Suspension of Judgement is the 'Judgement' in Métis Council Proceeding

Montréal, May 14, 2000

MONTREAL (5/14/00) Story by Emile (IPI)-- Métis Elder, Jacques Poincaré, in a decision expected to have major, continuing repercussions in the region, 'suspended' the Supreme Court of Canada judgement which recently found in favour of 'Pureline Skis Incorporated' and dismissed the claims of the relatives of Jean-Pierre Gosselin. Gosselin was killed in an avalanche on February 2, 1999 while participating in a research program conducted by Pureline. Purelin denied all liability for the accident.

Poincaré presides over the Métis and Indigenous Peoples Council which has no formal authority within the regulatory structures of the Canadian legal establishment, however, the Council's findings are proving to be increasing influential amongst those who question the adequacy of what the indigenous peoples refer to as the western 'colonial' system of justice.

"People have grown tired of laws and ethics protecting those whose actions exploit 'incompleteness' in such law and ethics with respect to the responsibility of individuals and organizations to cultivate and sustain harmony in the enveloping community and environment, ... laws and ethics which are grounded in the incomplete, scientific notion of 'cause', ... a simplistic notion which ignores how our actions, the actions of the individual and the organization, induce reciprocal change in the enveloping environment," said Council Elder Jacques Poincaré.

The analogy between social legislation and jurisprudence, on the one hand, and physical laws and scientific approaches, on the other, provided the backbone of the 'sharing' in the Métis and Indigenous Peoples Council proceeding which led to their 'overruling; of the Court's decision.

Bill Blake, Council spokesman for the relatives of Jean-Pierre Gosselin, commenting on the 'colonial' justice system underpinning the Supreme Court decision, observed; "We've been 'playing a game' whose rules punish those who expose the holes in the game rules. The western system of justice, which focuses almost exclusively on 'what is done' and ignores 'what is not done', is exposed to 'incompleteness' in the same manner as the Newtonian system of 'laws of nature'. But we all know, by common sense if not by modern systems thinking, that any kinetic action changes the landscape or 'potential field configuration' of the space which envelopes that action, ... it changes the 'dynamical equilibrium' which constitutes the 'possibility space' for kinetics, ... and for natural justice or 'balance' to occur, such kinetically-induced change in the natural or social landscape, ... the 'condition of social possibility space', cannot be ignored and left to flap in the breeze, as is the current approach of western law and science, ... without a heavy price to pay in terms of induced dissonance"

Much colour was brought to the Council proceedings by the fact that both Poincaré and Blake are the descendents of celebrated historical figures (Jules Henri Poincaré (1854 - 1912), mathematician, physicist, and philosopher of science, and William Blake (1757 - 1827), poet, artist, and social philosopher), and both Council members quoted widely from the respective works of their distinguished ancestors.

While the Supreme Court had accepted Pureline's argument, and that of their Insurance broker, that the avalanche was 'an act of God', ... the Métis Council found otherwise. Blake's testimony was persuasive in this aspect of the proceedings, as the following excerpt from the Counsel transcripts allows;

"Because the colonizing culture worships at the altar of science and rationality, they have chosen to split apart that which is 'caused by God' and that which is caused by God's animal, vegetable or mineral agents on earth. History shows that while western science and religion are intertwined, science has been credited with the ability to explain progressively more complex phenomena in 'causal' terms and to reduce the frequency with which 'acts of God' need be invoked in matters of science and law, suggesting that the split between the domains may have been arbitrarily defined.

The facts in the case are, that on February 2, 2000, ... Jean-Pierre Gosselin was making his fifth run across a heavily snowladen mountain slope in the Laurentians, ... the nineteenth run made that morning, by the team of five researchers from Pureline whose skis had been fitted with instruments to record physical interactions of the new prototype with fresh-fallen snow, when the avalanche was triggered. It was placed on record in the original court proceedings that a similar occurrence had come to pass during research undertaken by Pureline's Swiss affiliate, on the ski slopes of Davos though all members of research team escaped injury.

Blake suggested that common sense would say that the avalanche was induced by the research program managed by Pureline, ... by the actions of the skiers as they monitored the interactions of the skis in a 'live' containing environment. The Counsel for Pureline presented the opposing view that the avalanches were 'acts of God' because of their innate 'unpredictability'. The implication emerging from the dialogue seemed to be that 'what is unpredictable' is 'binned' into the 'acts of God' category while 'what is predictable' provides the basis for scientifically supportable 'cause'."

Blake continued to probe Pureline's defensive argument that there 'was no causal link' between the research and the avalanche which caused the death of Jean-Pierre Gosselin. When Blake inquired as to why the recordings for the 'run' which triggered the avalanche in the Swiss portion of the research were not captured and retained on the scientific dataset, ... scientific experts pointed out that such data as departed radically from the normal pattern was deemed 'noise', as opposed to 'signal'. When the expert was asked to share his definition of 'noise', ... he replied that 'noise' was 'unwanted signal', ... signal which could not be explained by the existing theoretical base. Blake noted for the record, that science had historically avoided the 'non-linearities' of phenomena in nature, opting to study and formulate laws based on simplified, linear approximations to the real phenomena, thus opening up a gaping hole or incompleteness between scientific formulations based on 'cause' and the way in which natural phenomena 'really worked'. Blake described, in a historical context, how the complex aspects of natural phenomena had been split off and attributed to 'acts of God' through a poetic deification of nature, citing from William Blake's 'Marriage of Heaven and Hell';

The ancient Poets animated all sensible objects with Gods or
Geniuses, calling them by the names and adorning them with the
properties of woods, rivers, mountains, lakes, cities, nations,
and whatever their enlarged & numerous senses could perceive.
And particularly they studied the genius of each city &
country. placing it under its mental deity.
Till a system was formed, which some took advantage of &
enslavÆd the vulgar by attempting to realise or abstract the
mental deities from their objects; thus began Priesthood.
Choosing forms of worship from Poetic tales.
And at length they announced that the Gods had ordered such
Thus men forgot that All deities reside in the human breast.

