Elders and Experts: Showing and Telling

Dallas, January 14, 2000


The scene opens with Zeus and Emile waking up in a cave as the morning sunlight streams in, illuminating a poem written on the wall.

. . . . . . roses are red

. . . . . . violets are blue

. . . . . . don't ask me why

. . . . . . accept it as true.

Zeus: I didn't notice that poem on the wall when we came in here last night, did you?

Emile: I didn't see it either, but I think that's because of the different angle the morning sunlight is coming in from. While light may be topographically selective in what it illuminates, the nice thing about the way it delivers information, whatever angle it's coming from, is that it doesn't impose any content bias of its own which is a lot more than I can say about the written medium, ... as is evident from the words of that poem on the wall.

Zeus: What do you mean by that, .... are you putting down the medium of language relative to the medium of light?

Emile: As Mcluhan said, "light is the purest form of information" because it is 'showing' without 'telling', ... it is pure 'medium' without any of its own 'content'. So no, it is not 'language' per se that I am grumping about, since language can be used in a 'showing without telling' way as well, particularly in the realm of the oral, as Denis Gabor and others have pointed out. There is a pleasing difference associated with those media which just 'open up' the information to us, without any editorial comment, without any systematic expurgation and without any 'judgements' as to its 'rightness' or 'wrongness'. It elicits a sense of fullness and liberation when information is just presented to us 'au naturel', without any 'content-ual' embellishments, ... allowing us to make of it what we wish. Light is all 'medium' and zero 'content' and luminatorily informs us through its relativistic, interference-based display.

Zeus: True enough. When the light fills the room, the observer sees the sleeping dog and steps over it, ... sees that the baby has kicked off the blankets and re-covers him, ... steps outside and sees that the cornfield is dry and opens the irrigation ditch to the spring so that water will run between the rows of corn and soak the plant-roots. The medium of light informs him in a content-free way, directly inducing motion and behaviors in him which come from his experience, ... motion and behaviors which at the same time catalyze the growth or 'evolution' of his experience. But what is at the base of this different informational 'feel' we get from the two media, ... the light which brings us 'etchings on the wall-canvas', and the poem which brings us explicit content?

Emile: Language and the printed word are quite different from light, as Mcluhan pointed out, in that the word informs in two ways, ... explicitly or 'statically' via contents in the form of a sequence of logical propositions, such as 'roses are red', ... as well as implicitly and dynamically through the induced effects of the medium, in the manner of light, though the implicit mode of the language medium is often avoided, particularly in scientific or business use of language. Light is more immediate and complete than language, ... for example, one doesn't need to be given the content-propositions, ... 'this is a grizzly bear', ... 'grizzy bears are meat-eaters', ... 'humans are meaty', ... to induce the behaviour of flight when light presents to you the information that a grizzly bear is approaching. There is an acute awareness of this difference between implicit and explicit informationalizing in the native american culture, ... and putting things into explicit written symbols is often discouraged due to its incompleteness.

What do you think is 'missing from this picture'?, ... the picture presented by the poem on the wall?

Zeus: Well, neither the actual experience of colour, nor the aesthetic geometric detail of the rose and the violet are in the presentation.

Emile: True, but the experiencing of colour is something which happens internally so it is not 'information' which can be presented by any medium, and we can imagine the colour experience, in any case. And the aesthetic detail can also be imagined, or it could be added by language, by using more words. Is there anything else, ... anything more basic missing?

Zeus: ... uhhh, ... not that I can think of right now.

Emile: There is something really essential missing in the picture given by the poem, which we don't notice because we're so conditioned to the euclidian space convention. What's missing is the 'container'. Everything exists within, and by the grace of a containing environment, and everything is transient except the overall space-time container, ... that is, the rose and the violet, like all things, upwell into existence and subduct back into the container, ... which means that the notion of 'container' is bigger than the notion of 'thing' and we could say that 'things' are simply 'properties' of the container, which is where 'field theory' takes us. Both light and the surround-sound of the oral story-tradition present information to us by SHOWING us relational patterns which include container-constituent relationships. The written word, when it is TELLING us something, can only speak about 'things' and their properties and behaviours out of the context of the container-constituent codynamic.

Here's where the euclidian convention we build our worldview upon in the western culture today draws us into deception. It assumes that the information coming from the sum of the parts, ... from the description of the constituents, tells the complete story, ... but the spherical space-time convention of relativity says that the information associated with the reciprocal disposition of the 'constituents', ... the 'container', ... is richer and goes beyond the sum of information associated with the properties and behaviours of the parts. We can visualize this through the game of pool which emulates relativistic curved space-time. In pool, the information coming from the causal transactions of the constituents is a small, included subset of the total informational package which also includes 'reciprocal disposition', ... the geometrical shape of inter-thing space which changes for all constituents, even if just one constituent is moved and no material transactions occur. This reciprocal information is critical to the pool player who 'manages shape' (the 'topography of opportunity' rather than 'managing shots'. The 'shape-over-shots' player is like the elder who is guided by information coming from implicit, interference patterns while the 'shots-over-shape' player is like the expert who 'manages' the game on the basis of information coming from explicit material-causal transactions.

