Montreal, March 30, 1999
As I have continued to explore the nature of 'high performance' and dysfunction in teams, in terms of the science of 'complex systems', particular ideas emerge and are 'pinballed' back and forth amongst the members of this knowledge ring. If one looks not to the pinballs themselves for 'understanding', but to their trajectory, one can see the strange attractor of 'community as complex system' as it progressively resolves.
What am I saying here? I am saying that 'everybody knows' that our society is dysfunctional and many have written about it, from psychiatrists and philosophers to quantum physicists, but nothing seems to change fundamentally. Why not?
The commentaries of physicists, psychiatrists, philosophers, poets, aboriginal traditionalists ... the list of instances is long, samplings of which appear in my essays, assert that our problem is a perceptual one, ... that we are getting things upside down, ... putting 'people as means and wealth as ends' instead of vice versa, ... putting loyalty to our ethnic roots above honesty in pursuing harmony out of diversity, ... in our adulthood, we are putting 'being' in a primacy over 'becoming' even though our hearts yearn for a return to the innocence and honesty of our childhood 'becoming'.
What is emerging, for me, from these essays is a view of what is being missed, ... a basic confusion over the relativity of 'subject' and 'object', ... the somehow connected 'I' and the 'thou'. In an appendix to this essay, I have included a letter to the editor of *Complexity* which the editors say will be published shortly. I have also included a footnote to the letter which I do not expect to be published because it is perhaps 'too much to the point'. That is, ... to entertain and/or assimilate its reason requires a radical change in perception in the case where one founds one's perception in cartesian-euclidian rationality (rather than in nature and intuition). If one founds one's perception in aesthetics and intuition, however, no discontinuity in mental models emerges and one can see the reasoning in the letter simply as a bridge between the intuitive and rational perceptual modes, where the observer is standing on the intuitive side. From a position on the rational side, however, the bridge appears to be extending out into a 'black hole' and in a sense, that is true, as will become apparent later in this essay [black holes, like Einstein's 'ether' can still possess latencies capable of participating in physical phenomena and 'ordering things'].
This time the essay leads off from the scientific view, ... the view which predominates in our western culture which in turn dominates in today's world. But, let's be clear, as a philosopher on the web observes, that "The mechanical and social achievements of our day must not blind our eyes to the fact that, in all that relates to man, his nature and aspirations, we have added little or nothing to what has been so finely said by the great men of old."
That quote comes from 'The Planet Earth --- 520 B.C. which examines the parallel thought of the contempories; Heraclitus (Greece), Buddha (Himalayas) and Lao Tsu (China) at http://magna.com.au/~prfbrown/tasoc_01.html
The authors note how all three of these philosophers founded their philosophies in nature, in the observation that while all 'things' changed, ... i.e. all things had a life-cycle involving birth and death, ... change itself was constant, .... rivers continued to flow even as they changed, participating in atmospheric and terrestrial cycles fired by solar power. In other words, these 'men of old' saw the stable foundation for our reality as evolution itself, and they saw evolution as coming about from the continuous connecting of all things with each other, in a kind of 'billowing forward' morphodynamic.
This 'morphodynamic' base to reality is recognized today in both art and science; e.g. it is apparent in the implied thoughts behind film director Godfrey Reggio's Koyannisqatsi and Powaqqatsi (in conjunction with Francis Ford Coppola and George Lucas), and in the third in the sequel, if it has been made, Naqqoyaqatsi, and in the art of Picasso and many others.
On the scientific side, in the sciences of complexity, A. Tsonis observes in slightly more technical terms; "... All systems are connected with each other, as in a web with various degrees of connectivity. Accordingly, any system can transmit "information" to another system thus perturbing its behavior. This "information" plays the role of an ever present external noise which perturbs the behavior of the system. Depending on the connectivity of the system to the other systems, the effect can be dramatic or negligible. Systems with weak connectivities will be approximately "independent," and as such they may exhibit low-dimensional chaos depending on the parameters involved. Nonlinearity and imperfect initial conditions will make these systems unpredictable after some time. Identification of these subsystems thus becomes important, since it allows us to treat these systems as isolated or closed systems. Otherwise, low-dimensional chaos will not be favored. Instead, spontaneity and self-organization may ensue as external (and possibly internal) causes become important." A. A. Tsonis, "Complexity", Journal of the Santa Fe Institute Vol 1. No. 5, 1995/96
Clearly modern science sees stable equilibrium states (approximately independent systems) as being special cases of the more general case of continuing evolution involving the whole system. By this view, 'things' are transient and their upwelling and subduction is an approximative way of viewing the more general and encompassing basis of the world; i.e. irreversible evolutionary flow within a harmonically unified whole-and-part geometry.