Plate 14, from "The Marriage of Heaven and Hell"

William Blake (1757-1827)

The counsel for Pureline countered Blake's remarks with the observation that, whatever the historical origin of the separation of 'material cause' from 'immaterial cause', ... there was no scientific basis for ascribing 'material cause' to irregular and unpredictable events such as an avalanche, while there was sound precedence in law for associating avalanches with 'an act of God'. Pureline's counsel cited the legal definition of an 'Act of God' as;

"Manifestation of the forces of nature which are unpredictable and difficult to anticipate; 'the result of the direct, immediate and exclusive operation of the forces of nature, uncontrolled or uninfluenced by the power of man and without human intervention, [which] is of such character that it could not have been prevented or avoided by foresight or prudence. .. Proof that an Act of God is the sole or proximate 'cause' of injury is an 'affirmation defense' to an action for 'negligence'."

Blake pointed out that the laws governing 'Acts of God' were based on the 'law of impossibility', ... on the principle that 'the actor lacks the capacity to commit the crime in question', and invited an expert witness to share his views on the implications of the findings of the science of 'self-organized criticality'. The point was then made that a single grain of sand, added to the crest of a sandpile which is at the critical angle of repose, will trigger ('cause') an avalanche although the timing and the size of the avalanche are not explicitly predictable, ... since the potential field configuration (relational interference pattern) which keeps the 'sand-scape' in a form-preserving equilibrium, is invisible.

Poincaré intervened at this point, to note that there seemed to be 'two sciences' being discussed, ... the standard science of material cause, a science of exclusion which excluded and treated as 'noise' all phenomenal 'datapoints' which could not be generalized and predicted, ... and another science, the science of 'complexity' which considered not only the actions of the kinetic agent, but also how those actions reciprocally changed the landscape of possibilities in which they occurred and by so doing, changing the flow patterns of kinetic activity in an unpredictable way. Poincaré, in the manner of his distinguished family predecessor, suggested that it was apparent to our senses that space was not homogeneous, and that the same action in different places gives rise to different transformations of our containing landscape, ... that the exploding of an atomic bomb over Hiroshima was not the same as exploding it in the Nevada desert, neither in its immediate effect, nor in its long term transformational effect on the containing environment, ... and that that the sciences of predictable phenomena which relied upon the homogeneity of space, ... and the sciences of non-predictable phenomena seen as emanating from co-dynamical interference patterns or 'equilibria' in a non-homogeneous space must be jointly invoked in order to open the door to an understanding of the 'way the world works'.

Jacques Poincaré, in citing from Henri Poincaré's 'Science and Method' in this regard; i.e. "a finite space is not homogeneous ; the diverse points of this space cannot be considered as equivalent, for some points cannot be reached without great effort while other points can be easily reached.", observed that the persisting forms or 'landscape' of space emanates from a multi-dynamical equilibrium amongst the diverse constituents of space. Thus, material-causal action at any point in space, involves a unique and reciprocal transformative effect on its containing space seen in terms of a dynamical equilibrium, ... that such reciprocal transformative effect on the containing landscape associates with every kinetic action, ... thus the full and actual effect of the action of a kinetic agent is a function of its position in a non-homogeneous space. The implication for us, the human kinetic agents in this world, according to Poincaré, ... was that we must assume responsibility for the reciprocal transformation we induce in our multi-dynamical equilibrium based containing environment.

Bill Blake further reinforced Poincaré's commentary, by citing once again from William Blake, on the subject of the complexity and interconnected unity in nature;

"To see a world in a grain of sand
And a heaven in a wild flower,
Hold infinity in the palm of your hand
And eternity in an hour."

Blake observed how William Blake had long ago put his finger on the ills of bivalent, 'black-and-white' generalizations associated with homogeneous space-based perception and inquiry, ... ills arising from the perception that 'things' and their actions are independent of their unique positioning within their containing space, ... a perception which is the flip side of having to generalize 'things' in terms of their homogeneous properties and behaviors, ... a perceptional approach which can lead to a degenerate 'God notion';

"Both read the Bible day and night,
But thou read'st black where I read white."

"To generalize is to be an idiot. To particularize is the alone distinction of merit knowledges are those knowledges that idiots possess."

"Then old Nobodaddy aloft
Farted and belched and coughed,
And said, "I love hanging and drawing and quartering
Every bit as well as war and slaughtering."

Blake made the point that the controlled experimental replication involved in scientific theory validation, ... was for the purpose of falsifying the environment 'seen' by the experiment, .... putting an artificial shell around the experiment which feigned the homogeneity of space so as to assure replication of the experimental results which were themselves based on laws assuming the homogeneity of space. Blake cited Russell Ackoff (systems theorist) in regard to the 'incompleteness' of generalization- based physical laws whose validation depended on observing phenomena in 'isolation' from environmental 'interference' (as well as on ignoring those environmental interference effects which made results deviate amongst themselves in such a manner as to preclude their being fitted to the needed theoretical curves);

"Another important consequence of the commitment to causal thinking derives from the acceptance of a cause as sufficient for its effect. Because of this a cause was [is] taken to explain its effect completely . Nothing else was required to explain it, not even the environment . Therefore, Machine-Age thinking was [is], to a large extent, environment-free , it tried to develop understanding of natural phenomena without using the concept of environment. For example, what does the word 'freely' in the familiar 'Law of Freely Falling Bodies' mean? It means a body falling in the absence of any environmental influences. The apparent universality of such laws (and there were [are] many) does not derive from their applicability to every environment for, strictly speaking, they apply to none; it derives from the fact that they apply approximately to most environments that we experience.

Perhaps even more revealing of the environment-free orientation of Machine-Age science is the nature of the place in which its inquiry was usually conduced, the laboratory . A laboratory is a place so constructed as to facilitate exclusion of the environment. It is a place in which the effect of one variable on another can be studied without the intervention of the environment."

Blake followed this 'systems science' perspective on causality by recounting how Pureline had previously conducted experiments on their skis under controlled laboratory conditions, ... a simulated homogenous space environment, ... but had since chosen to shift their experiments to the ski slopes to capture film footage for advertising programs. Blake noted that while standard science was reductionist and described phenomena in terms AS IF the phenomena were occurring within a homogenous space, ... the new sciences of complexity, such as the science of 'self-organized criticality' the general theory of relativity, and quantum theory, allowed for non-homogeneous space assumptions.

