Media, Leadership and the New Sciences

Montréal, November 23, 1999

When I suggest to people that looking at 'community as complex system' in terms of the theory of relativity and quantum mechanics is really quite simple and common sensical, ... they often turn their eyes upward as if to mock this suggestion. Yet many of these same people will struggle through analytical views of complexity which are quite horrendous, and which, to me, could be conveyed in a far simpler 'story' terms, if the geometry and experience of space-time issues were addressed upfront.

This essay aims to illustrate just how simple and 'common sensical', relativity and quantum physics-'compliant' perception and inquiry can be, compared to our current western cultural practices, and how the 'new sciences' can further our collective 'wisdom' in the sense of Heraclitus'; 'Wisdom consists in understanding the way the world works'.

I intend to submit this essay to a local newspaper editor who appears to also have interest in exploring these issues, ... to get her view on whether the subject material in this essay are, potentially, abridgable into a form and content for general newspaper readership. If I receive a response and she is agreed, I shall append her response to this web-posted essay.


Leadership, management, government and social regulatory schema, in general, are built upon our basic conception of space and time, or the 'Geometry and Experience' of space-time as Einstein describes it in an essay by the same name. Since we perceive, inquire, reflect and respond to the world around us, by means of our sensory and cognitive experiencing of space-time, it seems wise to reflect on the space-time conventions we choose to underpin these 'sensing and responding' processes. This essay develops a few, i.e. 'five', simple principles intended to illuminate the manner in which our culturally assimilated space-time conventions influence our 'ways of knowing'. This exploration is intended to help stimulate an epistemological 'prise de conscience', ... an absolute necessity if we are to develop a 'new leadership' and 'media' competent for dealing with a rapidly complexifying world.

In the West, our approach to leadership has been science-oriented , and we have strived to find ways of viewing the complex space-time dynamics of our world so as to simplify, model and predict 'the way the world works' and thus better position ourselves to manipulate it to produce the outcomes we desire. That we tend to develop our knowledge of things in a culturally-constrained way is accepted, yet typically forgotten when we argue amongst ourselves, or with other cultures, as to 'the way things 'really' are'. This often-denied cultural 'warp' on our perception and inquiry emanates largely from our 'geometric conventions' for experiencing space-time, conventions which start off, when we are babies, in a naturally open and relativistic form, and become progressively more closed and non-relativistic through our social 'acculturation' in adulthood. As Stephen Talbott reminds us in 'Media Ecology: Taking Account of the Knower', "Hitherto most people have accepted their cultures as a fate, like climate or vernacular; but our empathic awareness of the exact modes of many cultures is itself a liberation from them as prisons. "[1]

What Talbott is, in effect inferring, in the phrase 'taking account of the knower', is that as we grow up within a culture, we tend to get 'locked-in' to accepting NON-RELATIVISTIC cultural reference frames which put us in conflict with other cultures who are similarly evolving their own non-relativistic reference frames. In order to shift to a RELATIVISTIC outlook, instead of remotely imposing OUR non-relativistic cultural perspective on the actions of others, we must interpret their actions empathetically in a 'common sense' manner, as if looking out at the world from their space-time coordinates.

'Common Sense': An Historical Note on Epistemology

After 2500 years of putting logically abstracted worldviews into the primacy, ... it is not easy for us 'westerners' to revert to allowing 'common sense' to take precedence over our logical constructs, ... but this is what relativity is asking us to do. And this does not mean that our logical abstraction based views need to be thrown out, ... simply that they be subordinated to the higher dimensionality views of 'common sense'.

What do I mean by higher dimensionality?

The curved space-time of relativity requires the notion of a SIMULTANEOUS UNITY AND PLURALITY. Now 'common sense' doesn't have any problem with this, ... I can represent my self and my family and my tribe at the same time, ... not perfectly, of course, but normally with a fair degree of harmony. But logical abstraction of the type we have been used to for 2500 years, ... 'mutually exclusive logic' has a major problem with it. For example, common sense allows me say 'It is night and dark and summer and winter at the same time', ... but logic does not allow the 'fuzziness' of one thing simultaneously being another thing. It does not allow me to 'look out from multiple points in space and time', at least not simultaneously. But common sense does, ... I have no problem in saying; 'she is good and bad at the same time' and in fact, kind of enjoying the spiciness of this simultaneous duality.

If I am sitting on a train and using my cell phone to talk to a friend who came to see me off who's still standing on the platform after the departure, ... if he asks me 'are you moving', I shall say, 'no, I'm sitting down', ... but knowing that the distance is growing between us, he will insist that it's me that's moving. But perhaps I'm heading west so that means I'm moving less than him with respect to revolution of the earth, .... In the end, it's all relative, according to the theory by the same name, which fits all human observations to date. But logic is absolute and can't deal with this ambiguity like common sense can, ... so what do we in the west do to 'tie down' these flapping sheets? We use our absolutist 'judgment', the kind which tells us if something is 'good' OR 'bad' etc. So in the case of the train passenger, ... we implicitly establish a coordinate system which says that it is the train and passenger which move. But of course, as the Zen parable of 'wind, flag, mind' tells us, ... all are moving AT THE SAME TIME. It is our CONVENTION to establish non-relativistic reference frames so that we can use absolute or 'mutually exclusive' logic to conceptualize reality.

As Wittgenstein says, 'logic is content-free' so we must first make our 'judgements' to determine whether something is 'good' or 'bad' etc. and then use logical constructs. This process exposes us to Goedel's theorem, which says that all finite systems of logic are 'incomplete' or in Gregory Chaitin's terms (Chaitin's theorem), we have an exposure to building twenty pound theorems from ten pound axioms (building 'houses of cards' in WIttgenstein's terms). For example, if we develop a logical proposition 'It is good to eliminate evil', a 'fundamentalist' theorem which seems to increasingly characterize modern western society,... what is the exposure here? There is in fact two problems, the first one is 'the pound of flesh' problem, in that there is a practical problem in eliminating a thing if it is bound up in a whole-and-part relationship with other things; i.e. we may have to throw the baby out with the bath water. The second and related problem is the 'all Cretans are liars' paradox, ... who shall be the judge of what's 'evil' in an environment where there's obviously 'relative' views on this. Goedel's theorem, in its Russell's paradox form, ... puts it like this; 'The judge who judges others who cannot judge themselves, ... cannot judge himself or avoid doing so'.

In other words, ... logic is built upon absolutes and there's this niggling thing that comes back to the fact that somewhere, when you get down to it, ... there's always a loose sheet flapping in the breeze somewhere in the system, ... for example, what if the judge is evil?

As Goedel's theorem proves, there is no answer to this, and there has to be a practical 'patch' to cover this 'hole' (incompleteness). In another essay, 'Fides et Ratio and the Deus Absconditus', I discuss Pope John Paul II's 13th encyclical, 'Fides et Ratio' (Faith and Rationality) which struggles with this issue, perhaps since 'Papal infallibility' is no longer a popular 'argument' for establishing the absolute (non-relativistic) reference. The notion of 'the universal knowledge of good' emerges as a 'solution' in the encyclical which is achieved by a combination of 'faith' and 'rationality'.

Since I am coming from 'common sense' and 'relativity' here, ... my purpose in discussing this encyclical is neither to make 'judgements', throw stones, or throw the baby out with the bath water, when it comes to issues of religion, ... simply to present the epistemology and its exposures. ... So continuing on, ...

The Pope's following statements in 'Fides et Ratio' bring out this need for absolute certainty and the discomfort of living with ambiguity which seems to typify our western culture. For example, he says;

"If something is true, then it must be true for all people and all times." and;

"Hypotheses may fascinate but they do not satisfy. Whether we admit it or not, there comes for everyone the moment when personal existence must be anchored to a truth recognized as final, a truth which confers a certitude no longer open to doubt."

And in the beginning of his conclusion, says; "Once the idea of a universal truth about the good, knowable by human reason, is lost, inevitably the notion of conscience also changes. Conscience is no longer considered in its prime reality as an act of a person's intelligence, the function of which is to apply the universal knowledge of the good in a specific situation and thus to express a judgement about the right conduct to be chosen here and now."

What the Pope's conclusion is, is that it is not only possible but necessary to come up with an absolute reference for 'good' based on our best collective efforts. And while I would not dispute that this is of practical use, ... common sense says that it has some important exposures which should not be forgotten.

Giordano Bruno came up with one of them, ... and he was burned at the stake in the Campo dei Fiori in the Vatican for his insistence on it (plus other heresies). Bruno's point was; "It is proof of a base and low mind for one to wish to think with the masses or majority, merely because the majority is the majority. Truth does not change because it is, or is not, believed by a majority of the people"

The point here is logic is non-relativistic in that it must key from a stake in the ground somewhere, ... and once whole systems start building up from this stake, ... small flaws in logic can lead to huge disasters. Systems based on common sense, have the ability to 'look down upon themselves' at all levels, as natural ecologies do, ... and reference themselves to 'the harmony of whole and part', rather than to absolutist logic which may be built upon flawed judgement.

This exposure is illustrated in a current best-seller, 'Hitler's Pope' by a Catholic scholar, John Cornwall, as described at the Amazon website;

"Hitler's Pope shows how Pacelli's [Eugenio Pagelli, Pope Pius XII] entire life and career led to this, from a brilliant young Vatican lawyer drafting new papal power for the twentieth century to his 1933 Concordat with Hitler that muzzled protest by Germany's Catholic community, the most powerful in the world. Cornwell's explosive conclusion is that without Pacelli's contribution, Hitler might never have come to power or been able to press forward with the Holocaust.

"Eugenio Pacelli was not a monster; his case is far more complex, more tragic than that. The interest of his story depends on a fatal combination of high spiritual aspirations in conflict with soaring ambitions for unprecedented power and control."

In a similar vein, modern psychiatry, being based on the absolutist logic of traditional non-relativistic science, diagnoses and treats 'abnormalities' and must likewise establish a 'normality' reference, ... which it does statistically, ... that reference being the statistical mean behavioral profile of the overall population. There is a large number of books out, by authors 'inside the profession', such as Daniel Breggin's 'Toxic Psychiatry' which suggest those on the inside of institutions and on chemical lobotomizing drug programs may be more 'normal' than the mean if 'normality' is referenced to nature, rather than to a statistical mean of modern behaviors. It is 'common sense' which is informing these 'heretics' within the psychiatric profession, rather than the 'majority view' which Bruno also complained about.

With the nature of the 'exposure' associated with non-relativistic systems such as logical abstraction thus established, the nature of 'common sense' can be reviewed as well as some of the historical 'events' in the western culture's 'choice' of putting logic in the primacy over common sense.

In order to think in terms of relativistic curved space-time, one's mind has to transcend logical structures (not reject them) as indicated by Einstein's following words on the topic;

"A geometrical-physical theory [such as relativity] as such is incapable of being directly pictured, being merely a system of concepts. But these concepts serve the purpose of bringing a multiplicity of real or imaginary sensory experiences into connection in the mind. To 'visualise' a theory, or bring it home to one's mind, therefore means to give a representation to that abundance of experiences for which the theory supplies the schematic arrangement."

This 'relational' or 'common sense' type of thinking can easily handle the notions of simultaneous day AND night AND winter AND summer, since it allow in 'imagination' which logical abstraction does not. Our common sense view of the world can easily deal with simultaneous opposites because, using imagination, we 'can be' in multiple places at the same time, ... be looking out from multiple locations at the same time.

Our ability to see reality in terms of 'simultaneous unity and plurality', ... a capacity which transcends and includes the 'sequential unity and plurality' of logic, was put into the primacy in the philosophy of Heraclitus, ... however, Parmenides, a contemporary of Heraclitus (Parmenides of Elea was born in about 515 B.C. while Heraclitus of Ephesus was born in about 545 B.C.) made some convincing (for the times) arguments, based on the apparent 'certainty' of logical abstraction, to put logic in the primacy over 'common sense', and this choice was reinforced by Aristotle (384 - 322 B.C.), whose philosophical ideas (a selection thereof) became a primary basis for western thought.

According to Kirk, Raven et al ('The Presocratic Philosophers'); "Parmenides claims that in any inquiry there are two and only two logically coherent possibilities, which are exclusive --- that the subject of the enquiry exists or that it does not exist. On epistemological grounds he rules out the second alternative as unintelligible. He then turns to abuse of ordinary mortals for showing by their beliefs that they never make the choice between the two ways 'is' and 'is not', but follow *both* without discrimination [the problematic issue of how to handle dipolarity, an inherent aspect of all of nature raises its head here]. In the final section of this first part [of his hexameter poem] he explores the one secure path, 'is', and proves in an astonishing deductive *tour de force* that if something exists, it cannot come to be or perish, change or move, nor be subject to any imperfection. Parmenides arguments and his paradoxical conclusions had an enormous impact on later Greek philosophy; his method and his impact alike have rightly been compared to those of Descartes' *cogito*."

These same authors [2] suggest that Aristotle may have 'overlooked' this important issue of 'simultaneity' of observation which makes the difference between putting 'common sense' in the primacy over 'logic', ... or 'logic' in the primacy over 'common sense'; i.e. "Plato clearly distinguished between Heraclitus' SIMULTANEOUS unity and plurality of the cosmos and Empedocles' SEPARATE PERIODS of Love and Strife. At the same time, they are mentioned together as both alike in believing in the unity and plurality of the cosmos; and Aristotle's coupling of the two might conceivably have been motivated by the Platonic comparison, the important distinction between them being overlooked.

Thus, this epistemological overview may give some insight on the issues of 'exposure' to flaws in our view of reality coming from non-relativistic 'logic in the primacy over common sense' versus 'common sense in the primacy over logic' as well as a glimpse at the history of our opting for the former.

