While the world is 'given once', ... each of us has a very different view of it, ... a view which is shaped not only on the specificity of our vantage point coordinates which limits our 'sensory access', but also by the particularity of our historical space-time experience, ... the sole means by which we can make sense of it.
Both who we are, ... where we're coming from and where we're going to, ... and the nature of the world 'out there' are ambiguously bound together, ... and we are constantly in pursuit of a deeper understanding of 'I' and 'other' and how they co-determine each other. Modern physics is all about this ambiguity between subject and object and the space containing the two. The theory of relativity takes us back to the Zen parable where two monks are arguing over whether it is the flag or the wind which moves. The master, overhearing them, says 'Wind', 'flag', 'mind' move, the same understanding. When the mouth opens, all are wrong., ... i.e. an ancient version of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle which speaks to the inarticulability of wave interference patterns due to their complex (real plus imaginary) nature.
As Erwin Schroedinger said; "For philosophy, the real difficulty lies in the spatial and temporal multiplicity of observing and thinking individuals. If all events took place in ONE consciousness, the whole situation would be extremely simple There would be something given, a simple datum, and this, however otherwise constituted, could scarcely present us with a difficulty of such magnitude as the one we do, in fact, have on our hands. I do not think that this difficulty can be logically resolved, by consistent thought within our intellects. But it is quite easy to express the solution in words, thus: the plurality that we perceive is only AN APPEARANCE; IT IS NOT REAL."
If what I am looking out at is only an impression of reality, and the 'I' that I am looking out from, ... my 'tool of inquiry, as it were', ... is co-defined by my impression of reality, ... then who am I? As Schroedinger reflects; "WHAT IS THIS ... 'I'? ... If you will analyze it closely, you will, I think, find that it is just a little bit more than a collection of single data (experiences and memories), namely, the canvas UPON WHICH they are collected."
Schroedinger was the independent developer of quantum wave mechanics, ... and the establishment of its equivalence to the matrix quantum mechanics of Heisenberg, Born, Jordan, Dirac and Pauli, ... represented the birth of modern quantum physics. And quantum physics, together with the theory of relativity, harbours deep implications about the nature of 'subject and object', ... the relationship between our view of the world and the enveloping world which contains us as a part of it, ... the relationship between our personal experience and the immersing cosmic experience, aka 'nature'.
Quantum physics and relativity provide an over-arching or 'englobing' topography- of- implication within which all other known scientific, 'implicatory' relationships show up as subsidiary 'features'. As such, this new physics seems an appropriate reference base from which to set out on an inquiry into questions of individual perspective relative to the whole, and in the case of this essay, to, at the same time, try to shed light on a discordant intra-family incident centering around a difference in historical perspective on 'family', ... an issue which, in its general geometry, seems to be a central influence on the evolution of our society.
The incident concerns a maternal cousin, ... a journalist with a respected flair for writing short stories, who has written a book about his recently deceased father  and their somewhat troubled relationship, ... a book which sought, at the same time, ... to 'reverse-engineer' a view of 'family', going back to the pre-immigration experience of the grandparents, so as to give meaning to the triadic complex of family, his father and himself. However, the reverse-engineering of the character of his/our family and particularly, our grandparents, did not jibe at all with the lucid and consistent memories of my mother, her sister and brother (in their late eighties and early nineties), the last of their generation of 7 brothers and 5 sisters. Nor did his characterizations of the grandparents, based on hearsay (he was born shortly after they died), agree with my own firsthand memories of them. This clash of historical perspective has induced the elder trio to term the family characterizations 'literary fantasy', rather than a true historical accounting. The trio see, as I do as well, the power of the media distribution as doing damage to the authentic and deeply respected memory of parents and family, .... family which they see and hold in their hearts, in a far more positive light than is portrayed in the literary characterizations.
Strangely, ... or perhaps as can be expected, depending on how you look at it, ... after exchanges with the elder trio in regard to their complaint, my cousin expressed his regrets at there being perceived differences in the historical perspective, but held firm to his own personal view of things. He had said in a televised book-review interview, that 'family stories deserve to be told, ... so that we do not lose our sense of history, .... our sense of who we are', ... and this statement, together with his impassive response, would seem to imply an appropriateness in history being determined by those with the most effective 'media' voice rather than through the cumbersome development of a shared view of historical reality.
The stance taken by my cousin seems to tie back, in a warped kind of way, to the cultural value of 'being true to one's word', ... to being loyal to one's own personal view. Now, the hunter can calibrate his gunsight by sighting and shooting at a fixed target, ... and then checking how close he came to 'hitting the mark', but there are no fixed and independent reference frames for calibrating personal perspective. So when three seasoned straight shooters come to you to tell you that you are off target, ... should you adjust your sights or not? Perhaps you, like Galileo, have found a deeper truth, ... and then again, ... perhaps not. What's at stake is an important legacy, ... a historical legacy which can help others coming after to understand where they are coming from and thus help them to move forward in greater harmony with their own and their family's and society's 'becoming'.
The central issue here would seem to be the need to include the tools of inquiry in our inquiry, so that we might relativistically assess how the nature of our observational apparatus effects our observations. Such an approach has the potential of 'passing the Galileo test' by focusing on the accord between knowledge and experience as opposed to debating content on the independent basis of a subjective quality assessment of one's perceptual acumen. This need for 'perceptual calibration', which lies at the heart of the issues of 'community as complex system', ... is the leitmotive of this series of more than one hundred essays. This particular issue which explores how a family incident ties to the complex issues of community in general and how relativity and quantum physics furnish insights into 'perceptual divergence', aims for a level which will hopefully be comprehensible to a casual reader, including the afore-mentioned family members.
Since we know our differing viewpoints cannot be fully accurate because such a plurality would deny the unity which is innate in nature, .... what seems suggested is that we should be looking for ways to arrive at a view of the world which brings the plurality of views into a consistent confluence. We are not yet as well-equipped for this as, for example, the U.S.S. Enterprise of Star-Trek;
"So you admit you were retaliating, then?" Q asked, a gleam in his eyes.
T'Laren shook her head. "No, but you believed I was. In that sense, your perception was more important than the reality. So what I'm thinking we should do, rather than have me try to correct your behavior as it occurs, is for us to take you through scenario training. You and I will go to one of the holodecks, and we'll run simulations of some standard social situations." 
In lieu of a holodeck, and for reasons that I think will become clear to the reader of this essay, ... I would give the initial nod to the more experientially- extended-in- space-time, ... the more extensively 'geologically layered' view, as providing the prime 'grounding' for self-consistent historical synthesis. That is, we are an implicit part of the containing unity of nature we are attempting to explicitly describe, and the more we experience the world and develop an implicit understanding of it, ... the greater the harmony between our implicit understanding of the unity of nature and our explicit knowledge of it, ... the more we 'become one' with its oneness
The impossibility of resolving this APPARENT plurality of perspectives by 'logic', as maintained by Schroedinger, derives from the innate 'incompleteness' of logic (and mathematics), ... an incompleteness which has been formally proved in 1931 by Kurt Goedel. While Goedel's theorem proves that our logical or scientific worldview is 'incomplete', it does not tell us in what way is it incomplete, but Schroedinger offers a few reasons; "It cannot tell us a word about red and blue, bitter or sweet, physical pain and physical delight' it knows nothing of beautiful and ugly, good or bad, God and eternity." . . . "Science cannot tell us a word about why music delights us, of why and how an old song can move us to tears."
The emotions which are stirred in us by our sensory perceptions of the world give rise, in turn, to feelings of 'what should be', ... to implicit 'values', ... and as Einstein has pointed out, science is limited to the domain of 'what is', and cannot speak to the 'what should be'. At the same time, there is this 'relativistic' authenticity in nature which comes from the whole-and-part consistency in things, an experiencing of space-time geometry which somehow vouches for the truthfulness, or not, of the imagery, ... and also for 'should be' value, in terms of the harmony of whole-and-part.
Virginia Woolf's comments "On Modern Fiction"  seem to convey this better than the words of the physicists, and she speaks at the same time, to the writer's responsibility;
"Life is not a series of gig-lamps symmetrically arranged; but a luminous halo, a semi-transparent envelope surrounding us from the beginning of consciousness to the end. Is it not the task to the novelist to convey this varying, this unknown and uncircumscribed spirit, whatever aberration or complexity it may display, with as little mixture of the alien as possible?"
Meanwhile our 'tools of inquiry' start off by selecting and retaining certain features out of the topography of our reality, as being things which are 'meaningful' and of value with respect to conveying 'the way the world works' and dropping out other features which 'we feel' do not 'add value' to our 'I', ... our personalized worldview 'canvas'.
Those who would accept the verbatim imagery of their personal canvas as being 'the way the world is' clearly do not understand 'the way the world works' since by doing so, they fail to take into account the considerable distorting effect of their experientially shaped and experience-limited 'tools of inquiry', on their inquiry.
This 'epistemological sightseeing tour' seeks to shed further light on the role of 'tools of inquiry' on our inquiry, with respect to how it happens that we extract a plurality of views from a world which is, by all accounts 'given once', and also explores the factors which may contribute towards a common perceiving of our shared reality.
The Dipolarity in Nature
In times of uncertainty and unrest, ... we become more aware of the world being characterized by enfolded 'yin/yang' opposites, and that we can choose to look at things from opposite or reciprocal points of view. Charles Dickens' famous introduction to 'A Tale of Two Cities', ....'it was the best of times, it was the worst of times . . it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, ... . ' , underscored this perception and inquiry 'dipolarity' or 'simultaneous unity and plurality' in nature wherein 'good' and 'bad', 'love' and 'hate', 'birth' and 'death', are seen as reciprocal faces of common coins.
In such times, ... as confront us now as we move into a new millenium, ... we make an implicit choice as to which polarity we will 'orient' our feelings and energies to, ... to 'the tragic mirror' of decay and subduction and/or to 'the magic mirror' of creative upwelling. While it is our individual choice as to how tightly we want to cling to the subducting corpse of the old ways, and how intimately to embrace and participate in the emergence of new 'being', we are much influenced by the 'voices' around us, ... often from hidden sources, as come off the tongue and through the lips of commercial media.
Since the bumpiness of our passage into the third millenium will be modulated by the patterns of our 'polarization', it seems worthwhile to examine the nature of media and its influence in helping us arrive at our personal blend of polarizations.
Marshall McLuhan's terms 'hot' and 'cold' with respect to media are important concepts along this 'epistemological sightseeing tour'. The term 'hot' connotes media information offerings which invite one 'inside' an informational 'container' and from this 'immersed' positioning, to participate in the 'evolution' or 'completion' of a thought or a sharing of an experience. This is the stuff which 'implicit understanding', as opposed to 'explicit knowledge' is made of. Media domains which are predominantly 'hot' would include the domains of personal letters, radio stories and accounts, myth, and stories which leave much to the imagination.
The term 'cold' connotes media information offerings which are fully 'stand-alone' and which we are encouraged to 'swallow' and assimilate like a pill. Media domains which are predominantly 'cold' would include the domains, on a variety of physical media, of explicit analytical explanation, scientific and social laws, television reporting of current events, religious doctrine etc. This is the stuff we are encouraged to 'know by rote' rather than by imaginal experience.