How do we inquire into something which we cannot 'take apart', ... because it has no isolated fixed parts?
The mathematics of this question say that we must solve for an understanding by inquiring into the system on an 'in toto' basis. If you like, you can skip the next two paragraphs, between the '* * *' markers, which simply says this in more technical language;
* * *
"1. LINEAR VERSUS NONLINEAR. Mathematically, the essential difference between linear and nonlinear equations is clear. Any two solutions of a linear equation can be added together to form a new solution; this is the SUPERPOSITION PRINCIPLE. In fact, a moment of serious thought allows one to recognize that superposition is responsible for the systematic methods used to solve, independent of other complexities, essentially ANY linear problem. Fourier and Laplace transform methods, for example, depend on being able to superpose solutions. Putting it naively, one breaks the problem into many small pieces, then adds the separate solutions to get the solution to the whole problem.
In contrast, two solutions of a nonlinear equation CANNOT be added together to form another solution. Superposition fails. Thus, one must consider a nonlinear problem IN TOTO; one cannot --- at least not obviously --- break the problem into small subproblems and add their solutions. It is therefore not surprising that no general analytic approach exists for solving typical nonlinear equations. In fact, as we shall discuss, certain nonlinear equations describing chaotic physical motions have NO useful analytic solutions." [Campbell, David, "An Introduction to Nonlinear Dynamics", Lectures in the Sciences of Complexity, Vol. I, Santa Fe Institute]
* * *
Not only do we have to concern ourselves with 'in toto' solutions in a spatial context, but, more accurately, in a 'space-time' context; i.e. "Lorenz had obviously made an immense breakthrough in not only chaos theory, but life. Lorenz had proved that complex, dynamical systems show order, but they never repeat." (http://www.iglobal.net/pub//chaos/chaos.htm), ... thus 'laws' which predict explicit, quantitative results, and other such related generalizations can never be any more than 'approximations', and how good they are will depend upon the nature of the space-time region which is considered and the viscosity of the interplay (evolutionary flow perturbations) within and external to it.
So, science is saying three things which are relevant to complex systems and often overlooked or 'set aside'; (a) the theory of relativity says that everything is relative so we cannot hang our hat on any fixed system or reference framework (the only thing which appears to be a place to hang our hat is, in fact, evolutionary flow itself), (b) the sciences of complexity hold that we cannot solve complex nonlinear systems without approaching them in their entirety, and (c) quantum physics says that there is no 'outside' to the system so that the observer cannot observe the system as an external voyeur but must, to avoid approximation, observe the system in an immersed mode.
For me, it is important to note that independent scientific disciplinary inquirers into complex systems do not normally satisfy these three criteria, and this is really the thrust of my letter to the editors of *Complexity*. In fact, all three of these scientifically validated necessary conditions for understanding reality are routinely violated in mainstream practice, including mainstream practice in the sciences of complexity; i.e. the relativity principle (a) is violated by the fact that scientists do not question their own subjectivity, which is referenced relative to the state of the art of their science or to sources of funding for scientific research; ... the 'in toto' solution principle (b) is violated by the independent disciplinary modelling of the system even though they may focus on its whole-and-part behaviors, ... and the quantum physics 'immersed observer' principle (c) is violated by the typical voyeur ('parasite of the visible' as Donald Kunze says) perception and inquiry mode used in mainstream scientific endeavor.
How could we do otherwise?
(a) We could bring the uncertainties of our subjectivity into the scope of the system inquiry by jointly formulating the model of the system and questioning our individual disciplinary subjectivity in the process.
(b) We could satisfy (a) by approaching the system understanding at the level of community (mutually defining ecology of man and nature); e.g. by seeking to understand resilient, sustainable systems involving interdependencies between man and nature.