Relativity in Simple Terms and the Metaphor of Billiards

So what is 'relativity' in simple terms? The image which has been most helpful to me in visualising the 'curved space-time' of relativity, is one of playing pool on the outside surface of a small sphere, ... a sphere of perhaps twenty feet in diameter. Of course, we would need magnetic shoes and balls, and would have to be in a weightless state, ... but these are minor details in a thought experiment (e.g. Einstein was always putting himself into rocket ships at the speed of light), and this scenario satisfies the curved space-time geometry of relativity. As a matter of fact, a normal rectangular pool table also satisfies the geometry, since the four 'banks' act like 'mirrors' which open up into a virtual, spherical space. So, in both cases, on the sphere or on the mirror-banked table, we have a model for how things behave in relativistic curved space-time.

And as we develop the needed principles using this thought experiment of spherical pool, ... we can 'return to earth' and apply them there. The key 'difference' in thinking in terms of relativistic space-time, which best characterizes the 'reality' we live in by all accounts and evidence, ... is that the 'whole' ensemble of things in space-time and the individual 'thing' are innately related to each other by what is termed 'reciprocal disposition'. In pool, this is termed 'shape' and it refers to the fact that each individual ball 'sees' a different configuration 'out there', ... which opens up some opportunities relative to where it wants to move to, and closes down other opportunities. If one ball is moved even a little bit, it changes this 'topography of opportunity' for all balls.

You can imagine that in Euclidian space, our normal way of perceiving our space-container, ... if we imagine that we are an object which is looking out at the world, ... we just look out towards the infinity of never-ending space. But if we are a ball on the surface of a sphere, or on a pool table, we look out upon a limited surface occupied by other balls which we may bump into and cause them to come around and bump us from behind, ... and we see open channels which are like valleys we can flow along, and other directions which 'block us off' like mountain ranges because other balls are situated there.

But there's more to it than just the instantaneous view. Because if you think about it, ... in terms of this spherical geometry, ... if one ball moves, then the change it makes to the configuration changes the whole future of the game, right? And if we think about the configuration now, ... we can say that it is the way it is because of prior moves of the balls. How far back does that go? It goes back forever since relativistic curved space time is 'unbounded', ... just as the surface of a sphere is unbounded. So the configuration which exists 'right now' somehow incorporates all prior moves over all space-time, ... and when any of us make a move, we change the configuration in such a way that our move will be 'imprinted' forever on the game for space-time, ... faintly perhaps, ... but implicitly, nevertheless, whatever we do makes a lasting difference in relativistic space-time.

Now which do you think is more 'common sensical', ... that we can consider our movements (where we don't bump into anything) out of the context of interfering with other objects? (non-relativistic view), ... or that every movement changes the whole 'opportunity topography' (relativistic view)? The native north american cultural tradition, which sees space-time as 'the web of life', opts for the latter.

But in the western culture, we do not think in 'web of life' terms. In other words, we do not normally consider 'reciprocal disposition', ... the changes that our movements and actions make with respect to the 'topography of opportunity. If I am telling you about my work history, and say, ... 'I got the highly sought after job of supervisor in 1995', ... I am not going to be able to include the stories of how the lives of the other contenders for the job changed forever, ... but it is clear that their lives (and the propagating effects of their lives through their descendents) did change forever because of my actions.

Once or twice a year, around Thanksgiving or Christmas, ... the TV stations bring out the Frank Capra film 'Its A Wonderful Life'. This film basically makes a statement on the 'relativistic' nature of our reality. If you decide you are going to eliminate all traces of a person's life on earth, ... strip out his whole causal effect from birth on, ... you will find that you can't do it because of the cascading effect ('frozen accidents in quantum physics lingo) of not only what he did, but what he did not do. Just as in pool, you can influence things just by your presence without any 'causal actions', ... as in the case of occupying the sought after job and 'snookering' other aspirants or, ... by not having intimacy with someone when it 'seemed in the cards' to do so and thus 'changing' their and your future in the process.

In the western culture, ... the regulatory process and the leadership and the media messages and the justice system are predominantly 'cause and effect' oriented, ... they are oriented to 'what you do', ... and not oriented to 'what you don't do'. In our culture, there are rewards for DOING well and there are punishments for DOING 'bad things', ...If a person beats his child, he will be punished, but our 'management' schema does not consider his implicit FAILING to love and cultivate his child's development. Neither does he usually earn any demerits if he FAILS to feed a starving neighbour or FAILS to come to someone's aid who is being assaulted, ... these things that are 'not done', he says, are the responsibility of the collective. So in the west, we 'non-relativistically' separate the management of 'what is done' from the management of 'what is not done'.

But relativity says that one CANNOT separate the management of what is done and what is not done, since every move we make changes the 'topography of opportunity' for everyone else. For example, if I am playing 'scotch doubles' in pool, where the two members of the same team play one after the other, ... it may be far better for the collective (the two partners) for me to defer on an obvious opportunity to sink a ball and instead 'nudge' the shape of the configuration in such a way that my partner will be able to sink four balls, ... an opportunity which would be irrecoverably lost if I had gone ahead and taken the ball-sinking opportunity instead. But in the western schema, to do this would be to 'give up points' on my individual 'score-sheet', in order to sow a legacy for the collective, ... but such legacy-sowing is by its relational nature 'implicit' rather than 'explicit'; ... that is, it has to do with the 'imaginary', with something which 'was not done'. And in the west, ... we look only at 'the bottom line' tangibles ('if you can't measure it, you can't manage it'). When a new pool player first sees you defer on a cinchy shot and clumsily (it appears) nudge the balls in some obscure way, ... they think your crazy, .. indicating how strongly the 'shots-over-shape' ethic is built into our culture.

Similarly, almost everyone who has worked for a large company has witnessed, and perhaps experienced the fact that a so-called 'high performing' manager can leave a trail of squandered opportunity and strip-mined resources behind him as he rises to the top, ... since he plays for 'shots' rather than 'shape', drinks every wine before its time and FAILS to replenish the 'topography of opportunity', the 'relativistic' 'shape' of curved space-time.

Therefore, our first principle, wherein common sense (the consisteny which comes from 'bringing of a multitude of real and imaginary experiences into connection in the mind') tells us to go with the relativistic option, rather than the non-relativistic cultural standard, ... is as follows;

1. The management of what is done (material dynamics) and what is not done (cultivation of the topography of opportunity) cannot be separated, since in relativistic space-time, the former has a simultaneous, reciprocal effect on the latter.

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Following on from this property of relativity of 'reciprocal disposition', which uniquely relates every 'thing' to its containing ensemble of things, is the notion of 'two ways of knowing', as have been described by psychologist-philosophers, anthropologists and more recently, those with a 'new science' outlook, in a variety of ways. For example, Henri Bergson ('Creative Evolution, 1907) speaks 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... " [3], and Francisco 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."

So for our second simple principle, coming from relativity, we can say;

2. There are two ways of perceiving a thing; ... 'perspective' and/or 'inverted' perspective', that is; (a) 'voyeur perspective, an analytical perspective where we view an object from the outside and give it meaning in our own personal experience based reference terms, and (b) 'immersed perspective', an 'inverted perception' where we imagine ourselves inside the object looking out at its 'reciprocal disposition', .... and by doing so, bring into connection in our minds (synthesize) its unique relationship to 'place', ... the englobing 'topography of space-time in which it is immersed.

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That our goal to 'understand the way the world works' is better served by a relativistic 'immersed perception' and empathetic interpretation, than by imposing our personal judgement on objects via 'voyeur perspective', would seem to be 'common sense'.

The 'inverted perspective' mode, where we intuitively 'go inside' the object and empathetically make 'it' the center of a sense-giving synthesis of one's place in the scheme of things is a view which, from Einstein's use of it in discovering relativity, has been given the metaphor 'sitting on a photon'. Marshall McLuhan has made the similar point that light is the purest form of knowledge. Having no characteristics itself, it enables others to see. Our persisting bias in favour of the 'message' rather than the 'medium' in the case of light, perhaps goes back to the first sentence of Aristotle's Metaphysics; 'Of all the senses, trust only the sense of sight'.

In other words, instead of focusing on the image from the light impinging on our eye, ... we can instead try to mentally experience how the light which has impinged upon the object we are viewing carries information in its own, 'precultural', 'beyond good and evil' way. As Harriet Rubin says [4] in a treatise on the needed new leadership, ... by so doing, we become 'merchants of light' rather than spin-masters of visual imagery.

So the shift from 'non-relativistic' to 'relativistic' perception and inquiry involves a reciprocation or 'inversion' in our perceptual approach, ... an inversion in which we free ourselves from our emprisonment by culture, ... examples of which will be discussed shortly. Meanwhile, the clash in culture-referenced perception and story-telling is the embodiment of valuable data in support of a deeper, 'relativistic' or 'pre-cultural' understanding, ... accessible if we could stop squabbling long enough to reflect on what it means; ... as Einstein says; 'in conflict lies opportunity'. On the other hand, we might imagine how mind-deadening it would be if, instead of preserving diversity within a harmony of 'whole-and-part' (the relational order which characterizes an 'ecology'), ... we proceeded with the current tendency to move towards cultural homogeneity based on the imperialistic story of those with greatest global econo-technological might.

Given our current non-relativistic leadership approach, where each subculture sees its outlook as being 'the correct one', the strife arising from different ways of seeing the 'same story' ('the world is only 'given' once') has grown progressively more challenging as world population has risen and as technology has evolved in sophistication. Forcibly suppressing such conflict through global 'policeing', as in the case of the former Yugoslavia, is not a viable approach for the long term, from an evolutionary point of view. Control-oriented tactics are themselves emphatically non-relativistic, suffering as they do from the 'incompleteness' of the type proved by Goedel's theorem and articulated in terms of 'Russell's Paradox'; i.e. 'the policeman who polices all those who cannot police themselves, .... cannot police himself but cannot avoid doing so'.

That is, for the policeman to be consistent with his own simplistic story of 'democratic purification' (based on the 'universal knowledge of 'good''), ... he must also find a way to purify himself, but he cannot since the most powerful policemen is where the system 'stops'. Thus, his 'story', the story of a'biggest' policeman form of colonialism, ... becomes an imperialistic story and a 'cancer' upon any naturally evolving ecology of social ideas and behaviors. The suggestion is that while the non-relativistic tools of 'policing' and 'control' may constitute useful support tools, ... they cannot be 'in the primacy' of the regulatory approach without degenerating into a societal cancer.

Relativity is naturally inherent in living organisms and ecologies, while addiction to non-relativistic frameworks is an anthropomorphic affliction which is leading to new and more abstract forms of 'colonialism'. While evolution has given rise to many instances of colonialism in terms of physical, territorial domination, colonialism as an occupation of the mind, has been rare, and perhaps this is only now being made possible because of a high technology commercially controlled media, as McLuhan infers.

Since the pattern of evolution is a dialectic of thesis, antithesis and synthesis, when we are in the conflictatory thralls of thesis and antithesis, we of the West, tend to think in the Euclidian terms of win-lose being 'the whole game', ... that there is only an 'either or' or 'good or bad' choice, ... a 'colonializing' perspective rather than a higher dimensional (englobing) win-win synthesis game. Thus, we have trouble restraining ourselves from becoming judgemental in an absolute sense and switching into 'ends justifies means' mode, as opposed to looking for natural 'win-win' solutions embracing 'whole-and-part harmony which 'transcend the exclusionary outlook of choosing between 'good' and 'bad' options.

This 'dialectical' evolutionary cycle is common in all aspects of nature and life; ... growth, ... then limits to growth,.... then a conflict-swallowing 'speciation',... and this triadic geometry is manifest in the realm of ideas as well as matter. The structural pattern which emanates from the dialectic is a spiral, as in the spiral of the ammonite, the patterns of seed in a sunflower and in the spiralling of galaxies; i.e. ... the famous 'Fibonacci spiral'. The fibonacci sequence goes as follows; 1, 2, 3, 5, 8, 13, 21, 34, 55, .... etc. which is to say that every third number in the sequence represents the progressive 'self-swallowing' of the prior two numbers to give rise to the third. This notion is very basic in nature, ... it is everywhere, and we'll make it the third of the few simple points which light the path in shifting our perception from the traditional non-relativistic 'Euclidian' perspective to relativity and quantum physics 'compliant' perception. So, point number three is;

3. Evolution puts 'win-win' in a nested primacy over 'win-lose': --- As with the evolution of a human embryo from sperm and ovum on up to a dynamic equilibrium form, so it is also with matter and concepts in general, where they evolve by first coming into conflict, then progressively swallowing themselves up within an ever-enlarging (higher dimensional) 'story'. The notion of win-lose is a 'subsidiary abstraction' within the larger, triadic, 'win-win' system, as we focus in on conflict, and, of course, conflict is a basic underpinning of nature (but does not represent a complete view).

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Trying to 'understand the way the world works via the relativistic, nested, win-win-over-win-lose view of evolution makes more 'common sense' than restricting our view to a non-relativistic 'win-lose', 'diversity-reducing' view which is an incomplete abstraction of the larger, triadic process.

'Electromagnetism' is the classic case of a system based in conflict, as it is all about 'positive and negative' dipolar fields, and this is what keeps matter and the material world together. The point to remember is that conflicting aspects or poles are simply flip sides of a 'dipolar unity'. From a field view, there is an inherent unity in attraction and repulsion, ... the notion of a field simply being an rotationally inductive force. In the material domain, however, this dipolar unity-force induces opposites, ... as in the human relationship oriented imagery of, 'there is a thin line between love and hate'.

In this modern physics 'field' [5] view of things, ... the perception of win-lose conflict, geometrically, becomes a smaller view which is englobed in a larger view, as in the sperm ovum example. That is, from a field perspective, there is a force which induces virtual 'interpenetration', as in the case of female-male coupling. The field is a dual-natured UNITY which induces material flow, on the one hand, to 'open up' as in subduction in plate tectonics, and, on the other hand, to be repelled outwards as in volcanics and upwelling.