There is a congruency between the concepts of 'hot' and 'cold' media and the psychological concepts of 'implicit' (relational) and 'explicit' (rational) knowing. And to to bring these notions more 'down to earth', ... this congruency also applies to the 'shot-making-focus' and 'shape-making-focus' in the game of pool. In all cases, ... the former 'hot' informational entity of the respective pair, speaks to the mental evolving of some relational pattern or 'shape', .... within which one can situate the 'cold' entity as a contained feature or 'special case', .. the case where we fill in the blanks and ambiguities of the 'hot' informational entity and thus build explicit structure. For example, the 'hot' radio story which draws on the limits of our imagination could be converted into a 'cold' television production, filling in all the blanks which the radio listener had filled in with his personal imaginings and personal experience, ... with the television producer's and director's personal choices. So, instead of managing the 'evolutionary sculpting' of story-context in our minds based on our own experience and imaginings, ... imaginings that commonly go far beyond the bounds of propriety and censorship codes, ... that management is instead done for us by the program manager, producer, and director, and constrained by their personal experience and social codes.
Now you might say, ... 'but television reports, even if they are 'cold' and leave little to the imagination, are true to life reports'. And this is true, ... but this still leaves open the question of the 'topography' of the reality within which these 'reports' are merely topographic features, and the related question of 'selection and sampling'. Is it possible to 'get the sampling wrong'? This was the accusation made of a widely viewed, Soviet produced cold war documentary on the U.S. which was 100% factual and verifiably true, but which presented the viewer with a rather narrow diet of ghetto views, homeless street-people, signs which said 'don't walk', 'keep off the grass', 'private property', ... whose 'sum of the parts' impression invoked a topography which did not stack up well at all, against what the average soviet citizen experienced in his own environment, ... as troubled as that may have been.
The important point with respect to this 'cold media' notion is that someone else selects and edits this vignette for you, and while you sit there watching it, ... you are primarily in 'swallow the pill and assimilate' mode rather than in the mode of exercising the 'evolutionary thought muscles' which bring the relational geometries of your experience and your imagination to bear on the subject matter. That is, 'hot media' leaves the door open for you to apply your own interior decoration, ... to involve your relational, implicit understanding and experience in evolving the informational result, ... while 'cold media' simply adds to your repository of structurally explicit knowledge.
As psychologists who have researched memory  have found, ... implicit understanding (as emanates from 'hot media') is stored and accessed very differently in the brain and mind, than is explicit knowledge (as is delivered by 'cold media'); ... for example, while explicit knowledge can be accessed voluntarily in a kind of 'table look-up mode', .... implicit understanding, which is in the form of a relational network of concepts, can only be accessed experientially, .. you 'know it' when you experience or see it, as in the case of recalling the twenty strangers you were in a meeting with yesterday, .... you can't voluntarily pull an image of each one into your mind, ... but if you pass them on the street the next day, ... you will 'know them when you see them'. That is, you 'implicitly' understand what they look like, ... a fundamentally different kind of knowledge than that by which you know the names of the days of the week and months of the year.
The situation is again congruent with respect to the 'hot' perception of 'shape' in pool (the 'evolving shape of shot-making opportunity'). The shape of opportunity is an implicit (relational) understanding of the manner of evolution of the space-time geometry of the ensemble of balls. When your mind inquires into 'shape' it is concerned with the evolution of geometrical relationships, ... which is the same 'implicit' type of thinking which 'hot media' induces. On the other hand, when your mind inquires into 'shot-making', it is thinking in explicit terms, such as 'nine ball off the eleven and into the corner pocket'. But it is the evolving topography of opportunity WHICH DETERMINES WHICH SHOTS COME TO PASS, and this is a larger and over-riding topography within which the shot-making opportunities are merely subsidiary 'features'. In general, opportunity is a space-time topography within which specific actions are contained (occur) as particular features.
Nevertheless, if someone asks you how you won a game of pool, you will recount for them, the 'explicit' information, .. the sequence of shots you made, since there is no way that you yourself can voluntarily recall the implicit understanding of 'shape' (except for major, quasi-explicit features, such as an explicit snookering of your opponent) EVEN THOUGH it was by putting the management of 'shape' into the primacy over 'making shots' that you purposefully developed the shot-making opportunities which won the game.
As Wittgenstein said, 'there as some things we must pass over in silence', ... though this does not mean that they are unimportant, merely that they are 'implicit' and beyond LOGICAL articulation because they are based on 'bringing a multitude of real and imaginary experiences into connection in the mind'. Logic cannot deal with the world of illogical relational chains and imagined experience which informs indirectly, as indicated by Wittgenstein's comment when lecturing in philosophy at Cambridge; "What I am trying to teach today is the transition from what is not obviously nonsense to what obviously is." Relational intelligence, such as the use of relational chains in a child's learning process (Vygotsky), ... the child's relating of a duck on water to the milk (fluid) in his bottle and to a coin (eagle), .... and imaginal capabilities in general, provide an essential, informative contextual backdrop, ... a pre-conceptual backdrop, .. for the understanding of reality, which goes beyond the capabilities of logic.
In short, with 'hot media' the recipient EVOLVES 'implicit understanding' which is relational intelligence and imagination based, .... while with 'cold media', the recipient BUILDS 'explicit knowledge' structures. As in the game of pool, the implicit understanding which comes from 'hot media' shape information constitutes the overall 'containing' topography within which explicit knowledge coming from 'cold media' shot-making specifics is a particular feature.
With respect to 'telling the story after the fact', since the overall topography ('shape') is informationally much bigger than the explicit features ('shots') themselves, one hits up against an innate 'incompleteness' in trying to work one's way backwards, .... i.e. in trying to 'reverse engineer' the story of what occurred, ... when starting only from the 'explicit knowledge' of the sequence of 'shots' and lacking an experiential understanding of the opportunity topography which 'set up' the shots and gave meaning to them in an evolutionary sense.
Imagine trying to work out the evolving 'shape' in a game of pool if all you had was a list of the sequence of shots, along with the precise coordinates of all of the balls associated with the shots, but lacking the coordinates of those other balls which were uninvolved in the particular shot but whose complex configurational shape established the opportunity for the shots. The 'nonsense' landscape provided by shape, the imaginal realm of all of those shot possibilities which were not shot possibilities, gives essential meaning to those shots which were real possibilities.
What you would not know from the explicit knowledge of 'shots', for example, is how 'tight' the opportunity was, ... how narrowly the player had to miss another, uninvolved ball to hit the one he did, ... and how well the way he reconfigured the balls set up his continuing opportunities. You would not know how close the old man came to dying as he rescued the child, ... how his minor level achievement opened up an important door to his family's prosperity. If you weren't there, and all you have is 'facts', ... forget it. What the original player had which you do not have, with your explicit knowledge database, is an implicit understanding of the prevailing whole-and-part relationships, ... the 'shape' or 'topography' of the game which induced and allowed what explicitly happened, to happen. And it is impossible for the original player to articulate this implicit understanding in explicit terms, as Schacter et al have shown.
The method of reconstruction, because space-time phase relationships are involved, would have to be 'holographic'. As in Star-Trek, one would need a 'holodeck' where the various observers with their various personal perspectives present their views so that the holographic imagery would appear accordingly. One would speak of a couch, and another of a child hiding behind the couch invisible to the first, ... and etc., ... each person adding different features and the group working together to ensure whole-and-part integrity of the overall topography. This, interestingly, is the geometry of 'sharing' of the native north american in his council meetings, ... and it contrasts radically with the 'communications' values in our western culture, where one is praised and rewarded for being able to articulate one's personal view clearly and succinctly 'in its own right'. No matter, apparently, that it overpowers the inarticulate holder of essential, and apparently contradictory (until holographically reconciled) perspective. Journalists in particular are praised for this crisply articulative-in-its-own-right ability, ... the ability to 'lay it out cold', 'as it is', ... to effectively surgically excise and isolate an event from the topography which contains it and which it was the byproduct of.
Implicit in the western praise of clear and crisp personal communication is the linear assumption that the 'whole story' can be 'constructed' from the linear sum of the parts, ... that the whole story of a game of pool is told by summing the accounts of the various shots made. This is the 'material causal' or 'scientific' view of the world, ... which falls far short of providing an understanding of 'the way the world works', as Schroedinger and others have noted.
In the first half of the twentieth century, our culture circumstantially or otherwise, appeared to have an emphatic preference for 'hot' media, constituted by imagery coming largely from personal contact, ... from a diverse 'word-of-mouth' network of conversations and telephone conversations, handwritten letters, radio broadcasts, journals and other written and spoken accounts which invited us to be active participants in the 'completion' of the imagery, ... 'filling in' between the lines with our own imaginations and experiences, ... to coevolve the story which emerged, ... and in the process, to reconcile our ideas and understandings with others who were similarly filling in the blanks with their own imaginings and experiencing. Gone from this 'hot' mode of information assimilation, was the dependency, as in the 'cold' mode, upon a single individual who first used his own personal imagination and experience to 'fill in the blanks' to make the story explicit, ... and then, subsequently, ... broadcast out the final product for 'swallowing' by a multiplicity of recipients. In the early 20'th century, we were more often purposefully 'making it up as we went along', coevolving our implicit understanding of 'the way the world works' with our containing social collective.
By the latter half of this century, however, the galloping horse of technology seemed to have taken the bit in his teeth, ... and technology was, and is increasingly, being allowed to charge off several generations ahead of our thinking and ahead of our management skills, ... Descartes before the horse, as some would say. From 1950 onwards, the informational base by which we view ourselves, ... the environment- nested social collective, ... has been strongly and increasingly oriented to the 'cold' medium of television reporting, .... a medium which involves our being 'spoonfed' with selections of imagery determined by imagination and experience other than our own, ... i.e. true-life images to be sure, but selected for presentation on the basis of commercial factors, ... ratings and advertising as well as the socio-political viewpoints of the producers and reporters, ... a polished product which is broadcast in a 'swallowable pill' form. Meanwhile, as McLuhan cautioned, in 'Understanding Media' (1965);
"Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly."
Our passive assimilation of commercially sculpted 'cold media' imagery from television reporting, has us continue to build a knowledge base which will be the default base for reconstructing our 'story', ... for reverse engineering the topography of our reality, while we abandon our ability for implicit understanding and leave it to atrophy.
The innate dipolarity in nature, then, presents itself to us in terms of reciprocal viewing opportunity, ... on the one hand, a viewing of the whole-and-part relational topography of reality, ... the 'wave' and 'relational-interference' view of quantum dual-reality, ... and on the other hand, a viewing of the rational and explicit structure of reality, ... the 'particulate' and 'material-causal' view of quantum dual-reality. They are not 'peer' views, but complementary views in which the former contains the latter as a particular feature, ... the special case where we consider the material contents of our reality out of the meaning-giving context of their container. The 'rub' here is that it is only in the simplistic rectangular 'euclidian' space convention where we can reverse engineer the whole-and-part topography from the sum of the explicit features, ... and relativity informs us that the space convention consistent with our reality is not 'euclidian-like' but a curved space-time continuum, as is implicit in the game of pool. And as is clear from the game of pool, ... no reconstruction of explicit events is going to give you the understanding of what really happened in the implicit, relational understanding terms of the skilled pool player. One can go from 'shape' to 'shots', ... but there is an informational incompleteness in seeking to go backwards, ... from 'shots' to 'shape', ... and that is one ineluctable reason why my cousin must cede his historical view to his elders who 'were there'.
