11 May 2009
Generic Reframing of the 12 Tribes of "Israel"
"We have met the Zionists and them is us"
- / -
"Israel": a place of exclusive excellence for "Jews"
"Zionism" and the "Right of Return"
"Jerusalem" and the "Temple"
Metaphoric role reversal
12 Tribes of "Israel": a global configuration"
Topology of "Jerusalem": a psychoactive engagement
"Temple": implication of a one-sided, walled paradox
Fruitful exchange between the tribes: key to viable globality
Conclusion: faith as a strange attractor
Prepared on the occasion of the visit
of Pope Benedict XVI to Jerusalem and of
the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu to Barack Obama
This exploration follows from a conclusion of the experiment Towards
a Generic Global Issue Statement: evoking an instructive pattern of unquestionable
responses (2009) of which it is effectively an Annex.
The question raised by that experiment was:
Arguably most people identify
with some pattern of behaviour which they consider their fundamental right,
potentially functioning like
"Zionists"... according to others who challenge
that right -- given its problematic implications for others who suffer
as a consequence. This leads to the question for whom is one a "Zionist"
and for whom is one "Mahmoud Ahmadinejad"?
Given the central strategic importance of Zionism and Israel to global
security, notably in the Middle East, the concern here is whether the implications
of that question offer further insights of any value in understanding the divisiveness
that undermines coherent approaches to future challenges.
The subtitle is an adaptation of the famous Pogo cartoon
have met the enemy...).
This exercise uses Israel and Zionism because of the challenge they exemplify
for any dialogue between worldviews, especially in the reaction of any worldview
to criticism of its perspective. This challenge has previously been explored
in relation to a wide range of worldviews, whether religious, scientific, or
for Critical Dialogue between Worldviews: as exemplified by the need for non-antisemitic
dialogue with Israelis? 2006).
Worldviews are in their own right necessarily exclusive and divisive. Any
distinct worldview is necessarily confronted by the existence of others who
do not subscribe to it, whether or not they subscribe to
another distinct worldview and endeavour to promote it -- even "competitively".
Criticism of any worldview is readily construed by its supporters as blasphemy
-- or some analogue to it.
As a metaphor, Israel offers
an ideal metaphor for exploring such divisiveness within the world. It is the
most evident model of exclusiveness as this manifests in many forms throughout
society. The strength of the example is reinforced by the explicit and conscious
manner in which emphasis is placed on the "choseness" of a people that has
traditionally considered itself specially "Chosen".
The point of the following
exercise is to show how members of any collectivity with a strong identity,
upholding a distinct worldview, may explicitly or implicitly consider themselves
to be "chosen" or "exceptional" -- excluding others in
consequence if only as "unbelievers". This is notably the case with
respect to the triumphalism and exceptionalism of
all the Abrahamic
religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism).
Marked in quotes in what follows, "Israel" is
then a metaphor for a worldview -- a marker which could as well have been
applied to any other worldview had its implications been as evident.
As a metaphor, Zionism is then to be understood
as the primary individual and collective aspiration driving growth and development
in society -- articulated, generation after generation by "Jews" of
every kind, through some form of ever hopeful "Next Year in Jerusalem".
The challenge in what follows is to identify what forms "Israel" and "Zionism"
then take for "Jews" -- with the culminating focus of "Jerusalem" -- as they
manifest as a focus beyond the particular case of Israel, Zionism, Jews and
Jerusalem. The metaphors necessarily also imply the metaphorical challenge
of "Palestinians" everywhere, beyond the particular case of Palestinians.
A further purpose of this exercise is to clarify the extent to which the distinctness
of one's own worldview, by its exclusiveness and the special insight one claims
to draw from it, is necessarily problematic if it is assumed to be "innocent"
of damaging consequences for others who do not share that perspective. In a
world of multiple mutually challenging worldviews, if one does not
understand how one is part of the problem with which society is faced one is
seriously constrained in the capacity to understand the nature of the solution
required. In a sense, to frame others as uniquely part of the problem -- in contrast
to one's own collective -- is the essence of exclusiveness.
"Israel": a place of exclusive excellence for "Jews"
As a metaphor, every community with a sense of collective identity may be
understood as composed of "Jews" -- righteously imbued with their
particular sense of triumphalism and exceptionalism,
whether associated with religious beliefs or otherwise.
Being "Jewish" is
then to be understood in this exercise as the essence of that sense of identity.
That community may be understood as inhabiting its own "place" --
the "Israel" of
this section -- or yearning, as "Zionists", to fulfil a "Right
of Return" to such a place elsewhere
(as discussed below).