In these basic physics-based mental models, we can see some of the origins of cultural differences in space-time conventions and how space-time is experienced; e.g. while we in the West try to explain our reality exclusively in terms of 'material-structural' contexts, in the East, people perceive the basic geometry of nature in terms of the Zen circle, seen as 'the void which must be filled', and the mutually inter-penetrating 'yin-yang', ... geometries which are highly congruent with quantum physics. Neils Bohr, one of the developers of quantum physics principles, when knighted by the King of Sweden for his contributions to science, chose the yin-yang symbol as his coat-of-arms because of this congruency.

It also turns out that scientific theory evolves in this same 'dialectical' or self-swallowing manner, ... so we don't have to worry about trashing everything we learned yesterday s one theoretical paradigm goes out and another comes in, ... the old paradigm remains valid but is 'swallowed up' by the new. Einstein and Leopold, in 'The Evolution of Physics' [6] put it as follows;

"To use a comparison, we could say that creating a new theory is not like destroying an old barn and erecting a skyscraper in its place. It is rather like climbing a mountain, gaining new and wider views, discovering unexpected connections between our starting point and its rich environment. But the point from which we started out still exists and can be seen, although it appears smaller and forms a tiny part of our broad view gained by the mastery of the obstacles of our adventurous way up."

So the good news is that the 'relativity' and 'quantum reality' compliant way of looking at things INCLUDES our old way of looking at things, but at the same time gives us a larger, more informative view, within which our old view persists as subsidiary feature.

And, in the context of 'new sciences and leadership', .... we can move forward with the somewhat reassuring contextual backdrop which asserts that 'the new leadership' approach will not 'replace' the old approach, but will simply 'subsume it', so that the old leadership remains a valued subsidiary skill, but an 'incomplete skill' which now resides within a larger and more meaningful leadership context. In fact, the new leadership will be a leadership of 'relativistic' thinkers, ... thinkers who revert to putting their pre-cultural 'childlike' ways of perceiving back into the primacy and who also bring with them the highly developed skills of rationality to bear BENEATH AND IN SUPPORT OF this open-minded, relativistic way of perceiving. It seems likely also, from the nature of relativity, that the 'evolutionary unit' of leadership will shift from an individual to a team.

With this hierarchical nesting or 'fibonacci' structure of evolution established as a base for mental modelling, we can proceed on to a description of the general 'geometry and experience' of relativistic curved space-time.

At this point we need only remember the above two simple principles, which connect with nature and common sense, .... that 'immersed perception' and 'win-win' evolution are more consistent with 'common sense' than the western traditions of 'voyeur perspective' and ''win-lose' competition, which now appear as abstract, subsidiary forms nested within them.

While the terminology 'relativistic curved space-time' may initially sound forbidding, the concepts involve familiar geometry, as has been shown with the pool playing imagery. Richard Feynman and others explain the experiencing of curved space-time in terms of how ants might experience living on the surface of a featureless sphere. This geometry is termed 'finite and unbounded', and all that means is that it is possible to walk all the way around, over the outer surface of such a sphere and never find ANY REFERENCE POINT or boundaries whatsoever.

Of course, if you put some ink on the soles of your feet, you could walk around the sphere and run into your own footprints and this would give you a SELF-REFERENTIAL sense of where you were, based on 'where you had been' and 'where you were going to'. In fact, in our current situation on earth, WE ARE like ants living on the surface of our sphere and we are bumping into our own 'footprints', in the form of empty beercans drifting on the ocean, radioactive waste in the atmosphere etc. which is leading to self-referential interference or 'conflict'.

This intensifying 'self-referentiality' in our globalizing society is, in fact, why it has become an imperative for us to understand 'relativity' and to cultivate new leadership with 'relativistic' perception skills. When the surface of our sphere was sparsely populated and where our 'communications' and other 'footprints' informing us on where we had been and where we were going were limited to low technology 'drums', foot-messengers and smoke signals, the conflict from this self-referentiality was less.

That is, over the past three millennia, western society has been progressively developing a web of global interdependencies which have intensified tremendously in the past century. Prior to this, we were largely locally 'self-sufficient' and locally 'self-contained' and, from the point of view of the behavioral 'complexity' of the system, ... that hugely simplified an understanding of how society worked. Now that we have evolved such high levels of self-referentiality, .... our simplistic Euclidian space and linear time conventions, which have us think in terms of detached and fully independent 'things' 'in their own right' (zero self-referentiality) are no longer adequate. Now, in order for us to 'understand the way the world works', we must see things, more common- sensically, in terms of a self-referential ensemble of things which can no longer be viewed as 'independent' and standalone, since their past continues to interfere with the present, rather than past material dynamics 'constructing' the present. Just as in pool, the causal shots not only do what we say they will, but they change the whole system behavior in an unspecifiable way which goes on forever.

So, how can we upgrade our perceptions from non-relativistic to relativistic, and shift up to a larger view of things which contains our current view as a subsidiary feature?

If you play pool, you will likely have experienced some answers to this question, since, as stated, pool emulates relativistic curved space-time. The ensemble of balls in a game of pool is self-referential in that they can bump into themselves; i.e. if I am a ball which pushes another ball away from me, ... it may head away and end up coming back and hitting me from behind. This is because the four 'banks' of the pool table behave like mirrors in reflecting the balls and a ball can be imagined, mathematically, as going through an opening into a 'virtual table' when it hits a bank. Thus a ball can go forward in a 'virtual' straight line, hit four banks and come back around through the same spot it started out from, going in the same direction, without ever having changed its 'virtual' direction. This regular pool table geometry is close to equivalent to the ball rolling around the outside surface of a sphere, the curved space model for relativity.

So when you are playing pool, you are really playing with compressed scale relativity, and you can regard the community of balls as the community of man, in terms of the general patterns of space-time evolution.

The pool player quickly learns that each ball has a unique place in the world, and if you move one ball without it even touching another ball, it has nevertheless changed the whole 'topography of opportunity' for all balls. For example, in pool one says that a ball can 'see' another ball which means that there is an open path between the two balls which will allow one to strike the other, ... but if another ball along the edge of that path is moved only a tiny amount, ... it may block that 'line of sight' and close down a shooting opportunity. Mathematically in relativity, this landscape of opportunity or barriers which a ball 'looks out onto' is called 'reciprocal disposition', and pool players call it 'shape'. 'Shape is everything', they say, because it is from out of this 'shape', ... this 'topography of opportunity', that all shot-making opportunities are 'born'.

Two simple, relativistic principles come out of this situation which are always observed by 'wise' pool players;

4. Each ball is unique not just because of its label but because of its simultaneous influence on 'shape', or its relativistic 'reciprocal disposition' relationship with the overall space-time containing ensemble. That is, in relativistic curved space-time, the ball has a 'place' based identity as well as a 'label-based' identity.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

5. 'Shape' must be managed in a primacy over 'shots' because if your management is 'shot-focused', ... you will be manipulating 'shape' inadvertently and are likely to 'snooker' your own opportunities or open up opportunities inadvertently. Wise pool players say, ... 'there's no point in running if you're on the wrong road', ... i.e. if you are not managing the evolution of needed 'roads', ... there's no point in rushing to 'make shots' when the very process of doing so may 'close down' your continuing opportunities (path). You must evolve your road openings as you go. This principle complements the first principle which said that the management of 'what is done' cannot be separated from the management of 'what is not done' 'Shape' is the landscape of opportunity which determines 'what is not done' as well as 'what can be done' which then leads to 'what is done'.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

Principle number five CONTRADICTS the normal 'cause-and- effect- is-all-we- need-to- consider' view of a system, and as such, is very 'counter-cultural'. Most leaders and managers, like poor pool players, assume without question that 'causality holds' in all systems, complex and otherwise and it is all one needs to consider. In fact, 'cause and effect' is a very incomplete view in a relativistic, self-referential systems environment (the general case in nature). What one 'forgets about' in the causal view is 'what is not done'. Many actions which would be desirable with respect to one's purpose, are impossible to do because of barriers to opportunity, thus what gives rise to barriers to opportunity, and openings to opportunity becomes the larger consideration.

This is easily seen in the game of pool, where I cannot shoot at balls or pockets which are obscured or blocked by other balls. So the sequence of cause-and-effect shots by which one might give an account of how the game was won or lost, ... was actually determined by the evolving 'shape' or 'topography of opportunity' or 'reciprocal disposition' relating each ball to the whole containing ensemble. And each shot taken disturbs this 'topography of opportunity' in some way, ... whether I want to pay attention to that or not. But since the opportunity topography is the 'mother' of all shot's which can be attempted and made, ... to ignore the management of 'shape' and manage directly on the basis of 'shots' aka 'cause and effect' will disturb the forward opportunities in what is likely to be a negative way. It is likely to be negative since to promote harmony of whole and part, one must tune-in to the purpose-opportunity prospects of all members of the constituency. In other words, I must watch and manage how I perturb the configuration of balls as I make my shots, ... so that I evolve a helpful 'topography of opportunity' for setting up my future shots.

The skill required to manage 'shape' is unlike the 'shot-making' skill, but benefits by having good shot-making skill. 'Shape-managing' skill is one that can be cultivated over time, ... by thinking ecologically and relationally, ensuring channels of opportunity for several elements are simultaneously being opened up as a side-effect of each shot. As in skiing moguls, one's mind is not on the moguls but on the reciprocal channels and their 'evolution' (imagining relativistically that it is the moguls which are moving). While clearly prescribed by relativity, such skill appears rare in western management and leadership, where management predominantly puts 'shot-making' in the primacy (i.e. getting by each mogul in sequence).

The same principles as in pool apply in real life since the theory of relativity is consistent with reality as a whole. That is, each object is unique by virtue of its positioning within the 'topography of opportunity' (reciprocal disposition), and if we manage our actions out of context with their influence on the 'topography of opportunity', we may inadvertently 'snooker' ourselves or open up unfavorable channels, ... and we have been demonstrating this with pollution, nuclear waste, company downsizings, and many other ways, and are already beginning to do so in biotechnology (e.g. plants with built in bio-toxins to make them insect resistant are inadvertently killing valued insects, thus a partner has been inadvertently snookered by playing the 'bio-toxin' shot first, instead of cultivating shape and following it with the natural shot opportunities which emerge from such cultivation.). We are also disregarding the 'uniqueness' of each individual with respect to his positioning in the space-time topography and are thus unaware of the interference patterns (topography of opportunity) which modulate the health of a particular individual.

In other words, while the new sciences (relativity and quantum mechanics) are consistent with our 'common sense', our western perception, inquiry, management and leadership traditions tend to be abstract and out of joint with our common sense, as can be seen from these relativistic and non-relativistic alternatives. That we should allow logical abstraction to overrule our common sense was the overt argument of Parmenides, which won out over the common sense argument of Heraclitus, and the Parmenidian argument continues to prevail in today's western society, ... to take everything one material-causal issue at a time, believing that we can work things out by abstract analytical thought which first splits apart space-time and examines the material dynamics on their own, out of the context of the natural space-time containing flow which is giving birth to them.

A couple of real life examples of the clash between relativity and non-relativistic western cultural practice may be useful, and many can be found by comparing the traditions of native north americans to whites, ... since native traditions have a natural 'new sciences compliancy' while western 'white man' traditions are 'non-compliant'. That is, there are numerous cases in the domain of social systems where native americans opt for the relativistic treatment while the western white opts for the non-relativistic approach. That the white man continues to dominate is not relevant to the issue. What we can see is that relativity suggests different perception, inquiry, leadership and management approaches which can lead to a more harmonious navigation of current complexity, .. and the point here is to examine how such different approaches compare or clash with our current non-relativistic approaches.

The counsel given by native north american traditional elders has been consistently 'relativistic', as in the following statement made by a chief from the Pacific Northwest during treaty negotiations over 150 years ago; "So that they will respect the land, tell your children that the earth is our mother. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. If men spit upon the ground, they spit upon themselves. This we know: The earth does not belong to man; man belongs to the earth. This we know. All things are connected like the blood that unites one family. All things are connected. Whatever befalls the earth befalls the sons of the earth. Man did not weave the web of life; he is merely a strand in it. Whatever he does to the web he does to himself."

This is, in effect, a statement of the self-referential nature of relativistic space-time. Western management tradition and leadership continues to ignore this. We might therefore ask which of the two cultures are more in harmony with 'common sense'?

In modern times, ... the Kiowa writer Scott Momaday, in 'House Made of Dawn' implicitly speaks to this issue of the uniqueness of 'place' and the need, therefore, to understand the way the world works through 'immersed perception, ... rather than voyeur perspective;

"... and you just looked around at all the new and beautiful things. And after a while, the trader put some things out on the counter, sacks of flour and sugar, a slab of salt pork, some canned goods, and a little bag full of the hard red candy. And your grandfather took off one of his rings and gave it to the trader. It was a small green stone, set carelessly in thin silver. It was new and it wasn't worth very much, not all the trader gave for it, anyway. And the trader opened one of the cans, a big can of whole tomatoes, and your grandfather sprinkled sugar on the tomatoes and the two of you ate them right there and drank bottles of sweet red soda pop. And it was getting late and you rode home in the sunset and the whole land was cold and white. And that night your grandfather hammered the strips of silver and told you stories in the firelight. And you were little and right there in the center of everything, the sacred mountains, the snow-covered mountains and the hills, the gullies and the flats, the sundown and the night, everything --- where you were little, where you were and had to be."

The phraseology 'in the center of everything, ... where you were and had to be', ... is in effect a statement on the innate reciprocal disposition between all objects and the containing space-time ensemble. The existence of the 'real' unique, relativity based 'identity' in addition to any abstractly defined and labelled 'identity' seems to be common-sensical, ... however, in the western tradition, we typically ignore this obvious 'real identity' aspect of our reality in our view of 'things' and we instead see things in terms of abstractly defined 'properties' and 'behaviors', for example, our society sees people in terms of their color, their size, their gender, their education, their criminal record etc., ... their 'properties and behaviors, ... while ignoring their positioning in the 'topography of opportunity', whether it involves ghettos or mansions, city or country etc. Where there is questions as to behavior, our society is spending millions of research dollars looking for material-causal agents, ... e.g. the 'violence gene', a genetic property of a person which supposedly 'causes' them to become violent, out of the context of 'where they were and had to be.' While the question of 'nature versus nurture' as a 'cause' of behaviour remains a point of discussion, ... the 'nurture' aspect tends to be seen in the same 'causal' context, ... e.g. was the child abused and did this cause the violence, rather than being seen in the relativistic context of 'topography of opportunity' wherein the whole 'interference pattern' did not open up any opportunity channels which matched his purpose and need, other than of the anti-social behavioral variety.