(c) We could conduct our investigations, not in external and detached laboratories, seeking generalized 'rules' and 'metarules' which will apply 'out there', but in the laboratory of community itself where understandings will be applied 'in here' and 'out there' at the same time.
The insights I've gained over the past month, supported by dialogues with web-friends, has induced me to stop speaking in terms of 'applying complexity theory' to the complex problems of community, and instead speaking in terms of pursuing an (shared) understanding of 'community as a complex system'. This is what I have been intuitively doing for some time, but my language is still rooted in the cartesian-euclidian realm, as our phonetic-transactional language is wont to be, and this language can confuse both me and others who I communicate with.
The above-described modern (but not yet put-into-practice) scientific 'abc's' are clearly reconcilable with the common philosophical 'geometries' of Heraclitus, Buddha and Lao Tsu, not to mention the 'common wisdom' in our culture (a wisdom which is not currently put into practice), as preserved in fables and parables.
Again, the key suggestions here are that we must understand complex systems 'in toto', as everything is moving at the same time (all is relative) and everything is connected with everything else (weakly or strongly, as the case may be, but capable of mutual influence as noted in the comments of A. Tsonis.) As Richard Feynmann noted, scientists, including physicists, tend to forget that the part of the system which is NOT being considered cannot be assumed to be fully isolated from that which is currently being considered; "Physicists like to think that all you have to do is say, these are the conditions, now what happens next?"
Let's start with the notion of 'community' and see what 'modern folklore' has to say about all of this, starting with an excerpt from the film 'First Knight' with Sean Connery,
* * *
King Arthur (to Lancelot as he shows him around Camelot) ...if you must die, die serving omething greater than yourself... ... (Regarding the round table and his style of politics Arthur says) ...No head, no foot. Everyone equal. Even the King.
Lancelot: (reading the words around the center of the Round Table) IN SERVING EACH OTHER WE BECOME FREE.
Arthur: That is the very heart of Camelot. Not these stones, timber, towers, palaces, burn them all! and Camelot lives on because it lives in us. It is a belief that we hold in our hearts.
* * *
What is implicitly deemed ongoing ('beyond the fixed and non-relativistic') here is the 'evolutionary flow' of community. Not only the Celtic myth of the Round Table, but also many aboriginal peoples, including the Mohawk traditionalists in this region, tune-in to this same 'nonlinear' geometry, ... and they try to 'get in touch with' this flow by asking themselves, as they act, how their current actions will bear on their descendents five generations out, and in this 'co-resonating with the flow', they are thinking about the full ecology of humans-immersed-in-nature.
Our legacy of folklore clearly goes beyond the cartesian-euclidian perception and inquiry approach which would reduce everything to instantaneous causal transactions, ... transactions which are impervious to their own reciprocal dispositional impact (the impact in reciprocal curved space associated with each and every action). For example, we can find an understanding of whole-and-part connectedness and the deterministic chaos which emanates from this connectedness in western folk rhymes like this one;
For want of a nail, the shoe was lost;
For want of a shoe, the horse was lost;
For want of a horse, the rider was lost;
For want of a rider, the battle was lost;
For want of a battle, the kingdom was lost!"
('Expanded into a narrative, this saying has found a place in the Household Tales of the Brothers Grimm.')
The capacity for proverbs and tales to carry complex or tacit geometries, is as well known in western folklore as it is in aboriginal myth, although cartesian-euclidian thinking incapable of 'carrying' such tacit reason, has risen into primacy, on the back of science, in the west. In 'De Proverbio', An Electronic Journal of International Proverb Studies, University of Tasmania, Australia, at http://www.deproverbio.com/, Archer Taylor discusses the 'community-and-constituent' 'geometry' of understanding, under the banner; 'The Wisdom of Many and the Wit of One';
A proverb is wise; it belongs to many people; it is ingenious in form and idea; and it was first invented by an individual and applied by him to a particular situation. My title illustrates both the origin and the nature of a proverb. One morning at breakfast Lord John Russell, the English statesman who negotiated the treaty to put an end to the Seven Years War, is said to have defined a proverb by saying it is One man's wit and all men's wisdom. Popular use has shifted the order of the elements and their emphasis. A proverb is, in the first place, wisdom--what sort of wisdom we shall see later, and the element of individual invention has subordinate importance."