It follows naturally that we as "Jews" have a special sense of bonding with
those who are "our people" in the place we share. It is "our place" with which
we identify and by which we are identified. Examples of such exclusive place
- our city, town or village, including those who have moved elsewhere
- our university, including any extended network of alumni
- our island (as with Ile de Re, St Barts)
- our nation (as with celebration of Britishness, Irishness, Scottishness)
- our residential (gated) community
- our territory (as with an urban gang)
- our temple, mosque, church, ashram, or dojo
- our regimental base
- our company (as with IBM)
- our shop (as with Harrods)
- our farm, land or forest
- our club (country club, sports club, night club), possibly part of an exclusive
network of clubs
- our pub, cafe, restaurant, hotel, or resort
- our team (as with Manchester United)
- our movement, gang, secret society, or guild (notably as in online gaming)
- our cyberspace domain (or virtual world)
Identification with the excellence of the "place", whether physical
or virtual, may
be specially promoted (eg London as the "coolest" city, etc). Living
there, or in identification with it, enhances the sense that "we are the
chosen ones". Its existence, possibly
over generations, justifies some sense that this is the "land of our fathers".
We have a sense of being specially qualified, whether genetically or memetically.
There may even be a sense in which the place has effectively chosen us.
"Zionism" and the "Right of Return"
Irrespective of whether we have ever been to "Israel", it is a place
to which we naturally aspire to go. Most have a fundamental yearning to get
It is "our dream", variously articulated in every community,
as by Martin
Luther King (I
Have a Dream), or by Barack
Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, 2006).
Such lifelong yearning focuses hopefully on "Next Year in Jerusalem" --
a yearning that may be passed down the generations. We then have a "right
of return" --
felt in our very bones -- to get to "Israel" as a culmination of
our existential aspiration to join "our people" in "our place",
leaving behind the dissatisfactions of ordinary life as previously lived.
The possibility may be celebrated in myth, legend, religion or modern blockbuster
movies. It is a place lost in the mists of history (as with Camelot)
or located in a secret place (as with Shambhala).
The sense of yearning is especially desperate if "Israel" does not appear
to exist, we do not know where it is, or are variously prevented from getting
there. The yearning underlies much ambition whatever form that takes. It is
also evident in the purchase of lottery tickets and gambling -- as potentially
offering a ticket enabling travel to "Israel".
Whatever the sense of "Israel", if it does appear to exist -- as variously
indicated in the examples of the previous section -- we then naturally feel
that we have a fundamental right to return there. It is the right inherent
in the quality we exhibit and of who we believe ourselves to be. It is
in the very nature of things. Examples of this understanding might include:
- return to one's country of origin or nationality
- returning to one's village
- "going home", as with the tale of the prodigal son
- returning to "our school" or university, perhaps through the privileged
right of attendance of our children there
- right of veterans to the sense of community of those who have returned
from military service (as with the RSL
of Australia or the RSA
of New Zealand)
- going to an exclusive gathering or resort where there are others
"like me", reinforcing my sense of identity and quality
- right to travel to Mecca
Of special interest are the cases of:
- centres of excellence (as notably promoted by the European Commission)
- elite units (as promoted by the military and security services)
- holy places and their associated residential communities (as variously
promoted by different religions)
- elite clubs (as promoted for and by socialites and jet setters)
- nobility (as preserved and cultivated across generations)
- nomenklatura (as variously promoted by and for the wealthy and
- associations of the specially gifted (whether intellectually, artistically,
Such examples can only suggest the exceptional quality and values assumed
by those involved, uniquely defining and distinguishing their identity from
that of others. Such distinctions are most evidently contentious in declarations
of religions as with the Christian interpretation of the Great
Commission or the Aleinu of
Judaism. The radical nature of such exceptionalism is evident in the deprecatory
statements that have been intrinsic to the Tridentine
Mass and to the Aleinu prayer. Analogous distinctions are made with
regard to the excellence of the scientific method, unfortunately also evident
in the pecking order of academic disciplines. A controversial line in the Aleinu (derived from Isaiah 45:20), variously excluded and included over the years, exemplifies a cognitive understanding intrinsic to any preferred worldview (namely to any "Zionism"): For they bow to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god which helps not. Any elite perceives the claims of others to be vain and intrinsically empty of significance. Each perceives itself to be otherwise, as Zionism so claims through the Aleinu.
"Jerusalem" and the "Temple"
The ultimate expression of our collective identity and ideals is "Jerusalem"
and its "Temple" -- battered by history into a collection of ruins
and claimed by various others (with their own symbolic edifices there, representing
part of the struggle over generations past). This place and its implicit "Temple" is
the exemplification of meaning and focus to life. As the strangest of attractors,
it is more than a symbol or construct.