The Geometric-Informational Model
As has been mentioned, the occasions when we have been inspired by a speech on the radio, and became part of a coevolving team of shared dreamers, as in the 1940's era of BBC wartime transmissions of Winston Churchill, went into steep decline in the post-sixties third of this century. But there is another important instance where 'hot' experience has been traded out for 'cold', and this is in the domain of developing knowledge and understanding of diverse ethnicities.
It seems a fairly common experience in North America, that the current 'elder' generation or their parents, came to america in search of greater opportunity. This was true in the case of my father, and my mother's family. Coming from environments of class-oriented homogeneity, staleness and restricted movement, they emigrated into highly ethnically diverse environments where people were struggling, together, to move to a common base of language (english or french), and to 'coevolve' a new kind of diverse-ethnicity culture which was still in the early stages of gestation. The immigrants shared a huge respect for the appreciation of diversity and freedom, as many had suffered from been 'labelled' and constrained, in terms of class, in the countries they were coming from. Churchill's radio broadcasts, rallying people to victory in the struggle against the powerful ethnic supremacist and dominatory forces of Naziism, induced in the minds of the people their own personal dreams and visions of a harmonious social collective, which they wanted for their children and their forward generations, ... a Camelotian dream which they were prepared to fight and die for.
The purificationist forces of Naziism with their belief in the supremacy of the Aryan race and the 'defectiveness' of Jews, Slav's and other eastern cultures, ... in coming into conflict with the 'rest of the world', further induced a reciprocal, multi-ethnic harmonic synthesis, as was going on in america (though bumpily at times). In information systems in nature, ... there is a natural archetype for this 'dipolar' informational flow geometry, ... which is on the one side 'one-to-many' (the 'expert', the 'broadcast') and on the reciprocal or 'flip' side 'many-to-one' (the 'systems thinker', the 'synthesis'). One can think of this in space-time terms, via the metaphor of plate tectonics where subduction draws many different types of things down-and-in to the melting pot of the interior, synthesizes them, and spews them back up-and-out elsewhere (in upwellings and volcanic flows) in a homogenous broadcast. To conceptually generalize this reciprocative flow, one can think in terms of an imaginary sphere of space where many different colored arrows are oriented like radii and pointing in towards the center, while if we turn off the lights and put on the ultraviolet light (ie. in some way illuminate or look at the picture reciprocally), we see the radii being of a common colour and pointing outwards from the center, rather than inwards. This is a geometric archetype for natural information flow, which provides a basic conceptual underpinning for understanding 'community as complex system', the focus of my explorations.
For example, we could say that the situation with Hitler and Naziism, in an informational sense, was akin to the expert who broadcasts his expertise to a diversity of others, while the situation with Churchill and the Alliance of free nations, was like the systems thinker who tapped into and inductively pulled into confluence an unconstrained diversity of transworld expertise, synthesizing it so as to upwell and pour out a new socio-geologic layer on top of the prior domination-seeking 'imperialist' or 'supremacist' layer and effectively 'subducting it', and in this 'renewal process', preserving and extending natural diversity and preventing ecological death by imperialist purification.
This 'geometric-informational' view of reality gives us the opportunity to demote the materialist view to the level of a secondary abstraction, as suggested by modern physics. While we are accustomed to putting the notion of 'material things' in the primacy over the immaterial-relational, the view of reality is very different when we put 'field' or 'space-time relationships' into the primacy over 'material things'. Many, like Heraclitus, Kepler, Faraday, Einstein and numerous quantum physicists maintain that the 'field' view is more complete, and all of our observations of nature support this view. What we are speaking of here, is basically the same difference, in relational terms, as between the 'implicit relational' (wave view) and the 'explicit structural' (particulate view) in the case of 'hot' and 'cold' media and the game of pool, but this time tying it back to the more fundamental terms of physics, where indeed, the same geometries apply.
This 'field view in the primacy over material things view' is an important feature of the geometrical-informational model which underlies this question of multiple views of a 'world given once'. For example, we have Einstein's comment  to the effect that commencing one's inquiry as to 'the way the world works' from a material base significantly confuses things, due to relativity and the energy-mass equivalence, whereas starting off from 'field' is a more powerful and self-consistent approach to developing an understanding of natural phenomena.
The 'field-over-matter' view, in combination with the 'dipolar information flow view' provides a more fundamental way of looking at the universe and any'thing' in it. That is, the multicoloured radial arrows pointing inwards to the center of a spherical region of space symbolizes the inductive relational synthesis of information into 'new expertise' while the reciprocal view of the common-colored radial arrows pointing outwards from the center symbolizes the rational broadcasting of purified expertise.
For the practical purpose of forming some mental imagery, if one thinks of these spherical regions, not as 'material' entities but as virtual and translucent entities which pulse inward and outwards, ... we can think in terms of the movement of a jelly fish. If we now think of multiple, virtual pulsing jellyfish projected in an inclusively overlapping (space co-occupying) manner, by a holographic projector (as in Disneyland's haunted house), we can arrive somewhere close to the 'energy-informational' (not material) view of an 'ecology', each jellyfish subsystem simultaneously listening and broadcasting information to each other in this 'dipolar' manner and allowing this co-informing network to guide energy and material exchanges.
This is the basic information-energy model of the biologist Henri Laborit, and in his essay 'Les bases biologiques des comportements sociaux' ('The biological basis of social behaviors'), ... he takes it all the way from the atomic level on up to explain the recent history of human civilization, ... and I will repeat the 'story' he tells in a moment, after further grounding the model in terms of physics.
What this information energy model gives is a 'relativistic' (or 'quantum') way of viewing 'things'. For example, the human body is made of the same 'ingredients' as inorganic material, and the difference is in the informational structure, ... the body being described by modern biochemistry as a 'psychosomatic network', ... an informational system whose every level is open to exchanges with their environment.
Material structure, according to Laborit, achieves its fixed (dynamic equilibrium) shape through energy-informational relationships, thus the molecule has a structural shape because of its energy-information relationships. While the molecule appears stable and material 'from a distance', ... when we dig deeper, we find that it is basically an information-energy 'swirl' which is in a dynamic equilibrium. That is, when we descend deeper to the atomic level and still deeper to the subatomic level, we 'bottom out' in energy relationships rather than in 'fundamental particles', as classical science, since Aristotle, had assumed and expected. As the Berkeley particle physicist Henry Stapp says in "Mind, Matter and Quantum Mechanics" (1993), "An elementary particle is not an independently existing, unanalyzeable entity, it is, in essence, a set of relationships that reach outward to other things."
This same dipolar informational structure can be seen at the astronomical level, in our solar system, as was noted by Johannes Kepler in his master work 'Harmonies of the World'. Kepler points out that if there were bleachers on the sun, ... the sun-dwellers would be able to, informationally, or by means of 'intuitive intellection' as he referred to it, ... bring into connection in their minds the whole aesthetic suite of harmonies of the planets which keep everything 'hanging together', ... a truly 'hot media' view but something we cannot do 'intuitively' from earth since we are not at the center, but must do by a combination of both intuitive induction, and deduction by 'ratiocinative intellection'. Kepler says; "not only does light go out from the sun into the whole world, as from the focus or eye of the world, as life and heat from the heart, as every movement from the King and mover, but conversely also by royal law these returns, so to speak, of every lovely harmony are collected in the sun from every province in the world, ..." ... "The relation of the six spheres [of planetary revolution] to their common centre, thereby the centre of the whole world, is also the same as that of ('dianoia' --- spelled in greek) [discursive intellection] to ('nous' --- spelled in greek) [intuitive intellection]..."
Kepler describes this 'informational' model, wherein whole-and-part relationships are in the primacy over material structure, in terms of an 'archetype' for harmony and structure which is generalizable over all things in nature including 'human intellection'. Kepler's three laws, like Maxwells, ...give a relational or 'field' view of the world, rather than a material-structural view.
So, from a variety of sources, including our common experiencing of natural processes, we have the model of a reciprocal (dipolar) geometric informational process whereby diverse information is brought into confluence and reciprocally, expert information is broadcast outwards. This arrangement is what Laborit suggests, gives things their structure at all levels in nature from atoms to galaxies and microbes to mammoths, ... in a sphere- englobing- sphere (nested open-system) ecological hierarchy.
Returning to the scale and social domain of humans, the same geometric-information archetypal structure has been recognized as being fundamental in academia and industry. For example, in an invited submission to the OECD, Professor A. J. Berkhout (Delft University)  identifies a 'duality' in 'innovation systems' associated with two modes of 'knowledge dissemination' as follows;
"Figure 3: The two different types of breadth with respect to knowledge dissemination (one knowledge area contributes to the progress in many applications) and knowledge integration (many knowledge areas contribute to the progress in one application)." . . . " "Successful interaction at the two principal interfaces of the innovation system (fig. 2) requires two types of knowledge workers at each interface: the knowledge disseminators [experts] and the knowledge integrators [systems thinkers] (fig. 3.)"
This archetypical geometric-informational flow model, then, is seen to have implications on overall societal evolution. Laborit points out that social groups which have evolved a more advanced 'information technique' of this type achieve dominance over their fellows who lag them in this respect; "... insofar as the evolution of this technique has permitted them to develop more effective arms to impose by force, ... and not simply by advanced technology, ... the way of life and value judgements."
In Laborit's model, when the Wuerms ice age receded, ten to twelve thousand years ago, ethnic groups in the vicinity of 45 degrees north latitude began to develop effective techniques for cultivating the soil and for raising domesticated animals, ... to tide them over the winter months, and this, according to Laborit and others, was at the origin of the whole evolution of information technique which has followed. Dominance has been established by converting available natural resources and energy into products which, in turn, fuel and sustain the advances in the evolution of 'information technique', a process whose vitality, as Laborit points out, is proportional to the size of the social group. Size-related probabilities clearly play a role, as he notes, ... "there was little chance of the laser being discovered in Andorra or Liechtenstein"
Thus the eighteenth century melding of the most advanced 'information technique' from Europe with the natural (and energy) resource base of the United States, coupled with a large immigrant population (means of production) has provided an ideal base for sustained leadership in 'information technique'. In a simultaneously complementary pull-and-push mode, U.S. universities have pushed out expert knowledge while corporations have pulled it in and integrated it into new products (as described by Berkhout) in a powerful dipolarity which fuelled further evolution and increased global dominance. The whole process growing to the point that it has been drawing on natural resources from all parts of the globe, particularly where those countries have lagged in terms of 'information technique' and an effective means of production.
Ecological concerns which have developed over the past few decades, emanating from the associated 'shot over shape oriented' behavioral and systemic approaches, have been largely swept aside by the dominant commercial forces, ... forces which have now attained global scale socio-political powerbases (e.g. as exemplified by Monsanto's current overpowering of ecologically concerned resistance in the domain of biotechnology). Laborit cites La Fontaine in this regard; "The reasoning of the strongest is always the best" ... "La raison du plus fort est toujours la meilleure")
There is, thus, a physico-biological underpinning to the dipolar 'hot' and 'cold' media notion which, according to Laborit, ... and convincingly so, ... provides an understanding of social evolution. One lesson seems to be that, in natural ecologies, there is a reciprocal-complementary relationship between 'synthesis-pull' (hot) and 'expert-push' (cold) modes. It would appear that western culture in general (as differentiated from the business sector), in disproportionately opening itself up to the informational pill-pushing of 'cold media', is losing its 'ecological' aspect, and by programs of 'purification', ... is witnessing the purging of the organic and the reduction of the cultural fabric to steel-wired machinery. This imagery comes equally to mind with respect to those instances wherein the younger generation overrides the old in literary historical reconstructions, ... capturing the stark skeletal mechanics of the past by stripping away and burning off the contextual flesh.