You can think of this in terms of Einstein's comment that 'space participates in physical phenomena', ... the elder's 'illuminatory informationalizing' includes the information associated with the participation of space, while the expert's 'explicatory informationalizing' ignores the information associated with the participation of space. And it doesn't matter how many experts you gather together, you don't make up for the missing information because all of the experts are dealing with explicit 'thing's out of the context of container-constituent or 'reciprocal disposition' effects.

Zeus: When you look at 'informationalizing' this way, the native tradition certainly contrasts with our white-western penchant for putting explicit content into the primacy of our 'inform-ing' and eschewing implicit informationalizing processes because we see them as 'beating around the bush too much' and putting the onus on the listener to fill in all the blanks. Our cultural tradition is to always look for explicit 'expert opinion' or someone 'telling us' the way things work, which is the opposite end of the spectrum to implicit 'illumination' or 'showing us' how things work. While the expert 'telling' equates to pure 'content'; i.e. information on the 'constituents', ... the elder's 'showing' (which he orchestrates through 'sharing') equates to pure unembellished 'medium' --- information on the whole container-constituent complex, and thus the elder avoids having to 'construct his informational message' on top of the abstracted- from- the- containing- whole 'approximate notion' of independent 'things'. Meanwhile, the elder's approach also delivers the information on the properties and behaviors of the constituents, but as the lesser part of the overall implicit-relational informational package.

Emile: Yes, we have grown accustomed to getting 'hot' media of the 'expert report' ilk which has all of the ambiguities removed and the blanks filled in, and our desire and ability for 'cool' media has been steadily atrophying. Meanwhile, in the native cultures, the 'elder' has been trying to 'inform' in a way which emulates 'light', ... he tries to illuminate the containing environment so that the members of his band can see and act directly out of the experience of their traditions without the intermediation of explicit binary 'judgement'. This is done, for example, by the sharing traditions in the council meetings and the 'healing' (whole-making) sessions where the talking stick is passed around and each person helps to paint the canvas of the immersing reality from their personal experience without ever explicitly saying "this is the way it is, ... this is the correct reality". As one listens to the many stories, in the cool medium of the oral tradition, ... one brings them into connection in one's mind and what is consistent amongst them becomes an implicit perception of reality for the listener, which can be directly acted upon from experience and tradition without anyone ever having to utter explicit judgements of 'good' or 'bad' or 'the best' way to proceed etc. And even if explicit statements are used, they are not allowed to override the implicit understanding which comes from this 'luminatory informationalizing'.

Zeus: That's a far cry from the approach of the western 'expert' who 'informs' his listener by means of explicit language statements and static propositions. The expert's message is fully packed into the content and he typically ignores any issues of managing the 'medium' effects of language. And, in fact, because he focuses intently on his speciality, he tends to know some selected things in great depth and have informational 'gaps' in areas outside his specialty, ... thus he is generally not well positioned, on his own, to bring into connection and comprehend how the various activities in the containing environment are coming together and interfering with his domain of inquiry.

Emile: Yes, there's an important point here in that the 'expert' thinks of information in terms of 'something explicit he possesses' and something he may even 'patent', whereas the elder sees information in the bigger, implicit terms of 'understanding' of how the world, our containing environment, 'works'. The expert's information is 'reified' and therefore static and unchanging and capable of being 'owned', while the elder's information is implicit and relational and includes the participation of the immersing container (the enveloping 'web of life'), thus the elder cannot 'give you the information', ... but like sunlight, he can only catalyse its 'illumination' and from that point on, its up to you, the listener, to make sense of and respond to it. So, if someone attempts to tell you in very explicit terms, 'the way things are', ... he is thinking in 'expert mode' whereas if someone simply shares a personal experience or tells an insightful story without editorializing, he is in 'elder mode'.

Zeus: Its well recognized that the expert fails to address the multi-dimensional immersing environment, and instead, focuses narrowly on his specialty and tries to inform others on the explicit particulars and details. As is often said, an 'expert' is someone who knows better than anyone else in his field, what can go wrong within his specialty. He has a kind of 'purificationist' knowledge and he is prone to nerdily missing environmental-container related interference effects. The pioneering expert in refridgerator doors was 'coming from' a particular perspective and could go on for months telling you about the different designs and their advantages, but by his explicit focus, he totally missed the implicit 'interference effect' of children being exposed to suffocation in abandoned refridgerators because the door didn't open from the inside.

