'Informed Consent': Getting Things Straight in Curved Space

Montreal, September 19, 1999


In the slaughterhouse of love, they kill

only the best, none of the weak or deformed

Don't run away from this dying.

Whoever's not killed for love is dead meat.

~~~ Jelaluddin Rumi

Public inquiry into the birth control pill gave rise to the principle of 'informed consent', ... which requires that proper disclosure be made relative to potential risks to the individual associated with participation in a particular scientific program. An excellent video documentary by the David Suzuki Foundation [1] provides one of the many retrospective examinations of the dysfunction surrounding the deployment of 'the pill'.

The basic problem in scientific programs is that scientific inquiry itself concerns 'what is' and not 'what should be', ... and the 'what should be' is too often left unstated. In the case of the introduction of the birth control pill, the use of women as guinea pigs, even to the point of ignoring fatal side-effects in clinically controlled tests (since such side-effects are generally 'interference-related'), emanated from a philosophical belief embraced by many of the (predominantly male) researchers, drug company employees and Nobel scientists, that over-population was such a serious threat that stern 'BIRTH CONTROL' measures were an imperative and that the problem was of such magnitude that 'we' should put up with a significant level of health risk. The women who volunteered to take the pill, meanwhile, were thinking in terms of 'BIRTH CONTROL', as giving them the opportunity to have control over their own fertility and this view of things was reinforced by the doctors and pharmaceutical scientists supplying the medication.

At the heart of this problem are basic issues of 'relativity' in reconciling the needs of the community with the needs of the individual, .... basic space-time issues on the nature of how the unity of community is seen to relate to its plurality of constituents. As the issue of population makes clear, if one lives on the surface of a finite, unbounded sphere such as the earth, ... conflict will inevitably arise between the unity of community and the plurality of its constituents since the actions of the individual SIMULTANEOUSLY impinge on the status of the community, ... not necessarily in a SEQUENTIAL or CAUSAL way, ... but because of 'reciprocal disposition' effects associated with the finiteness of space and resource. Reciprocal disposition effect is the effect that when an individual (person or nation etc.) consumes or takes control of a finite resource, ... the forward opportunity of all members of the community is immediately effected. Rational (non-relativistic) scientific inquiry has difficulty handling such effects since it is based on euclidian (infinite) space and 'cause and effect' modelling where reality is seen in terms of SEQUENTIAL unity and plurality, ... and the individual is seen as a fully detached and independent constituent of the community.

The binary logic of rational inquiry runs into problems when it is forced to decide on an issue in favor of EITHER the community OR the individual, ... since they are simply two simultaneous aspects of the same entity. For example, a reviewer of the history of the pill notes; "Professor Garrett Hardin is one of the most enduring and preeminent proponents of population control. In the early 1960s, before the modern feminist movement was born, Hardin popularized the argument that abortion is part of a "woman's right to control her own body." But in publications for population control specialists, Hardin argues that "freedom to breed is intolerable." He believes the reproductive rights of women and men should ... be subservient to public policy. . . . he has defended and ....applauded China's . . . one-child policy."

Such basic conflicts between the constituent and the unity within which it is a constituent are fundamental in nature, ... the difference being that nature is not 'rational' and does not attempt to do the insane and impossible by 'deciding' in favor of EITHER one OR the other, but instead resolves the conflict 'inclusionarily' by means of coresonance and coevolution. Evolution 'is' the resolution of conflict between constituents of a plurality operating within a finite and unbounded 'curved space' such as is constituted by the surface of the planet earth. This same co-evolutional strategy characterizes how exceptional teams handle issues of 'control' emanating from the needs of the containing unity of the team, on the one hand, and from the needs of the constituent member on the other. The exceptional team does not 'stop and decide in favor of one or the other', because it knows that there are many such issues and they all interfere with each other in a continuing dynamic, so it does not allow itself to get hung up on 'resolving' such problems, instead 'letting go' and 'keeping moving', focusing instead on how its overall PURPOSE is being served. In other words, it sees itself as an 'ecology', ... an evolving, simultaneous unity and plurality of continuously learning constituents, rather than as a 'rational machine', ... a non-evolving sequential unity and plurality of fixed parts.