The Psychological Impact of Media and Information
This 'field-over-matter' model and evolutionary scene-setting gives us a backdrop for considering the present role of media and information in social psychology as we prepare for passage into the third millenium. Again, the issue of how we regard the plurality of perspectives in a 'world given once', ... how we might comprehend the effect of our 'tools of inquiry in our inquiry', comes to the fore.
The story of cyclic synthesis of diversity and 're-broadcasting' of expertise seems to be once again at a critical point on the level of global civilization, at this millenial rollover, though in a rather different 'incarnation'. However, there seems to be little mainstream public awareness of the psychological attributes of this reciprocal endogenic-exogenic conflict.
Lev Vygotsky (1896 - 1934), the 'father of Russian psychology', was an original thinker who contributed many insights (still unassimilated by the culture at large) on the development of concepts, knowledge and understanding in the context of the individual and the social collective, pointing out that 'learning' had this same simultaneous 'dipolar' or 'container-content-coevolutional' geometry as we have been talking about in the context of 'hot and cold' media, 'shape and shots' in pool etc. Vygotsky thus came up against the same difference in view with Piaget, as had arisen between Heraclitus and Aristotle, and Kepler and Newton; i.e. Vygotsky's finding was that while we distinguish between opposites in the learning process, .... between spontaneous ('hot') concept formation and non-spontaneous ('cold') concept formation, ... rather than these being mutually exclusive opposites, they are, in fact, simultaneous reciprocal aspects of a dipolar unity.
What does this mean, relative to the modern scene?
It means that if Vygotsky is correct and Piaget wrong, as appears rather obviously to be the case in the light of modern physics and the congruency of his findings with those of Laborit's, Einstein's, Kepler's, Heraclitus, ... then our educational system in the west, which puts 'cold' in the primacy over 'hot', ... is 'upside down'. Vygotsky asserted that there is a fundamentally important primacy (nesting) relationship between 'understanding' (implicit relational 'knowing') and 'knowledge' (explicit rational 'knowing'), ... in that 'explicit knowledge' (word) is embedded in and draws its sense from 'implicit understanding' (thought). As he says in 'Thought and Language', "A word relates to consciousness as a living cell relates to a whole organism. ... The word is a direct expression of the historical nature of human consciousness."
The mutually inclusive, reciprocal-complementarity of Vygotsky's views strongly conform to the 'quantum view'. As Henry Stapp reports , ... "That was precisely the key move of Bohr and Heisenberg et. al., namely to recognize that science was actually about our knowledge, which is imbedded in our experience, and hence that the correct way to formulate physical theory was as a useful tool for making predictions about our experiences.This quantum viewpoint should satisfy the defender's of the idea that experiences are realities that must be dealt with up front as real`observables', for in this view experiences are the basic realities of the ontology, the epistomology, and the physical theory."
What Vygotsky, Bohr and Heisenberg are saying, is that our experience is 'where the buck stops' in terms of understanding. Logical and scientifically constructed knowledge ('non-spontaneous concept formation, in Vygotsky's terms) is drawn from the container of experience and while supportive to understanding, cannot override the implicit insights of experience any more than the clearest and most finely structured knowledge of 'shot-making' in pool can override the understanding which comes from the experience of participating in the evolving of 'shape'.
Our typical failure to consider this reciprocal-complementary 'primacy'; i.e. the natural primacy of 'hot' over 'cold', ... in our inquiry into social systems, appears to be a major source of dysfunction which has become increasingly troublesome.
The basic problem is that we do not yet 'include the tools of our inquiry in our inquiry' as Heisenberg suggests is necessary. The person who grew up at the beginning of this century in a neighbourhood of diverse ethnic immigrants, in the evolutionary forge which was giving shape and form to the multi-ethnic society we know it today, developed an UNDERSTANDING of ethnic diversity in a whole-and-part 'topographical' sense, whereas the young person, living in the evolved (post-gestational) and more homogeneous multi-ethnic community, who gains his 'knowledge' of ethnic diversity on television, tends to know it in an explicit, post-construction, 'structural' sense, which lacks the implicit understanding coming from the immersed-in-raw-diversity coevolutionary experience. This gives rise to a major difference in social perspective between age and youth. Meanwhile, youth are encouraged, by our western culture, to believe that 'book knowledge' is equivalent to 'lived experience' and, knowing more in terms of factual-volume than their elders, they are given to assume that their perspectives are superior to those of their elders.
This flawed view of understanding and knowledge, of our tools of inquiry, leads to the mistaken notion that we can substitute knowledge for experience, ... yet experience is the stuff that understanding and evolution is made of, .... it is the 'containing receptacle' which provides a domicile for knowledge. In other words, knowledge is extracted from experience but the reverse is not possible, ... knowledge cannot reconstitute experience, ... as has been discussed above. I can refine and perfect my 'game' knowledge-wise but this amounts to 'purification', ... removing the defects and adding some frills to it, but knowledge does not IN ITSELF allow me to 'evolve' my 'game'.
This failure to comprehend the dipolar relationship between experiential understanding and 'knowledge' seems to be leading is to a poorly informed choice as to whether we, as a social collective, should pursue consolidation and purification of our achievements and try to suppress the naturally emergent forces of evolution, ... or to instead, go with the evolutionary flow, as Laborit suggests (to pull up the rudder and bring down the mainsail of control, and instead 'fly the jib of purpose') and cultivate ongoing experiential opportunity and discovery. The undercurrents of conflict on this 'purification versus evolution' issue have become obvious in our society. Failure to understand that 'evolution' is a 'containing topography' which goes on, like it or not, at the same time as we refine particular features of its topography, leads to unnecessary head-butting due to our 'either OR' perspective, ... the mutually exclusive logical underpinning of western culture. The choice that nature gives us not 'to evolve or to consolidate and purify', ... evolution is not something we can stop, ... but just like the poor pool player, we can focus solely on our 'shot-making' and snooker ourselves by letting the opportunity landscape in which we are contained, 'go to weed'.
While the suppression of evolution in favor of consolidation and purification of past achievement was forming during the 1950's, the lid was temporarily blown off this suppressive tack during the sixties. However, it quickly re-established itself, and we appear to be in the advanced stages of purification at the close of the millenium. In this regard, Harriet Rubin  refers back to Francis Bacon's mention of 'the merchants of light' and notes that modern leaders are looking for answers to 'what they don't know' (i.e. refinement of existing, explicit knowledge) instead of exploring 'the imaginal' (i.e. developing new implicit understanding, the stuff that evolution is made of). She says;
"Francis Bacon, the brilliant 17th-century essayist and advisor to Elizabeth and her successor, puzzled over what made his age golden. In his essay "The New Atlantis" he imagined a new utopia had replaced the original paradise that sank. It had no borders, no boundaries. In place of politics, vision ruled. Who was at the heart of The New Atlantis? Not Elizabeth herself. Not even the world's great playwright. Those responsible were the great merchant traders and capitalists of the Renaissance -- business leaders who plunged their personal wealth and reputations into ships that sailed beyond where all maps ended. They "sail into foreign countries," Bacon wrote, "under the names of other nations [did he mean corporations?] and bring us the books and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light."
Rubin ties this Laboritian notion of rising to dominance on the back of media and 'information technique' in her summary paragraph, as follows; [* note that here the term 'learning' is used in the context of explicit knowledge acquisition while 'knowing' is used in the context of developing implicit, experiential understanding]
"Four centuries after Bacon wrote about the Merchants of Light, Marshall McLuhan, drew a valuable distinction between learning and knowing. All work would become "paid learning," said McLuhan, which has come to pass. Leaders, then, have to distinguish themselves by knowing. Imagination is knowing: sensing, suspecting, seeing into the darkness where all new things begin, just as our world was born out of darkness. McLuhan himself said that light was the purest form of knowledge. Having no characteristics itself, it enables others to see. To be a merchant of light is to have few limits and vast advantages. It is to be able to penetrate everywhere, even darkness, and be bound by nothing."
So, the 'story' which appears to be unfolding as we go into the third millenium is a familiar one in a 'geometric-informational' sense. The transnational corporation strain of social organism has been perfecting and purifying (e.g. by consuming 'defective' participants still operating 'organically') and is reaching out for global domination, as evidenced by the development of such instruments of control as the Multilateral Agreement on Investment (MAI) and by the fact that powerful individuals (e.g. Soros) and elitist groups (Bilderberg) within the global power complex are able to exert forces which have the potential to bring smaller countries to their knees.
Meanwhile, there is a strong belief amongst those in power, that they are fighting the good fight for the consolidation and purification (genetic as well as commercial) of a stable and affluent society, ... struggling against the overpopulating of the world by 'defectives'. Anti-immigration statements are on the rise and there is much movement towards 'closing the doors' and consolidating what has been achieved. Here in Quebec, the purificationist movement, which argues for ethnic political sovereignty and linguistic and cultural purification underscores how this movement can also be socially fragmentative even in relatively affluent environments.
Media feedback on the purificationist trends appears to be intensifying. For example, immediately prior to writing my last essay, 'The Global Republic', a dark projection of one possible (but hopefully improbable) future, growing out of our increasing tendency to manage our society by suppression rather than by positive modelling and encouragement, I had happened to catch Pat Buchanan on the TV news, announcing his pursuit of the presidency through the Reform party and outlining a suppressive and isolation-oriented strategic program, ... followed by a news item on 'attack ads' on smokers in California, ... followed by coverage of heavy-handed RCMP suppression of demonstrators at an APEC meeting in Vancouver, allegedly ordered by Prime Minister Chretien, ... followed by a report on the KGB persecution of a former Russian naval officer, Nikitin, for whistle blowing on a nuclear waste debacle. Following those 'news items', there was a report on discrimination against minorities which involved an immediate and direct segue into discussions on legislative solutions,... 'new laws with teeth', ... without any apparent consideration being given to non-suppressive, pro-action-oriented initiatives to open up opportunity for evolution. The politics of suppression, encouraged by an increasingly prevalent and persuasive 'cold' media, such as commercially driven television reporting, ... seems to be evolving into a kind of 'voyeur socialism', wherein we trade out an immersed, participative role in shaping the future, ... 'from the inside out', for the detached ability to, from the outside-in, point the hand-held 'remote' at those social sectors we judge to be 'no good', press the button, and zap them.
While television journalists would probably argue that 'they are giving the public what they want', the issues raised by McCluhan seem to be left by the wayside. Is it responsible reporting to strip out the topography of understanding and present 'a selection' of the bare, explicit facts? Why are the rare reporting exceptions on television like the productions by the David Suzuki foundation appreciated by the 'common man' so much, ... which present facts in the context of their 'hot' historical evolution, their containing topography? Suzuki chose the 'foundation' route to avoid the controls of commercial sponsorship, ... does this mean that the funding mechanism is a powerful shaper of how news is presented to us on television? Is the political-commercial funding mechanism depriving the viewer of the opportunity to bring his imagination and experience into the interpretation, instead of being forced to see things in terms of 'politically correct' euclidian detachment, which removes the 'relational connections' (which Suzuki puts back in), ... news reporting in a fragmented and emasculated form, pressed into sugar-coated pilules, safe for sponsorship and backed with a journalist hubris which 'bravely' declares, ... 'this is the way it is'.
