THE INTEGRITY PAPERS - James N. Rose Genre  -  H  Benking   US Website

  XIII World Conference of World Futures Studies Federation,
-Visions, Means, Actions -

                                                                                          Turku, Finland   August 3-27, 1993
WFSF-low.GIF (44765 bytes)

This text is produced as a technical FAW Report TR-93019 - (not  published in the WFSF proceedings).


# CHILDREN Session Summary: "Proposing a New World View - Our View-of-Life is too flat"   
# Objectives  
# 12 Theses for Education "OUR VIEW OF LIFE IS TOO FLAT"
# presentation overheads and poster texts

# Knowledge Spiral Youth Camp in the Wooks of Turku "featured" 'Our Life is too flat' &

# Helsingin Sanomat reporting about the WFSF conference in Turku.

# some orientation about the "about" - paragraph "pointers to possibilities" for further study

Visual Access Strategies for Multi-Dimensional Objects and Issues

A new World View, based on the Hyperlink ECO-CUBE, for better understanding and communication about multi-disciplines like Ecology

Heiner Benking 1993  

"As we teach, so do we learn,
as we learn, so do we practice."

        Presentation of a spacio-temporal or subject access and visualisation method to allow coherent indexing and retrieval of entities, attributes, and processes in a nature-socio-economical-ecological context. Focusing on visualisation and conceptualisation powers of mankind, an approach to reduce the semantic and terminological problematique is recom-mended which exploits the visualisation and imagination potentials by introducing a spacial graphical user interface.
        This will increase awareness about scales and help to develop some "feeling" for complex multi-factorial issues, like environmental management. Prerequisite is learning to conceptualise fictive images and to navigate within and between domains which can not be perceived directly. Interdisciplinarity and interaction within and between scales can thereby be measured and better communicated. A prerequisit for addressing ecological questions with advanced reduction, selection, visualisation, and fusion technologies.
        A basic prerequisit is the training and early development of the power of imagination, of visualisation and conceptualisation capabilities. This is to be considered an extra senory or feeling for ecological concerns, concequences and scales involved. Only if "human imaginations and computations" are plausible and sensible an increased awareness can develop to reduce actions with questionable results.

ecology, hyperknowledge, intuition, logic and scale independent lattice, multi-dimensional, multi-aspect,  teaching, transdisciplinarity, visual exploration and analysis, world-view

The Intelligent  Eye
Which came first, the eye or the brain?
What use is an eye without a brain
capable of using visible information?
But why should a visual brain develop
before these were eyes to feed it with visual information?    R. L. Gregory

List of Contents


"Inner Eye"
Catalytic Imagery
Cross Cultures




Knowledge in Time and Space
The ultimate aim of science is to obtain knowledge,
 description, and explanation of the whole,
in all the complex interrelations, in all the differences
 from time to time and place to place.                                          Hartshorne


        As humankind has only abstract perception of time and places outside the direct physical experience, all transdisciplinary issues, like ecology, remain vague. The conse-quences and seriousness connected to scales remain hidden and are avoided or neglected as long as possible. System dynamics and other coplex topics, relating to specific ranges, locations, and timespans are therefore hard to communicate.
        While today's interest is focused on the plethora of information, under-use and mis-use of information are neglected due to missing measures to find and detect the fact. A system to structure and orient available data and information is needed, which identifies and selects original sources and thereby reduces the volumes of information dramatically by avoiding redundancies and identifying only information of concern. In time and space, associa- tions, relations and interactions come up though visual inspection or exploration. Additional bases of data or knowledge can be associated and linked, if a grip or feeling for the situation as a virtual reality (not pure fiction), can develop. Virtual objects are placed in this hyper-space which can be easily imagined and related to topics and data-collections. Large repositories with listings of for example projects, tools, problems, solutions can be linked to the spacio-temporal context and if they fit, they can be transferred to similar geographical or structural domains. In Ulm projects like CHRONOS deal with spacio-temporal aspects in future geoinformation systems and some thought is given to access multi-dimensional heterogeneous information. A visual access and indexing system is proposed which defines a flexible framework to map context and ranges with the co-ordinates discipline/subject, size/magnitude, time/period.

