2 July 2018 | Draft
Waiting as an Experience of Fundamental Significance
Commentary on web resources on types of waiting and anticipation
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Types of waiting: web resources
Clues to "meta-waiting"?
Degrees of "meta-waiting" recognized as "deep waiting"?
Pro-active waiting and nowness
Clues to "waiting" from "weighting"?
Mysterious relation between waiting and patience?
Waiting society versus Business society?
Waiting framed by other modes of engaging with time
Future of waiting in society?
It could be readily assumed that waiting is an incidental process, experienced by all in some way, but incidental to the reality of meaningful life in any society. It is however striking to note the range of conditions in which anticipation of some kind is in fact a central experience which may endure far longer than is otherwise assumed, or is repeated more frequently than people care to recall. Striking examples at this time are offered by asylum seekers waiting for some means of getting to Europe, waiting for their case to be resolved in some processing centre, or waiting for an opportunity to move out of a precarious existence on the streets.
However extended the period, such waiting is in process of being institutionalized by the European Union (Migrant crisis: EU leaders plan secure migrant centres, BBC News, 29 June 2018; All-night EU talks deliver migrant 'controlled centres', EUObserver, 29 June 2018). The European Project is itself in crisis awaiting a resolution of the migrant crisis (Migrant crisis: EU leaders split over new migrant deal, BBC News, 29 June 2018; EU establishment appeases Italy and other anti-migrant govts in bid to salvage bloc's survival, RT, 29 June 2018). Potentially more challenging are the millions from Africa and the Middle East who are waiting to seek asylum in Europe -- now and through many decades to come -- a situation that populists are waiting anxiously for European leaders to recognize and address.
A different extreme is offered by the thousands "on death row" awaiting possible execution -- or condemned to life imprisonment if their case cannot be resolved otherwise. The example of waiting for an extensive period to die at the end of a life -- waiting "for release from pain" -- is a process which many may experience. Clearly there is also the common experience, if not a daily one, of waiting in a queue. For some, more fundamental may be the anticipation of an event such as falling in love, winning the lottery, or achieving a salary raise. The anticipation may take quite different forms, as when waiting for creative insight or inspiration, or perhaps experiencing the promise of rapture -- or "next year in Jerusalem".
Perhaps most evident is the sense of waiting for the fulfillment of some political promise through which change of social circumstances will be achieved. That promise may however be a religious one, as with those anticipating rebirth. It may be associated with the transformation expected from the use of new technology or new investment.
The purpose of this exercise was firstly to clarify the varieties of waiting, as noted in web resources. How many forms of waiting can be experienced or are considered significant -- and by whom, and from what perspective? Is that variety indicative of different qualities of waiting and anticipation, especially in terms of the nature of what is anticipated by that process?
The clarification is seen as preliminary to the possibility that there are subtler forms of anticipation to be recognized, as discussed in a concluding section. Do those waiting over longer periods, whether by obligation or by choice, shift into new modes in order to manage the waiting process more appropriately and more insightfully? Do these offer pointers to more profoundly insightful modes of waiting to which attention has yet to be adequately drawn, as previously argued (Varieties of Recognition in Practice of an Elusive Missing Dimension, 2018).
Curiously, so framed, such a shift could be recognized as a metaphor, both for sustainability and for its anticipation. Is society in a mode of waiting for a condition of sustainability, as can be speculatively argued (In Quest of Sustainability as Holy Grail of Global Governance? 2011). Does sustainability constitute a subtler form of the waiting dynamic -- collectively embodied?
Types of waiting: web resources
In Waiting in Liminal Space: migrants' queuing for Home Affairs in South Africa, Rebecca Sutton, Darshan Vigneswaran and Harry Wels seek to add texture and meaning to the experience of waiting and to explore the unique set of power relations and social processes the phenomenon may entail, arguing that:
Waiting is a common feature of everyday encounters between individuals and organisations. Government officials and private sector workers make us wait for decisions, wait for services and sometimes, simply wait our turn. Yet, little attention has been devoted to theorising and developing the concept of "waiting", and it is noticeably absent in the literature on social organisations and organisational behaviour. (Anthropology Southern Africa, 34, 2011, 1-2)
Detailed ethnographies of waiting from Japan, Georgia, England, Ghana, Norway, Russia and the United States are a feature of a comprehensive compilation (Manpreet K. Janeja and Andreas Bandak, Ethnographies of Waiting: doubt, hope and uncertainty, 2018), which arose from a panel on waiting at the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth Decennial Conference (Edinburgh, 2014). The compilation explores the social phenomenon of waiting and its centrality in human society. Using waiting as a central analytical category, it investigates how waiting is negotiated in myriad ways. Examining the politics and poetics of waiting, it offers fresh perspectives on waiting as the uncertain interplay between doubting and hoping, and asks When is time worth the wait?
A potentially relevant resource on anticipation, as framed by Roberto Poli, is however noteworthy in not explicitly highlighting any sense of waiting (The Many Aspects of Anticipation, Foresight, 12, 2010, 3, pp.7-17; An Introduction to the Ontology of Anticipation, Futures, 2014).
Although the experience of waiting is common and widespread, in times of turbulence awaiting the next crisis is an increasing concern. In societies with an increasing number of aging people, it is to be expected that waiting would be a process which many more are likely to experience in some form and to a greater degree. It could also be recognized that the high proportions of unemployed young people calls for in depth insight into the waiting process. As with the aging, what indeed are they waiting for?
The following is intended to be indicative of the variety of forms and conditions of waiting -- and how it is understood. Rather than being exhaustive, the selection of references is intended to offer a "flavour" of the experience of particular understandings of waiting -- in contrast to the analysis of the phenomenon by observers (which may include those waiting). There is clearly a case for a typology of such understandings and experiences -- but where typologies exist, they tend to be associated with particular approaches to waiting. Little effort has been made to order the following clusters, some of which await include references within indicated subheadings.
Waiting by refugees and asylum seekers: Waiting is clearly central to the refugee experience, especially when obliged to wait for months or years in refugee camps and other facilities.
- Jan-Paul Brekke: While We Are Waiting: uncertainty and empowerment among asylum-seekers in Sweden (Report 2004:10, Institute for Social Research, Oslo)
- Laurent Vidal and Alain Musset (Ed.): Waiting Territories in the Americas: Life in the Intervals of Migration and Urban Transit (Cambridge Scholars Publishing, 2018)
- Rebecca Rotter: Waiting in the asylum determination process: Just an empty interlude? (Time and Society, 25, 2016, 1)
- Rebecca Rotter: ‘Hanging In-Between': Experiences of Waiting among Asylum Seekers Living in Glasgow (University of Edinburgh, 2010)
- M. Lacroix: Canadian Refugee Policy and the Social Construction of the Refugee Claimant Subjectivity: Understanding Refugeeness. (Journal of Refugee Studies 17, 2004, 2, pp, 147-166).
- R. Lennartsson: "You are Nobody While You are Waiting": Asylum Seekers' Experiences of Nothingness (Ethnologia Scandinavica 37, 2007, pp. 21-34).
Anticipating return from exile: Whether having sought asylum elsewhere, or having been exiled by some other process, there is a particular quality to the anticipation of return. This is most evident in the Middle East with respect to issues of right of return.
- M. Al-Rasheed: ‘The Myth of Return: Iraqi Arab and Assyrian Refugees in London' (Journal of Refugee Studies, 7, 1994, 2-3, pp. 199-219).
- M Eliade: The Myth of the Eternal Return (Pantheon, 1954)
- T. Kelly: Returning Home? Law, Violence, and Displacement among West Bank Palestinians (PoLAR 27, 2004, 2, pp. 95-112).
- Gail J. Boling: Palestinian Refugees and the Right of Return: An International Law Analysis (BADIL: Information & Discussion Brief Issue No. 8, January 2001)
- Jeremie Maurice Bracka: Past the Point of no Return? The Palestinian Right of Return in International Human Rights Law (Melbourne Journal of International Law, 2005)
Waiting time in institutional and process scheduling: Many management techniques explore waiting time to reduce and manage the waste in a process and consequent loss in profitability. These include: just-in-time, Kanban, business process re-engineering, lean manufacturing, and six-sigma. Particular concerns may include waiting understood in terms of minimizing residence time, turnaround time and response time
- Bill Nordgren: The problem with waiting time (FlexSim Simulation Software, 2014)
- Kamran Khan: Identify Constraints and Reduce Wait Time in Processes (iSixSigma)
- D. R. Cox and Valerie Isham: The Virtual Waiting-Time and Related Processes (Advances in Applied Probability, 18, 1986, 2, pp. 558-573)
- Weiyin Hong, et al: When filling the wait makes it feel longer: a paradigm shift perspective for managing online delay (MIS Quarterly: Management Information Systems, 37, 2013, 2, pp. 383-406)
- Wait Time (Velaction), noting that waiting is one of the "seven wastes". Wait time is particularly bad because it consumes a non-renewable resource, and an important one at that: Time.
It is to be expected that efforts would be made to apply such considerations to the management of migrants, just as they are applied by private contractors to the management of some detention centres.
Waiting lists: Those obliged to wait may be placed on a waiting list, possibly to ensure a waiting period. An impressive articulation of waiting list variants has been developed with respect to ticketing, most notably by the Indian Railway Catering and Tourism Corporation (IRCTC) -- IRCTC Waiting List Types PQWL, RQWL, RLWL, RLGN, CKWL (Rush Information):
- GNWL: General Waiting List (GNWL) waitlisted tickets are issued when the passenger begins his/her journey at the originating station of a route or stations close to the originating station.
- RLWL: Remote Location Waiting List (RLWL) means ticket is issued for intermediate stations (between the originating and terminating stations) because usually these are the most important towns or cities on that particular route.
- PQWL: A Pooled Quota Waiting List (PQWL) is shared by several small stations. Pooled Quotas normally operate only from the originating station of a route, and there is only one Pooled Quota for the entire run.
- RLGN: Remote Location General Waiting List (RLGN) is issued when a user books a ticket where WL quota is RLWL.
- RSWL: Roadside Station Waiting List (RSWL) is allotted when berths or seats are booked by the originating station for journeys up to the road-side station and distance restrictions may not apply.
- RQWL: If a ticket is to be booked from an intermediate station to another intermediate station, and if it is not covered by the general quota or by the remote location quotas or pooled quota, the request for the ticket may go into a Request Waiting List (RQWL).
- TQWL (formerly CKWL): For tatkal tickets
Use of waiting lists is a common feature of the management of those awaiting resources of any kind. There are multple references in relation to health care and psychotherapy.
Waiting lines: There are many references to the psychology of waiting in line, and queuing -- as experienced by many, often on a daily basis, possibly in a designated queue area.
- Linda Blair: The art of the queue: how to make the wait more bearable (The Sydney Morning Herald, 7 June 2017)
- David Maister: The Psychology of Waiting Lines (1985)
- Wray Herbert: Anticipation: The Psychology of Waiting in Line (Huffington Post, 14 September 2014)
- Allan Tong: The Pain of Waiting and Psychology of Queues (Alpha Crowd Control)
- Mark N. Wexler: Re-thinking queue culture: The commodification of thick time (International Journal of Sociology and Social Policy, 35, 2015, 3/4, pp. 165-181)
- Leon Mann: Queue Culture: The Waiting Line as a Social System (American Journal of Sociology, 75, 1969, pp. 340-354).
