International Society for the Systems Sciences ISSS
THE INTEGRITY PAPERS - James N. Rose ISSS Group http://www.ceptualinstitute.com
"The Compatibility of Social Systems"
A HOUSE OF HORIZONS AND PERSPECTIVES
A cognitive deep openspace for positioning, comparing, merging and morphing
our metaphors, models, maps and views1
Associate FAW, Ulm, Germany - Co-founder, infoterm, Vienna, Austria
James N Rose
Ceptual Institute, Minden, Nevada, USA
- The Challenge of General Systems Sciences
- The House of Horizons and Perspectives, a 'diagonal thinking' technique
- Open Access to the Conceptual World, through many "doors" and "windows"
- Lost or found in Space
- Mental Mobility, an alternative journey through cyberspace
- Alternative models for information structure
- The House of Eyes
- Integrative and nested models
- The Group and Generation Eye: The challenge of Bridging Cultural Dissonance
- New definitions for shared, con-sens-ual augmented realities
- Making the virtual real & Engaging multi-ceptual skills
- Cogito ergo sum & Communicamus, Sentiamus et Participimus ergo summus
- Afterword and Acknowledgements
This paper invites the exploration of common frames of reference, defined as both symbolic and real spaces. Because different world views and mental models co-exist, we rely on the a priori that literal and figurative views are accessible with each other by transformations between different topologies of shared mutual aspects. Such imagery matches real utile human capacities, where mental manipulations and exercises are best understood using real dynamic physical analogs2. We focus particularly on the social form "house" because it incorporates "visual reference spaces" and natural physical/biological/social analogs. Combining them allows us to architecture a "house of eyes", thereby communicating the pragmatism that consensus and agreed actions are attainable when for example first grounded in the format of a shared "home" or social living-place (Gallager 1993), (Tuan 1977), (Laszlo, Artiogani, Combs, Csanyi 1996). Tackling one of the challenges of General System Sciences, which we see in interacting and looking for coherence along and across scales, focus on know-what, -where and -why, beside know-how, we show that simple spacially embodied real-world metaphoric is usable for sharing meaning and reason across cultures and domains, leading to the actions based on local and global concerns - sharable self and collective models. The goal is the organization of "diverse realities", to make visible a "social and ecological fabric", and transcend and move the boundary between the perspective and the aperspective (Gebser 1953), cognition and emotion (Kruse 1985), in order to make a segment of intangible matters tangible, or link the inner with the outer workbench of the mind3 (Krippner 1997).
The concept of ecosystem is applied as a meta-discipline and role model for integration, making use of defintion-spaces, which aid in disclosure of, access, merging and morphing of viewpoints. We hope to make visible and obvious sectarianism (overspecialization) and its typically associated overclaims4 (Benking 1997c) by combining views which help to realize and transcend "fixation" in over-localized "boxed" thinking. Without "identity" and "position", relations: inside and outside, are increasingly difficult to realize and reason about.
Key-words:social cognitive maps, mental models, viewpoints, education,
concept space, multi-modal world-views
The Challenge of General Systems Sciences
General Systems Science challenges us to be macro-thinkers and micro-thinkers at the same time. We are expected to comprehend an engrossing meta-view of the world, while being capable of considering the widest range and depth of details and times; to transform our conceptual positions as easily as a mobile camera with all sorts of telephoto and zoom lens features can maneuver through physical space. We have to understand myriad representations, scales, and interpretations in numerous fields of research, including cultural and functional interaction dynamics.
Studies and Research of the key author (since 1972) in the "field of modeling and planning "complex dynamics"5 made it necessary to look for the context, the conceptual place. 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), (Veltman 1997b), (Veltman, Benking 1998) to have specific questions in anticipation of specific answers. This is even more pertinent and important in the field of cultural navigation and cultural memory systems6, as the mind-set and terminology barrier is more obvious. We can not show at this place how logical structuring and reasoning, dating back for example to the "Ars Magna" (see for example Lullus 1598 in Eco (1994)) can help to "organize" what "we can know and do not know" in more meaningful ways, but we invite to study the references and just consider what Leibniz would have done for a library without physical layout restrictions.7
While we reductionistically narrow in on concise universal relationships, we establish a metaphoric that can accommodate the diversity, uniqueness and importance of plural realities. The challenge rests in the way we define and embody our fullest possible generalizations8 of the sensate and abstract worlds, in combinations of augmented realities, and how use of a coherently recognized model and anticipatory schema can be shared together.
Listening to or reading these words, you already have your fingers poised on the lightswitch of comprehension. The imagery we present contains evidence and access to your own world - personal and shared. Its content is already there. The light of comprehension -- also called understanding and empathy and considering new information - will give you cognitive access to the achievements of shared potential.
In a nutshell: We want to increase mutual reasonability by making visible some parts of the "invisible" and listening more carefully to language. In German we say9 : "Aus den Augen, aus dem Sinn" "when we not see, we forget". This shows that we have to challenge our capacities or they pass away. An urge for "empathy" is conveyed with "What the eye does not see, the heart does not crave for".
The House of Horizons and Perspectives, a 'diagonal thinking' technique
By employing a visualization method we can expand our internal biology and enter an alert communication with events, situations, dynamics, even each other, and explore concurrent universality and diversity of our world. The dynamic of this process becomes universally self-evident simply by participation. By using everyday language and thought, any set of comprehensions can be translated into any other analogy or metaphor, thus transcending personal or local isolation. In our concept, the metaphor HOUSE is used because it denotes a shared common value. ANIMAL and MIND EYES are used as another denominator offering real alternative perspectives of cognitive spaces and environments. This journey will take us on a path of creativity, through conceptual spaces and times, transcendent of local isolations and vested interests, and make convergence the most natural and desirable of efforts.
Open Access to the Conceptual World, through many "doors" and "windows"
Our experience of the world happens first through the somatic senses, gradually through "extensions" (Benking 1997a). These give us interaction information and survival information about the world and all our "lifespace" (Lewin, 1935). Ever so slowly, but with ever increasing competence, that information - received and incorporated in continual ongoing streams of pertinence and importance - is organized in our thoughts and comprehension as reliable repeatable patterns by which we gauge our actions and goals and efforts. The Conceptual World becomes an imaged reality as sure and defined and relational as the "external" correspondence it was derived from. We spar with it each moment we live, testing the veracity of experience versus thought and versus experience again, in a continuing dance of "sentience-in/as-world".