        Visualising and demonstrating interdisciplinarity and interaction along and across scales makes it possible to quantify and communicate complex issues better. This might have some impact on the request for integrated studies and sustainable development, but it requires training of "imagination" as early as possible in basic education. Creating a picture of structures and relations as a fictive or virtual image to see scales and impacts in one "picture" or context can be trained, as an architect "envisions" a house prior to his design.  Essential is the concept of combining the human capabilities of creativity and imagi-nation with advanced methods to manage large volumes of information.

The "Rubik's Cube of Ecology" was built in 1990 to explain integration requirements and to develop a framework for science co-ordination and harmonisation and besides to de-velop a structure to retrieve information from various fields, areas, regions, disciplines and domains. The main concern of describing the multi-discipline Ecology was soon overcome by more universal concerns and questions like: Which frames in the Cube relate for example to Economy and how does this relate to Ecology?


The "Blackbox Nature" - The Rubik's Cube of Ecology" as prepared for the German Chancellery as part of the Global Change touring exhibition.    The images of nature are potentially very interesting and colourful. To put the different observations into a single context is a challenge. The pictures purposely create some confusion,as some of these are "turned" and played with along and across scales, on our way of trying to understand certain aspects of Nature. The top of the Blackbox presents satellite and airborne imagery.     The right picture shows the cube's left front.    It presents a possible view "into" GAIA, the living Nature, but without scale.  It is a motion graph showing, like breathing, a pulsation which can reflect the beauty and mystery of knowing and unknowing. It is a magic of a living "thing" we can look at with awe as we gaze. It is to attract visitors and leave them puzzeled whether the picture is from micro-, meso-, or macro-scale. (cell, eye, star). The challenge is to combine creativity: detail and overview, comprehension and apprehension,... and leaves us with something to think deeper or over.

The basic objective was to actually see ecological areas of concern and thereby understand the issue of scale or size as more than numbers, having to do with proportions and consequences. Man is drowned by information and is starving for knowledge. But to create knowledge he needs to be able to relate it to his experiences and his environment and most important of all, to locate his position and directions, his orientation and perspec-tives inside the Blackbox!
 Not only children want to have the whole picture, the "Views of the Woods" and the "Views of the Trees". They want to know not only where they live, but how they should be-have in their place and why an individual action might change the whole system, at least on one level. Modern chaos theory can show the criticality of single action and might therefore be able to explain the individual value of every entity and individual at any of the hierarchical levels or platforms.

 But first we need to index and retrieve objects irrespective of the scale we currently use for mapping in the broades meaning of the word mapping, including mind-mapping and electronic mapping. Geosciences have used various scale platforms, but tools to interlink hierarchical scales and bridge to other thematic maps, disciplines or topics, to better understand proportions and consequences, are just evolving.

Scale is more than size;
it is size with proportions and consequences.
When proportions are no longer in harmony,
or consequences are unanticipated,
we have problems of scale"
     J.A. Buzacott
Concepts, definitions, measurements
in dynamical systems such as ecosystems,
only make sense if they are independent
of a particular choice of co-ordinates
J. McGlade

     Only after agreement on virtual, interlinked object catalogues some progress will be made. To fulfill the task of harmonization, and to review activities within and between organ-isations, some thought has been given to inter-ecosystem comparison and research (as pilot area for broader exchange and coordination). The following extract from a poster done for the UN Environmental Programm UNEP Harmonization Centre describes the technical status and concerns:
     'It is widely thought that object-catalogues, defined over specific scaling ranges, are the best vehicle with which to transfer structural information across a hierarchy of scales.  Conceptual meeting points, like the atmospheric sciences platform, have been defined, but it is indispensable to agree upon object definitions and classification schemes early.
     The question is thus how technically and logically the contents of one scale range can be transferred or superimposed onto other grids.