Blake noted that the historical evolution of the notion of 'cause' was one which evolved from pure subjectivity to pure objectivity to 'meta-cause' or 'circular causality' which transcended the two. Blake shared with the Council, Gerhard Grössing's accounting of how the general theory of relativity and quantum theory spoke to this broader, implicit view of 'cause'.

Gerhard, a physicist with the Austrian Institute for Nonlinear Studies, ... a group of three independent researchers, was cited from his study entitled; 'Die Information der Physik: Subjektal und Objektal' (, which suggests, as Einstein had, that there can be no path to general theory of relativity effects from models formulated in terms of 'homogeneous space' (euclidian space). In other words, relativity and quantum theory require an innate reciprocal connection between any 'material object' and its unique positioning within the potential field configuration of its containing space. As Gerhard put it;

"Mach and Einstein pointed out the assymmetry in Newton's physics: while space and time effected matter, ... the reverse was not true. The special theory of relativity succeeded in taking the first step towards integration of this reversal in the description of natural phenonemena: measurements for space and time are no longer absolute, but dependent upon the 'point of view' of the observer, and therefore on [dependent upon] a reference system bound to the presence of matter.

In the general theory of relativity, this [material] presence at last becomes the central theme. The logic of evolution (i.e.; symmetry - asymmetry - integration = meta-symmetry, and so on) also characterizes the development of our understanding of nature (i) subjective schema in Aristotelian physics and alchemy [the view of Protagorus]; (ii) asymmetry between space and time on the one hand, and matter on the other in Newtonian physics; (iii) Integration by means of RECIPROCAL influencing of space-time and matter in the general theory of relativity.

The way is opened, with the development of the causality concept in describing natural phenomena, which leads to the notion of integrative, circular co-dependency, not only in the general theory of relativity but also in the quantum theory; (i) subjective 'explanation' through the personification of nature (mother, spirits, god etc.); (ii) 'linear' objective description of nature (for example, observer-independent planetary orbits in Newtonian physics); (iii) circular, 'wholenesslike' causality (for example the connection between space-time and matter in the general theory of relativity)

Only with circular causality does an essential characteristic of quantum theory become understandable: now we can no longer (in the metaphorically extended sense of 'linear') describe an 'object', unless we put the hermeneutical circle between 'object' and 'observational instrument' in the center of our awareness (whereby the detached independence of these two components shall be understood merely as a thought-prop)."

Blake and Poincaré, in the Council sharing sessions, with the support of modern science principles, seemed to draw together an assemblage of views whose connecting relationships 'spoke for themselves', ... and in doing so, undermined the notion of Pureline's defense based on the 'law of impossibility' and 'act of God'. The imagery became one of connectedness rather than 'out of the blue' emergence, ... emanating from the science-supported reciprocity between the kinetics of material objects, and the induced transformation of their containing landscape, ... a circularly causal relationship as opposed to the 'linear causality' of reductionist science. That such causality is 'multivalent' and portrays engagements of objects with the environment in terms of multi-dynamical equilibria rather than being constituted by bivalent engagement seen as a sequential 'tree' of subject-object interactions, ... was accepted by those in attendance at the Council proceedings as being consistent with common experience, while the latter bivalent view was seen as being radically incomplete and abstract.

Blake suggested that while colonial law was also 'incomplete' with respect to its 'grounding' in natural phenomenology, the 'conspiracy law' in the western tradition afforded a more appropriate vehicle for dealing with the case, ... a law wherein multiple agents accomplish an injurious result by 'concerted action'. Prosecution is allowable in such cases, even though some of the conspirators may be unavailable for prosecution.

Blake summarized his views on the dispute between the relatives of Jean-Pierre Gosselin and Pureline Skis Incorporated, as follows;

"It has been suggested by Pureline, and upheld by the Supreme Court of Canada, the prevailing colonial law in the region, ... that Jean-Pierre Gosselin's death was the result of 'an act of God', .. the result of a 'natural event', the occurrence of which would have been impossible for Pureline to prevent.

In the justice of the indigenous traditions, however, and in the views of scientists versed in relativity and quantum theory, the acts of nature and of man are inseparable, since man is an immersed constituent-participant in nature. We cannot therefore split apart the 'acts of God' and the 'acts of man', ... but must consider the 'acts of man' to be 'interferences' in the multi-dynamical equilibria constituted by man's containing, natural environment, an inner-outer harmony-seeking 'ether' characterizable in terms of 'the Creator' or the 'God in nature'. The constraining material-causal foundations of colonial law too often speak only to explicit cause and not to conspiratorial interference in the multidynamics of our containing environment, ... conspiracy which induces dissonance and dysfunction in our society and in the natural equilbria constituting our environment.

We have heard talk here of 'probability' in a sense which preserves the bivalent, 'homogeneous' view of space and material objects. Probability and statistics are the great 'laundering' machine of western reductionism, ... they convert the essential multvalent harmony and ambiguity of life into 'explicit facts', .... facts which mark the point at which investigations cease, ... and facts which fill in the holes as to 'where they came from' with the notion of an 'Act of God', ... the notion of 'God playing dice'. Probability is the synthetic device which isolates 'causal behaviours' from their innate inter-connectness within a multi-dynamical equilibrium. For example, as the rate of schizophrenic and bipolar disorder rises, ... science attributes this to 'genetic cause', out of the context of the inductive influence of environment on behaviour, ... science attributes the emergent behaviour of schizophrenia to 'material cause', ... and so we accept the emergent behaviour as being 'God's act', ... a 'probability' which is beyond the reach of our influence, ... and in this imagery of our being 'on the receiving end of God's dice game' instead of our being participants in the evolution of our own containing environment, ... we do nothing to cultivate a return to the natural harmony- based codynamics of environment.

The traditions and system of justice of indigenous peoples see nature as a multidynamical equilibrium based containing context, ... a 'web-of-life' in which we are but single strands, ... in which dysfunction is seen as dissonance which must be overcome by a restoring of multidynamical equilibrium, ... by cultivating harmony.