Some forms of "Temple" include:
- the Theory
of Everything that is the quest of physicists
- ever more complex symmetry groups, or prime numbers, that is a quest of
the market" as the quest by many traders for a controlling monopoly of
- acquisition of an extensive domain, whether parkland or an island
- establishing a dynasty, as with the aspirations of some powerful families
- invention of a vital technology ("free energy"), which can be patented
to ensure lucrative licence fees
- nomination to a position of the highest status
- acquiring an award of the highest distinction (Nobel Prize, etc)
- acknowledged academic achievement
- the ultimate architectural construct (tallest building in the world, etc)
- recognition as amongst the wealthiest, the best dressed, Miss Universe,
- an extreme sports achievement (mountain climbing, polar expedition, round-the-world
- record holder noted in the Guiness
Book of Records (effectively one form of Book
- membership and successive initiations within a secret society (possibly
in a "temple")
- ensuring passage of key legislation (nuclear disarmament, rainforest protection,
As with the jumble of symbolic edifices, and notably the denominational subdivisions
of the Church of the
Holy Sepulchre, there is a degree of competitiveness
amongst the extant "Jerusalems". Crudely expressed, each worldview
necessarily holds the understanding that its own "Jerusalem" is bigger
and more important than that of any other worldview. That is the nature of "Israel".
Access to any "Israel" by "Zionists" is of course inhibited and rendered
problematic by "Palestinians".
"Palestinians" may be variously understood as:
- specifically not "like us", not sharing our heritage, and lacking
in our most essential qualities
- not sharing our values or "our dream", being effectively "unbelievers"
and "stealing my dream"
- hindering us in exhibiting our qualities, notably by lowering the tone
we seek to cultivate and exemplify
- occupying "our space", the space that most exemplifies our qualities
- having the most questionable right to reside on "our land" in
- encroaching on our neighbourhood and changing its nature (as with developers)
Metaphoric role reversal
Of course the above exercise allows roles to be exchanged, as in any game
of "Cops and Robbers":
- the Palestinians can instead lay claim to be "Jews", necessarily
with their own aspirations (as "Zionists")
- the Jews can take on the role of "Palestinians", then necessarily
excluded from "Israel" and participation in the dream of the "Jews"
Such role reversal (with some poetic licence) may be understood as a reframing
of the classic text by Martin
and Thou, 1923) into a necessary plural form, "Wes and Yous". In
this sense, "Israel" is the place of the "Wes" and the "Palestinians" are then
the "Yous". But with the reversal of roles, "Them" becomes "Us"
and "Us" becomes "Them". Recalling Pogo's perceptive recognition (We
have seen the enemy...),
for the "Palestinians" the "Zionists" are now "Us", the "Wes" -- and for the
former "Israelis", "Wes" have become "Yous". Of course the absence in English
(and a number of languages) of the more intimate plural of "Thou" reinforces
the problematic reification of the "Yous".
Such reversal creates curious situations and connotations:
- the logic of "Wes" forbidding the "Right of Return" to "Palestinians"
becomes more apparent; essentially they have no place in "Israel"
- there is a curious (if perverse) logic to ensuring the privileged access
to the (sacred) precincts of (what remains of) the "Temple" by the "Wes"
-- using a "Wall" to keep the "Yous" out, effectively "walling" the "Wes"
- the complementarity between the inner "Temple
Wall" charged with significance
for the "Jews" (but lacking significance for the "Palestinians") and the Israeli-West
Bank barrier charged with symbolism for the "Palestinians" (but of purely
secular significance for the "Jews")
- "Jerusalem" is effectively "dragged back to the Stone Age" by the
materialization of the subtlest dimensions of symbolic significance
between two roles only highlights a degree of metaphoric impoverishment and
a degree of entrapment in binary logic. This recalls the limitations
of the dominant negotiating focus of Getting
to Yes (1981) --
thereby excluding (or "assimilating") any "Nos". The assumption
is made that
"Yous" can best be converted into "Wes".
The possibilities and problems of infinite or subtle mirrorings are not addressed
(Self-reflective Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration
(SETI): the universal criterion of species maturity? 2008).
12 Tribes of "Israel": a global configuration
Within the dynamics of such metaphoric transformation, it is especially interesting
to consider the "12
Tribes of Israel". The question here is whether
there are very significant constraints on the variability of "Israel",
its aspirational "Zionisms" and its understandings of "Jerusalem" --
with the possibility that each "Israel" is confronted by "Palestinians",
essentially inhabitants of a distinct "Israel". The challenge of
course is that such enrichment implies a multidimensional understanding of
the space in which such "Israels"
are in some way topologically contiguous (as explored in Union
of Intelligible Associations: remembering dynamic identity through a dodecameral
This is clearly beyond the current focus on a two-dimensional
land surface (Reframing
Relationships as a Mathematical Challenge -- Jerusalem: a parody of current
inter-faith dialogue, 1997; And
When the Bombing Stops? Territorial conflict as a challenge to mathematicians,
2000). Provocatively it might be argued that the challenge of any "Jerusalem"
is that its design, as a vital focus for global society, currently tends to
reflect the capacity of theologians armed only with the mathematics of centuries
long past and unable to encompass the design requirements of a complex, multidimensional
By variously clustering the examples of "Israel" (above), each such
tribe may be understood as driven by its own particular
"Zionist" aspiration and yearning, with its own particular understanding
"Jerusalem". One possible tribal clustering might be:
- scientists, philosophers (academe)
- nature/land/wilderness lovers, land owners, indigenous
- health, welfare and caring
- discoverers / explorers
- entrepreneurs (business and industry) and artisans
- farmers, husbandry, vineyards
This clustering is in its own way as simplistic as the binary clustering into
"Israel" and "Palestine". More intriguing is the possibility
that there is a degree of fractal organization to the "12 tribes",
namely with each engendering a further 12 -- mirroring to a degree the global
subdivision, as suggested by the pattern of Indra's
Net (David Mumford, Caroline Series and David Wright, Indra's Pearls:
The Vision of Felix Klein, 2002).
