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Sustainable Peace in the World System, and the next Evolution of Human Consciousness

International Society of System Sciences

Club of Budapest &
Fortieth Annual Meeting of the ISSS

Sept., 7-20, 1996


Heiner Benking

Associate, FAW - Research Institute of Applied Knowledge Processing

The Outline and Context of

Session 2 Approaches to Social Systems Design
Session 3 Conflict Systems
Session 4 Critical Systems Thinking (CST) and Total Systems Thinking (TSI)
Session 5 Design for Quality of Life
Session 6 Evolution and Design

Session 7 General Systems Theory (see paper below)
Session 8 Hierarchy Theory
Session 9 Information Systems
Session 10 Multi-Modal Approaches
Session 11 Polish Systems Society
Session 12 Social Systems
Session 13 Spirituality
Session 14 Systems and Physical Sciences
Session 15 The Systematic Design of Education
Session 16 Workshop?
Session 17 Louisville Paper

Last paper of Session 7: General Systems Theory

International Society of System Sciences - Club Of Budapest, Fortieth Annual Meeting of the ISSS

Sept. 17-20, 1996 Editor: Jennifer M. Wilby

Scanned (OCR) document from 1996 - with added colour in the figures, internet links, and red notes from 2004



Heiner Benking

Associate, FAW - Research Institute of Applied Knowledge Processing,

University Ulm, Germany

PoBox 20 60, D-89010 Urn, GERMANY, FON: +49 731 501 -910 FAX -929

Creative Member of The Club of Budapest



The paper provides a synopsis in search for wider and integrated visions, or an open world-view which allows mapping and orientation. By making use of embodiment, metaphorical transfer and transformations, and the human potentials to operate in space, the assimilation and communication potentials are tapped to generate, transport, and share viewpoints aid positions and a synthetic realm and with the objective to help us map transcendentation between inside and outside, real and conceptual. The Panorama as a lay-out, scaffolding conceptual superstructure is good to find common grids and references, consider diagonal thinking, and new ways, to higher order knowledge bases, for the sake of seeing how little we know and what we know from where, in which quality and from which origin. Beside counteracting the information and message glut and providing new approaches to integrating world-views, the focus is seen in inviting tolerance by mapping how little we know, and seeing us embodied in space and place as member and part of the world, not as spectator outside of Nature and Life.Keywords: world-views, cognitive spaces, mental models, metaphors, knowledge organisation, orientation, education


This paper is summarises work which started about 25 years ago in the field of planning and modelling at regional, national, and later international scale. Exposed to technology, computer graphics, environment communications, research, management and education, but also multi-lingual, multi-cultural, multi-medial information systems design and harmonisation projects, the concepts can not be traced to any specific domain or research culture, maybe more to curiosity, intuition, and ignorance.

The author feels by looking back that there is somehow a line from the first integration problems in modelling with different programming languages, to developing conceptual meeting points for scale and model integration for harmonisation projects, and embodiment of metaphors, after applying the experience of the assimilation potential of visual access to complexity, knowledge organisation and philosophical questions such as wholeness and inter-connectedness.

The development is an exploration into a "terra incognita" of conceptual realms by looking for a basis for tolerant communications, which allows to share, merge, and change perspectives and to look into the context of concepts. As there more than meets the eye, the author warned in 1987 of the dangers of "visual demagogy" LINK ****** which applies to monoscopic and individual "virtual reality" roaming to an even higher degree, and is therefore looking for augmenting the human imagination and creativity. As communications and exchange requires common frames of reference he proposes to use invisible reference lines and points to having a layout helping positioning and orientation.

A paradigm shift might very well go along with accepting space a:; a broader basis for exchange, transformation, and composition, as space is essential for the "Invention" of the perspective and making use of the assimilation power of visual access. As optics and computing where seen as critical milestones in the development of human reasoning, this .approach wants to draw more onto the native and available capabilities for imagination and communication.

