The Politics of Judgement

Montreal, November 27, 1998

'Fundamentalist 'judgement' is the bane of our society.', typed Emile, ... then paused and set the keyboard aside, punning to himself, "How can I hammer those bastards without being judgemental myself?" He knew immediately that he was back in one of those Goedellian traps, which characterized all finite, absolutist systems, and particularly the cultural system of the western world. Hadn't he just written about it, in the context of 'Fides et Ratio', the Pope's thirteenth encyclical which seemed a last ditch attempt to keep the faithful buying into Aristotelian exclusionary logic and the absolutism of 'good' and 'evil'?

Emile knew the 'way out' of this apparent dilemma, and it was a beautiful way out, .... the Fibonacci series; ... 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21 ,..... the implicit spiral in the ontogeny of the ammonite or in the pattern of seeds in a sunflower. It was everywhere in nature. The life forms in nature were not two-dimensional Johnny One-Note's like the politicians or doctors of the church, they were fully three-dimensional and lived according to a 'dialectic' of learning, ... a never-stalling story of contention between positive space and negative space, between presence and latency, yang and yin, .... stories in contention whose autonomous co-evolution, by subsuming and unifying through rebirth into a larger story was the essence of learning,... of life.

Of course, against the backdrop of life as continuous learning, most of politics and religious doctrine was looking, to Emile, as pretty toxic stuff. It wasn't that generalized rules had no place in the world, it was simply that, to apply them in the complexity of the real world, someone had to interpret them, and there was the rub, .... different interpreters often saw things very differently, .... it was so-to-speak, very much 'in the eye of the beholder'. And when it came down to complex systems and dipolar fields and 'co-resonance' etc, ... the process of generalizing 'objective reality' and leaving the 'subjective reality' flapping in the breeze, just didn't cut the mustard.

Eliade had done a great job on this, thought Emile, in his book 'Mephistopheles et l'Androgyne'. The simple fact was that nature was inherently 'dipolar' or like the 'Androgyne', possessing dual genders. The exclusionary notion of 'male and female' in the sense of 'black or white' or 'true or false' was only possible in the mentally abstracted 'material' realm, and certainly not in the psychical realm, and this was a major problem in the habitude of the west, unlike the aboriginals, of putting the 'material' aspects of the world into primacy. The primary focus on the 'material' made it (falsely) appear as if exclusionary logic 'worked', .... i.e. the logic of 'good' or 'bad', ... 'true' or 'false', ... 'better' or 'worse'. The problem with exclusionary logic was well illustrated in the Taoist story of the farmer's horse getting loose, which Emile had recently cited, that space-time is a multidimensional continuum and the end of every story is the beginning of a new story, subject to sensitive dependence on initial conditions, ... so that the crippling of the farmer's son was the beginning of a story in which he lived on happily with his father because the emperor did not conscript him into the army and did not take him to a certain death in battle, as had happened with the other villagers' sons who had the 'good fortune' of being healthy and able-bodied.

Emile had long ago recognized that exclusionary logic, ... the logic one used when making 'judgements' about things, was deeply ingrained in himself and in most people he knew, and that this 'denial of the Androgyne' in all things and situations, was the source of massive dysfunction in society. The very notion of a 'choice' and 'judgement' were culturally contrived abstractions based on language and words, as Wittgenstein had pointed out, and the fuzzy logicians as well. Not only is any option intrinsically more complex than the 'words' we describe it in, but there is no way to isolate any so-called 'choice' and 'decision' from what else is going on, in and around our lives. How we move ahead with our life, mused Emile, depends on the confluence of our high-dimensional sensory perceptions and cognitive processes. What the force-fitted application of exclusionary logic did to the natural 'dipolar' or 'Androgyne' aspect of reality, was to bring out the Mephistophelian 'demons'.

Emile had been familiar with the notion that 'liberating good also liberates evil', and 'the evil is in the eye of the beholder' and all that, but he was only just coming around to an understanding of the issue of 'negative space judgement'.

In the early seventies, when he returned from North Africa to Canada, Emile had been both shocked and intrigued at the openly racist nature of the anti-arab commentary in the media; ... where did it come from? .... why were the cartoons, in major newspapers even, so hatefully crude and judgemental? Emile was not swayed by explanations revolving around factional control of the press, because anti-Arab bias, which had fanned up in the years Emile was in muslim Africa, seemed to thrive naturally amongst his diverse web of friends and associates.

As seemed to be the case with prejudice against blacks and aboriginals, antipathy seemed to develop against those factions in disputes which lacked sophistication in a technological and scientific sense. But the most interesting datapoint, to Emile, came from the varied responses to the 1990 - 91 desert shield - desert storm military initiatives in the wake of Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait.