The "tribes" might also be understood as communicating in distinct
languages (or dialects), as presented elsewhere (12
Complementary Languages for Sustainable Governance, 2003). The challenge
is how to enable a fruitful conversation between them such as to engender a
future with a quality of globality (Future
Generation through Global Conversation in quest of collective well-being through
conversation in the present moment, 1997).
One key to such a possibility is by configuring the "tribes" in forms richer
than a linear checklist such as above -- namely forms that exemplify globality
and the necessary interplay between the "tribes" in any such configuration.
The many such possibilities are discussed separately (Coherent
Value Frameworks: pillar-ization, polarization and polyhedral frames of
reference, 2008; Towards
Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors,
2008). The possibilities are perhaps best summarized visually in In
Quest of a Strategic Pattern Language: a new architecture of values (2008).
Potentially also of interest is the preference of each tribe for a different
prioritisation of 12 "wicked" problems, such as unemployment,
climate change, hunger, disease, energy, pollution, etc. Such understanding
may combine insights into learning cycles, strategies and modes of dialogue
of phases in 12-phase learning / action cycles; Typology
of 12 complementary strategies essential to sustainable development; Typology
of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue).
Clearly the clustering of the tribes can only be tentative and, with any fractal
organization, may require the kind of thinking that combines understandings
of periodicity and of the harmonies associated with music (Tuning
a Periodic Table of Religions, Epistemologies and Spirituality -- including
the sciences and other belief systems, 2007).
Topology of "Jerusalem": a psychoactive engagement with space
Especially intriguing is any symbolic and aesthetic interplay and mirroring
between those walls distinguished in relation to "Jerusalem" and
thereby bounding its significance -- namely between the
cognitive wall of the enclosed community (separating it from the excluded)
and the symbolic inner wall to which the community attaches most significance
(but from whose implication it is to a degree excluded). Possibilities for
The interplay between such connotations invites analysis from various perspectives:
- the psychoanalytic significance of the relation between a secular (desacralized),
security wall and one of deep spiritual import, especially in the light of
any dynamic process of enantiodromia in
which the significance attributed to any inner wall is affected by that of
- as reflections and inversions of focus in the light of optical metaphors,
notably the reflections (or displacement) of inner significance into outer
- as embodiments of degrees of understanding or insight, especially in the
case of multiple concentric walls (echoing the distinctions of some form
of mandala), whether 3 or 7 as envisaged in the case of "Jerusalem", or
the 12 walls of the "city of Christ" of the Apocalypse of Paul
- in terms of "walls of the mind" or "walls of the
spirit" -- by which separativeness and fragmentation are
embodied in architectural metaphor (Howard
W. Hunter, Walls
of the Mind, 1990; William S. White, Berlin
Walls of the Mind, 1996)
The polyhedral configurations indicated above are inherently conducive to
the psychoactive engagement with places (topoi) fundamental to the
mnemonic reinforcement cultivated in the classic art
of memory and in the geometry of sacred
of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations,
"Temple": implication of a one-sided, walled paradox
Further significance may be derived from the contrast between:
- walls constructed in the distant past that embody and give focus to the
intervening history and all it signifies, when they are incomplete (Engaging
Macrohistory through the Present Moment, 2004)
- walls under construction in the present as a means of communicating significance
to the future, even in a presently incomplete form
Such considerations raise challenging questions regarding:
- the misplaced
concreteness through which deep significance is especially bound
to the constraints of explicated material forms, thereby obscuring their
more subtle implication
- the adequacy of the forms used to carry subtle insights of multidimensional
implication, as indicated by the critique of assumptions relating to the
display of text on two-dismensional surfaces, in contrast with the self-reflexivity
associated with toroidal forms (Michael Schiltz, Form
and Medium: a mathematical reconstruction, Image [&] Narrative,
The explorations of Schiltz develop those relating to the calculus of indications
on the boundary between mathematics and philosophy (G.
of Form, 1969). This concerns the manner in which distinctions are
made, establishing what is included or excluded, what is inside or outside
a boundary -- denoted here by a "wall". The challenge suggested by Schiltz
is that definition in the form of (en)closure is potentially an indication
of failure to encompass the cognitive challenge of the multidimensional reality
in question. He highlights the constraints implicit in expression in linear
text on a flat surface in contrast with a torus, as discussed separately (Comprehension
of Requisite Variety for Sustainable Psychosocial Dynamics: transforming a
matrix classification onto intertwined tori, 2006).