Inter-ecosystem comparison and research depends on a variety of processes and phenomena that occur along a hierarchy of physical scales. Understanding the dynamical processes involved and the scales at which they operate, allows those patterns and structures observed in the biosphere to be more clearly defined. The key to unlocking such complexity lies in the ability to bridge gaps between measurement, theory and valida-tion. This would in turn provide further understanding and support for research and field-work.

Harmonization can therefore play a critical role in the integration of the environmental and ecological sciences and propel pragmatic integrated approaches' (Benking ´91).

Hierarchical Scale Platform Concept for Integrated Monitoring and Modelling for Environmental Research and Management to bridge measurement, theory and validation. (Extract from joint exhibition 'LOCAL AND GLOBAL CHANGE' of 11 International Organisations involved in international co-ordination and research. (Benking 91) for UNEP-HEM, Geotechnica '91, Cologne)



The "mapping of change" or ecological dynamics at various scales and from various sources is the key idea of "TOPOGRAMM". It was coined by the author in 1987 in view of the HOLOGRAMM or HOLARCHIES and to show, like in microscale (medicine), where the term is used since long how we can map life across scales. See Paul Weiss and the article in the German "BILD DER WISSENSCHAFTEN" - Umweltschutz mit Adlerblick - Die Fliegende Lupe.

We are talking here about landscape evolution and how differnt scales (magnitude and time) have to be integrated for ecodynamic system research and management. The title: objective and precise synopsis of ecological dynamics.

After review of all the efforts on the scientific and international management agenda and the limitations and challenges of advanced computing, networking and knowledge pro-cessing technologies, the futurologist Robert Jungk urged the community to follow up inte-gration concepts, but to use the above awareness about scales, interaction, and transcen-dation to train the conceptual and imaginative powers of the individual. To develop a better sense of nature, through development of a "feeling" for natural processes and dynamics, one can understand better what to do and what is better left undone.

Outlook and the philosophical concept

    The field of interlinking subjects and clarifying the relationships among taxonomies and se-mantics is evolving with the advent of Hyperlinks and Hyperknowledge.
    We know all about the intuitive and creative powers of man in conjunction with mak-ing himself an abstract, artificial "picture", sometimes called a fantasy or dream. The items are not interlinked, and seemingly without any context, and therefore considered "mad". But very often particularly in science, context and relations, are known, but not fully exploited be-cause of a missing comprehensive and flexible framework.
     To communicate and relate location and processes, some thought was given to actually plotting, such a cellular interlinked organ such as Nature or GAIA along and across scales in a way which could be easily understood and used. Finally, a transparent, cellular framework was chosen. According to Ilya Prigogine, a new dialogue with nature requires the concept of a web forming the whole. The problem was to condense the multi-dimensional reality into 3 dimensions because humankind is limited in spatial conception. One challenge is to change viewpoints, perspectives and location and even, like the sufis say: "solve the problems by taking your viewpoint out".
    In contrast to Herman Hesse's 'Glass Bead Game' which displays the cultivation of speciali-ties and the "free" association of 'everything with everything', the ECO-CUBE is made to orient subjects and entities and to provide anchor-points and -frames for the concepts of networks and dynamic processes.

    With the hierarchical self-similar structure (as in the Chinese Feng Shui concept), a new cosmopolitical and universal way of thinking and understanding may develop . But the Cube is only an instrument to orient and relate subjects. No forces or physical or mental energies are mapped or displayed in the cube. By revealing the limitations of humankind and our unsufficient understanding of nature, the cube invites us to step bach if we are not able to take responsible action. The ECO-CUBE does not contain the enfolded order of the Holo-graphic Paradigm or View of Life.
     If children can be enticed by simple pictorial content, and take pleasure in exploring the concepts presented, a first step has been made. Details to any desired depth may be added later using electronic referencing and documentation aids.

    Matrix-cell combinations and flexible categories to structure information visually

Our eye can identify information and structures easily. The use of a grid to structure information helps to organise infor-mation according to the dimensions and scales selected. Using a grid is actually a trick to better utilise human capabilities. By properly structuring and positioning the information, later processing can be much easier.


