Montreal, February 28, 1999
Patient reader, ... for me, this is a milestone epilogue-prologue.
Roughly six years ago, my ongoing casual efforts at understanding social systems in terms of complex adaptive systems began to intensify. It bothered me more and more that young people were being forced to enter into a system which was rapidly deteriorating, and I wanted to do something about it, because I could see the depression of both those in the pipeline and those who had no choice but to enter it.
By the end of 1995, I had some valuable data sets in hand, including studies of high performing, creative teams which I intuitively knew contained essential but hidden insights on complexity in general. From thirty-plus years of international work in a high tech industry (petroleum exploration and production), I had also developed a view of the complex morphodynamics of the industry which I had been sharing and co-evolving with others, including a large gathering of people at a Chicago 'Knowledge Advantage' Conference in October 1995. The receptivity to these ideas, from people representing many different industries and professions, gave me clear supportive feedback that these datasets were like fishnets which had entrapped some essential yet encrypted understandings of complexity. Since the understanding of complexity is tacit or geometrical rather than explicit (e.g. involving co-dependencies or co-resonances), ... so began four years of pulling in the nets to get to 'see' the fish which I knew was in there.
Over the past four or five years, I have seen the fish slowly resolve, but only in the past few days has whole and part of the fish come out from beneath its veil, and for a fleeting moment swallowed me up so that I could look from out its eyes. That's what this epilogue-prologue is about; sharing a view of the fish, and sharing a new fishview.
I have a couple of hundred books sitting beside me. I haven't read them in their entirety, because I've been doing detective work looking for specific things, ... or rather 'geometrical relationships'. Rather than selectively gathering data to fit some favored hypothesis, I've been in top-down 'bootstapping' mode and I haven't had the foggiest idea of where I'm ultimately going or what I would find there, even though I've worked a whole lot of ten and twelve hour days since February 28, 1996, my last official 'day at the office'. I don't know why it happens that this milestone comes so close to three years later, ... maybe I'm subconsciously still a slave to linear time.
What was in the datasets I can more easily tell you in this retrospective because I can see it clearly for the first time, .. I could only 'smell it' before, even though I wrote and published on it (other people, including the editors of *Complexity*, could 'smell it' too, that's why it was published.).
In the high performance team dataset, .... and I should point out here that my narrative voice in the here-and-now is terse for a reason, even though this is to me a human issue story. I felt that the 'Dear Science, Progigal Son ..' essay, was a weave which was difficult to image mentally unless you had 'lived' the discovery story. This epilogue-prologue is to try to 'take you inside' the discovery process and hopefully give you fish-eyes as well.
... Perhaps if I start off again by describing my bootstrapping experience, .... .... Yes, come to think of it, the reason why I can't bulletize my findings is because I can feel that our underlying assumptions won't be the same, and I've got to show you what my underlying assumptions are so that you can put my abbreviated statements in the right context. An example comes to mind, to illustrate the problem with assumptions;
Me: 'I've just come to the realization that 'things' or 'matter' are the holographic illuminations, by ontogenetic time, of homeorhetic energy flows.
You: 'How did you come to that realization?'
Me: 'I heard a voice.'
You: 'Oh really!, ... would that have been Jawveh or Zeus?'
Me: 'As a matter of fact, it was Zeus.'
You: 'I thought so. I was just telling Napoleon that I thought I'd spotted Zeus at Bar des PIns the other night, ... he was undoubtedly looking for you.'
. . .
.... But, as they say, ... things are not always as they appear, so I'll proceed to outline my assumptions and approach of the past several years.
A key point in my assumption set is that the analytical approach is not up to the job, and it is important to share an understanding of why not, ... so let's go back and look at the two basic methods of developing an understanding of natural phenomena, i.e.
1. The bottom-up-rational-analytical-exclusionary-cause-pushed approach, and
2. The top-down-intuitive-connective-inclusionary-attractor-pulled approach.
Here's an example which shows both and their different capabilities and uses.
Over the generations, primitive man discovered how babies were made, in an intuitive connective sense; i.e. they looked at INTERFERENCE PATTERNS based on INCLUSIONARY REASONING and found that when certain things 'came together', ... babies followed.
Now this intuitive understanding is the MOTHER of a follow-on type of reasoning where we start to take things apart and think things like, ... what if there's no squirting of potion inside, ... is it the magic potion that makes the babies mysteriously sprout and grow? Or she, .... what if I squat over a smoky fire and put fire magic up there before the squirting, might that not be a more powerful magic to counter the magic in the squirt-potion?
Now this is subtle but important, ... the first type of reasoning (intuitive) was based directly on real experiences which came into overlapping (inclusionary) confluence, and this second type of reasoning is based on 'intervention'. In other words, the first understanding was about 'what just happens' (a natural pulling into confluence), and the second understanding was based on (simulated or actual) exclusionary intervention in a naturally occurring process, or what might be termed 'experimentation' where the observer plays around with parts of a process and develops rule-based 'causal' inferences INSIDE OF a more comprehensive intuitive understanding. Thus, from the experimental method one might come up with the rule; 'when the squirting is suppressed, babies do not follow, .. usually.'