The paradox of any "Jerusalem" is that it implies inclusiveness but is seemingly
characterized by various kinds of "walls" -- explications of exclusion. In
this sense the architecture of any "Jerusalem", and its focal "Temple", fails
appropriately to encompass and embody that essential paradox, which consequently
manifests in the topological tragedy of architectural fragmentation. Disagreement
is embodied in "secular" architecture, designed to exclude, rather than used
to enrich the inclusive design of "sacred" architecture.
Topology offers a path beyond the constraints of inclusion vs exclusion, most
comprehensibly in the form of a Möbius
strip -- a surface with only one side and only one boundary. A richer
illustration of this principle is the Klein
bottle -- which has no distinct "inner" and "outer" sides,
nor does it have any boundary. Forms of this kind point towards the design
-- whether virtual and/or symbolic -- of an "Israel", a "Jerusalem" or a "Temple"
that is "walled" in such a way as to embody inclusiveness. They are ungated.
Fruitful exchange between the tribes: key to viable globality
The challenge for an "Israel", or any of its tribes, is any implication
that it has nothing to learn from the others -- irrespective of what it assumes
that others should necessarily learn from its own particular insights. As
but one example, applicable to any "Israel", the point was succinctly made
on the occasion of the visit of the Pope to Israel (Ed Kessler, Dialogue,
not symbolism, The Guardian, 10 May 2009):
The central problem for Pope Benedict resides in his vision of the Catholic
church. He sees it as a totally completed institution that does not need
to learn anything new theologically from dialogue with other Christians or
other religious groups. Consequently, interfaith relations are reduced to
symbolic conversation rather than genuine dialogue.
In a period of global financial crisis when the importance of confidence (faith?
trust?) has become only too evident as fundamental to sustainable global transactions,
the problematic role of "money changers" in any "Temple" is
itself cast into new light. The focus on explicit tokens, obscuring the confidence
implied, jeopardizes (through "tokenism") the essential integrity
of interfaith, interdisciplinary or intercultural discourse -- thereby undermining
its viability and that of the "Temple".
financial crisis, through the credibility crunch, has demonstrated the dangers
of unwillingness to lend within a "frozen" system -- the "Temple" of
finance. This has been brought about by the focus of the "money changers" on
the tokens -- neglecting the confidence that those tokens represented. This
is also the danger faced by any breakdown in fluid relations between any tribes
arising from a misplaced focus on tokenism (Credibility
Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: "credit crunch" focus as symptom of a
dangerous mindset, 2008).
It is curious that tokenism inhibits any capacity of the religions, for example,
to make collective use of their respective insights into higher orders of relationship
in order to reframe their differences in a richer context. Most attach considerable
significance to some form of mathematics or geometry but this never features
in interfaith dialogue. Possibilities for exchange, in the case of the Abrahamic
- Judaism's insight into the significance of number, beyond any premature
semantic closure on numerology
- Islam's insight into geometric pattern
- Christianity's insight into sacred geometry
Although it is known that many eminent mathematicians have been deeply
religious, their insights of relevance to interfaith discourse -- and the design
of any "Jerusalem" -- are not apparent. But modern specialists in
number theory and symmetry, with no evident religious belief, express the greatest
of admiration for the embodiment of such insights in the architectural achievements
of Islam, as with Marcus
du Sautoy (Finding Moonshine: a mathematician's journey through symmetry,
2008). It can be readily assumed that few religions would dispute the value
of insights that might be derived from the higher orders of symmetry recently
of Symmetry Group Theorizing: comprehension of psycho-social implication,
2008). The subtlety of the (counter-intuitive) correspondences was itself a
surprise to mathematicians, given the fundamental significance for deeper understanding
of order (Potential
Psychosocial Significance of Monstrous Moonshine: an exceptional form of symmetry
as a Rosetta stone for cognitive frameworks, 2007; Theories
of Correspondences -- and potential equivalences between them in correlative
Beyond the insights of the Abrahamic faiths are those more closely associated
with Eastern faiths:
Taoism evolved the binary coding system that is now so fundamental to digital
communication -- but with largely unexplored significance for qualitative
communication, as suggested elsewhere (Discovering
Richer Patterns of Comprehension to Reframe Polarization, 1998). But
irrespective of any deprecated oracular function, most intriguing is the manner
in which its radical existential focus on decision-making and choice might
be fruitfully related to the sense of choseness of any "Israel" -- as a "Chosen"
people, a people defined by an unquestionable metasystemic choice. It is the
exceptional metasystemic nature of that "historical" choice that justifies
the exceptionalism of the "Israel" so defined and the essentially unexceptional
quality of choices made within that system, "elsewhere" or "thereafter".