The Latin roots of concept and conceive derive from folk wisdom and mean "to gather in with, to combine inside (the mind/body)". We embrace attitudes, we incorporate ideas, we envision possibilities and so on. Quite literally, everything that we learn we are, that which we are "familiar with becomes us" (Rose 1992). Therefore, it is no extraordinary stretch to ask everyone to re-connect with the ways that all people and companion creatures see and visualize life and existence. This is a crucial exercise in performance. When we open ourselves to projecting and imagining the literal experiences of viewing situations in alternative ways, it becomes something we identify with and therefore can feel kin to. And once that happens, the techniques of co-supportive social actions and encouragement of human dignity and integrity for everyone becomes as natural as .... as natural as ... "seeing". The process itself -- exploration of social Concept and COGNITION Space - becomes a consummate foundation of ethical considerations10 and a shared "objective reality".
Lost or found in Space
We do not have the benefit of being atomic particles that can be quantum mechanically "superpositioned", inhabiting several different locations or states simultaneously. We are constrained to experiencing "points of view" and perspectives differently from each other - literally and figuratively. And yet, we share a common world with shared opportunities to take turns, step into each others shoes, so to speak, and see and appreciate how and why another person thinks in a different way or has a different opinion of things. This means is that we have the open potential to extend the courtesies of consideration to anyone and everyone we encounter and work with and maintain society with.
Poincarés break-through mathematical techniques laid the groundwork for this by suggesting a new way of "seeing", devising a new methodology, combining real and abstract coordinate axes, making them "spatial/spacial"11 in order to relate with them as "visual" embodiments. A common ground was constructed that served as a mutual framework for discussions and ideas. General System Sciences is in the same position today, having to overcome fragmentation and so support inter- and trans- disciplinary approaches by way of common languages. To accomplish this we cannot restrict ourselves just to the compatibility of social systems, but must look also to the comparability of systems and sciences12,13.
Our thoughts are literally a reflection of the world around us, and this world - which we have been and continue to be responsible for creating - is a re-reflection of the images and concerns we have organized within ourselves. If we take the time to look at these relationships anew, really examine the correspondences, then we have a framework, however limited and specialized it may be, within which we can hope to rearrange our knowledge and accomplish something new.
The history of using the metaphor of eyes, glasses/lenses, or perspectives is endless (Veltman 1997a)14, (Veltman/Benking 1998), (Illich 1998a). System and cognitive sciences have used this idea to construct many models of reality15, where there is still an open challenge to find "common frames of reference"16 - a framework or conceptual superstructure17. Playing with words for a moment, not necessarily to see a new era, as something vague, but to make it real, a new area.
Mental Mobility, an alternative journey through cyberspace
There was hope during the past decades that the computer might be the new magnifying glass for the human intellect, but we really have to do the thinking ourselves, cultivating our imagination and creativity, floating along and across scales ourselves and find a new quality by combining the human intuition with machine precision and repeatability (for more see Judge 1970). We call it mental mobility and we work on self models and extension systems18 to clarify internal and external references, examining how they make us see and feel the world (We will cover this later to greater detail).
Realizing that the goal of sharing meaning is a difficult task, especially in a nominalistic" age dominated by concepts which are increasingly abstract and artificial, we can either give in, or, try to tackle these problems with a new approach, with new forms and displays19. Alternative perceptions can be very effective in solving problems which arise, by allowing ways of thinking and applying atypical representations, which have a power beyond conventional intrinsic methods. What we suggest therefore, is making use of the conceptual imagery of "spacialization" -- to coin an English word (carrying the process meaning of bridging/linking/correlating/grasping of the German words ergreifen and begreifen) -- understanding that space is the a-priori of comprehension in "both" worlds. Instead of being restricted to the physical world-space, we define and postulate envisioning a real space-scape, making tangible and deep that which is referred to as virtual space or cyberspace. Just as cybernauts have to steer and find direction within different worlds and different electronically placed domains, it is plausible to define similar "conceptual worlds", and gain new insights by being able to display and visualize abstract positions, places and relations. We are not so far off using these imagined directions, since its been shown that this is how children, as visualizing model-building "animals", learn20.
Alternative models for information structure
With many innumerable alternatives of axis descriptions and models applicable to structure possible information, we point out that the proposed "Black-Box/White-Openspace", "House" and "Panorama" are but a few of many possible valid metaphors, with the authors making no claim to any "perfect" or final schemata. Rather, we show that emphasis should be laid on translation and transformation in and between models, schemas (Neisser 1976,82), and schools of thought, avoiding fixation on one single paths or paradigms (social cognitive maps, see (Laszlo, Artiogani, Combs, Csanyi 1996) and Loye (1990). The test of a model is whether it is coherent, open, simple and competent in allowing new insights and securing practical benefits. At this point we will not overload the listener/reader with the concepts developmental history nor with alternative representations that have been made in other fields but would recommend following study later of our in-depth footnotes and references.
So, we begin with the metaphor from design, construction, and maintenance: the "House" or "Household", and, using the definition of "ecology space", will try to outline a concept for a global or integral Household. Alternative metaphors like landscape or arena have been utilized to present the same message in an even wider range of applications, bridging canyons and chasms between cultures and notations21. Because the root metaphor of three dimensional open space is broadly applicable, it is possible to build and edit any kind of structure and make use of mutual ways of thinking, reasoning and finding/creating words.
We select "House" as the appropriate entry metaphor since it is a cross cultural concept and can be imagined, as in a warehouse, to embody an order or a design helpful to find and place things according to their use or connectedness, and map and list places, including what we have or know or dont. We can make floor plans for any kind of purpose and can have totally different views literally from "different perspectives" (looking through the door, through the window or behind the cupboard..., or even using a magnifying glass to see details in a book or anywhere) (Schmidt, 1995). Differences and relations of meanings can be displayed and used as plurally dimensioned issues or situation spaces "panoramas" or "vistas". We even see merit in using the concept of "words in space", manifesting terms or referents as fields22 which can be overlayed, as a practical mechanism to locate meanings in relation to neighboring terms and concepts.