Emile: By contrast the 'elder' will try to shed all perspective in his 'informationalizing'. The Japanese Zen master-elder and Chinese Taoist-elder will speak in ambiguous koans because he deliberately does not want to inform in a 'content' or 'explicit' or 'static' or 'perspectivized' manner, ... but instead wants to use the implicit informational capabilities of language 'as a medium', a relativistic interference based 'visualizing' device. When he does this, the listener must think in terms of the koan as illuminating some aspect of reality, just as light does, ... and what the listener 'does with it' must come, dynamically, from inside of himself, from his experience and the traditions of his tribe.

'Implicit understanding' is dynamical information which is assimilated in a different way from static 'explicit knowledge' as psychologists like Vygotsky make clear (and brain and memory researchers like Schacter). As Schacter says, while implicit understanding is something 'you know when you are experiencing it', ... explicit knowledge is fixed and archived in a mental 'look-up table'.

We know that both 'elders' and 'experts' have useful roles to play, ... while elders non-judgementally 'illuminate' the containing environment (topography of opportunity) in which we are immersed so that we can find within us the experience and the traditions which enable us to dynamically respond to that which is illuminated,.... the expert is someone who can explicitly fill in for us, some of the blanks in our static, 'lookup table' knowledge as we undertake our response. In the nested informational schema of relativity, the 'expert's shot-management scope' is a subordinate-level informationalizing scope which falls within the 'elder's shape-management scope'. What's important to note is that there is a real, mathematically describable shortfall in the explicit form of information which comes from 'experts' or teams of 'experts'.

Zeus: I can see where you're going with this. In our western culture, dysfunction arises where we do not put enough attention into the implicit illumination of our dynamical container in which we are immersed constituent-participants, and proceed too directly to an explicit 'expert'-informed response out of the context of a reciprocal view of our actions relative to our containing environment. Its as if we blinder ourselves to the ensemble of interfering activities which constitutes our containing environment, by over-focusing on specific constituent activities in their own right. In terms of the game of pool, we over-focus on specific 'shots' without considering the effect of our shot-making on our containing 'shape' (ball configuration) which is self-referentially shaping our shot-making opportunity or 'topography of opportunity'.

Emile: Indeed. As Mcluhan pointed out, this inverted focus on 'shots over shape' or 'content over medium-effect' was catalyzed by the invention of the phonetic alphabet-based written word and its further amplification by Gutenberg's invention of the printing press. The oral tradition, which emphasized story-telling and myth, had informationalized by catalyzing 'implicit understanding', illuminating the container in which the listener was immersed along with the activities within the container so that the listener's response could be one of 'tuning-in' and 'co-resonating' with his containing environment, instead of mechanically following the explicit propositions of the hot, written-word media. The growing ubiquity of the written (printed) word has shifted us hard towards an explicit (static facts and propositions) information orientation. As a result, our implicit 'illuminated' view of the containing environment we are immersed in is very often 'incomplete' since we cannot build it up from the static parts; ... we have discarded all the dynamical space-time phase information at that point, as the 'roses are red' poem on the wall indicates.

The discordance which comes from listening solely to the experts and their static propositions, while ignoring the elders 'illuminations' of the containing ensemble of activities with which we, as constituents, must co-resonate in order to sustain a whole-and-part harmony, is further amplified and exacerbated by technology effects. As technology has advanced, we have incurred Ivan Illich's 'silence as a commons' pitfall where informationalizing becomes distorted by unbalanced sampling, where only selected people have access to the communications technology such as microphone-access or TV or book-publisher access. Even in email forums, the balanced sharing ethic promoted by the elders is often missing and the situation in the 'commons' can degenerate into a noisy debate amongst a few who are focused on conflicting explicits.

The illuminatory informationalizing which catalyzes implicit understanding, requires tolerance, patience and appreciation of diversity, ... pre-requisites which are often steam-rollered by our euclidian sense of urgency in 'getting on with it'. As a result of our failure to meet these requirements, our implicit understanding of the evolutionary dynamic we are constituent-participants in, is often poorly constituted. This gives rise to the 'John Lennon effect' where our implicit life experience, which garners its meaning relationally from its containing environment, becomes something 'which just happens while we are busy making other plans' (i.e. while we are focusing on the explicit).

Zeus: Ok, I understand how 'elders' 'informationalize' by editorial-free or 'judgement-free' relational illumination, which induces each person, in his response, to 'come from' his own experience and traditions, ... and that experts informationalize by editorializing and imposing 'judgement-full' explicit information, ... and I can see how the game-of-pool metaphor applies, where the former is like orienting one's information management to 'shape' or the topography of opportunity, and the latter like orienting to 'shots' or the specific properties and behaviors of material 'things', ... but can you give me a more specific picture of the 'container-related' incompleteness of the information which comes from summing up the explicit 'expert' type of information?