As implied by the "mark" of the calculus of indications, for example, a choice
might be denoted by an unbroken line (the yang symbol)
to be construed as the constitution of an "Israel". The broken line (the yin symbol)
then denotes the unchosen "others" and the "left behind" -- the "Palestinians".
Within the patterns
of that coding system, possibilities such as the following can then be explored
by classic combinations of these symbols:
- a four-fold pattern, from the four combinations of broken and unbroken
lines, offering a means of denoting situations in which either "Israel" is
predominant, or "Palestinians", or those in which there is a mix of the two
factors -- of qualities emanating from choseneness (certainty?) and unchoseness
- an eight-fold pattern, through combining three such lines (the Ba
Gua pattern). The consequences of failure to recognize how "unchoseness"
may be integrated with "choseness" in such patterns has been explored
Undoing: challenge of incomprehensibility of systemic neglect, 2008).
Could the phases of the problematic dynamics between "Israel" and "Palestinians"
be helpfully distinguished in this way?
- with respect to the "12 tribes", for example, consideration could be given
to the manner in which two patterns of 6 lines (the hexagram) could constitute
a 2-fold complementarity. This offers a way of considering the 12 as emerging
from a form of alternation or resonance between such paired alternative configurations,
in that each pattern of 6 could then be the inversion of the other (swapping
broken for unbroken lines). The challenge of comprehension of the 12 then
becomes one of understanding a dynamic configuration rather than a static
one. The 12 emerge, continuously transformed, from the pattern of the "dance"
between the 64 such hexagrams -- as suggested by standing
waves and the Chladni
patterns so fundamental to the operation of some musical instruments
Perhaps most intriguing is the possibility that such a coding system might
then be applied to distinguishing the different possibilities and challenges
of dialogue, the challenge of the communication between the "12 tribes" --
where unbroken lines imply a clear channel within a pattern of consensus (of
"agreement"), and the broken lines imply a challenge (of "disagreement") to
any such "instrumental" assumption. One exploration towards this is Typology
of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue (1998).
Another is the "dialogue" interpretation of Transformation
Metaphors derived experimentally from the Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching)
for sustainable dialogue, vision, conferencing, policy, network, community
and lifestyle (1997).
Of relevance to the "12 tribes", as quoted elsewhere (Tonal
patterns of Rg Veda poetry)
from McLain's study :
The central geometrical image in the Rg Veda is the mándala
of the "single- wheeled chariot of the Sun," harmonizing moon months
with solar years and the signs of the zodiac: "Formed with twelve spokes...one
wheel, navels three..." If the "twelve spokes" are the twelve
tones of an octave tonal-zodiac, then the three "navels" may be powers
of three prime numbers 2,3, and 5, each rotating in a sense at its own speed,
correlated by any terminating number which includes all three among its factors....In
a sense, this essay will be finished when we understand how the Vedic poets
arrived at the twelve "spokes" for the Sun's chariot within the number
field generated by our yantras....We need not wait...to sense the relevance
of our yantra. Notice that...the only tonal meanings which remain invariant
under reciprocation are those along the central horizontal axis (of the yantra)...."The
Gods are later than this world's production" in the sense that our number
field must grow systematically to some larger limit in order to produce twelve
tones along this axis. (p. 9, 35, 49, and 52)
With respect to the "wall" metaphor, it is Buddhism that has explored
the challenges of the "walls of the mind" and the possibility of
mind (a phrase also used in a poem by Sri Aurobindo). This is consistent
with the importance attached to a paradoxical Gateless
Gate explicated as a set of 48 paradoxical Zen koans.
It is intriguing to think of these as a fourfold explication of the cognitive
challenge of the 12 tribes -- only together enabling the operation of such
a cognitive "stargate" at the core of the "Temple".
These various possibilities might be enriched by the thinking which
underlies the hypothesis of a multiverse (or
meta-universe) that embodies the universes that together comprise reality.
In the above sense, "Israel" is then multiple, whether or not each variant
is "parallel" as with the different universes composing the multiverse. Multiverses
have been hypothesized by a range of disciplines as well as by transpersonal
The challenge with all such considerations is to recognize the danger of premature
closure from attaching misplaced concreteness to tokens such as to obscure
their underlying significance -- inhibiting exchange through cognitive "freezing"
and "frozen categories" (Framing
the Global Future by Ignoring Alternatives: unfreezing categories as a
vital necessity, 2009). Self-reflexively
the degrees of such "freezing" and "closure" call for an interpretation of
the above system of indications -- associating closure with an unbroken line
and unenclosure with a broken line, for example (cf Hilary Lawson, Closure:
a story of everything,
2001; Reflexivity: the post-modern predicament, 1985).