At a 1990 dinner party with expatriate friends that Emile attended in the suburbs of Paris, the after-dinner conversation, centering on the Iraq conflict, became intense and turned ugly. From Emile's 'fly-on-the-wall' vantage point, the participants in the discussion, all citizens of the US, were well informed and normally very tolerant and balanced in their views, so the intensity of anger and personal abuse which developed was both troubling and mysterious. The personal wounds were 'repaired' the next day in a most civilized manner, however, the pro-Iraq, pro-US split in view did not, and has not healed.

What was clear at that time to Emile was that while the one 'side' was tuning in to the perceived 'evil' of Saddam 'himself' and his then-current actions, the other 'side' was tuning in to the perceived 'evil' of long term US and allied policies in the middle east region which, it was argued, divided and emasculated the Arab voice and influence in regional and world affairs.

Only recently had Emile come to see the geometrical patterns more clearly, in terms of positive and negative space, .a more insightful perspective which exposed the fact that 'judgement', the exclusionary cultural legacy of Parmenides and Aristotle, was being imposed in different ways in both positive and negative space, and in each case, liberating Mephistophelian demons which triggered peoples negative emotions so quickly and powerfully.

The same 'reciprocal' patterns of judgement had become apparent to Emile in personal relationships and also in the divisiveness which prevailed between 'arts' and 'science'.

It was really rather simple. Science recognized two different modes of perceiving reality, ... on the basis of 'things and motion', ... and on the basis of 'relational space-time patterns', as exemplified by quantum duality, general relativity, astronomy and electro-magnetic field theory. The 'rationalist' approach was to perceive things in terms of 'things and motion' and to manage or control them on the basis of generalized rules. This always involved the 'here and now', ... current transactions, choices, judgements etc. This was the mainstay of traditional 'science' and also the mainstay of the Islamic world.

Emile recalled that Arab intellectuals such as Fatima Mernissi ("Islam and Democracy: Fear of the Modern World), had maintained that 'establishment Islam'; i.e. the Islam conveyed by the state, had stressed the importance of order and obedience, and had limited individual freedom for the sake of communal interests (e.g. women had to be secluded). While other strands of Islam had encouraged the exercise of reason, had respected public opinion and had valued compassion, these sentiments had been discouraged by ruling elites anxious to protect their own privileges.

In any case, reflected Emile, whether it be with individuals, vocations, tribes or nations, there existed a preference for 'thing-and-motion' based order (positive space based order) over 'relational space-time pattern' based order (negative space based order).

While Emile had always favored the 'intuitive' pattern based approach, knowing from quantum duality etc. that it was the 'mother' of the rational approach as well, ... what he had missed was that 'judgement', the Androgyne-splitting exclusionary logic which liberates the 'demons', was possible with either the 'rational' or 'intuitive' modes of perception and inquiry. The application of 'judgement' in the rationalist domain was obvious, ... legislated Apartheid in South Africa, Saddam Hussein, the Ayatollah Khomeini in Iran, ... Ken Starr in the Clinton-Lewinski affair, etc.

What had not been obvious to Emile was how 'judgement' was applied in the 'intuitive' domain, and even though Emile had been writing implicitly about it, it was only after continuing to reflect on the work of Jules Henry and R. D. Laing that it had become apparent to him. The general geometry was one of 'favour and fear';i.e. if you conformed to what was deemed 'good', you would be favoured and given access to finance and privileges which can help you prosper and develop, and if you do not, ... too bad. The method was innately exclusionary in having a 'Heraclean' or win/lose geometry, and 'fear' came into it because the person or organization was tested against those external expectations which often had nothing to do with the natural ontogenetic needs and abilities of the party being tested. Emile had included key citations by Laing and Henry, in regard to this 'negative space application of judgement', in a recent email dialogue, and he reviewed them once again;

"... I think we know what happened here, and Jules Henry (anthropologist and author of 'Culture Against Man'), and Ronald Laing (psychiatrist and author of 'Politics of Experience') have stated it very clearly, .... in the latter's words; "Children do not give up their innate imagination, curiousity, dreaminess easily. you have to love them to get them to do that. love is the path through permissiveness to discipline and through discipline, only too often, to betrayal of self."