By contrast, the traditions and systems of justice of the west see nature as a mechanical cause-and-effect construction, ... in which dysfunction is reified as 'a problem', ... as the 'effect' of a defective component, ... a system within which 'healing' does not mean 'making whole', ... but instead, implies the need to eliminate the 'defective thing' responsible for the dissonant behaviour.

The Court, in upholding the argument of Pureline, that the avalanche was 'an act of God', ... an improbable emergent event impossible for Pureline to prevent, is a judgement which is rooted in reductionist science, a particular type of science. It is a judgement which reinforces the notion that 'things just happen', that those who die from respiratory effects when car exhaust pollution reaches 'red' levels, or those who die from starvation in underdeveloped and over-exploited nations, die because they are chosen to die as a result of 'God playing dice'. It is a judgement which reinforces the notion that there is no such thing as a 'web-of-life' within which we are one of many multi-dynamical participants who jointly create our common containing 'possibility space', ... our 'opportunity landscape', ... and which instead suggests that nature is a homogeneous space populated by independent 'things' whose causal interactions, modulated by 'the dice game in the sky' are responsible for the world as we know it.

We feel that the Supreme Court has looked to only one science, .... a reductionist, euclidian science which is consistent within itself, but radically incomplete. There are other 'sciences', such as relativity and quantum theory which suggest that things and their kinetics are reciprocally associated with their containing environment, ...that there 'IS' a web-of-life in which we are co-participants, ... a web which our every move helps to shake, ... as if walking with others along a rope suspension bridge, ... needing to coordinate our motions so as to induce a codynamical balance. If there were only one person at a time crossing the bridge, this relativistic science would reduce to reductionist science, ... but the general case is NOT the bivalency case, ... it is the case where there are many simultaneous interdependencies in the 'web-of-life', ... and there is a question of the responsibility and consciousness of the individual, ... whether he moves so as to elicit a whole-and-part codynamic, or whether he moves so as to de-stabilize the codynamic.

In summary, in assessing the justness of the Court's decision, I would share with the Council my view that there are two sciences which may be used to guide us on the issue of the Jean-Pierre Gosselin's death-by-avalanche and Pureline's role in it; ... one science which ignores matter-space reciprocity and which seeks validation of its ideas by predictable replication, ... validation which is unavailable in free-ranging nature and only achievable in the synthetic homogeneous space of controlled laboratory conditions. The other science is one which assumes matter-space reciprocity and which does not seek validation of its ideas by replication since it takes into account the always-unique contextual conditions which reciprocally envelope individual instances of what are deemed to be 'repeatible' phenomena. This other science visualizes nature in terms of a codynamic in which the containing space 'takes shape' through the interfering codynamics of all its constituents."

Blake also, in his summary, agreed with Pureline's Counsel that one could not refute the traditional scientific theory which was the underpinning of modern research and 'impossibility law', ... but suggesting instead that both sciences (reductionist and relativistic) held true in their own domains, and cited Henri Poincaré in terms of 'which' theory to use, as follows;

"It is not enough for a theory not to affirm false relations ; it must not conceal true relations"

Blake added to this key thought on the inclusive utility of theory, as he closed the loop in his 'sharing session', by citing Einstein in that the theory of relativity respected all of the relationships given by prior mechanical theory, and went beyond these, ... exposing true relations arising from space-matter reciprocity which were hidden by mechanical explanations, ... thus, in Einstein's words, "It [the theory of relativity] forces us to analyze the role played by geometry in the description of the physical world."

An abbreviated version of Jacques Poincaré's summary of his understanding from the sharing session follows, giving the grounds for the Métis and Indigenous Peoples Council's overturning of the Canadian Supreme Court decision in the Jean-Pierre Gosselin affair. Poincaré's summary also provides a juxtaposed view of relativistic science and the indigenous peoples' traditions of 'managing opportunity' versus reductionist science and the western peoples' tradition of 'managing things', and similarly, the respective traditions of justice based on the restoral of harmonic balance in an 'enveloping 'web-of-life' context, versus justice based on 'material cause' which depends upon 'problem' definition and the elimination of 'problem cause'.

While Poincaré's summary implies responsibility of Pureline for the avalanche, and thus for Gosselin's death, ... it represents at the same time, ... an advocacy for the suspension of judgement in a 'good' or 'bad' causative sense, ... an advocacy of 'intolerance of intolerance' where the 'relativistic intolerance' of the first part implies intervention to restore natural equilibrium without resorting to the 'absolutist intolerance' of 'good' or 'bad' judgement and 'elimination of cause'. Poincaré's message is that social regulation and the system of justice must, on a first priority, seek always to open up opportunity for all constituents in nature and 'community- immersed- in-nature'. The Supreme Court judgement, in choosing to be guided by the 'law of impossibility', had opted for 'absolutist judgement' which was dependent on the establishment of 'material cause', ... a judicial approach which chooses to remain blind to the induced, circular causality of relativity, ... a causality associated with either destabilization or cultivation of multi-dynamical harmony which, by all evidence, is the general case in nature.


Abridged Version of Jacques Poincaré's summarizing remarks on the overturning of the Supreme Court judgement in the case of Jean-Pierre Gosselin and Pureline Skis Inc., by the Métis and Indigenous Peoples Council

"We came to listen to the relatives of Jean-Pierre Gosselin who continue to grieve over his death and over the failure of colonial law to recognize the responsibility of his employer, Pureline Skis, in his death. We have shared many thoughts over the past few days and have reflected on them quietly and in the context of our life experience. I would now like to share my impressions of the imagery which forms out of our sharing.

What we know from our common and collective experience is that avalanches are not 'random', ... we know, as Spinoza has also said; "Nothing in Nature is random. ... A thing appears random only through the incompleteness of our knowledge.'' Therefore it is important for us to resist being mesmerized into helpless by this notion of 'randomness' associated with unpredictability, ... the notion that emergent events are determined by a 'God who plays dice' which denies our involvement in such events.