Emile: Good question Zeus, and one which speaks to what E. O. Wilson and many other reductionism-oriented scientists are missing in their continuing advocation of 'consilience', ... the trans-disciplinary aggregation of expert information, as a means of understanding complex systems issues. As we have already said, .... when the light of the sun (or any illuminatory source) gives us an implicit, relational informationalizing of the landscape of opportunity, ... the environmental container in which we are immersed, ... it doesn't hang a bunch of explicit labels out there, ... saying 'this is a tree', ... 'this is a rock', ... 'this is a mountain', ... etc., ... instead, it just gives us a relational geometric pattern and we can think of a tree, rock and mountain as different aspects of a single relational whole. In other words, the 'illuminatory' informationalizing of the elders has no dependency on 'explicit things', nor how they were abstracted from the whole nor by whom. They regard word-things as disposable 'Wittgensteinian ladders' to brush- stroke the relational illumination, which comes from sharing personal impressions.

Now what adds to this notion of a single whole is when we don't stop-the-clock as euclidian thing-abstracting does, and we watch the air and water and heat and matter undergoing all kinds of upwelling and subducting and circulating on an overall biospheric basis, which transcends or 'englobes' the smaller euclidian notion of discrete 'things' and their material-causal transactions. In fact, this relativistic flow-view has to make one wonder about the wisdom of building up a view of reality on the basis of 'things', right?, ... since 'things' are our abstractions based on 'snapshots' of the continually upwelling and subducting 'pimpular' features of the whole. Since (we and) our unified space-time container is continuously metamorphosing, energy and information, or 'field' is about all 'we' can hang our hats on in the long term.

Zeus: Yes, it's rather easy to 'see through' the 'trick' by which the euclidian space convention artificially fabricates a solid base of 'explicit things'. What it does is simply declare, ...attitudinal declare, as researchers into implicit and explicit knowledge say, ... that things either exist or they cannot, ... thereby allowing only two binary states with a clear, exclusionary boundary between the two. Of course this is nonsense, when we try to reconcile it with sensory perceptions. Even the fact that we, the observer, emerge from the containing environment and subduct back into the containing environment over time contradicts this binary euclidian 'exclusionary' view which ignores the space-time phase connections between container and constituents. Nevertheless, we in the west opted to make this euclidian convention the basis for our perception and inquiry into 'the way the world works', ... and it is not difficult to see how this euclidian convention is the source of rising dysfunction in society and environment. Meanwhile, it continues to be advocated as the preferred tool to perceive and inquire into the very dysfunction it is provoking, by scientists such as E. O. Wilson and many others, including the Nobel Foundation which influences scientific research orientation.

Emile: Yes, scientific research follows its patrons as Wilson says. But getting back to your question on a clearer picture of the nature of the informational incompleteness, in the gap between 'illumination' and 'explication', or between 'elder-showings' and 'expert-tellings', we can go to a simple image of the surface of a sphere, to represent the finite spherical space of relativity. Let's colour it beige for the earth, and draw a red-for-roses bounded areal shape on its outer surface.

Zeus: Your mental diagram is bringing out just what's been bothering me, ... it seems to me that the information content of the red shape, while reciprocal to the beige, is equivalent in information content, ... so the information of the explicit 'part' is equal to the information of the implicit container, ... which seems to justify describing systems by expert views of the behaviour of the parts, as they should 'add up' to the same total; i.e. the reciprocal of the sum of the parts should equal, in an informational sense, the sum of the reciprocals of the parts.

Emile: What you say would be true if we used the euclidian space convention or limited our picture to two areas as we have just done, but if we put three or more 'bodies' into our relativistic ensemble, we get a rather different picture in this finite spherical space, as the game of pool gives us insight into. For example, let's add another bounded shape, blue for violets, onto the beige background.

Zeus: Now I remember, we did this the other day, but it is very hard to mentally hold onto it as it is kind of mind-boggling, like the notion of light informationalizing without editorializing; that is, the sum of the information associated with the explicit, bounded shapes of the rose and the violet no longer sum to the same 'total' as the implicit information associated with the beige 'containing space'. This is because, with three or more 'bodies' or 'areas' involved, the beige 'containing' area becomes 'unbounded' in the three-body case and we must use our 'imagination' to 'understand' it in an informational sense, ... we must emulate mind-walking around over the surface of the sphere and bringing all of the space-time phase information into connection in our minds, as we do in 'managing shape' in the game of pool.

Emile: Exactly, ... this relativistic visualization gives us a sense of the simultaneous 'reciprocal disposition effects' associated with the whole-and-part movements of the ensemble, ... the same sense we get in 'managing shape' in pool. This implicit visualization of the topography of opportunity of our containing environment, as if from the eyes of each and all constituents, is what we assimilate in a native sharing circle and rather than being static, it comprehends the on-going space-time dynamic which fits with our common sense perceptions. By contrast, the sum of the explicit declarations of the 'rose' and the 'violet', being euclidian and logical, are 'absolute' and 'static' and removed from the context of space-time; i.e. 'time' has to be artificially added back in 'after-the-fact'.