Today's journalism seems often to exemplify what systems experts criticize as a false road to understanding complexity, ... the 'down-and-back-up-again' inquiry method which removes essential information on the way down and then does an aggregation of the clean components in order to get back up to an understanding of the whole system. This is the newtonian way and it cannot handle complexity. Instead, one needs to apply 'up-and-back-down-again' inquiry which looks at the context-giving containing relationships in the enveloping environment beyond the system or event being focused on, .. the historical-environmental topography, ... the nurturing container within which the constituent came into being And one has to listen very careful to those who have 'been there' to capture the relational complexity of the socio-historical container..
Western Appreciation of the Evolutionary Process:
To say that we have become a society of sheep, is perhaps to unfairly demean the intelligence of sheep, since it is recognized that sheep acknowledge and exploit the evolutionary advantages of multiple perspectives which yield a view of the overall topography and make it available to the full collective;
"It was (and still is in England) illegal to sell off a complete hirsel [large mixed flock of sheep] from any mountain, because it takes several generations of sheep to learn their individual 'sheepwalk', and some of the older, experienced sheep must be left to guide the newcomers, who would otherwise starve. The small narrow sheep trails through heather (that can easily mislead walkers) are definite sheep roadways to and from their special grazing grounds, resting places, and dormitories."
As Kepler might say, ... the sheep collective adorns all of its members with a whole-and-part harmonic view which transcends any particular view built up from locally explicit perspective.
How does this work? ... well, if I am a sheep and my sons and grandsons study one part of the mountain, and my several friends and their sons and grandsons study several other parts of the mountain, ... we can at the same time, allow those of us who know the particular part of the mountain to guide the others who do not, ... thus, in practice if not in mind, opening up a 'holodeck' type view of the whole mountain for everyone, with respect to grazing opportunities. This process does not kick off with a sheep conference, rational planning sessions and explicit itineraries based on 'the best perspective' and the suppression of non-preferred views, ... it emerges from open sharing and trust in one another within the social collective.
And with respect to the appreciation of evolution in the domain of humans, ... it has been said that; "Culture is considered as a social fabric which is composed of language, religion, history, traditional practices and others. It takes several generations to develop."
On the downside of this equation, we have the observation by William Shakespeare that, "The evil that men do lives after them.", a truism which is painfully manifest in the multi-generational evolution of ethnic dissonance in the former Yugoslavia and the middle east, in Kurdistan and Armenia, Ireland and elsewhere.
On the positive side, the 'collective consciousness' possessed by today's ninety year olds in North America was in many cases engendered by 'hot' media engagement, ... by face-to-face inter-ethnic dialogue amongst a diversity of first generation immigrants and indigenous peoples. This slow-brewed experiential legacy, preserved and passed on in the form of story and myth within families, ... is falsely being seen as equivalent to what can be supplied via the cold media of television or textbooks, and we are coming to believe that what we see on television or read in a documented report gives us as good an understanding as lived experience. As a result, we now expect immigrants to phase-in almost instantaneously and grow angry and impatient with the persistance of 'foreign' habits and languages. Yet, according to studies of immigrants, ... it takes four generations to make the adjustment , ... four generations of container- content- coevolution, ... four generations of 'lived experience'. But four generations seems to be an unthinkably long time for anything to happen in our frenetic-paced modernity.
Good myths are also slow-brewed. ... "... usually it takes several generations of a whole society of people to come up with a good myth. When you have a whole culture developing a myth, you will end up with something that can relate to a truth in all of us, . . . A whole culture gives you a fuller view. When you have more of humanity writing a myth, that myth will be closer to the perspective of what all of humanity can see. You get a collective consciousness."
So, sheep and men can, under the right conditions, evolve a collective consciousness which transports 'team' and 'team member' far beyond individual 'voyeur' perspective and yields experiential and behavioral capability which is far greater than the sum of the parts, ... all it takes is trust and openness and honesty and sharing, ... along with good will and the intestinal fortitude to move forward on the promise of a 'dream', ... and if a team of people can come together and do this, ....then, as the Brazilian proverb says; "When we dream alone, it is only a dream. When we dream together, it is no longer a dream but the beginning of reality."
All of our experience with history and evolution points to the fact that 'evolution requires multiple generations'. To believe that any one generation can understand the evolutionary process, ... where we're coming from and where we're going to, ... does not fit the data. Yet our cultural habitude is to persist in debating how the future is going to play out on the basis of an independently argued 'best view', ... a voyeur, explicit construction in most cases. Amongst aboriginal peoples, the notion of multi-generational 'sharing' of perspectives is at the core of their traditions, ... while the responsibility is centered on the elders, ... the elders share with youth on a ritual basis and seek, through helpers, to tap the full breadth and depth of living perspectives.
Media and Youth:
So far, on our 'epistemological sightseeing tour', we have stopped off and had a look at several aspects of complex natural systems relative to our tools of inquiry and in all cases have seen a reciprocal - complementarity between the 'topography of understanding' and the 'explicitness of the 'what is'' which is contained within the topography. The self-balancing reciprocal -complementarity underlying ecological harmony indemnifies it naturally against 'death by purification', and this seems to be something which is being ignored in our modern society, ... a society which often sees the knowing which comes from 'cold media' as overriding the knowing which comes from 'hot media'. A situation which implicitly leads one to believe that one's individual perspective, derived from non-experiential 'cold media', and increasingly sculpted by politico-commercial interests, is superior to the 'collective consciousness'-tapping perspective which derives from the continuing 'hot media' experience. This trend, in turn, seems to have us believing that we are now 'smart enough' to 'get off the evolutionary bus', and move forward with a controlled, 'cold media' or 'knowledge management' program of consolidating and purifying what we have achieved to date.
What is lost in this evolutionary-experience-suppressing approach is our ability to cultivate our own people-oriented opportunity topography, as evolved naturally in the small community and amongst first generation immigrants living in a diversely mixed neighbourhood. Geometrically, this can be seen in terms of the ability of the skilled pool player who cultivates the 'shape' of the opportunity landscape, opening it up for the members of the collective. Today, however, global commerce, increasingly focused on competitor-whipping 'shot-making', in combination with an acute- systems-inquiry-deficiency afflicted media, is effectively ignoring the shape of the opportunity landscape, and delivering 'cold' finished product which allows for scant engagement on the part of the consumer. This trend, foreign to the evolutionary history of community, which had a high awareness of the reciprocal-complementary of opportunity 'shaping' and product 'shot-making' (how the commercial sector provided opportunities for community members), .. is leading to the 'snookering' of a rising number of young people, ... leaving many depressed and despondent, increasingly to the point of taking their own lives.
'Hot and Cold Media' and Youth
This last stop on the 'sightseeing tour' explores media impact on children, with respect to the conflicting trends towards 'hot' evolutionary experience and 'cold' evolution- suppressing purification.
As small children, we are hungry for 'hot' media and children's stories and plays often cater to this need. For example, in Peter Pan, when Tinker Bell, the fairy who befriends Peter, is dying and her flame of life flickering dangerously near to extinguishing, it becomes clear to Peter that the only thing that can save her is if people will believe in her, .... and in the stage production of the play, Peter, suddenly and assertively turns and confronts the audience, .... looking them in the eye and asking them; 'do YOU believe in fairies?'. Consistently, the small children in the audience come back with a resounding .. YES!!!
Clearly, one can infuse one's dreams in hot media, ... and without dreams, 'howya gonna have a dream come true?'. Hot media is all about 'container- content- coevolution', where we coevolve our story with others within our social container, .... a process which Vygotsky describes as being essential to the socialization process. This hot media coevolution seems to be a natural and deeply felt need of children. It is also a process which teaches the primacy of the evolution in providing a path to the resolution of conflict between opposites, a wholesome alternative to the path of purification. While children naturally embrace this ultimate primacy of friendship and understanding in the aftermath of conflict (as is also the aboriginal tradition), ... wherein a harmony of the collective evolves out of a 'bumpy' appreciation of diversity, an acceptance of perceived 'good AND bad', ... our culture is increasingly tending towards a reneging of this primacy, and instead regressing to purification, the promotion of a one-sided, angelic 'goodness' along with an advocacy for eschewing and eliminating any exposure to the darker side. 'Angels' seem to be rapidly displacing the fairies and goblins and pirates and leprechauns of the old children's stories, ... old stories which are replete with conflict as induces dreams of evolution, ... from frog to prince and from cinderella to princess.
Meanwhile, the messages coming from adults to children accompanying the 'purification - suppression' trend seem mixed and confused. The stark cold media offerings from television reporting, together with the belief that social history can be independently reconstructed from present facts, is certainly there to give children a warped, reverse-engineered view of the world they are entering into, ... but beyond this, there seems to be great fear in letting children loose in the potentially 'hot' domains where the conflict between 'good and bad' is engendering evolution. In the highschools in Texas and presumably other parts of North America, those students identified as 'leaders', such as excel in football and cheer-leading and other arts and activities, are asked by their teachers to make an oath that they will remove themselves from any place where there is drink or drugs. It has been my firsthand observation that the teenagers themselves denounce this policy, claiming that this deepens the dangers for those who find themselves 'on the outside', ... that the withdrawal of role-models and the segregation of 'good' and 'bad' leads to a degenerate and dangerous situation. And indeed, this type of intervention in the natural evolutionary resolution of conflict between opposites, the purificationist concentrating of 'good' naturally balancing out with the degenerate concentration of 'bad', and the associated suppression of evolution, indeed appears to be engendering pathological results.
In the potentially 'hot' domain of the internet, the cultural imposition of a negative suppressive spin seems often to be associated with children's access. The point here is not to deny the dangers of unchaperoned access, but just as in the case of unchaperoned teenage drinking above, ... the point is to examine the distorting consequences of purificationist approaches. Some technologies may be naturally difficult to domesticate for use by young children, ... nuclear reactors, ... lasers etc., ...yet we proceed on the inverted basis that because its there we must learn how to use it. As a school teacher in Ireland suggested in a dialogue on this topic, ... children need more time in nature, ... more time in the countryside. She claimed she could see in the brightness of the eyes of her students, before she was informed as to their family situations, whether they had good exposure to nature and the countryside or not.
The points in mind on the suppressive and purification oriented aspects of internet access for children might be best be shared via a couple of recent anecdotes to which I had firsthand access, as follows;
The ten year old daughter of friends in London got quite a surprise when she was using my notebook computer, as we sat all sat together after dinner, to get into an AOL chat room, and was summarily 'kicked out' by a 'supervisor' for using 'unacceptable language'. The email that she saw, which immediately came back to me, saying that my AOL account would be terminated if there was another violation, also clearly disturbed her, ... and me as well, not for losing access to AOL which I discontinued shortly thereafter, but for the guilt and humiliation which had come to her through the experience. She had used the word 'asshole' which happened not to be a big deal in her home and neighbourhood environment, and was certainly something of far less severity than the language lessons which come to children through common media sources, .... which adults can and do invest in through AOL and whose profits derive from childrens participation (films etc.)..
