A series of lectures and papers addressing critical topics in public policy and the environmental sciences


"Is Humanity Destined to Self-Destruct?"

by Lynton Keith Caldwell

COMMUNICATION - E-mail "pieces":

1. Letter to CALDWELL -  humanity destined?   
1.A    Letter MANCUSO extract to Caldwell
2. Letter to "others" re: psychollages MANCUSO & cognitive panorama BENKING
with INVITATION TO CONTINUE DISCUSSIONS in the "new times" open theory discussion list: http://www.opentheory.org/show-schau/


- your meta-comment to "Show-Schau?"
- the response of Prof. James C. Mancuso    -  who "showed" up at the KARL JASPERS list regarding his "PSYCHOLLAGES"

Dear Sir, dear Lynton Caldwell
I was pleased to finally receive today PLS 18(2) with my Show-Schau? and your meta-comments.

I read much of the section from you and other commentators last night and feel happy and thrilled that I was included and that I can try to add on and work on "meta-comments".

You had written to me in 1995:
"I was pleased to receive the draft of the Philosophy of Wholeness. Your approach to the integration of knowledge is certainly the one which ought to be followed. There are two obstructive problems. First, is to persuade the academics, especially the scientist that more than reductionist analyses and specialisation is necessary to guide mankind's future. Resistance to the concept of the integration of knowledge remains strong. Seconds we need to learn how to discover and define this wholeness approach. Your proposals appear to contribute to this objective......I believe your contribution to be important and wish it well.". 

and this falls far short if compared with your new "comment".
WE are already testing some answers, not just with kids, what is easy, but with "academia":

BUT your ADVISE / RECOMMENDATION does not become real. We still recommend too much and do too little. You wrote: 

"Resistance to the concept of the integration of knowledge remains strong. Seconds we need to learn how to discover and define this wholeness approach". 

so, why nothing happens even when we collected so many thinkers on care aboute "wholeness": 
NATHAN KEYFRITZ wrote at IIASA about "secarianism of science" the NOBEL LAUREATS complain about "reinventing the wheel" but nothing happens when we have maps for "survey knowledge (birds eye views)" the disciplines do not care and make any intruder a trespasser who should go back to "his" field".

Why the difference between the two comments of yours? 
You had received in 1994 some material and this article with pictures and details http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/wholeness.htm
in this or an early form, maybe connected with our work with the COUNCIL OF EUROPE on not putting forward questions only, but trying causiously to test answers:

SO WHAT I GOT WAS THAT YOU COULD VERY WELL AND POSITIVELY REACT TO WHAT I GAVE YOU - BUT THAT A COMMENT of  1-2 pages is NOT sufficient for the "matter" at hand, maybe there is even not the "right" language, as we need to act, share, and feel.

As I learn you are about to subsume and resonnate what is in your article and the comments in your forthcomming book, I feel I would be very happy if you would see more clearly where I was 10 years ago:
see in more in detail how the GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition looks like and how the diplays of "SYSTEM EARTH" evolved and were presented in 1990: 
GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition:   http://benking.de/Global-Change/system-earth-posters.html 
ENGLISH synopsis:   http://benking.de/Global-Change/global-change-english-context.html 
the TOPOGRAMM System:  http://www.benking.de/Global-Change/topogramm.html 


and where we are now:

and that I can now read all the comments.
and that after to 2 or 3 years we finally have something "real" in our hands".

As the INTERNET WEB is much faster than your I will attach below comments I received from Prof MANCUSO with some I think very important remark regarding your article. I hope this and my concerns will keep the ball "rolling".

All the best
and with many thanks and deep gratitude

Heiner Benking

I have "uploaded my comment and have added some OVERHEAD folios I used through the years. I hope that makes my search for words and were I am going more "real":

here is the comment from Prof. James C. Mancuso:

Emeritus Prof. of Psychology         15 Oakwood Place
Department of Psychology             Delmar, New York    http://www.capital.net/~soialban    http://www.capital.net/~mancusoj

> Dear Heiner,
> Though it is not your piece, I want make some points related to the article by Caldwell, on which you commented.  I am most pleased that Caldwell gives
> so much attention to the ways in which psychological issues become a part of 
 the general system consequences of exponential growth of the human economy been largely ignored, denied, or rejected? The reasons appear rooted in two
interconnecting realms of comprehension. One may be an underdeveloped mental capacity to envision our situation on the time-space trajectory of the real  world. There are today, however, vigorous organized efforts to forecast and
evaluate possible futures, but they have been confined largely to so-called epistemic (like-minded) communities with little visible impact on public opinion or policy. (17)  To the extent that this is a deficiency, it limits
our ability to perceive the interconnectedness and to evaluate consequences of trends. "

Particularly when he goes on to say:
"The most basic and important questions regarding human behavior have yet to be answered empirically by the sciences of the brain and nervous system, complemented by sociobiology."

> I think that this last statement smacks of "scientism," that is, a backing off into biology to explain psychological function in order to attach to that explanation the prestige of biology.