Fig 1:

3xSpace/Time links objects and subjects in open spaces
- The objective is to transcend and transform by thinking within, between an "beyond, not inside ,boxes", territories, or domains.

Conceptual Orientation in Schools of Search and Recognition

The Panorama design uses three reference frames, related to subject, object and context. What is more important, however, is that SPACES are left between them. What we do not know or understand may be far more important than, what we do know and understand. The spaces represent the questions and provide room for different representation forms.

The scaffolding or framework proposed provides a top-down perspective or overview. There is agreement that no single model can suffice to organise our knowledge. However, the Panorama three-fold design (3xSpace/Time) matches many other perspectives and can be recast in their terms, so that we can translate fairly easily from one to the other. For example:

Each of the three domains of the Panorama design is a depiction in three-dimensional space, so each has three axes which, again, can be correlated and translated into other versions. This makes it possible for different world-views to be mapped and compared and also for us to navigate amongst them. Similarities and differences can be made clear to all parties and a special focus on gaps and unknowns.

As other models exist and there is agreement that no single model can match the need for global explanation the test is the co-existence, compatibility, and coherence with approaches, concepts, building blocks or metaphors like:

A conceptual superstructure, or mapping for knowledge and ignorance was proposed (see: Design Considerations for Spatial Metaphors, reflection on the evolution of viewpoint transportation systems, co-author AJN. Judge).

The subject-box enables us to map out how we are looking at the objects in the object-box and the context-box enables us to map the metaphors of understanding the kind of reality in which this is taking place. Cognitive images provide means of transport between the different elements of the display, representing movements of thought. By having such an extended space-representation of our concepts, it is possible to discover patterns of thinking that are dynamic and integrative. The Panorama design uncouples the rigid connections that usually operate in our thinking, giving the elements space to breathe and produce new life.

The centrepiece of the proposed Panorama of Knowledge and meta-knowledge is called "Blackbox Nature" and can be understood as a mirror or translator between objects and subjects (see Jung/Pauli). The proposed architectonic of open real or abstract spaces links entities (real and abstract objects) and concepts into a common context or layout (PANORAMA).

Mobility in a physical and cognitive sense, using also vehicles like images and metaphors, allows to transcend situations and carry meaning between conceptual and mental models by cultivating the mind's eye. It is hoped that such a mental locomotion will allow to see a bigger picture and ease understanding.

 - - - - - - -

A remedy for the problems given above may be to provide orientation within a "Panorama of Understanding ". Designed in the following three modules it allows integral thinking and coalescence of different aspects, facets, and views:

1 ?The definition and concept of Ecology to visually and conceptually integrate and interact along and across hierarchical scales (like the subjects axis, and magnitude and time scales), to present proportions and consequences and allow indication and communication about the interconnectedness of Nature. This building block is called: Blackbox Nature or Rubik's Cube of Ecology and was developed 1990 for the German Chancellery to exhibit GOBAL CHANGE - Challenges to Science and Politics" (presently up-dated). The Cube combines high resolution art work and scientific visualisations to show selected windows or frames Into" the precious scale-transcending "germ" we call Nature. With many windows left blank or black we are to realise our limited understanding, our only intuitive approach to beauty and harmony we find in Nature, and why decency and cautioning any action is recommended.

2. ?Integrate what we know and focus on what we do not know in one framework or picture. As this framework needs to be deeply structured within a higher order, (similar to implicate orders), we propose the following set of three connected nested scaffoldings, which form one conceptual superstructure and leave time as a dimension ruling all master reference schemes. It consists of the following three sub-elements:

2.1 ?The land-scape as the native and basic space for human experience and understanding, for panning and zooming, using telescopic approaches to "scapes" (deep structured spaces). As optics and ethics are etymologically grounded we see approaches from varying distance in any environment as a way to clarify and "enlighten" structures and patterns. (The resulting understanding and transparence through means like lenses, the chacteristica universalis by Leibniz, or computing in modem times was always exciting and considered mystic as long as people could not see and follow what was going on). - Scape is a term we use to indicate deep structured spaces.

