; and experts (those with new insights as well as recognized authorities) that continually learns from feedback to produce just-in-time knowledge for better decisions than these three elements acting alone. More narrowly it is understood as an emergent property between people and ways of processing information -- termed symbiotic intelligence.
It is recognized in a context of mass peer review and crowdsourcing applications. Reservations regarding those applications (cf. peer review failure) highlight the manner in which potential intelligence, effectively indwelling, can in practice be curtailed. Of particular interest in the case of crowdsourcing is its cynical use as a means of claiming the widespread quest for relevant ideas and solutions, whilst making ever provision to suppress or ignore the feedback -- except through selection of isolated items as a tokenistic demonstration that this suppression is not occurring (cf. Considering All the Strategic Options: whilst ignoring alternatives and disclaiming cognitive protectionism, 2009; Framing the Global Future by Ignoring Alternatives: unfreezing categories as a vital necessity, 2009), and notably as illustrated by emergencies (Enabling Collective Intelligence in Response to Emergencies: illustrated by the case of deep oil spill containment, 2010). One consequence is the progressive fragmentation of the "crowd" from which intelligence might be elicited (Dynamically Gated Conceptual Communities: emergent patterns of isolation within knowledge society, 2004).
Little is said about the pathologies of collective intelligence of which there are arguably some very recent examples (cf. Pointers to the Pathology of Collective Memory, 1980; From Apartheid to Schizophrenia: ecological ignorance and the logic of depersonalized "separate development", 1971). Especially intriguing are the legal issues consequent on the relatively recent recognition of dissociative identity disorder (or multiple personality disorder) of an individual. The question raised is whether an individual can be acquitted because an "alter" personality is claimed to have committed the crime. Similarly, by acknowledging such a possible pathology within a collective, especially a nation, could one "personality" of a collective (claiming legal personality) be similarly exonerated -- by framing the other as "guilty". The dilemma is all the greater in that democracy could then be viewed as a form of collective personality disorder in which problematic actions are systematically blamed on the previous government -- the "opposition", now out of power.
Intelligent organization and Organizational intelligence: Focus was seemingly first given to this understanding from a cybernetic perspective by Stafford Beer (Brain of the Firm, 1972; The Intelligent Organization, 1990). That perspective has been notably developed by Markus Schwaninger (A Cybernetic Model to Enhance Organizational Intelligence, Journal Systems Analysis Modelling Simulation, 2003; Intelligent Organizations: powerful models for systemic management, 2008). The difficulty is now that the theme has been confusedly interwoven with information management, knowledge management and with business intelligence (Gifford Pinchot, The Intelligent Organization, 1996; Frederich Boch. The Intelligent Organization. Arthur D. Little; Mohammad Shamsuddoha, Knowledge Management in the Intelligent Organization, Pakistan Journal of Social Sciences, 2005; Dan Pratte, The Intelligent Organization: an introduction to BI, TechRepublic, 2001).
It would seem to be unclear from this perspective as to what meaning could be attached to the question as to whether any of the following, as examples, were in and of themselves characterized by "intelligence", and especially of an "indwelling intelligence": United Nations, CIA, Communist Pasrty of China, Cosa Nostra, or others with a long tradition.
Centres of excellence and think tanks: Reference was made above (with respect to buildings) as to how they might constitute intelligent environments, possibly characterized by a form of "indwelling intelligence", especially when computer-enabled. The question was raised whether, as a "centre of excellence", this was especially the case. How might a "think tank" be understood as characterized by indwelling intelligence -- or, by extension, a university in providing a framework for a number of research communities? Based on claims made regarding the unique "spirit" characterizing particular centres -- of which Institute for Advanced Studies (Princeton) is a primary example -- there is a sense that a degree of indwelling intelligence is to be found there. In following the model of monastic institutes, the favoured qualifier of "hallowed walls" is also suggestive of an indwelling spirit.
In a period of global crisis it is however appropriate to ask how the indwelling intelligence of such thinking communities is manifesting and engaging with the dilemmas of the times. One approach is to consider how they might be metaphorically constrained, as discussed separately ("Tank-thoughts" from "Think-tanks": metaphors constraining development of global governance, 2003).
Intelligence of the market: This understanding of indwelling intelligence is intimately associated with the "Invisible Hand" of Adam Smith. This is the process by which each market participant acts to render the annual revenue of society as great as possible. He demonstrated that individuals generally, neither intend to promote the public interest, nor know how much they are promoting it. The theory explains and uncovers structures and processes which people unintentionally and without recognition perform as if they were guided by an Invisible Hand (cf. Pawel Skrzynski and Tadeusz Szuba, Invisible Hand Process Simulation based on Collective Intelligence Computational Model, Recent Advances in Intelligent Information Systems, 2009, pp. 541-550).
The collective intelligence of the market is thus held to depend on diversity of thought and independence of action. government is then understood as being able to do little appropriately because, apart from being constrained by self-interest, central planning is always inferior to the distributed intelligence of the market. Many individuals taking small, local decisions are then recognized as able to allocate resources more efficiently than bureaucrats.
A helpful articulation is provided by John Stewart (Evolution's Arrow: the direction of evolution and the future of humanity, 2008) notes, with respect to the rise of governed societies (chapter 15):
From where does the intelligence of the market come? ... the superior ability of the market to solve economic problems comes from its use of supra-individual change-and-test processes. These processes use trial-and-error in addition to the knowledge of participants to solve complex adaptive problems. Markets can solve economic problems even though they do not contain the knowledge to build a model that could be used to work out a solution. Change-and-test processes are particularly superior to mental models where there is insufficient knowledge to build an accurate model. Because of this, the best that humans can do to solve complex social problems where there is uncertainty and incomplete knowledge is to set up supra-individual change-and-test adaptive processes such as a market. The use of the intellect alone will fail, as central planners have demonstrated. In these circumstances, governments and other rulers have found that they can promote cooperation better by establishing markets than by direct intervention. Markets are better than calculated and planned interventions at ensuring that citizens can capture all the effects on others of their actions.
Social construction of reality: Social constructionism and social constructivism are sociological theories of knowledge that consider how social phenomena or objects of consciousness develop in social contexts as the artefact of a particular group. Social constructs are generally understood to be the by-products of countless human choices rather than laws resulting from divine will or nature. Social constructionism is usually opposed to essentialism, which instead defines specific phenomena in terms of inherent and transhistorical essences independent of conscious beings that determine the categorical structure of reality (cf. Peter L. Berger and Thomas Luckmann, The Social Construction of Reality: a treatise in the sociology of knowledge, 1967; Paul Watzlawick, The Invented Reality: how do we know what we believe we know? 1984).
Security intelligence: There is clearly considerable preoccupation with emergence of collective "intelligence" by the intelligence services of many countries, notably through their cooperation and the support of electronic facilities, including surveillance. the worldwide intelligence gathering by ECHELON has offered a striking example (cf. Gregory F. Treverton, Reshaping National Intelligence For an Age of Information, 2003). It is unclear to what degree this constitutes a manifestation of "indwelling intelligence", notably as a consequence of the well-documented failures of its anticipatory functions regarding weapons of mass destruction. The volume of classified information is also suggestive of constraints on the capacity to process information intelligently -- offering the stores of unprocessed information as a caricature of "indwelling intelligence". The issue is further highlighted by the apparently constrained emergency preparedness capacity, as suggested by the many crises emergent and foreseen and the questionable capacity to enable timely remedial responses (cf. From ECHELON to NOLEHCE: enabling a strategic conversion to a faith-based global brain, 2007).