What was implicit but never stated to recipients in the early introduction of the pill was that many of the administrators of the program were themselves aware of, yet reconciled to the long and growing list of serious side-effects which emerged, including fatal thromboses and cancer. In the US senate committee hearing, not only were there no females on the committee, but no pill-taking females were asked to give testimony, until a historic, spontaneous outbreak on the part of a small group of outraged women in the senate hearing room, ... which the committee attempted to ignore, but could not because of the television coverage which insisted on focusing on it, ... led to strong public support.

The general 'geometry' of historical findings on the deployment of birth control pills was that the 'insiders' in the research program had held, as a whole, rather arrogant views about the 'ignorance' of high fertility segments of the population and about society's obligation to CONTROL population even if it meant significant health risks to the individual. In other words, the ethics or 'should be' values of those on the inside of the initiative were unspecified and undeclared, and being ambiguous, as in the case of Professor Hardin, ... eluded assessment. What emerged from the US senate inquiry was an approach which avoided the ideological debate and focused on the principle of 'informed consent', ... the need for full disclosure to the patient as to the hazards involved in participation, ... insofar as they were known, since the side-effects from many scientific programs have incubation periods in the decades or even longer (ozone depletion etc.). This 'turn' of events shifted the evolutionary influence to those most directly effected, whereas an ideological argument decided by democratic process (majority vote) would have given equal votes to men who did not have to endure the health effects of the program. In this manner, 'informed consent' opened the door to continuous learning and evolution.

What this essay is about, is the issue of 'informed consent' versus hidden 'should be' ethics in the most general sense, ... it is about the fact that no common 'should be' values exist in the scientific community nor can the hidden 'should be' effect behind the supply of scientific 'tools' for decision-making, which propagate into society at large, be effectively assessed. Thus, scientific models play a critical role in the manner in which community programs (commercial and government initiatives) on behalf of the public, and purportedly for the benefit of the individual, are assessed and decided upon. Due to the same geometry of ethical ambiguity and dysfunction as in the case of the pill, ... and the absence of 'informed consent', ... programs purportedly being carried out for the benefit of the individual may actually be being done for very different reasons, .... for reasons which may impose upon the freedom and rights of the individual, ... the full impact being concealed by the non-disclosure of 'reciprocal disposition effects'.

As in the case of the principle of 'informed consent', ... the aim suggested in this essay is not to judge 'for' or 'against' 'pro-nature' or 'pro-community' or 'pro-individual choice' or other such divisions in ethical, 'should be' values, ... but simply to let each person most effected by commercial and governmental programs be made as fully aware of the risks and implications as is possible and practical, and given a voice in the matter; i.e. to institute a general 'informed consent' approach in public undertakings.

In this respect, I share the view of a growing number of people that the international science community, a largely independent and self-policing body, ... is behaving similarly to the 'insider group' in the development of birth control pills; i.e. that their undeclared 'should be' values are exposing the public (including themselves) to risks to their welfare which are implicitly known and accepted but which are not being declared.

This is the gist of Elizabeth Keller's ('Reflections on Gender and Science') remark, cited in a recent letter-to-the-editor published in *Complexity* that; "To the extent that such models [models that posit central governing elements] also lend themselves more readily to the kinds of mathematics that have been developed, we need further to ask. What accounts for the kinds of mathematics that have been developed? ... might it not be that prior committments (ideological, if you will) influence not only the models that are felt to be satisfying but also the very analytical tools that are developed?" That is, since we know that the choice of scientific and mathematical models influences the evolution of community, ... not only in the context of developments made available to the community, ... but also with respect to how the benefits and risks of such developments are presented to the public.