Fig. 2: The Blackbox Nature or Rubik's Cube of Ecology. Bridging and composing subjects, magnitudes, and time frames is the challenge of ecology and will ease understanding and caution us by making us aware about how little w c know. The open box, bridging beyond boxes and domains, presents an implicate higher order which allows us to map patterns, processes and dynamics by providing a pointer or global index by a top-down approach. The Box and Panorama display wholeness and interconnectedness and allow us to point at and "store" relations, scales, proportions and consequences in a repeatable format. This is necessary as day-to-day, scientific and political discourses are mixed up and we are not finding positions and anchor-points in the real and conceptual world and do not see what and how little we know.

2.2 ?The imaginary Blackbox Nature above, a conceptual theme-scape or issue-scape. Note should be made that children accept the concept easily and are ready for new conceptual or abstract understanding at about ten years of age. They focus conceptually beyond the immediate environment into abstract or virtual contexts, before the age of ten, their "thing and think" is to experience space, motion and time physically, logically, and conceptually. Before and after they can "float" in abstract realms (fantasia) and sometimes have good command of imagination (eidetic). Children liked the framework as a way to explain teachers and parents "what is going on".

2.3 The word-scape or term-/theme-scape (semantic space) based on samples used in universal library organisation systems. One such scheme or global index is based on the square lambdoma, which is more suitable than spherical representations for this purpose, and is called the Information Coding and Classification (ICCO) by Ingetraut Dahlberg from the International Society for Knowledge Organisation (ISKO). The matrix of global subjects and general form concepts, and a depth dimension (specific facets or categories) is a semantic exploratory navigation space, based on harmonic principles, enabling storage without redundancies as well as access and permutations within underlying structures and patterns.

Fig 3: The original subject axis of the Cube was based on the Ekistic grid, as conceived by Doxiades in the field of planning sciences. It is derived from the term "oikos". We can search not only for words, but for "areas" or "bodies" of data and knowledge. After agreement on location and content genuine capabilities of man can come into play which allow fast visual access and assimilation of very large volumes of data.

Fig 4: Interaction and exploration along and across any subject with varying e flexible theme compositions requires a holistic design. The flexible and nested crystal cell framework for understanding and orientation presents locations and relations and can display life-cycles and enfolded episodic and epochal change. Interacting along and across hierarchical scales will allow us to see proportions and consequences with new eyes.

3. Navigation and Orientation in the three realms or conceptual spaces, including cut and paste operations allow overarching retrieval, correlations and configurations beyond narrow category definitions, semantic hurdles, and cultural stipulations.

Making use of the creative and integrative conceptualisation powers of humankind by using the visual and cognitive discrimination powers and imagine and construct relations in real and abstract ThinkScapes. As cognitive psychology and terminological and semantic studies prove to be deeply rooted perception and experience, and space is mathematically not reducible, it makes sense to integrate the genuine visual and sensomotorical powers of humankind for conceptual analysis and synthesis.

The Panorama invites thinking within, between and beyond boxes, words, knowledge, categories, and cultures. Thus it can trigger 1ateral and diagonal thinking within a unifying broader picture. It opens windows and doors and builds bridges between interest, items and issues, between a physical and virtual terra incognita. It is a simplistic, superficial configuration of 'Real- & Cyberspace" modules. The self-generating mental mobility increases continually, as we experience that real and abstract worlds can be crossed by metaphorics. Thus we can we map complex realities and avoid getting too perplexed.

Fig 5: A top-down global index linking physical, thematic and semantic spaces - in-scape, reference-scape and out-scape - 3xSpace/Time. This reference and representation paradigm is a "high stand or bird's eye - an OPEN SPACE and map of what we, "know and do not know" - a trick to avoid getting lost in details but seeing context by developing the mind's eye, fostering imaginism and developing conceptual realms.