- Barry Schwartz: Waiting, Exchange, and Power: the distribution of time in social systems (American Journal of Sociology, 79, 1974, pp. 841-870)
- Barry Schwartz: Queuing and Waiting: studies in the social organization of access and delay (University of Chicago Press, 1975)
Waiting in line is an only too common experience for those in need.
"Waiting rooms": There are many references to the design of waiting rooms and how this can enhance the waiting experience, notably in health care institutions -- especally for psychotherapy. Presumably this could be understood as extending to the experience of incarceration, whether in prisons or refugee camps
Long-term incarceration and awaiting execution: This is an especially significant experience for those who are subjected to it and awaiting some outcome, as well as for those externally identified with expectations of the process and its outcome.
- Hans Toch, James R. Acker, and Vincent Martin Bonventre (Ed.): Living on Death Row: the psychology of waiting to die (American Psychological Association, 2018)
- Richard M. Rossi: Waiting to Die: Life on Death Row (Vision, 2004)
- Sarah Kaufman: Here's How Many Death Row Inmates Die Waiting To Die Vocativ, 31 August 2015)
- Michael J. Carter: Waiting to Die: the cruel phenomenon of "Death Row Syndrome" Alternet, 7 November 2008)
- Esther Inglis-Arkell: The Rare Psychological Disorder That Only Affects Death Row Inmates IO9, 27 October 2014)
- Diana Peel: Clutching at Life, Waiting to Die: the experience of death row incarceration (Western Criminology Review, 14, 2013, 3, pp. 61-72)
- Phyllis D. Coontz: Women Under Sentence of Death: the social organization of waiting to die (The Prison Journal, 63, 1983, 2)
- Arthur Koestler: Dialogue with Death (Macmillan, 1942)
- K. Goifman: Killing Time in the Brazilian Slammer (Ethnography 3, 2002, pp. 435- 441).
- Waiting to Die: the hundreds condemned to years on death row in California Euronews, 30 December 2015
- A Death Before Dying: solitary confinement on death row (American Civil Liberies Union)
Awaiting tangible outcomes: A particular form of waiting is associated with anticipated or predicted probabilities in the immediate future
Awaiting hypothetical outcomes:
- Awaiting a strategic opportunity:
- Awaiting a conclusion or resolution: the articulation of an argument at length may frame anticipation of a conclusion -- the point that is (supposedly) being made, or the punch line of a joke. Those awaiting clarification and procedural resolution of their case (including refugees) may wait under conditions which have been the focus of study. Many references relate to the procedures of health insurance and other forms of compensation.
- Lee Ann Obringer and Melissa Jeffries: Understanding Health Insurance (HowStuffWorks) In general, there are three main types of waiting periods encountered in health insurance: employer waiting periods, affiliation periods and pre-existing condition exclusion periods.
- R. C. Locsin and A. G. Matua: The Lived Experience of Waiting-To-Know: Ebola at Mbarara, Uganda - Hoping for Life, Anticipating Death (Journal of Nursing 37, 2002, pp. 173-181).
- S. Thorne, et al: The Experience of Waiting for Diagnosis after an Abnormal Mammogram (The Breast Journal 5, 1999, pp. 42-51).
- Anne-Lise Jørgensen: Institutionaliserad barndom i Köbenhamn och Malmö. (Högskolan i Malmö, 2001),
- Awaiting an answer: a feature of the process in asking a question or making a request
- Awaiting promised entitlement: a characteristic of the underprivileged, most notably migrants to developed societies
- Awaiting a donation: notably as the primary experience of beggars, as separately reviewed (Confusion in Exchanging "Something" for "Nothing": cognitive implication in the asymmetrical processes of begging and its surrogates, 2015)
- Awaiting an employment opportunity: as is typical of many unemployed, especially the long-term unemployed
- Awaiting a decision:
- Awaiting diagnosis and cure: a process characteristic of many, most notably those with currently incurable diseases
- Awaiting death and release:
- for onself: possibly a notable feature of terminal illness and for those subject to enhanced interrogation.
- Kenneth Ring: Waiting to Die (International Journal of Transpersonal Studies, 36, 2017, 2)
- Nancy M. Cappello: Waiting to Die (Huffington Post, 13 June 2014)
- S. Kaufman: …And a Time to Die: how American hospitals shape the end of life (A Lisa Drew Book/Scribner, 2005).
- of another: especially when any change in circumstances is dependent on their death. For Max Planck: A new scientific truth does not triumph by convincing its opponents and making them see the light, but rather because its opponents eventually die, and a new generation grows up that is familiar with it.
- Awaiting a "fix": a process cntral to the exeperience of any form of addiction, especially when challenged to obtain the substance required
- Awaiting a security threat: a process characteristic of vigilance by sentries and gatekeepers -- widely referenced in terms of the phrase: They also serve who only stand and wait:
- Awaiting potentially fatal violence:
- a form of waiting typical of military action, whether associated with the threat of attack, or the instigation of such an attack. The most evident examples are in trench warfare when "going over the top" has the high probability of being fatal.
- a variant is evident in the threat of bullying and other forms of harassment, especially of a sexual nature
- Awaiting rescue, relief or sustenance:
a form of waiting complementary to that above, notably with respect to food and water
- Awaiting success or failure: notably as the consequence of an initiative
- Awaiting business: as is typical of any startup or any business challenged by economic circumstances
- Awaiting development:
- typical of the process of pregnancy, well-recognized through the use of the term "expectant"
- typical for a farmer, whether with respect to agriculture (awaiting a harvest) or animal husbandry
- Awaiting suitable conditions: as is particularly characteristic of:
- investment initiatives
- weather-related undertakings -- farming, tourism, construction
- auspicious configurations of circumstances
- Waiting one's turn: this widely recognized experience would seem to engender a degree of familiarity with cyclic time -- reframed in some cultures with respect to understandings of reincarnation and awaiting reincarnation.
- Awaiting catastrophe: whether in the light of warning signals, or as framed and imagined through entertainment inspired by such possibilities
- Waiting for peace:
- Waiting out a crisis:
Somewhat distinctive from the previous mode of waiting is that associated with questionable beliefs regarding probabilities -- typically beyond the immediate future:
Waiting in relationships:
- Awaiting a miracle: This is a common attitude for those with deep religious beliefs.
- Awaiting extraterrestrials: There are numerous references to the arrival of extraterrestrials, or to the revelation of their existence, in the light of indications to that effect. This implies a rather particular form of expectant waiting.
- Awaiting the singularity: There are numerous references to processes converging on a singularity, typically of a technological nature involving artificial intelligence. This too implies a particular form of waiting.
- Awaiting end-times: There are numerous references to prophesied end-times, the associated catastrophic apocalypse, and the subsequent emergence of a new order -- for which many would claim to be waiting.
- P. Corcoran: Awaiting Apocalypse (Springer, 1999)
- William Dewberry: Waiting for the New Heaven and New Earth (Xlibris, 2016)
- Awaiting day of judgement: The Last Judgment is characteristic of the beliefs of Abrahamic religions, most notably articulated by fundamentalist Christians and a feature of prophesied end-times scenarios.
- Awaiting the Anthropocene:
- Carlos Santana: Waiting for the Anthropocene (The British Journal for the Philosophy of Science, 14 March 2018), arguing that formal recognition of the Anthropocene should be indefinitely deferred.
There is a well-recognized agony to the process of awaiting a relationship
Aesthetics of waiting:
- Awaiting a perfect partner: namely a significant other, with implications of waiting through the uncertainties of courtship, as well as thereafter
- Awaiting consummation: as typical of the driving preoccupations of many, and as variously cultivated and reinforced by the media
- Awaiting friendship: especially significant to those who are lonely
- Waiting within relationships:
- Awaiting the return of someone:
- Awaiting a child:
- Awaiting a sponsor or waiting for adoption:
- Art of waiting: This may be especially significant in relation to children with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD). Although most evident in that form, the challenge relates more generally to those who are especially impatient.
Some references indicate a preoccupation with "styles of waiting", but without necessarily any aesthetic consideration (as discussed below).
- Dramatisation of waiting: The best known dramatisation is that of Samuel Becket (Waiting for Godot) which is the subject of very extensive commentary.
- Poetry of waiting: This is discussed below in comparison with the poetry of patience
Experience of waiting?
Philosophy of waiting and hope:
- Jeannie Ewing: Waiting with Purpose (En Route Books 2017)
- Alex Stone: Why Waiting Is Torture (The New York Times, 18 August 2012)
- Emily Jost: Waiting for the experience of a lifetime (Noble Research Institute, 26 January 2015)
- Javier Auyero: Patients of the State: an ethnographic account of poor people's waiting (Latin American Research Review, 46, 2011, 1)
- Ghassan Hage (Ed.): Waiting (Melbourne University Publishing, 2009)
- Harold Schweizer: On Waiting (Routledge, 2008)
- W.H. Vanstone: The Stature of Waiting (Darton, Longman and Todd, 1982).
- C. Jeffrey:
- Waiting (Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 26, 2008, 6, pp. 954 - 958).
- Timepass: youth, class and the politics of waiting in India (Stanford University Press, 2010).
- Agnès Durrande-Moreau and Jean-Claude Usunier: Time Styles and the Waiting Experience: an exploratory study (Journal of Service Research, 2, 1999. 2,pp. 173-186)
- David Bissell: Animating Suspension: Waiting for Mobilities (Mobilities 2, 2007, pp. 277-298)
- Edmund Husserl: The Phenomenology of Internal Time-Consciousness (Indiana University Press, 1964)
- Gari Meacham: Waiting…waiting…waiting… (12 December 2017) who distinguishes: disappointed waiting, waiting in unexpected circumstances, and waiting in anticipation
- Vanja Celebicic: 'Waiting is Hoping': future and youth in a Bosnian border town (University of Manchester, Thesis, 2013)
- Rethinking Self-Control: the psychology of waiting (BigThink)
- Giovanni Gasparini: On Waiting Time and Society (4, 1995, 1)
waiting as blockage of action; as an experience filled with substitute meanings; and as a meaningful experience.
- Raymond Tallis: On Waiting (Philosophy Now 96, 2013)
- Amanda Blesing: What are you waiting for? (23 March 2015)
- Lansana Keïta: Waiting for Truth: Metaphysics, Analytical Philosophy and Theoretical Science (Méthod(e)s: African Review of Social Sciences Methodology 1, 2015, 1-2)
- Ted Wrigley: Can anyone concisely explain Heidegger's "waiting" [Gelassenheit] from his later philosophy? (Quora 17 November 2016)
- Barbara Dalle Pezze: Heidegger on Gelassenheit (Minerva: An Internet Journal of Philosophy, 10, 2006)
- Ron Price: Waiting: Deleuze, Bergson and Virilio (Philosophy Discussion Forums, 22 August 2013)
- Andrea Köhler: The Waiting Game: an essay on the gift of time (Upper West Side Philosophers, 2012)
- Rhonfda Khatab: Timelessness and Negativity in Awaiting Oblivion: Hegel and Blanchot in Dialogue (Colloquy: Text Theory Critique, 10. Monash University, 2005, pp. 83-101)
- G. Marcel: Homo Viator: Introduction to a Metaphysic of Hope (Gollancz, 1951)
- J. Peteet: Landscape of Hope and Despair (University of Pennsylvania Press, 2005)
- M. Zournazi: Hope: New Philosophies for Change (Annandale: Pluto Press, 2002).