The basic grid is 3x3x3 cells presenting inanimate, animate, cultural/spiritual. Other grids have been established like the PMEST system in India, but the central idea is to have a place for meaning and take words into space, giving a topic a topos. Taking words as fields was already propsosed by Jan C. Smuts, one of the "fathers" of holsitic thinking and is reflected also in the Japanese "ba" biohiolistic" thinking. "Ba" meaning place or field which can be overlayed and shows relations even in complex social systems.

        In the field of urban planning, the individual and community requirements covers large vol-umes of complex and interde-pendent data.  The science of the broad and complex field of "human settlements" is called Ekistics. It is derived like the word ecology from the Greek word oikos which means house. The Cube is just a concept of  a larger house, the world or GAIA, which maintains some of the same structures and rules at all orders of magnitude, for example, planet, country town, house, plant...,
         Ekistics, as a science structures the impact of human activities.  Main categories are: economic, social, political, adminis-trative and technical sciences and art, which are branched into many sub-categories, like a thesaurus. This organising and clas-sification scheme is used, for example, to classify articles in the Ekistics Journal visually and thereby help read-ers to identify topics of concern at a glance, by just browsing through the pages and looking at the grid at the top of the page. This example shows the potential of information, which is classified and organised in a meaningful way, in a practical layout.

         The actual axis description is of secondary importance. It may be a logarithmic scale which  covers larger quantities or periods, or other flexible categories which can provide a reference into another system.

The Dimensions

 The Rubik's Cube of Ecology has just 3 categories for each side: Nature un-ani-mated, Nature animated, and Culture; Mi-cro-, meso-, macro-scale; past, present, and future. The Ekistics have used a much more detailed systems with 5 categories: Nature, Man, Society, Infrastructure, Structure (Shell). The Blackbox Nature has 7 categories: Theoretical Natural Sciences, Applied Natural Sciences, Geo-, Life-, Economic-, Social-  and Cultural- Sciences. Each Category has many sub-categories; they are structured in a hierarchical way, which is called a thesaurus in technical or linguistic applications. In each science, and even for very broad fields, we have general thesauri to differentiate each discipline or topic down to the finest detail. Precision in each discipline must be considered as an advantage of specialisation. (Discipline is understood as an area in which intelligence is used in disciplined way). But there is a disadvantage, the lack of overview and exchange with neighbouring fields.  Therefore, a growing demand is building up to develop "wild" cross-disciplinary intelli-gence in a holistic and trans-disciplinary way.
Bridging disciplines and other hierarchical scales and interacting along and across scales is required for people studying the multi-dis-ciplinary field of Ecology. This does not only apply to Ecology, but to the exchange between experts of different disciplines.

It is important to mention that there are limits for making sure that categories, scale values, or ranges are clearly de-fined. In most cases words and terms have a spectrum of meaning, and even synonyms may have different connotations. This can be seen in the dif-ference in understanding terms between sciences, languages, and cultures. It is impor-tant to create a practi-cal, realistic picture of the "natural" universe or cosmos and see the interaction and interlocking of subjects and  processes vir-tually at a glance and to see where further attention should be focused.

A Grid projected in time

With the focus on time and change in many sciences and applications, not only Economy and Ecology, we have a much more complex multi-dimensional "scene". But how do we see, understand, and "envision" it?
Why not create a scene, as a music composer makes a picture of his piece of music before he goes to the piano, or the ar-chitect sees his design and understands the spaces and rooms and functions, even before the building is erected?  A design of Nature includes more dimensions then just the physical dimensions x, y, and z.
Due to the fact that we can only visualise three dimension in a single picture, it was nec-essary to select three arbitrary axis descriptions. The definition of Ecology, which requires interaction along and across disciplines, magnitudes and time scales, was selected as being the most comprehensive and meaningful, and also incorporates the concept of system dynamics. Other definitions are possible, but must prove to be simple, harmonious, brilliant, and sensible, which are the criteria for the de-scription of Kepler's "Views of Life".

Creating a fictive image with the "Inner Eye" in order to communicate it to others!