Viewpoint generation and transportation are the native and cheapest form of therapy and healing. This broader concept of "virtual mobility and mental locomotion is critical for the recent trend towards dematerialisation and sustainability. Using the eidetic and creative powers of humankind to plot mental maps and cognitive models might help chart our course in conceptual worlds, rationalise alternative paths of "development", and help searching for wisdom and sensible, responsible action. We find in orientation, cognitive metaphoric concepts known to many traditions and teachings, a true treasure of humankind - why not get more conscious about the way our ideas move?

Providing a Topos for Topics or Issues, and engendering space, place and situation will bring more transparency, clarify "positions" and bring proportions and horizons of issues into "sight. I can be done with the visual powers 6f the eye and the mind's eye and it Is worth a try, any effort to fight resignation, and a mandate the futurist Robert Jungk urged to work with children when developing such concepts.

We can take the cross-category approach we need in ecology for harmonization and apply it for even wider complex and dynamic "object-subject-time" consciousness realms, but we should not forget that the scaffolding must not be confused with Nature itself As Korbyski ****** warned. "the map is not the territory". As we create and perceive the world, we revolutionise consciousness, this telescopic and poly-sopic approach will make as more aware about "what we see where" and help us pan&zoom, cut&paste, focus, and oscillate between or sphere of interest, a "floating" process known from cognitive research. ****** Link Kim and Warburg ... !! *****

The Panorama is not meant to be an oversimplistic approach, it needs to be seen as a pragmatic and workable "orthogonal" design with the benefit of designing common grounds for developing common eyes. It can be understood as a configuration of nested modules/models, as we are used to in our non-linear experience, language, and reasoning. The design is open, allowing one to explore freely and individually to the necessary depth and detail but not in the sense of the "hologram" of Nature containing all possible interconnections and self-similarities. It is in contrast to a single view fish-eye, a combination of bird's eye views, which help to maintain overview by looking at the "whole or bigger picture". By providing global orientation we avoid getting lost in details or fixed in one aspect only. The PANORAMA can be seen as a layout for meaning and discourse mapping by providing "optics" for concepts and context, for physical and mental models. The "trick" is to use modular open spaces which can be analytically and visually explored, referenced and remembered - they bring more transparency for informed decision. But it also has drawbacks, and can be misused as pictures are more easily considered correct and real. The proposal might also help to navigate, explore and "filter" immaterial objects and focus on the quality and context of information.

Let us take the design or map as a way to be curious, play and try to find out what might be there and in that way change ourselves by generating viewpoints and training mental mobility. The next step is to look for the quality of what is there. It helps to float between, and find again and again context, neighbourhood, the origin, and the level and scope. It is just one layout to store whatever we know or search for, accommodating coherence and chaos - complexity and perplexity - and allowing us to keep our store of knowledge in order. There is strength always in and between both: diversity and isolation, analysis and synthesis, local and global, mythos and logos, chaos and coherence. As we sometimes need to exchange ideas and agree on objects, and subjects, terms, and issues,

we are well advised to agree on what we are talking about, common platforms, references, and co-ordinates for understanding, the "location" and neighbourhood also within real or virtual scenes, material and conceptual worlds.

Steps towards common, broader, and integral views and thinking:

The proposal exploits the potential of concepts like: space and place, concept and context, and metaphors like: orientation, picture, and vision. We find such analogies and metaphoric expressions in many figurative "contagious" and poetic language, but in this case we want to go another step further, help to not only talk about common objects, but about common subjects and issues.

The focus is on integrating different views and aspects, not to develop filters or brokers, to invite the idea of poly- or pan-scopic perception, to get used to looking for factual, literal and metaphorical meaning. To look for similarities and differences and oscillate between positions, thereby establishing depth (to apply the stereo-scopic model or "picture" here). By mapping the Known, Unknown, and Unknowable we might find

new ways, see with different eyes, avoid sectarianism of science and society, feel as members, not spectators, of wholeness or bigger schemes, and develop new kinds of composed consensual views and perspectives by linking appresentation and apprehension.


References:Please see the forthcoming Publication in WORLD FUTURES with extensive Litearture and in an earlier version the modified earlier version as published in the ISSS Primer WHOLENESS Seminar.