Waiting in religion:
- Waiting for God or a Messiah: There are numerous Christian references to waiting for rapture, associated with the prophesied return of a Messiah in some form -- a natural focus of anticipation.
- Waiting for the Messiah in Islam:
- Waiting for the Messiah in Judaism:
- Waiting on the Lord
- Isaiah 40:31: But those who wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall walk and not faint.
- Psalm 130:5-7: I wait for the Lord, my soul does wait, And in His word do I hope. My soul waits for the Lord more than the watchmen for the morning; Indeed, more than the watchmen for the morning, O Israel, hope in the Lord; For with the Lord there is loving kindness, And with Him is abundant redemption.
- Lamentations 3:25-26: The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him. It is good that one should hope and wait quietly for the salvation of the Lord.
- Jack Hyles: The Principle of Waiting
- Erin Kramer Holmes: Waiting upon the Lord: the antidote to uncertainty (BYU Speeches, 2007)
- Christy Nielson: Waiting on the Lord, Renewing Our Strength
- Steven P. Wickstrom: Wait upon the Lord
- Simone Weil: Waiting on God (Routledge Kegan Paul, 1951); Waiting for God (Putnam, 1951); Awaiting God (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2013)
- Waiting in Zen:
Other than the following, there are numerous references to the practice of Zen in waiting rooms, queues, and similar situations.
- Awaiting epiphany: as an experience of sudden and striking realization, possibly of happiness or a sense of peace
- Awaiting renaissance or rebirth, as can can be variously distinguished (Varieties of Rebirth: distinguishing ways of being "born again", 2004)
- Awaiting creativity and inspiration: a process typical of artists and writers, and those faced with techncial challenges
- Awaiting illumination: potentially typical of those with a practice of prayer or meditation, including those awaiting initiation to a higher degree
- Awaiting self-realization
Clues to "meta-waiting" ?
As noted in the introduction, the clarification of the range of forms and "flavours" of waiting helps to frame the possibility that there are subtler forms of waiting to be recognized. Specifically, do those waiting over longer periods, whether by obligation or by choice, shift into new modes in order to manage the waiting process more appropriately and more insightfully?
Do those experiencing extended periods of waiting offer pointers to more profoundly insightful modes of waiting to which attention has yet to be adequately drawn, as previously argued (Varieties of Recognition in Practice of an Elusive Missing Dimension, 2018; Navigating Alternative Conceptual Realities: clues to the dynamics of enacting new paradigms through movement, 2002)? The latter clusters clues as follows:
"Unsaying"? The obvious challenge is how to discuss such subtler forms of experience, other than through metaphor, especially since any description may be incompatible with the nature of the experience. One approach is indicated by the understanding of a via negativa, namely a process of unsaying (Michael A. Sells, Mystical Languages of Unsaying, 1994; William Franke, A Philosophy of the Unsayable, 2014). This is characteristic of apophatic theology, namely saying only what divinity is not (Chris Boesel and Catherine Keller, Apophatic Bodies: negative theology, incarnation, and relationality, 2009). In some such mode, the quest here may be distinguished from forms of waiting noted above, namely:
- not the waiting which is the preoccupation of process optimization to minimize wait time, in which waiting is framed as a form of waste
- not the waiting which is framed as a mundane obligation, as with queuing or the boredom of waiting rooms
- not the waiting which is attached to, and focused on awaiting a particular outcome
In the last case however, a distinction can be made between attachment to the outcome and the manner in which the experience of waiting may be progressively transformed as the period becomes ever longer. As discussed below, this contrasts with any form of waiting which is focused on the future, rather than present experience, as is characteristic of futures research and anticipation studies:
Through metaphor, examples might then include:
- waiting by a river for a fish to bite -- which it may not do throughout the whole day, as with watching for the sight of a rare bird
- waiting for resolution of bureaucratic processes after months, and with the possibility of taking years
- waiting for an ideal partner, or some form of recognition, with the increasing knowledge -- as time goes by -- that this may never happen
- waiting for conditions to be appropriate, as a consequence of their slow evolution over time
- waiting for new insight into a long-standing problem, knowing that this may well never come
In these cases there is necessarily a shift from hoping for an immediate resolution by which the waiting process will cease -- release from prison, winning the lottery, falling in love. The shift implies another form of engagement with the waiting experience. It can indeed be "thought about". However a distinction can then be made between "philosophising" about waiting in some way (potentially as a distraction) and "re-cognizing" a new and more subtle quality to the waiting experience itself. Arguably -- when not employed as a metaphor -- this is one form of distraction from the experience of waiting, one typical of waiting rooms and queuing perhaps.
"Recognition"? Irrespective of any indulgence in distraction, there is however the possible transformation of perspective associated with waiting over hours, days or years. The process might be compared to the maturation of wine or spirits over years, if not decades. The metaphor is all the more appropriate in that it occurs under constraint, within containers and undisturbed. These may be appropriately termed "stills", although the distinction between distillation and fermentation merits reflection in relation to waiting. The outcome of that process is distinctive and highly valued. There are further ironies in that monasteries have long specialized in that process -- with the "spirit" thereby engendered presumably evoking fruitful parallels with the processes of their meditative disciplines.
Such transformative comparisons merit further exploration, given the highly controversial process of radicalisation typical of those waiting in prison or detention centres -- and the subsequent efforts, through "enhanced interrogation" to "break the spirit" of anyone radicalised in this way. Use of interminable waiting may be one of the techniques used to "soften up" a person.
In the absence of any means of describing such a transformation of the waiting experience, what clues can be cited as evidence for its occurrence? Some might be inferred from the previous exercise (Varieties of Recognition in Practice of an Elusive Missing Dimension, 2018). Indicative examples might include:
- recognition of the maturation of a person beyond visible and tangible features. What is sensed as having changed?
- recognition of a person to whom it is felt that respect is immediately appropriate -- beyond attributes of title, role or power
- recognition of having successfully "broken the spirit" of a person, or alternatively that the person has been "tempered" by the experience and strengthened thereby (as exemplified by Nelson Mandela, and others)
- recognition of a person of wisdom, possibly irrespective of maturity or evocation of respect
- recognition of a person who may be held to embody the future (in the present)
Arguably recognizable attributes include combinations of presence and stillness -- especially given the delightful connotation through "still" to the production of "quality spirits". It is highly questionable whether such inner stillness can be usefully described, although it tends to be readily recognized, and distinguished from any simple tendency to silence. References to its nature include:
Whether those who endeavour to describe it would be recognized as having that quality, rather than claiming to experience it, is a question (as with this articulation, necessarily). Examples might indeed include:
- appreciation of a person experienced as powerful, given that that too can be recognized
- appreciation of a person whose intention is intuited without anything needing to be said .
- appreciation of a person who "sits", as with a long-term practitioner of Zazen meditation
- appreciation of a martial art sensei, as with aikido
The philosophy of aikido is somewhat explicit -- in ki-aikido -- with regard to a transformation of experience (Eri Izawa, Aikido Principles Transposed Up Into the Realm of Spirit, MIT, 2006; Stefan Stenudd. Aikido Principles: basic concepts of the peaceful martial art (CreateSpace Independent Publishing, 2016). The stages in that transformation may be recognized to a degree through rankings, although these are are only too readily confused with competitive achievement.
"Awaiting in religion"? Given the waiting characteristic of the religious life, there are potentially valuable insights to be drawn from the language variously used to describe the waiting process -- irrespective of what specifically is awaited (or the religion in question). Remarkable in this respect is the language used by Joanne Robinson (Waiting in Christian Traditions: Balancing Ideology and Utopia, 2015). The author notes that waiting, and the disappointment and hope that often accompany it, are explained in terms that are, at first glance, remarkably invariant across Christian traditions. What t will happen will happen "on God's time":
Christians wait for prayers to be answered, for an afterlife in heaven, for the Virgin Mary to appear, and for God to speak... They wait to be liberated from oppression, to be "saved" or born again, for Easter morning to dawn, for healing, for conversion, and for baptism. A study of sources from across Christian traditions shows that there is considerable complexity beneath this surface claim. Understandings of free will and personal agency alongside shifts in institutional and theological commitments change the ways waiting is understood and valued. Waiting is often considered a positive state to be endured as long as God wills, and that fundamental understanding helps keep the promises at the heart of Christianity alive. Scholars have long overlooked the problem and promise of waiting despite (or perhaps because of) its prevalence. Indeed, there are relatively few mystics, few who have undergone "sudden" conversion, and few who have attained saintly status. Many, however, have waited, and that problem remains prominent --and its solutions remain influential -- in Christian traditions today.
Especially remarkable however is the language used with respect to Advent
by Paula Gooder (The Meaning is in the Waiting: the spirit of advent
2009) who concludes:
Advent, then, calls us into a state of active waiting: a state that recognizes and embraces the glimmers of God's presence in the world, that recalls and celebrates God's historic yet ever present actions, that speaks the truth about the almost-but-not-quite nature of our Christian living, that yearns for but cannot quite achieve divine perfection. Most of all, Advent summons us to the present moment, to a still yet active, a tranquil yet steadfast commitment to the life we live now. It is this to which Advent beckons us, and without it our Christian journey is impoverished. (p. 21)
The question here is the distinction to be drawn between the experience
of control implied by the cognitive shift in aikido -- for the practitioner as controller -- and the analytical
emphasis on control, as argued in their introduction to the compilation, by Manpreet K. Janeja and Andreas Bandak (Ethnographies of Waiting: doubt, hope and uncertainty
A central theme that arises here is that of control (Giovanni Gasparini, On Waiting, Time and Society. 4, 1): who is able to act on time, and who is acted upon. In the work of Arendt and also Michael Jackson it is the capacity and experience of being able to act, and being acted upon, that is pivotal to a sense of well-being as well as agency... Here some element of planning and a sense of control over one's time are important but rarely does one encounter a social situation that can be tamed completely. The distinction between waiting/or and waiting on is instructive here (Schwartz, American Journal of Sociology, 1974, p. 858):
Waiting for describes a situation such as being stuck in a queue where one has little power vis-a-vis an institution, when there are scarce resources that result in waiting times coinciding with how power is distributed (Schwartz, 1974).
Waiting on, however, is choosing when to wait and when to act, a momentary 'putting to one side: a type of waiting that indexes agency.