Within this accessible architecture there are many possible concept map-projections possible: thematic, dynamic, even "out of scale", distorted or highlighted. Our focus here will be on bridging representations, looking into the comparability of concepts and how we can link and transform, translate between different annotations, and show that we can follow, jointly inspect and point at situations and places, or, as we say, the topos (topographies) of topics (logical or symbolic places) - See Tuan (1977).
The House of Eyes23
In order to make solid and embody concepts we need to give them a context, a place. We begin by organizing our data, knowledge and sensory information, which we want explore here, in the construction of an imaginary house - an atrium house with three rooms in this example, designed like a Japanese home, where you can move or remove walls - which in our case are virtual or imagined boundaries between categories or domains. Please think of this exploration as if we were already above the ground of our artificial house/terrarium (imaginary/virtual deep cyberspace) and mentally sketch all introduced eyes and perspectives, in order to recreate them and make them real as a mentally shared model (see for more Benking (1998), Illich (1997), and v.Weizsäcker (1997).
"Room" or "space" has in many languages the connotation: potential and challenge, but on the other hand, it also implies: danger, depth, getting lost (if one doesnt know the way or the direction), or opting for the potential and the challenge of exploring new spaces, a new terra incognita. Since the axes labels (axiomatic definitions) are important in order to be acceptable and useful, and notwithstanding the fact that such definitions can be comfortably quite arbitrary rather than deterministically viewed as an only possibility or only model, we will see how the definition of the blackbox or white-openspace (first proposed in 1990 for the German Global Change exhibition24) makes sense and can help us appreciate new perspectives and realizations, new ways of looking, asking questions and finding new answers.
As we indicated earlier, a model has to be coherent, complete, simple and open in order to be useful. We can now proceed by moving with you among these "rooms", exploring how words and thinking are translated and transported between such "cognitive spaces", and how we can create meaning when we conceptually bridge through spatial metaphors among worlds and conceptual realms. So let us define the central room in the "House"25.
In this orthogonal (Cartesian) system, the first room embodies the geographic length, width and height for the objective or physical world, the central room embodies context space, disciplines, magnitudes and time scales, and the third, the subjects-space for which we define the axis dimensions: discipline, structure, phenomena, and language (Benking, 1996a).
We can differentiate various alternative approaches or archetypical entries within this space, exploring and understanding this "world". First the "worms eye" perspective. This was also described by one of the founders of an organismic, dynamics included, "living" ecology Jakob von Uexkuell , a tube- or "tunnel-reality", as we use it now to describe the perspective of a "one eye" approach to reality, with blinkers or only along a certain mold, path or paradigm, not looking left or right, up or down, not going back or stepping back (reflecting ones actions).
Second might be a "fish or frog eye" perspective: The fish-eye optic would be a personal local perspective, seeing the world, which is directly around you, enlarged and close, all prioritized in contrast with distant objects that seem small and inconsequential. It is reasonable to consider this the archetypal and natural way of seeing, as it is centered and close to survival, not being distracted by the volume of what is elsewhere, but rather clear, attainable locally and within your reach and grasp
Thirdly we might want to introduce the "birds eye", which we consider the overview, from some high standing position. This outlook assumes emotional detachment, looking for the big picture by forgetting about the details, but looking for the context and the relations. It is descriptive to note, that science tends to assume on one hand this kind of detached position, not getting involved or immersed, but standing clear and having overview (trans-disciplinary survey-knowledge, the generalist approach, but on the other hand, it also maintains that it looks for the details in a specialist, repeatable mode - this ambivalence of "objectivity" stands for the power of natural sciences.
Integrative and nested models
From these few examples we realize that such perspective pictures or metaphors have high potential. They show that we need to combine more views (being the original intention of science), to reach comprehensive, even holistic understandings. We need to be open to using more than one "eye", to have plural stereoscopic perspectives of events and situations, to have extreme depth perception of all details and relationships, appreciating even the slightest subtle shifts, as insects accomplish with faceted eyes, or, to combine pictures by building up directional images into panoramic views. How these pictures are combined and how they create mental models or constructions, as with chameleons which swivel their eyes quite independently, having no common sight/field to gauge binocularly the distance of an object or bait - or in the case of apes, which through evolution had their eyes move from the sides to the front, allowing binocular distance triangulation. Ultimately, better prediction and fidelity of dynamic models is a prime survival factor. At this point we can only say that through the combination of visual depth perception and development of language, Homo sapiens has relied upon combining views and information in order to form something exquisitely new, being capable of imagination, computation and realization, ready for a necessary phylogenetic step (Benking 1995b).
What we are talking about, is not only managing pictures of various detail or granularity, but to combine various ways of seeing and merging and morphing representations....microscopically, telescopically, and all the variability in between. This is metaphored with a cameras zoom lens, capable of not only re-focusing but also changing angles and virtual distance. We need to understood this on the deepest - and highest - possible levels, not only physical, but representational, so that we can outline and combine areas of interest. The insect eye provides examples on how different pictures are merged into one model. What we are doing here is increasing mental (virtual) mobility by combining aspects and sensors and sensorial (sensor-motor) information, a "dynamic thematic zoom eye".
The Group and Generation Eye: The challenge of Bridging Cultural Dissonance
Accepting that there are mental models which can be managed as deep 3-dimensional representations through training and natural aptitude by a portion of humanity, we realize, that by moving in and through the cognitive space of the Blackbox26 White-Openspace27 we can take on perspectives which include generations, and comprehend the broader views and concerns of specific groups, communities, nations, or humankind, the "group or generation eye". We speak with and teach children about "me & we" models, explaining that we assume and outline positions and scopes, immersing or detaching ourselves, becoming participants or observers/audience. We make them aware that the challenge is bridging any cultural dissonance of either (western) ego-centrism or Eastern group centrism and self denial or degradation. The trick is to become aware of our own perspectives and understand that it is all right and even desirable to change them as appropriate. In this way we combine the holistic and reductionist perspectives and accomplish greater insights and tolerance along the way, overcoming fixed or dualistic perspectives by literally changing the depths and focuses of our comprehension.