Zeus: I'm getting a mental grip on it once again, ... the 'implicit' information coming from the unbounded 'shape' of the area reciprocal to the bounded forms of the rose and violet, not only includes the information needed to describe the shape of the rose and violet (the 'sum of the parts in an informational sense'), but also gives us an informational sense of the simultaneous reciprocal disposition effects which come from moving either the rose or the violet relative to themselves in this self-referential spherical space environment.

Emile: Good one, Zeus, ... in euclidian space, our information management is based on material-causal dynamics because that's all euclidian space can support. So we monitor the transactional record of what 'interacts' with what, rather than monitoring the changes in the shape of reciprocal space which occur simultaneously with the motion of any constituent, as in the curved space-time case. In the euclidian case, where all you have is 'matter and void', ... there is no 'shape' of space and the sum of the parts information is the entire story, ... whereas, in the relativistic curved space-time case, the evolving 'shape' of reciprocal space, ... the topography of opportunity, is a much bigger story which includes the information on the parts and their causal transactions as a lesser subset of the whole, relational informational package. To reiterate, since this is an elusive point to us 'euclidians', what the Native, Celtic, Zen and Taoist elders do, by their uneditorialized illumination, is to informationalize on the basis of the shape of reciprocal space, ... the topography of opportunity, ... whereas, what 'experts' do, by their editorializing explicit declarations, is to informationalize on the basis of the properties and behaviors of the parts, ... an innately 'incomplete' informationalizing which discards container-content-codynamical information.

Zeus: So Mcluhan's 'medium is the message' point, then, is to say that the induced transformation of the topography of opportunity, the induced changes in the reciprocal shape of space-time, is the primary message because it is in the 'informational container' which domiciles the information on explicit content transactions. In other words, causal transactions tell an incomplete story which excludes mention, for example, of the fact that on their way to their causal transactions, the causal agents may induce and get stuck in their own traffic jam.

Emile: That's right Zeus, ... and as we've discussed before, .... if McLuhan were a pool player, he would be a 'shape over shots' player rather than a 'shots' player. Players who put the focus on 'shots' in the primacy, do not see the reciprocal effects of the shot-dynamics in terms of shaping the opportunity topography which they continue to 'play into'. For example, from the personified mind of a shifting desert, ... as he shifts a constituent sandgrain from a dune-crest up into the interdune valley, he must simultaneously be cognizant of his lowering of the crest and his raising of the valley even as he considers his trajectory. The desert topography is his container and relativistic reference frame which he changes in the process of moving; i.e. the 'big him' topography contains the 'little him' shotmaker.

Zeus: That reminds me of the story of the prophet Mohammed, who on returning from the war told his followers that he was returning from the 'little holy war'. When pressed for clarification, he said; "the little holy war' is the war with the infidels, the 'great holy war' is the war with one's own soul'. He seems to have preceded McLuhan in this curved space inference; i.e. McLuhan said it didn't matter whether you made cornflakes or cadillacs, ... that it was the transformation you induced in the making process which took precedence.

Emile: It seems that both Mohammed and McLuhan were 'tuned' to the curved space notion that a blind pursuit of 'shots' can simultaneously screw up one's 'shooting topography'. Unfortunately this self-referential notion doesn't 'travel' too well, and we continue, by our single-minded focus on shots, to induce an unintended 'snookering' of opportunity for ourselves and other members of nature's constituency, such as particular animal and plant species, natural waterways, grazing lands, atmospherics, etc. The answer seems to be to shift to putting illuminatory informationalizing into the primacy, so that we can start from the 'big' immersed topographic view, and use expert informationalizing or 'shot-meistering' as a support tool, rather than continuing in our inverted 'shots-over-shape' mode. By re-inverting, we can manage the 'topography of opportunity' so that its shape continually complements our shape-altering causal transactions. 'Aggregation of experts' strategies which lack this 'opportunity management' informationalizing aspect, if pursued, will simply prolong the socio-dysfunctional agony currently being experienced.

Zeus: I hear you, Emile, but I hear even more. You are saying that 'things' are oversimplified abstractions and thus, in general, declarative statements by experts based on 'things' can be dangerously deceptive unless their interpretation are made subordinate to the illuminations of the elders.

Emile: Yes, the deception of expert explications ungrounded in container co-dynamics deepens as we try to approximate increasingly complex systems in terms of 'things'. There is an epistemological adjustment we have to make here which is a bit tricky for us euclidian flatspace-programmed westerners. When we speak about the domain of the material causal, ... our noun-and-verb based language is well equipped because it is built for saying 'this 'thing' acts on this other 'thing' to cause this 'effect''. But in the case of 'opportunity management', ... WHO or WHAT is it which is the 'manager'?