Emergent "global brain": Much is made of the global interconnection of information services as providing the infrastructure of the emergent "global brain" of a global knowledge society. The global brain is a metaphor for the worldwide intelligent network formed by people together with the information and communication technologies that connect them into an organic whole. It is intimately related to understandings of the emergence of "planetary consciousness". Although explicit recognition is given to "intelligence", it remains unclear what is to be distinguished as implicit and potential rather than explicit (cf. Simulating a Global Brain -- using networks of international organizations, world problems, strategies, and values, 2001).
Collective wisdom: Indwelling intelligence may be variously recognized through the assembly and interaction of those esteemed as wise, possibly explicitly as a "Council of the Wise". Given the crises of the times, it is appropriate to ask whether these various initiatives are appropriately to be challenged as a failure to elicit the collective intelligence that may be indwelling in those so gathered, as separately explored (Emergence of a Global Misleadership Council: misleading as vital to governance of the future? 2007). Examples discussed include:
With respect to this argument, it may be asked in what way the style of operation of those above demonstrates or elicits "indwelling intelligence" rather than an undue "indwelling status consciousness" and a preoccupation with maintaining the status quo. If they are not self-organizing, to what extent are they to be considered appropriately "self-challenging" as might be said of the style of the World Question Center (sponsored by the Edge Foundation) or the TED conference series formed to disseminate "ideas worth spreading." (cf. Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations, 2007).
Eliciting indwelling intelligence through dialogue: Conferences of every form can be considered as a gathering of the intelligent to elicit a synthesis, suggesting recognition of indwelling intelligence. The dialogue process within such a gathering can be understood as eliciting a form of indwelling knowledge as argued by Allan Kaplan (Emerging Out of Goethe: Conversation as a Form of Social Inquiry Janus Head, 8,, 1, 2005):
In Goethe's Metamorphosis of Plants the idea is clear. Every living entity's whole formation bears evidence of a certain underlying principle of form. This formative relationship-the 'more'-does not express itself in an external, causal manner, as by the putting together of such and such external factors. It reveals itself intrinsically, livingly. It is enfolded within, emerging together with its parts. George Adams put it this way: It may be of a plastic nature or more musical and rhythmical-as a motif, an underlying theme. Unfolding as a living process, as an indwelling idea, it comes to expression in all parts and organs of the entity in question. In every plant such a formative idea is living, and with the eye of imagination we can recognise the same in constant metamorphosis, true to itself in leaf and bract, petal and capsule.
I note that he says with the eye of imagination we can recognise it (the indwelling idea) -- it seems to me that this is the organising character or particular gesture (the indwelling idea) of the Goethean method itself. The question though is whether we can apply this method to the study of social phenomena. In my work with social organisms I try to do this, and facilitate others to do it.... The more instrumental, quantitative approach to the social -- reducing complexity in the attempt to manipulate fragmented pieces -- does not appeal; neither can it assist development, if the social is a living whole. I want here to explore one such process of social inquiry... in order to begin to understand a different way of thinking.
Related arguments are presented by Thomas R. Flanagan and Kenneth C. Bausch (Body Wisdom in Dialogue: Rediscovering the Voice of the Goddess, 2012), Anthony Blake (The Supreme Art of Dialogue, 2009). Kenneth C. Bausch and Alexander Christakis (Co-laboratories of Democracy: how people harness their collective wisdom to create the future, 2006), and Alexander Christakis and T. R. Flanagan (The Talking Point: creating an environment for exploring complex meaning, 2009). Especially relevant is the sense in which a gathering is ("magically") transformative, implying an active form of indwelling intelligence (cf. Transformative Conferencing: problems and possibilities on the new frontier of high-risk gatherings concerning social development, 1984). The possibility implies the need to question the degree of fulfillment of claims to such transformation (Evaluating Synthesis Initiatives and their Sustaining Dialogues, 2000).
Indwelling spirit within the Christian worldview: The following are typical of the many references to "indwelling":
The relationship of the Triune God of Christianity is intensified by the relationship of perichoresis, namely the mutual inter-penetration and indwelling within the threefold nature of the Trinity, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This indwelling expresses and realizes fellowship between the Father and the Son. It is intimacy. Jesus compares the oneness of this indwelling to the oneness of the fellowship of his church from this indwelling: That they all may be one; as thou, Father, art in me, and I in thee, that they also may be one in us (John 17:21). The theological tradition has viewed the indwelling as fellowship, notably as a "cleaving together".
From the perspective of the metaphysical author Thomas Traherne (Mary Gregory Perkins, Thomas Traherne a Study of the Philosophy of His Poems and Centuries of Meditations, Loyola University, 1939):
Referring back to Plato's idea of pre-existence, he predicated a dual principle in man--the Spirit or over-Soul guiding the intellect and the body which being of matter must be eliminated as much as possible. Man's return to God is by way of knowledge and withdrawal from the world to effect a spiritual katharsis. The soul ascends to God by contemplating the indwelling 'Intelligence" or "Spirit". From this it rises to a contemplation of the One.
As noted by William E. Wallace (The Territorial Integrity of the Word of God, The Gospel Guardian, January 1968), there is considerable disagreement on how the Holy Spirit influences and indwells the Christian. For Wallace:
This is not to say the indwelling is "better felt than told" or that it is too mysterious to contemplate, but rather it is to say as God said: For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, ...For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways, and my thoughts than your thoughts. (Isaiah 55:8-9). So long as our positions do not violate the integrity of the word of God, we can well tolerate different ways of describing what the Holy Spirit does for us and how he dwells within us.
Despite being not "too mysterious to contemplate", to what degree can it be appropriately "felt"? Should claims in that respect be questioned in any way?
Helpful clarification is offered by the review of Dale Moody (The Word of Truth: a summary of Christian doctrine based on Biblical Revelation, 1981) regarding the 20th century development of a Spirit-Christology that sees Jesus as a Spirit-filled man. With a refreshing style, Moody distinguishes two models:
The kenosis model: The kenosis type of Christology tried to recover the unity between the eternal Son of God and the historical Jesus by interpreting the emptying of the Son of God into Jesus Christ in Philippians 2-7 as the laying aside of such attributes as omnipotence, omniscience, and omnipresence in order for Jesus to become man. The three "omnis" were called relational attributes in distinction from the immanent attributes of power, truth, holiness and love, which were retained... With Karl Barth's radical kenosis of God and Rudolf Butlmann's belief in the resurrection as a myth, a potent poison had accomplished the euthanasia of deity, leaving only humanity for our devotions.
Before fundamentalists engage in premature self-righteousness, let it be said that the idea that Jesus was "God in a bod", an idea reaching back to Cyril of Alexandria, escaped the conclusions drawn by the death of God theologians only because they were not logical... Even if Protestant orthodoxy and neo-orthodoxy have often hitched their theological wagon to the kenosis idea, it is doubtful that it is as satisfactory as the skenosis (indwelling) idea that follows....