It is said in German "Sicht aufs Ganze - Pflicht fürs Ganze" - "Seeing the Whole - being/feeling responsible for the whole". We propose here that the moment we mentally encompass the whole and the connectedness, the result will be a foundation and environment in which our children will identify and care more for the whole. It even goes further, as Santanya, James, Schelling, Goethe have written, that we will not only gaze in awe, but also feel the beauty, harmony and respect embodied by it all. The whole is not something to be exploited and (mis-) used but cared for instead. One of us (Benking) had that exact experience as a result of the beauty of the Rubiks Cube of Ecology in the exhibition and it was written as DEMUT and ZURÜCKHALTUNG even in a Science and Politics exhibition.
New definitions for shared, con-sens-ual augmented realities
Our focus is on the questionable grail of one reality, one and only one truth, or one perspective. The myth of the chasm between subject~object and the notion that everything is relative, subjective, and complicated. We recommend highly the work of S.J. Schmidt28 and his paper "New Definitions of Reality" summarizing the basic tenets of "Constructivism" and the responsibility of the intellectual community, going as far as underlining that ".. we should never blur the insight that we need socially stabilized world models to live in, and that we can not do without moral orientation." We also make note of the work of Loye (1990) with his request for "The New Evolutionary Paradigm"; and (Laszlo, Artiogani, Combs, Csanyi 1996) highly acclaimed "Changing Vision". What we bring to your attention here are the omnipresent "story of the observer and intellectual" who are like journalist and subject being of diverse minds, even communicating their beliefs, yet living out what they think and steering new courses. Most of these writings have been done during the past decade, sometimes with goals in mind, as with "Summit of art and sciences for culture and society with the COUNCIL OF EUROPE"29, or the "WHITE HOUSE CONFERENCE ON GLOBAL CHANGE"30 in the German Chancellery. All of these cases have been multitudes of forms, in many domains, with great enthusiasm, but little courage to think and to act and effect an achievable outcome. The key-author (Benking) has developed the current scaffolding model and applied it to many fields, ranging from knowledge organization, to information management, to Philosophy, Cognitive Sciences, etc., but always maintaining a priority on Education. Most promising, is the work with children who pick on the notions most easily, learning with great enthusiasm. Their elders are typically encumbered by a crust of prejudices and entrenched thought patterns, only rarely willing to venture into conceptual explorations. Many reports and unpublished articles are available on request. A summary of the problem and what can be done is nicely presented in: Models in Science Education (see footnote 17).
The difficulty is that people do not easily share what they know. Democritus already knew that perceptions can only be related to perception. So what we need to do, is to find a framework to consensually constitute models of reality. Not the dualistic reality of only "the given"31, but the broad band of "interrelating incompatible viewpoints" (Judge 1986).
Making the virtual real & Engaging multi-ceptual skills
We want to strive beyond the "accepted", to what might really be "possible". First, we need to go beyond the dualistic trap of "either-or". Audiovisuals can help by subliminally conveying third party interests. Words are great, visualizations are great, doing is great. But the challenge is to begin actively reflecting, considering, and taking in other viewpoints, other positions, other worlds - developing tolerances and seeing that differences are beautiful and essential for survival.
The challenge is to overcome the "battle of perspectives"32, by accepting the pros and cons of reductionism and holism! It is possible to see the context and the aspects under which observations and assumptions are made. Gregory Batesons definition of context (1979, p 15) can be extended, not only as a pattern through time, but also through sizes or levels. Humankind has not the antenna to see and share time or magnitude levels, but by looking deeper we might be able to reflect and even see behind the patterns and meta-pattern (Volk 1995) the pattern of patterns of connection.
Coding and switching systems for multi-lingual applications have been (Benking 1996a) and (Benking/Veltman 1997) developed and are in use in some smaller and pilot environments. Even so, the problem seems to crop up that some people are not willing to leave the mold of hierarchical and accustomed ways of seeing and thinking! Is it our fatigue and apathy, or fear of seeing something that can not be handled? We have presented today the notion that some degree of meta-paradigm is needed, a framework for "being and sharing" (Benking 1996b). How can we accomplish this? The only way seems to be to have people initiate "doing and sharing", testing ways and modes and alternative solutions which accomplish mutual goals (Benking 1996b) or hold themselves in a checks-and- balances position. On one hand, the authors are aware of the time it takes to leave given thinking tracks, given the strong momentum of technology-driven developments. But since there is hope that we can reflect on our concept-contexts, can map our paradigms and views, can share them and augment the human intellect, (Englebart 1962). We expect that people can and will rise above words, cease their fighting over specific mind maps or constructs, because they recognize the benefits in a new quality of Plan and Outline that transcends all other domains and scales. We expect that these achievements are possible by engaging in what might be termed multi-ceptual skills (Rose 1992).
Cogito ergo sum & Communicamus32, Sentiamus et Participimus ergo summus33
We are building here in review of the article on Gary Boyd's contribution (footnote 32) to the ISSS Primer Wholeness seminar in order to come to essentials of our article: Therefore we show how "schools of thought" or domains take over meaning and place themselves into assumably better light. For example: Endless is the discussion of how right or wrong Descartes might have been, and how we sherish or neglect his contributions or ills. But, as not only (Illich 1998b), (Heinrichs 1988-97), (Veltman 1970-98), (Krämer 1997), many writers have shown that definitions change with time and culture. Interpretations/Translations into"I think, so I am" are not helpful, as Descartes was much more sensible as we have shown in (34). We better be silent and "close our eyes" to avoid the "noise" and read Illich (1998b). But one day we need to open then again and confront at least with (Heinrichs 1988-97) that Descartes meant very much also: "I am conscious, so I am". We zoom here onto cultural contexts not only to show that we better look twice and deeper before speaking up, but also that when we create new "slogans" like "Communicamus ergo summus" (see Boyd footnote 32) we better make sure to state exactly what we mean. To map the alterantives in extreme, we can see a "Communitarian plea" in the sense of Amitai Etzioni, a "Communication Age" in the Information Society, or the "Age of Show"35 where we better "close our Eyes". . All these interpretations of cogito, communicamus, sentiamus, participimus are possible if we hide our positions and intent. Just as the Romans even knew before the commen era: "The most important thing about any word is, how you understand it".