Zeus: I take your point. If we look at relativistic curved space-time and the game of pool, ... it is the 'container' which is managing the 'constituents'. This is making the 'field' the 'doer', ... a kind of outside-inward geometry where the 'shape of space' becomes the causal agent.

Emile: Exactly. And this was commented on by Kepler in 'Harmonies of the World', ... that the harmony of whole-and-part took precedence over anything derivable from the orbiting planets themselves, ... raising this notion that the containing 'space', as disturbed by the orbiting planets 'takes over' as the manager of the system, just as in pool. If you think about it, ... there is no way we can DIRECTLY articulate this in a noun-and-verb based language, since the 'doer' is an unbounded 'non-thing'. This shows up in Feynman's formulation of Heisenberg's uncertainty principle, as well, where he says that; 'we cannot in any way develop equipment which can determine which of two alternatives actually occurred without destroying the interference pattern'. That is, the notion of 'alternatives' is dependent on euclidian 'things' and is incompatible with the notion of 'coevolution' of the containing space with its material constituents as in the relativistic curved space-time. In our pool analogy, ... we could say that we cannot in any way develop equipment to manage the game-play in terms of ball transactions without destroying the information essential to shape management.

Zeus: These geometric relationships seem to point out the innate informational shortfall in trans-disciplinary 'expert-team' approach, as well, since the information we need to get to is the container-content coevolutional information which is ignored and dropped out from the very beginning in the euclidian 'thing-abstraction' approach of the expert. But if this is indeed the case, shouldn't we be seeing examples where experts are explaining things but it is obvious that their explanations are 'incomplete' and visibly inadequate?

Emile: We are seeing this inadequacy of the expert and it is becoming increasingly commonplace, ... that's why all the shift in focus towards the transdisciplinary to try to deal with rising complexity. For example, when an expert says, in the domain of mental health, that someone 'is a manic-depressive', or in the domain of drugs and addiction, that someone 'is an alcoholic'... the explicitness of the proposition seems to portray these things, 'manic-depressive', and 'alcoholic', as detached things 'in their own right' as was the treatment of the 'rose and violet', ... out of the context of their containing environment. By doing this, the expert excludes or denies the co-effect of the reciprocal, containing environment. But as the reciprocal containing environment becomes increasingly dysfunctional, there seems to be a related rise in 'manic depressive' and alcohol 'disorders' which in turn exert a decided influence on the containing environment.

Our response so far, has not involved our serious questioning of the innate shortfall in 'expert diagnoses', ... explicit propositions made out of the context of the reciprocal environment. Thus in the mental health and addiction realms, 'those canaries' which crater first from rising environmental pressures, are sent back into the cage 'numbed' by drugs, silencing the 'alarms' so to speak, so that the dysfunctional pressures in the container continue to mount, knocking out more and more robust canaries. But mental 'illness' is by no means a 'thing in its own right' as Breggin ('Toxic Psychiatry'), Laing and others have pointed out, it is a co-condition of the constituent and his containing environment, and informationally, as we have just shown, ... any and all expert 'explicatives' fall short of providing an understanding of mental illness, ... what is needed for an understanding, instead, is an elder-like 'illumination' of mental illness in the co-context or 'reciprocal context' of the containing environment, wherein, the expert view plays a subsidiary, supportive role. That is, the elder orchestrates an illumination of the containing environment which enables us to 'manage opportunity' (e.g. lower stress) firstly, which then provides the basis for bringing in 'experts' in a support role.

Zeus: So the shamans were right after all, ... in that the domain of the implicit is in a primacy over the explicit, ... the enveloping 'spirit' world is what is managing our lives.

Emile: Yes, in the sense that our understanding of 'the way the world works' is necessarily implicit and involves complex space-time phase information with both real and imaginary components. But because of the baggage which comes with 'spirit', we might want to use the term 'field' instead. Shamanic rites, Feng Shui and meditation and the like, are aimed at shifting one's perceptual patterns so that our implicit understanding of the world shifts in a way that feels right, .... feels as if the 'coresonance' between ourselves and our containing environment deepens or amplifies. This fits right in with the relavistic curved space effects we have been discussing, ... the difference is that it is not the Shamanic ritual or Feng Shui 'in its own right' which would be seen as the 'causal agent', but the 'tuning shift' it infuses which could influence the 'container- content- codynamic'. For example, if the pool player is in 'shots' mode, the informational base for his gameplay management is causal transactions, and there is no place for, or sensitivity to, relational pattern oriented techniques such as Shamanic ritual etc. But if the pool player is in 'shape' mode, ... the informational base for his gameplay management is the subtle relational patterns of the 'topography of opportunity' which he must 'tune in' to. The 'tuning of his antenna', if you like, is indeed sensitive to such things as meditation and ritual, so that these might become useful in 'unblocking him' or shifting his thought pattern. But in relativistic curved space-time, he is no longer in 'either/or' mode where he is exposed to drifting off into deep mysticism or re-incarcerating himself within the reductionist grid, ... instead, he is positioned to use any combination of implicit and explicit 'tools' amplify harmony in a 'whole-and-part' or container-content-codynamical context.