What seems more consistent with our natural experience is that the ever-transforming shape of our sublunary containing sphere is jointly and reciprocally achieved by the interactions of its constituents, ... that nature has a 'web-of-life'character, and it is up to each of us, as human constituents, and as members of organizational constituents of our containing space, to assume our responsibility for our participatory role in the evolution of our containing landscape. This is what is meant within our ancient traditions by 'being a strand in the web-of-life'.

The judgement of the Court is a simple-minded judgement which induces dissonance and dysfunction by encouraging us to think that we, as individuals and as organizations, are non-participants in the evolution of our containing space, ... that the unpredictable events which emerge from our environment are 'Acts of God', ... which are impossible for us to influence, ... that we are 'not responsible', ... that only those agents that can be shown to connect predictably to events via direct and explicit causal influence are 'responsible'.

But we know that the world is not in stasis, but in a continuing evolutionary dynamic,... a multifactorial-dynamic in which a multitude of diverse constituents with reciprocal co-dependencies pursue a multitude of purposes born of diverse realities, ... realities shaped by 'place', ... by the unique positioning of things within the landscape of possibility presented to us by our containing Nature. Our actions are not in 'their own right', ... when we push forward in our pursuit of purpose, the ground upon which we stand and push forms out of our pushing along with that of other constituents of our containing space, ... ground which we change at the same time as we push, ... in the same manner that the sandgrain transforms the dune-scape by its movement.

The same geometry seems to hold true in the field of ideas as in the field of physical actions, ... our movements of mind transform the shape of opportunity accessible to our fellow constituents of space. It is important for us to assume responsibility for the shape of space, ... so that opportunity is cultivated for all constituents in the dual domains of ideas and actions. As Voltaire said;

"Je désapprouve ce que vous dites, mais je me battrai jusqu'à la mort pour que vous ayez le droit de le dire" --- "I disagree with what you say, but I would give my life to preserve your right to say it."

This philosophy of Voltaire's is worth remembering in our disagreement with the ideas of the Supreme Court Judges in the case of Jean-Pierre Gosselin. To be consistent with our 'web-of-life' view, we must be steadfastly 'intolerant of intolerance'. That is, we must resist the intolerance which comes from the courts or anywhere else in our containing space which emanates from the simplistic bivalent generalization of 'good' or 'bad', ... 'right' or 'wrong', ... an 'incomplete' notion which rests upon our perceiving of space as homogenous and euclidian, ... which has us divorce ourselves and our actions from our participative role in the unpredictable aspects of evolution of our containing environment.

But to resist by attacking ideas and actions which we perceive as 'being wrong' would be the same type of intolerance as that which we would be resisting and put us in contradiction of ourselves. We can, however, resist and be intolerant of 'black-and-white' judgemental intolerance without resort to bivalent judgement. We do not need to impose 'black-and-white' judgement on the bear that spoils the harmony in our camp in his pursuit of purpose, ... and our committed actions in restoring harmony and balance do not depend upon such 'judgement', nor on the definition of 'problem' nor on a 'plan of action' to eliminate the cause of the dissonance. The reifying of dissonance in terms of a problem whose causal agencies must be eliminated takes our thoughts and energies away from the natural primacy of focus on cultivating harmony, ... away from participating in a codynamical dance with our fellow constituents who jointly configure and comprise our containing space.

In order to cultivate harmony we must suspend black-and-white judgement and the 'managing of actions' as a primary means of satisfying our needs, ... we must turn our backs to dissonance-infusing ideas and regulatory controls, ... and, instead, engage our energies in the opening up of opportunity for all constituents to participate in the evolving of our containing landscape, ... friend and foe alike. Such a philosophy is not Utopianism, and 'friend' and 'foe' are not homogeneous things, ... there is, at the same time, a potential 'foe' in every 'friend' and a potential 'friend' in every 'foe', ... only by suppressing bivalent judgement, which reifies and sustains conflict, ... can we cultivate and sustain a continuing multi-constituent dynamical harmony.

Right now, our schools, management practices and our regulatory processes are built upon the incomplete science of bivalent judgement and homogenous space. Out of this incomplete perception forms a society of exclusion and problem-orientation, ... a society which has each individual and organization thinking in terms of 'managing causal actions' out of the context of the reciprocal effect of such actions in the induced evolutionary transformation of the containing landscape of possibility. The rock which rolls down the mountain is, at the same time, the mountain, ... the explicit constituent of space is, at the same time, its own implicit contextual landscape. The rock's movement will open up opportunity for seeds which were buried beneath it to feel the sun's warmth and begin to grow, ... the water flowing in the stream now constrained by the rock's new presence may overflow its banks and interfere with the realities in a nearby village. The rock's 'place', its unique suite of relationships with the realities of its enveloping world, is part of the non-homogeneous configuration of space.

God does not 'play dice', ... God 'is the game' and 'Nature' is its name, ... and we are its immersed constituents and participants, ... features of the whole whose actions reciprocally bear on the evolution of our containing whole.

We cannot tolerate the bivalent judgements of a colonial government which says, in effect, that we have no responsibility for environmental phenomena which are 'unpredictable', ... that the unpredictable phenomena are the 'random acts of a God who plays dice' and have now't to do with us. What 'is' predictable is that our continued denial of all responsibility for the unpredictable is inducing great dissonance and dysfunction in our containing environment.

We are beginning to speak of our responsibility for 'global warming' and there are lessons in this which can inform us on our response to the Supreme Court judgement. To say that 'we have caused' global warming is an incomplete perspective. We cannot 'cause' something which is in itself constituted by an unpredictable co-dynamical equilibrium; i.e. the weather. We can speak of 'global warming' only in the sense of a destabilization of the equilibrium, ... a destabilization which seems to be responsible for global warming and global cooling at the same time, ... a circular instability.

But if we determine to 'correct' the 'global warming problem' by eliminating those behaviors which we suppose are 'causing it', ... then we are infusing the same type of black-and-white thinking based dissonance into our containing environment as led to the de-stabilization. If we instead recognize that our environmental container is a living container in multi-dynamical equilibrium, ... our actions will then be guided by a sense of container-constituent-coresonance, rather than anthropic control.