The skenosis model: Anglican Christology has led the way in the reinterpretation of the skenosis type in Christology... What is here called the skenosis type is anchored to the Joannine text which says (1:14): And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld his glory, glory as of the only Song from the Father. This translation intends to emphasize that "became" is to be interpreted in the light of "dwelt" and the manifest presence of the Logos, the glory, is recalled as the tabernacling presence, the Hebrew shekinah (Divine Presence). (pp. 422-424)
It is appropriate to note the extent to which Christianity is preoccupied with a complementary form of "indwelling", a variant of "intelligence" illustrated by the following:
This preoccupation suggests the possibility of exploring the nature and strategic implications of that intelligence (Towards a Logico-mathematical Formalization of "Sin": fundamental memetic organization of faith-based governance strategies, 2004; Seven Deadly Sins of Fundamentalism assessing memetic weapons capability of neoconservatism, 2004). The preoccupation is of course consistent with the assertion by the leader of the world's superpower, Barack Obama, on acceptance of the Nobel Peace Prize, that: For make no mistake: evil does exist in the world. He specifically invoked the concept of "just war" in order to defeat evil.
Indwelling within the worldview of non-Christian religions: In contrast to the accessible literature on "indwelling" from a Christian perspective, the use of the term by other religions is less evident. Notable is the focus on "indwelling wisdom" rather than "indwelling spirit".
Whilst specifically extolling the "intelligence" as a characteristic of one of the Divine Names of Allah (Al-'Alim, The All Knowing, The Omniscient), within the Islamic worldview:
Within the worldview inspired by Hinduism, for example:
From a Buddhist perspective:
If the mind experiences faith there is the opening through which blessings are received. When blessings are received, the causes for confusion and suffering can be identified and eliminated while the indwelling wisdom Buddha nature is able to blossom and begin to be sustained. Faith is therefore the most important quality necessary to possess in order to practice Buddhism in such a way that there will be actual, ever-lasting results.
If all conditions are shed, let go of to become "no-things", and if these limitations actually fade, your true nature or true self will be revealed. As the Zen expression goes, you will begin to see your true face before your parents were born. This true self can be regarded as a pristine consciousness, an indwelling intelligence. Unlike mere intellectual intelligence, the indwelling intelligence is a force within that watches and knows. It is made manifest when the focal point of consciousness has been withdrawn from the external world of objects....
Of unexpected relevance is the framework offered by the Ausar Auset Society as a Pan-African religious organization providing Afrocentric spiritual training to the African-American community through revival of the indigenous traditional African cultures dating from the earliest periods (Kamit [ancient Egypt], Indus Kush [pre-Aryan Vedantic India], Canaan [Palestine], and Kush/Nubia [Ethiopia/Sudan]). "Indwelling intelligence" is a specific preoccupation:
The most important accomplishment in your life, which you must pursue with the utmost urgency, is the experiencing of that part of your being that directs and coordinates the activities of the billions of cells that make up your physical body, and directs the activities of your spirit and subconscious. This indwelling intelligence that is obviously in possession of the knowledge of the workings of the universe, is God's consciousness itself. This is Ausar, your true Self. Your true, entire, only, and ultimate purpose for being on earth is the resurrection of this indwelling intelligence, that it may guide your endeavors in life with the same omniscience that it uses to guide your physiological and subconscious mental activities. Identification with, and living by the guidance of this indwelling intelligence is the true worship of God. It is the true process of religion. (Ausar, Metu Neter, 2, p. 111)
Indwelling intelligence of science: Much is made of the body of knowledge to which science contributes through its commitment to the advancement of human knowledge. This process is considered to be intimately related to the intelligence of its practitioners, and to their capacity for discovery and innovation. Science may be understood as a form of belief system, especially focused on its method -- as with the preoccupation of some religions with their spiritual disciplines. It is however doubtful that science itself would be recognized as exhibiting intelligence in any way, especially from the perspective of its practitioners. Their methodology may be intelligent -- in the name of science -- but attribution of intelligence to science would be highly controversial.
The body of knowledge is not static and is in process of rapid development with "scientific revolutions" and "paradigm shifts" that could be compared to the morphogenesis of biological forms. It can be understood as a form of container for a developing collective intelligence -- but only the appreciation of the future, through new understandings from the philosophy of science, could reframe the manner in which the intelligence of science is understood at the present time.
This framing could be compared to the nature of "indwelling" within religious belief systems. There too it could be considered questionable as to whether the religion itself -- Christianity, Islam, Hinduism -- is "intelligent" (even "supra-intelligent") rather than a container for the intelligence of its practitioners, whether individually or collectively as a community of believers. However it can also claimed and inferred that it is the vehicle for the divine. For many Christians, for example, including Catholics and some Protestants, the "Body of Christ" may also refer to the Christian Church as a group of believers. Catholics may be even more exclusively explicit with respect to their Church as the "Mystical Body of Christ" (cf. Papal Encyclical, Mystici Corporis Christi, 1943; William G. Most, The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ). For some Christians, notably the Roman Catholics, it is in the celebration of the Eucharist that the Real Presence of Christ is also especially evident.
From a systemic perspective, functioning as a group of believers in the preeminent virtues of the scientific method, there is a degree of equivalence between the "scientific method" and the "religious method". Provocatively, from within the worldview of that system of belief, conducting a scientific experiment -- through which truth is made manifest -- could be compared to celebration of the Eucharist. However, it is only the future which will clarify in what manner science can be appropriately considered as informed by "indwelling intelligence". Speculation in the light of the insights of quantum mechanics suggests how this may come to be recognized (Ervin Laszlo, Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: how the new scientific reality can change us and our world, 2008; Brian Cox and Jeff Forshaw, The Quantum Universe -- and why anything that can happen, does, 2012; Stephen Wolinsky, Quantum Consciousness: the guide to experiencing quantum psychology, 1993).
A major challenge for a global civilization, experiencing and anticipating a variety of crises, is what is to be identified as inspiring confidence -- at a time when collective confidence has been systematically abused by every authority (Abuse of Faith in Governance: mystery of the unasked question, 2010). In what ways might global "confidence-building" be related to any sense of indwelling intelligence? Given the level of controversy and assertions of delusion, are there subtle "barriers" -- perhaps ironically analogous to the "sound barrier" -- which have to be traversed in order for such confidence to be enabled?
The existence of such barriers is only too evident in the violent deprecation of religions and their denominations for each other, matched by the deprecation of the disciplines of science for each other, as notably illustrated by scandals such as the Sokal Affair and the Bogdanov Affair.
Paradoxical boundaries: As noted above, with respect to "indwelling", the paradoxical relationship between "inside" and "outside", especially in the light of any higher order of dimensionality, has been very fruitfully clarified in terms of the geometry of the Mobius strip and the Klein bottle by Steven M. Rosen (Topologies of the Flesh: a multidimensional exploration of the lifeworld, 2006; Dimensions of Apeiron: a topological phenomenology of space, time, and individuation, 2004).