So now we are back at one of the central myths of our society: Giving us and all children all-knowledge "at our fingertips". George Lakoff has shown in (Brook, J., Boal; I.A. 1995) that the conduit metaphor does not work and we need to add the context to the "knowledge", otherwise our children and we feel "we know" but we do not! The result, we typically feel "lost in space", empty, useless, as we feel we are supposed to understand, but as we have shown there is no understanding of volumes of fragments without context and depth. They can only confuse (this is what we feel Illich is pointing at: Hollow colourful pictures or multi-media glut have a demagogical impact, subliminially steering people to buy or believe something (Visual DEMAGOGY, Benking 1988).
What is needed is another quality of sharing - a compassion and ability to change between different conceptual frameworks, to see behind a "plot". When we become aware how words are understood in a given time by a certain person, then we might be able to increase our understanding, not ignorance (Illich 1998b) by running after new technologies, means, gods and godesses. If we become accustomed to question conceptual or logical places (topics), just the way we would want to know a similar where, what and why in the physical world, then Humankind might have a vista to tackle the overarching issues of our Cultures in the age of Cyberculture. The loss of meaning orientation, open ended contextuality (Levy 1995) is a concern. We have addressed in other papers how essential it is to continue to extend ourselves continuously (Benking1997a) and tackle the issues of media breaks (Benking, Kampffmeyer 1992a,b), Harmonization, (Keune, at al 1992, Benking 1990-1994, (Budin 1996) and footnote 5) and providing overview and orientation (Benking 1997c). Besides the set of challenges (outlined and visualized in "Challenges of Conceptual Navigation" (Veltman, Benking 1998) it is becoming more obvious everyday that we have to connect the inside and the outside, not only extending but integrating ourselves by combining a "deep ecology" with a "high ecology". Or, to use the stage or workbench metaphor, an "external work-bench of the mind"36. We can not repeat the essence of the "Challenges" here, but it can be called a "biology of behavior" (Myron Hofer, in Gallagher W. 1993, p. 15). The work of the early systems thinkers like Paul Weiss (1969) who thought systems to be used for medical applications, makes us look deeper, and include times and chains or constitutions of being, - from molecules, cells , organs, and organisms, societies, and in this way reflect and position our "worms-eye".
If we could only get used to question ourselves and others: who is working where, and map it in the "house" or elsewhere, then we would get accustomed to pan and zoom domains and "anticipatory schemata" (Neisser 1976), and avoid buying into right/wrong dichotomies or nominalistic definitions.
As Arne Naess and Frietjof Capra have pointed out, Ecology has the potential to widen and integrate horizons, and help build new kinds of mental models! So lets go for it: lets define cultural ecology (Finke 1998?) or even a social/cultural/spiritual ecology but not in a way to be considered one of these naive Romantic movements coming and going, which by the way are typically misunderstood, or "misplaced" by being transported into other definitions or context (see Heinrich's Öko-Logik from 1988-97). Instead we want to settle with a combination of views, not falling into the trap of buying into one definition, box or metaphor (however appealing the "new" metaphor might be for us, or go for another fancy picture or paradigm (see (Judge 1979) and (Benking, Judge 1994)).
We used words for things here which need to be embodied and shared. This is a new way of conceptualizing common ways of thinking, merely transferred to other realms. The European Commission paper on Education & Training, towards the Learning Society (CEC 1995) requests in the first lines of the report that "we must have the courage to examine everything, discuss every thing and even to teach everything", so the kids are not alone and we can be outspoken about the very essence of our proposal, as follows:
The history of considering concepts and words as fields of meaning is not new, it has had his "ups" and "downs", like our ruling metaphors and paradigms. Maybe it is of interest to note, that the father of the term holism (Holism and Evolution (Smuts 1923) wrote in his introduction that we need to think by taking words as fields, Benking was very happy to find that in 1996 or so, but who is reading nowadays and is looking of the "fences": To support his proposal, Benking learned from a Japanese (Schimizu 1996) that there is a bio-holistic concept called "ba", which can be displayed as a 3-dimensional matrix to display sensual information and brain functions/operations. The anthropologist Nakane Chie to my knowledge has used this concept of "ba" meaning field or place to display and draw attention to the interrealatedness of actors in the social millieu, and ther we are again at social or cultural ecology.
Therefore, please understand that even where we used words like "framework", we mean no frame at all, but semiphors going up and down as we live, breathe, and move, an open polymorphic dynamic definition space, which can hold meaning and be visited conceptually by all of us. Our intent in the article was to go beyond one fixed interpretation, to question oneself and go with (Kline 1996) beyond Reductionism and Synoptism and even take his hierachies of constitutions and map them into the schemes of Judge (1979-98 ), Dahlberg (1980-98), Benking (1988-98), to finding context in obvious, logical and simple schemas.
History continues to present humanity with a diversity of perceptions and explanations of "reality", as debates perpetually rage over correctness, validity, applications, scope and priorities. In the final analysis, however, there is no denying that the universe embraces and allows for all of them, whether subtly or extremely different - by appearances. Just by the mere fact that conceptual metaphors map and code and have relevance with the extraneous world, means there is a correspondence and connection that is real, valid and vital.
Instead of specialize or generalize only, the plan is to discriminate and merge the differences, use our considerably agile mental bodies, and school ourselves in how to flex very real visualization skills to plot assumptions and statements by pointing to their specific context, and in this way have a coexistence of coherent and connected outlines, in order not to fight, but to take on merge other viewpoints.
We described ways of exercising "seeing" in all the ways that companions do, not neglecting the dangers of living in virtuality only (Brook, Boal 1995), but taking the liberty to explain moving competently from real-space, to vision-space, to real-space. Our intent was and is that we can all embrace our commonalties, shared concerns, and hopes for a constructive, creative and open future where generations to come will find satisfaction in accomplishments, creativity and spirit.
Last but not least, it will be the actual embodying, doing, and sharing which will secure the success of open generally applicable methods and approaches. Chances are good that the dreams of general system sciences to find a common space and place in combination with language (Concept and Context Mapping, Benking 1996) can come true. It will happen if we come together and suspend our cherished viewpoints temporarily and start listening without restraint or fear the other voices of shared dialogue. (Havel 1995) and the dialogue exercise37 are helpful in developing the required foundation for achieving true "civilized dialogue".
Afterword and Acknowledgements
First, I wish to thank many unknown children, who have been building "The House of Eye" with me during recent years, developing new ways of "shared seeing". I've learned from them that what they ask for is a deep "view of life", not a flat one.