The point is that when you break a system down into components, you are by definition working on schema that is contained WITHIN your original 'system'. Your 'story' has become smaller than the original story and it has become smaller in the sense of being focused on a particular need or interest of yours, ... i.e. the rational understanding is necessarily observer-biased or observer-selective because there is some a priori hypothesis the observer wants to check out to see if he can come up with a generalized rule about the phenomenal behavior.
There are two major limitations to this latter rational-causal reasoning approach. One is that you have to work with real data only, because it doesn't make sense to go around making up rules about stuff which doesn't even happen. Meanwhile in the intuitive, 'bringing into connection in the mind' type of reasoning, imagination or 'thought experiments' are welcomed (this is how the science story, periodically, by punctuated equilibrium, gets enlarged, e.g. in the manner that Einstein's thought experiments, about riding a photon or looking at fore-and-aft clocks in an accelerating rocketship, lead to relativity theory). Thought experiments are automatic in every day life, ...for example, if Fred Flintstone is looking over the edge of the cliff and thinking, 'I wonder what would happen if I jump over', ... he may bring into connection in his mind, the imagery of what happened to the melon that someone threw down at him when he was in the canyon, when it hit the rocks.
The second limitation has already been mentioned, that intuitive reasoning allows you to be reborn into a new and larger story, while rational reasoning 'limits' your story in some or other perspectival way. The former is thus a type of reasoning which includes the observer in the schema and the latter excludes the observer from the schema. I suppose there is really a third limitation embodied here in that intuitive reasoning automatically handles co-evolutional dynamics (where the observer has an interdependence with the observed) whereas rational reasoning cannot directly handle it (it must first 'thing'-conceptualize the problem space), so these turn out to be important fundamental properties of the respective reasoning approaches which must be considered in any attempt to understand complexity. To restate the relative limitations (and this is all well-known stuff as you well know);
1. intuitive reasoning utilizes both real and imaginary experience, while rational reasoning is restricted to real experience only (i.e. rational hypotheses must be tested by real experiments whose tangible results must be measurable and replicatable).
2. intuitive reasoning is intrinsically 'creative' in that it can enlarge the story within which the observer is a participant, giving him a new and more informative view of the same 'data' ... while rational reasoning leads off from an intuitive story and narrows it down to extract more specific and detailed understandings; i.e. makes the story 'smaller' and more detailed, but never larger and more meaningful overall.
3. intuitive reasoning automatically handles situations where there is a co-dependency between the observer and the observed; for example for a man to get a full understanding of a woman, he has to get close to her, and in the process of touching and feeling and smelling and tasting and listening, ... and squirting, ... something may happen he cannot ascribe solely to the properties of 'woman'; i.e. there may be an 'observer effect' in that if he gets too close, her belly may swell with child, so he is effecting her properties by his 'observational' technique (in the process of 'understanding her'), ... i.e. we could say that one of the properties of woman is a co-evolutional connection with her observers. While our acculturated mind glides conveniently and easily over this point, it's important to note that this 'co-evolutional connection' is not understandable in terms of mechanical-causal relationships.
Rational reasoning is based on the properties and behaviors of fixed-identity 'things' which are assumed to be and act independently, and the rational method has to quietly 'jump across' co-evolutional dynamics; i.e. it temporarily switches out of causal mode into arm-waving mode when it needs to; e.g. 'How does this work, this butterfly coming out of this cocoon that a worm went into it?' Rationalism answers; "the wormed 'turned into' a butterfly". We ask; ... What is the equation for 'turned into'?
The above three points underscore the fact that intuitive reasoning works by inclusion, ... by throwing all experience, real and imagined, into an experiential mind-soup and finding an ordering schema which brings it into whole-and-part connection (i.e. bringing all those aspects which it is capable of bringing into meaningful connection). Clearly, the 'ordering schema' is inarticulable because it represents tacit (geometrical-relational) rather than explicit (thing-and-cause) based understanding. The three points also underscore the fact that rational reasoning works by exclusion and the assumption of closed-form (center-out-there) 'things' which are independent of their containing environment. This means that no imaginary (e.g. periodic) properties can be attributed to 'things' and that the results of the reasoning can always be explicitly expressed in real (measurable and replicatible), causal terms.
Rational reasoning is obviously a great tool, .... but it is not a process whereby we can be reborn into a new and larger story which gives us a new and larger understanding of our reality. It may catalyze an intuitive rethink but can not in itself expand the mental framing of reality.