Such insights regarding mutuality are reflected in some religious use of "indwelling", as with: God dwells in us and we dwell in him (Dwelling in God: 1 John 4, 2010). Charles Fillmore: Spirit-Mind is the indwelling idea at the center of everything that has real existence. (Unity, Feb. 1915, p.1). The difficulty is that the paradoxical, counter-intuitive challenge to comprehension is readily lost, as in otherwise insightful statements regarding "higher", such as the following by Friederich von Schlegel (The Philosophy of Life, and Philosophy of Language, 1847):
How difficult it generally is for man to express his internal conceptions, to bring out the indwelling idea and to realise its perfect external manifestation, is shown, for example, among other instances, by the fine arts, or the art of the beautiful. For this reason, the theory of the latter, the so-called aesthetics (which, however, might far more correctly be termed symbolism), forms the natural pendant and accompaniment to logic, if the latter, instead of being limited, as is usual, to the mere art of distinguishing the different kinds of notions, is understood in a far higher sense, and referred to eternal and consequently divine truth, and to its intrinsic and equally divine standard.
Threefold barrier: As noted above however, the insights are the most problematic as a consequence of being inextricably confused with preoccupations with what amounts to "branding", "copyright" (whether intellectual or spiritual), and with "registered trademarks" -- echoing the questionable parallels of commodification. These may be understood in terms of semiotic, branding and status barriers. Experience of the greatest subtlety and significance is framed in proprietary terms, with a strong emphasis on ensuring what amounts to consumer "buy-in" and even "lock-in", namely dependence on doctrinal authorities -- effectively preventing use of another "supplier" without substantial "switching costs". Such "lock-in costs" may create "barriers to market entry", through efforts to establish a doctrinal "monopoly". This mode consequently also includes what might be termed "unauthorised" insights, inappropriately "labelled", and possibly to be recognized as "counterfeit".
Of relevance to the use of the marketing metaphor is the recognition of a "branding barrier" in that context, as expressed by the Tenaya Group (Breaking The Brand Barrier): Historically, brands have often engaged the world from the missionary position. Sadly, this top-down approach deadens customers, dampens initiative, and greatly limits the value brands can provide. This barrier may be compared with a "semiotic barrier" as noted with respect to evangelism: There is an evangelical semiotic barrier between non-Christians and Christ that is blocking the way. What emergents have done is declare a moratorium on standard rhetoric, not because it's not true, but because it? has become needlessly obstructionist.
|Indications of threefold barrier: branding, semiotic, and status consciousness
understood as encompassing the nature of "indwelling intelligence", as circumscribed by Venn diagrams
(with the implication that its elusive nature is suggested by overlaying the two diagrams)
|Indicative "experiential" descriptors (from table above)||Indicative "qualitative" descriptors (from table above)|
Challenges to comprehension: References to any "Holy Spirit", claims to know of its nature, or to have experienced it, are to a degree presumptuous. They are framed to imply comprehension of what may well be currently beyond human comprehension -- given the challenge to the brightest to understand the nature of the universe. If humans are challenged to comprehend how the autonomic nervous system keeps their own bodies alive (as noted above) the scope of their comprehension of that which is believed to encompass them must necessarily be questionable. It is for this reason that the classic introductory lines (themselves variously translated) of the Tao Te Ching are most fruitfully indicative of the challenge of ineffability -- and the need for a degree of humility:
The Way that can be told of is not an unvarying way;
The names that can be named are not unvarying names.
Science vs. Religion: It is most curious the extent to which those of scientific or religious persuasion are emphatically articulate in their arguments as to the "delusion" of the other (cf. Richard Dawkins, The God Delusion, 2006; Peter Wilberg, The Science Delusion: why God is real and science is religious myth, 2010). It is even more curious that within each domain of belief, variants are similarly condemned -- without considering the possibility that "consensus" may itself be a delusion, as is only too apparent in the political arena (The Consensus Delusion: mysterious attractor undermining global civilization as currently imagined, 2011).
The nature of the "semiotic barrier" could be explored by considering how the deities of various pantheons would be understood by "science" -- if they were to be recognized as an (alternative or earlier) intuitive understanding of what science now recognizes as, for example, Fourier transforms, as universal constants, or the 8-fold way of particle physics (cf. List of Fourier-related transforms, Tables of universal constants). With the recent detection of the "God particle", the converse could be equally instructive, namely the representation of fundamental scientific insights within a "pantheon" of anthropomorphic "deities" whose attributes and relationships could be distinctively identified for mnemonic purposes -- as suggested by the distinctive "flavours" of quarks (including "charm" and "strange"). Such mnemonic initiatives could contribute significantly to reframing the mystification by which the subtler insights of science and religion are characterized -- with both eliciting vast resources from their believers worldwide. As an example of significance at a "semiotic interface" between science and religion, the feng shui deprecated by the West is frequently a determining framework for the current design of projects requiring major investment in the East.
Definitive statements about what is otherwise held to be mysterious ensure a misleading form of closure (¡¿ Defining the objective ∞ Refining the subjective ?! Explaining reality ∞ Embodying realization, 2011). Both "holiness" and "spirit" as comprehensible to humans may also be understood in terms of the integrative subtleties explored by those without religious commitments and explanatory frameworks -- including scientists and philosophers. As for the religious, the challenge for them is that science precludes the possibility of any future discovery which has not been authorised by its current methodology and worldview (cf. Rupert Sheldrake, The Science Delusion: feeling the spirit of enquiry, 2012). In a review of the latter by Mary Midgley, she notes:
We need a new mind-body paradigm, a map that acknowledges the many kinds of things there are in the world and the continuity of evolution. We must somehow find different, more realistic ways of understanding human beings - and indeed other animals - as the active wholes that they are, rather than pretending to see them as meaningless consignments of chemicals.
Rupert Sheldrake... spells out this need forcibly in his new book. He shows how materialism has gradually hardened into a kind of anti-Christian faith, an ideology rather than a scientific principle, claiming authority to dictate theories and to veto inquiries on topics that don't suit it, such as unorthodox medicine, let alone religion. He shows how completely alien this static materialism is to modern physics, where matter is dynamic. And, to mark the strange dilemmas that this perverse fashion poses for us, he ends each chapter with some very intriguing "Questions for Materialists", questions such as Have you been programmed to believe in materialism?, If there are no purposes in nature, how can you have purposes yourself?...
The interaction between science and religion does credit to neither. Each claims to be "right" but neither has any useful means of explaining the existence of the other nor for the multiplicity of its own subdivisions -- nor their credibility for many. The situation is well described in The Pivot by Chuang Tzu (as interpreted by Thomas Merton, The Way of Chuang Tzu, 1970), with "science" and "religion" corresponding to his reference to "Confucians" and "Mohists" -- and with the "Pivot" possibly to be understood as a form of "indwelling intelligence":
Tao is obscured when men understand only one of a pair of opposites, or concentrate only on a partial aspect of being. Then clear expression also becomes muddled by mere word-play, affirming this one aspect and denying all the rest. Hence the wrangling of Confucians and Mohists; each denies what the other affirms, and affirms what the other denies. What use is this struggle to set up "No" against "Yes", and "Yes" against "No" ? Better to abandon this hopeless effort... The possible becomes impossible; the impossible becomes possible. Right turns into wrong and wrong into right -- the flow of life alters circumstances and thus things themselves are altered in their turn. But disputants continue to affirm and to deny the same things they have always affirmed and denied, ignoring the new aspects of reality presented by the change in conditions.