Instead of making a space for children where they can 'be who they are', ... it seems that adults are, in this media, imposing their own fears on their children through controls, suppressing the child's natural experience and manipulating their behavior with negative feedback which entails infusing feelings of guilt and defectiveness.
While the experience-limiting controls attached to children's access to the web taint the experience more than a little, ... an even bigger tainting seems to be coming from the purificationist infusions directed from adults to children on the internet which have no problem at all in infiltrating childrens access security systems. An example is the following extensively circulated note on the web (the voluminous email distribution lists accumulated from different vintages of circulation have been removed), ... which closes with the rhymed warning;
"This story is sad and unpleasant but true,
So young people take heed, it could have been you.";
* * *
This Will Make You Cry...
Jenny was so happy about the house they had found.
For once in her life 'twas on the right side of town.
She unpacked her things with such great ease.
As she watched her new curtains blow in the breeze.
How wonderful it was to have her own room.
School would be starting, she'd have friends over soon.
There'd be sleep-overs, and parties; she was so happy
It's just the way she wanted her life to be.
On the first day of school, everything went great.
She made new friends and even got a date!
She thought, "I want to be popular and I'm going to be,
Because I just got a date with the star of the team!"
To be known in this school you had to have a clout,
And dating this guy would sure help her out.
There was only one problem stopping her fate.
Her parents had said she was too young to date.
"Well I just won't tell them the entire truth.
They won't know the difference; what's there to lose?"
Jenny asked to stay with her friends that night.
Her parents frowned but said, "All right."
Excited, she got ready for the big event
But as she rushed around like she had no sense,
She began to feel guilty about all the lies,
But what's a pizza, a party, and a moonlight ride?
Well the pizza was good, and the party was great,
But the moonlight ride would have to wait.
For Jeff was half drunk by this time.
But he kissed her and said that he was just fine.
Then the room filled with smoked and Jeff took a puff.
Jenny couldn't believe he was smoking that stuff.
Now Jeff was ready to ride to the point
But only after he'd smoked another joint.
They jumped in the car for the moonlight ride,
Not thinking that he was too drunk to drive.
They finally made it to the point at last,
And Jeff started trying to make a pass.
A pass is not what Jenny wanted at all
(and by a pass, I don't mean playing football.)
"Perhaps my parents were right....maybe I am too young.
Boy, how could I ever, ever be so dumb."
With all of her might, she pushed Jeff away,
"Please take me home, I don't want to stay."
Jeff cranked up the engine and floored the gas.
In a matter of seconds they were going too fast.
As Jeff drove on in a fit of wild anger,
Jenny knew that her life was in danger.
She begged and pleaded for him to slow down,
But he just got faster as they neared the town.
"Just let me get home! I'll confess that I lied.
I really went out for a moonlight ride."
Then all of a sudden, she saw a big flash.
"Oh God, Please help us! We're going to crash!"
She doesn't remember the force of impact.
Just that everything all of a sudden went black.
She felt someone remove her from the twisted rubble,
And heard, "call an ambulance! These kids are in trouble!"
Voices she heard...a few words at best.
But she knew there were two cars involved in the wreck.
Then wondered to herself if Jeff was all right,
And if the people in the other car was alive.
She awoke in the hospital to faces so sad.
"You've been in a wreck and it looks pretty bad."
These voices echoed inside her head,
As they gently told her that Jeff was dead.
They said "Jenny, we've done all we can do.
But it looks as if we'll lose you too."
"But the people in the other car!?" Jenny cried.
We're sorry, Jenny, they also died."
Jenny prayed, "God, forgive me for what I've done
I only wanted to have just one night of fun."
"Tell those people's family, I've made their lives dim,
And wish I could return their families to them."
"Tell Mom and Dad I'm sorry I lied,
And that it's my fault so many have died.
Oh, nurse, won't you please tell them that for me?"
The nurse just stood there-- she never agreed.
But took Jenny's hand with tears in her eyes.
And a few moments later Jenny died.
A man asked the nurse, "Why didn't you do your best
To bid that girl her one last request?"
She looked at the man with eyes so sad.
"Because the people in the other car were her mom and dad"
This story is sad and unpleasant but true, So young people take heed, it
could have been you.
READ AND PASS ON TO AT LEAST 10 PEOPLE
Please listen to this angel's request......
Send this to 10 people,
If you do the small favor she asks to come true.
She will be sent down to guard and protect you.
Please....do it for Jenny. Send ten copies and see what happens in four
days. You will get a surprise.
This is true, even if you are not superstitious >>
* * *
The above note or purificationist strategy, which is in line with the general trend of fighting rising dysfunction with suppression and controls rather than the cultivation of evolutionary opportunity and inspired purpose, as the psychologist Ronald Laing and the anthropologist Jules Henry made clear, ... barters parental love against the betrayal of self, and risks doing deep and long-lasting damage. Here, in the above example, a 'hot' evolutionary learning medium is being seriously chilled by a not-so-subtley imposed 'filling in the blanks'
Thus the selective 'programming' capabilities of the web, coming from a variety of sources, would appear to exceed by a considerable margin, what is possible in a natural setting. Back 'down on the farm', the prospects of managing the 'programming' of the 'birds and bees', so as to prevent children from experiencing them 'doing their thing' (if this was deemed desirable) were fairly limited. On the internet, if children are outside of a protected area, ... they are indeed exposed to the warp of commercially driven content as on the extensive pornography offerings, ... but the act even, of being pushed into the closed off 'pen' of 'supervised' areas is a message in itself which they may interpret in many different ways. The 'old-fashioned' children's play, the fairy tales and the romp in the park are therefore looking better all the time, ... since like television, the media technologies which are being deployed are likely having unforeseen and undesired evolutionary impact.
It seems that our children's education continues to suffer from the faulty interpretation of Piaget relative to a child's development (mentioned above). While the geometry of nature tells us that the spontaneous (hot, relational) is in a primacy over the non-spontaneous (cold, rational), Piaget got it upside down and this was caught in the 1930's by Vygotsky. It is only within the last decade that psychologists and educators have tuned in to the brilliance of his work (e.g. "Vygotsky's pioneering work in the 1920's and 1930's has only recently won full recognition in the West. Nobody has taught us better how to balance the claims of the individual with those of society and culture in our thinking about about psychology and linguistics.", ..Stephin Toulmin, Professor in the Committe on Social Thought, University of Chicago).
Vygotsky, in speaking of the primacy of the spontaneous (relational) which associates with the collective consciousness over the non-spontaneous (structural) which associates with individual perspective, was, in effect, speaking to the relationship between evolution and structure, just as Kepler did in his terms of 'harmony and structure', .. in both cases observing the natural primacy of the relational over the structural. Meanwhile, our formal culture insists on the upside-down approach of putting the structural in a primacy over the relational, in childrens education and in general child development.
Vygotsky expressed his contrarian view as follows in 'Thought and Language' in the chapter 'The Development of Scientific Concepts in Children';
"Piaget comes to the conclusion that the child's thought is devoid of objectivity, critical approach, understanding of relations, and stability --- in a word, those characteristics essential for mastering historical material. Consequently, on the one hand, spontaneous concepts are shown to be of no value in rendering systematic knowledge. Piaget 'resolves' this contradiction by suggesting a principle of antagonism between development and learning. It seems that when he says that nothing is more important for effective teaching than a thorough knowledge of the spontaneous thought of children, he means that the child's thought must be known as any enemy must be known in order to be fought successfully.
We shall counter these erroneous premises with the premise that the development of nonspontaneous concepts must possess all the traits peculiar to the child's thought at each developmental level because these concepts are not simply acquired by rote but evolve with the aid of strenuous mental activity on the part of the child himself. We believe that the two processes --- the development of spontaneous and nonspontaneous concepts --- are related and constantly influence each other. They are parts of a single process: The development of concept formation, which is affected by varying external and internal conditions but is essentially a unitary process, not a conflict of antagonistic, mutual exclusive forms of thinking."
"He [Piaget] fails to see the interaction between these two types of concepts and the bonds uniting them into a total system." ... "It would look as if the inner development of the child's thought had no relation to socialization, while socialization had no relevance for the development of the child's concepts. This inconsistency is the weak spot in Piaget's theory, both theoretically and practically." ... "This [Piaget's] theoretical position leaves no alternative other than antagonism for the relation between development and learning."
And so it goes, ... as we turn the corner into the third millenium, ... with 'imposed structure' not only remaining in the primacy over their coevolutional development in our western 'child development' programs, but with an increased urgency to 'fit in' all the new things that a child 'needs' to learn and to beware of, ... and the story seems to be is getting curiouser and curiouser, ... and if the child's attention span doesn't stand up to this imposed structural infusion, .. there are drugs like Ritalin to lower the resistance.
But, the question is not 'how can I educate my child in all of the technologies and ways of the modern world?', ... but instead, 'how can I give my child the sacred space to 'be who he is'?' As Vygotsky points out, if one starts the developmental nurturance program off with relational evolution in the primacy then the structurally specific needs will be naturally and meaningfully pulled into place, just as in the 'shape before shots' approach to pool. If internet access is pushed in front of the child and the child told, .. 'you'll need to know how to use this', ... that is an entirely different proposition from the child asking for access to the internet to search for explicit information on a passionate interest which is emerging naturally, from his purposive ontogenesis, to 'be who he is'.
The fact that putting structured knowledge in the primacy over relational experience leads to unnatural discord, is as true in the reconstruction of family history as it is in the management of child development, as it is in the workplace and everywhere else.
Resume of 'Epistemological Sightseeing Tour':
This 'tour' covered a fair bit of ground, ... yet the 'fallout', seems rather simple. That is, our culture continues to embrace the primacy of the logical, scientific view of reality, ... which the 'new science', ... relativity and quantum physics, as well as our common sense, says, ... is radically 'incomplete'. Compared to the grandeur of the harmonic whole of our evolutionary space-time reality, ... the logical view yields no more depth and breadth than a goosebump on a gnat's ass. That we can continue to adulate it, idolize and iconize it, obsess on it, .. and live by it, ... when we have massive evidence to show its subsidiary role in the scheme of things, ... is one of those multi-millenial mysteries.
To engineer a view of life in terms of a stark causal tree, out of the context of the unique and infinite-dimensional space-time containing environment which co-determines every atom of that tree, is, as Virginia Woolf suggests, to "... spend immense skill and immense industry making the trivial and transitory appear the true and enduring . . . Whether we call it life or spirit, truth or reality, this, the essential thing, has moved off, or on, and refuses to be contained any longer in such ill-fitting vestments as we provide . . . The [materialist] writer seems constrained, not by his own free will but by some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant who has him in thrall, to provide a plot, to provide comedy, tragedy, love interest, and an air of probability embalming the whole so impeccably that if all his figures were to come to life they would find themselves dressed down to the last button of their coats in the fashion of the hour . "
That statement, I would say, ... puts the 'material-logical-causal' perspective in its proper place, precisely as the quantum physicist intends but is unable to utter in the dry terms and blunt linguistic structures which his own new ideas have not yet reached back to re-invent.