One more example, since this particular point about paradigm subsumation is crucial. As Kuhn has described, the Copernican revolution took over one hundred years to be (largely) assimilated into mainstream thinking, because the idea of an earth-centric reality was, as he says, woven into the very fabric of everyone's daily lives. Going back even farther, to the notion of a flat earth, rationality could tell the sailors how to consistently get from point A to B (Cadiz to Cuba), but it could not touch the worldview within which it did its job, ... it could not give the rationality wielder a view standing on his own shoulders and looking down upon himself and upon his engagements with the environment in which he was immersed. So the sailors could follow the rational rules and go from A to B safely and repetitively, but whereas one might visualize himself travelling on a flat earth, another might see himself sailing around on the outer surface of a spherical globe. But of course, if I drop some markers into the sea and I sail on in a straight line and then come back upon the markers again, ... it is my intuitive reasoning, ... NOT MY RATIONAL REASONING which tells me that I cannot be living on a flat earth, ... which enlarges my story in a way which includes me as a new-visioned participant within in it. It takes 'imagination' to see oneself in one's own viewfield, and rationality doesn't allow imagination in its explicit structural formulations. Rationality is a 'voyeur space' perception-and-inquiry approach while intuition is an 'immersed space' perception-and-inquiry approach.
Ok, the above provides a basis for clarifying the mode of perception-and-inquiry I have been using over the past five years, after coming to the conclusion that understanding complexity (including the complex origins of social high performance and dysfunction) would be impossible by the rational reasoning approach, for several reasons including its inability to handle co-evolutional behavior at the lowest level, and because an understanding of complexity may well demand our being 'reborn' into a new and bigger story. In my essay, 'From Heliocentricity to Helio-eccentricity', 1996?, I was raising the question, .... what if we think beyond the Sun being the center? We knew we had already blown it once by thinking the earth was the center and it took hundreds of years to reburn our mental ROM to make that shift, .... so who says the Sun is the center? Relativity says we can't tell. If we are ants on the seventh leg of a ten leg pendulum, based on rational observations of motion, we can determine that there are three co-evolutionarily related legs below us, but we cannot determine, by rational means, that there are six co-evolutionarily related legs above us. This is because in the former case, our measuring instruments are perturbed by the 'children legs'; i.e. they discriminated based on the perturbation from the oscillations 'out there' below us, .... but in the case of the parent legs, we are already being shaking by their vibes (they are like jupiter and mars to us and the oscillations are 'in here'), .... so our measuring instruments cannot discriminate these 'internal' vibes. If we are a minnow swimming in a whale's belly, we cannot develop an awareness of the world the whale is in by rational means (tangible measurement).
Thus the geometric-relativistic principle, that there is no rational way to know if we are in the belly of another world; i.e. that there is no way to tell if the sun and planets are part of a bigger mother system which has a different harmonic center, argues for the avoidance of using the rational reasoning method as the primary method in seeking an understanding of complexity. Because if the reason we are having trouble understanding complexity is because our story-world is too small, ... we are not going to be able to enlarge it via the rational-causal perception and inquiry approach.
Because of these limitations to rational reasoning, I opted for the intuitive or 'bootstrapping' approach (e.g. the approach advocated by Geoffrey Chew, quantum physicist, to understand quantum mechanics) in my quest to understand my complex behavioral datasets, ... so that I would have the option of pulling myself up by the bootstraps up into a new and larger story or 'perceptual paradigm'. Why not? .... it's the oldest of human reasoning methods, its how we learn as children, it was the mainstay of the mythopoeic peoples and of the traditional aboriginal 'learning systems'. The Greek 'golden age of rationality', wherein people began believing that abstract reasoning was more powerful than the old fuzzy and ambiguous standard of intuition, appeared to kick off with Parmenides, in 500 B.C. My point is not to knock rationality per se, but to knock the practice of putting rationality into primacy over intuition; i.e. the practice of seeing the son as having created the mother, to 'usurp' the feminine principle, if you like.
In fact, you don't have to consider this geometric reasoning polarity in terms of people as it exists even in inanimate nature. Kepler described it in terms of the 'harmony and structure archetype' constituted by the system of sun and planets, which further applied to human intellection (intuitive intellection vis a vis ratiocinative intellection) and all other types of natural perception-like processes. Kepler clearly pointed out the parent-child relationship between intuitive intellection and ratiocinative intellection, .... in fact he referred to the Sun, in contrast to his Greek philosophical sources, as the 'queen' rather than the 'king' since she was coming from 'her own center', from pure intuition and creativity.
With these assumptions and qualifications on perception and inquiry on the table, I shall move ahead and discuss how I have been using the intuitive or 'bootstrapping' reasoning approach in 'real life' experience, in the context of understanding complexity.
WIth bootstrapping, a kind of deliberately nurtured intuition, what you do is start with the answer, but not really, ... the answer is a non-answer or just kind of like a black yin-hole which you expect, sucks order into things (i.e. you don't know what the answer is, but you pretend and answer as if you do.). Wheeler has compared this approach to a game of twenty questions where there is no answer but you just respond 'yes' or 'no' to the questions as they are posed, based on intuition that you could in a pinch come up with some consistent reality-entity based on your experiential datasets, which would fit all the yes's and no's you had given in answer to the questions. The key point here is that you are answering the questions solely on the basis of 'real' or 'imagined' experiences, but the 'imagined' experiences also have to be fully reality-based (like imagining that one's head would behave like the watermelon if one jumped from the cliff). There are no 'axioms', postulates, theorems, corollaries, rules, laws, assumptions, models for space, time or space-time, curved, flat or otherwise standing between your reality based answers and the questions asked. This is intuition country!
