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See a documentation of the Children "KNOWLEDGE SPIRAL" - NEWSLETTER
and the
HELSINGIN SANOMAT (Finish Weekly) with full page colour coverage of kids event and a "box" the futurists gathering
(English translation of text.) Including the election of Pentti Malaska, reference to Benoit Mandelbrot, Johan Galtung, …. (all the Futures Luminaries meeting in Turku)

Full "Education" paper prepared for the 1993 XIII World Conference of World Futures Studies Federation with the title: 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


"Our View of the World is too Flat"

Heiner Benking

·         Highlights

·         Objectives

·         12 Theses

·         Gratitudes

        12 Theses

Thesis 1 Framework
Thesis 2 Separate vs Whole
Thesis 3 Holo-experience
Thesis 4 Isolation

Thesis 5 Re-binding
Thesis 6 Nomenclature
Thesis 7 Visual Immediacy
Thesis 8 Imagery & Place

Thesis 9   Experience of Scales
Thesis 10 Exploring Eco-Scaling
Thesis 11 Natur-Raum-Zeit
Thesis 12 Dialogue of  "Whole"

Thesis 1:
A framework is required to allow the individual to find his place in the universe and develop an overall perspective. It is also necessary to relate information in repositories with observations about the world and with individual viewpoints.  Some sense of harmony will result when one comes to understand the global perspective and realises that each individual is an integral part of the whole, just as each brick is an integral part of the wall.  This realisation will help to combat feelings of apathy and futility.  It is important that this concept models only the physical universe, and thus leaves open the possibility of influence by spiritual forces.

Thesis 2:
Children grow up in a world of separated fields, and are encouraged through intense competition to specialise at an early age.  The increasing demand for holistic and integrated approaches to system- and process- oriented concepts is contradicted by efforts to limit the natural exploratory tendencies of children. Once these tendencies are suppressed, it is often not possible to counteract a transformation which has resulted in an analytic being devoid of spirituality and creativity.

Thesis 3:
Ecology is not presented as a multi-disciplinary field because only sector-oriented and causal thinking, as opposed to system-oriented thinking, are taught.  Such a multi-disciplinary perspective can thus only be obtained through broad practical and physical experience.  A conceptual image, which is more than just a mental framework and an associated paradigm, is therefore difficult to achieve.

Thesis 4:
Individuals feel helpless and powerless because they don't perceive their contribution or their relationship to the world as a whole.  The result is apathy and abdication of responsibility based on the lack of a perception that action or inaction on the part of the individual will have an impact on the overall system.

Thesis 5:
Only through localisation of effect in space and time is a feeling of deep knowledge created.  Reference to the environment or neighbourhood are essential to developing practical approaches to problems and to the optimisation of learning.

Thesis 6:
There is a necessity to develop a new network nomenclature, which can additionally contain imagery of various dimensions and metaphors.  Such catalytic "concept-language" simplifies and speeds communication and allows mediation of complex decision scenarios.  The resulting unified "terminology/"imageology"/"metaphorology" allows multi-dimensional thought and helps to identify cultural differences in expression and understanding.  The present use of language does not allow distinct terminology, only relative terms, which require pictures and metaphors to make the point, especially in multi-dimensional domains.

Thesis 7:
Since children appreciate the use of simple pictures and stories to explain complex relations, this form of communication should be seriously considered.  Children seem to think visually, but this technique is underexploited and not completely understood.  That catalytic powers of thinking and speaking in pictures are supressed is readily seen in comparing cultural differences in memorisation.

Thesis 8:
The process self-discovery and the development of self-esteem are strongly related to the concepts of home and intimacy.  If the boundaries of thought and perception are extended, for example from village to country to planet, adequate concepts for thoughts are required for improved imagination, mapping, and living according to such expanded perceptions.  Imagery which supports this expanded context, the reference to details, and related knowledge and experience creates advanced creativity and catalytic possibilities, and thus allows for deeper insight.

Thesis 9:
One major problem is the lack of experience with and feeling for spatial and time scales.  They must be experienced outside of the conventional range of individual observation, and have direct implications for relationships with and management of natural resources.  Without a perception of scales and dimension, there is no space for responsibility and ethics.

Thesis 10:
Imagination and creativity are wasted if an early "fun and games" approach to obtaining a capability for making mental transitions between structures, subjects, scales, and relationships is not taken.  The word intuition in the Greek and Roman sense included inspiration in a parallel mode: seeing the overall picture at a single glance, followed by perusal of the details.  The trick is to learn to oscillate between these forms of mental exercise and thereby foster ingenuity.