The reality we live in is far from the flatspace logic diagrams and thinly-threaded stories which continue to climb the best-seller list. The reality we live in and which we are a part of, as manifest from all accounts of nature, including the sampling presented herein, is a deeply geometric dipolar reality, ... a reciprocal-complementary informational reality, ... which can rarely be adequately described in terms of the structure of material 'things' since matter is no more than our post-sensory abstraction, ... the secondary notion which we formulate subsequent to our 'tuning in' to the energy-information 'field' which underpins reality.
In a dipolar geometrical reality, ... one always has the option of looking at things from either side, ... from lightness or darkness, from sweet or bitter, ... from love or hate, ... from shape or shot. But these views are not 'peer' views, .. .there is a natural 'nesting' hierarchy in this geometry, and the latter option in each case is a 'negation' of the containing whole, ... a lesser and subordinate thing which 'nests' inside the former, ... the former views being 'inclusionary' and the latter, 'exclusionary'.
Borrowing from the story archives of another Italian family, shared with me by a friend, 'Giorgio'; ... Giorgio's father used to always ask him when he was small, 'Giorgio, what's the hardest thing in the world for a man to do?', .. and the little Giorgio would keep guessing things, ..'jumping over a river?', ... 'fighting with a bull?', ... 'lifting up a truck?', ... 'swimming across the ocean?', but he was never able to come up the answer his father had in mind. One day, Giorgio's father told him the answer, and Giorgio has never forgotten it. 'The hardest thing in the world', said his father, 'is to teach someone something they don't already know.' Giorgio is now grown up and is a very 'successful' manager, ... an 'alchemist' almost in the engendering of exceptional teams. But according to Giorgio, he has learned his father's lesson many times over in the world of business and has given up trying to 'explain' how he engenders exceptional teams to his associates in management and he has given up trying to 'teach' members of the teams he builds 'what they do not already know', ... but instead, selects team-members 'who already know'.
So what are Giorgio and his father and the family story archive talking about?
I'll let David Peat, a British quantum physicist explain , as I think he does a rather nice job of it, ... he was the one who brought the Virginia Woolf quote to my attention. His point, supported by Piaget's research (you can't be wrong all of the time) is that the complex, relational space-time geometry at the base of nature, which goes far beyond the simple logic which underpins the scientific worldview, ... is part of the pre-conscious legacy of our infancy, ... but if we can't 'get in touch with it', ... because of its implicit nature, it is impossible to 'teach it'.
Peat says the following in regard to Piaget's discovery of a very interesting relationship between the archeology of thought and that of mathematics; "The history of geometry demonstrates the discovery of deeper and more general levels, Euclidian geometry gives way to non-Euclidian, beneath geometry is topology, and topology itself is founded on even more general and beautiful mathematics. ... But Piaget, pointed out, this historical evolution is a direct reversal of the actual development of concepts of space in the infant. . . . To the infant's developing mind, topology comes before geometry. In general, deeper and more fundamental logical ['logical' in the broad sense of relational reasoning] operations are developed earlier than more specific rules and applications. The history of mathematics, which is generally taken as a process of moving towards deeper and more general levels of thought, could also be thought of as a process of excavation which attempts to uncover the earliest operations of thought in infancy."
Thus the stepping forward from the euclidian geometry and logic of our western culture, to the non-euclidian space-time continuum geometry of relativity, represents our getting in touch with our earliest and deepest childhood thoughts and feelings.
Thus, it is the child within us who knows that 'shape' comes before 'shots', ... that the warm flesh of context comes before the stark skeletal mechanical aspects of historical experience, ... that 'up-and-back-down-again' inquiry, where Tinker Bell's livingness is defined by who and what is around her comes before 'down-and-back-up-again' inquiry' which seeks to understand her by looking at her cells under a microscope, ... that the stories of our grandparents add an important meaning and richness to our lives which comes before our independent logical reconstructions, ... and that the opportunity to 'be who you are' comes before the 'opportunity' to be stuffed full of structured knowledge of how you are supposed to be and not to be.
The 'quantum mind', with its rich, relational geometry which transcends cartesian logic, is therefore an approximation of the child's mind.
I appreciate and respect my cousin and his short-story writing skills, ... but feel that he would do well to move 'beyond' his dark, serious and logical worldview, in the direction of his quantum-child perspective, even though such a move may diminish, rather than increase the popularity of his book. The quality of an Aran sweater is not a function of how many are sold, ... as Giordano Bruno has said, it is a base mind which associates majority response with truth, ... and in a similar vein, literary critics are not known for their calibration of historical gunsights.
My take is that it is time to include our tools of inquiry in our inquiry, as Heisenberg, Laborit and the quantum crew suggest, ... and more than this, ... to give children the sacred space to 'be who they are', ... so that they can retain and nurture their natural abilities to 'tune-in' to the rich geometries of nature and hold them in the primacy, ... rather than forcing our children to tip their evolutionary legacy upside down spilling and scattering the crown jewels of their sentient tools of inquiry.
We need to 'give ourselves a chance', as Luce Dufault says;
'Laissez-Nous La Chance'
Le monde qu'on veut n'est pas qu'un reve (The world we want is but a dream)
Suffirait que les fusils se taisent (It would suffice to silence the guns,)
Retrouvons notre coeur d'enfant (.. To rediscover our 'child's' heart,)
Le droit aux sourires desarmants (.. The right to disarming smiles)
Laissez-nous la chance (Let us have the chance)
De tout rebatir (To rebuild everything)
Laissez-nous nos reves (Let us have our dreams)
Nos eclats de rire (Our outbursts of laughter)
Je veux re-apprendre (I want to re-learn how)
A perdre mon temps (To lose my sense of time)
Il faudrait donner (We must give)
Le pouvoir aux enfants (The power to 'the child')
Il y a tant d'amour emprisonne (There is so much love imprisoned in us)
Qui reve encore de liberte (Which dreams of being freed)
Sur tous les chemins de l'enfance (Along all the pathways of childhood)
Laissons la place a l'innocence (Make a space for innocence)
* * *
 Fiorito, Joe, 'The Closer We Are to Dying', 1999, McClelland and Stewart
 Rogers, Alara, 'Only Human'
She looked at him. "You know, now that I think about it, you need scenario training even more than self-defense training. I don't know why I didn't think of this before."
"A form of training to understand social situations in an alien culture. I think we both know there is something wrong with the way I've been behaving toward you, and I think I've just realized what. I have simultaneously taken on a role as your teacher and your therapist. And you require both, desperately--"
"Thank you *so* much. I'm far from *desperate*, T'Laren."
She shrugged slightly. The statement would stand on its own; she didn't need to argue the point with him. "The trouble is that the two roles are incompatible. As your teacher, I should point out to you when you are doing something wrong, and take an active role in showing you what you need to do. As your therapist, though, my role should be mostly passive, not attempting to direct your behavior, except in the sense that I should try to help *you* see why your current behavior isn't getting you what you want. For instance, the night LeBeau attacked you, when I tried to demonstrate to you that you should not insult people when you're asking them for a favor... as your teacher,
that was appropriate. But as your therapist, that was out of line. You should be able to believe you can say anything to me, and I won't retaliate."
"So you admit you were retaliating, then?" Q asked, a gleam in his eyes. T'Laren shook her head.
"No, but you believed I was. In that sense, your perception was more important than the reality. So what I'm thinking we should do, rather than have me try to correct your behavior as it occurs, is for us to take you through scenario training. You and I will go to one of the holodecks, and we'll run simulations of some standard social situations. I'll be there to explain when things go wrong and how to correct them. In a safe environment like the holodeck, where your mistakes will have no real social consequences, you may be able to learn without the kind of pressures that are on you in daily life."
 Woolf, Virginia, "On Modern Fiction" (1925):
"If we fasten, then, one label on all these books [by such writers as H. G. Wells, Arnold Bennett, and John Galsworthy], on which is one word materialists, we mean by it that they write of unimportant things; that they spend immense skill and immense industry making the trivial and transitory appear the true and enduring . . . Whether we call it life or spirit, truth or reality, this, the essential thing, has moved off, or on, and refuses to be contained any longer in such ill-fitting vestments as we provide . . . The writer seems constrained, not by his own free will but by some powerful and unscrupulous tyrant who has him in thrall, to provide a plot, to provide comedy, tragedy, love interest, and an air of probability embalming the whole so impeccable that if all his figures were to come to life they would find themselves dressed down to the last button of their coats in the fashion of the hour . . . "
"Look within and life, it seems, is very far from being 'like this'. Examine for a moment an ordinary mind on an ordinary day. The mind receives a myriad impressions
 "It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair, we had everything before us, we had nothing before us, we were all going direct to heaven, we were all going direct the other way--"
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Charles Dickens, 'A Tale of Two Cities'
 Schacter, L Schacter, 'Searching for Memory: the brain, the mind and the past', 1996, HarperCollins
 Einstein, Albert and Infeld, Leopold, 'The Evolution of Physics', 1938
"We cannot build physics on the basis of the matter-concept alone. But the division into matter and field is, after the recognition of the equivalence of mass and energy, something artificial and not clearly defined. Could we not reject the concept of matter and build a pure field physics? What impresses our senses as matter is really a great concentration of energy into a comparatively small space. We could regard matter as the regions in space where the field is extremely strong. In this way a new philosophical background could be created. Its final aim would be the explanation of all events in nature by structure laws valid always and everywhere. A thrown stone is, from this point of view, a changing field, where the states of greatest field intensity travel through space with the velocity of the stone. There would be no place, in our new physics, for both field and matter, field being the only reality. This new view is suggested by the great achievements of field physics, by our success in expressing the laws of electricity, magnetism, gravitation in the form of structure laws, and finally by the equivalence of mass and energy."
 Stapp, Henry P., 'Quantum Mind versus Classicism and the Observer' http://www-physics.lbl.gov/~stapp/qm_c_o.txt
 Professor A. J. Berkhout, Delft University, 'Science and Industry: increasing the impact of the science base on product(ion) innovation', 1997 ("better insight in forward and backward integration processes will enable companies to be significantly more successful in timely integrating new technologies in their business activities. . . . This manuscript represents a summary of the author's invited contribution (September, 1997) to the future science and technology policy of the OECD.)
 Excerpt from 'The New Merchants of Light' by Harriet Rubin, at http://www.drucker.org/leaderbooks/l2l/fall98/rubin.html
Elizabeth I presided over an England that led the world in the last half of the 16th century, prospering in diplomacy, wealth, and a culture named for her -- Elizabethan -- which gave birth to no less a figure than Shakespeare. Francis Bacon, the brilliant 17th-century essayist and advisor to Elizabeth and her successor, puzzled over what made his age golden. In his essay "The New Atlantis" he imagined a new utopia had replaced the original paradise that sank. It had no borders, no boundaries. In place of politics, vision ruled. Who was at the heart of The New Atlantis? Not Elizabeth herself. Not even the world's great playwright. Those responsible were the great merchant traders and capitalists of the Renaissance -- business leaders who plunged their personal wealth and reputations into ships that sailed beyond where all maps ended. They "sail into foreign countries," Bacon wrote, "under the names of other nations [did he mean corporations?] and bring us the books and abstracts, and patterns of experiments of all other parts. These we call Merchants of Light."