You can see that this is far more open and less restrictive than the analytical method and as a result, you don't have to give up the relational interference patterns which the rational approach obliges you to do , by having to reframe your observations in terms of 'thing-parts', because to label a part is to decree that it has no intrinsic 'co-evolutionary' properties. For example, if I say, this is the Pacific Plate and this is the North American Plate, and someone says, .. well how do they relate to (the former) Gondwanaland, ... there's no way to causally specify that relationship because you can't handle metamorphosis on a parts-behavior basis. The hard reductionist may say that if you get down to a sufficiently fine parts level, then you can come up with a causal explanation. This is fine, however, this is a science-as-religion perspective as Prigogine has pointed out, ... since if there is such an explanation, physics (deterministic chaos) shows that it could never be visualized by a human being because it entails an infinitely precise measurement of relational conditions.
Ok, so in my 'top-down' approach, where I pretend I know the answer but don't know what it is, I end up with a whole list of pairs of experience-based questions and my 'yes' or 'no' ('include' or 'not include') answers to them. For example, let's call the mysterious ordering principle or process which is at the essence of the high performance team, and which screws you up or precludes you from reaching high performance if you don't understand it, ...'Zeus'. So you keep looking and adding experiences in the form of questions and you get a growing list which constitutes 'Zeus' as follows;
1. Does the Zeus influence the team linearly so that good team progresses smoothly from average or good to high performance? .... No.
2. Is the Zeus influence like a tuned circuit where when you get it right, everything shoots up, performance, morale etc. Yes.
3. Does Zeus involve co-evolutional (inclusionary or fuzzy) relationships where the attractor changes as a result of your moving toward it, ... like in a game of pool where the reciprocal impact of your shot is as important as your shot? Yes.
4 Does Zeus behave the same at all levels, for example, celestial, terrestrial and microscopic? Yes.
5. Does Zeus behave the same (geometrically) in social, animal, plant and mineral situations? Yes.
Now Zeus can never be allowed to be UNREAL (in terms of whole-and part unity), ...he may be incomplete in some things and more- or less-resolved on this or that, but he must always be consultable and never contradict himself. So the thought process to get to an answer, say on question 3., is to 'think experientially and geometrically' about playing pool AND about the high performance teams AND any other experiences you have had which seem to support the existance (at least not deny the existence) of co-evolution between environment which the observer is 'engaging with' and his engaging action. That is, we are asking if we see a consistency across our datasets wherein it can happen that a person does not just interact mechanically with his environment but where the environment changes co-resonantly with his engagement and not just causally. Here we can go back to the male-female example, and note that certain non-causal co-resonance based changes can develop as male and female approach one another, ... the analogue of magnetic alignments, magnetic flows., which seem to be induced by imaginary experience rather than tangible, measurable cause. If we were in rational reasoning mode here, we would have to drop out (exclude) the imagination related experience, but not so in the bootstrap approach, where we 'include' co-resonant and co-evolutional properties in our Zeus attribute profile.
... And so one develops a great list of relational observations which profile Zeus, our 'ordering principle' without ever knowing what Zeus is, or if he will ever 'image' or not. In fact Zeus looks more and more like a 'black hole' which sucks order into being, but a black hole which 'talks to you', in the sense that you can ask it questions and it will yield an answer. What we ultimately want to ask is 'how does Zeus suck the high performance team into being?'
. And you can see that the more questions you ask and that Zeus answers, the 'tighter' you pull in the net around Zeus, or the tighter that Zeus puckers up and increases in resolving power. It's highly unlikely that Zeus will be able to slip out of the net because this bootstrap system has the same imaging geometry as holography and when you make a mistake, you've still got the whole fish, but you've lowered his resolution a bit, and you can bring that back as you continue along.
I knew from the time of developing the high performance team and metamorphosis (industry morphodynamics) datasets, that I had a 'Zeus' in the net, and I've been pulling-in the net very aggressively, particularly since leaving corporate employ and focusing my full personal effort on it. What I mean by this is something analogous to the flat-earth sailor who's been on a continuous straight course and he picks a bottle out of the water which he tossed off the back of the boat a year ago. This is an unexplainable curiousity to him, ... it doesn't fit with his current model of the world, but what's wrong with his current model is not clear to him (... shhh, ... listen to him think! ..... 'what the hell?, ... am I going nuts? ...that must be it, being out at sea for this long, ... no booze, no women, ... i am really losing it (... throws bottle back in water),... i'm going to see the captain about shore-leave.)
Have you ever come upon curious stuff which doesn't seem to fit, and you don't know what to make of it? That's how I felt with my two datasets, ... something about them which 'didn't fit' my current models began to gnaw and pull at me. Normally, I had other obligations and I would just let the net, fish and all, slip through my fingers and move on to other things. This time, I was dedicated to this very thing, to understanding these datasets even if it demanded the search for a new and larger story, a story called 'Zeus', which would make sense out of the datasets, and as in the case of the bottle and the flat-earth sailor, ... it was space-time relational anomalies which intrigued; i.e. interference patterns rather than thing-behaviors.