Opening the door to a strange collection of implicit antenna-tuning tools which were feared when these were presented as 'either/or' alternatives (e.g. either Shamanic ritual or Newtonian mechanics) need no longer be feared in the inclusionary realm of relativity where balance is referenced to whole-and-part harmony. The suggestion is not that we should abandon expert knowledge in favour of the implicit, .... simply that we should SUBORDINATE expert knowledge to the implicit, in the same manner as we subordinate 'shots' to 'shape' in pool. Flipping into this 'opportunity management' orientation is already the 'way' of exceptional teams, whether they be engineering, science, business, family teams or whatever. Putting 'opportunity management' into the primacy also characterizes the 'LETS' type of local currency initiatives, which inverts the typical 'shots' orientation of material transaction oriented currency accruing.

Zeus: If I boil all that Shamanic ritual and antenna-tuning down, what I think I heard you saying was that the notion of an 'explanation' is fundamentally limited because an 'explanation' is an explicit statement and explicit statements are based on the properties and behaviors of material 'things', whereas in relativistic curved space-time, the 'doer' which shapes the evolving topography of opportunity is not a 'thing' but is the 'containing environment' or 'field' (which some might intuit and refer to as 'halo-spirit' or whatever). This fundamental problem with information delivery, ... and with the story voice behind the delivery (the voice of a 'thing' or the voice of 'field'), to me, sounds like it might 'illuminate' what is going on in the current controversy over HIV and AIDS, where it is being argued by many researchers that HIV does not 'cause' AIDS.

Emile: I agree. If an expert tells you that you are 'infected' with an AIDS causing virus, 'HIV', this sounds very explicit and causally certain. But if we look at how 'HIV' and 'AIDS' have been abstracted as 'things' out of the containing environment, the whole situation starts to look a little blurrier, and we can begin to understand why reputable researchers including Nobel chemists are saying that AIDS is non-contagious.

First, let's look at the strength of the 'causality' contention. As Dr. Charles Thomas says; "HIV-AIDS connection have yet to offer any "genuine scientific proof " that the virus causes AIDS. . . . Any time scientists propose that a micro-organism causes a disease, it's incumbent upon them to come up with the proof that it does. So far they have failed to supply that proof," (From 'The Big Lie About AIDS' at http://duesberg.com/gnlie.html

Professor Duesberg says, in the same vein, in his article "The Culprit is Noncontagious Risk Factors", "WOULD you have believed in 1984 that AIDS was infectious if you had known that not even one of the health-care workers who have treated more than 401,000 American AIDS patients over the last 10 years contracted AIDS from a patient-despite the absence of an antiviral vaccine or effective drug? No infectious agent that is so difficult to transmit could survive as a microbe." Further to Duesberg's comment, in USA Today (January 14, 2000), ... it was reported that 45 percent of 703,000 cases of AIDS registered since 1981 occur within the high risk groups (male homosexual, intravenous drug users) which are a very small minority of the overall population. This, and much of the other evidence suggest some kind of higher level 'gating' of 'opportunity' for the AIDS syndrome.

While the causality was initially inferred indirectly, by the statistical presence of HIV and HIV antibodies in people who developed AIDS symptoms, it is not present in all cases of what is being called AIDS, which implies that HIV is not a cause or that there are 'other causes' as well. In addition, HIV-positive individuals who are doing nothing about it apart from maintaining a healthy lifestyle, are not coming down with AIDS.

Not only are there blurry notions for the definition of AIDS (a collection of roughly 30 symptoms or diseases), and the causal linkage, but according to the definition of the Centers of Disease Control (CDC), classical AIDS is the consequence of infection with HIV in association with continuous excessive stress, such as is observed in the known high-risk groups. In other words, ... psychosomatic conditions are incorporated into the causality declaration (and prophylaxis is shifting towards the lowering of stress). When haemophiliacs were told they were HIV-positive (infected with the AIDS virus), the death rate from AIDS rose massively (several hundred percent in the following year) even though the 'gestation' period for AIDS can be up to 12 years or more, prompting some doctors to say that 'the DIAGNOSIS itself was what was killing people'. In other words, there appears to be some container-constituent-coevolutional effect.

From an informational view, according to modern biochemical research, the neural, endocrine and immune systems are all part of a 'psychosomatic' information network which does not stop at the 'skin' but which links into the containing environment. And as we know, the material boundary of the body cannot be discretely specified (only approximated) since there is a continual exchange of matter going on between the body and the containing environment. This again supports the precedential value of the 'illuminatory informationalizing' of the 'medical elder' over the 'explicatory informationalizing' of the medical expert.