Building on this insight, Monica Minnegal (The Time is Right: waiting, reciprocity and sociality, 2009: p. 91) writes: We wait on other subjects. There is always an interlocutor in such waiting [ ... ] And the performance that results from this engagement is crucially shaped by the way that waiting -- as reciprocal attention -- is exchanged: Thus, in the relational worlds we inhabit, we find an uncertain interplay between control and its lack, between a politics and poetics of waiting. It is our contention that anthropology is well equipped to explore this interplay, as waiting is also integral to the ethnographic method fundamental to our discipline. (p. 21) [emphasis added]
"Solitude"? It is questionable, for example, whether the sense of "waiting on other subjects" exhausts the experiential significance of waiting -- notably given the argument for unsaying. This is especially the case for those practicing some form of solitude, whether by choice or by obligation. Waiting, as experienced, is necessarily a solitary occupation of time. The following references on solitude are reviewed on the remarkable website of The Hermitary: resources and reflections on hermits and solitude:
- Philip Koch: Solitude: a philosophical encounter (Open Court, 1994)
- John Cowper Powys: A Philosophy of Solitude (Simon and Schuster, 1933)
- Anthony Storr: Solitude: A Return to the Self (Free Press, 1988)
- Gavin Flood: The Ascetic Self: subjectivity, memory and tradition (Cambridge University Press, 2004)
- John D. Barbour: The Value of Solitude: the ethics and spirituality of aloneness in autobiography (University of Virginia, 2004)
- Robert A Ferguson: Aloneness in America: the stories that matter (Harvard University Press, 2013)
- Robert Sayre: Solitude in Society: a sociological study of French literature (Harvard University Press, 1978)
- Ralph Harper: The Seventh Solitude: man's isolation in Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche (Johns Hopkins Press, 1965)
- Ernest Gellner: Solitude and Language: Wittgenstein, Malinowski and the Habsburg Dilemma (Cambridge University Press, 1998)
- Nikolai Berdyaev: Solitude and Society (Geoffrey Bles, 1938)
- Leigh Eric Schmidt: Restless Souls: the making of American spirituality (Chapter 2: "Solitude", HarperSanFrancisco, 2005)
- Octavio Paz: The Labyrinth of Solitude (Grove Press, 1961)
- Belden C. Lane: The Solace of Fierce Landscapes: exploring desert and mountain spirituality (Oxford University Press, 1998)
- David Balcom: The Greatest Escape: adventures in the history of solitude (iUniverse, 2004)
- Susan Cain: Quiet: the power of introverts in a world that can't stop talking (Crown, 2012)
- Eric Klinenberg: Going Solo: the extraordinary rise and surprising appeal of living alone (Penguin Press, 2012)
- Roger Housden: Retreat: time apart for silence and solitude (HarperSanFrancisco, 1995)
- Catherine de Hueck Doherty: Poustinia: encountering God in silence, solitude, and prayer (Madonna House, 2000)
To those reviews are added the following on silence:
"Alienation"? As succinctly summarized in the above review, seven solitudes are distinguished in chapters by Ralph Harper (The Seventh Solitude: man's isolation in Kierkegaard, Dostoevsky, and Nietzsche, 1965). These are:
- The Night of Absolutes
- Hidden Inwardness
- Excursion into Chaos
5. The Destruction of God
6. The Great Noon
7. Journey from Paradise.
Are these to be associated with higher qualities of waiting -- of "meta-waiting"? Especially relevant are the implications of solitude under conditions of alienation, as when dwelling metaphorically in a wasteland -- to which the experience of society can be so readily compared by many.
Art of waiting: Here the arguments of Sabbar S. Sultan and Ibrahim Abu Shihab (Waiting in T. S. Eliot's ‘The Waste Land', Studies in Literature and Language, 3, 2011, 2, pp. 92-103)
are of value -- especially given the explicit aesthetic dimension in a practice like aikido.
- Eliot's The Waste Land has never ceased stirring controversy among critics and readers of English literature. The multiplicity of its implications and deliberate gaps to be filled by the readers are some of its outstanding traits. The present paper, however, focuses its attention on the act of waiting as an underlying theme unifying its loose structure.
- In its general framework, The Waste Land is constructed out of a number of vignettes, patched quotations, and snapshots from different cultural ,religious, and literary contexts. These references are from the east and west, modern and ancient, fictive and factual, historical and mythological. What brings all these together is the central topic of fear and barren lusts, of waiting and looking forward to a sign of redemption or salvation. It is worthwhile to note that T. S. Eliot shows a great interest and even admiration of the literary symbols or actual figures associated with waiting and endurance.
- This oscillation between two times (past and future) constitutes the agony of waiting, sprinkling the poem with its unfulfilled or deferred hopes.
- If the poem, as already suggested, suffers from fragmentation in having an episodic and dislocated structure, the notion of waiting informs almost every bit and piece of ‘The Waste land' and eventually bestows upon it a sort of cohesive unity. The central pattern of waiting is, of course, present in the title of the poem.
The authors distinguish this sense of waiting from that recognized by other authors:
It is worthwhile to note that waiting here is different from, say, Maurice Blanchot's experience of this sensation. Unfortunately it is not accompanied by its sequel or opposite, i.e., forgetting. In his novel, Waiting and Oblivion, Blanchot spells out the inaccessible in Eliot's The Waste Land: "Forgetting, waiting; waiting that assembles, disperses; forgetting that disperses, assembles. Waiting, forgetting" (Khatab, p.84).
..., the concept of waiting in Eliot's The Waste Land is different from that expounded by absurdists like Eugene Ionesco. In his The Chairs (1952), for example, the aging couple waits passively for guests who never show up. The same holds true to Samuel Beckett's Waiting for Godot (1956) where Vladimir and Estragon give the sonata of time past and awe-inspiring present.
There are many references to the need to develop, cultivate and inculcate the art of waiting. It is presented as closely related to the art of listening by Niina Koivunen (Organizational Music: the role of listening in interaction processes, Consumption, Markets and Culture, 5, 2002, 1, pp. 99-106):
Listening is difficult because seeing takes so much energy. Listening deals with the invisible, which means that no images nor menta.I pictures are needed. Even a slightest image orientates the mind to the visible and thus to seeing. Listening is closely related to the art of waiting that is one of the most difficult skills for human beings. For animals it is completely natural to wait or be aware, but human beings seem to be lost when waiting and encountering unpredictable interaction with the world. Many philosophers, especially Japanese ones and the Zen tradition have discussed this principle of waiting. One central theme has always been to abandon the mental pictures and to open the mind for something new, for something different from oneself. This proper waiting also means that we try to get rid of our introversion. We try to open our shells and communicate with the other out there, to tolerate the other and accept it. Another important issue is that one can practice these skills, waiting and listening skills can be developed....
There is the intriguing possibility that what is recognized in the performance arts as "style" of a higher order may be intimately related to a deeper appreciation of timing than is considered meaningful in other contexts. It is an appreciation of movement -- "moves" in popular jargon. This would then frame the possibility of a deeper sense of timing cultivated by some performers -- with the implication of their deeper sense of waiting for appropriate moments (Janet Goodridge, Rhythm and Timing of Movement in Performance: drama, dance and ceremony, Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 1999). Clearly this extends to sports and the martial arts. Far less evident is how degrees of depth are experienced even if they are apparent to the most sensitive critics. Clues may of course be found in any sense of depth of flow (Susan A. Jackson and Robert Eklund, Assessing Flow in Physical Activity: the Flow State Scale-2 and Dispositional Flow Scale-2, Journal of Sport and Exercise Psychology, 24, 2002, 2, pp. 133-150; Giovanni B. Moneta, On the measurement and conceptualization of flow. 2012)
A valuable discussion of the problematic appreciation of "depth of style" in contrast with "breadth of style" is provided with respect to church music by the organist, Gary W. Cobb:
The expectations for breadth of styles in worship have profound implications for the rest of the spiritual life of a congregation and also for college curricula. It is interesting to note that this expectation usually centers on "breadth of style" rather than "depth of style". How can one enter into a clearly defined sense of worship in a service that does not necessarily exhibit one's best efforts or does not have a unifying thread running through it that somehow unites the Word and the music? (One Person's Plea for a Return to Focus in Worship, National Association of Schools of Music, 2003, pp. 261-267)
Degrees of "meta-waiting" recognized as "deep waiting"?
Degrees of self-reference and "control"? As implied in this argument, the quest is for insight into ever higher degrees of self-reference as they may be of relevance to the waiting process (Hilary Lawson, Reflexivity: the post-modern predicament, 1985; Douglas Hofstadter, I Am a Strange Loop, 2007). The latter follows an earlier study (Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Braid, 1979) and precedes another of potential relevance to clarifying this theme (Surfaces and Essences: analogy as the fuel and fire of thinking, 2013).
The variety of references to "deep waiting" suggest that there is intuitive recognition of this potential. The question is what it is that brings a sense of "depth" to the waiting experience. Whilst "deep time" has been appropriated to refer to geological spans of time, some use of the term has been made for cognitive purposes with respect to the flow state. It could be expected that the term would resonante with practioners of deep cultural memory. There is a case for associating and experience of "deep waiting" with "deep time".
The questionable preoccupation with control, deprecated as an "anal" obsession from a Freudian perspective, can be reframed through clues from cybernetics as the science of control. More intriguing is the evolution of thinking within that science, framed as the cybernetics of cybernetics -- or second-order cybernetics -- namely the recursive application of cybernetics to itself (Heinz von Foerster, Cybernetics of Cybernetics, 1974).
The question then to be asked is whether this shift in perspective applies to a potentially fruitful dissociation from the mundane form of waiting -- "first-order waiting"? Indeed it might even be asked why cyberneticians felt the need for such a shift in perspective to second-order cybernetics. More intriguing, and of even greater relevance to this argument, are the further developments of such thinking in relation to cybernetics -- although perceived as of progressively less relevance to cybeneticians as such, in terms of their priority preoccupations. As described separately (Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations, 2007), the developments include:
- Third order cybernetics, in principle represents the current state of the art. Here the observer is understood to be part of a coevolving system -- the focus is on how observers and systems co-evolve across different social systems. The dominant discourse is understood to be reproduced and transformed through local interactions. As noted by Chris Lucas (Complexity Theory: Actions for a Better World, 2001):
This is a more intrinsic (embodied) methodology and shows the ongoing convergence of all the various systemic disciplines, as part of the general world paradigm shift noticed recently towards more integrated approaches to science and life. In 21st Century systematics, boundaries between systems are only partial and this implies that we must evolve with our systems and cannot remain static outsiders. Thus our mental beliefs echo our systemic behaviours, we co-create our realities and therefore internal and external realities become one. Understanding this mutual control, exhibited by us on our world and our world on us, takes us into the metaview outlined here, where we can see ourselves as being part of the system under examination.
Because of the intimate connection with reflection on social constructivism and constructivist epistemology, the use of "second order cybernetics" has been interwoven with various proposals for a "third order cybernetics". David Pocock (Loose Ends), offers a critique of such usage in family therapy -- an obvious example of "mutable worlds". Another discussion speculated on the distinction: 1st order cybernetics is spectacular; 2nd order cybernetics is simulating potential fields with request/response; 3rd order cybernetics is potential fields, smell [more]. Note also the discussion by Kent D Palmer (On the Social Construction of Emergent Worlds: the foundations of reflexive autopoietic systems theory. 1996).
Concern has been expressed that any third order human system configured on the metaphor of autopoiesis would necessarily be oppressive, inhuman, and parasocial (William P. Hall, Are Third Order (i.e. Social) Autopoietic Systems Necessarily Autocratic? 2003). Discussion of "observers observing observers", namely certain forms of strategic management consultancy, is held to require such a third order cybernetics by Vincent Kenny and Philip Boxer (The Economy of Discourses: a third order cybernetics? Human Systems Management, 1990).