Emile had further written;

"A parent's love for their child, translates into a desire to want him to succeed in the existing culture, ... and this involves playing the heraclean game well, winning at the expense of others, as Jules Henry has clearly pointed out, ... and after that, if the child-turned-adult can still discern that "They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game.", .... then there is still the potential for 'rehabilitation' and a return to innocence. but as Jules Henry points out;

"... culture invades and infests the mind as an obsession. If it does not, culture will not 'work', for only an obsession has the power to withstand the impact of critical differences; to fly in the face of contradiction; to engulf the mind so that it will see the world only as the culture decrees that it shall be seen; to compel a person to be absurd. The central emotion of obsession is fear, and the central obsession in education is fear of failure. In order not to fail most students are willing to believe anything and to care not whether what they are told is true or false. Thus one becomes absurd through being afraid; but paradoxically, 'only by remaining absurd can one feel free from fear'. Hence the immovableness of the absurd."

Emile had first validated this pattern in his discussions with young people. Surprisingly, many of the adults that Emile had shared Laing's 'knot' with; i.e. "They are playing a game. They are playing at not playing a game. If I show them I see they are, I shall break the rules and they will punish me. I must play their game, of not seeing I see the game." did not 'get it', while for many non-mainstream youth, it was immediately understood and seized upon as perfectly characterizing the 'trouble' that they felt themselves to be in.

Emile knew how phenomenally bad the statistics were getting on youthful depression, and had read in USA Today, in August, that according to Harvard sources, suicide rates quadrupled for US children and teens over the past 45 years, and the incidence of serious depression before age 20 had risen tenfold from 2% to 23% over the past 30 years, a condition which associated, in turn, with three to four times the likelihood of drug and alcohol abuse. Based on the data that Emile had been gathering, this depression was strongly linked to the 'double bind' of having to 'betray one's self' by capitulating to the requirements of an obviously dysfunctional society, which set up requirements for youth to compete on a win/lose basis; ... piecemeal academic requirements which were outside of the context of sharing or humanity. Their alternative was to join the game or lose the acceptance of society and the access to jobs and privileges which came with that capitulative acceptance.

To Emile, it seemed that over the years, the options appeared to have become more and more severe; the system was more dysfunctional, and the legitimate opportunities for youth outside of the system were becoming exceedingly rare. Music was the pursuit of a growing number of youths, but the money paying opportunities available for the average aspiring musician were massively oversubscribed.

Emile's experience was that the negative-space application of judgement appeared just as demonic as the positive space variety, to those caught on the 'wrong side' of it. Emile reflected that he had experienced and also unwittingly perpetrated, the same technique in personal relationships. One did not try to directly 'control' one's partner in the positive space terms of things and movements, but one modulated one's affection and access to 'privileges' on the basis of the partner's 'compliance' with entirely unstated negative space demands. While Emile had felt that, from time-to-time, something petty was emerging in the behavioral patterns in the relationships, it had taken him a long time to realize what was going on, and how a subtle 'betrayal of self' was being elicited from one's partner via an unspoken Heraclean win/lose competition.

The insidious part of the negative space application of 'judgement' was that there was no trail, no smoking gun, no evidence, .... only a pattern of 'holes', like missing electrons in a semiconductor molecule, ... a trail of acts not done, ... 'privilege' and affection not given, scattered over space-time in a 'holographic' manner, so that the 'intensity' of the overall impact could only be spoken of with difficulty. Emile had seen this pattern often in business, and the only confirmation you had was that when you looked at the electrons that did get in there to sit in that circle around the nucleus, .... and they smiled back at you kind of sheepishly, like patrons sitting around a lunch counter who had gotten luncheon vouchers which they knew had been denied you.

Emile knew that his pro-Iraq friend detested Saddam Hussein, and it was not even an issue of Iraq, .... it was this insidious issue of perceived negative space manipulation of the middle east region where his roots, relatives and friends were, a manipulation which asked for the 'betrayal of self' of the people of the region. As far as the voice of protest against negative space harassment was concerned, Saddam Hussein was 'the only show in town', and it was apparently on this basis that Emile's friend had fallen out on the 'wrong' side in the Iraqi-US debate. The perceived insidiousness of the US and allied 'policy and practice' made it seem all the more demonic, and the self-righteous statements of the western politicians on the news broadcasts, who refused to speak about anything other than the present evils of Saddam Hussein, ignoring the elusive negative space issues, had made it all the more infuriating to Emile's friend.

In Emile's current studies of the situation with Native North Americans, ... Tonya had pointed out the same thing, from her base in South Africa, ... showing convincingly, on the basis of current governmental speeches and documents in North America, how, while the Afrikaaners had applied their 'judgement' in positive space by instituting Apartheid, the US and Canadian governments continued to impose their unspoken implicit 'judgement' on the 'inferiority' of the aboriginal culture, via 'negative space', by the manner in which monetary settlements, financial support and other access to privilege and influence was being allocated, ... the same 'favour and fear' pattern, which involved the 'betrayal of self' in the educational system, this time in terms of the rapidly vanishing aboriginal identity. In the case of the aboriginals, the betrayal was being compounded by the fact that those natives who were most successful in the western culture, and who were therefore the most impervious to the 'betrayal', were tending to have the biggest influence on the allocation of government funds.