> If, as Caldwell claims, we are not able to "think in a general systems manner," I say, the limitation does not come from a limited biology, but from the limitation we carry into every situation as a result of the "macrostructure" of narrative that most of us have developed..
> In one of my articles [Mancuso, J. C. (1996).  Constructionism, personal construct psychology, and narrative psychology. Theory and Psychology, 6,
> 47-70.] and in other articles [which I reference in my Vico article], I discuss the ways in which persons frame their world in terms of narrative.
> An important aspect of the development of narrative structure is the mastering of cause/effect relationships.  Very early in life a child develops an understanding of cause/effect relationship [See Piaget, etc.],
> and such understanding becomes intricately involved in a child's development of skill in framing life experiences in terms of narrative structure.
> The kind of cause/effect relationships that is most easily grasped is a straight line causality, involving a single cause and a single effect.
> The kind of causality relations that must be considered when using a general systems approach require that a person have a more complex psychollage that would be designated by the terms cause/effect.
> I would not endorse a position that would evolve from a proposition that humans are biologically limited in developing such complex psychollages.
> After all, humans have developed statistical systems in which cause and effect are discussed in terms of multivariate functions.  And, thousands of
graduate students are mastering the use of those statistical systems as they attempt to build the kinds of models that Caldwell attempts to use as he
predicts the course of global environmental destruction.
> Humans have made extraordinary progress in developing useful psychollages after one or another great mind has formulated a major transformation in the kinds of psychollages that had been used previously...  When Parmenides made the simple claim, "Nothing comes from nothing," thinkers framed the putative external world with psychollages that differed markedly from those used by
> pre-Parmenidian thinkers....

> In your piece, A HOUSE OF HORIZONS. . . . .. You make a statement that contravenes the following statement by Caldwell: 
> History demonstrates that human societies have a capacity to learn, but it is not merely the process of learning that is necessary. Wrong lessons may be learned. The survival value of our learning is to apprehend the realities
> of this world and to act in consistence with its parameters."

> You say: "Much too often the question "right or wrong" is not a valid one.
> It is first better to ask what the themes and issues are - levels, interests and scope. We need to know the "where, why, what,...? - meta-information, and, information about information" (Benking 1990)"

> By his statement, Caldwell inadvertently tells us that he hasn't mastered the epistemology that he needs to master in order to address the question of behavioral function related to environmental degradation....  And he needs
> to give much more thought to epistemological issues before he arrives at the position underlying your statement.
> In a piece that I have on my www site, at the URL address:
> I discuss the psychollage REALITY, pursuing the claim that the psychollage, as used by most people, is fostered and maintained by powerful bodies that
> wish to control the thinking of the general public by promoting the claim that "some of us" have superior means of accessing reality. (Crassly, I say, if the power structures want to promote a particular proposition, they
> support a professor who will voice that proposition, and eventually he/she is offered a position at Harvard Univ.  Speaking from Harvard, he/she utters only the TRUTH.)
>  In that same article, I say "To accept constructionism is to give up the capacity to tell another person, "You are wrong!" In every instance in which a person would reject another person's construction, the constructionist
rejecter (reprimander?) is obligated to say, "I cannot construe this situation as you have construed it." Thereupon, the participants in the interchange must engage in a dialogue in which they negotiate a fitting
> construction."  (Today, I would say PSYCHOLLAGE, rather than CONSTRUCTION.)

In your "HOUSE" article, you say "The process itself -- exploration of social Concept and COGNITION Space - becomes a consummate foundation of ethical considerations and a shared "objective reality"."
>  I wrote a whole series of articles in which I tried to develop a constructivist view of "parental discipline," using the term REPRIMAND. In those articles (See particularly, Mancuso, J. C. & Lehrer, R.  (1986).
> Cognitive processes during reactions to rule violation.  In R. Ashmore, & D. Brodzinsky (Eds.).  Thinking about the family:  Views of parents and children (pp. 67-93).  Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.) I
> attempted to support the proposition that the most effective parental reprimand would be those in which the parent would try to develop a "shared 'objective reality.'"
>  Among many of the partially complete articles in my files, I have the beginnings of an article in which I claim that a parent who consistently attempts to develop a shared set of psychollages during reprimand interactions teaches his/her child the most effective ethical principle -
reacting appropriately in a context in which he/she must interact with a person who does not operate with the psychollages that the protagonist would use.

>  I appreciate your statement "Just as the Romans even knew before the common era: "The most important thing about any word is, how you understand it".
>  George Kelly [See Kelly, G. A.  (1991).  The psychology of personal  constructs. New York: Routledge. (Original work published 1955)]  in stating his sociality corollary, wrote: "To the extent that one person construes the construction processes of another, he may play a role in a social process involving the other person"

>  I could add much more to this set of comments, but I wanted to send you some comments...

> = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = . = .= . = . =

> Emeritus Prof. of Psychology         15 Oakwood Place
> Department of Psychology             Delmar, New York    12054
> Univ. at Albany  SUNY                    (518) 439-4416
> Albany, NY 12222


Dear *********, 
I know your work as we are both listed in Andrei's BIOSEMIOTIC list.
I like your semiosphere and maybe you also see something in where we are "standing" or "struggling" towards "mind-scapes".

I just esablished an "open software" open discussion forum to have the argument not sepeprated in vaious mails and lost in lists, ENJOY: 


Heiner Benking