Central to this effort is the application of a unique, critical theory inspired by the works of Anthony Giddens (1971, 1990; see discussion on modernity and reflexivity) and John Francois Lyotard (1979; see discussion on postmodernity) to the cybernetic theoretical framework. The epistemological orientation of the theory proposed here is that of multiple realities shaped by social, cultural, economic, ethnic, gender and disability values, which centralize on the asymmetric power relations in society
Fourth order cybernetics is thus understood as concerned with how multiple realities are shaped by, and impinge upon, power relationships within society.
Although understood in terms of degrees of self-reference, the question of how such shifts are experienced in relation to waiting remains to be addressed. Further insight, notably in relation to progressively higher degrees of self-reference, is implied by the arguments of Cadell Last
(Towards a Big Historical Understanding of the Symbolic-Imaginary
- externally observed objects are modelled with an observer's noumenal view and voice that is systematically excluded from the "objective" model of the world to create the effect that the '"true natural world" in-itself is looking and speaking at the subject [eg science]
- observer's noumenal view and voice of externally observed objects is included in the model thus creatively relativizing thc observer's "objective" world model to the subjective locus producing it in order to study its effects in the ideational field structuring the motion of subject-object [eg deconstruction]
- observer of externally observed objects reflectivcly incorporates its own and subjective-multiplicities as a (virtual, cxtimatc) object of analysis structured by an a priori framc of desire that unconsciously filters orientation, intervention, and understanding of subject-object entanglement [eg psychoanalysis]
- observer reflectively incorporates noumenal view and voice model(s) structured by a priori frames of desire as capable of overdetcrmining the virtually narrated images of externally observed objects ("the world") through transcendental reflection and creation [eg historical subjectivity]
- observer identifies the virtual ideational field composed of a multiplicity of self-relating and desiring world views and voice models as a universal agency ("semiosphere"') in-itself with asymmetrical and irreversible reflective and creative autonomy structuring the motion of subject-object entanglement [eg history itself]
Are there forms of waiting which exemplify fifth, sixth and higher orders of self-reference? As discussed with respect to learning modalities (Progressive self-reflexive learning, 2007), a fifth stage might for example echo insights into a "fifth discipline" (Peter Senge, The Fifth Discipline: the art and practice of the learning organization, 1990; R. L. Flood, Rethinking the fifth discipline: learning within the unknowable, 1999)
The need for other understandings of control and time is implied by tentative aspirations to a circular economy in a context of surrealistic breakdown of mutual confidence. Through the cultural significance of the complex circularity of the Wu Xing, this may provide particular advantages to the global leadership of China. Is that 5-fold dynamic to be recognized as a higher order cybernetic feedback system to be understood from the perspective of jouncing -- or beyond (as discussed separately)?
"Higher derivatives of time"? As the latter highlight, and as implied by "self-reference", the progression raises the question of the identity of the "controller" and how that identity is experienced and reframed through progressive understanding of the process of ("post-anal") "control" -- most notably in waiting. For Manpreet K. Janeja and Andreas Bandak (Ethnographies of Waiting: doubt, hope and uncertainty, 2018): some element of planning and a sense of control over one's time are important (p. 21). Clues to the relationship between time and control were sought in a previous discussion (Cognitive Implication of Globality via Temporal Inversion: embodying the future through higher derivatives of time, 2019). This drew on the succession of distinctions made with regard to learning/action cycles by Arthur Young (The Geometry of Meaning, 1976):
- to know the position of a body in space, we need one instantaneous observation...
- to know its velocity, which is computer from the difference in position of the body and the difference in time between the two observations, we need two such observations
- to know its acceleration, we need three observations
- to know that a body... is under control, and to distinguish it from one in which the controls are stuck, we need at least four observations...
- to know the destination, provided the operator does not change his mind or try to fool us, we need five observations
- to know the operator has changed his mind or is trying to fool us, we need six observations
Note that the fifth observation is to establish a position... and the sixth a change of position. Thus categories five and six repeat the cycle, the fifth falling into the position category and the sixth into the velocity category... the sufficiency of four categories is demonstrated. (p. 18)
As noted in the earlier discussion, Young's 12-phase learning / action cycles. can be variously adapted (Typology of 12 complementary strategies essential to sustainable development, Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue).
This approach to time was used in separately exploring Clues to distinguishing "degrees of intensity"
(2018). This necessarily frames the challenge of Engaging with Insight of a Higher Order: reconciling complexity and simplexity through memorable metaphor
Again, of relevance to this argument is how these relate to the experience of waiting, notably in the light of any (undue) anticipation of change. How may such distinctions be embodied in the waiting process as experienced?
Identity of the "waiter": who waits? Any cognitive meta-shift through the waiting process necessarily implies a challenge to identity and to how -- through higher orders of self-reference -- the "self" is then framed, comprehended and distinguished from otherness to which the waiter is "subject" (Reframing the Dynamics of Engaging with Otherness, 2011; Recognizing patterns in the Greater Game with Otherness, 2013). The question is emphasized by the above-mentioned writings of Douglas Hofstadter (I Am a Strange Loop, 2007).
The experiential challenge of otheness is notably recognized in terms of acedia in the resources on solitude provided by The Hermitary (Acedia, Bane of Solitaries): Acedia (or accedie) has a narrow religious definition but is a far larger and wider psychological and spiritual term relevant to the history of eremiticism and solitude. Arguably it also merits particular attention with respect to migrants and refugees and their detention in holding centres.
The succession of such meta-shifts could be understood as a potential feature of the individuation process -- as progressive self-realization, This offers the curious perspective of the waiter being "awaited" by a potentially emergent identity -- much as the oak awaits the development of the seed from which it grows.
If this emergence is from the unconscious (according to a Jungian perspective), this suggests a form of "indwelling intelligence" whose nature can be variously explored (Implication of Indwelling Intelligence in Global Confidence-building: sustaining the construction and dynamic of psychosocial reality through questioning, 2012).
Pro-active waiting and nowness
Pro-active waiting as strategy?
There is a tradition with regard to emperors of China and Japan that their primary function was to "do nothing". In that sense it is not surprising to discover the following argument made by Donald Sull (Strategy as Active Waiting
, Harvard Business Review
, September 2005):
Managers can rarely manufacture a golden opportunity, nor can they predict its precise form, magnitude, or timing. That said, there is much they can do to prepare their firms to capitalize on a golden opportunity, or weather a sudden-death threat, when one arises. In explaining their success, the managers in our sample emphasized the preparation they took during periods of relative calm rather than their heroic actions (or rivals' boneheaded blunders) in the heat of battle. To survive and thrive in volatile markets, managers can pursue a strategy of active waiting, which consists of anticipating, preparing for, and seizing opportunities and dealing with threats as they arise. Like an advancing army, a company proceeding into an unpredictable future can follow a general direction, probe the future for potential opportunities and threats, keep resources in reserve, remain battle ready, and, when the big opportunity or threat arises, strike hard.
The wording can be seen as confusing and conflating the manner in which the degree of "doing" is contrasted with the degree of "waiting". Presumably the latter would increase in the higher echelons of the organization -- with most of the doing delegated to junior functionaries -- as in the case of an "emperor". Also questionable is the implication of strategy and its sense of intentionality. These could well be profoundly reframed, as with the sense of identity of whoever was "doing the waiting". It is in this sense that the patience characteristic of some forms of fishing is indicative -- especially when the objective is associated cognitively to a far higher degree with the process than with any outcome.
This offers a reminder of the distinction to be explored between actively awaiting a strategic opportunity (as with any hunter waiting to pounce) and the more passive strategy of awaiting a potential surprise, and of being "open to it" (as with a flower awaiting a pollinator). The contrast is reminiscent of gender role extremes and therefore invites reflection on the potential range of intermediary forms and of how they may be arrayed. The extremes are conflated in the saying: Everything comes to those who wait.
Nowness? Various authors have focused in some way on an heightened appreciation of the present moment and a sense of "nowness" -- defined as the quality or state of existing or occurring in or belonging to the present time:
- Peter Russell: Waking Up in Time: finding inner peace in times of accelerating change (Origin Press, 2008; Spirit of Now, website)
- Eckhart Tolle: The Power of Now: a guide to spiritual enlightenment (Namaste Publishing, 2004; Practicing the Power of Now: essential teachings, meditations, and exercises from The Power of Now, New World Library, 2001)
- Saul Kuchinsky: Present Moment Publications. (UniS Institute, 1994-1999)
- Francisco J. Varela:
- The Specious Present : a neurophenomenology of time consciousness. (In: J.Petitot, F.J.Varela, J.-M. Roy and B.Pachoud (Eds.), Naturalizing Phenomenology: Issues in Contemporary Phenomenology and Cognitive Science. Stanford University Press, 1997)
- Laying Down a Path in Walking: essays on enactive cognition (Zone Books/MIT Press, 1997)
The question pursued in this argument is the potential distinction of "degrees of nowness" and how this might relate to a more profound experience of waiting. This might be explored in terms of an "aesthetics of nowness" (Gary Delaney DeAngelis, Zen and the Art of Teaching: the pursuit of knowledge and wisdom
, Diotima: a philosophical review
, 2, 2001, 1):
...beauty is tied into mortality and a deep awareness of the frailty of life, beauty and love. This awareness leads to a heightened sensitivity to and appreciation of the immediacy of things or the nowness of life. This is most clearly manifested in the Japanese concepts of mono-no aware and yugen.... I think that aware could also be translated as a sensitivity to things, an incredible and profound sensitivity to life in its very 'beingness' or 'isness'--a sensitivity to the wonder, beauty and pathos of things because of the transitory nature of life....
If we add to this the notion of naka ima, with its emphasis on living in the purity of the present moment, we perhaps come closest to the uniqueness of the Japanese religious worldview. It is here that we see a vision of life not based on rational abstractions and artificial social conventions but in emotional and aesthetic sensitivity to the beauty and pathos of life.
This understanding is quite elusive at the rational level--so, how does one acquire this? Where does one look? This leads us to the notion of yugen. Yugen is a symbolic word used to describe the mysterious, the profound, the remote--things not easily grasped nor expressed in words--a region lying well beyond form....The yugen is this elusive place, this silence which lies beyond our rational grasp. It may be impossible to explain the yugen but we can intuitively sense it....
What needs to be emphasized here is the centrality of pure feeling, experience and sensitivity of the quality of the lived moment. For the Japanese the realization of truth at this level is what makes life extraordinary.