I am also thankful to David Lorimer, who invited me to the Medical and Scientific Network Meeting in 1997 to present my ideas about "extension systems", "mental locomotion as the natural form of healing", and "how to communicate simple complex issues in a coherent way", even to scientific communities.
I also thank Ervin Laszlo for having invited me to the Club of Budapest and allowing me to present these same issues, with different "eyes", on the broader agenda of "Culture and Cyberculture" at the last Members Meeting of the Club, UNESCO Headquarters, Paris. Finally, and with emphasis, I want to thank Reginal Földy in Vienna, who continually challenges me to rethink and collect new forces by writing them down, creating an "act Benking" in order to make the House a living, thinking place. The travels and farings of building the House have been layed out in an essay called "Ohne Zusammen- hang kein Zusammenhalt" - "Without Coherence, no Social Togetherness", published with Boelau in Vienna, in a collection of pieces under the title: "Kulturen der Verweigerung" - "The Culture of Daring to Say NO".
On a practical side, I thank G.A. Swanson for his encouragement and for "steering" me into this conference. Also, Tom Mandel, my co-editor of the ISSS - Primer Wholeness Seminar, for "thinking together" with me, for kids, "FOR KIDS ONLY" as the dear futurist the late Robert Jungk encouraged me to forget about the elders and work with kids only, knowing that kids take things up and carry on. Through them we can co-create changes that matter. Children will carry on as we elders die early and so, as happened to me with the late Willis Harmann, we realize that children have to become the PATHFINDERS themselves; we only have to serve them by providing open fora and caring frontiers, tools for exploring the challenges, and the encouragement to take the walls up and down.
To help this paper becoming real, I am grateful to James N. Rose, Silvia Austerlic, and Inga Krättli for reading and offering suggestions. To James in particular for being willing to submerge into my "worlds" and even
defend them at Atlanta, as it is uncertain if the main author can attend ISSS-ISIS. And, since there is a lengthy list of people who discussed these mental, immersible and tacit architectures with me over the last 8 years, I invite readers to visit the 1996 ISSS proceedings from Budapest, or my homepages for further reference, to see a "living document" with much more text, literature and links, as space and time has bounds, also at ISSS-ISIS.
It is high time now to go beyond our sectarian apartheid of different nomenclatures, pressure groups and special interest groups (SIG'S), being aware and being able to talk about such difficult matters as Consciousness, in a way which children can understand and develop further. Making global and futures interests the reality, and developing living polymorphic GIG's - Global Interest Groups. (Heiner Benking)
(click on citation # to return to text)
1. Viewpoint Generation and Transportation (Benking/Judge 1994) http://www.uia.org/uiadocs/spatialm.htm
2. see the Blackbox design "compartments" (Benking 1988-98), Klines "hierarchy of constitutions" (1996), (Wilber 1995) with his concentric models of domains and Taylors (1964) mapping holarchies, Dahlberg (1980-1996), and Judge (1977-98) all use the same basic categories or "spheres" more or less independently. The history of classification in schemas is itself most interesting, we can only mention the PMEST system of the Indian Colon Classification and underline that the moment we have greater diversity and different cultural or domain aspects a presentation in a list or knowledge-tree is not enough.
3. Personal message from Stan Krippner reflecting the stage and workbench metaphor and my extension to the "outer" world (external workbench of the mind).
4. See handout at: http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/overview.htm , see (Benking 1997d).
5. The author started with his diploma on economic/ecological modelling and has been at many of the "first" of the World of "geo-eco-socio-morpho-dynamics" only to realize that science is full of "scaling and communication problems", local scaling is sometimes discussed but global scaling and harmonization of compatibilities and comparabilities is neglected and there are no lasting platforms for "scaling solutions" (see also (Keune, et all 1992) and the fate of UNEP-HEM).
6. See cooperation with (Goppold, A.1998) and his thesis: Morphologies of Cultural Memory I
7. for more see the special LEIBNIZ edition of Knowl. Org (1996) Vol. 23, 2, INDEKS Verlag and in particular Krämer, Veltman, Dahlberg, Jaenecke, Benking, Goppold, .. in the references.
8. Much has been written to go beyond reductionism, which is again another trap. We argue with (Kline 1996) for a coexistence of reductionism and synoptism/holism and show that we can share orientations for his "hierarchy of constitutions" in the conceptual superstructure (Benking, Judge, Uhlir 1993). The challnge is seen in providing another visible and sharable model for generalisations, for abstract "overview". The mandate is clear, but how can we find agreement. See the mandate of (Mumford 1967) in Houghton, R.S. (1989): Mumford comments on the important value of the generalist's view: ...(T)he generalist has a special office, that of bringing together widely separated fields, prudently fenced in by specialists, into a larger common area, visible only from the air. Only by forfeiting the detail can the over-all pattern be seen, though once that pattern is visible new details, unseen even by the most thorough and competent field workers digging through the buried strata, may become visible. The generalist's competence lies not in unearthing new evidence but in putting together authentic fragments that are accidentally, or sometimes arbitrarily, separated, because specialists tend to abide too rigorously by a gentlemen's agreement not to invade each other's territory. Although this makes for safety and social harmony, it ignores the fact that the phenomena studied do not hold to the same principles. - Mumford also notes certain rules the generalist must follow when seeking a more meaningful mosaic from scattered pieces: do not chip a piece to force it to fit; look in unlikely places for pieces; and grant specialist's authority on the shape of a piece. The first and last points of Mumford's rules are simple enough when working within the range of "normal science" (Kuhn 1970). But when confronting a paradigm shift, the shape (perception) of a piece changes when passing from one paradigm to another. This observation that hypothesis strongly influences what is observed is referred to as the theory-laden nature of observation as discussed by Hanson (1958). The specialist from the old or dominant paradigm may believe the piece "has been chipped" while to one who has seen the light of a different paradigm, the piece has been "transformed." This in turn creates a debate among specialists to which a vote on the facts contributes little, generally splitting on "party" or paradigm lines. As a consequence, the question of "right" cannot be settled by a debate on the facts. Instead the debate depends on both the depth of dissatisfaction with the old paradigm and the rhetoric and vision of the new. These complications do not completely invalidate Mumford's points but rather suggest they should be followed with some flexibility and awareness of their limitation", see also the need to look beyond the "lumpers and splitterers" (Siu 1957,97) where he writes in chapter 1, the meld: Thinkers may be divided into two classes: the lumpers and the splitters. The former emphasize unity and harmony in the universe. They perceive the interconnecting strands and permeating diffusions. So they tend to lump concepts together with adaptive compatibilities and people with magnanimous accommodations. In contrast, the splitters focus on distinctions and cleavages. They search for the special features that separate one from another. So they tend to split concepts apart into this and that school and people into this and that camp. In following the inclinations of the lumpers, I sense an underlying congruence between the scientific approach to enlightenment and the religious, between the rationale of academicians in the humanities and that of executives in the marketplace, and between the heritage of the East and the West. All human should be cross-relatable, so I have come to believe, if for no other reason than that it originates within the same human mind. It should not be too difficult to develop a common language on human behavior beneath the specialized differentiations of the splitters" and (Benking 1994).
