Challenges to Comprehension Implied by the Logo
of Laetus in Praesens
Laetus in Praesens Alternative view of segmented documents via Kairos

10th January 2004 | Uncompleted

Encoding emergent and hidden distinctions

reflective representation of polarized thinking

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This exploration has been prompted by the unusual importance of polarized thinking in determining international strategic options -- notably in relation to the "war against terrorism". It follows from an exploration of the conceptual gerrymandering associated with definitional game-playing (see, for example, Is God a Terrorist?: Definitional game-playing by the Coalition of the Willing, 2004)

The paper is a further development of work initiated in earlier papers (Discovering richer patterns of comprehension to reframe polarization, 1998; Distinguishing Levels of Declarations of Principles, 1980)

Divisive polarities

The importance of polarities to they dynamics of modern society is evident from the following examples:

Good vs Evil Knowledge vs Ignorance
Healthy vs Unhealthy Heart vs Head
Love vs Hate Employment vs Unemployment
Law/Order vs Anarchy Truth vs Falsehood/Disinformation
Simplicity vs Complexity Fun vs Boring
Beauty vs Ugliness Youth vs Age
Profit vs Nonprofit Spiritual vs Materialist
"Us" vs "Them"  

Reframing possibilities

The question here is to explore new ways to handle such polarizations conceptually. The objective includes:

The approach is partly inspired by the binary coding system that is fundamental to the Chinese I Ching -- and which was the basis of the reflections of Leibniz on such a coding (leading subsequently to the modern digital computer). Although the I Ching is an extensive elaboration of such an exploration, the approach here is on the initial stages through which polarities can be encoded.

Encoding approach

Moving beyond the conventional representation of a polarity by the two ends of one single pole, instead allow each pole of the polarity to be represented by a distinct pole. The two poles would then need to be distinguished. This could be illustrated by taking the first polarity in the above table (Good vs Evil) as an example. One pole (eg representing "Good") might be coloured white. The other (representing "Evil") might then be coloured black.


Evoking Authenticity: through polyhedral global configuration of local paradoxes. 2003 (

Organization and Lifestyle Design: Characteristics of a nonverbal structural language. 1978 (


Within us vs Against us -- Blake quote

Mirror with unacknowledged

Progressive complexification / diversity

Diffident acknowledgement

Undermining effort

Unrecognized merits / health (does not count)

Challenge vs O-rings ** Seminarists / Angels

Language to encompass

Tribes of agreement

Shared vision vs Secret stench

Not "I Ching"

"Good" according to orginal definition embedded in many shades of grey

Wave-particle duality

6 dimensions ; 6 directions (Young)

magic square integrative pathways

stigmatization: demonization / unreasonable / unbeliefer / untermensch

tolerated ignorance


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