My own explorations come to the same hypothesis as implied by Elizabeth Keller, ... though by a very different route, ... that the retention of the causal, control-oriented model of nature and associated inquiry and presentation 'toolkits', which obscure and ignore reciprocal disposition effects (risks), IN SPITE OF A WEALTH OF SCIENTIFIC INFORMATION SUPPORTING THE MORE COMPLETE RELATIVISTIC / QUANTUM MODEL WHICH INCLUDES RECIPROCAL DISPOSITION EFFECTS, seems to emanate from undeclared ideology on the part of the scientific community, in the same manner as 'BIRTH CONTROL' ideology in the development groups for the 'pill' led to the quiet acceptance of risk on the part of developers, without disclosing such risk to individuals effected by, and supportive of the program.

In spite of my general scientific background prior to coming into an intensive and focused study of such issues over the past three years, I initially had no more than an intuition of how the scientific model options were linked to the declaration or concealment of risk, ... and even today, while I can see the model-risk associations rather clearly, ... the concepts involved are difficult to share generally. The presence of this knowledge gap between scientific modelling and the general public is why I feel there is an important issue of 'non-disclosure' here, .... an issue of 'informed consent' which deserves public attention. I am NOT suggesting that there is a 'conspiracy' here on the part of developers to foist their dangerous works on the public (including themselves and their families) and my own studies inform me that it would be impossible to determine such a thing if it existed. I am simply saying that there IS an issue of non-disclosure of risk which, as in the case of the pill, involves scientific issues which are well known to science but beyond the knowledge base of the general public.

My feeling is that there is an urgent need to explore the issue of 'informed consent' as it pertains to commercial and governmental programs, in view of rising damage being done through unmanaged 'reciprocal disposition' effects which do not show up in the standard scientific model-based presentation of benefits and risk to the public, ... a presentation based on, as Keller says, ....'models that posit central governing elements'. In other words, those who accept the scientific description of public programs which do NOT include a discussion of reciprocal disposition effects, are receiving information which is seriously incomplete, ... and unless their knowledge of science empowers them to do so, ... it is unlikely that they will be able to even formulate the needed questions on 'reciprocal disposition effects'.

My thought is that an agency such as the 'David Suzuki Foundation', working with an international governance body, could investigate and document this issue, much in the same manner as the issues surrounding the development of the birth control pill were studied and documented, ... to determine if there is an infringement of the 'informed consent' principle inherent in current scientific model based presentation of governmental and commercial initiatives to the public.

The following comments in this essay describe how the presentation of public supported initiatives using a euclidian, central control oriented model, by ignoring relativistic 'curved space-time' 'reciprocal disposition effects' is leading to dysfunction, ... and how the undeclared 'should be' views of the administrators and executors of public initiatives may be obscuring and defeating attempts to overcome the dysfunction.

* * *

"They are playing a game. They are playing at not

playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I

shall break the rules and they will punish me.

I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game."

This behavioral pattern, where the hidden and subjective 'should be' does not close the loop with the openly declared and rational 'what is', as captured by British psychiatrist Ronald D. Laing in his booklet 'Knots' (1970), is not about 'them' but about 'us'.

Laing's findings have been described as 'remarkable insights into the way human beings behave to one another. We all recognize how this game of 'politics' is played, at many levels and scales in our society, and Laing's trenchant statement of these patterns in 'Knots' made the book an instant best-seller in the UK when it was first published. What we are talking about, relative to the issue of scientific model influence on presenting public program benefits and risks, ...is this (often dysfunctional) interplay between the hidden 'should be' and the declared 'what is'. Since our scientific models are propagated through our educational processes, these effects permeate all levels of society.