Non-explicit understanding of reality (understanding which cannot be broken down into a causal sequence, but which involves modulation by the 'immaterial subject' as described by Erwin Schroedinger) is too high-dimensional to be conveyed by 'flatspace' speech, but can be conveyed in stories and fables. That is, tacit geometries of this type are characterized by 'whole-and-part' harmonies (space-time phase relationships or interference patterns) which are destroyed by the process of determining alternative causal paths (as is stated in Feynmann's formulation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle). An example is contained in the following discussion of fables (having a common geometry to folktales and myths) and proverbs wherein the causal actions of a person is not in synch with the intuitive signals or patterns he is 'putting out'. In this example, the confluential interplay between pattern-based signalling and real tangible action is 'the story', rather than 'either/or', meanwhile 'either/or' cartesian-euclidian explanation cannot handle the 'phase relationships' between the two informational types;
"The development of fables from proverbs is readily understood when we stop to think how easily a story could spring from A bull in a china shop. Yet in many cases it is difficult to determine which came first. "Look at his hands and not at his eyes," said the bird ("Pongli mente alli mani, e non a gli occhi," disse l'uccellino) contains all that is essential in the fable of the bird-catcher whose eyes fill with tears from the cold while he wrings the necks of the birds."
Turning again to the wisdom of the sixth century B.C. before the western culture 'inverted' the 'reductionist' works of Parmenides and Aristotle from the natural polarity of 'intuition-over-rationalism' and elevated rationalism and euclidian voyeurism from an implicit supportive role in perception and inquiry, to a primal role, ... before this, the words of Lao Tsu were ringing in harmony with the above described findings (as opposed to practice) of modern science in this century;
The Tao that can be told is not the eternal Tao.
The name that can be named is not the eternal name.
The nameless is the beginning of heaven and earth.
The named is the mother of ten thousand things.
Ever desireless, one can see the mystery.
Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations.
These two spring from the same source but differ in name;
this appears as darkness.
Darkness within darkness
The gate to all mystery
--- Lao Tsu, 'Tao Te Ching'
Clearly, the space-time interference patterns which characterize evolutionary flow, whether these be in terms of fluvial erosion or the capture of birds by sympathetic but pragmatic gamesmen, are not describable in terms of cartesian-euclidian analytics. The 'subject' as a 'flow' is not a material 'thing' but is instead the 'thou' of the spaces between material things, as alluded to by Schroedinger ... the 'belief we hold in our hearts' of community in the Celtic myth of the Round Table, ... the empathy and imagination of the gamesman which modulates his material-causal being but which does not 'show up' in a tangible-causal analysis (he would be convicted in a birdcourt of law of murdering the birds since 'empathy' is non-causal, but it nevertheless informs us, and therefore influences tangible behaviors and is therefore to be accounted for in 'community as a complex system'.).
What is obvious is that that there is very strong agreement between the modern science observations on the one hand; i.e. that (a) our reality is relativistic and we cannot hang our hats on our individual subjectivity, that (b) we must seek an understanding of complex systems 'in toto', and that (c) our observations come from 'immersed coordinates' within the system, ..... and on the other hand, ... the wisdom of the 'flow' ('Tao' or 'evolution') oriented philosophers, Heraclitus, Buddha, Lao Tsu, and the wisdom in our own western fables and proverbs; i.e. that our individual 'wit' must tap 'the wisdom of the many', and the 'wisdom of the many' is tacit and relational rather than explicit and tangible, and that we must accept our 'immersed participation' to 'tune in' to the tacit relational wisdom needed to 'sustain' our community and to amplify the naturally emergent harmonies within it.