The same geometry applies to the Court's decision, ... in this case, a decision which induces dissonance in our containing environment by suggesting that we need only be responsible for our material-causal effects and that we are not responsible for the transformation of our containing environment reciprocally induced by our actions. To label the court's decision as 'wrong' and direct our energies in opposition against it would be the equivalent of trying to 'eliminate' global warming, ... it would put us in contradiction with our own opinion that the overall system behaviour emerges not from 'material cause', but from multi-dynamical interference effects. Such a system cannot be restored to a desired state by eliminating specific cause, but instead, must be restored to its natural balance by cultivating opportunity for the diverse constituents of the environment. By cultivating opportunity for the diverse constituents comprising our environment, we can induce harmonious system behaviours, and suppress the cancerous dissonance we induce through the imposition of imperialist controls.

Thus my understanding of what we have shared in our circle, is that we must invite our people and our friends to join us in turning our backs on the Court's decision and all of its controlling and empowering implications, ... 'suspending our judgement' of the 'right' or 'wrong' of the Court's action and instead refocusing our energies on cultivating opportunity in our community in an inclusionary sense, ... in a sense which includes those who have induced dissonance through their actions and judgements, such as those who direct the actions of Pureline and the Supreme Court, ... but in a sense which in no way supports dissonance-inducing actions, yet deals with dissonance in the same firm but respectful way as with the bear who disturbs the harmony of our camp.

* * *

[1] Barry Mehler has documented the trend towards the visualization of emergent behaviours in over-simplistic material-causal terms, ... a visualization which underpins a substantial scientific and social effort funded by public taxes and advocated and managed by respected scientific agencies (;

"THE "VIOLENCE INITIATIVE" America's top scientific funding agencies for health and science research are spending millions of tax dollars on research that seeks to control violence through genetic engineering and drugs. In 1992, for example, the National Academy of Sciences and the National Research Council issued a 400 page report titled "Understanding and Preventing Violence." Funded in part by the Centers for Disease Control, the U.S. Justice Department, and the National Science Foundation, the report called for more attention to "biological and genetic factors in violent crime." In particular it called for more research on "new pharmaceuticals that reduce violent behavior," and it asked researchers to determine whether male or black persons have a higher potential for violence, and if so, why? At the same time, the Center for Disease Control submitted its own proposal in June of 1992 to coordinate the efforts of seven federal agencies in what they called a "youth violence prevention initiative."

Until Goodwin stepped down in April 1994 as NIMH director, he administered the "Violence Initiative," a conglomerate of over 300 research projects "focusing on screening out and treating preventively violence prone individuals."(2) This ongoing program, which Goodwin described as the U.S. government's "highest science priority," applies the tools of behavior genetics to detect "biological markers" in "at risk" inner city children and to treat them with drugs "at a very early age before they have become criminalized" (Washington Post, July 29, 1992). The NIMH has already committed more than $150 million to the Violence Initiative, including a $12 million pharmaceutical study of Ritalin.

THE HUMAN GENOME PROJECT The largest U.S. government funded research in the history of the biomedical sciences - the $3 billion Human Genome Project (HGP), designed to map our the entire human genetic code



Imagine that you are charged with coming up with a system description of today's society which will account for both its tangible behaviours and its evolution, and that you are asked to start from the raw basics before 'people' have even been broken out of the overall social system and formally defined, as if you are coming from another planet or another lifeform.

After reflecting on the 'swarm' constituted by global society, it is likely that, as did Newton, you will see an 'atomistic' or 'reductionist' view wherein 'individual people' are a basic 'active ingredient' or 'causal agent', ... and it is also likely that, as did Darwin, you will see a 'relativistic view' wherein it is not only the 'individual' which evolves; ... but wherein the larger, containing 'family' also evolves. In Darwin's words, in explaining how non-fertile family members evolved 'without natural selection' (since they had no progeny); "This difficulty, though appearing insuperable, is lessened, or as I believe, disappears, when it is remembered that selection may be applied to the family, as well as to the individual, and may thus gain the desired end."

There seems to be two different mechanism of system evolution here since the 'family' is an implicit relational interference pattern, while the 'individual' is seen as an 'atomic' element [This view of the individual is our 'anthropocentric view' and a cell within our body would see the body as an implicit relational interference pattern].

What does it mean for 'an implicit relational pattern' (i.e. 'family') to evolve independently of its constituent elements (i.e. 'individuals')?

Here we bump right up against relativity and quantum theory, ... in a very practical way; i.e. the family of indigenous peoples and the family of white colonial people seem to be capable of evolution which is not simply the 'sum' of the effects of their individual constituents, ... but is instead influenced by their containing environment which 'sees them' as a distinct unit and treats them 'differently'.

What's the point with respect to your development of a descriptive 'theory' of this system?

The point is that the 'components' of the system seem to 'interfere with themselves' and form implicit patterns (families) which seem also to have evolutionary capabilities. That is, the behaviors of these implicit patterns (families) cannot be deduced from the behaviors of their constituents BECAUSE the behaviors are also influenced from the outside (other families) as well as the inside. In general, the system behavior seems to be a simultaneous function of the interference effects between outside and inside. In fact, you may recognize this 'geometry' as the basic geometry of our experience (see Henri Poincaré 'The Relativity of Space' in 'Science and Method', ... and Henri Laborit, 'Biology and Structure').

Now we have come to a vision of the system in terms of quantum duality, ... the individual is, at the same time, ... what he is capable of in his own right and what opportunities are available to him in his containing environment. What he actually does is not determined by one thing 'OR' the other, but instead, the one is the reciprocal of the other, ... since we can imagine all sorts of capabilities for him which may never be realized because of his environmental specifics and we can imagine all kinds of environmental opportunities which are never presented to him. What he actually does is a 'container-constituent-codynamic'.

Now we have come to a vision of the system in terms of relativity, ... the individual is a non-homogeneous entity since his identity is RELATIVE to his containing 'possibility space' and his containing space is non-homogeneous since it has a configurational geometry RELATIVE to which, its constituents behavior is influenced.