The point has perhaps been best made
by the physicist David
and the Implicate Order, 1980) in distinguishing between the explicate
order and the implicate order. In the argument above, any explicated
closure, whether in architecture or conceptual form, is to be distinguished
from implication, cognitively unconstrained in this way -- an insight most
succinctly expressed by Neti
Neti (Not this, Not that). For Bohm there
is a necessary alternating movement, the holomovement, between these two
extreme conditions of physical reality. Is there a necessary cognitive
analogue to such a movement, as argued in Development
through Alternation (1983)?
Any closure enabled through cross-fertilization of mathematical
insights is however also to be questioned, especially in the light of the symbolism
typically attached definitively to numbers by different
"Israels" -- which has led to religious
war in the past (as between Christians regarding the Trinity). More
appropriate is a process and dynamic of play with numbers, as the improvisation
in the moment of melodies of possibility and potential in the moment (rather
than their composition for elsewhen). The significance of play is discussed
and Play-Fullness: essential integrative processes in governance, religion
and transdisciplinarity, 2005; Playfully
Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion, 2005; Engaging
with Globality through Playful Re-categorizing, 2009). Such play may
take poetic form -- of current strategic relevance (Strategic
Jousting through Poetic Wrestling: aesthetic reframing of the clash of civilizations,
Engagement with Afghanistan, Caucasus and Iran, 2009).
Conclusion: faith as a strange attractor
The complex dynamic of simplicity and subtlety, which is the nature of the
attraction of any form of "Zionism", points to the merit of exploring
the faith associated with any "Israel" as an an attractor -- a strange
Values as Strange Attractors: Coevolution of classes of governance principles,
1993). Given the complexity to which the dynamics between
worldviews gives rise, it is most curious that there is no effort to use the
mathematical insights into such dynamics to identify the forms of coherence
potentially associated with them. It would seem probable that any
viable "Israel" -- and its "Temple"
-- is better and more appropriately understood as constructed on a complex
plane. This offers a means of giving a degree of strategic coherence to
the dynamic relationship between problematique, resolutique, identique and
the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation,
Given the global strategic significance of "Jerusalem", and of any core "Temple",
the implication that comprehension of it might be enriched through the lens
of the complexity sciences merits careful consideration -- especially if this
could reframe what is currently incomprehensible, incommensurable and the source
of intractable disagreement. It could enable greater recognition of their essential
multidimensionality, thereby opening "spaces" for "territories" and "constructs"
that cannot coexist where the cognitive attachment is to space of lower
dimensionality. The mathematical arguments have been developed by Ron Atkin
(Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional space? 1981)
as summarized elsewhere (Social
organization determined by incommunicability of insights). Such considerations
might go to the heart of the seeming impossibility of any "two state solution".
As is only too evident, the struggle engendered by any "Israel" in
relation to "others" calls for a dynamic balance between order and chaos. In
that sense any "wall", effectively separating the order
of "Israel" from
the chaos by which it perceives itself to be threatened, is not a "wall" of
a conventional kind. Hence the value of exploring the fractal boundary between
chaos and order exemplified by the Mandelbrot set (Psycho-social
Significance of the Mandelbrot Set: a sustainable boundary between chaos and
order, 2005). It is the nature of the engagement with this "wall"
that bars and enables access to a better future -- irrespective of hopeful
supplication before it. The construction of any "Temple" is then
rightfully to be understood through the capacity to construct it on a complex
There are many studies, commentaries and initiatives inspired by the implications
of Martin Buber's famed I
and Thou (1923). The implications are of course general and apply
at every level of society, from the individual to the collective. They have
notably been applied to the relation between Israelis and Palestinians -- clearly
with only the most modest success at the collective level, if any. The value
for individuals is another matter -- then only secondarily relevant to the
divisive collective dynamics to which societies are exposed. Again any engagement
with the complex boundary between "I" and "Thou", or "Self" and "Other",
can be fruitfully framed in terms of that between order and chaos ("Human
with Nature" and "Intercourse with the Other", 2007).
The purpose of the above exercise
is not to enable the subtle sense of mutuality of I and
Thou -- one which
may only be accessible between collectivities at some distant future time (with
all the challenges of the lion
lying down with the lamb). Nor is
it to buy into the tokenism in support of such a possibility, as tends to be
the primary characteristic of dialogue between worldviews -- whether interfaith,
interdisciplinary, intercultural, or interethnic. Not to be forgotten is that
the UN Year
of Dialogue among Civilizations was 2001 -- the year of 9/11.
The above exercise endeavours rather to enable any collectivity to recognize
its degree of identity with "Israel", the ambitious "Zionist" yearnings
of its diaspora to return there, and the importance of its own "Jerusalem".
And, as a consequence, the problematic challenge of "Palestinians" who
are hindering such an inherently appropriate endeavour. Who is not a "Zionist"?