Clearly, a 'voyeur' subjectivity will detach us (de-immerse us) from the system and make of us a 'parasite of ourselves' in this model, ... hence the Taoist observation; "Ever desireless, one can see the mystery [the tacit and relational]. Ever desiring, one can see the manifestations [the material-causal].". The point is that since our desires are for that which we would like to possess rather than what is already 'of us', being in a state of 'desire' puts us into the 'voyeur' mode. In order to 'tune in' to the wisdom of the collective, ... to co-resonate and co-evolve with the community in which we are immersed constituent-participants, .... we have to transcend our 'voyeur-desire mode, even though our culture and 'the american dream' often encourages us to 'go for it' [encourages us towards possessing a state of 'being' rather than a state of 'becoming']
As Leonard Cohen says, 'Everybody Knows' all this stuff, and it doesn't take a saint or a martyr or a rocket scientist to achieve it, ... it takes a 'child' [a pre-acculturated child]. And it is not that our 'lust' is 'wrong', simply that the natural geometry (i.e. the non-dissonance creating geometry) is for it to be subordinate to collective purpose, rather than in a primacy over it. For example, sexual desire is seen in the Buddhist tantric tradition as the 'energy' which can allow two people to pull themselves into enlightenment (the geometric imagery can be of two people rising from sitting to standing position in a mutually supportive way, by leaning against each other back to back). In this case, sexual energy is a means of achieving a state of intimacy, and the state of intimacy is not one which 'fuses' two people together but which takes them both into a state of co-resonance with the collective. This state of intimacy, according to the psychologist and sex therapist David Schnarch, is only rarely attained in our culture, largely because the focus is on healthy physical sex, consistent orgasms, pleasing each other etc., rather than doing one's 'authentic dance' with the support of another, in order to attain a state of intimacy which equates to a resonating with the collective, rather than a fleshy 'fusing' and possession of another, seen as 'physical object'.
The point then, is that 'The Wisdom of Many and the Wit of One' as a geometric concept represents a unity of 'whole-and-part' in which the explicit wit of the one is a special case of the tacit wisdom of the many. In the appended letter to the editors of *Complexity*, which is in the language of, or more towards the language of 'the sciences of complexity', this point is approached via the issue of the 'wit of the scientist' and its relativistic or non-relativistic 'grounding'. The suggestion is, that understanding 'community as a complex system' requires a relativistic (curved space) 'immersed observer' perception and inquiry approach in addition to the mainstream non-relativistic (flatspace) 'voyeur' science approach (which delivers 'knowledge' but not 'understanding' of complexity).
* * *
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John L. Casti,
Executive Editor Complexity,
1399 Hyde Park Road,
Santa Fe, NM, 87501
March 1, 1999
Re: Chaos Emergence, and Life (Vol 4, no.2)
In the application of the ideas of complexity and chaos to social systems, in addition to conflict between the themes of 'chaos' and 'emergence', as noted in the above-cited article by Professor Morowitz, relativistic issues also arise.
Human capacity for memory and emotional thresholds, coupled with pattern recognition, can mutually interfere so as to transduce subjective patterns (real or imagined) into tangible system behaviors, as described, for example, by researchers into chaos and order in the financial markets. The manifest 'relativistic' nature of subjectivity and objectivity in complex social systems has been described by Bergson in terms of there being "two profoundly different ways of knowing a thing. ... the first one implies that we move round the object; the second that we enter into it", ... by Varela in terms of fractal circularity, ... "Tradition would have it that experience is either a subjective or an objective affair, that the world is there and that we either see it as it is or we see it through our subjectivity. However, when we follow the guiding thread of circularity and its natural history, we may look at that quandary from a different perspective; that of PARTICIPATION and INTERPRETATION where the subject and the object are inseparably meshed.", and Erwin Schroedinger in terms of there being "... an unavoidable and uncontrollable impression from the side of the SUBJECT onto the OBJECT ... "What remains doubtful to me is only just this: whether it is adequate to term one of the two physically interacting systems the 'subject'. ... FOR THE OBSERVING MIND IS NOT A PHYSICAL SYSTEM, IT CANNOT INTERACT WITH ANY PHYSICAL SYSTEM. And it might be better to reserve the term 'subject' for the observing mind."
Human imagination and intuition, operating on selective views of modelled reality; e.g. views favored because of mathematical model tractability  and scientific patronage , infuse new, subjectively modulated behaviors into the system of observer plus observed. Schroedinger's observation that the subjective agent of this type of behavioral infusion (the subjective mind) is intangible, implies that causal analysis of complexity in 'immersed observer' systems is innately incomplete.