In the game of pool, which emulates this non-homogeneous 'curved space' of relativity, we can say that the 'five-ball's behavior' cannot be determined 'in its own right', but must be viewed also, and at the same time, in the context of its containing geometrical 'possibility space'. Similarly, the 'red-man's behaviour' cannot be determined 'in its own right', but must be viewed also, and at the same time, in the context of his containing geometrical 'possibility space'. Possibility space, which is seen uniquely and therefore non-homogeneously by each constituent, is simultaneously transformed for all constituents by the relative movement of any constituent.

We started from real experiential observations of society and we have arrived at a relativistic view in which the constituents of society are 'co-defined' by their unique situation within a non-homogeneous containing space. And this means that they themselves are unique and 'non-homogeneous entities'. Thus, the class of 'individual, independent people' is only an approximation since we can never fully separate out the individual from his meaning-giving containing environment.

In energy terms, we can say that the individual is uniquely positioned within a potential field configuration and while we can measure his movement, the movement is relative to this potential energy configuration. Both Einstein and Poincaré speak to this non-homogeneity of space and matter as follows;

Einstein and Infeld, in 'The Evolution of Physics' say; "Two expressions for energy occur in the mathematical description, each of which changes, although the sum does not vary. It is thus possible to introduce mathematically and rigorously the concepts of potential energy, depending on position, and kinetic energy, depending on velocity. The introduction of the two names is, of course, arbitrary and justified only by convenience. The sum of the two quantities remains unchanged, and is called a constant of motion. The total energy, kinetic plus potential, is like a substance." . . ."Our world is not euclidian. The geometrical nature of our world is shaped by masses and their velocities." . . . "It [relativity] forces us to analyze the role played by geometry in the description of the physical world."

Poincaré, in 'The Relativity of Space' (Science and Method') says;

"Finite space is not homogeneous ; the diverse points of this space cannot be regarded as equivalent, for some can only be reached at the price of great effort, while others can be easily reached."

And in 'Non-Euclidian Geometries' (Science and Hypothesis) he says;

"One geometry cannot be more true than another; it can only be more convenient. Now, Euclidian geometry is, and will remain, the most convenient: 1st, because it is the simplest, and it not so only because of our mental habits or because of the kind of direct intuition that we have of Euclidian space; it is the simplest in itself, just as a polynomial of the first degree is simpler than a polylnomial of the second degree; 2nd, because it sufficiently agrees with the properties of natural solids, those bodies which we can compare and measure by means of our senses." That 'sufficient agreement' and 'simplicity in itself' are not a sufficient basis for arguing the correctness of the results of our models, is also clearly spoken to by Poincaré; ... "For here the mind may affirm because it lays down its own laws; but let us clearly understand that while these laws are imposed on 'our' science, which otherwise could not exist, they are not imposed on Nature."

Returning now to our exercise of describing the system of society, ... it is apparent that the description of 'individual behaviors', which we need to understand 'system behavior', is complicated by the fact that individual behavior is a dual and inseparable function of the individual and his location in his containing 'system space'. In other words, the system behavior and the individual behavior are 'self-referential', ... i.e. 'space is curved and interferes with itself'.

[** The 'space' of nature and relativity has a self-referential aspect, ... it's like driving a car on a crowded freeway which goes continuously around the outer surface of a sphere, ... when we hit the brakes, ... a pulse propagates behind and away from us as other drivers behind us respond, and that pulse will ultimately go all the way around the world and, some time later, we will see the car right in front of us slow down because of it, .. and we will be forced to put our brakes on again, ... and the whole process will be repeated. This is a thought experiment which is physically valid and 'do-able'. **]

Now, finally, with this 'from-scratch' systems description in hand, which gives us the basic essentials of what's going on in terms of space and matter relationships, we are in position to compare the indigenous versus the western systems of management, regulation and justice.

The western system follows the Newtonian system of assuming space to be homogeneous and assuming matter to be homogeneous. The implication is that the individual's situation in the 'possibility space' or 'potential field configuration' of the system (how 'snookered' or how 'advantaged' his position in the system is) is not taken into account. This equates to the assumption of the homogeneity of space and matter (i.e. homogeneity of categories of matter), or, in effect, to the assumption of a 'level playing field'. This can be seen in reviews of the legal foundations of western countries; e.g. "More than any other nation, Americans have emphasized liberty as its central value. Liberty was grounded in what they called the equality of every person under God, a belief asserted in the Declaration of Independence"

Three excerpts from discussions of the implications of this tradition of 'equality' (homogeneity) are appended below in [E1], [E2] and [E3]. The discussion in all cases comes back around to the "tension between the claims of the pluribus and the requirements of the unum", ... the tradeoffs between liberty and equality, and the fact that equal protection under the law, no matter 'who' you are (a transdisciplinary corporation or a reserve indian), doesn't do much for moving the system towards 'equality of opportunity'. As a result of the fact that western system description and management is 'blind' to the fact that 'individuals' are a function of their positioning in 'possibility space', policies based on 'equality' (homogeneity) infuse dissonance and inequality ('snookering' and 'favoritising' of positioning in possibility space) in the same manner as they would if one ignored the 'shape' of space in the game of pool and managed the game solely on the basis of 'shots', as if positioning in space had nothing to do with the evolution of the game.

The follow-on dysfunction of this approach is to give special privileges to those individuals, ethnic groups etc. who have been 'snookered' in the pursuit of their purpose. This mechanical adjustment, which retains the homogeneous space assumption, ... is akin to legislating that those billiard balls which have been having trouble, ... e.g. the 'three-ball' and the 'five-ball', ... will be entitled to 'extra space' achieved by moving all the balls in their vicinity a half-inch away. Meanwhile, the players will continue to be blind to the relativistic transformation of their containing space as a reciprocal result of their movements.

The 'unum and pluribus' tension in society is the same tension as seen in different terms by Heraclitus and Aristotle. Heraclitus saw nature in terms of a 'simultaneous unity and plurality' in agreement with the theory of relativity and curved space (the individual is, at the same time, a constituent and the constituency, ... the explicit sandgrain and the implicit, relational dune-scape system, ... and when the sandgrain moves, the dunescape system is simultaneously transformed). Aristotle saw nature in terms of a 'sequential unity and plurality' in agreement with Newtonian physics and 'causality' (the individual is fully independent and the constituency system forms out of the sequential material-causal transactions of the constituents). Some philosophical historians feel that Aristotle 'missed the point' and did not even 'see' the Heraclitean (relativistic) option [E4].