Statistical correlations and 'causality' are the mainstay of the western culture, ... but these are non-relativistic because they reference to a statistical mean, and this is an abstract way of defining things which is in violation of common sense. For example, if you are declared 'abnormal' in a behavioral sense, ... this 'abnormal' is with respect to the mean behavior of the population. On this basis, children are being 'diagnosed' as having 'attention deficit disorder' and being given serious drugs such as Ritalin. And similarly, an increasing number of people are being diagnosed as 'bipolar', manic depressive, schizophrenic, borderline, and 400+ other possible diagnoses in the psychiatric DSM (Diagnostic Statistical Manual) and being treated in a prophecy-fulfilling manner. But what how can we determine if they are 'more natural' than the norm? Those we call 'abnormal' may simply be sensitive people, who, like the canaries miners carry down the mine, ... are the advance warning of something being fundamentally 'unnatural' about the statistical 'mean'?

As in the case of the 'policeman', mentioned earlier, Goedel's theorem on the incompleteness of non-relativistic systems of logic says; 'Mister and Mrs 'Average America', who implicitly diagnose and impose treatments on all those who cannot diagnose and treat themselves, ... cannot diagnose and treat themselves, yet cannot avoid doing so' (a necessity for the system to be 'self-consistent'). Similarly, if one didn't agree with Stalin and the Soviet leadership, the ultimate non-relativistic reference frame for 'normal' political thinking at that time, one was diagnosed as being 'mentally ill', sent off to a gulag and given serious chemical lobotomizers such as haliperodol.

Relativity in nature keys to the 'harmony of whole and part', as is evident in the solar system and in geological and ecological systems on earth, ... as opposed to abstract and artificial reference frames such as statistical means which nurture, for example, those students who perform well in non-relativistic (win-lose) competitive situations.

Looking at the educational system from the point of view of one coming from an indigenous cultural tradition, a friend who is half Abenaki, half Quebecois, shared with me the 'moment when the shit hit the fan in his life', when he was in a white elementary school, and the story-telling discussion turned to 'the savages' and how they cut out the heart of the man they killed and ate it. The impression given by the teacher was one that ascribed simple, mindless and demonic savagery to the indians. However, this Abenaki boy, who was brought up by his indian grandmother, had learned that it was a sign of great respect for life's creatures, to pay tribute to their courage or strength after they had been taken, by eating that part which was powerfully developed by the Creator in that creature, e.g. a portion of the bicep or heart. You can imagine how far he got with that one (ca. 1945), ..... he was totally and mercilessly put down by the teacher, and it pained him deeply to 'see' his wise, kindly and respected grandmother and her and his culture, by implication, put into the category of 'demonic savages'.

Here the effect was a two-fold violation of relativity, wherein the teacher and class used and encouraged the 'voyeur perspective' rather than the 'immersed perspective' (violation of principle 2) and the boy was 'judged' with reference to an arbitrary and abstract statistical mean (violation of principle 4).

There is no shortage of data to support the fact that our management and leadership approach is predominantly 'non-relativistic', abstract, and in violation of common sense, nor that dysfunction continues to deepen as a result of our clinging to our non-relativistic perception and inquiry traditions.

Five relativistic principles, in accord with common sense yet commonly being ignored or overridden, which are critical to 'understanding the way the world works' in a complex, self-referential (relativistic) environment, have been suggested as follows;

1. The management of what is done (material dynamics) and what is not done (cultivation of the topography of opportunity) cannot be separated, since in relativistic space-time, the two are simultaneously and reciprocally related. (Our basic notion of 'timing' of actions is impacted by this principle, as the pool game example shows).

2. There are dual nested perceptual approaches available to us and relativity demands that the 'immersed' or 'inverted' perspective be in the primacy over external or 'voyeur' perspective.

3. There are dual nested views of evolution available to us and relativity determines that 'win-win' must be seen to be in a primacy over win-lose.

4. Objects take on 'identity' by the dual nested means of 'place' (relativistic reciprocal disposition) and the distinguishing physical properties of the object itself. Behaviors derive from container-content-coevolution.

5. There is a natural 'nested' relationship between the 'topography of opportunity' or 'shape' of the space-time containing environment and the material-causal dynamics which come to pass within it. Relativity determines that management of 'shape' or management of 'opportunity topography', must take precedence over management of causal dynamics.

Relativity and Media

If we re-examine the first common-sense principle of relativity, i.e.;

"1. The management of what is done (material dynamics) and what is not done (cultivation of the topography of opportunity) cannot be separated, since in relativistic space-time, the two are simultaneously and reciprocally related."

... we can see a very fundamental 'geometry' here which is not only spoken to in the 'reciprocal disposition' terms of relativity, but also in terms of quantum duality; that is, that there are 'interference effects' between 'what is done' and the 'containing space-time field' in which 'what is done' is done. In the classic experiments establishing quantum duality, ... scientists found that if 'you looked' at the material dynamics (particulate dynamics) of electrons passing through one of two slits, identifying the particular slit which the electron passed through, then you got one result (visible in terms of the pattern of the electrons hitting a screen beyond the slits), ... but if you did not look at the experiment in terms of individual particles passing through a particular slit, but thought of the system as being one of wave interference, ... then you got a different result (a different pattern on the screen). This astounded scientists, in that their own manner of observation seemed to effect the results of the experiment and they have checked it out with every experiment imaginable, and it always holds up, and is, in fact, the manifestation of 'Heisenberg's uncertainty principle' which is the cornerstone of quantum physics.

If one looks at the probability equations for both the material dynamics or 'what is done' view of phenomena, ... and the wave interference effects (the reciprocal- complement of 'what is done' and 'what is not done'), it is clear that the latter 'interference view' contains ALL OF THE INFORMATION OF THE 'WHAT IS DONE' CASE PLUS ADDITIONAL 'PHASE' INFORMATION which relates 'what is done' to 'what is not done', ... which together describe the RELATIVISTIC 'CONTAINER'. The geometry here is the same as with complex variables, ... 'what is done' corresponds to the 'real' component, while 'what is not done' corresponds to the imaginary component.

Now what this most fundamental principle of quantum mechanics is 'saying' is rather elementary in common sense terms. Our common sense tells us that the full effect on our senses of what we perceive as 'being done' derives not only from the full-and-precise details of 'what is done', ... but also from the interference between 'what is done' and the containing space-time in which it is being done. How could we even conceive of 'what is done' without having a 'canvas', ... a 'backdrop', .... a 'container', .... within which 'what is done' can be done? That is, a lot of things have to come into confluence in the containing space, in order for 'what is done' to have been done, .. people have to born, the sun has to come up, ... one has to catch an airplane.

This 'common sense' understanding, even though we ignore it today, ... is implicit in many of the old proverbs in our culture such as 'to every thing there is a season, and a time to every purpose'. This proverb, mentioned in the Old Testament, has deeper roots and has been traced back to the time of King Solomon (ca 950 B.C.) and is characteristic of the 'web of life' thinking of the pre-western culture 'mythopoeic people's' whose beliefs were 'pantheistic'; i.e. they saw themselves as enfolded in nature and God as nature itself.

So relativity and quantum physics are a 'scientific' way of validating ancient beliefs held prior to the 'detaching' of man from nature, and giving him a special role 'above nature', as in the western culture. This evolutionary path of science, as systems scientists (Russell Ackoff), quantum physicists (David Peat) [7], psychologists (Piaget, Vygotsky), media guru McLuhan [8] and poets (T.S. Eliot) [9] have pointed out, is a 'down and back up again' inquiry wherein we shall work our way back up to understanding our processes of perception and inquiry as the worked when we were children, ... but this time understanding them in a new way.

How does this principle '1' come into play with respect to 'media'?

In the domain of art, ... the 'interference' between 'the brush strokes' and the 'container' or 'canvas' is all important, and similarly in music and dance. Jam sessions are all about how one element of the ensemble interferes with the 'topography of opportunity' produced by the full ensemble (reciprocal space 'canvas') and this applies also to ballet and dance. In artist's vernacular, the artist is 'using negative space' and ensuring that there is a harmony between the brush strokes (what is done) and the containing whole (what is not done). In fact the artist 'is coming from' the harmonic relationship of container and content (implicit understanding), rather than 'building' his work, bottom up, from the parts (explicit knowledge).

The same is true in informal speech (e.g. 'story-telling')

It is important to recall, that the 'reciprocal disposition' is imprinted with everything that every happened in space-time because there is no 'limit' or closure to relativistic space-time, ... it is 'unbounded'. So if one experiences a speech, music or dance which seems very profound, ... it is perhaps because the artist is 'tuning' his movements to the containing 'space-time', ... to, as the native americans say, ... 'the wind which was always there.'.

So it is not the same to capture a copy or visual image of that experience, which effectively detaches it from the reciprocal disposition 'container' it was in harmony with, and re-display it in some new container, such as a newspaper, book, film, television presentation etc. This is simple common sense. If we are watching a film on the holocaust, ... the only way we can even watch it, is by looking around and re-assuring ourselves that the patterns on the screen are out of joint with the containing space-time we are sitting in, ... in the movie theatre and on out to the parking lot and beyond.

Relativity and quantum physics speak to the simultaneous reciprocal disposition between an object and its space-time container, ... the containing 'backdrop' for 'what is done', ... and this complementary relationship, found in all natural phenomena provides the 'phasing information' associated with the unity of space-time, ... a unity which includes the observer since there is no 'outside' to space-time.

This brings us to the point made by Mcluhan, by native american cultures and by many others, ... that 'the oral tradition' contains information which 'visual representation' (print and static images) do not. In the twentieth century linguists shifted from an earlier stance in which they had tended to give priority to writing to one in which writing was seen as merely a 'reflection' of speech. Leonard Bloomfield (1887-1949), one of the most influential linguists of the first half of the twentieth century, declared that 'writing is not language, but merely a way of recording language'.

The inference that the visual is dimensionally limited with respect to the oral is often made, and reference is made to the 'simultaneity' of sound which gives the impression of 'immersion' in 'place'. For example, Daniel Chandler [10] cites Ong as follows; 'Voice has a kind of primacy in the formation of true communities of men, groups of individuals constituted by shared awarenesses. . . . The spoken word is the basis of human community. Also, in contrast to sight, which allows us to see only ahead, 'sound... situates me in the midst of a world, sound conveys simultaneity'.

And McLuhan, in giving deeper contextual meaning to these 'voice-over-vision' propositions, says;

"When most words are written, they become, of course, a part of the visual world. Like most of the elements of the visual world, they become static things and lose, as such, the dynamism which is so characteristic of the auditory world in general, and of the spoken word in particular. They lose much of the personal element...They lose those emotional overtones and emphases...Thus, in general, words, by becoming visible, join a world of relative indifference to the viewer

The fundamental point in McLuhan's 'The Medium is the Message' [11], is that the effect of something moving, regardless of the 'content' or label on that 'thing', is in itself changing the landscape of our reality. In speaking of the impact of technology on society, McLuhan says; "Many people would be disposed to say that it was not the machine, but what one did with the machine, that was its meaning or message. In terms of the ways in which the machine altered our relations to one another and to ourselves, it mattered not in the least whether it turned out cornflakes or Cadillacs."

In accordance with the theory of relativity, ... our space-time environment evolves NOT ONLY through the changes caused by material dynamics, the 'content' of phenomena, ... BUT MORE GENERALLY, our environment 'coevolves' with its constituents due to 'reciprocal disposition' effects wherein, simple 'movement' simultaneously changes the topography of opportunity for all constituents and their relational engagement patterns. This is the meaning of McLuhan's 'medium is the message; i.e. IT IS CLEAR THAT WE, THE CONSTITUENTS OF OUR CONTAINING SPACE-TIME ENVIRONMENT, ... ARE INDUCTIVELY PULLED INTO NEW PATTERNS OF BEHAVIOR BY THE CHANGING 'SHAPE' OF OUR CONTAINER. And this is the theory of relativity in a nutshell.

The 'medium is the message' rather than the 'content' (what is done) is equivalent, in the billiards metaphor, to saying that it is not the results of the 'shot' which is the story, ... but how the evolving shape of the configuration, the reciprocal disposition or 'topography of opportunity' of the space-time container, induces change in the future patterns of activity of each and all constituents.

It is important then, for both leadership and the media, to account for the fact that;


Since we are induced into new behaviors by the changing 'shape' of our space-time container, ... what is the impact of the printed word and the visual image? In 'Philosophical Investigations' (propositions 114-115), Ludwig Wittgenstein put it like this; "A picture held us captive and we could not get outside it, for it lay in our language and language seemed to repeat it to us inexorably."

There are several points here, ... but the main point, to me, is that the shift from cool to hot media is detaching us from the natural flow of things. 'Cool' and 'hot' are McLuhan's terms [12]. What do they mean?

If a message is ambiguous and poorly defined 'in itself', .. where the 'blanks' must be filled in by the reader from surrounding 'context' in the englobing space-time container, this then puts the message into a whole-and-part harmony with the containing space-time flow. However, if the message is highly defined and 'stand-alone' 'in its own right', ('hot' media), then psychologically, it becomes 'detached', static visual imagery.

The cool-towards-hot shift has been clear. Stuart Ewen, a critic of consumer culture, says. "We live at a time when the image has become the predominant mode of public address, eclipsing all other forms in the structuring of meaning," asserts Ewen. "Yet little in our education prepares us to make sense of the rhetoric, historical development or social implications of the images within our lives."