The relativity of subjective perception would thus seem to condemn the causal rules or meta-rules frameworks discussed by Professor Morowitz, to a fundamental 'incompleteness' with respect to explaining complexity in systems which include both observer and observed; i.e. 'community seen as complex system'. An observation such as that made by Professor Morowitz, that, "Strange as it may seem, noise sometimes operates counter to chaos, which frees us from worrying about insects flapping their wings in Katmandu.", places beyond question the subjectivity of the assumed observational model from which the observation derives (passes over the relativistic aspect of perception), yet the subjective nature of such 'relative' observations (as indicated by 'we don't have to worry') modulates observer behaviors which are being cycled back into the system. This failure to account for, or question, relativistic effects equates to an 'infallible or non-subjective observer' assumption, even though the incompleteness of external (non-immersed) observer based perception is well demonstrated by science (as discussed above), as well as art and architecture.
In art and architecture . Donald Kunze observes that external observer perspective implies Euclidian geometry and that there is ".. a certain logic that is characteristic of all Western visuality, a logic that makes the viewer a VOYEUR or parasite of the visible."
In summary, a third theme appears to come into play in seeking to understand 'community as complex system', beyond the issues of 'chaos versus emergence', and this is the impact of subject-object relativity. While the beyond-question adequacy of external observer-based scientific observation is implicit in 'Chaos Emergence and Life', and while this may satisfy inquiry into complex systems behaviors which can safely be approximated as independent of the observer, complexity in 'immersed observer' systems such as social systems is catalyzed by the subjective relativism of the observer; i.e. by the subjective setting of 'adequacy' of observation relative to the purpose of the INQUIRER rather than to the purpose of the INQUIRY; i.e. the former purpose being relative to research standards or scientific patronage goals, and the latter purpose being relative to the sustaining and amplifying of community harmony.
 E. F. Keller, in 'Reflections on Gender and Science', 1985, notes the circularity between mathematical tools and observer behaviors, "To the extent that such models [models that posited central governing elements] also lend themselves more readily to the kinds of mathematics that have been developed, we need further to ask, What accounts for the kinds of mathematics that have been developed? Mathematical tractability is a crucial issue, and it is well known that, in all mathematical sciences, models that are tractable tend to prevail. But might it not be that prior committments (ideological, if you will) influence not only the models that are felt to be satisfying but also the very analytical tools that are developed?'
 Edward O. Wilson, in 'Consilience and Complexity' (*Complexity* vol. 3, no. 5), notes the circularity between scientific model development and public patronage; "Scientists have been charged with conquering cancer, genetic disease, and viral infections, all of which are cellular disorders, and they are massively funded to accomplish these tasks. They know roughly the way to reach the goals demanded by the public, and will not fail, Science, like art, and as always through history, follows patronage."
 Donald Kunze, Associate Professor of Architecture & Integrative Arts, PennState
http://wgn111.ce.psu.edu/representation/representation.html . See also http://http://art3idea.ce.psu.edu/yale/default.html for a mathematical treatment and literature based modelling of the subject-object boundary problem.
This letter-to-the-editor, rather than being an attempt to explain complex systems behaviors per se, is to bring out the role of subjective perception in our seeking an understanding to complex phenomena, and how it is 'relative' to the purpose of our inquiry. That subjectivity and objectivity is ambiguous, is a reality which has been brought out time and again by philosophical and scientific researchers into complexity (three of whom have been cited).
Given that subjectivity 'conditions' the objective observation (what the observer 'makes' of the data), our failure to question subjectivity tends to suspend the evolution of the individual or community who is doing the observing. An examination which 'loosen's subjectivity leads immediately to relativistic questions of what our subjectivity is currently 'referenced' to (relative to) and how it might otherwise be 'referenced'.
This leads us into a closer examination of what we are trying to discover from our researches into complexity, .. and the difference between understanding sought on the behalf of the inquirer versus understanding sought by the system itself (e.g. the community). This is geometrically, the same difference as 'bottom-up' (reductionist) versus 'top-down' (global or reciprocal-analytical) problem-solving. In fact, the notion of a 'problem' is not inherent in the 'community as complex system' inquiry, since what the community wants to understand is how to sustain and amplify community harmony within a morphodynamical environment. The notion of a 'problem' implies an equilibrium state (the norm) to which a certain system behavior has diverged, and 'problem-solving' thus becomes a process by which this departure from the norm can be eliminated. Of course, the norm is never directly defined or questioned in a problem-solving approach, which gives a sense of the subjective ambiguity involved (one must assume that parts of the system are 'good' and parts 'bad') and suggests that the purpose of the inquirer is the essential and unavoidable 'relativity' reference behind observer subjectivity when he is in 'problem-solving' mode.