The wise man therefore... sees that on both sides of every argument there is both right and wrong. He also sees that in the end they are reducible to the same thing, once they are related to the pivot of Tao. When the wise man grasps this pivot, he is the center of the circle, and there he stands while "Yes" and "No" pursue each other around the circumference.
The nature of the the threefold branding, semiotic and status barriers is such as to render it improbable that any articulation is possible which would not invite criticism and misunderstanding. Mathematics might have been suggested as a means of doing so, although the language of its presentation also invites misunderstanding. Any "Theory of Everything" will also present this problem, as have presentations of divinity. The challenge is well indicated by the Taoist quote above.
One indicative approximation, necessarily offensive or meaningless to some, is the following poem:
|The Indwelling Universal
(Sri Aurobindo, Sri Aurobindo Ashram , 1938)
|I contain the whole world in my soul's embrace:
In me Arcturus and Belphegor burn.
To whatsoever living form I turn
I see my own body with another face.
All eyes that look on me are my sole eyes;
The one heart that beats within all breasts is mine.
The world's happiness flows through me like wine,
Its million sorrows are my agonies.
|Yet all its acts are only waves that pass
Upon my surface; inly for ever still,
Unborn I sit, timeless, intangible:
All things are shadows in my tranquil glass.
My vast transcendence holds the cosmic whirl;
I am hid in it as in the sea a pearl.
A similar effort at articulation was made by the Bengali polymath Rabindranath Tagore, the first non-European Nobel laureate (awarded the 1913 Prize for Literature), most notably for his poetry. His 150th Birth Anniversary was celebrated in 2011. The final chapter of his philosophical work, Sadhana: the realisation of life (1913), is entitled The Realisation of the Infinite. In it he cites the following lines from the Upanishads of relevance to the above argument:
Know everything that there is in the universe as enveloped by God.
Enjoy whatever is given by him and harbour not in your mind the greed for wealth which is not your own.
...that none could live or move if the energy of the all-pervading joy did not fill the sky.
Of further relevance to the argument, Tagore notes:
This makes it clear that it is really the infinite whom we seek in our pleasures.... That we cannot absolutely possess the infinite being is not a mere intellectual proposition. It has to be experienced, and this experience is bliss....
There must be a complete idea that animates a poem....The progress of our soul is like a perfect poem. It has an infinite idea which once realised makes all movements full of meaning and joy. But if we detach its movements from that ultimate idea, if we do not see the infinite rest and only see the infinite motion, then existence appears to us a monstrous evil, impetuously rushing towards an unending aimlessness....
For joy is knowledge in its completeness, it is knowing by our whole being.... Such knowledge is immediate and admits no doubt. It is the same as knowing our own selves, only more so.
Contact with "extraterrestrials": The existence and nature of extraterrestrial life has become a theme taken every more seriously by various sciences. The challenge of the search for extraterrestrial intelligence (SETI) in order to establish "contact" remains a preoccupation. Relatively little is said about the content of any communication once "contact" is established, as separately discussed (Communicating with Aliens: the psychological dimension of dialogue, 2000). The challenge is remarkably, and ironically, highlighted by that of communicating with those variously considered "alien" in society -- terrorists in general (and the Taliban in particular), immigrants, those of other religious or ideological persuasion, youth, the elderly, and the "feral".
The challenge is extended, for some, to that of communication with animals (dolphins, chimpanzees, pets, etc), or even with an ecosystem (as would be comprehensible to some indigenous cultures). Some of those identified as alien or sub-human might well be understood as "terrestrial extras" (according to drama parlance), thereby justifying their systemic neglect as "non-human", following a dubious historical pattern by which "extraterrestrials" might well be inspired (cf. Writing Guidelines for Future Occupation of Earth by Extraterrestrials: Be done by as you did ? 2010).
God as "extraterrestrial"? Given the religious dimensions of this argument regarding indwelling, there is a case for exploring the manner in which God could be considered "extraterrestrial". Attributes of omnipresence throughout the universe would necessarily imply this -- in contrast with a particular relationship to the Earth and its inhabitants. "God" then offers an indicative code for "omni" -- potentially independent of religious preoccupations. However arguments of various religions that God is necessarily transmundane (rather than mundane) -- as may be claimed for the structures representing those religions -- then reframe the possibilities of being "extra" for an extraterrestrial.
Extraterrestrial intelligence: However "extraterrestrials" are to be understood, especially intriguing is how the nature and degree of their intelligence is to be recognized, given the obvious difficulty in recognizing that of "terrestrial extras". The "intelligence" of extremists of any kind is typically called into question as a consequence of their "unreasonable" behaviour, as separately explored (Norms in the Global Struggle against Extremism: "rooting for" normalization vs. "rooting out" extremism? 2003).
The issue is of further significance to the extent that some of the understandings of "indwelling" (as noted above) specifically evoke "spiritual" implications, whether or not they are labelled as uniquely (if not exclusively) relating to humanity rather than to the whole of creation. There is therefore a case for considering more generally how "intelligence" may be related to forms which would be considered "abnormal" from a human perspective -- just as the nature of human intelligence, and the "vehicle" for it, may come to be understood differently in the future.
Terrestrial stupidity? The question could be reversed, in the light of a hypothetical extraterrestrial perspective, to clarify the nature of "terrestrial intelligence" within a larger context. The case for recognizing the obvious manifestations of human stupidity -- whether individually or collectively -- has been frequently made. Some have speculated on the judgment of future generations regarding the intelligence exhibited in the current global civilization in the light of the emergence of a wide spectrum of crises and the much challenged ability to respond to them -- readily labelled as a mark of stupidity. The rapid degradation of the environment, and the systemic (addictive) dependence on what might be recognized as a form of "substance abuse" to sustain the economy, could well be considered as an indication of lack of requisite intelligence.
Holistic intelligence? Speculation on the possible criteria of intelligence used by "extraterrestrials" offers the further possibility that this might include a knowledge-focused sense of "healthy" integration (even integrity). This might recognize fragmented understanding as a form of pathological disassociation in a systemic context. The classic sense of mens sana in corpore sano (a healthy mind in a healthy body) would then point to constraints on recognition of any "indwelling intelligence", especially where extraterrestrials might recognize the need for a more holistic interweaving of "health" and "wealth" -- "whealth" or "wholth"?
This suggests the corollary to which extraterrestrials might be exceptionally attentive, namely that an unhealthy mind is necessarily the consequence of an unhealthy body -- or, by extension, an unhealthy collective intelligence necessarily emerging from an unhealthy body corporate. In the light of Christian concern with bestial indwelling (mentioned above), this suggests the possibility of manifestations of collective insanity and consequent bestiality -- only too evident in recent human history.