While there is a need to deal with the issue on a multi-level basis, ... from a systems viewpoint, it is critical to consider the economic flows which sustain and nurture dysfunctional practices, ... and it seems clear that implementing 'informed consent' in regard to 'reciprocal disposition effects' at the level of major commercial and government programs, ... could have the dual benefits of increasing the awareness of the general public to the subtle geometries of how 'scientific models' conceal risk and ethical input, while redirecting investment flows away from areas of high risk exposure towards lower risk alternatives.

Based on my own 'anthology' of investigations into reciprocal disposition effects, as permeate the many different disciplines, I believe that we easily have the wherewithal, through the insights into the nature of experience and knowledge given to us by relativity and quantum physics, to understand this dysfunction and by becoming aware of it, ... to institute effective programs of 'informed consent' to deal with it. The concealment of reciprocal disposition effects is not an inevitable aspect of humanity, ... as it scarcely existed as a problem in aboriginal and ancient cultures, and this is no surprise as one delves into the very different nature of the deep assumptions on space and time, cause and purpose in the west as briefly discussed in the opening remarks, which give rise to the omission or inclusion of reciprocal disposition considerations.

In terms of the investigations into the high level, psychological nature of societal dysfunction associated with space-time assumptions in perception and inquiry, there are a multitude of respected studies which reinforce and validate the findings of Laing, among them, the works of anthropologist Jules Henry ('Culture Against Man') who links this modelling based dysfunction to fear of death, characterizing western society thusly; "Death struts about the house while Life cowers in the corner." That is, the obsession with the rational 'what is' (existence), ... with 'causing' and 'controlling' out of the context of the overall 'containing story' that one is immersed in, ... a 'containing story' which is scarcely amenable to control since one is 'dropped into it' and it forms out of the ecological confluence of a multitude of complex flows, ... induces a heightened awareness of 'the big one' that eludes our control. Preoccupation with the 'quantity of life' can and is inducing its own 'reciprocal disposition effects' as Henry points out.

The work of cultural anthropologist Ernest Becker ('The Denial of Death'), in a similar vein, points to an inverted heroism which has been going on for 2500 years (since that point in history when our concepts of space-time bifurcated) and that in spite of the 'penetrating honesty' of many psychological and philosophical writings; "... everyone is carrying on as if the vital truths about man [about our non-heroics] did not yet exist"

What is being spotlighted by these psychologists and anthropologists in the hidden domain of 'should be' is, in terms of symptoms, openly manifest and comes as no surprise to us; i.e. that our western culture's non-relativistic models, which omit reciprocal disposition effect, ... have cleared the way for overbalancing material-causal views and approaches (ignoring the side-effects or 'interference effects' arising from our causal actions). Against this 'white-washed' or one-sided view of reality seen through the rational inquiry model, materialism and the quest for physical survival, the 'quantity of our life', rises into the primacy and is viewed as something we must pursue on a first priority basis out of the context of 'reciprocal disposition effects', which simultaneously impact our quest for authenticity and spirituality, the 'quality of our life'. Clearly, if we are focused exclusively on 'causing and controlling', and on staying alive, ... we cannot at the same time appreciate the relativistic container we are participating constituents within, ... a rich and interfering confluence of flows called 'our life', ... and as a result, we expose ourselves to the 'John Lennon effect' of having our lives be 'something that happens to us while we are busy making other plans.'

As Becker points out, there are a rising number of youthful 'dropouts' who see through the 'false heroism' of this inverted ethos of 'the material-over-the-imaginal' (flat-space-over-curved-space, ... voyeur living over immersed living). Youth is inspired in childhood by myths such as Camelot where the ethic is; "in serving others, we become free", ... "the round table has no head, no foot, ... everyone is equal, even the king", ... "if you must die, die serving something greater than yourself", ... ethics which put the imagination in primacy over the material, ... "This is the very heart of Camelot. Not these stones, timber, towers, palaces, burn them all! and Camelot lives on because it lives in us. It is a belief that we hold in our hearts."