The definition of ecology as "interaction along and across hierarchical scales"  requires techniques such as zooming, panning, overlaying, system dynamics oriented functional linking. The use of imagery, concepts, and metaphors to trigger mental traversal of these scales is crucial. These techniques utilise creative and analytical capabilities in parallel, and therefore result in dramatic increases in quality and speed of response.

Thesis 11:
If we can show the various phenomena of nature in a single framework, we will have a universal system for perceiving nature in time and space (Natur-Raum-Zeit).  Understanding the interaction and communication between individual processes, and the unique position and importance of each contribution, a new sense of responsibility and community-oriented thinking may develop.

Thesis 12:
A new dialogue with nature requires the concept of a web forming the whole (Ilya Prigogine). With hierarchical self-similar structure (as in the Chinese Feng Shui concept), a new cos-mopolitical and universal thinking may develop.  This requires visualisation and abstract and consistent images of unified depth, which assist in bridging dimensions.  If children can be enticed by such simple pictorial content, and take pleasure in exploring these concepts, a first step has been made.  Detail to any desired depth may be added later using electronic referencing and documentation aids.


  • Proposing an additional framework for indexing in conjunction with real  world co-ordinates. Mapping and referencing relates to the land-scape and to an  artificial problem- or issue- scape. Change of perspectives and position are  thereby encouraged
  • Triggering human powers of imagination by extending, linking, and overlaying  domains and challenging segmentation, compartmentalisation, and over-specialisation
  • New approach by adding a third dimension (time)  to conventional matrix  organisation schemes (Ekistics) and utilising visual (optical) discrimination and  recognition potentials
  • The "Blackbox Nature" features a logical development, based on electronic archiving, hyperlink and computer graphics / multi media technology
  • Facilitating and inviting switching of scales to better understand processes,  patterns, and constraints
  • Proposing an universal classification and coding system
  • A framework to orient entries in existing data collections, such as the  "Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential", "The Book of Visions",  or other conventional collections from private or public institutions
  • Framework which provides an internal hierarchical order like the Chinese Feng  Shui and forms a scale-independent web required for the new dialogue with  nature (Ilya Prigogine) - the crystal cells may be considered the meeting and  anchor points
  • "Musée Imaginaire" of nature to counteract the fragmentation of knowledge in  order to augment it
  • A framework of crystal cells, representing the position of objects, issues or entities (in contrast to the unstructured free association of issued in Hesse's  "Glass Bead Game"). The obvious context and linkages help exploiting intuitive and analytical powers
  • For children to visualise context, complexity, and completeness by providing a  common foundation by pulling together all fields of study into a more understandable unity
  • For research and administration to link subjects and invite transdisciplinarity
  • By zooming along and across hierarchical scales increasing scaling perceptions  and thereby better understanding and decision-making quality


* to support structuring integrated and system oriented thinking

* to ease the upheaval from linear to interlinked and interlocking thinking

* to provide an additional View-of-Life for complex ecological questions

* to train conceptualisation, imagination and creative skills

* to ease orientation and understanding for children and adults

* to avoid segment oriented, compartmental, and narrow approaches

* to study visual access strategies

* to develop multi- and transdisciplinary databases and applications


         My thanks for helping me with the theses goes to Günter Kunz whom I crossed paths with in 1991. We had been involved in 1987 in environmental anaytics - very transdisciplinary material that only a science writer and journalist organization like TELI - TEchnical LIterary Society could bring together. Günter, commented to me that a journalist is a generalist with "profound half-knowledge".  It was a definition I later used writing about T-personalities, connecting with the work of Macho, Ropohl and Dürrr.
         Günter was specially enthused about my work with children, and that I mentioned and thanked Robert Jungk wholeheartedly as well, who supported and understood what my mission and efforts are about. Both have  helped me put my thoughts together.
          Instead of discussing the new session of the Political Club of Berlin, Academy of Security and Co-operation event in Berlin, Günter dedicated himself and ample time to the theses above. He urged me to review and think indepth about the original German version which only came into place and being as Günter immediately understood and saw the urgency and Importance of EDUCATION. 10001 THANKS, Günter. (1001, as in "1001 nights" in arabic: - alf laila wa laila - eternal thanks)

late note: this article was prepared after Turku for a book with Rita Süssmuth, Ossip Flechtheim,.... unfortunately not published – but available !!


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