So I have been continually documenting my net-pulling saga in my website essays and commentary but there has been no way for me, before the fact, to articulate the 'anomalies' in the datasets in an abbreviated form. The only way would have been to re-tell the stories to someone, and even that would have been less than satisfactory because the stories included some co-evolutional content, as alluded to with the man and woman examples above. I could say; ... 'and at this point, the teammember smiled and seemed to feel very good about the development, ... and the union workers were coming in to sit with the engineers after hours, on their own time, to watch the indicators and kibitz as to how to influence them to bring out the harmonies, ... and one of the prominent union leaders said to the local management of the high performance team, .... 'for twenty years you've employed me from the shoulders down, and now you've put my head back on my shoulders and I'm very grateful for that.' to great rounds of emotional solidarity and applause. This type of relational pattern information is 'soft' and is not 'factual' information which garners meaning from the overall patterns including the silences, and the quiet times, and so it cannot be used in rational analysis. How can we measure what that one emotional remark of the union leader 'caused' in terms of overall system behavior? But in the case of our intuitive reasoning, there is no problem in retaining such content; i.e. 'Does Zeus involve any emergent whole-and-part co-resonance patterns (emotional patterns) which are not structurally imposed? Yes'
Perhaps you can understand my communications problem in that my 'Zeus' exists in the form of a multitude of these 'experiential vignettes' which all 'come into connection' to form Zeus, the geometric-experiential ordering principle. So when I write an essay, what I typically do is to select a real or imagined experience which would appear to add diversity or richness to the current Zeus dataset, and I start to write about it. As I do, I am trying to bring it into confluence with (i.e. reconcile it with) my Zeus dataset. It's as if I'm asking Zeus what he'd like to know with respect to the story-experience I'm beginning to write about, and then what he has to say about it. For example in the 'Dear Science, Prodigal Son' essay, the day before going to the Saint Hubert meeting, I had to walk through a crowd of McGill students demonstrating against genetically engineered tomatoes and the like, and I happened to be going in there for vegetables and when I looked at the tomatoes, something did bother me, so in writing the essay, I said to myself, ... what does Zeus want to bring out here? And I am saying 'bring out', rather than fabricating because the whole process would be futile if you made stuff up, and what's the point because it would be all in your head anyhow, so who would you be impressing?
So Zeus is pure geometry (which characterizes experience) and he wants to dig out the geometry of the uncomfortable feeling about the tomato which was my real experience. So my 'active imagination' kicks in and what comes to mind is this tomato (cluster) is so prissy perfect and so constrained (the casual look appeals to me), ... not like some of the loose tomatoes I have known and loved, ... the ones with a few warts and pimples, and other unique 'markings'. So the geometric impression comes to mind of imposing structure so as to suppress natural creativity and unpredictable growth (evolution) and this immediately associates with other Zeusian geometries such as the mother-son relationship (i.e. the rational is the son of the intuitive), and then I see the son imposing structure on the mother and so on, so I write that into the essay, and the thought comes to me from a prior essay ('Upside Down Man') that there is a fractal relationship here; i.e. the rational 'genetic engineering' approach, imposes structure so as to suppress the creative, ... .. so as to suppress or EXCLUDE evolution and allow only the fixed structural aspect to emerge, ... and this then seems more and more like a general geometric principle, that rational approaches suppress evolution, and that our global economy is such suppression etc. and so this is how Zeus' own understanding, ... the understanding in this evolving web of Zeusian geometric relationships, evolves.
Of course, I just picked up on one experiential point here, the tomatoes, to give an example, but there have been oodles of such experiential-meaningful anomalies and as each one is reconciled with the increasingly powerful (at resolving the geometrical underpinnings of experience) Zeus relational dataset, such images as the geometric image of spheres within spheres etc. come more quickly and more crisply to mind, and seem to explain vast webs of things with great self-consistency.
So the bootstrap technique is like a sticky snowball rolling downhill, because every time I reconcile Zeus with new experiential data, he becomes more powerful in being able to bring his geometrical relations to any situation. No, he is not heading for Godhood, but he is heading for a more and more 'geometrically connective' view of complex experience and there is the thought that if this continues, instead of this connective web being out there in front of you, you might be able to enter right inside it (i.e. there is this feeling of a holographic orgasm coming on, like when you image a hologram in a magazine). This to me indicates the importance of the imaginary content, because for this hologram to emerge, there must be phase relationships between all the experiential stuff (implicit wave aspects to everything).