And youth can become seriously disillusioned as they get old enough to discover the gross and rising social inequalities which seem to advocate the opposite of what they have been taught through myth, ... as they discover and are encouraged to join in the embracing of ethics which make a mockery of the heroic myth which had inspired them, ... ethics which seemed to be saying something more like; "by controlling others, we enslave ourselves", .. "if you can live longer, mortgage your grandchildren's future to do so.", ... which leaves them gasping and grasping for their plummeting self-esteem and makes clear to them, as Becker says, ... that "just as there are useless self-sacrifices in unjust wars, so too is there an ignoble heroics of whole societies.". And since "religion is no longer valid as a hero system, and so the youth scorn it.", ... a huge vacuum is opening up with respect to life and purpose, which is currently being filled in our society by 'anti-heroes' as Becker notes; "...whose tormented heroics lash out at the system that itself has ceased to represent agreed heroism."

What the psychologists and anthropologists see as the seeds of self-destruction in our western culture, shows up clearly in the 'new science' based investigations into 'community as complex system'. Quantum physicists such as Erich Janstch and Fritjof Capra have called it a 'crisis in perception', ... a failure to understand our own perception and inquiry models and their shortfalls, ... a failure which paints over the 'what is' of 'what's out there' with unreconciled cultural baggage residing the 'should be' of 'what's in here'. Again, the dissonance here arises from 'floating' and undeclared 'should be' which does not close the loop with the rational and declared 'what is', ... for example, the embracing an ethic of 'control OVER the individual' on an unstated internal basis while overtly advocating an ethic of the 'individual IN control' creates an apparently rational 'what is' system which is in conflict with itself.

Einstein put his finger on the nub of this problem and how it has emerged, ... that our culture has been moving steadily towards the displacing of western religious traditions (Judaism, Christianity, Islam) as the source of 'should be', with scientific inquiry; i.e. essentially giving scientific inquiry a pre-emptive and therefore religion-like role, ... without taking into account that rational scientific inquiry is innately incomplete in that it deals solely with the domain of the 'what is' and leaves questions of 'should be', ... of ethics, ... flapping in the breeze ("For science can only ascertain what 'is', but not what 'should be'.). Two points to note are that (a) the shift in 'should be' sourcing is not necessarily accompanied by a shift in attendance at church, mosque or synagogue, and (b) the fact that rational scientific inquiry cannot accommodate 'should be' values means that the 'should be' influence into our public programs 'goes underground'.

For Einstein, as for Kepler, Jantsch, Bohr and Heisenberg, ... what filled the gap as they moved beyond the religious tradition was a respect for life and evolution itself, a "should be" which emanated from 'cosmic religious experience' (Einstein), '[evolutionary] geometry' (Kepler), and 'evolutionary flow perception' (Jantsch). The evolutionary ethic is one which sees the plurality of individuals as being simultaneously a connected part of the unity (whole) thus the rational proclivity for domination, annihilation, segregation and other forms of purification or optimization (of 'true' over 'false' or 'good' over 'bad'),... which only make sense if the plurality is seen in terms of disconnected euclidian 'things', ... is subsumed by the higher dimensional (than 'purification') notion of 'coevolution' wherein conflict is resolved by deepening enfoldment and coresonant synthesis as in natural ecologies and evolution.