Rather than the transcendental mutuality of I and Thou, the argument
here is for a recognition of how one's own preferred collectivity plays out
the dynamics of both "Israel" and "Palestine" -- an ongoing
dynamic of Cops
and Robbers in
which that collectivity takes turns in each role, as both "good
guys" (even "evangelical") or "bad guys (appropriately "demonised").
Such alternation, as the ongoing process of role reversal, is then a characteristic
of the "holomovement" (Psychosocial
Energy from Polarization within a Cyclic Pattern of Enantiodromia,
What should the "Israel" of the scientific worldview do about that
of the arts, "pseudoscience" or creationism? (see discussion in End
of Science: the death knell as sounded by the Royal Society, 2008)?
How ridiculous is a "two-state solution" which ignores the inherent
superiority of the scientific worldview -- matched by the
creationists' view of their own? What should the "Israel" of
the western worldview do about those other cultures that have not yet subscribed
to its uniquely enlightened values -- actively challenged in a clash
On the other hand, as the "Palestinians" of some alternative worldview,
how best to respond to the strategies of dominance and encroachment of this
or that "Israel"? In that sense, "Palestinians" include
those who desperately demonstrate for economic alternatives at the G8 Group
and G20 Group summits -- or who endeavour to articulate their views in the
World Social Forum against the problematic globalizing strategies promoted
by the "Israel" so well represented at the World Economic Forum.
More generally how best to respond to the encroachment on
the traditional "lands" of one's own worldview by the "settlements"
of some "Israel" (Varieties
of Encroachment, 2004)?
Amongst the citizens of "Israel", as amongst the "Palestinians", are readily
to be recognized those factions who wish for the "elimination" of the other.
There are eminent scientists with such a view of religion, for example. There
are Hindus with such a view of Muslims, or "greens" with such a view of "developers".
For all such, their world would be much improved by the absence of the other.
The issue here is the nature of the larger ecosystem constituted by the dynamics
of the pattern of relationships between the "12 Tribes of Israel" --
"pattern that connects", possibly a resonance
hybrid whose viability and integrity is dependent
on the dynamics between them.
Perhaps the larger challenge for a global civilization might be understood
in terms of a form of marriage (Planetary
Challenge of 12-fold Strategic Marriage Bonding "Empire" + "Alternatives", "Global " + "Local",
and "Behavioural" + "Depth psychology", 2003).
With respect to its governance, an earlier discussion (Towards
Fruitful Patterns of Faith-based Governance, 2003) noted the
above-mentioned study by Antonio de Nicolas (Meditations through
the Rg Veda,
1978) which distinguishes four "languages" in the Rg
Veda by their
intentionality: images and sacrifice, existence, embodied vision, and non-existence.
Such efforts to show the functional significance of sacrifice in relation to
social integration need attention in a period when "nobody is willing to sacrifice" advantages
acquired under the present systems in crisis -- and when the sacrifice of "suicide
bombers" is a major challenge to social stability.
For de Nicolas: "The embodiment of Rg Vedic man was understood... as an effort
at integrating the languages of Asat, Sat and Yajna to
reach the dhih, the effective viewpoint, which would make these worlds
continue in their efficient embodiment" (p. 136). Consistent with the argument
above with respect to play, the unique feature of the approach is that it
is grounded in tone and the shifting relationships between tone. It is through
the engendered pattern of musical tones (the tribes of "Israel", following
McLain?) that the significance of the Rg
Veda is to be found.
Therefore, from a linguistic and cultural perspective, we have to be aware
that we are dealing with a language where tonal and arithmetical relations
establish the epistemological invariances... Language grounded in music is
grounded thereby on context dependency; any tone can have any possible relation
to other tones, and the shift from one tone to another, which alone makes
melody possible, is a shift in perspective which the singer himself embodies.
Any perspective (tone) must be "sacrificed" for a new one to come into being;
the song is a radical activity which requires innovation while maintaining
continuity, and the "world" is the creation of the singer, who shares its
dimensions with the song. (p. 57)
Beyond play and poetry, this is indicative of the value of taking account
of the current global engagement with music in giving epistemological form
to the strategies and initiatives of the future (A
Singable Earth Charter, EU Constitution or Global Ethic? 2006). In that
sense the boundary between chaos and order may be better understood as continuously
"sung" rather than permanently "constructed". However any
harmonious continuity implied by such a musical metaphor easily obscures the
radical nature of the epistemological "sacrifice" to which the quotation explicitly
refers and for which a naive relativism provides a totally inadequate framework.
Given the territorial attachment of any "Israel", there is perhaps a case for
revisiting the radical relationship between epistemological frames of reference
in the light of the special theory of relativity (Einstein's
Implicit Theory of Relativity -- of Cognitive Property? Unexamined influence
of patenting procedures, 2007).