A relation between beauty and a deep sense of time is noted in a comment by Oliver Sacks:
The beauty of the forest is extraordinary -- but "beauty" is too simple a word, for being here is not just an esthetic experience, but one steeped with mystery, and awe.... The primeval, the sublime, are much better words here -- for they indicate realms remote from the moral or the human, realms which force us to gaze into immense vistas of space and time, where the beginnings and originations of all things lie hidden. Now, as I wandered in the cycad forest on Rota, it seemed as if my senses were actually enlarging, as if a new sense, a time sense, was opening within me, something which might allow me to appreciate millennia or eons as directly as I had experienced seconds or minutes. (Maria Popova, Oliver Sacks on Nature’s Beauty as a Gateway into Deep Time and a Lens on the Interconnectedness of the Universe, Brain Pickings, 2018)
Aspects of this quest can be explored in terms of "rendering present" both the past and the future (Presenting the Future: an alternative to dependence on human sacrifice through global pyramid selling schemes, 2001; Engaging Macrohistory through the Present Moment, 2004). This contrasts with projection of present perspectives into the past or future, criticized in historical and literary analysis as "presentism" -- although relating to arguments of the philosophy of presentism, namely the view that neither the future nor the past exist. How does such a perspective relate to the waiting experience?
One approach can be explored in terms of the quest for cognitive simplicity (Psychodynamics of Conscious Simplicity, 2005). How "present" can one choose to be? How does this then relate to "degrees of presence"?
Physics of "curled up dimensions"? Fundamental physics, most notably through the speculations of string theory, has given a degree of credibility to the "existence" of extra dimensions of spacetime for their mathematical consistency. In bosonic string theory, spacetime is 26-dimensional, while in superstring theory it is 10-dimensional, and in M-theory it is 11-dimensional. Physics seemingly has little interest in the cognitive relevance of such extra dimensions -- despite the claim that they are essential to a coherent explanation of reality (however that explanation is to be understood as experiential).
The possibility implied here is that there are various cognitive modalities in which people may well readily engage. These suggest a degree of intuitive engagement with "dimensions" which could be considered "extra" -- without being conflated with speculations on the supernatural -- as summarized separately (Varieties of Recognition in Practice of an Elusive Missing Dimension, 2018). As argued there, these could well be undestood as "curled up" in an articulated experience of nowness and the present moment.
The question is whether extended waiting encourages and enables progressive shifting into these extra dimensions -- indicated here in terms of "meta-waiting". Those who are obliged to "wait" for extensive periods (or choose to do so) can then be understood as shifting
cognitive gears to subtler understandings of waiting.
This understanding accords to some degree with the understanding of the human being as multidimensional -- if not hyperdimensional -- in ways which the future may explore more fruitfully. Authors variously addressing the possibility of a sense of hyperreality include:
- Ron Atkin: Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional space? (Penguin, 1981).
- Umberto Eco: Travels in Hyperreality (Mariner Books, 1973)
- George Lakoff and Rafael E. Núñez: Where Mathematics Comes From: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into being (Basic Books, 2001)
- David Abram: The Spell of the Sensuous: perception and language in a more-than-human world (Random House, 1997)
- M. Filiciak: Hyperidentities: postmodern identity patterns in massively multiplayer online role-playing games (The Video Game Theory Reader, Routledge, 2003, pp. 87-102)
- Steven Rosen:
Topologies of the Flesh: a multidimensional exploration of the lifeworld (Ohio University Press, 2006)
- Saul-Paul Sirag: Consciousness: a hyperspace view (Appendix in: Jeffrey Mishlove (Ed), Roots of Consciousness, Marlowe, 1993)
- Marisa Zavalloni: Identity and Hyperidentities: the representational foundation of self and culture (Papers on Social Representations; 1993, 2, 3, pp. 218-235)
- Ervin Laszlo: Quantum Shift in the Global Brain: how the new scientific reality can change us and our world (Simon and Schuster, 2008)
- Alexander Wendt: Quantum Mind and Social Science: unifying physical and social ontology (Cambridge University Press, 2015)
"Gravity" and "Arrogance"? There is a strange relationship between gravitas as a traditional virtue (potentially to be recognized in those of greater presence), the gravity recognized by physics, and the gravity models of the social sciences. The memetic entanglement is evident in the title of a work of the Christian mystic, Simone Weil (Gravity and Grace, Routledge, 2002). Further complexity is evident in the arrogance readily attributed to those with presence -- and potentially to those who have waited insightfully for extensive periods of time. Whether arrogance or otherwise, there is extensive commentary on the reality distortion field engendered by the former.
Are there particular insights intuitively associated with recognition of certain complex problems as "grave" -- especially given the other meaning of the term? The challenge is how to distinguish gravitas from arrogance in a person of presence -- if that is indeed significant.
Of particular interest is the mysterious manner in which arrogance is then associated with belief systems and their iconic exponents, as discussed separately (Arrogance as an analogue to gravity -- equally fundamental and mysterious, 2015). There it is noted that:
Little attention is however accorded to arrogance in psychosocial systems, and specifically with respect to that associated with the promoters of particular models in which others are called to believe. A valuable exception with respect to arrogance and "cultural gravity" is extensively discussed by Rajiv Narang and Devika Devaiah (Orbit-Shifting Innovation: the dynamics of ideas that create history, 2014). Another with respect to business cycles -- recalling the understanding of gravitational collapse -- is that of Michael Farr (Avoiding the Arrogance Cycle: think you can't lose, think again, 2012). It has been a concern since its articulation as hubris in Ancient Greece (Ariston, On Arrogance; Michael Dewilde, Hubris: the psychological and spiritual roots of a universal affliction; Valerie Tiberias and John D. Walker, Arrogance, American Philosophical Quarterly, 1998)
Arrogance (perhaps framed as egotism) is frequently cited as a factor undermining global initiatives. Military arrogance is an ever-present phenomenon, perhaps to be usefully recognized as characteristic of the security and intelligence services in general (Alistair Horne, Hubris: The Tragedy of War in the Twentieth Century, 2016). Elites are readily accused of arragance (Thomas Schaller, The Difference between Elitism and Arrogance, The American Prospect, 16 April 2008; Bob Shoup, Elitism or Arrogance, Canada Free Press, 30 August 2010; Paul Hockenos, Elitist arrogance in Brussels could tear the EU apart, CNN, 14 February 2018).
There is considerable irony to the extent to which arrogance functions as an "invisible" force in the sciences, as exemplified in a commentary on a proposed revision by the American Physical Society of its 2007 statement on climate change (Arthur Smith, The Arrogance of Physicists, 13 October 2009).
Given the mysterious nature of gravity, it is perhaps no surprise that there is considerable difficulty for the sciences to address its role in the elaboration and promulgation of systems of knowledge (Knowledge Processes Neglected by Science: insights from the crisis of science and belief, 2012). A strange relationship is however recognized between arrogance and creativity (Neel Burton, Bad Genius: The Link Between Arrogance and Creativity, Psychology Today, 6 September 2017; Tom Jacobs, The Focused Arrogance of the Highly Creative, Pacific Standard, 8 July 2011) .
Comprehending the potential significance of higher derivatives of time in relation to gravitational models is necessarily challenged by their subtlety -- however this is understood in relation to subjective experience. Clearly there is a sense through which the "internal" reframing of identity through extensive waiting engages and encompasses the supposedly "external" environment in ways which merit reflection in terms of the role of gravity. Can elitism be explored in this light?
Clues to "waiting" from "weighting"?
If aesthetics and mnemonic considerations are of significance to comprehension of waiting, the memetic entanglement in relation to gravitas, gravity and the grave, is delightfully enhanced through metaphoric use of "weight". This is evident in reference to spiritual and intellectual "heavyweights" and their necessarily "weighty arguments" to which the "masses" may be expected to be attentive. A play on words takes the challenge further given the phonetic equivalence of "weight" and "wait", and of "waiting" and "weighting". The association is the focus of an intriguing exploration by Joseph H. Kupfer (When Waiting is Weightless: the virtue of patience, The Journal of Value Inquiry, 41, 2007, 41, pp. 265-280).
There is a degree of irony to the manner in which people must wait years to be qualified through any educational system -- only then being able to "throw their weight around". This implies a form of transformation of the experience of waiting into "weight". Over shorter periods this is evident through any process of "waiting one's turn" -- as with rotating leadership.
With respect to higher orders of the waiting process, particular insight might well be derived from the process of weighting. This involves emphasizing the contribution of some aspects of a phenomenon (or of a set of data) to a final effect or result, giving them more weight in the analysis. It is most commonly applied to measurements of light, heat, sound, gamma radiation, namely to any stimulus that is spread over a spectrum of frequencies. Of relevance to its cognitive role in potentially distinguishing distinct orders of waiting, recent research has explored its role in control (Jiska Memelink and Bernhard Hommel, Intentional Weighting: a basic principle in cognitive control, Psychological Research, 77, 2013, 3, pp. 249-259):
The weighting of features in perception may be called "attentional" weighting since it affects the way attentional processes operate. Nevertheless, we claim that the weighting processes are not any different from the weighting processes that are affecting action selection, which is why we summarize and relate both types of weighting by referring to "intentional weighting" -- so to indicate that the weighting processes are a direct consequence of the current intention to perceive and to act.
In the waiting process, attention is variously attracted to the stimuli "spread over a spectrum of frequencies", namely light, sound, etc. The concentration of meditation typically engages in a weighting process in distinguishing between distractants and attractants -- as suggested by recent research:
Together these point to the intriguing possibility that higher orders of waiting could lend themselves to being distinguished in terms of "frequency curves" associated with such stimuli -- as usefully depicted in the Wikipedia description of weighting. The possibility acquires greater credibility in the light of any wave theory of being (Encountering Otherness as a Waveform, 2013; Being a Waveform of Potential as an Experiential Choice, 2013; Being Neither a-Waving Nor a-Parting, 2013; On being "walking wave functions" in terms of quantum consciousness? 2017). The latter follows from the arguments of Alexander Wendt (Quantum Mind and Social Science: unifying physical and social ontology, 2015).
Another association of interest through "weight" is the sense in which degrees of meta-waiting could be understood as articulated for mnemonic purposes as with the periods of the periodic table of chemical elements. This would then associate the "cognitive heavyweights", corresponding to those of higher orders of waiting, with the heavy metals in the later periods of such a table, as can be variously explored (Periodic Pattern of Human Knowing: implication of the Periodic Table as metaphor of elementary order, 2009; Periodic Pattern of Human Life: the Periodic Table as a metaphor of lifelong learning, 2009). Such a pattern then emphasizes the distinctive roles and characteristics of modes of waiting.
Mysterious relation between waiting and patience?
Patience as a religious virtue: Significantly with respect to any argument for their equivalence, although waiting is itself seldom framed as a virtue, patience has long been esteemed as such by religions:
- In Islam:
- Patience in carrying out religious commandments and good deeds; Patience while restraining from committing violations and prohibited deeds; Patience in remaining firm and steadfast to the divine decrees and fate, by not showing any annoyance (Patience, Its Forms and Various Categories: an Islamic perspective, Darussalam, 25 September 2014).
- Patience is three: patience in the face of calamities; patience in serving Allah; and patience in refraining from committing sin (Suyuti, II, 42; Daylami, II, 416)
- Patience when something evil happens (Quran Chapter 31. Luqman ayat 17); Restrain yourself from committing sin; Patience in constantly worshipping Allah (Quran Chapter 19. Maryam ayat 65)
- In Christianity:
- Whoever is patient has great understanding, but one who is quick-tempered displays folly (Proverbs 14:29)
- Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds (Second Corinthians 12:12)
- An unusual array of types of patience is offered by David Baker
(7 Types of Patience Needed for Congregational Unity, Ministry Coach, 18 July 2017)
- Pedagogical patience: takes into account that human learning is gradual and occurs in sequences and stages.