They invested in a mission to bring back greater wealth: new possibilities, plants and spices, fabrics, ideas. They were the first intellectual capitalists. Unlike today's intellectual capitalists, they didn't focus on trying to discover merely what they didn't know. Their interest was not in information: market projections, manufacturing numbers, or trend lines. Their interest was in the imagination. The first intellectual capitalists sailed beyond the known ends of the earth. Business today doesn't go half that far. The intellectual capitalist pursues information in the elements of soup can or a bar code. He focuses on what he doesn't know. But that's a dry and dreary realm. Imagine how far you could go if you uncovered what you don't know you don't know. The original Merchants of Light could see into distances most could not.
Leaders who want to discover new markets or radically transform their industries or perhaps test their own mettle need to explore uncharted waters. They need to sail into the imagination. That used to be reserved for artists and actors and writers, but it cannot be their sole province anymore. Leaders need to think and act not just out of the box, but out of the ballpark. Some already recognize this need and are searching out the tools of the imaginal mind.
 Padilla, Maria, 'Owning a Piece of America', © 1996 LatinoLink
Oct. 30, 1995 -- Now that Congress is on its way to declaring "full scale war" on immigrants via greater entry restrictions, it's a good a time to review a new national housing survey that focuses on immigrants. The survey found, that immigrants have the same aspirations as most Americans. They differ from most Americans, however, in one respect. They are more optimistic about the future and their own prospects. ... ... We like to wax poetic about Ellis Island on the Fourth of July. But we forget that entry into America has always been accompanied by emotional pain and suffering -- and not solely on the part of immigrants. Turn-of-the-century discrimination against Irish, Italian, Jews and Eastern Europeans is well documented. The same sort of discrimination continues today. There's no doubt that yesteryear's immigrants are umbilically tied to today's immigrants -- a fact that descendants of long-ago immigrants would prefer to bury. And so each wave of immigrants is greeted with suspicion and distrust.
Much of this comes from how Americans are always looking over our shoulders to see who's gaining on us. Fresh batches of immigrants add to the sense of insecurity about who we are. The best example of this is the language issue. When I am out with my mother we sometimes get ugly stares when we speak Spanish. Now bear in mind I am fourth-generation American, which also means English is my first language. Both my parents speak and write English well. But sometimes we prefer to converse in Spanish simply because we can. Although we are talking to each other, eavesdroppers get upset about what they hear and probably don't understand.
That emotional upset belies a sense of impatience. America is so impatient with immigrants. Why can't immigrants learn English sooner? Why can't immigrants be more... American? There's a perfectly good explanation for this in academic and other studies. It takes several generations (four, according to reliable studies) for immigrant families to make that transformation. That means the great grandchildren of today's immigrants will be more American. Patience, America. Calma.
 F. David Peat, 'Mathematics and the Language of Nature', Mathematics and Sciences, edited by Ronald E. Mickens (Word Scientific, 1990)
"Physics, to me, has always been concerned with understanding the nature of the universe we live in; a way of celebrating and coming to terms with our existence in the material world, rather than a matter of discovering new technologies and accumulating more knowledge. It is in this light that I have criticized the role of mathematics in physics and have hinted at the way new language forms could be developed. Of course I acknowledge the great service that mathematics has done for physics, how it has lifted it from speculation to precision, and, of course, I recognize the great power and beauty of mathematics that is practiced for its own sake. But here, at the end of the 20th century we must not rest on our laurels, the whole aim of our enterprise is to penetrate ever deeper, to move towards a more fundamental understanding and a more complete celebration of the universe itself. In this undertaking in which prediction, calculation and control over the physical world also have a place but they do not become the whole goal of the scientific enterprise. It is for this reason that I am urging physicists to play closer attention to the mathematical language they use every day.
This whole question of the formal strategies employed by the brain is the province of cognitive psychology. One of the pioneers in that field was Jean Piaget. Piaget's particular approach was to suggest that the basis of our thought and action could be traced to the logic of the various physical transactions we had with the world during our first weeks, months and years. Piaget believed that these same logical operations are also present in mathematics and, in this respect, he had a very interesting point to make. It is well known, he pointed out, that mathematics can be arranged in a hierarchical structure of greater and greater depth. In the case of geometry, for example, the top, and most superficial, level is occupied by those semi-empirical rules for surveying and calculating shapes that were known to the Egyptians and Babylonians. Below that could be placed the more fundamental, axiomatic methods of the ancient Greeks. The history of geometry demonstrates the discovery of deeper and more general levels, Euclidian geometry gives way to non-Euclidian, beneath geometry is topology, and topology itself is founded on even more general and beautiful mathematics. The longer a particular topic has been studied, the deeper mathematicians are able to move towards its foundations.
But Piaget, pointed out, this historical evolution is a direct reversal of the actual development of concepts of space in the infant. To the young child, the distinction between intersecting and non-intersecting figures is more immediate than between, say, a triangle, square and circle. To the infant's developing mind, topology comes before geometry. In general, deeper and more fundamental logical operations are developed earlier than more specific rules and applications. The history of mathematics, which is generally taken as a process of moving towards deeper and more general levels of thought, could also be thought of as a process of excavation which attempts to uncover the earliest operations of thought in infancy. According to this argument, the very first operations exist at a pre-conscious level so that the more fundamental a logical operation happens to be, the earlier it was developed by the infant and the deeper it has become buried in the mind. Again, this suggests a reason why mathematics is so unreasonably effective, for the deeper it goes the more it becomes a formal expression of the ways in which with interact with, and learn about, the world.
But, it could be objected, if the history of mathematics and, to some extent, of theoretical physics, is simply that of uncovering, and formalizing, what we already know then how is it possible to create new ideas, like Einstein's relativity, that totally lie outside our experience? The point is, however, that this equality or interdependence of
space and time was already present in all the world's language. Rather than coming to the revelation that time and space must be unified then have never really been linguistically separated! According to this general idea, what may appear to be novel in physics and mathematics is essentially the explicit unfolding of something that is already implicit within the structuring of human thought--of course physics itself also makes use of empirical observations and predictions. For this reason, the intelligent use of mathematics as a language for physics will necessarily make sense.
+ + + + +
[**** Erratum: the terms 'hot' and 'cold' were accidentally reversed relative to Mcluhan's usage. The supportive discussion is fine if one substitutes 'hot' for 'cold' and 'cold' for 'hot'. An additional Appendix entitled 'Hot and Cold' is herewith appended for clarification ****]
Appendix: Erratum re 'Hot' and 'Cold'
Excerpt from a Class at Stanford on 'Marshall McLuhan, 'Understanding Media'
A hot medium is one that extends one single sense in "high definition." High definition is the state of being well filled with data. A photograph is, visually, "high definition." A cartoon is "low definition," simply because very little visual information is provided. Telephone is a coolmedium, or one of low definition, because the ear is given a meager amount of information. And speech is a cool medium of low definition, because so little is given and so much has to be filled in by the listener. On the other hand, hot media do not leave so much to be filled in or completed by the audience. Hot media are, therefore, low in participation, and cool media are high in participation or completion by the audience. Naturally, therefore, a hot medium like radio has very different effects on the user from a cool medium like the telephone.
A cool medium like hieroglyphic or ideogrammic written characters has very different effects from the hot and explosive medium of the phonetic alphabet. The alphabet, when pushed to a high degree of abstract visual intensity, became typography. The printed word with its specialist intensity burst the bonds of medieval corporate guilds and monasteries, creating extreme individualist patterns of enterprise and monopoly. But the typical reversal occurred when extremes of monopoly brought back the corporation, with its impersonal empire over many lives. The hotting-up of the medium of writing to repeatable print intensity led to nationalism and the religious wars of the sixteenth century. The heavy and unwieldy media, such as stone, are time binders. Used for writing, they are very cool indeed, and serve to unify the ages; whereas paper is a hot medium that serves to unify spaces horizontally, both in political and entertainment empires.
Any hot medium allows of less participation than a cool one, as a lecture makes for less participation than a seminar, and a book for less than dialogue. With print many earlier forms were excluded from life and art, and many were given strange new intensity. But our own time is crowded with examples of the prin ciple that the hot form excludes, and the cool one includes. When ballerinas began to dance on their toes a century ago, it was felt that the art of the ballet had acquired a new "spirituality." With this new intensity, male figures were excluded from ballet. The role of women had also become fragmented with the advent of industrial specialism and the explosion of home functions into laundries, bakeries, and hospitals on the periphery of the community. Intensity or high definition engenders specialism and fragmentation in living as in entertainment, which explains why any intense experience must be "forgotten," "censored," and re duced to a very cool state before it can be "learned" or assimilated. The Freudian "censor" is less of a moral function than an indispensable condition of learning. Were we to accept fully and directly every shock to our various structures of awareness, we would soon be nervous wrecks, doing double-takes and pressing panic buttons every minute. The "censor" protects our central system of values, as it does our physical nervous system by simply cooling off the onset of experience a great deal. For many people, this cooling system brings on a lifelong state of psychic rigor mortis, or of somnambulism, particularly observable in periods of new technology.
An example of the disruptive impact of a hot technology succeeding a cool one is given by Robert Theobald in The Rich and the Poor. When Australian natives were given steel axes by tne missionaries, their culture, based on the stone axe, collapsed. The stone axe had not only been scarce but had always been a basic status symbol of male importance. The missionaries provided quantities of sharp steel axes and gave them to women and children. The men had even to borrow these from the women, causing a collapse of male digrnity. A tribal and feudal hierarchy of traditional kind collapses quickly when it meets any hot medium of the mechanical, uniform, and repetitive kind. The medium of money or wheel or writing, or any other form of specialist speed up of exchange and information, which serve to fragment a tribal structure. Similarly, a very much greater speed- up, such as occurs with electricity, may serve to restore a tribal pattern of intense involvement such as took place with the introduction of radio in Europe, and is now tending to happen as a result of TV in America. Specialist technologies detribalize. The nonspecialist electric technology retribalizes. The process of upset resulting from a new distribution of skills is accompanied by much culture lag in which people feel compelled to look at new situations as if they were old ones, and come up with ideas of "population explosion" in an age of implosion. Newton, in an age of clocks, managed to present the physical universe in the image of a clock.
But poets like Blake were far ahead of Newton in their response to the challenge of the clock. Blake spoke of the need to be delivered "from single vision and Newton's sleep," knowing very well that Newton's response to the challenge of the new mechanism was itself merely a mechanical repetition of the challenge. Blake saw Newton and Locke and others as hypnotized Narcissus types quite unable to meet the challenge of mechanism. W. B. Yeats gave the full Blakean version of Newton and Locke in a famous epigram:
Locke sank into a swoon; The garden died; God took the spinning jenny out of his side.
Yeats presents Locke, the philosopher of mechanical and lineal associationism, as hypnotized by his own image. The "garden," or unified consciousness, ended. Eighteenth century man got an extension of himself in the form of the spinning machine that Yeats endows with its full sexual significance. Woman, herself, is thus seen as a technological extension of man's being.
Blake's counterstrategy for his age was to meet mechanism with organic myth. Today, deep in the electric age, organic myth is itself a simple and automatic response capable of mathematical formulation and expression, without any of the imaginative perception of Blake about it. Had he encountered the electric age, Blake would not have met its challenge with a mere repetition of electric form. For myth is the instant vision of a complex process that ordinarily extends over a long period. Myth is contraction or implosion of any process, and the instant speed of electricity confers the mythic dimension on ordinary industrial and social action today. We live mythically but continue to think fragmentarily and on single planes.
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