Vehicles for intelligence -- now and in the future: Some have speculated on the possibility that "extraterrestrials" may well have visited Earth in the past, or even be currently present on Earth in various unrecognized forms. There is however a further remarkable possibility that the sophistication imputed by some to advanced civilizations elsewhere may enable them to be present on Earth -- but embodied otherwise than is commonly anticipated.
The table above suggests the possibility that extraterrestrials could be embodied in nature in some way, or even in psychosocial systems such as movements of opinion. Rather than being embodied in discrete "bodies", as is conventionally anticipated, they could be embodied in collectivities -- in a "body corporate" or the "body politic". The collective intelligence of any flock or swarm is strongly indicative of the "viability" of such a possibility -- as with the intelligence that could be imputed to a forest. It is also suggestive of a degree of indifference to the death of a single individual -- understood within a larger context -- as might be recognized as a form of maturity. Humanity currently upholds a very particular individualized understanding of life and death, which may well be reframed by the future or by any extraterrestrials -- as with the expectation of soldiers in time of war.
The biological possibility of intelligence being "embodied" otherwise, is consistent with current insights into collective intelligence (notably in the light of swarm intelligence), with the development of distributed computing and cloud computing (based on a network of autonomous computers), and current arguments anticipating the feasibility of human mind uploading. Framed in this way, and in the light of the current challenge in society of communicating with those readily demonised or marginalizes as "nobodies", any "contact" with "extraterrestrials" embodied in collectivities raises many interesting questions.
"Outdwelling intelligence": Especially interesting is the sense (noted above) in which the very notion of "indwelling intelligence" may be related paradoxically and intimately to "outdwelling intelligence". Rather than intelligence being "contained" within some vehicle, as with its human embodiment, the very distinction between "in " and "out" may be challenged by recognition of the implications of the (higher dimensional) geometry of containers in which this distinction is questionable.
The example of the Klein bottle was cited above, notably in the light of the insights of Steven M. Rosen in this regard (Topologies of the Flesh: a multidimensional exploration of the lifeworld, 2006; Dimensions of Apeiron: a topological phenomenology of space, time, and individuation, 2004). Also of relevance is the extensive work of Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, 1979; I Am a Strange Loop, 2007), as discussed separately (Sustaining a Community of Strange Loops: comprehension and engagement through aesthetic ring transformation, 2010).
Cyclic embodiment of intelligence: Relevant to this argument is recognition of a so-called intelligence cycle, and its management, namely an investigation process typical of security services through which end users (commander of a task force or supervisor of an investigation unit) are enabled to gather specific information, understand the possibilities of that information, and the limitations of the intelligence process.
The conventional association of identity with spatial forms can readily be challenged in the light of emerging understanding of the nature of space-time -- notably as these may be appreciated by the future, or by extraterrestrials. Given increasing understanding of the electrical characteristics of brain function, there is every reason to envisage the possibility that identity may be associated with wave functions (cf. Robert Anton Wilson, Quantum Psychology: how brain software programs you and your world, 1990).
As discussed separately, the very notion of "identity", whether human or otherwise, is open to the possibility of reframing with respect to its relation to intelligence (Emergence of Cyclical Psycho-social Identity: sustainability as "psyclically" defined, 2007). The capacity to recognize and comprehend the nature of complex system dynamics, implies the need to explore Identity as a strange attractor (2007), as with any associated intelligence. As argued there, to the extent that a work of art "works", the ability to "identify with" a poem, a song or a piece of music is dependent on the capacity of the work to express (carry or hold) the identity of the person (or collectivity) in time (or over time) -- a capacity associated with such processes as "resonance" and "entrainment" (cf. Liberation of Integration, Universality and Concord -- through pattern, oscillation, harmony and embodiment, 1980; Resonance, fullerenes and the Middle East?, 2012).
It is increasingly evident that an "individual" is variously embedded in a variety of cycles, suggesting Interlocking cycles as the key to identity (2007). Any associated intelligence may then be readily understood as variously carried by those cycles. Any sense of "indwelling" may then relate to the degree of conscious engagement with a complex of cycles, none of which fully expresses the intelligence of the individual. More generally this would apply to collectivities, whether a group, a nation or a civilization, as implied by social cycle theory -- and potentially to ecosystems. Clearly the nature of extraterrestrials might then be better understood in terms of cyclic wave phenomena -- especially given the fundamental significance now attached by physicists to such phenomena.
Such understanding can be explored otherwise in terms of individual and collective awareness of longer cycles of time, whether in terms of career, personal development, or legacy -- with their associated ambitions and anxieties. Framed in this way, "intelligence" is an expression of that extended experience -- with its "indwelling" nature sensed otherwise in relation to the mystery of the present (cf. Engaging Macrohistory through the Present Moment, 2004).
With respect to collectivities and to global civilization, the challenge of time in a period of emerging crises clearly merits reflection in relation to collective intelligence (Strategic Embodiment of Time: configuring questions fundamental to change, 2010). This is recognized to a degree through the embodiment of collective wisdom in various artefacts capable of suviving over time, most notably sets of folk tales and fables (Minding the Future, 1980). Beyond the use of time capsules, with their form of "indwelling intelligence", it is in this sense that there is a case for reflecting on possible use by extraterrestrials of "timeships" in contrast to the current focus of "spaceships" (Timeship: Conception, Technology, Design, Embodiment and Operation, 2003). Speculatively there is even the possibility that the real "home" to which humanity nostalgically aspires is somehow "in time" (The Isdom of the Wisdom Society: embodying time as the heartland of humanity, 2003).
Mirroring intelligence through "reflection" and "refraction": In the light of the self-reflexive implications of the above table, and the paradoxes of "indwelling" versus "outdwelling", the argument can be taken even further in the expectation of cognitive mirroring -- especially as suggested by the mirror test of self-awareness. Such capacity for self-recognition in a mirror indeed constitutes a particular form of intelligence -- perhaps to be understood as a form of recognition of "indwelling" as an ironical consequence of "reflection", notably when understood as a metaphor. The implications for intelligence of "refraction" could also be considered -- in the light of such optical metaphors and their curious relationship to the material forms most valued (Patterning Archetypal Templates of Emergent Order: implications of diamond faceting for enlightening dialogue, 2002).
It could be said, in the case of nature (as discussed above), that the features of the environment offer surfaces through which human intelligence is refracted and thereby "transformed" -- whether as recognized by poets or through the insights of biomimicry. A similar argument could be made with respect to the refracting capacity of artefacts and technology, as potentially implied by technomimicry. It is appropriate to note that the frequent use of the mirror metaphor in philosophical reflection could be said to include this extension to refractive awareness and the associated intelligence. This is consistent with speculative folk tales regarding seeing otherwise through a mirror.
This framing offers an indication of subtler orders of understanding within the universe, as speculatively explored separately (Self-reflective Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration (SETI): the universal criterion of species maturity? 2008). Notions of "indwelling intelligence" may then call for other frameworks. These could be especially relevant to reframing the current disconnect between humanity and the ecosystem by which it is sustained -- or even between "self" and "other", as speculatively explored (People as Stargates: an alternative perspective on human relationships in space-time, 1996). Beyond the "mirror test", such considerations suggest that the capacity to identify what is functioning as a "mirror" (and to what degree) may be the ultimate indicator of "indwelling intelligence".