And in a recently published research study on the effects of media usage on children in the US, which appeared in the International Herald Tribune a few days ago (Nov 19, 1999), researchers reported "Indicators of discontent, such as not getting along with parents, unhappiness at school and getting into trouble alot, are strongly associated with high media use". The dean of communications at the University of Texas at Austin (the study involved universities across the U.S.) termed the study "momentous", observing that "Media are implicated in the course of childhood as never before." (The study notes that in spite of rising time on computers, ... the average time watching television has risen to 2 hrs 46 minutes each day, with 17 percent of children spending more than five hours per day in front of the television. These figures do not include 'computer time'. If we add that in, the study indicates that children aged 2 through 18, on the average, spend 5 hours, 29 minutes every day, seven days a week, with media for recreation.

As Ivan Illich says, "Silence is a commons" [13] and as relativity similarly says, ... space is finite, thus the commons, ... 'the canvas' for communications can become 'filled' (the population of billiard balls on a sphere is limited), and the 'media' which fills it can be either the 'hot' visual media which 'detaches' one from reality, ... or the 'cool' media which connects one to the space-time containing flow in which one is an immersed participants.

As Marina Grzinic quite rightly asks [14]; 'what [is] space?'; .. "The new media environment has become the central determining metaphor for simultaneous collective reception in a public space. Is it possible to say that the public space has disappeared [as Illich and others also suggest], and that we have instead internalized the space as a kind of mise-en-scene constructed by the new media technology? . . . Have we, with the strategic value of speeding to no-place, definitively outstripped the value of place?"

What we are coming towards, here in this essay, is a view of the equivalence of McLuhan's views on media, and the theory of relativity, and our move away from 'cool' and 'connecting' relativistic perception and inquiry. Since the Renaissance and the advent of 'hot' 'voyeur perspective', we have been moving towards the 'media of detachment'. As Sanderson and Macdonald note; "McLuhan argued that there was a shift during the Renaissance from a primarily oral way of perceiving the world to a primarily visual one. He saw this shift in what he called the 'sense ratios' in the 'human sensorium' as being precipitated primarily by the spread of printing. 'With the advent of the printed word, the visual modalities of Western life increased beyond anything experienced in any previous society'".

"Cool and hot", in McLuhan's media terms, ... clearly relate to the 'immersed connection' and 'voyeur detachment' of relativity. Einstein expressed it very clearly in his following sum-up of 'relativity'; "When you sit with a nice girl for two hours, it seems like two minutes. When you sit on a hot stove for two minutes, it seems like two hours, ... that's relativity."


Perceiving, inquiring, modeling, interpreting, communicating, responding, managing, leading etc. all depend, in a fundamental way, on our conceptions of space-time. Technology, communications media and the growth of world population have complexified relational interactions to the point that it is no longer practical to stay with the non-relativistic 'Euclidian space' and detached 'linear time' assumptions of the western world.

Our leadership must become 'relativistic', and in order to do this, ... we must come to terms with the very different implications of relativity (and quantum physics) which have been outlined here in the form of five, 'common sense' principles, if not, there will be a heavy price to pay;

Consequences of ignoring the common-sense principles of relativity;

1. The management of what is done (material dynamics) and what is not done (cultivation of the topography of opportunity) cannot be separated, since in relativistic space-time, the former has a simultaneous reciprocal effect on the latter.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

Ignoring this principle, which equates to McLuhan's 'the medium is the message', ... that it doesn't matter if the causal result or 'content' of what we are doing is cornflakes or cadillacs, ... and that the manner of doing induces important relational changes in our space-time container, ... means that we ignore those relational changes which we are inducing. 'Acid rain' and 'dead lakes' were not directly 'caused' by something or by the 'sum' of some things', ... but emerged from interference patterns in the space-time container; i.e. they were induced by 'what is done'. For decades, however, ... scientists and politicians fought the conjecture that 'dead lakes' were associated with industrial practices, ... and insisted that the source of the problem was 'in situ' in the forest and lake environment. Such insistence draws from the fundamental 'belief system' of today's mainstream science, ... which remains 'reductionist' and 'non-relativistic', always and ever expecting to find the meaning of life by looking down the barrel of a microscope at an 'objective reality' 'in its own right' (ignoring the relativistic reciprocal disposition of things with their containing space-time).

The persistence of this view is sustained by both media and its content. For example, the best selling book 'Consilience' which argues strongly for keeping non-relativistic 'reductionism' in the primacy, receives all kinds of praise from respected 'authorities', Wilson, a Harvard biologist, being described as 'one of the twentieth century's greatest thinkers' and 'one of the world's greatest living scientists', persuading us through our reductionist esteem for 'specialist experts' to continue to deny the common sense principles of relativity, ... principles which are accessible to all of us without having to call on any experts.

Relativity is about embracing common sense, while reductionism is about embracing non-relativistic abstractions, ... Wittgenstein's 'houses of cards' and Chaitin's 'twenty pound theorems built upon ten pound axioms.'

2. There are dual nested perceptual approaches available to us and relativity demands that the 'immersed' or 'inverted' perception be in the primacy.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

Anti-establishment commentators such as Naom Chomsky, Howard Zinn, Michel Chussodovosky (Ottawa), ... while they may not be in the 'beyond 'good or bad' (non-judgmental) mode of non-relativistic thought, ... nevertheless speak to relativistic or 'medium is the message' effects as in the case of West's tendency to 'shot over shape' economic transactions (e.g. as the initial destabilizer of the former Yugoslavia and Iraq). The topography of opportunity, ... i.e. the relativistic 'reciprocal disposition' or 'media message', ... is what determines and shapes the form of emerging 'opportunity' or 'snookering of opportunity', and as the skilled pool player well understands, ... the 'inverted perspective' of the shape of opportunity topography must remain in the primacy in our perception and inquiry. Our leaders cannot justify our programs and strategies on the basis of cause-and-effect actions FIRST and leave reciprocal disposition considerations, the 'shape' of the opportunity topography, to a subsidiary role. The inverse perception of opportunity must be perceived as being the 'container' or reference for explicit facts or 'content'. If we start from reaction to explicit content, ... this approach sends a message which leads to an unmanaged warping of the 'topography of opportunity', a topography which has already sourced our reaction.

For example, while NATO now concedes that the media reports it validated, of large-scale genocide by Serbians in Kosovo, were strongly exaggerated, ... NATO sources say that such distortion 'was a small price to pay to keep the NATO alliance together'. This is a clear case of managing 'shots' before 'shape', ... and global suspicions which arise from those who justify their 'imperialist' or 'policing' mission with such a fundamentalist 'ends justifies the means' approach will induce further unmanaged change in the 'shape' of the topography of opportunity. The attempt on the part of NATO to exonerate a 'genocidal response' by using the euphemistic term 'collateral damage', ... is not only transparent to all sides, ... it cheapens those who employ it and seriously erodes the potential for a return to a basis of trust.

Relativity and common sense suggest that the 'shots' focus can only lead to dysfunction and that the 'bigger' game to play is the one which looks at the patterns of interference between 'opportunity' and 'purpose'. To manage on the basis of 'causal transactions' first is to screw up the 'topography of opportunity' and snooker the purpose of others and oneself. In order to 'play the bigger game' and go beyond the 'causal transaction' or 'behavioral fact' basis, we must get to the deeper, immersed level of perception, where we are looking out at the 'reciprocal disposition' (topography of opportunity relative to purpose) of the objects we are looking at. If we do not do this, we will end up looking at our fellow human beings in the manner that Mircea Eliade ('Mephistopheles et l'Androgyne: ou la mystere de la totalite' [15]) observed that western white man looked at 'les sauvages', ... "with the detachment and the indifference which naturalists bring to the study of insects rather than with the intelligent empathy of the interpreter".

3. There are dual nested views of evolution and relativity determines that 'win-win' is in the primacy over win-lose.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

The western systems of education and business are based on the 'win-lose' premise. Once again, we come back to the issue which permeates this essay and all of the five principles, ...that we have the non-relativistic option of considering explicit material dynamics in their own right ('content'), or the relativistic option to consider the explicit material dynamics as being the subsidiary 'fallout' from relational 'container' processes. In other words we can perceive and inquire on the non-relativistic basis of 'things' and 'facts' ('material-causal structures', 'what is done' etc.), ... or, ... on the relativistic basis of 'container-content-coevolution' which looks simultaneously at 'what is done' and the topography of opportunity' from which these material-causal dynamics have emerged.

There is nothing 'incorrect' per se about the observation of 'win-lose' in evolution, ... but if that's where the perception stops, ... it is innately 'incomplete' in the same way that Goedel's theory describes 'incompleteness' in all finite systems of logic and mathematics. Relativity says that ONE CANNOT SEPARATE MATERIAL-CAUSAL DYNAMICS FROM THE SIMULTANEOUS RECIPROCAL DISPOSITION if one wants a 'complete' view of phenomena. What this means is that 'survival of the fittest', to be interpreted in the manner which Darwin intended, ... by all accounts, ... cannot be interpreted in terms of simple 'win-lose' type of fitness, .... but must be interpreted in terms of 'container-content-coevolution', ... the ability of a species to tune-in to whole-and-part harmony of both 'what is done' and the englobing 'topography of opportunity'. This point, that evolution is a fibonacci-like 'win-win' process, is made in an essay 'Is Evolutionary Computing Evolving', which will be published in the next issue of *Complexity* (Journal of the Santa Fe Institute).

This point was certainly comprehended in McLuhan's model as the following anecdote, told to me by a pool-playing friend, a former Director of Media Research at Radio Canada who worked with McLuhan. During a discussion on 'media content' where the emphasis was on 'Canadian content' and the cultivating of Canadian 'identity', ... McLuhan, .. frustrated, said; 'What about 'Canadian container'?'. The significance of that remark is particularly poignant to me at the moment, ... since I perceive a 'content-oriented-narcissism' in journalism, oblivious to its own 'media effect' in recent events close to my own 'realm'.

The point is that one cannot celebrate particular content and style out of the context of the immersing and mothering space-time container. To deliberately focus on 'content' is to detach from the 'container', and that is just what a narcissistic media and narcissistic writing is prone to do. That is the jist of a recent commentary on a specific example of this effect, published in the Montreal Gazette, Sunday, November 21, 1999 under the title 'When Memory Speaks, Messages Vary'. The point here is that factual perspectives cannot capture the interfering space-time flows which are the REAL story, and to argue which of two alternative versions 'actually happened', ... is to lead one right into the barrel of the general formulation of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, which is, in Richard Feynman's exact words; "one cannot design equipment to determine which of two alternatives is taken, without, at the same time, destroying the pattern of interference." (Richard P. Feynman, 'Lectures on Physics: Quantum Behavior', 1963).

What this says is that the very notion of 'win-lose' or 'truth-falsehood' is an unreal abstraction. The evolutionary story is scarcely 'told' by our abstracting out a particular event. As the saying goes, ... 'you can win the battle but lose the war', ... thus the notion of 'win-lose' depends on the space-time scale you chose, ... should it be a lifetime or multiple generations, ... a century or a millenium, ... and in a continuously evolving process, there is no way to declare a 'win' or a 'loss'. To train somebody to use 'win-lose' as a management approach, as is common in western society, is to train them to be the purveyors of dysfunction since common sense tells us that when a McCoy shoots a Hatfield, ... this is not the whole story. What ultimately characterizes evolution is 'win-win' geometry wherein win-lose conflict is subsumed by an opening-up to a new evolutionary 'niche', as actually happened with the Hatfields and McCoys in that they intermarried to end the long-standing feud.

Celebrating 'wins' in the context of games well-played in a continuing evolutionary framework is one thing, ... but celebrating 'wins' in the zero-sum context of harvesting someone else's loss, .. the reductionist version of 'the survival of the fittest', is entirely another, which goes against relativity and common sense and Darwin's intent.

4. Every object is unique, not simply because of its definition or labelling, but because of its simultaneous reciprocal disposition relationship with its space-time container.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

Common sense tells us that each of us has more than a 'name-label', ... we have an associated 'reciprocal disposition' as in the following quote from 'House Made of Dawn';

"It was dawn, The first light had been deep and vague in the mist, and then the sun flashed and a great yellow glare fell under the cloud. The road verged upon clusters of juniper and mesquite, and he could see the black angles and twists of wood beneath the hard white crust; there was a shine and glitter on the ice. He was running, running. He could see the horses in the fields and the crooked line of the river below. .... For a time the sun was whole beneath the cloud; then it rose into eclipse, and a dark and certain shadow came upon the land. And Abel was running. He was naked to the waist, and his arms and shoulders had been marked with burnt wood and ashes. The cold rain slanted down upon him and left his skin mottled and streaked. The road curved out and lay into the bank of rain beyond, and Abel was running. Against the winter sky and the long, light landscape of the valley at dawn, he seemed almost to be standing still, very little and alone."

This is NOT the feeling the child gets who sits in front of the television for five hours a day, ... what they see is detached visual images whose 'reciprocal disposition' with their containing space-time has been broken. Thus there is no way to develop a unique sense of self from hot media like television. Cool media, being given ambiguously, may be taken metaphorically and the child may use the new information in the context of his own personal, immersed and 'place-related' 'reciprocal disposition' view of himself, which comes with the space-time phase information which will unify him with his containing environment.

As Heraclitus, whose ideas were fully 'relativity and quantum physics compliant' said, ... 'Listening not to me but to the Logos, it is wise to agree that all things are one.' His point was, that the implicit relationships (natural ordering or 'Logos') which bring the observer's understanding into phaselock with his containing whole must come from within, ... from being 'in the center of everything, ... where you are and have to be', ... and cannot be assimilated by swallowing explicit knowledge from external perspectives, like a pill. The same message comes from Heraclitus' contemporary Lao Tsu, and, of course, from relativity and quantum physics, as well.

It is common sense that each of us occupies a unique place in the world and our unique 'placing' yields a unique 'reciprocal disposition' which opens up certain valleys of opportunity for us and closes down others, ... it being up to us to tune into which opportunities coresonate most with our natural (authentic) purpose and to phaselock in on this basis so as to coevolve harmoniously with our containing space-time.