This, for me points out something I had never thought of before I started doing this bootstrapping, and that is that 'fantasies and dreams' most often have this property of whole-and-part harmony, which is perhaps a better descriptor of what I mean by 'real'. It's not 'unreal' to fly like superman, unless its 'unbelievable', and 'believability' relates to intuition; i.e. ... does this feel like fabrication or does it fit with my overall life experience? ... might they not, in the future, build a tiny magnet engine to strap on your back and let you fly? Or perhaps a better illustration, when I was recording my dreams a few years back (I was too lazy to get up and write them down so I just slipped a little walkman cassette recorder under my pillow) I didn't hardly have to wake up to dictate my dream story into the cassette recorder. But sometimes I left the cassettes for a week or two before playing them back, and then when I listened to myself telling the story, it was like listening to someone else tell a story, ... that is, it was an 'explicit' story without the tacit or relational aspect, ... it was just words. But, if I stayed with it and held the tension, ... then that holographic 'blossoming-out' feeling would come and I would be back inside my dream. And once inside the dream, I could ask all kinds of questions and find out about all kinds of additional aspects, which I had absolutely no access to, prior to getting back 'into' it.
So here's where perhaps a fourth difference emerges between 'intuitive reasoning' and 'rational reasoning'. Intuitive reasoning, i.e. Zeus-type reasoning, does not 'explicitly tell you what happens', Zeus instead gives you geometric frameworks which seem to want to wrap around you and immerse you. So that when you reconcile some new actual experience with Zeus, you are inside your story looking at your experience and you are also, somehow, partly inside the Zeusian geometry and you can see the geometrical underpinning of the experience within the experiential context like a skeleton. For example in the case of the tomatoe, ... you are inside your story holding the tomato in your hand and suddenly you are holding this little naked and bound, frightened woman in your hand (in this case, she was tied up sitting down in a chair, and she had black shoulder-length hair and a very nice and attractive person but very very frightened).
So the Zeusian geometry kind of appears woven into the contextual imagery of your real experience, as you think back on it (i.e. as I did when writing the essay), and it deepens and richens the specific experience by melding it with this common Zeusian geometry born of your overall experience and imagination. And in this manner, the themes of mother-son, imposed structure, inversion of the intuitive over rational, etc. are brought into confluence to deepen the meaning of the re-experienced experience. So this fantasy, then is just another vignette which gets added back into the Zeusian mind-soup to further build the diversity and richness from which Zeus extracts his self-consistent geometries. And it's important to note once more, that in order for Zeus to have the potential to 'image' around you rather than in 'voyeur space' in front of you, Zeus must be capable of imagination, since it is by means of phase relationships (the relationship of real to imaginary) that the holographic, 'walk in' imagery is enabled. Since the 'wave character' of nature, ... the interference patterns, are destroyed as soon as we go to the particulate (thing and cause) perceptual view, .... as stated by the Feynmann formulation of Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle, the holographic or 'immersed space' view is precluded in the rational perception and inquiry approach..
So I have been 'resolving' Zeus for several years, or Zeus resolves himself as I share and reconcile my experiences with him whenever I write essays or sometimes when I' dreaming or day-dreaming. In this sense, Zeus is kind of highly aware intuition, and like I say, I feel that the process is heading somewhere, ... not to the moon, ... not to enlightenment in a mystical way, but towards that holographic orgasm where my relationship with the web of connections will inflate and invert and I will enter inside of my own new story.
A few days ago then, I went through an overall story-enlargement threshold analogous to the flat-earth sailor's revisioning experience. It seems as if I only went into this enlarged story for a moment, long enough to give me some insights and I am not continually residing in it. In fact, I can get back into it ok, but not so easily; i.e. I have to review the connective data again and then I get back in. In this story-enlarging, the 'geometric-experiential theory, 'Zeus', brings, in an inclusionary fashion, all of his old datasets PLUS a new trigger dataset (kind of like the sand grain which triggers an avalanche in self-organized criticality) into 'connection' in his/my mind and the new story-container blossoms forth. This feeling of self-consistency which 'makes you know its right' is the consistency of whole-and-part harmony amongst all the experiential datasets which you are now temporarily 'looking out from'.
Ok, now we are ready to talk specifics, but I shall need to 'set the stage' a bit to describe my actual 'immersed story enlarging' experience.
Late in 1996, I wrote an article 'Complexity and the 'Learning Organization'' which was eventually published in 1997 in the journal *Complexity* (Vol 2, No. 5). Two of the major subheadings were 'The Dipolar Value of Teams' and 'Polarity Reversals in Teams'. My observation of a polarity reversal in going from an average team to a high performance team seems to me to have corresponded to the flat-earth sailor bumping into his bottle; i.e. the experiencing of a curious event which didn't mesh with his (or my) current 'immersed space' story.
What I mean by 'polarity reversal' is demonstrable in terms of playing pool. In any complex system like the game of pool, one is faced with managing (or navigating, in the immersed view context) both the parts and the reciprocal whole-and-part configuration (the latter can become more harmonious or more dissonant along the way). Now in the average team (or pool playing situation), the management of the parts is in the primacy and the soft stuff about relational patterns is seen as a secondary thing, if it is paid attention to at all. So in the pool player analogy, the average teams were all 'hot shots', who could run the balls and impress the hell out of the spectators. But they often ended up snookering themselves (or their partners in scotch doubles team pool), so the pros who put the art of massaging the configuration in the primacy (see 'The Color of Money' with Newman and Cruise, as they extended this notion beyond the game into their life-spheres) and shot-making second, may not look as spectacular as the hotshots, but they inevitably win over the long haul. Not only that, but it 'feels great' to play that way where you are continually setting up your partner even as you close down the game for your opponent, by starving him out rather than by imposing structure on him. Configuration over shotmaking is a more aesthetic playing style..