As with the aboriginals, it was possible for these scientists (who seem to be a minority) to draw religious guidance from nature itself, ... from life and evolution and an understanding of how all things are co-resonantly connected with all (the 'web of life'), ... how space is a coresonant participant in physical phenomena. Erich Janstch described this scientific-ethical view in the following terms;

"This new picture of science, which is primarily oriented towards models of life, rather than mechanical models, has not only brought about change in science. Thematically and with respect to the kind of knowledge, it is related to those other events that, at the beginning of the last third of our centure, have signalled a metafluctuation. The basic themes are the same everywhere. They are summarized in terms like self-determination, self-organization, and self-renewal and in the recognition of a systematic interconnection of all natural dynamics throughout space and time, in the logical primacy of processes over structures, in the role of fluctuations that overrule the law of mass and give the individual and his creative insights a chance, and, finally, in the openness and creativity of an evolution that is predetermined neither in its newly forming and its vanishing structures nor in its end effect. Science is at the point of recognizing these principles as general laws of a natural dynamics. Applied to man and his system of life, they are an expression of natural life in the deepest sense. The dualistic separation of nature and culture is thereby overcome. THere is a kind of joy in reaching out, in stepping beyond natural processes --- the joy of life. There is a kind of meaning in life's connection with other processes within an all-encompassing evolution --- the meaning of life. We are not at the mercy of evolution --- we are evolution. To the extent that science, like so many other aspects of human life, is caught up in this multilayer metafluctuation, it overcomes its alienation from man and contributes to the joy and meaning of life." (Erich Jantsch, 'Die Selbst-Organisation des Universums', 1982).

There is an advantage to drawing religious feeling and ethics directly from nature, via this far more profound notion of 'science' (than science seen as rational, logical, causal), as Einstein points out in his essay 'Science and Religion'; ..."... it seems to me that science not only purifies the religious impulse of the dross of anthropomorphism, but also contributes to a religious spiritualization of our understanding of life. The interpretation of religion, as here advanced, implies a dependence of science on the religious attitude, a relation which, in our predominantly materialistic age, is only too easily overlooked."

What our culture is currently facing, and which would appear to underpin an emerging tradition of peer massacres and other anti-heroics, is the loss of 'Camelotian imagination', ...'religious attitude', ... 'inspired purpose', ....'evolutionary ethos', ... the loss of a purposive, non control-oriented guiding source of 'should be' which rational inquiry does not provide and which is no longer available from religion which has been subsumed by science. The point which Jantsch, Einstein and others seek to make is that 'evolutionary science' can provide such inspired purpose in the form of an 'evolutionary ethic', ... an ethic based on man's contained connection within nature congruent with the ethics of the aboriginal and the 'web of life', ... the imagery which physicist Fritjof Capra uses for the title of his book, 'The Web of Life', a 1996 synthesis and 'reformulation' of Jantsch's 'the self-organizing universe'.

How does this bring us back to Laing's comment on social dysfunction, ... how does our actual 'falling in' to this sinkhole where 'should be' once was, come about?

As discussed, ... rational inquiry is the domain of 'what is' and cannot handle questions of 'should be'. People are of a dual mind with respect to the need to 'control the individual' and the need for 'the individual to be in control', as in the case of the introduction of 'birth control' pills. Some think in unambiguous, judgements as to who should have how much control while others are comfortable with monitoring overall purpose and leaving the system loose enough to evolve. Meanwhile, when one's 'should be' assumptions are undeclared, they can become a source of conflict within the circles of relationship one participates in, and things can rapidly become dysfunctional or get 'twisted' as Laing's 'knots' show;

"It is our duty to bring up our children to love,

honour and obey us.

If they don't, they must be punished,

otherwise we would not be doing our duty.

If they grow up to love, honour and obey us

we have been blessed for bringing them up properly

If they grow up not to love, honour and obey us

either we have brought them up properly

or we have not:

if we have

there must be something the matter with them;

if we have not

there is something the matter with us."

"He won't respect you,

If you don't punish him

For not respecting you"

The apparent paradox here arises from the use of non-relativistic rational inquiry, ... from the assumption that the individual is independent and detached from the family when he is in reality an inseparably connected constituent of the family. In a relativistic curved-space system, ... which captures this connection and which modern physic has shown is a more complete description of our reality than the abstract logical, euclidian description, ... ensembles interfere with their own constituents in space-time, just as the ball configuration and balls interfere with themselves in a game of pool, through 'reciprocal disposition effects. What makes the Laing 'knots' appear paradoxical is that our language operates on the basis of detached and independent 'noun labels' and cannot handle 'inclusionary' relationships such as abound in nature (simultaneous unity and plurality, whose portrayal is impossible in euclidian space and linear time and requires curved space-time concepts with their 'reciprocal disposition effects'.)