9. See also footnote 23 showing the connotations of "eye" in the German language
10. See (Benking 1995) and (Benking, Brauer, et al 1995) For Ethics and Decision making see: Economy and Futures, Robust Paths, and the Eco-Philosophy and Environmental Ethics paper "THE OPTICS OF ETHICS". Unfortunately the conference president of the WFSF, Nairobi and president of the World Philosophical Society H. Odera Oruka (1994) was killed shortly after the conference. In the resulting turmoil, problems occurred in documenting this most extraordinary event organized by the WFSF President Penttii Malaska. Unfortunately only the "ROBUST PATHS" paper was published, and not the perhaps even more central and critical paper (in the view of the author): "THE OPTICS OF ETHICS - how to communicate complex issues, how to share common frames of references and understanding across cultures and domains".
11. A distinction to English language was proposed by the Editor of Kluwers Academic Publishers GeoJournal and the author in (Benking, von Braun 1990). The author coined there also the term "topogramm" for a model of the geo-/biosphere and the term "hyperframes", to show how frames need to be managed and linked as we do it today with hypertext for non-linear text already)
12. To design such a field of thinking operation we have proposed a "T" to visualise the different aspects of elping to find order and substantiate action (Harmonisation  - (transdisciplinary) - is the horizontal and standardisation  - (sectoral) the vertical bar of the "T") (EEES 1986/87) (Keune et al 1991). The broader use of the "T" concept - for terminology (Budin 1996) or to "plot" comprehensive qualification profiles (MACHOL 1964; ROPOHL 1984, DÜRR 1987) - might help us accept lateral or diagonal thinking (Benking 1994) as a basic transdisciplinary quality and capability. The "T" can also symbolise the connecting, harmonic or vertical thread in the mesh of the knowable, which can help produce a "fabric" of "what we know and do not know" (Benking 1996a), see also (UNESCO 1995).
13. Only to mention (Rapoport 1989) who covers with his work on Decision Theory the same central topics and start even with them in his first chapter: Order and Scales (p. 11-24) but finds no ways to make his tools, in particula in the field of "collective Decisions, (p. 291-382) obvious and "contagious" as we will cover later
15. Francisco Varela (199?): What the Frogs eye tells the Frogs mind. (received from Varela some time ago)
16. (Benking 1993) keynote on behalf of the Director of UNEP North America to review and position the outcome of AGENDA 21 and what Surveyors/Science/Politics should do support these objectives. For more see: http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/melbourne.htm and THE CAPACITY TO GOVERN' - Seven Points to Remember, http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/governance.htm#UN , The Climatic Challenge - This Earth or another Earth in trouble ?, http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/UN-climate.htm
17. see Addendum and (Benking/Judge/Uhlir 1993) NRC Washington UIA Brussels, FAW, Ulm
18. see (Benking 1997) with the Scientific and Medical Network and UNESCO under the auspieces of The Club of Budapest jointly organized workshops and meetings. See: Being-Feeling-Thinking-Healing, Self-Models, Paradigms and Extension System, http://www.ceptualinstitute.com/genre/benking/extensions.htm
19. One example very much relating to our topic and the current scientific debate is which words and theories we use to gain new insight and hypotheses or if we just jumble with words. On the one hand recent theories "dismiss" the mapping hypothesis of the mind, as findings show that elements are "constructed" one by one. A.v.Stein. When we apply the "House" metaphor, we realize that a section or building up a house stone by stone, does not mean that there is no context, even when we do not have to plot the outline and plan all the time. see: Laszlo. E., Artigani, R., Combs, A., Csanyi, V.: (1996) and Thoma, V.: (1996) finally words like maps or models are used to hide the terrain. This goes as far as supposing that the Human inellect is not capable of thinking in embodied three-dimensional pictures. As this holds true not for all people and maybe a matter of culture and upbringing, we can not repeat the whole eidetic theory here, we can at least show that some intelligence (see: Gardner's Intelligences ) have these talents and that recent research in Germany proved, that the capacity of manipulating nested solid mental objects is there, even when not all persons tested showed three-dimensional imagination.
20. Here some excerpt from: Models in Science Education, George Marx and Esther Tóth, In: Models of Reality - Shaping Thoughts and Action, Lomond Books in cooperation with UNESCO 1984 (eds.): Jacques Richardson). After the first chapter Man and his Models starting with Man is a model making animal. .. His outstanding predictive power gives him selective advantages over his physically stronger rivals... starts the second chapter: Models in Schools with: According to Piaget, the school-aged children think in a concrete operational way. If the teacher refutes one of two alternatives, his pupils will not accept the other until they can visualize it much as a motion picture. What they imagine, they would also like to catch, to build and to take apart. Abstract logic matures in them only at the end of the secondary school.
21. The scope of the combination of spaces into a 3Space/Time cognitive panorama can not be presented in this paper. We can only reference only to the work of the key author and present the key challenge in bridging beween the worlds, like the word- world and the context world (the room in the House of Eyes). Overcoming the barrier of concepts in different languages is part of the challenge to design a multi-lingual Information Society (MLIS), where it is possible to empower regional languages and ease the transfer by designing switching systems. See for more the MLIS and the infoterm and ISKO links.
22. See Challenges of Conceptual Navigation (Benking 1998, Veltman, Benking 1998) which presents an historic summary of how meaning is mapped by holistic thinkers ranging Uekuell, Smuts to Odum.