Given the expected continuing evolution of human knowledge of the universe, it is appropriate to imagine that the definitive and restrictive assertions of today regarding the nature of reality may be radically nuanced and reframed by the future -- perhaps as suggested by the detection of "cognitive isotopes" within the cells of the above table (as discussed below), not to mention the possibilities of discovery of "islands of stability" according to the period table metaphor, and potentially of relevance to future understandings of "sustainability".
However "indwelling intelligence" might come to be understood, the question will continue to be whether higher orders of consciousness can be distinguished from the higher forms of intelligence by which it is expected that artificial intelligence will be characterized -- especially when forms of consciousness are imputed to it (cf. Michio Kaku, Physics of the Future: how science will shape human destiny and our daily lives by the Year 2100, 2012). For those of spiritual and related persuasions, this challenge relates to that of comprehension of any further developments of human consciousness at the present time (cf. Varieties of Rebirth: distinguishing ways of being "born again", 2004).
With regard to the significance tentatively associated with the above columns, it is useful to recognize the extent to which such a table might well have characteristics of a "periodic table", as previously explored (Periodic Pattern of Human Knowing, 2009; Periodic Pattern of Human Life, 2009; Psychosocial Implications of a Periodic Pattern of Human Life, 2009; Towards a Periodic Table of Ways of Knowing, 2009). In this sense descriptions of experience associated with the cells of the table may well obscure subtler modes through inability to distinguish them via the terms used (or commonly comprehensible).
A more fruitful presentation might then reverse the columns and rows to produce a table of the following form -- tentatively clustering the columns into "groups", following the approach of the classic periodic table. (Functional Classification in an Integrative Matrix of Human Preoccupations, 1982)
|Transformation of introductory table|
With respect to a given cell, these could be understood as analogous to isotopes, namely modes of increasing intangibility, subtlety and rarity, even self-reflexivity -- possibly even of "psychoactivity", by analogy to radioactivity. This allows the table to hold both less controversial indications and those to which reference may be only rarely made in the literature (or be difficult to locate or articulate). This implies a degree of "cognitive isomorphism" through the manner in which the degree of subtlety may not be readily apparent -- the "form" then carrying meaning of a "higher order". This metaphor could be relevant to an understanding of the variety of notions of being "reborn" (Varieties of Rebirth: distinguishing ways of being "born again", 2004). It could also be useful to the sense of "seeing things anew", notably as a consequence of surprise (cf. Engaging with the Inexplicable, the Incomprehensible and the Unexpected, 2010) -- or the sense of partial comprehension (cf. Towards the Dynamic Art of Partial Comprehension, 2012).
The volume of religious literature on "indwelling" with its focus on positive attributes of the divine (notably including "intelligence"), highlights the question long debated by theologians of how "God" could have enabled the creation of the negative attributes -- especially including "ignorance". The matter is of current strategic relevance given the destruction and loss of life increasingly evident as a consequence of natural disasters in a God-fearing country like the USA (cf Acts of God vs Acts of al-Qaida: Hurricane Katrina as a message to Bible Belt America? 2005).
The polarity intelligence-ignorance is an example of the unquestioning use of the positive-negative frame explored by Barbara Ehrenreich (Bright-sided: how the relentless promotion of positive thinking has undermined America, 2009; Smile Or Die: how positive thinking fooled America and the world, 2010) and discussed separately (Being Positive Avoiding Negativity: management challenge of positive vs negative, 2005). A counter-perspective is offered by Walter Earl Fluker (Dangerous memories and redemptive possibilities: reflections on the life and work of Howard Thurman, Critical Review of International Social and Political Philosophy, 2004):
On this view, positive thinking becomes a process of identification with an indwelling intelligence that lies at the heart "of our mental and bodily processes"
Current crises have highlighted the dangers of uncritical appreciation of "intelligence" in relation to weapons of mass destruction, bankers, military competence, and the like -- notably on the part of centres of excellence complicit in such assessments (cf Abuse of Faith in Governance: mystery of the unasked question, 2009; Transforming the Unsustainable Cost of General Education: strategic insights from Afghanistan, 2009). Such crises might also be said to reflect a lack of appreciation for the perspectives of those deprecated as "ignorant" -- notably now obliged, as tax payers, to compensate for the forms of intelligence that have been so disastrously deployed.
There is therefore a case for reframing "intelligence" to incorporate "ignorance" in some way, if only in terms of the mysterious nature of whatever is not understood regarding intelligence or of the systemically fruitful role of ignorance. A striking metaphor is offered by the proportion of "dark matter" of which the universe is mysteriously composed, with its associated "dark energy" -- according to the current understandings of astrophysicists.
Given the manner in which "intelligence" is associated with a high degree of order in contrast with "ignorance", the two might be fruitfully interrelated using as metaphor various forms of matter -- from crystal to clay, for example, given that precious stones are readily associated with attributes of intelligence. Clearly both have vital functions. It is in soil ("dirt") that plants grow; precious stones are "sterile". This raises the question of the nature of intelligence associated with different forms of order and the value of the "intelligence" that might be associated with "lower" forms of order or those of a more diffuse or chaotic nature. Given preferences in that respect, the arguments of a range of authors for a spectrum or set of preferred mental frameworks merits consideration, as introduced separately (Systems of Categories Distinguishing Cultural Biases, 1993).
More suggestive in clarifying this argument is a phase diagram such as follows.
|Tentative adaptation of general phase
diagram (for water) to suggest non-linear relationship between
data -- information -- knowledge
|Curves: Indicate the conditions of "temperature"
and "pressure" under which equilibrium between different phases
of insight can exist
Critical point: The "temperature" above which the gas cannot be liquefied no matter how much pressure is applied (the kinetic energy simply is too great for attractive forces to overcome, regardless of the applied "pressure")
Triple point: The particular condition of "temperature" and "pressure" where all three states are in equilibrium
NB: Phases may be subdivided into a complex pattern of sub-phases (exemplified by the variety of forms of ice as solid water) [more]
To the extent that intelligence and ignorance are in some manner complementary, of special significance is the nature of the dynamic of any indwelling intelligence. Clearly it is a limitation to associate such fundamental intelligence with a static form of omniscience. There is therefore a sense in which the dynamic is grounded on both questioning what has already been learned and engaging with ignorance -- with what is unknown. How is "resolution" creatively avoided?
Understood this creative instability might be seen as based on a pattern analogous to the Uncertainty Principle (cf. Garrison Sposito, Does a generalized Heisenberg Principle operate in the social sciences? Inquiry, 1969) perhaps formulated as:
Curiously, the anticipated "Theory of Everything" is not expected to offer any explanation as to why most cannot comprehend it -- its inherent intelligence -- and why most will consider it irrelevant to the "things" with which they are preoccupied. This condition is as likely to apply to any global strategy in quest of which consensus is sought. The strategic dimension has been highlighted by the notorious "poem" of Donald Rumsfeld, presented in 2002 in his role as US Secretary of Defense:
[T]here are known knowns; there are things we know that we know.
There are known unknowns; that is to say there are things that, we now know we don't know.
But there are also unknown unknowns - there are things we do not know, we don't know.