- Pastoral patience : takes into account the realities of trauma and healing, along with the patience required to help broken persons move toward trust and commitment.
- Multicultural patience: it’s hard to understand each other when we are dealing with cultural or linguistic diversity. Our assumptions may not compute across that divide. Are we willing to work at it?
- Collegial patience: needed by the minority and involves coming to terms with a dominate view without being convinced by it. (If you’re in a group of Christians and your view is outvoted, are you going to walk away mad and say, “Well, I lost it!”? Or are you going to hang in there with collegial patience to see if something good comes out of it?)
- The patience of repentance: recognizes that even if one’s position is correct, that it has probably been presented inadequately at times, or even unfaithfully at times. (So you might need to repent for that).
- The patience of finitude: the recognition that one may be wrong.
- Apocalyptic patience: the awareness that all matters are not worked out in the broken reality in which we live, and that we must wait and hope for heaven, where there will be perfect unity and peace.
- In Judaism: it would seem that waiting and patience are considered synonymous (The Torah's perspective on waiting or patience, Stack Exchange Network, 2016)
- In Buddhism: notably through emphasis on the "practice of patience", which is more elusively related to the experience of waiting (Lama Zopa, The Most Important Practice of Patience, Mandala, July 2015).
- Hsing Yun (Three Levels of Patience): patience for life, patience for phenomena, patience for the non-arising of phenomena.
Patience as an experience? It might be expected that corresponding to any form of meta-waiting would be higher orders of patience, if such a comparison is appropriate. Do higher orders of patience indeed correspond to higher orders of waiting? Is there then a clear distinction to be explored between waiting and patience -- or more specifically between waiting as an experience and "being patient", especially to the extent that the latter implies an external perspective on an internal experience?
Rather than the panel on waiting at the Association of Social Anthropologists of the UK and Commonwealth Decennial Conference (Edinburgh, 2014), which was a source of the above-mentioned Ethnographies of Waiting: doubt, hope and uncertainty (2018), could this have had the same significance in this period as a "panel on patience"? Is the population now called upon to experience "patience of a higher order"?
Basic to this consideration is whether it is fruitful in experiential terms to frame the much-acclaimed virtue of patience as a noun rather than through any associated dynamic -- as argued separately with respect to the range of value categories (Freedom, Democracy, Justice: Isolated Nouns or Interwoven Verbs? Illusory quest for qualities and principles dynamically disguised, 2011). As queried there values as verbs -- but of a higher order? -- hence the challenge with respect to patience as a noun, in contrast with the experiential dynamics of waiting implied by the verb. It is unusual to find virtues explored in systemic terms (Denise Vigani, Construing Character: virtue as a cognitive-affective processing system, City University of New York, June 2016)
Further confusion appears to be due to the failure to consider how any distinction between patience and waiting might be made in other languages, especially when "patience" might be framed more dynamically as a verb and "waiting" more statically as a noun. Why is it that virtues are recognized as nouns and not through the dynamic by which the quality in question is experienced and embodied?
Contrasting distinctions: The following contrasting approaches to the distinction between patience and waiting may themselves offer further insight into their mysterious relationship:
- patience and waiting as synonymous
- waiting as an objective measure for scientific and production purposes -- "downtime", queuing theory, etc
- waiting as a subjective experience -- in waiting rooms, for a job, etc
- waiting as a dynamic in contrast to the static quality of patience
- patience as a valued quality attributed to a style of waiting
- patience as a quality enjoined by authorities on those obliged to wait
- patience as inclusive of waiting understood as a less refined process
- the "discriminatory appropriation" of an understanding of either patience or waiting in support of a particular agenda
Patience as defined: As distinguished in many commentaries, the varieties of patience all tend to be presented definitively and unquestionably as descriptive characteristics framed by external observers.
- Jong Kun Choi: The Perils of Strategic Patience with North Korea (The Washington Quarterly, 38, 2015, 4, pp. 57-72): Arguing ... the policy of strategic patience, namely waiting and preparing for North
Korea's collapse, is a terrible idea for the denuclearization of North Korea,
- Margaret Hebblethwaite: Patience (The Furrow 36, 1985, 3, pp. 139-147): That confident waiting (patience) led them to suffer persecution from those who did not believe them, but that did not shake their faith.... Patience means waiting in the belly of the whale, as Jonah did for three days.
- Sarah A. Schnitker: An examination of patience and well-being (The Journal of Positive Psychology, 7, 2012, 4, pp. 263-280): Patience is the propensity to wait calmly in the face of frustration or adversity.
- Dnald Gray: On Patience: human and divine (CrossCurrents 24, 1975, 4, pp. 409-422): Patience is waiting upon process.
- Sarah A. Schnitker and Robert A. Emmons: Patience as a Virtue: religious and psychological perspectives (Research in the Social Scientific Study of Religion, 18, 2007, pp 177-208)
- Dieter F. Uchtdorf: Continue in Patience (Priesthood Session, May 2016)
- David Baily: Patience: how we wait upon the world (Cowley Publications, 1997)
- Cipriano Manuel: Patience and Other Values (Journal of American Indian Education 4, 1965, 2, pp. 1-4)
Valuable clarifications are provided in the review by Shirong Luo (Philosophical Reviews, 1 September 2016) of the book-length study by Matthew Pianalto (On Patience: reclaiming a foundational virtue, 2016). The author argues:
... patience is not a one-dimensional virtue, but rather a multifaceted one. As such patience includes self-possessed waiting, uncomplaining endurance, forbearance and tolerance, constancy and perseverance. This broad notion of patience has certain theoretical advantages and plays a crucial role in responding to critics and rectifying misunderstandings, but it also leads to some questions. It seems that all the aspects of patience -- endurance, forbearance, tolerance, constancy and perseverance -- are virtues in their own rights.
Degrees of patience? Are there then degrees of "self-possessed waiting", as might correspond to degrees of "meta-waiting" or of "deep waiting"? With respect to the possibility of "higher orders of patience" the following is of interest by Adam J. Johnson:
The tension throughout Scripture between God's patience and the outbreaking of these temporary and symbolic manifestations of his wrath (no matter how harsh they may seem to be to us) is ultimately a tension that takes place within a higher order of patience -- the patience of God directed towards the work of Christ when he justifies himself passing 'over former sins' (Romans, 3.25-6). (God's Being in Reconciliation: the theological basis of the unity and diversity of the Atonement in the theology of Karl Barth, Bloomsbury Publishing, 2012,
The unresolved difficulty is that, as typically used, all virtues are objective descriptors -- from an observational perspective -- and do not address the nature of the subjective experience exemplified here by the types of waiting indicated above. Curiously, in the eyes of others, it is possible to possess a virtue, even to embody it -- but without it being clear how the possessor experiences that virtue, or whether it can be experienced to a higher degree.
References to "patience of a higher order" are neither as rich nor as evident as might be assumed (The Three Types of Patience: how to be more patient (Instinctual Wellbeing, 15 September 2014). More evident is the highlighting of "depths of patience" by Allan Lokos (Patience: the art of peaceful living, Penguin Random House, 2012).
Questionable discrimination? Most dubious is the discriminatory sociopolitical implication that virtues and values are attributed and accredited by authorities in support of their dominance. In this case patience is righteously enjoined by various power structures upon the waiting population:
- by religion, as noted above in anticipation of remedial intervention by deity
- by health care services in anticipation of any recovery
- by institutions of justice, despite the delays, and in promoting rehabilitation through incarceration
- by government, in excusing the delays in promised reforms
- by science ad technology, in promoting possible solutions to problems
- by the military and security services, in promising the containment of threats to law and order
The masses are thereby framed as potentially subject to a regretably unrestful dynamic -- a destabilization of the prevailing order. Is "waiting" then to be recognized as well-framed as a condition of less virtuous order in comparison with patience, as implied by Joseph H. Kupfer (When Waiting is Weightless: the virtue of patience The Journal of Value Inquiry, 41, 2007, 41, pp. 265-280)? Does waiting tend to be framed "negatively", in contrast with a "positive" framing of patience?
Patient society? Ironically some insight is to be derived from the sense in which those who are most formally recognized as practioners of patience are "patients". In languages in which patience takes the form of a verb, this would then tend to resemble "pacification" processes -- possibly thereby framing the transformation of "waiters" into "patients".
This evokes reflection on a "patient society" as one in which all are a focus of some form of "health care" -- for which patience is enjoined, if not actively ensured (Lawrence K. Frank, Society as the Patient: essays on culture and personality, Rutgers University Press, 1948; Michael E. Staub, Society as the Patient: Madness Is Civilization, University of Chicago Press, 2011; Ananta Kumar Giri, Society as a Patient: metapathology, healing and challenges of self and social transformations, Social Alternatives, 33, 2014, 2). Global civilization might then be understood as a "waiting room" -- reinforcing some religious beliefs and fuelling some conspiracy theories with regard to extraterrestrials.
Perhaps surprisingly, given the contrast made below between a "business society" and a "waiting society", patience is of particular significance in economics:
- Charles Courtemanche: Why patience pays (World Economic Forum, 16 Oct 2014): In economics, patience is measured as the ‘rate of time preference’, which is a function reflecting the amount of present consumption one would be willing to forego in order to increase future consumption by a certain amount. Individuals’ rates of time preferences are often elicited by surveys using questions involving choices about different monetary amounts at different points in time.
- Thomas Dohmen, et al.: Patience and The Wealth of Nations (IAME, 20 April 2015): According to standard dynamic choice theories, patience is a key driving factor behind the accumulation of the proximate determinants of economic development... Consistent with the idea that patience affects national income through accumulation processes, patience also strongly correlates with human and physical capital accumulation, investments into productivity, and institutional quality.
- Rubens Penha Cysne: On the positive correlation between income and patience (Revista Brasileira de Economia, 60, 2006, 1)
In contrast with the cost of waiting, indicated above as a waste in economic terms, patience is framed by these references as an asset -- a virtue in economic terms. Ambiguity is evident in that, for a business, a pool of waiting customers could indeed be framed as an asset -- although potentially a wasting asset, if there is a risk that they may be attracted to competing initiatives.
Further distinctions may or may not be associated with "acting patiently", "actively waiting" and "patiently waiting" -- all of which are relevant in any enterprise.
Aesthetic clarifications? Finer distinctions may be evident in the poetry of patience and the poetry of waiting -- with many of the latter clarifying those made above with respect to types of waiting:
Waiting society versus Business society?
Busyness society? Those who practice solitude and stillness in some manner, possibly through being obliged to wait, notably contrast their experience with the "busyness" of society preoccupied with "business". Curiously it is the practice of business by some which frames conditions in which others are obliged to wait. It could be argued that business would be acclaimed as successful if many were waiting to consume its products -- whilst many others were waiting to be employed by that process. The latter are recognized through the term labour pool, curiously conflated with workforce. This reinforces the implication that those who wait to be employed are perversely framed for some purposes as part of the workforce, whether or not they have any prospect of ever being remuneratively employed -- or desire to be so.