23. In German we have many connotations to the word Eye. In the German WARIG dictionary we can find 108 ways how "eye" - Auge, used in different contexts and environments, means different things at different places or at different times. So what would a nominalist do? Ask for "the" definition? We will with the simple and common picture of the House show, that eyes can see different things (we speak in German von (sehen, einsehen und schauen - to see, understand, gaze) - not that translation is no easy business as we show with other central terms of this article, see footnotes 2, 4 and 27. We can even develop an cultivate and inner eye or a social eye, just by agreement on frames or referents. (See Benking 96)
24. GLOBAL CHANGE traveling exhibition, opened in May 1990 in the Federal Chancellery in Bonn. A central exhibition piece is the "Blackbox" concept for scale integration and interaction, and the LOCAL AND GLOBAL CHANGE exhibition, inviting international organization to present their research and co-ordination tasks and pre-senting concepts under the title: "Integrated monitoring and modeling bridging measurements, theory, and validation" - "for Environmental Research and Management" to fuel the discussion on integration via scale platforms and other "tricks" like "conceptual meeting points" (Posters, Reports, (Benking, Kampffmeyer 1992).
25. The "House" was presented first in German in the Essay "Ohne Zusammenhang kein Zusammenhalt" (Benking 1998) and in in part at special workshops and presentations, such as (Benking 1997 Medical and Scientific Network) and Benking 1997 Club of Budapest/UNESCO).
26. The Discussion whether the term black-box or grid is a good term to present what the author proposes was high for some years as different disciplines have their own idea about how something has to be called. This attitudes towards certain meanings change with time, therefore the main emphasis of this article is to go beyond words, seeing the structures, the functions, features and benefits, looking deep and not getting distracted on the surface of meanings. The citation below taken from: ("A Report to the Club of Rome") no Limits to Learning; bridging the human gap, James W Botkin, Mahdi Elmandjra, Mircea Malitza, (pp 80-81) Oxford, Pergamon Press, 1979, focuses on innovative societal learning, and we see our House is well envisioned already in 1979.
"Innovative societal learning seeks to restore active learning to those in society conventionally confined to a passive role of assimilation. Key to this goal is participation that goes beyond mere invitations to accept given products. To encourage innovative societal learning, true participation must enable people to open and inspect the "black-boxes" of knowledge, to question their relevance and meaning, and to re-design, re-combine, and re-order them where necessary. Effective participation therefore does not mean paying lip service to those who in the past have been deemed to count less than others, but rather ensuring a real contribution of the entire society".
27. We put some attention here on the created words in order to show, that even presenting the opposite, playing with positive and negative interpretations and connotations does not help if someone is not willing to take the effort of trying to imagine and re-create what is discussed and meant in the specific context. In the book: Der Mensch - Irrläufer der Evolution: eine Anatomie der menschlichen Vernunft und Unvernunft and in Arthur Koestlers "Göttlicher Funke" the translators of the book took the pain in the foreword to present the synonyms to be kept in mind by the reader when reading the four key terms, which are the backbone of Koestler last book and masterpiece: Matrix, Code, Self-assertive Tendencies, Self-transcending Tendencies. As the work of the author focuses with the HOUSE and PANORAMA directly on these terms, he can not resist in presenting the translations of these basic terms from master thinkers in their time from the field of systems and organisms: Matrix: Matrix, System, Bezugssystem, Verhaltenssystem, Wahrnehmungssystem, Denksystem, Bezugsrahmen, Denkbereich, Wahrnehmungsbereich, Organsystem, Funktionssystem, Entwicklungssystem, Denkstruktur, Wahrnehmungsstruktur, Verhaltensstruktur, Code: Code, Regel, Spielregel, Denkregel, Verhaltensregel; Denkschlüssel, Self-Assertive Tendencies: Selbsttranszendierende Tendenzen, seperative Tendenzen, aggressiv-defensive Tendenzen, Self-transcending Tendencies: Selbstranszendierende Tendenzen, integrative Tendenzen, partizipatorische oder teilhabende Tendenzen. the message is not only to develop tolerance, but to look for the active process and phenomena in its original or intended environment.
28. For "New Definitions of Reality" see S.J. Schmidt (1996) (manuscript received in Prag, Nov 1996)
29. A Metaparadigm or Sharable Framework (Cognitive Panorama) (Benking 1996)
30. GLOBAL CHANGE toruring exhibition, touring with the "Black-Box" since 1990 in Germany ! but never translated and seldom picked up by curious "observers" the Elite is an Elite in Delegation and not asking questions, which would reveal where they are and what they think.
31. Schwartzkopf, F (1995).: The Metamorhosis of the Given: Toward an Ecology of Consciousness
34. see also footnote 4 with a not so typical citations of Descartes
35. which (Illich 1998a) and (Brook and Boal 1995) are very explicit about on the impact on society and children in general. We list writers with some depth in cultures or philosophy and alternative "angle" to further the omnipresent citations of writers such as (Gardner 1985) or Postman 1986,92)
36. Personal Communication in review of "Panorama", see also Krippner (1997).
37. See dialogue exercise at "Magic Round Tables" http://www.newciv.org/cob/members/benking/voicetxt.html and other sources at http://www.uia.org/dialogue/webdial.htm
EEES Environmental Experts of the Economic Summit (G7) with SRU
ISKO International Society for Knowledge Organization (ISKO) http://www.infoterm.or.at/isko
UIA Union of International Associations http://www.uia.org/
infoterm terminology research http://www.infoterm.or.at/ plus ISO/TC37
FAW Research Centre for Applied Knowledge Processing(FAW) http://www.faw.uni-ulm.de/
MLIS CEC - MULTI-LINGUAL INFORMATION SOCIETY
ISSS International Society for the Systems Sciences http://www.isss.org/
ISSS . . . . Wholeness Seminar http://www.newciv.org/ISSS_Primer/seminar.html
ISIS Int'l Soc for Interdisciplinary Sciences http://www.collegium-Humanum.ch/colleg/Sites/events.htm
SRU Sachverständigenrat für Umweltfragen - Environmental Advisors
UNEP United Nations Environment Programme http://www.unep.org/
UNEP-HEM-office (closed) Harmonization of Environmental Measurement Programme
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