So there seems to be a gap between starting from the purpose of inquiry as 'owned' by the system itself, versus the purpose of the enquirer, and this gap centers around the fact that the system throws itself into the pot for modification (evolution), an 'in toto' approach which seem appropriate to non-linear systems, while the enquirer doesn't touch the assumed 'norm' from which he has subjectively extracted his problem definition; i.e. the former does not violate the principle of relativity, while the latter does (by assuming an absolute reference base of 'the norm', even though he may not explicitly define the norm.).
What we come up with in both cases are words and actions to understand and manage the system, in one case, 'enquirer-based' words and actions and in the other 'inquiry-based' words and actions. However, when we make the notional 'community' the subject, explanations and actions become rather ambiguous. Since our complex system and our intent is higher dimensional than our word and action descriptions, the manner in which we use these explicit tools also begs further examination, and this might be done by way of a story-example;
Adolf Hitler and Ludwig Wittgenstein were classmates in their elementary schooling in Linz Austria, ... and it has been pointed out that while Wittgenstein put 'honesty and openness' (evolving harmony) in the primacy of his purpose, ... Hitler put 'loyalty' (commitment to promises, friends, race, plans) in the primacy of his purpose. Apparently, this led to a polarization between them in both thinking and relationship while they were still youngsters. While 'honesty' is a rather ambiguous reference surface, we do not avoid speaking, acting, and deciding if we put this mode in primacy as did Wittgenstein, we simply shift into 'jam session' mode (the mode of high performance teams), and it is fully permissible if we contradict what we said a moment ago, as new information comes in which changes the whole outlook (similarly, Robert Galvin, Motorola advocates, ... searching for the new piece of data which changes the whole, ... his definition of creativity).
The difference in 'polarity'; i.e. in putting honesty into a primacy over loyalty or vice versa from a complex systems point of view is that 'honesty' grounds what you do and say in purpose (a relational-intuitive view of a desired FUTURE system state, specified in relational terms), while 'loyalty' grounds what you do and say in 'cause' (material-logical action referenced to a fixed design formulated or 'contracted' in the PAST)
In deciding between the two polarity options, there is only one which is 'harmonious'; i.e. loyalty in the primacy will exclude honesty, ... but honesty in the primacy will not exclude loyalty but take it into inclusionary consideration. The honesty over loyalty polarity is an 'inclusionary' or fuzzy logic system capable of evolution, whereas, the loyalty over honesty polarity leads to an exclusionary logic system which is incapable of evolution.
So, the choice of words and actions developed through observer-oriented inquiry or system-oriented inquiry may represent an understanding of, and a management process for dealing with complex systems, but relative to what? to the purpose of the enquirer in restoring and enhancing past, fixed designs (loyalty over honesty)? .... or to the purpose (of the system), .. and its sustained future harmony (honesty over loyalty)?
Clearly, the 'Hitlerian' view is a perfectionist view, and one which suppresses evolution and eschews diversity and in strenuously cultivating subjective 'good', starves out subjective 'bad' which is of course, someone else's subjective 'good'. If nature is characterized by dipolar opposition, this perfectionist course is madness, since, for example, there is no way to isolate the north from the south pole of a magnet as they are mutually defining, in the same manner as the yin/yang concept would say that 'good' and 'bad' are mutually defining, and based on our subjective experience (which ethnicity we were born into etc.). Clearly, nature does not reference its own evolution to binary absolutes such as 'good' or 'bad', but instead, to whole-and-part harmony, and this 'aesthetic' and dynamical reference surface is at the three-body confluence of subject, object and containing environment. This same non-relativity-violating reference is available to 'community as complex system' in terms of 'tuning in' to the purpose of sustained community harmony.
Thus, the opening up of the question of subjective relativity, as attempted in the above letter, can open the door to a rather different view of the pursuit of complex systems understanding and management approach.
* * *
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