The situation is echoed in the processes of government, typically claimed to be successful to the extent that the majority of the population is waiting (patiently) for delivery of change -- as identified in electoral promises and commitments. Many of course await the possibility of employment in government administration, seen as exemplifying long-term security. Whether in business or in government, those employed may well wait for career advancement and a pay rise -- as well as waiting patiently for retirement.
To assume that all those in Africa and the Middle East awaiting migration to Europe are part of the "workforce" from an economic perspective is naive hypocrisy of the heightest degree. Most can be understood to be "employed" otherwise -- in waiting. Curiously this blinkered economic view has been characteristic of the exclusion of the "work" of those at home -- housewives, the aged, children, etc -- from inclusion in any understanding of GDP. They are presumably to be understood as "waiting" at home, however they are obliged to employ themselves..
So framed it could be argued that "business models" are in effect associated with "busyness models" and imply them as a hidden complement. This is most evident in the detailed attention to scheduling and the management of time. As noted above, the minimization of waiting is vital to business profitability. Waiting is then recognized as a waste. Curiously it could then be seen that in engendering waiting, whether deliberately or inadvertently, business could be said to outsource that process as incompatible with a profitable business model. Without necessarily seeking financial profit, this is also the case with government administration. The waiting populating is outsourced notably into queues and queue areas -- or ignored. No effort is made to calculate the cost. Curiously this is also the case with respect to democratic voting procedures in which voters are expected to queue if they wish to vote (or are legally obliged to do so).
Waiting society? The variety of forms of waiting, and the extent to which people are variously obliged to wait, suggests that global society should also be explored as a "waiting society". The argument for doing so is that collectively people are fundamentally in a waiting mode -- effectively awaiting fruitful outcomes from global governance and other promises, as much as from regional, national and local governance. As noted above, collective expectation of sustainability places society collectively in a waiting mode.
Expressed otherwise, it could be said that society is "expectant" -- namely "pregnant" in anticipation of some form of "renaissance" (David Lorimer and Oliver Robinson, A New Renaissance: transforming science, spirit, and society, 2011). Rather than a "waiting society", this offers the notion of an "expectant society". The sociopolitical crises of the times could be only too conveniently framed as "labour pains" through which some new order is being born.
References to some understanding of a waiting society include the following -- however they are to be interpreted:
- Elżbieta Tarkowska: A Waiting Society: the temporal dimension of transformation in Poland (Polish Sociological Bulletin, 2, 1993, pp. 93-102), arguing that the Polish people were called a waiting society because people were passively waiting for what the future would bring instead of taking matters in their own hands.
- Rob Asghar The Waiting Society: how America's leaders are ushering in Third-World living, (Forbes, 22 February 2018)
The Economist actually observed a few years ago that citizens in developed nations were increasingly divided into those who had money but not time and those who had time but not money. The latter group, with time on its hands, literally waits for and waits on the moneyed group. This is becoming the Waiting Society. Because we do this through increased technological sophistication such as apps that instantly ping us with new opportunities, we can reduce the waiting process somewhat.
- The Qualities of Waiting Society (Shabestan News Agency, 21 May 2018), from an Islamic perspective:
One of the major issue of society before arrival of Imam is the formation of waiting society from the companions and followers of Imam Mehdi. This is a society that links a man with Imam Mehdi and a model society... The waiting society’s importance and standards are these:
- the waiting society revolves around Wilayat which is based on Imam and Ummah system.
- in this society, the leaders of the Muslim community are Ummah and followers of supreme leader.
- the waiting society is a durable society and it calls for patient in comparison to enemies and problems.
- the waiting society is a vigilant society which does not surrender infront of enemies in difficult hours.
- the waiting society is a unified society in which people forms a society by means of harmony and integration. We should adopt all this for the formation of a waiting society.(see also: Awaiting Imam Mahdi... means preparing and paving the ground for his re-appearance and the duty of those who wait is to develop a real waiting society (7th International Conference of Mahdism Doctrine)
- Walid Salem: Dying in Temporariness (Transcend Media Service, 2 July 2018) offers a distinctive example, where temporariness::
refers to the fact that the Palestinian spends his/her whole life in temporariness. In such a life he/ she will need creative ways of action in order to be able to stay in place, and/ or to manage the damage happening by decreasing its effects in case of the inability to get rid of it. In other words the policy of "Temporariness", includes in it an integral component that makes it impossible for the Palestinian to change it whilst the Israeli occupation and its legal structures continues. He/She (the Palestinian) has no option other than to find ways to maneuver in order to be able to continue existing till he/she dies.
- Edward M. Kennedy: Biomedical Science in an Expectant Society (In: G. Weissmann, The Biological Revolution, Springer, 1979)
Waiting framed by other modes of engaging with time
As noted above, useful distinctions can be recognized between exploration of the future, through futures studies and imaginative speculation (in fiction), their reframing in terms of anticipation (notably with respect to financial "futures"), and the busyness of business society. The latter notably frames and engenders a waiting society as clarified here. The relationship might be represented as follows (bottom left), with the core indicative of cognitive degrees of "meta-waiting".
The separations indicated are obviously a matter of controversy, with overlaps between zones to be variously envisaged. This argument offers the even more controversial suggestion that the direction of progressive shift away from heightened experience of the present moment is a case of "wrong way -- go back".
|2D Framing of higher orders of meta-waiting
||Possible insights from 3D configurations
As a catalyst for reflection, there is a case for switching from the 2D representation on the left to a configuration in 3D on the right, whether as a simple torus or through the dynamics of intertwined tori, as argued separately (Comprehension of Requisite Variety for Sustainable Psychosocial Dynamics, 2006). The dynamics of the intertwined tori can be viewed as an animation in virtual reality.
The 3D variants are indicative of the possibility that the central zone of the 2D version is in some way cognitively contiguous with its speculative outer circumference -- through a form of "wrapping". The circumferential rings are then suggestive of derivatives of time of different orders. These are currently a feature of alternative gravity models, as discussed separately (Temporal inversion and higher derivatives of time, 2018). As a complement to insight into the astrophysics of black holes, such implications recall the arguments of Peter Russell (The White Hole in Time: our future evolution and the meaning of now, 1992).
There is clearly a paradox to how the centre is understood experientially as contiguous with the circumference of the 2D depiction -- a "cognitive twist" typical of interpretations of the Mobius strip and the Klein bottle (Steven M. Rosen, Science, Paradox, and the Moebius Principle: the evolution of a transcultural approach to wholeness, SUNY, 1994; How Can We Signify Being? Semiotics and Topological Self-Signification, Cosmos and History: The Journal of Natural and Social Philosophy, 10, 2014, 2).
The geometry of the 2D depiction of above is unnecessrily restrictive in that a spiral relation between the concentric zones is more indicative of a developmental relation. Especially suggestive is a distinctive use of interrelated tori below, as discussed separately (Symbolizing Collective Remembering Otherwise Encompassing: the "headless hearts" and "heartless heads" through their dynamic entanglement, 2018). The images suggest a form of interlocking between distinctive cognitive modalities. Missing (or implied) is an additional spiral pathway between the modalities of which the central animation is indicative, as discussed separately (Visualization in 3D of Dynamics of Toroidal Helical Coils: in quest of optimum designs for a Concordian Mandala, 2016).
Such considerations raise questions as to how time may come to be embodied otherwise, whether individually or collectively. Possible indications are;
Speculations regarding expansion of the universe from a Big Bang -- in anticipation of its subsequent contraction to a Big Crunch -- have potentially significant cognitive implications. These follow from the manner in which the experiential "universe" expands and contracts during the waiting process. Given the astrophysical metaphor, this invites reflection on the "shape of the universe" -- of the experiential universe whilst waiting.
Given the fundamental importance of the Euler identity, ranked the most beautiful equation in mathmatics, the remarkable possibility that it may hold insights into the waiting process is suggested by the work of Anthony Sofo and Pietro Cerone (Generalisation of a Waiting-Time Relation Journal of Mathematical Analysis and Applications 214, 1997, 1, pp. 191-206; Generalisation of Euler's identity, Bulletin of the Australian Mathematical Society, December 1998 58, 1998, 3, pp. 359-371). The latter cites the former. The various attempts to offer an intuitive understanding of the Euler identity offer pointers of potential relevance to the waiting experience (What is an intuitive explanation of Eulers identity? Quora; Intuitive Understanding of Euler’s Formula, Better Explained)
Future of waiting in society?
Any sense of a waiting society, or of an expectant society, offers a reminder that it is "anticipated" that the society of the future is expected to become primarily a "service society". Ironically this may however encourage a reframing of the seemingly humble current role of "waiters" (in contrast with "patients"). In that respect it is appropriate to recall that the early Christian Desert Fathers -- as hermits -- wove baskets to exchange for bread. In medieval times hermits were also found within or near cities where they might earn a living as a gate keeper or ferryman.
How would the dynamics of society be experienced if "waiters" were the primary practitioners cultivating a sense of "pro-active meta-waiting"? This understanding offers scope for speculative science fiction. Given the argument for higher cybernetic orders of self-reference, "ordering" from such a waiter would potentially then offer a quite unusual experience. The question is relevant to the consideration of the increasing "soullessness" of service environments (Dreamables, Deniables, Deliverables and Duende: global dynamics "at the table" inspired by dining and wining in practice, 2015).
Given the possibility of pro-active meta-waiting argued above, it could be claimed that the future will see a convergence between the reduction of wait time sought by process management with a reframing of waiting by any "waiter" -- namely a far higher degree of focus on nowness and the present moment. Ironically the higher wealth production associated with the reduction of wait time by business would then be complemented by the greater access to "inner wealth" through meta-waiting.
The increasing role of artificial intelligence is now actively anticipated even with respect to dialogue (Computer AI passes Turing test in 'world first', BBC News, 9 June 2014; Thomas Hornigold, How Close Is Turing’s Dream of Conversational Machines? SingularityHub, 27 September 2017; Pei-Hao Su, et al, Deep Learning for Conversational AI, NAACL, 2018).
For those awaiting meaningful conversation, there is the intriguing possibility that in the expected capacity of robots -- as "waiters" par excellence -- their programming may readily distinguish between lower and higher orders of cybernetics in an interaction, namely the appropriate degree of self-reference in response to an "order". With respect to any prospect of "meta-waiting", this suggests implications for a Forthcoming Major Revolution in Global Dialogue (2013), namely a challenging new world order of interactive communication.
Reverting to the argument of Douglas Hofstadter (I Am a Strange Loop, 2007), to whom is what meant by such a strange loop in the process of meta-waiting? How might that be understood collectively, as separately explored (Sustaining a Community of Strange Loops: comprehension and engagement through aesthetic ring transformation, 2010)?
For what, at this time, is anyone not waiting?
The monolithic human statues on Easter Island (the Moai) suggest a poignant insight into a culture heavily invested in anticipation of externalities. They seemingly await patiently an event whose nature now eludes them -- readily associated with cargo cult societies in that region. The collapse of the culture on Easter Island is cited by Jared Diamond as providing one of the best historical examples of societal collapse in isolation (Collapse: how societies choose to fail or survive, 2005).
of an anticipation society?
Statues on Easter Island -- the Moai
|Reproduced from Wikipedia
where the image has been rated one of
the finest in that collection
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