So in the high performance teams, one could see that they had flipped to focusing on the relational configuration first and subordinated the rationalist organizational structures, procedures, rules etc. to the relational flow. Ok, everyone knows that putting structure in the primacy over the relational is unnatural (and likewise for putting rationality in the primacy over the intuitive), but we keep on doing it, right? Some argue that things would get 'out of control' if structure were not in the primacy, and the folks on the high performance teams, said, ... yes, things do get out of control, but they go out of control in the right direction and we keep them that way, ... oriented towards team purpose. So the question in my mind has been, .. what did it take to flip into this natural polarity and move from homeostasis to homeorhesis?
Now I had read all kinds of stuff about dipolar situations, and remember, in this bootstrap mode one is not interested in somebody else's THEORY in terms of rational rule structures or Newtonian 'thing-laws', ... one is interested only in 'geometry' and 'experience', ... real or imagined experience. So the shared experiences of people like Wittgenstein (linguistic and mathematical geometry research) and Laing (psychotic experience and dysfunctional geometry) and many others were very valuable here. Mircea Eliade (religious historian) wrote a whole book about dipolarity, describing the different cultures views on it, .. both ancient and modern; i.e. 'Mephistopheles et l'Androgyne' or 'The Two and the One' in its later english version.
Eliade pointed out that, riddled through time and culture, there was always this question of how to unify opposition (coincidentia oppositorum, complexio oppositorum, mysterium coniunctionis, the divine opposites, the holy trinity, the union of anima and animus etc. ... terms which all pertain to this issue within cultures and religions and alchemical and hermetical and Jungian fields of study etc.) In addition to these views of dipolarity, we have the Hegelian dialectic (thesis, antithesis, synthesis) and the Marxian 'dialectical materialism' variant, and of course we have the Fibonacci sequence which epitomizes the evolutionary relationship between harmony and structure (growth, environmental containment, evolution) and which contains the ubiquitious-in-nature 'golden mean'. And last but not least we have magnet dipolarity which gives rise to hysteresis, an evolutionary process which mirrors biological evolution and which may be the root source.
So all this was in the Zeusian soup as I continued to write these essays, as was the immersed space view in which you stand on your own shoulders and look down upon yourself engaging with your containing world. Obviously much of this is imaginary stuff but still 'real' in the 'walk-in' sense and very important. Now it was an evolved aspect of the high performance teams, that all, in some way, developed the means of overviewing themselves as they engaged with their containing environment, unlike regular teams which seem content with sideways views of coordination. One of the teams studied had 150 members, and they had actually built their own (low cost) PC network-based 'interdependency web' display which showed the real-time action (flow of services or product etc.) in their web of interdependencies (sampled once a day and displayed in historical curve form) and also showing a number of key system outputs designed to capture the overall health of the system (production, cost, revenue, environmental indicators, etc.).
The other thing they had done from the start of their new approach was to get the whole team together in an aircraft hanger when they were developing their view of interdependencies, and when they identified an interdependency, the question would be asked, ... who knows anything about this interdepedency? and hands would go up and the identified people would subsequently meet offline to discuss the interdependency. So what was evolved was a new relational awareness that actually dynamically modulated the organizational structure. They were 'freed' by team management, to work with whoever it made sense to work with, but on an interdependency basis. So when an anomalous pattern representing either a problem or opportunity appeared on the interdependency web, a spontaneous, coherent coming together based on the commonalities of interdependency would emerge, and the organization would morph and undulate like a colony of slime mould amoebas, in whole-and-part harmony.
So what was it that allowed them to get into this remarkable 'dance' where harmony of whole-and-part seemed to characterize all scale levels and webs, ... the individual, the interdependency team, the overall team, the augmented team which included suppliers and customers and more senior management etc. A necessary but not sufficient condition was their liberation, by local management, from organizational structural bondage and from the unwritten rules, ... allowing their work to be spontaneously pulled by their own view of themselves working, in a kind of 'autonomous co-evolution. Those were the enabling conditions, ... but that still didn't seem to answer the question, ... what was it that actually 'told them' how to dance? It was as if they were all naturally pre-programmed somehow, but how? .... and how exactly did the real time immersed space overview play into this? Some said, 'plain old good management' (this was a story of emergence rather than management, however), and some refused to accept that there was anything special about the team at all, but for an outside observer, there was something remarkable going on, in all three teams.