Again, what is at the basis of the apparent paradoxes above is the choice between modelling the system as a 'simultaneous unity and plurality' (like a spider web) or as a 'sequential unity and plurality' (like a machine with independent parts which effect each other causally and do not have the whole-and-part resonant properties of a web). To comply with relativity, ... the former 'web' model must be used which says that whatever the family does, the child is effected by 'reciprocal disposition' (which emerges via what is termed 'modelling' in psychology).

If we had an 'informed consent' program which went down to the level of family, ... the family members would disclose to each other that 'what they DIRECTLY did' to each other was only half the story, ... and that the reciprocal disposition effects of 'what they did not do directly' was just as big an influence on the (co)evolution of the family and its members, as in the relativistic 'spider-web' image. The management principle for this 'web' system is, therefore, neither oriented to 'control of the individual' nor 'individual in control' NOR a compromise of these two as in a 'majority vote' ('tyranny of the majority') arrangement, ... since the 'control' view looks only at explicit issues out of the context of time and the whole system dynamic. The management principle required instead, is to nudgivate or induce a 'co-resonance' and 'coevolution' amongst whole-and-part (unity and plurality), seeing space-time as a connective continuum.

The same general principle applies here as in the game of pool, where the primary question is not whether to 'do this' (knock these balls into new positions) or 'do that' (knock those balls into new positions), ... but to cultivate the space-time harmony or 'shape' of the configuration and see the mechanico-logical (shot-making) aspects as the 'fallout' of the well-managed harmony. This approach, in the case of human systems, takes into account the 'inductive' (psychological 'modelling') influence of the ensemble on itself as well as the 'causal' mechanical dynamics. This conflicts with our cultural propensity for homing in exclusively on 'cause' and ignoring the inductive 'reciprocal disposition' effects.

In conclusion, there is ample evidence in modern science to support the greater completeness of scientific models which are 'relativistic', ... which involve a 'simultaneous unity and plurality' in which 'reciprocal disposition effects' are important (as in the spider web image of the aboriginals). Not only do such life-oriented, rather than 'machine-oriented' models handle complex situations which rational scientific models cannot handle, ... they lead also to a stability inducing 'evolutionary ethos' oriented to the pursuit of 'whole-and-part' harmony amongst all constituents in nature.

The relativity theory and quantum physics-supported model, requires management techniques involving 'coresonance' and 'coevolution' on a whole-and-part basis amongst the constituents of the plurality, as contrasted to 'control of the individual' or 'individual control' and/or combinations thereof, since the notion of control is causal and causality is innately incomplete since it ignores non-causal reciprocal disposition effects, .... effects which must be included in the relativistic view which has been proven to characterize our reality.

The suggestion by Elizabeth Keller is that the simpler model (euclidian space is simply a convention and Poincare notes, and the simplest of conventions in dimensional terms; ... "just as a polynomial of first degree is simpler than a polynomial of second degree") and the mathematical tools which go with it (which are exclusively taught and used in western education), is chosen on ideological grounds, ... out of an ideological preference for central control oriented structures.