EARLIER publications of the author might help to get earlier and deeper views on the evolution of that concept. The are hyperlinked now, in 2004, to ease access:

Publications and Activities showing the development of the Blackbox - Panorama design: For "scientific and practical Roots" see Chapter 1 (orientation) and the acknowledgements

Benking, H., Judge, A1.N. 1994, Design Considerations for Spatial Metaphors - Reflections on Viewpoint transportation systems, Invited workshop at on Spafial User Interface Metaphors for Hypermedia Systems, Hypermedia Technology (acmECHT 94), Edinburgh

This section was instead of references already published in the ISSS Seminar to present roots and credits due to some collaborators, friends or colleges in order to provide insides into the context and width of this "(re)search" and "constructions".

It is of great concern to the author to make obvious and very clear that the work presented was only possible thanks to a large group of supporters and collaborators. Through contact to a broad variety of people with power, insights and perspective, it was possible to continue and step onto the shoulders of writers and philosophers in the literature to see other horizons (please check first chapter (conceptual orientation)). The summary below comes to mind at once in the very limited time-frame which was available for this paper:

First and last Alfred Schinz, Herrsching the authors professional "father", mentor and friend, one of the few scholars (-maybe like Ralph Siu-) of the exact and fine arts, experienced in all quarters, who taught me about work and dedication, architectonics, ecology, ekistics, and eidetics, Eberhard Gockel, Bonn, a transdisciplinary writer, organiser and master of many arts and cultures, "besides" in charge of the public eye into/on the German National Research Centres - AGF, Francesco di Castri and Malcolm Hadley, UNESCO and International Union for Biological Sciences - IU13S, Paris with the definition of Ecology in textbooks, where indispensable to make-this collage or puzzle of what we "know and do not know" become true and real, Hartmut Keune, UNEP Harmonisation of Environmental Measurement - HEM, Nairobi - Munich, who provided space for unorthodox ideas, approaches and design for crosscultural multi-lingual meta-database ' and harmonisation projects, Franz-Josef Radermacher, for vision and the merger of technological and humanitarian perspectives, Robert Jungk, the humane futurist from Salzburg, who focused my thinking in 1992 on the impact we can have by working with children instead of designing cross-cultural multi-lingual repositories, Anthony J. N. Judge, Union of International Associations -LTIA, Brussels, who with his clear and analytic mind, his work on the Yearbook and the Encyclopaedia of World Problems and Human Potential, its hidden function bases and aggregation of relations, his contributions to the subject of metaphors and viewpoint generation and transportation (physical and virtual/mental mobility/locomotion), Emile Dubois, Fdgar Westrum, and David Abir, International Council of Scientific Unions -Conference for 6ata in Science and Technology - ICSU - CODATA, for their openness and help, Merete Mattern, Geo-Aeon, for helping me to see the arts in the sciences and the sciences in the arts, Ingetraut Dahiberg, International Society for Knowledge Organisation ISKO, Frankfurt, she taught me how to survive at least at the surface of some epistemological riddles, bridge semantics and terminology's, and secured my basic design of the Rubik's Cube with the basic axis: in-animated nature, animated nature, culture by allowing me to context to her apt and spirited ICCO, governed by the Syternificatore and design along with harmonic rules, Noel Brown, UNEP, New York, who invited me to give a keynote to review the challenges of AGENDA 21, Felix Unger, Academia Scientiarum et Atrium Europaea, and Christian Galinski, termnet for advise, Yehezkel Dror, and Ralp G. H. Sin in deep appreciation. Last not least Farah Lenser, Alf Ammon, Johannes Heinrichs, Ann Kervin and Ervin Laszlo, who helped to carry on and keep an "embryonic design" (John O'Connor, WORLD BANK) on the road. Real fun was the work with children. Their direct questions and their reasoning "to explain to teachers and parents" were rewarding and showed deep understanding, as their "View of Life is too flat".