 It is a matter of training to be able to see scenes and pictures from various perspec-tives at will, and being able to sketch them any time. The Chinese say "A picture is worth ten thousand words"; this can be seen below in the Example of Computers and Diskettes. We can agree on some subjects and relationships in time and size, and we will realise that the number of words required for description depends on our knowledge about the subject. The most important thing is that we can more easily agree on relationships, structures and dynamic processes if we agree on the position in time and space, the magnitude, orienta-tion, and perspective.
 Instead of sketching with a few lines and symbols a complex situation and having others guess what it means, we can de-scribe subjects by just locating them in the Cube. Consequently, effects of neighbourhood or directions then come "automatically" into view association.
 We can identify the areas where people work on details or on very large scales, such as an astronomer. These people find structural similarities and even use the same methods, but seldom know about each other.  The Cube helps to identify easily the area where a palaeo-geologist works, and what the domain of a journalist, a politician, a physician, a bio-chemist, or an as-tronomer encompasses.

Creative Catalytic Imagery and Metaphor

 Not only  paintings or pictures but also cross-cultural information, jokes and meta-phors describe in a few lines an overall or governing idea. The concept  of the "Ecological View-of-Life" is to train the brain to "compute" in pictures, to compare structures more often, and to think in pictures and metaphors (as a very high form of abstraction which can be eas-ily and fault tolerantly communicated across language or cultural barriers, and which has some catalytic or creative positive side-effects.


The crystal-cube shows a picture as we see it with our "inner eye". In such a way we can relate objects and describe complex situations easily. It is important to note, that the dimensions are selected according to the subject and the question. If we study epochal change, time might cover a million years. For a butterfly, only a few days are important.

A scene has three dimensions, and we can walk around an object or make projections like an engineer. To relate all objects in the physical universe in time and space, we must also be able to address objects inside the cube, in cells which would not be visible if the cube were opaque.
We have omitted here the other colour picture as the file is getting too large.. create your own imaginative situations showing relations...


A picture may be worth more than a thousand words. If we get used to seeing things not only in "perspective" but keeping the order of size, time, and subject in mind, we can communicate more than just technological developments and trends. The cube is just another scheme to structure information in a simple, complete, and meaningful way.
This is a composition of questions of major concerns, which show the potential of inter-linking subjects into one image. It is of little relevance if the depth dimension is time or magnitude but it seems immediately obvious that there might be correlations which should be studied. The cube helps to differentiate items at different scale platforms, but the relation and linking of facts has to be done on a search, trial and error basis.

Cross-cultural bibliographical, documentation, management, and application issue

Much time has been invested in developing schemes for science co-ordination and preparing inventories of activities on a world-wide scale. The multilingual database access and retrieval "dimension" is covered elsewhere. It is worth mentioning, however, that the search result must be the same, independent of the search strategy employed.

Linking the Cubes Subject/Space/Time indexing system with other repositories

Another major area of possible application is the linking of structures and situations with collections of information, in-cluding encyclopaedias which identify problem areas, solu-tion potentials or visions, in addition to conventional databases. Ex-amples include  the En-cyclopaedias of Visions, World Problems and Human Potential, and other structured collec-tions of know-how and experience.

 Pragmatic aspects of proper structural analysis and of comparing structures to find appropriate tools and technologies, has to our knowledge not been exploited systematically so far. Perception of space and navigating in spaces, cells or "rooms" has a very basic cognitive dimension and needs training. Getting used to combine perceptions in stereo models and navigate in these real or artificial environments. Research efforts in the field of perception, cultural context, differentiation and navigation have been going on for some time, but only with the development of advanced graphics and hyperlink technology some new de-velopments can be envisioned.

This paper focuses on visualisation as a powerful approach to identifying, selecting, reducing, describing, and handling complex data and information. The objective is to bridge and merge human capabilities with capabilities of computer systems. Another objective is to develop and enhance cognitive and creative powers of humankind for better and more com-prehensive understanding of natural processes, thereby achieving the best possi-ble solu-tions.
Beside advanced archiving and hyper knowledge approaches, the use of human identification, selection and imaginative powers seem to be worth the price of continuous training and exploitation.