Meanwhile, this undeclared ideological preference, and the undeclared risks which go along with it, appear to be the source of rising dysfunction in society. Rather than focusing on rational 'what is' questions of 'which ideology is right', ... and the innately unmanageable problem of adjusting the balance of 'more control over the individual' versus 'more control for the individual' (overlooking the fact that they are different aspects of the same whole), ... which is itself an approach emanating from the 'control-oriented' model, ... it appears more expedient to focus on 'informed consent' and demand that public supported, government and commercial programs declare not only the direct causal impacts of their programs, but also declare their 'reciprocal disposition potentialities; e.g. non-causal effects such as the effect of worker layoffs on the community due to 'interference' amongst multiple socio-economic systems in the community, ... or the non-causal effects of biotechnology on agriculture due to interference effects with other social and agricultural systems. This 'informed consent' in the commencial setting is not unknown and is what occurs where representatives of a host community or 'container', enter into 'ecological' negotions with newly arriving or emerging businesses (e.g. Norway's licensing of petroleum exploration and production). The negotiations are conducted so that not only direct causal effects are discussed but also inductive effects (including 'modelling') on the ensemble of participants in the economy/ Both indirectly- as well as directly- impacted parties are brought into the discussions and given an influential voice in the negotiations. That is, the review of new programs in these cases is designed so as to cultivate co-resonance and co-evolution with existing constituents, whether or not they are directly, causally effected, since they will doubtless be impacted by reciprocal disposition effects.. The same 'ecological' management and 'informed consent' approach, which embraces the 'web-of-life' model, characterizes sharing and council sessions within the aboriginal community.

An embrace of the evolutionary ethic and the assuming of our coevolutionary responsibility as a relativistic scientific approach demands, further implies the need to consider and manage reciprocal disposition effects. Relativistic 'truth in advertising' would therefore require that companies and programs which solicit public monetary support (through taxes or the stock market) should be required to comply with 'informed consent' which includes a clear articulation of relativistic 'reciprocal disposition' effects. While these effects are qualitative, since they are interference based, and since they emanate from hidden ethics on, for example, 'control of the individual' and 'individual control', ... the public, through 'informed consent', has an opportunity to influence the evolution of 'should be' through discriminatory endorsement of programs, in light of their more fully disclosed benefits and risks. At the moment, since 'informed consent' is based on an incomplete scientific model, ... there is no opportunity for the effected public to consider reciprocal disposition effects and there are no 'levers' for the investing public to use their investment positions to evolve the 'should be' ethics which hide behind simplistic euclidian-causal presentation of benefit and risk associated with commercial and government programs.

* * *

[1] The goal of the David Suzuki Foundation is, in the words of one observer; 'to assist humanity in saving humanity from itself'. The mainstream science-induced belief that we can pursue material objectives without having to consider 'reciprocal disposition' effects has encouraged us to 'buy into the wrong idea' where quality (interference and ecological health) can be seriously and involuntarily impacted by the single-minded pursuit of quantity (material-causal results). This brief snippet from an interview with David Suzuki (zoologist, geneticist) illustrates the foundation's orientation;

David: My fear is that we're not going to do anything radical or drastic until we hit the wall. I keep saying that I feel like we're in a car heading to a brick wall at 100 miles and hour and everybody in the car is arguing about wanting to drive and nobody is saying, "Turn the steering wheel and put on the brakes!"

Our effort at the David Suzuki Foundation is trying to find a way of putting on the brakes and steering so we don't hit the wall.

Now, in many parts of the world they already have hit the wall. If you go to Rwanda, if you go to Haiti, they've hit it. They know what it's about. Here we're buffered because we've accumulated this illusion of wealth.

I did a radio show years ago called It's a Matter of Survival and the response was astounding. We got 17,000 letters. We've never had any response like that to a radio series on CBC. Almost all of them said, "You scared the hell out of me. I agree with what you're saying but what can I do?"

That's when we formed the foundation because my wife said, "Look, there are enough people out there who know something's wrong, who know that we have to change. But they're terrified because they don't know what the options are. So someone's got to start designing a future and then giving people a choice of how to get to that future." So that's what we're doing.

My own feeling is if we can avoid hitting the wall it's going to come through people realizing that we've bought the wrong idea. We think that if we have more things we're happier but it's become very, very clear that people are working longer and harder, but they're not as well off in terms of quality of life as their parents were.

* * *

Return to '98/'99 Update Page and Index of Essays