Emile felt as if he had made substantial progress in sorting through this 'judgement' issue in his mind and was ready to get back to the keyboard. He stared at the one sentence he had keyed in prior to his reflecting on the positive and negative space aspects of 'judgement';

'Fundamentalist 'judgement' is the bane of our society.'

Nope, ... as much as he disliked Ken Starr, in his mind, he could now clearly visualize this 'demonizing vortex of Heraclean judgement' whirling around through both positive and negative space, with the literalist-rationalists trying to control things through explicit judgements and the fuzzy-intuitives working the negative space squeezes on rationalists, so as to differentially starve out foe and feed friend. The same patterns were there in the case of the middle east politics and the aboriginals. In the artists versus scientists arena, the deck was heavily stacked in favour of the scientists, but Emile had often felt how his own 'science-broadening' initiatives had been stymied, not only on the scientific side, for being too fuzzy, but also on the artistic side, because they still 'smelled' of science.

On whom could he then focus the 'blame'?, ... he asked himself, ... then quickly reformulating his question in terms of, .... what would be an appropriate entry point for introducing change? Emile knew that the kids were 'ready', since they could see, as well as the retired managers he had interviewed, that the current educational system was 'tuned' for breeding 'humility-less twits', although those who saw through the system, could play the double agent, ... but Emile was already working towards self-help learning systems for youth. What other entry points were indicated?

Emile recalled a recent comment from a knowledge-management web associate;

" ... there are, to paraphrase Hamlet, more things in heaven and earth than are dreamt of in [reductionist science]. Since most of the things that make life worth living -- felt experience, dreams, goals, plans, love, hate, friendship, -- are inherently inaccessible to the scientific method, it can be little surprise that when that method is presented as universal account of what we know or what it is to be human, it leaves us with a viciously stunted and frightened vision of human existence.One can accept the blessings that science has brought us, without having to view science as a comprehensive account of everything that is. That so many smart people could apparently have fallen for such an obviously fraudulent story will be seen in history as one of the wonders or horrors of our time. I suppose that, as other great dictators have found, if the lie is big enough, people will believe it. In terms of scope, the fraudulent overreaching claim of science surely ranks up there with the big lies of all time."

This polemic on what Emile would have qualified as 'reductionist science' certainly rang all of his bells, .... but was Emile falling into the same 'negative space judgement' trap as he had fallen into in some of his personal relationships? Were the reductionist scientists simply more aesthetically drawn to the upfront, realtime explicit stuff and had invested a plain and simple 'faith' in the premise that the complex answers would somehow come out of pushing blindly ahead on this? And, on the other hand, did the 'artist' simply want to impose his vision of the world on everyone rather than liberate them from the yoke of reductionist oppression?

In the case of this particular statement, Emile could not decide, .... in fact, as Wittgenstein and Vygotsky had both suggested, the underlying intent of linguistic statements could never be ascertained by the listener since that would require the listener to get inside of the speaker's experiential database. But Emile did know, from direct personal experience, that the mainstream communities of art and psychology tended to apply their negative space starvation tactics to anything that even smelled vaguely like having had scientific origins, .... and to make matters worse, their knowledge of science had become woefully obsolete during the long cold war period, depriving them of even the possibility of recognizing any emergent opportunity for 'rapprochement'.

In fact, Emile had been bounced back off the 'starve them out' filters on most of the possible entry channels in most non-science communities outside of a few likeminded thinkers within their ranks, ... with the exception of youth, and *Complexity*, .... the Santa Fe based 'sciences of complexity' journal, who continued to publish some of Emile's comments in spite of some negative readership feedback, including feedback from a subscriber who had referred to one of Emile's essays as 'technobabble'.

All Emile had to do, was to write a scientific article about 'nothing' instead of 'something', ... that was it, ... patterns of nothing, .. negative space holes in positive space, and you could only tell that the holes formed a coherent pattern if you looked at the little people sitting on the positive space things next to the holes and they all gave you back the same sheepish smile, ... like they got luncheon vouchers and you didn't. And of course, they had had to betray a part of themselves to get the vouchers and you were still 'whole', but your stomach was beginning to growl and it was getting colder.

Emile had already written a mess of not-stories, ... now what he needed was a not-journal to get them not-published in. What the hell had he done with Mephistopheles telephone number? .....

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