As discussed separately, this pattern can be set into a dynamic (Unknown Undoing: challenge of incomprehensibility of systemic neglect, 2008) which requires a (proactive) process of questioning any learning which implies the stasis of a "body of knowledge" characterized by the following.
|what one does not know (A)||knowing what one does not know||ignoring what one does not know|
|what one knows (B)||knowing what one knows||ignoring what one knows|
|both A and B||knowing both what one knows and what one ignores||ignoring both what one knows and what one does not|
|neither A nor B||knowing neither what one knows nor what one does not||ignoring neither what one knows nor what one does not|
Of particular relevance to any engagement with "Everything" is the nature of boundaries, namely the determination of systemic externalities to be treated as irrelevant to "Everything", as discussed separately (Reintegration of a Remaindered World: cognitive recycling of objects of systemic neglect, 2011). This clearly has implications for global initiatives neglecting features of the environment as "negligible" (cf. Geo-engineering Oversight Agency for Thermal Stabilization (GOATS), 2008). This is also evident in assumptions with respect to prevailing policies of "you're either with us, or against us" -- "us, intelligent", "them, ignorant" (cf. Us and Them: Relating to Challenging Others -- patterns in the shadow dance between "good" and "evil", 2009).
A curious indication of a form of "shadow dance" is that between the deities of any pantheon, as articulated in many myths. What is the nature of the "eternal dance" between the deities of the Olympian Dodekatheon? The question can be usefully evoked in relation to preferential biases and personality typology, notably in its implications for governance (Enabling a 12-fold Pattern of Systemic Dialogue for Governance, 2011). It recalls the distinction of multiple intelligences as formulated by Howard Gardner (Frames of Mind: the theory of multiple intelligences, 2011). Such arguments raise questions as to the nature of "meta-intelligence", "meta-dialogue" and "meta-reasoning" (cf. Sara Nora Ross, Meta-intelligence for Analyses, Decisions, Policy, and Action: the integral process for working on complex issues, In: Tom Atlee, et al. Collective Intelligence: creating a prosperous world at peace, 2008).
The nature of the dynamic could be considered otherwise through the interplay between: playfulness, humour, appropriateness, paradox, counter-intuition, drama, fascination, enchantment and self-reflexivity (cf. (Dynamics of en-joying oneself, 2011 in: Embodying the Paradoxes and Contradictions of the Pursuit of Happiness, 2011). It could also be considered in terms of the Taoist meditative insight into the "circulation of light", as separately explored with respect to a knowledge-based society (Circulation of the Light: essential metaphor of global sustainability? 2010).
The argument indicates how forms of "intelligence" may be experienced as "indwelling" -- whether elusively, to the point of their denial, or as a focus for the strongest of collective belief. As a consequence there is a curiously fundamental relationship between what may be inferred to be indwelling intelligence, belief therein, and confidence deriving from that belief. This is strangely complemented by challenges to the nature of such indwelling intelligence -- exemplified by its denial, or ignorance of the forms forms it may take.
In a period of global crisis, with widespread loss of confidence in authority, preoccupations with confidence and confidence-building have emerged to an unusual degree in public discourse. Curiously the forms of confidence of most obvious concern might be understood as being as intangible and elusive as those of any indwelling intelligence. This is evident in repeated reference to the determining influence of the "intelligence of the market". For others it takes the forms of appeals for a return to "basic human values". It has been evident in a decade long battle for "hearts and minds" -- requiring historically unprecedented resources.
Ignorance as to the nature of these subtleties -- effectively invisible in the light of the criteria of every conventional focus on the tangible -- is accompanied by another form of ignorance. This is most evident in the manner in which strategic issues are framed such as effectively to deny the significance of factors determining outcomes and engendering the resource crises confronted, as separately discussed (Lipoproblems: Developing a Strategy Omitting a Key Problem -- the systemic challenge of climate change and resource issues, 2009; Scientific Gerrymandering of Boundaries of Overpopulation Debate, 2012). The indwelling intelligence can then be fruitfully explored as intimately related to a form of "cognitive hole" -- a collective blindspot, or form of systemic negligence, as suggested by John Ralston Saul (The Unconscious Civilization, 1995), and separately explored (Unthought as Cognitive Foundation of Global Civilization? 2012).
It is in this sense that an "indwelling ignorance" can be understood as an appropriately dynamic complement to an "indwelling intelligence". This could be considered eminently appropriate to a global civilization based on knowledge -- if learning is then to be understood as a key to its development and its "wealth" -- however that may come to be be more fruitfully understood. The question is then how to sustain global confidence in that dynamic through calling into question modalities which inhibit that learning and the nature of the development it enables. It is in this sense that the questioning process suggests a focus for the dynamic between intelligence and ignorance in relation to learning, belief and confidence-building -- and more encompassing consciousness (cf. Sustaining the Quest for Sustainable Answers, 2003).
The dynamic is further complicated by the additional twist associated with the other dimension of confidence with which many are only too familiar, and which could be considered as a key factor in engendering and sustaining the global financial crisis. The twist, enabled by intelligence, is the role of confidence trickery basic to many transactions, including misselling and overselling, and exemplified by the Madoff investment scandal. Ironically it is recognition of the extent of this phenomenon (cf. the current LIBOR scandal) which continues to undermine confidence at every level of society.
The manner in which collective intelligence, confidence and ignorance interweave -- in a society based on conflicting beliefs -- calls for new exploration, as separately discussed (Mathematical Theology: Future Science of Confidence in Belief, 2011). Ironically, with respect to confidence-building, such an exploration might be framed for mnemonic purposes through a pattern of usages of the prefix "con", as in the following -- in the light of more detailed "consideration" of the possibility (Primary Global Reserve Currency: the Con? Cognitive implications of a prefix for sustainable confidelity, 2011; Exploration of Prefixes of Global Discourse, 2011; Embodiment of Identity in Conscious Creativity: challenge of encompassing "con", 2011).
|Mnemonic framing of an indwelling questioning process?|
Petra Kuenkel (Sustainability Leadership: how can we combine flatland and wonderland? The Guardian, 6 July 2012) raises the question of how to co-create a more sustainable future, arguing for the both the harsh reality of flatland and the spirituality of wonderland:
There is nothing fundamentally bad about flatland - we need to measure our progress, we need structures to hold complexity at bay, we need technologies to push us into the future and we need rules that govern our societies. We need to give evidence that sustainability is possible and that it works. We need to make it work for business. Will flatland get us to sustainability?
What is disturbing is that we somehow create another separate world, which [Ken] Wilber terms wonderland, a world where different things count: our personal development, our spiritual growth, our zest for life, our heart's passion, our ability to be with others in mutually supportive communion, our appreciation of others as fellow human beings. And there's our way of being in dialogue with nature, with ourselves and with our colleagues, our capacity to learn collectively, our competence to co-create a more sustainable future, our feeling of being connected to something larger than ourselves, our longing for meaning. We do this almost as if both worlds - wonderland and flatland - need to be mutually exclusive; one can only exist at the expense of the other. As rational human beings, we know that we need more balance.
If sustainable "growth" is upheld as the definitive answer, what then is the mysterious "indwelling question" through which it can be sustained globally?
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