Meanwhile, western education tends to tell us who 'we are supposed to be', ... what education we must have, what exams we must write, what diplomas we should seek, ... how we should dress and speak etc. As Vygotsky, Ronald Laing, Jules Henry, Ernest Becker, Ivan Illich, Maria Montessorri, A.S. Neill and others have pointed out, this imposition of politically correct structure, and the associated bartering of parental love in order that the child succumbs so as to 'succeed', ... too often leads to a betrayal of self. As Jules Henry says; 'schools train children to fit the culture as it is', ... 'the function of education has never been to free the mind and the spirit of man, but to bind them; and to the end that the mind and spirit of his children should never escape Homo sapiens has employed praise, ridicule, admonition, accusation, mutilation and even torture to chain them to the culture pattern.' And as Ronald Laing adds, .. 'Children do not give up their innate imagination, curiosity, 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.'

Jean Houston, in 'Search for the Beloved' [16] explains, in the terms of this familiar non-relativistic over relativistic geometry, ... how 'we use story' instead of allowing 'story to use us'; "A great deal of current "positive thinking" is premised on selecting, by means of affirmation and visualization, only that aspect of your story that relates to your apparent prosperity and getting what "you" want out of life. The problem with this is; 'Which one of the polyphrenic 'yous' is doing the wanting? Which 'you' is being used, and which of the 'yous' is getting abused? Those denied aspects of yourself, shadow and all, are having their stories rendered impotent and unseen. Inevitably they will rise in revolt. And then, suddenly, you will have to make many desperate and mindless affirmations against shadow forces that you earlier affirmed do not exist. ... The limiting of our stories, by ourselves or by others, inevitably has tragic consequences. What is any kind of illness, mental or physical, but a limiting of story? Cancer can be seen as a limitation of story, a limitation in the relationship between cells, so that one limited but imperialistic story proliferates. On the simplest level, the cure is the burning or cutting out of the imperialistic story. The more complex cure is the finding of ways for the richer, deeper stories to rise within the organism."

Once again, in Jean Houston's comments, we see the familiar 'fibonacci' dialectic, ... conflict transcended by a self-swallowing, creative synthesis. This is the essence of relativity, ... where the 'shape' of opportunity creatively evolves, dropping out material dynamics as precipitates in its wake. This the good pool player knows well. The poor pool player uses those precipitates as 'analytical backfill' to construct his abstract view of reality.

Relativity and common sense tell us that children, people, are unique, ... they are not fully defined by their genetic material, but they are instead 'co-defined' by their material self in conjunction with their unique positioning in space-time, ... their 'reciprocal disposition', ... the 'opportunity topography' that they find themselves within, .. and which they must 'tune-in' to, to phaselock to those coresonances which represent the most harmonious interference between container-opportunity and constituent-purpose (individual purpose). We can expect to sow dysfunction into our children when we, as Jules Henry says, encourage with our love (our desire for our child to 'succeed' in the culture), ... the 'pathetic surrender of our babies' to an imposed politically correct 'life' which would have them betray their own authentic self.

5. There is a natural 'nested' relationship between the 'topography of opportunity' or 'shape' of the space-time containing environment and the material-causal dynamics which come to pass within it. Relativity determines that management of 'shape' or opportunity topography, must take precedence over management of causal dynamics.

~^~ ~^~ ~^~

As is clear from the game of pool, ... it is unwise to focus first on the shots, the causal dynamics, and manage on a 'shots' basis. It is wiser to focus first on 'shape', ... the 'topography of opportunity' and to cultivate a continuing harvest of 'shots'. What this means is that one can no longer 'impose one's own time' on the system, but one must become an immersed participant in the natural flow of things, nudging them rather than 'controlling them', so as to cultivate the desired explicit outcomes (shot opportunities). The pace and timing then becomes the function of the ensemble of space-time container and participant-constituent, ... just as in a jam session. The observer is not 'in control' of what he sees 'out there'. This is a Euclidian delusion.

Henri Laborit expresses it this way in the opening of his book 'L'Eloge de la Fuite';

"When our sailboat is no longer able to battle against the wind and sea and stick to the desired heading, there are still two devices to pull us through: The steering ---the jib and the rudder --- is loosed so as to be determined by wind and sea, and the boat takes flight before the storm with rudder now on deck and minimal sail deployed. 'La fuite' ---running before the wind and current --- far from the coast, is often the only way to save the boat and crew, and it opens the way to discovery of unknown shores, shores which will grace the horizon as calm waters are regained. Shores unknown to those considering the obvious cargo and tanker routes, and uncontemplated in the controlled fairway travels of maritime transport companies. You are familiar, no doubt, with a sailboat named 'purpose'. "

Laborit's sailboat metaphor, is a metaphor for relativistic 'container- content- coevolution', .. the co-determining of the evolutionary trajectory in cooperation with the inductive forces in the space-time container in which one is immersed. Such a relativistic view can also be found in the Keplerian view of planetary movement as described by Michael Gorman in 'Transforming Nature' [17];

"For Kepler, observational reasons were never enough--there had to be an underlying model that explained the planetary orbits. Here he came up with another mental model based on an analogy with a ferry (Gentner, et al., 1997). The current supplies the main force, in a way analogous to the sun, but there were forces originating from the boat itself--the ferryman's rudder, the cord and pulley connection to the shore. Just as the clever ferryman could guide his in a circular path by using the rudder to take advantage of the currents, so the planets could move in circles while being swept by the power emanating from the sun. But planets have no ferryman and no rudder. So Kepler evolved yet another analogy. He imagined the planetary orbit as a kind of 'magnetic river', with the poles of the planet alternately attracted to and repelled from the sun (Gentner et al., 1997; Job Kozhamthadam, 1994). "

Both of these metaphors involve 'inverted' or 'immersed' perception wherein the observer sees himself as being 'inside' the object and aware of the flowing 'reciprocal disposition' or 'containing space-time current' which immerses him. In fact, in Kepler's 'Harmonice Mundi', he characterizes the containing flow of 'universe' as 'adorning' the planets with their simultaneous harmony.

Relativity and common sense tell us that whatever logical perspectives we have and whatever logical structures we are imposing on the world out there in front of us, we are at the same time, immersed in swirling, flowing space-time currents relative to which all our logical views, plans and actions must play second fiddle. This obvious fact which we seem to want to forget is evident in saws such as John Lennon's quip that; "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." and the Ojibway saying; "Sometimes I go about in pity for myself and all the while a great wind is bearing me across the sky."

Meanwhile, we can become very serious and 'religious' in our debate over 'whose logic is correct', even though common sense tells us that all logical constructs are transient abstractions derived from incomplete local space-time perspectives on reality, ... useful, but dysfunction inducing, if they are taken out of the context of the containing whole.

Finally, we come to the question, ... if relativity and these five principles are all 'common sense', why is it that we persist in embracing dysfunction-inducing, non-relativistic space-time perception?

Both McLuhan and Laborit have 'pinned' this one on the media. Laborit, in his introduction to 'La Nouvelle Grille' (The New Framework) says;

"But they [the 'new grills' or 'new paradigms'] are generally approached in a parcelled out (partitioned and wrapped up into neat parcels or bundles) manner, for only the specialist has impact on opinion. He is worthy of belief for his exposee presents itself forcefully, in a simplified form, that of his discipline. Syntheses [whole-and-part] are more complex to expose, demanding on the part of the reader, even when they have been simplified, a major attentive effort, a spectrum of more extended understandings. Their dissemination, as a consequence, proves to be more difficult. Their conclusions are also profoundly different.

And then especially when a synthesis is not easily integrated into known cultural schemas, when it doesn't reinforce an already existing current opinion, a political ideology or a social idealogy currently in vogue, it has little chance of finding an immediate echo. It is unable to be taken seriously. The person who expresses it is not seen to demonstrate a humanism of real worth, ... it is unlike this humanism which doesn't disturb anything, which calls out to the great forerunners, of the 'culture' in place, that is to say to the suite of prejudices and common linkages of a society and an epoch."

So my plan is to offer this essay to the editor of a local newspaper to get her view on whether it is possible to overcome the following problems as expressed by Laborit, that; "syntheses [whole-and-part] are more complex to expose, demanding on the part of the reader, even when they have been simplified, a major attentive effort, a spectrum of more extended understandings. Their dissemination, as a consequence, proves to be more difficult. Their conclusions are also profoundly different." I shall also ask her if she believes that the readership is looking for a "humanism which doesn't disturb anything" (politically correct journalism). In other words, would a newspaper, by publishing this type of relativistic idea, seen as 'not demonstrating a humanism of real worth?' And are these questions moot?, ... i.e. is the publication of new paradigm propositions determined not by the journalists themselves but by the commercial interests behind the publishing corporations who may fear the 'humanism which disturbs?'

Hopefully not, ... because if it is true, it would then bring us to McLuhan's following point, the closing thought for this essay;

"Once we have surrendered our senses and nervous systems to the private manipulation of those who would try to benefit from taking a lease on our eyes and ears and nerves, we don't really have any rights left. Leasing our eyes and ears and nerves to commercial interests is like handing over the common speech to a private corporation, or like giving the earth's atmosphere to a company as a monopoly." ('Understanding Media' (1965);

* * *


[2] The following quote from 'The Presocratic Philosophers', Second Edition, G.S. Kirk, J. E. Raven and M. Schofield, Cambridge University Press, ... makes clear that the subtlety of the curved space-time view of the cosmos, which cannot be conveyed directly in our euclidian 'thing-oriented' language, ... may well have been lost 'in translation' between Heraclitus and Aristotle, ... just as Darwin's similar intent may be lost in Sipper's 'recasting' of passages from Darwin 'within the modern evolutionary computation framework'. The omission shifts us from the domain of SIMULTANEOUS HARMONY also noted by Johannes Kepler in connection with the system of sun and planets and dropped out by Newton, to the domain of SEQUENTIAL TIME PERIODS, .. that is, the 'recasting' takes us from a curved, relativistic space-time continuum, to a rectangular (non-self-referential) non-relativistic disjoint view of independent things populating an inert and non-participating void, ... i.e. material existence out of the context of a unified whole-and-part harmony oriented space-time container.

"Plato ('Sophist' 242D, DK 22 A.10) clearly distinguished between Heraclitus' SIMULTANEOUS unity and plurality of the cosmos and Empedocles' separate PERIODS of Love and Strife. At the same time, they are mentioned together as both alike in believing in the unity and plurality of the cosmos; and Aristotle's coupling of the two might conceivably have been motivated by the Platonic comparison, the important distinction between them being overlooked. See also Guthrie, 'History of Greek Philosophy',HGP1, 455f, and 458, with further references, and D. WIggins, 'Heraclitus' conceptions of flux, etc.' in Language and Logos, ed. Scholfield and Nussbaum (Cambridge, 1982), 1ff."


Excerpts from a web dialogue which includes quotes from S.E.Stumpf - Philosophy - History & Problems 5th Edition, and which speak to Bergson's comments on 'two profoundly different ways of knowing';

1) Intuition: Here we 'enter' into the object of knowledge, overcoming the limitations of any particular perspective and grasp the object as it really is. This is knowing the true movement, a continuous flow, where there are no points being crossed. Bergson calls this "absolute" knowledge.

"There is one reality, at least, which we all seize from within, by intuition and not by simple analysis. It is our own personality through time - our self which endures."

"Intuition, bound up to a duration which is growth, perceives in it an uninterrupted continuity of unforeseeable novelty; it sees, it knows that the mind draws from itself more than it has, that spirituality consists in just that, and that reality, impregnated with spirit, is creation."

"Analysis begins with the static and reconstructs movement as best it can with immobilities in juxtaposition. By contrast, 'intuition starts from movement, posits it, or rather perceives it as reality itself, and sees in immobility only an abstract moment, a snapshot taken by our mind..."

2) Analysis: Knowledge thus derived depends on the vantage point from which we observe an object, and therefore this mode of knowledge will be different for each observer and on that account, relative. Both in observing and describing the moving object, I am placed outside of it...I think of a line that is divided into units, which the object crosses. "To to express a thing as a function of something other than itself."

"In every case, says Bergson, the analytic intellect learns, ironically, by destroying the object's essence. Its essence is its dynamic, thriving, pulsing, living, continuing existence - its duration. Analysis, however, interrupts this essential duration; it stops life and movement; it separates into several independent and static parts what in true life is a unified, organic, and dynamic reality."

[4] Rubin, Harriet, 'The New Merchant's of Light',;

"Four centuries after Bacon wrote about the Merchants of Light, Marshall McLuhan, drew a valuable distinction between learning and knowing (mechanically aggregating knowledge). All work would become "paid learning," said McLuhan, which has come to pass. Leaders, then, have to distinguish themselves by knowing. Imagination is knowing: sensing, suspecting, seeing into the darkness where all new things begin, just as our world was born out of darkness. McLuhan himself said that light was the purest form of knowledge. Having no characteristics itself, it enables others to see. To be a merchant of light is to have few limits and vast advantages. It is to be able to penetrate everywhere, even darkness, and be bound by nothing."

[5] Einstein, Albert and Infeld, Leopold, 'The Evolution of Physics', 1938

"We cannot build physics on the basis of the matter-concept alone. But the division into matter and field is, after the recognition of the equivalence of mass and energy, something artificial and not clearly defined. Could we not reject the concept of matter and build a pure field physics? What impresses our senses as matter is really a great concentration of energy into a comparatively small space. We could regard matter as the regions in space where the field is extremely strong. In this way a new philosophical background could be created. Its final aim would be the explanation of all events in nature by structure laws valid always and everywhere. A thrown stone is, from this point of view, a changing field, where the states of greatest field intensity travel through space with the velocity of the stone. There would be no place, in our new physics, for both field and matter, field being the only reality. This new view is suggested by the great achievements of field physics, by our success in expressing the laws of electricity, magnetism, gravitation in the form of structure laws, and finally by the equivalence of mass and energy."