What is certain from the observations is that X is not a necessary and sufficient condition for Y, ... where X is HIV and Y is AIDS. In many cases of Y, X is not even a necessary condition. To add to the confusion, the container Z, in which X and Y are constituents, cannot be explicitly differentiated from X and Y.

In this confusion, ... where the experts are divided, ... there is a contention that the definition of AIDS is political and economic rather than scientific; i.e.

"Dr. Thomas believes that the definition of AIDS has been expanded to generate more funding for AIDS-related diseases. "When you watch where the money flows," he says, "you can see why the definition was expanded. If you are diagnosed with AIDS, your medical bills are picked up by the Ryan White bill, which supplies $150 million to AIDS treatment and education. Most of the people getting AIDS were males, and females felt left out, so they applied very great pressure in order to open up the definition of AIDS to include women. As a result, they added cervical dysplasia to the definition, and HIV-positive women with cervical dysplasia are now allowed to have their bills picked up. The whole thing stinks." Dr. Thomas concludes, "I often wonder what would happen if all federal money for AIDS - education, research, treatment, and so forth - was suddenly turned off, instantaneously dropped to zero. It's my belief that AIDS would go away. In other words, the AIDS diseases that we see today would be reassigned to their former categories - pneumocystis carinii pneumonia, Kaposi's sarcoma, and the other 25 or so different diseases, now including cervical dysplasia and so forth. Any individual who died of these various causes would add to the statistics in each of these individual categories and would disappear in the profile of mortality of normal disease. AIDS has been a disease of definition. If we said that it didn't exist and didn't pay for it with taxpayers' money, it would disappear in the background of normal mortality."

Zeus: What you seem to be suggesting is that because we have not yet assimilated relativity in our mainstream science approach, our confusion over HIV and AIDS emanates from our inadequate euclidian space and linear time perception and inquiry tools.

Emile: That's certainly the way it looks to me. Meanwhile, the medical establishment continues to cling to the euclidian notion of causality, an innately incomplete view of complex systems, as we have just discussed. While it is clear that the 'elder's illuminatory informationalizing' approach can deliver an understanding of complex phenomena which goes far beyond any understanding which can be delivered by the 'expert's explicative informationalizing' approach, ... mainstream medical science is just not ready to go beyond the euclidian causal notion of 'expert explanations'. But it also seems clear that Professor Duesberg, one of the prime critics of the 'HIV causes AIDS' contention, is basing his criticism on an 'interference' type of assessment of the phenomenon, which is more akin to the 'elder's illumination'.

Zeus: It seems like there is a growing recognition of the inadequacy of 'expert language' for the type of relativistic visualization demanded in complex systems inquiry. When "[Professor Stephen] Jonas concludes that when the average healthy person is infected with HIV, he or she is highly unlikely to develop AIDS in the absence of cofactors." and when we know that one of the most important cofactors is stress which emanates from the containing environment, we come back to this innate relativistic blurriness between the constituent (patient) and his reciprocal disposition (containing environment), ... a blurriness or whole-and-part connectivity between consciousness and material well-being, ... between mind and matter.

Emile: Roger on that Zeus, ... and our western culture does not like to 'let go' of 'bottom-line' explicate simplicity. That's why most doctors continue to 'go with' the notion of HIV 'causing' AIDS in spite of the convincing curved-space evidence which shows this up as a seriously incomplete view. There is deep disagreement with the HIV - AIDS causality notion coming from doctors who are looking at the 'illuminated' 'relational' picture. Underscoring this is a case where a doctor with 'skin in the game', Dr. David Berner, a physician and a haemophiliac, who was 'infected' with HIV ten years ago, refused to take AZT, and remains healthy today. "Despite my continuing excellent health for a 69 years old - I do a lot of hiking and mountaineering in the wilderness - I have still been pressured by well-meaning clinicians to start AZT 'before it's too late.' I think it's very difficult for these people to admit that they're either partially or completely wrong."

Zeus: It seems like our culture is going to have to follow in the footsteps of Native American initiatives such as that described by Taiaiake Alfred in 'Peace, Power and Righteousness' and restore the tradition of the 'illuminatory' elder, putting the elders back into a primacy over the experts. We can't afford to continue to futilely look for 'solutions' to rising dysfunction where they don't exist, ... in the explicative, euclidian commentaries of 'experts'.

Emile: Indeed, but 'futility' may be too weak a word here since it's the 'expert solutions' which are removed from the context of their self-induced reciprocal effects which are sourcing the dysfunction we are trying to resolve with more 'expert solutions'.

Zeus: Don't get explicative on me now, Emile, ... it's getting late. Couldn't you perhaps shed a little non-editorializing light on the situation to close out this runaway note?

Emile: Touchee, Zeus, ... how about;

. . . . . . elders are red,

. . . . . . whitemen are blue,

. . . . . . by sharing our thoughts,

. . . . . . we can all pull through.

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