 To identify and map a complex scene like the environment is a challenge. We are tempted to simplify complex objects for better understanding and communication; the inher-ent problem of oversimplification should not be discarded on the other hand. Tools and approaches are put forward for discussions to allow better understanding and to help select the best possible approach to the many obvious, but still not completely sufficient, global problems, such as overpopulation.

I have imagination, and nothing that is real is alien to me.

A man´s feet must be planted in his country,
but his eyes should survey the world.

George Santanya



 The basic definition underlying the description of the Blackbox Nature was taken from "Enhancing the credibility of ecology", a GeoJournal Trilogy, authors F. di Castri and M. Hadley. They predicted, with the advent of modern technologies, intelligent approaches to "interact along and across hierarchical scales".  Emphasis on the concept of play was first acknowledged by Eberhard Gockel, who helped and supported it in an intuitive and very solid way. Anthony J. N. Judge, UIA, Dr. Alfred Schinz, Dr. Wolf Tietze GeoJournal, Profes-sor Jacqueline McGlade, now in Warwick, Dr. Hartmut Keune, UNEP-HEM, Dr. Ulrich Kampffmeyer, and Dr. Josef Schwitte provided insights, knowledge, in-terest, and support, in addition to the valuable literature they have assembled.

Without Professor Dr. Dr. F. J. Radermacher, Dr. Christian Greiner from FAW, Ulm, Panu Recula and Dr. Charles Woodward from DeskArtes, in Helsinki, for the graphics com-putation artwork, and, last not least, Mr. Anton T. Kaiser, the presentation in Turku would not have been possible.

Prof. Robert Jungk immediately understood the value of educating and exploiting any possi-ble way for better "visioning and imagination". He recommended the prices of work widely, and pushed the author to continue at a critical time, a tim e which is not suppor-tive to general concepts with possibly broader impact.
Thanks are due to Pentti Malaska and Merja Breilin WFSF / FFFS, who, on short notice, after the pro-gram for the celebration of Robert Jungks 80th Birthday had to be changed, created time, space, and attention at the Turku Conference.

 Designing a Feasible Future
The best way to predict future
is to "gestalt" it.
(to design a Gestalt according to your visions  and make it real).

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 The following art texts from the WFSF poster:


 * More awareness of scales and consequences
 * Perception of non-linear scales
 * Visualisation of interrelated concepts
 * Simulation of imagination and creativity
 * Combination of visual recognition with advanced archiving and retrieval technology
 * Exploration of multi-disciplinary applications


 * Ecology
 * Education of children
 * History
 * Science
 * Socioeconomics
 * Management
 * Teaching


 * Educating children to consider  ecological questions in the "Spirit of Play"
 * Maximising human potential (creativity, intuition, recognition)
 * Synergising capabilities of man and  systems
 * Exploiting technology to handle the vast amount of available information
 * Enhancing visual catalytic powers
 * Integrating science, management, and aesthetics


 * Resources are being wasted due to  uncoordinated activities
 * Need for a structure to view all available  data and information in a single frame
 * The Blackbox Cube provides a framework for scientific co-ordination
 * The multi-dimensional view allows man to locate himself and the impact of his actions
 * The proposed framework allows links to be established with existing data repositories,
  including encyclopaedias and other kinds of data collections


 * Apathy and lack of values
 * Lack of orientation and order
 * Linear thinking
 * Lack of communication across cultural and language boundaries
 * Avoidance and ignorance of world problems


 * Dimensional limitations of the human sensory domain
 * Information overload
 * Educational systems
  - Lack of system-oriented view
  - Over-specialisation
  - Intense competition
 * Taboos  

Müßet im Naturbetrachten
Immer eins wie alles achten;
Nichts ist drinnen, nichts ist draußen:
Denn was innen, das ist außen.
So ergreifet ohne Säumnis
Heilig öffentlich Geheimnis.
Euch des ernsten Spieles:
Freuet euch des wahren Scheins,
Kein Lebendiges ist ein Eins,
Immer ists ein Vieles.
                               J.W.v. Goethe

In the Information Age,
the quality, contagiousness, and linkage
of information is decisive.


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