[6] Einstein, Albert and Infeld, Leopold, 'The Evolution of Physics: from early concepts to Relativity and Quanta', 1938;

[7] F. David Peat, 'Mathematics and the Language of Nature', Mathematics and Sciences, edited by Ronald E. Mickens (Word Scientific, 1990)

"Physics, to me, has always been concerned with understanding the nature of the universe we live in; a way of celebrating and coming to terms with our existence in the material world, rather than a matter of discovering new technologies and accumulating more knowledge. It is in this light that I have criticized the role of mathematics in physics and have hinted at the way new language forms could be developed. Of course I acknowledge the great service that mathematics has done for physics, how it has lifted it from speculation to precision, and, of course, I recognize the great power and beauty of mathematics that is practiced for its own sake. But here, at the end of the 20th century we must not rest on our laurels, the whole aim of our enterprise is to penetrate ever deeper, to move towards a more fundamental understanding and a more complete celebration of the universe itself. In this undertaking in which prediction, calculation and control over the physical world also have a place but they do not become the whole goal of the scientific enterprise. It is for this reason that I am urging physicists to play closer attention to the mathematical language they use every day.

This whole question of the formal strategies employed by the brain is the province of cognitive psychology. One of the pioneers in that field was Jean Piaget. Piaget's particular approach was to suggest that the basis of our thought and action could be traced to the logic of the various physical transactions we had with the world during our first weeks, months and years. Piaget believed that these same logical operations are also present in mathematics and, in this respect, he had a very interesting point to make. It is well known, he pointed out, that mathematics can be arranged in a hierarchical structure of greater and greater depth. In the case of geometry, for example, the top, and most superficial, level is occupied by those semi-empirical rules for surveying and calculating shapes that were known to the Egyptians and Babylonians. Below that could be placed the more fundamental, axiomatic methods of the ancient Greeks. The history of geometry demonstrates the discovery of deeper and more general levels, Euclidian geometry gives way to non-Euclidian, beneath geometry is topology, and topology itself is founded on even more general and beautiful mathematics. The longer a particular topic has been studied, the deeper mathematicians are able to move towards its foundations.

But Piaget, pointed out, this historical evolution is a direct reversal of the actual development of concepts of space in the infant. To the young child, the distinction between intersecting and non-intersecting figures is more immediate than between, say, a triangle, square and circle. To the infant's developing mind, topology comes before geometry. In general, deeper and more fundamental logical operations are developed earlier than more specific rules and applications. The history of mathematics, which is generally taken as a process of moving towards deeper and more general levels of thought, could also be thought of as a process of excavation which attempts to uncover the earliest operations of thought in infancy. According to this argument, the very first operations exist at a pre-conscious level so that the more fundamental a logical operation happens to be, the earlier it was developed by the infant and the deeper it has become buried in the mind. Again, this suggests a reason why mathematics is so unreasonably effective, for the deeper it goes the more it becomes a formal expression of the ways in which with interact with, and learn about, the world.

But, it could be objected, if the history of mathematics and, to some extent, of theoretical physics, is simply that of uncovering, and formalizing, what we already know then how is it possible to create new ideas, like Einstein's relativity, that totally lie outside our experience? The point is, however, that this equality or interdependence of

space and time was already present in all the world's language. Rather than coming to the revelation that time and space must be unified then have never really been linguistically separated! According to this general idea, what may appear to be novel in physics and mathematics is essentially the explicit unfolding of something that is already implicit within the structuring of human thought--of course physics itself also makes use of empirical observations and predictions. For this reason, the intelligent use of mathematics as a language for physics will necessarily make sense.

[8] Marshall McLuhan:Understanding Media, The Extensions of Man

The principle that during the stages of their development all things appear under forms opposite to those that they finally present is an ancient doctrine. Interest in the power of things to reverse themselves by evolution is evident in a great diversity of observations, sage and jocular Alexander Pope wrote

Vice is a monster of such frightful mien As to be hated needs but to be seen; But seen too oft, familiar with its face, We first endure, then pity, then embrace.

A caterpillar gazing at the butterfly is supposed to have remarked. "Well, you'll never catch me in one of those durn things."

At another level we have seen in this century the change over from the debunking of traditional myths and legends to their reverent study. As we begin to react in depth to the social life and problems of our global village, we become reactionaries. Involvement that goes with our instant technologies transforms the most "socially conscious" people into conservatives. When Sputnik had first gone into orbit a schoolteacher asked her second-graders to write some verse of the subject. One child wrote:

The stars are so big, The earth is so small, Stay as you are.

Reversal of the Overheated Medium /35

With man his knowledge and the process of obtaining knowledge are of equal magnitude. Our ability to apprehend galaxies and subatomic structures, as well, is a movement of faculties that include and transcend them. The second-grader who wrote the words above lives in a world much vaster than any which a scientist today has instruments to measure, or concepts to describe. As W. B. Yeats wrote of this reversal,

"The visible world is no longer a reality and the unseen world is no longer a dream."

Associated with this transformation of the real world into science fiction is the reversal now proceeding apace, by which the Western world is going Eastern, even as the East goes Western. Joyce encoded this reciprocal reverse in his cryptic phrase:

The West shall shake the East awake While ye have the night for morn.

The title of his Finnegans Wake is a set of multi-leveled puns on the reversal by which Western man enters his tribal, or Finn, cycle once more, following the track of the old Finn, but wide awake this time as we re-enter the tribal night. It is like our contemporary consciousness of the Unconscious.

[9] T. S. Eliot, Little Gidding, ... final stanza

We shall not cease from exploration

And the end of all our exploring

Will be to arrive where we started

And know the place for the first time.

Through the unknown, unremembered gate

When the last of earth left to discover

Is that which was the beginning;

At the source of the longest river

The voice of the hidden waterfall

And the children in the apple-tree

Not known, because not looked for

But heard, half-heard, in the stillness

Between two waves of the sea.

Quick now, here, now, always--

A condition of complete simplicity

(Costing not less than everything)

And all shall be well and

All manner of thing shall be well

When the tongues of flames are in-folded

Into the crowned knot of fire

And the fire and the rose are one.

[10] Chandler, Daniel, 'Biases of the Ear and Eye'

Ong even refers on one occasion to the spoken word as 'the word in its purest form, in its human and most divine form, in its holiest form, the word which passes orally between man and man to establish and deepen human relations' (Ong 1967, p. 92). He adds that 'Voice has a kind of primacy in the formation of true communities of men, groups of individuals constituted by shared awarenesses' (Ong 1967, p. 124). The spoken word is the basis of human community (Ong 1967, p. 310). Also, in contrast to sight, which allows us to see only ahead, 'sound... situates me in the midst of a world, sound conveys simultaneity' (Ong 1967, p. 129).

. . .

Many commentators argue that literacy and the printed word have played a key part in the elevation of the eye to such primacy as a way of knowing. The anthropologist Edmund Carpenter asserts that 'literacy orchestrated the senses under a single conductor: sight. It enthroned sight to the point where it alone was trusted. All truth was expected to conform to observed experience... Sight became supreme and all other sense became subservient to it' (Carpenter 1976, p. 42). The pre-eminence of sight has also been closely associated with the rise of science (Classen 1993 p. 6).

Graphocentrism often involves an uncritical equation of writing with progress, growth and development. 'Pre-literate' societies may be seen as a lower stage of development than our own. Non-literate societies and individuals may be defined negatively by their 'lack' of writing. To privilege literacy involves branding half of humankind as 'inferior'. Walter Ong declares that 'Those who think of the text as the paradigm of all discourse need to face the fact that only the tiniest fraction of languages have ever been written or ever will be. Most have disappeared or are fast disappearing, untouched by textuality. Hard-core textualism is snobbery, often hardly disguised' (Ong 1986, p. 26). Roy Harris notes that 'of the thousands of languages spoken at different periods in different parts of the globe, fewer than one in ten have ever developed an indigenous written form. Of these, the number to have produced a significant body of literature barely exceeds one hundred' (Harris 1986, p. 15).

[11] McLuhan, Marshall, 'The Medium is the Message'

The instance of the electric light may prove illuminating in this connection. The electric light is pure information. It is a medium without a message, as it were, unless it is used to spell out some verbal ad or name. This fact, characteristic of all media, means that the content of any medium is always another medium. The content of writing is speech, just as the written word is the content of print, and print is the content of the telegraph. If it is asked, What is the content of speech?, it is necessary to say, It is an actual process of thought, which is in itself nonverbal. An abstract painting represents direct manifestation of creative thought processes as they might appear in computer designs. What we are considering here, however, are the psychic and social consequences of the designs or patterns as they amplify or accelerate existing processes. For the message of any medium or technology is the change of scale or pace or pattern that it introduces into human affairs. The railway did not introduce movement or transportation or wheel or road into human society, but it accelerated and enlarged the scale of previous human functions, creating totally new kinds of cities and new kinds of work and leisure. This happened whether the railway functioned in a tropical or a northern environment, and is quite independent of the freight or content of the railway medium. The airplane, on the other hand, by accelerating the rate of transportation, tends to dissolve the railway form of city, politics, and association, quite independently of what the airplane is used for.


Let us return to the electric light. Whether the light is being used for brain surgery or night baseball is a matter of indifference. It could be argued that these activities are in some way the content of the electric light, since they could not exist without the electric light. This fact merely underlines the point that the medium is the message because it is the medium that shapes and controls the scale and form of human association and action. The content or uses of such media are as diverse as they are ineffectual in shaping the form of human association. Indeed, it is only too typical that the content of any medium blinds us to the character of the medium. It is only today that industries have become aware of the various kinds of business in which they are engaged. When IBM discovered that it was not in the business of making office equipment or business machines, but that it was in the business of processing information, then it began to navigate with clear vision. The General Electric Company makes a considerable portion of its profits from electric light bulbs and lighting systems. It has not yet discovered that, quite as much as AT&T, it is in the business of moving information.


The electric light escapes attention as a communication medium just because it has no content. And this makes it an invaluable instance of how people fail to study media at all. For it is not till the electric light is used to spell out some brand name that it is noticed as a medium. Then it is not the light but the content (or what is really another medium) that is noticed. The message of the electric light is like the message of electric power in industry, totally radical, pervasive, and decentralized. For electric light and power are separate from their uses, yet they eliminate time and space factors in human association exactly as do radio, telegraph, telephone, and TV, creating involvement in depth.


A fairly complete handbook for studying the extensions of man could be made up from selections from Shakespeare. Some might quibble about whether or not he was referring to TV in these familiar lines from Romeo and Juliet:

. . . . .But soft! what light through yonder window breaks? It speaks, and yet says nothing.

In Othello, which, as much as King Lear, is concerned with the torment of people transformed by illusions, there are these lines that bespeak Shakespeare's intuition of the transforming powers of new media:

. . . . Is there not charms By which the property of youth and maidhood May be abused? Have you not read Roderigo, Of some such thing?


In Shakespeares Troilus and Cressida, which is almost completely devoted to both a psychic and social study of communication, Shakespeare states his awareness that true social and political navigation depend upon anticipating the consequences of innovation:

. . . . . The providence thats in a watchful state Knows almost every grain of Plutus gold, Finds bottom in the uncomprehensive deeps, Keeps place with thought, and almost like the gods Does thoughts unveil in their dumb cradles.

The increasing awareness of the action of media, quite in- dependently of their content or programming, was indicated in the annoyed and anonymous stanza:

. . . . In modern thought, (if not in fact) Nothing is that doesnt act, So that is reckoned wisdom which Describes the scratch but not the itch.

The same kind of total, configurational awareness that reveals why the medium is socially the message has occurred in the most recent and radical medical theories. In his Stress of Life, Hans Selye tells of the dismay of a research colleague on hearing of Selyes theory:

. . . . When he saw me thus launched on yet another enraptured description of what I had observed in animals treated with this or that impure, toxic material, he looked at me with desperately sad eyes and said in obvious despair: But Selye, try to realize what you are doing before it is too late! You have now decided to spend your entire life studying the pharmacology of dirt!

As Selye deals with the total environmental situation in his stress theory of disease so the latest approach to media study considers not only the content but the medium and the cultural matrix within which the particular medium operates. The older unawareness of the psychic and social effects of media can be illustrated from almost any of the conventional pronouncements. "

[12] Excerpt from a Class at Stanford on 'Marshall McLuhan, 'Understanding Media'

A hot medium is one that extends one single sense in "high definition." High definition is the state of being well filled with data. A photograph is, visually, "high definition." A cartoon is "low definition," simply because very little visual information is provided. Telephone is a coolmedium, or one of low definition, because the ear is given a meager amount of information. And speech is a cool medium of low definition, because so little is given and so much has to be filled in by the listener. On the other hand, hot media do not leave so much to be filled in or completed by the audience. Hot media are, therefore, low in participation, and cool media are high in participation or completion by the audience. Naturally, therefore, a hot medium like radio has very different effects on the user from a cool medium like the telephone.

A cool medium like hieroglyphic or ideogrammic written characters has very different effects from the hot and explosive medium of the phonetic alphabet. The alphabet, when pushed to a high degree of abstract visual intensity, became typography. The printed word with its specialist intensity burst the bonds of medieval corporate guilds and monasteries, creating extreme individualist patterns of enterprise and monopoly. But the typical reversal occurred when extremes of monopoly brought back the corporation, with its impersonal empire over many lives. The hotting-up of the medium of writing to repeatable print intensity led to nationalism and the religious wars of the sixteenth century. The heavy and unwieldy media, such as stone, are time binders. Used for writing, they are very cool indeed, and serve to unify the ages; whereas paper is a hot medium that serves to unify spaces horizontally, both in political and entertainment empires.