Here's what triggered the illumination on this point. What was also in the Zeusian soup was Kepler's third law which is not a 'thing-behavior' law but is expressed purely in terms of geometric, space-time harmony; i.e. the cube of the mean radius of the planetary orbit is proportional to the square of the orbital period, and that proportionality is the same for all planets in the system (R**3 = k*T**2). If you think about it, this seems to be describing the space-time relationship in harmonic flow or space-time unfolding terms, and when I plotted it out thinking about it like that, it gave me the Fibonacci series and I had never seen that before and whether or not it meant anything to anybody else, it meant alot to Zeus, because Zeus delights in geometries that apply equally to sea snails, sunflowers and celestial ensembles. What it did was to mesh with his Heraclitean content about the nature of 'things' being as a flame is to fire, and gave him the notion of space-time as an evolving flow. Still loosey goosey, but sitting there ready to be brought into connection with something else, perhaps.
Now another thing that was sitting in the soup was the Zen parable of wind, flag and mind that Erich Janstch had cited in his book 'Design for Evolution' and that triggered more triadic geometry thoughts like Poincare's work on the three body problem which exposed the natural property of deterministic chaos. And of course, while deterministic chaos means we can't predict what is going to happen, the harmony of whole and part is always supported at some level in nature since this is the unifying principle of nature (i.e. nature is a unity of its parts).
So in writing the 'Dear Science, Prodigal Son.. ' essay, ... while keeping one ear tuned to what Zeus was telling me, it occurred to me that you could let the wind, flag, mind combo be driven backwards and use the wind and flag dynamic to 'synch' the mind, instead of starting as we usually do with our linear time driven mind being the cornerstone or 'stake-in-the-ground', and 'voyeur viewing' the wind and flag from this fixed vantage point (which puts you right into rational mode). And as I thought about this reciprocal drive possibility, it clicked that that was what they were doing with these displays which looked down upon themselves as they engaged with their immersing environment; i.e. they were letting the dynamic between 'wind and flag' or 'team and it's reciprocal environment', orchestrate their minds and put everything into a whole-and-part dance harmony. This was three-body co-evolution, an apparent trump against deterministic chaos, ... sure things were unpredictable and out of control but everyone was tuning to the overall ontogeny; i.e. they were in touch with their own community ontogeny, individual ontogeny and reciprocal containing (environmental) ontogeny, so that the punctuated equilibrium of emergent dissonance followed by ratcheting recovery was avoided.
As soon as that clicked into place, or maybe before that, it's hard to reconstruct, my thoughts turned to 'holography; as there had been a whole lot of holographic 'connections waiting to be made' floating around in the soup, and holography was begging to be used by Zeus in some way, in this new enlarged story he /we were looking for. The loose ends were the questions, ... what is the coherent source of illumination and how do we as observers gain access to a copy of the reference signal (needed to phase-compare to the incoming signal to create the hologram) . What came to mind was that we've got the fibonacci series 'built in' to us as well; i.e. the ontogenetic space-time synching signal, so if we could recognize it 'out there', we could use it to put everyone, individual, team, environment, into an immersed space (ontogenetic-holographic) synch. So looking down upon himself and the community in the process of engaging with the containing environment allows the team-member to tune to the community-container (wind-flag) ontogenetic signal and, at the same time, to phase-compare this to his own inbuilt ontogenetic synch feed, and thus 'image' a chaos-resilient, walk-in holo-dance comprised of individual, team (community) and containing environment.
Thus the rebirth into (or glimpses of) a new story which can visualize reality in terms of ontogenetic time, rather than just 'things' and linear time. Meanwhile, because this intuitive bootstrap approach is inclusionary, nothing is changed in our old model, .. we can still see it the same way, but now we can also look at the same datasets and visualize them in terms of a new ordering principle or 'geometrical-experiential lens, which sheds new light on our 'navigating complexity' challenge.
Now if, after reading the above, a high priest of science were to come over to me (carefully avoiding all questions on out-of-control dysfunction on the way) and say, ... 'you know, your notion that matter is the holographic illumination, by ontogenetic time, of homeorhetic energy flow, ... is really a load of crap, ... my response would have to be, ... 'frankly science, I don't give a damn', ... I am interested in the cultivation of learning systems that can help people navigate complexity in whole-and-part harmony with family, community and environment, and not in genetically engineered tomatoes.
That's my epilogue-prologue as it (finally) emerges. It may sound bizarre, or it may not. It may have some take-away nuggets for some readers or it may not. All I can say is that it has revalidated and strengthened my intuition on how to navigate complexity. I can understand the meaning of the patterns in the high performance teams far better than I did even a month ago, and I understand the source of strength of the aboriginal learning systems much better. So I feel like I am adequately provisioned to move on in the directions of youth self-education and ASIDS (Y2K) awareness programs.
... Ok, my phase angle indicator is coming around to the fresh cycle mark, so I have to go now. Note that for a team or community to tune in to the ontogenetic time signature requires that everyone join in the dance of the golden mean, to hoof it to the harmony of whole-and part. Since the music which orchestrates the dance derives from the dance itself, we can't afford to be too tentative.
Sooo, ....Shall we dahnce?
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