Any hot medium allows of less participation than a cool one, as a lecture makes for less participation than a seminar, and a book for less than dialogue. With print many earlier forms were excluded from life and art, and many were given strange new intensity. But our own time is crowded with examples of the prin ciple that the hot form excludes, and the cool one includes. When ballerinas began to dance on their toes a century ago, it was felt that the art of the ballet had acquired a new "spirituality." With this new intensity, male figures were excluded from ballet. The role of women had also become fragmented with the advent of industrial specialism and the explosion of home functions into laundries, bakeries, and hospitals on the periphery of the community. Intensity or high definition engenders specialism and fragmentation in living as in entertainment, which explains why any intense experience must be "forgotten," "censored," and re duced to a very cool state before it can be "learned" or assimilated. The Freudian "censor" is less of a moral function than an indispensable condition of learning. Were we to accept fully and directly every shock to our various structures of awareness, we would soon be nervous wrecks, doing double-takes and pressing panic buttons every minute. The "censor" protects our central system of values, as it does our physical nervous system by simply cooling off the onset of experience a great deal. For many people, this cooling system brings on a lifelong state of psychic rigor mortis, or of somnambulism, particularly observable in periods of new technology.

An example of the disruptive impact of a hot technology succeeding a cool one is given by Robert Theobald in The Rich and the Poor. When Australian natives were given steel axes by tne missionaries, their culture, based on the stone axe, collapsed. The stone axe had not only been scarce but had always been a basic status symbol of male importance. The missionaries provided quantities of sharp steel axes and gave them to women and children. The men had even to borrow these from the women, causing a collapse of male digrnity. A tribal and feudal hierarchy of traditional kind collapses quickly when it meets any hot medium of the mechanical, uniform, and repetitive kind. The medium of money or wheel or writing, or any other form of specialist speed up of exchange and information, which serve to fragment a tribal structure. Similarly, a very much greater speed- up, such as occurs with electricity, may serve to restore a tribal pattern of intense involvement such as took place with the introduction of radio in Europe, and is now tending to happen as a result of TV in America. Specialist technologies detribalize. The nonspecialist electric technology retribalizes. The process of upset resulting from a new distribution of skills is accompanied by much culture lag in which people feel compelled to look at new situations as if they were old ones, and come up with ideas of "population explosion" in an age of implosion. Newton, in an age of clocks, managed to present the physical universe in the image of a clock.

But poets like Blake were far ahead of Newton in their response to the challenge of the clock. Blake spoke of the need to be delivered "from single vision and Newton's sleep," knowing very well that Newton's response to the challenge of the new mechanism was itself merely a mechanical repetition of the challenge. Blake saw Newton and Locke and others as hypnotized Narcissus types quite unable to meet the challenge of mechanism. W. B. Yeats gave the full Blakean version of Newton and Locke in a famous epigram:

Locke sank into a swoon; The garden died; God took the spinning jenny out of his side.

Yeats presents Locke, the philosopher of mechanical and lineal associationism, as hypnotized by his own image. The "garden," or unified consciousness, ended. Eighteenth century man got an extension of himself in the form of the spinning machine that Yeats endows with its full sexual significance. Woman, herself, is thus seen as a technological extension of man's being.

Blake's counterstrategy for his age was to meet mechanism with organic myth. Today, deep in the electric age, organic myth is itself a simple and automatic response capable of mathematical formulation and expression, without any of the imaginative perception of Blake about it. Had he encountered the electric age, Blake would not have met its challenge with a mere repetition of electric form. For myth is the instant vision of a complex process that ordinarily extends over a long period. Myth is contraction or implosion of any process, and the instant speed of electricity confers the mythic dimension on ordinary industrial and social action today. We live mythically but continue to think fragmentarily and on single planes.

[13] Excerpt from Ivan Illich's speech 'Silence is a Commons' at a forum on Science and Man in Japan in 1980?, the theme of which was "The Computer-Managed Society. The URL of the full talk is;

Silence is a Commons by Ivan Illich

Computers are doing to communication

what fences did to pastures

and cars did to streets.

by Ivan Illich

Minna-san, gladly I accept the honour of addressing this forum on Science and Man. The theme that Mr. Tsuru proposes, "The Computer-Managed Society," sounds an alarm. Clearly you foresee that machines which ape people are tending to encroach on . . .


This man who speaks to you was born 55 years ago in Vienna. One month after his birth he was put on a train, and then on a ship and brought to the Island of Brac. Here, in a village on the Dalmatian coast, his grandfather wanted to bless him. My grandfather lived in the house in which his family had lived since the time when Muromachi ruled in Kyoto. Since then on the Dalmatian Coast many rulers had come and gone - the doges of Venice, the sultans of Istanbul, the corsairs of Almissa, the emperors of Austria, and the kings of Yugoslavia. But these many changes in the uniform and language of the governors had changed little in daily life during these 500 years. The very same olive-wood rafters still supported the roof of my grandfather's house. Water was still gathered from the same stone slabs on the roof. The wine was pressed in the same vats, the fish caught from the same kind of boat, and the oil came from trees planted when Edo was in its youth.

My grandfather had received news twice a month. The news now arrived by steamer in three days; and formerly, by sloop, it had taken five days to arrive. When I was born, for the people who lived off the main routes, history still flowed slowly, imperceptibly. Most of the environment was still in the commons. People lived in houses they had built; moved on streets that had been trampled by the feet of their animals; were autonomous in the procurement and disposal of their water; could depend on their own voices when they wanted to speak up. All this changed with my arrival in Brac.

On the same boat on which I arrived in 1926, the first loudspeaker was landed on the island. Few people there had ever heard of such a thing. Up to that day, all men and women had spoken with more or less equally powerful voices. Henceforth this would change. Henceforth the access to the microphone would determine whose voice shall be magnified. Silence now ceased to be in the commons; it became a resource for which loudspeakers compete. Language itself was transformed thereby from a local commons into a national resource for communication. As enclosure by the lords increased national productivity by denying the individual peasant to keep a few sheep, so the encroachment of the loudspeaker has destroyed that silence which so far had given each man and woman his or her proper and equal voice. Unless you have access to a loudspeaker, you now are silenced.

I hope that the parallel now becomes clear. Just as the commons of space are vulnerable, and can be destroyed by the motorization of traffic, so the commons of speech are vulnerable, and can easily be destroyed by the encroachment of modem means of communication.

[14] 'What Space?' by Marina Grzinic

Abstract: If the body ceases to be the fundamental unit of spatial analysis, at once the very concept of space itself becomes problematic, and we have to ask ourselves, according to Jameson: what space? The new media environment has become the central determining metaphor for simultaneous collective reception in a public space. Is it possible to say that the public space has disappeared, and that we have instead internalized the space as a kind of mise-en-scene constructed by the new media technology? But maybe this mise-en-scene of the space must be viewed in today's terms as ideological, precisely because it is so invisible and taken for granted. Aesthetic of disparition/disappearance? According to Virilio, again the debate surrounding the invention of the snapshot is not unrelated to the growth of the ultimate space-media-image hybrid. Has it radically transformed the very nature of representational systems? Have we, with the strategic value of speed's no-place, definitively outstripped the value of place?

But maybe this war is showing us also an other internal media process and especially society process. This war can be also seen in another way! According to Peter Weibel we can think, for example, about this war in relation to the idea of what it means when we leave a historically defined position, which imitates - even in the art - the natural world of our senses . Our experience of place, position and so on depends on what we call natural interface, body is for example a natural interface, and therefore we have a natural approach to space and time. Our interpretation of the media is experienced through natural interfaces like our senses, organs and being channeled, mediated by an ideology of naturality, neglecting the artificial of the media. But the media of our time show us that we have the possibility of an artificial interface, which is the media in fact. According to Weibel therefore McLuhan, when he was defining media as an extension of man he just missed in calling it an artificial extension . And in this artificial media space we see that the basic concept of how to construct space and time are examples of non naturality. The media world is dominated by non-identity or difference. The "real" is replaced by virtual reality. Necessity is replaced by possibility or contingency. So, we have to think about "reality" precisely in the way of its "unreality" in a way of a socially constructed fiction

[15] Eliade, Mircea, 'Mephistopheles et l'Androgyne: ou la mystere de la totalite',

The phrase; "with the detachment and the indifference which naturalists bring to the study of insects rather than with the intelligent empathy of the interpreter" has been translated and paraphrased this from the 'avant propos' from mircea eliade's 'Mephistopheles et l'Androgyne', ... referring to the scientific research (the old style and what is needed as we go into the future) into the behaviors of non-europeans, particularly les 'primitifs' and 'les sauvages', he says about our past, deficient ways of studying the record of human behaviors of these 'others';

"Ces documents humains avaient ete etudies precedemment avec le detachment et l'indifference que les naturalistes du XIXe siecle apportaient a l'etude des insectes. On commence maintenant a se rendre conte que ces documents expriment des situations humaines exemplaires, qu'ils font partie integrante de l'histoire de l'esprit. Or, la demarche appropriee pour saisir le sens d'une situation humaine exemplaire n'est pas l'"objectivite" du naturaliste, mais la sympathie intelligente de l'exegete, de l'interprete."

[16] Houston, Jean, 'Search for the Beloved', 1987 (Ch: 'Of Story and Myth')

"The hearth and the campfire have served as the sacred site of story-telling for millennia. Gathered around a flickering fire, surrounded by the darkness of the night, people have come together to share their stories, to listen again to the old ones informed by the new experiences of the active day. Thus they have been re-sourced, connected again to meaning, to pattern, and to one another.

We must restore story. It is a shame that so many grandparents have moved to sunnier climes and are no longer available for the telling of stories. In this era of radical mobility, we have no hearth for storytelling, so we have lost the pattern of connection, the knot or complex of relevance that serves as a force field to illuminate and play out the human story. No hearth, no heart.

Nowadays, the hearth has been supplanted by the television set, which often tells aborted, abbreviated stories. This may be one reason that many are so bored and find life meaningless. If you watch ---

. . . . disconnected pieces of news: blip

. . . . soap opera: blip blip

. . . . situation comedy: blip, blip, blip

--- interspersed with the big-blip commercial, then finding the Pattern that Connects is a major challenge. All too often, the television is turned on to escape from complexity and the pattern-making mind. . . . . Story is living and dynamic, . . .It builds a bridge between the teller and the listener which transcends all factual accuracy.

Resistance to Story is a great and present personal reality for many. The seductive lure of homeostasis, the steady hum of the even keel, urges you to 'stop the world and get off'. This resistance is supported by your culture and your tribe, which are often quick to remind you to follow the tribed and true.

A great deal of current "positive thinking" is premised on selecting, by means of affirmation and visualization, only that aspect of your story that relates to your apparent prosperity and getting what "you" want out of life. The problem with this is; 'Which one of the polyphrenic 'yous' is doing the wanting? Which 'you' is being used, and which of the 'yous' is getting abused? Those denied aspects of yourself, shadow and all, are having their stories rendered impotent and unseen. Inevitably they will rise in revolt. And then, suddenly, you will have to make many desperate and mindless affirmations against shadow forces that you earlier affirmed do not exist. ... The limiting of our stories, by ourselves or by others, inevitably has tragic consequences. What is any kind of illness, mental or physical, but a limiting of story? Cancer can be seen as a limitation of story, a limitation in the relationship between cells, so that one limited but imperialistic story proliferates. On the simplest level, the cure is the burning or cutting out of the imperialistic story. The more complex cure is the finding of ways for the richer, deeper stories to rise within the organism."

[17] 'Transforming Nature' by Michael Gorman at

For Kepler, observational reasons were never enough--there had to be an underlying model that explained the planetary orbits. Here he came up with another mental model based on an analogy with a ferry (Gentner, et al., 1997). The current supplies the main force, in a way analogous to the sun, but there were forces originating from the boat itself--the ferryman's rudder, the cord and pulley connection to the shore. Just as the clever ferryman could guide his in a circular path by using the rudder to take advantage of the currents, so the planets could move in circles while being swept by the power emanating from the sun.

But planets have no ferryman and no rudder. So Kepler evolved yet another analogy. He imagined the planetary orbit as a kind of 'magnetic river', with the poles of the planet alternately attracted to and repelled from the sun (Gentner et al., 1997; Job Kozhamthadam, 1994).

The point is, Kepler's evolving mental model of planetary motion had come to preclude the possibility of a circular orbit. If a planet is alternately attracted and repelled by the sun, then its orbit cannot be a circle. He settled on an oval, which did not perfectly fit the data, but gave results superior to a circle. He knew this was not entirely satisfactory, however, and spent another eighteen months wrestling before he realized that the orbit could be described by the equations governing an ellipse. The result was his First Law, discovered after his second.

Kepler published his two laws in 1609 in a work boldly entitled "A New Astronomy Based on Causation or a Physics of the Sky." The title reveals Kepler's other heresy. The laws or principles governing what we would now call the physics of the heavens were supposed to be totally different from those that operated on Earth. Kepler thought differently; as we have seen, his evolving mental model presumed not only a geometric regularity to the planetary orbits, but a physical connection between the planets and the sun: "so intense was Kepler's vision that the abstract and concrete merged." Here we find the key to the enigma of Kepler, the explanation for the apparent complexity and disorder in his writing and commitments. In one brilliant image, Kepler saw the three basic themes or cosmological models superimposed: "the universe as physical machine, the universe as mathematical harmony, and the universe as central theological order." (Holton, 1973, p. 86). Of particular note here is the combination of the abstract and the concrete into a powerful mental model that guided his effort.

The Third Law emerged from this mental model. "He had been searching for this Third Law, that is to say, for a correlation between a planet's period and its distance, since his youth. Without such a correlation, the universe would make no sense to him; it would be an arbitrary structure. If the sun had the power to govern the planet's motions, then that motion must somehow depend on their distance from the sun; but how? Kepler was the first who saw the problem--quite apart from the fact that he found the answer to it, after twenty-two years of labor. The reason why nobody before him had asked the question is that nobody had thought of cosmological problems in terms of actual physical forces." (Koestler, 1963, p. 395) Briefly put, the resultant law states that the cube of a planet's distance from the sun will be proportional to the square of its orbital period around the sun.

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