So, the western system of management, regulation and justice is founded upon the notion of homogeneous space and homogeneous (equal) entities, ... out of the context of their innate relationship with the 'possibility space' (potential field configuration) in which they are immersed constituent-participants. On the other hand, the indigenous system of management, regulation and justice is found upon the notion of non-homogeneous space and non-homogeneous (unique and unequal) individuals in agreement with the theory of relativity.

As mentioned earlier, it is often argued that all systems of management have their 'pluses and minuses', ... so why trade out a system 'which is pretty good' (as the favorably- situated- in- possibility- space' members say, who are also in the seats of power which control decisions on change)?

Poincaré gives us another view of how to choose between different systems (theories);

"it is not enough for a theory not to affirm false relations ; it must not conceal true relations."

As background to this assertion, Poincaré says, in 'Science and Hypothesis', that there are many theories which hold true within themselves, ... theories which were developed to address certain types of phenomena (e.g. mechanical systems), ... but just because a theory 'works well for you' in your knowledge domain, ... i.e. to choose on the basis that a theory explains the mechanics of something rather well, ... is not a scientific basis for choosing it in preference to other theories, ... "that would be to forget the end we seek, which is not the mechanism, the true and only aim is unity."

The causal theory of the west works well on many 'mechanical systems' and 'does not say anything wrong', ... there are no 'faults' in the system, ... but there is a major 'incompleteness' in its omission of the reciprocal relationship between the individual and its containing 'possibility space'; i.e. its omission of the relativistic character of nature. Describing and managing all constituents of the system as 'equal' (e.g. "Liberty was grounded in what they called the equality of every person under God"), equates to imposing the euclidian space paradigm on our view of the system, ... a paradigm which blinds itself to the fact that each point in space and thus each 'individual entity' associates with a unique geometric positioning in 'possibility space'.

Thus, the 'equality' foundations of western system perception, inquiry and management, which equate to the imposing of non-relativistic euclidian space assumption, ... is 'theory' which "conceals true relations", and by Poincaré's above, common sense selection criterion, ... is inferior to the relativistic theory of the indigenous peoples which has all of the capabilities of the western system but goes further by not concealing 'true relations' between space and matter.

The inclusive relationship of relativity theory (the indigenous tradition) and classical theory (western tradition) is described by Einstein and Infeld ('The Evolution of Physics'), 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."

To summarize the understandings this Epilogue was intended to share, ... if one starts from real experience of complex social interactions, it becomes clear that the 'systems space' of nature and society is relativistic and self-referential. To assume that 'all individuals are equal' and build systems management schemes upon this base, is to 'conceal true relations', ... the relations inherent in complex systems where a description of the individual is reciprocally coupled to his position in a non-homogeneous 'potential field' or 'possibility space'.

For a 'rule of thumb' view of this non-homogeneous, relativistic curved space, we can use the game of pool, where each ball is jointly defined by its own properties and kinetic behaviors, and, at the same time, by its reciprocal relationship with its containing, geometric configuration of balls. This geometric configuration determines the contraining or enabling 'shape' of opportunities accessible to, or denied to the individual, and it thus constitutes a 'possibility space' which 'gates' or modulates what causal kinetics can actually occur. The poor pool player who focuses only on the kinetics of the individuals out of the context of the reciprocal relationship with 'possibility space' corresponds to the western system of management, regulation and justice. The skilled pool player who focuses on the cultivation of opportunity for all of his fellow constituents at the same time as he 'makes his shots' (causal kinetics) corresponds to the indigenous traditions system of management, regulation and justice (fellow constituents is not limited to homo sapiens in relativity theory and indigenous tradition). Not only skilled pool players, but exceptional teams switch to the same relativistic base as in the indigenous tradition and put the management of 'shape' (opportunity) in a primacy over the management of 'shots' (causal kinetics).

If one were to 'rewrite' the opening phrase of the U.S. Constitution, making the 'upgrade' to compliance with the theory of relativity, instead of;

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness."

... we might get something like;

"We hold these truths to be self evident, that all constituents of nature are created unique and unequal, that they are endowed by the Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are access to the commons of our containing earth, and to the gifts of the earth, ... that we might use these in cultivating and sustaining life, liberty and an environment conducive to the pursuit of individual purpose for all."

* * *

[E1] Supreme Court Standards in Equal Protection Cases

"The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment provides that "no state shall deny to any person within its jurisdiction the equal protection of the laws." At first blush, these few words do not appear to present difficulties in interpretation. But from this language in the Constitution, a body of law has grown so complex in nature that it has been the subject of vigorous scholarly debate for more than a century.

There is one thing that legal scholars are in agreement about. Looking at the Constitution, there are few clues beyond the Fourteenth Amendment itself as to the true meaning of equal protection. Equal protection is therefore defined less by the actual language of the document and more by years of judicial interpretation and reinterpretation. But even with the considerable latitude that courts have to construe the Constitution, there has been a search for boundaries in the application of its principles. This search has led the Supreme Court to create a specific framework for analysis of equal protection issues.

In terms of analysis, equal protection was at first limited to laws that classified individuals based on race. The framers of the amendment, fresh from the battle scars of the Civil War and the fight to eradicate slavery, acted specifically with the black race in mind. This is only of historical significance now, as equal protection guarantees have been extended to all laws that classify persons in some manner."

[E2] Testimony of Lawrence Fuch, Brandeis University, on Immigration Reform

"The preamble to the Constitution calls upon Americans to "form a more perfect Union, establish Justice, insure domestic Tranquility, provide for the common defence, promote the general Welfare, and secure the Blessings of Liberty to ourselves and our Posterity. . . ." More than any other nation, Americans have emphasized liberty as its central value. Liberty was grounded in what they called the equality of every person under God, a belief asserted in the Declaration of Independence:

We hold these truth to be self evident, that all men [and women] are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the Pursuit of Happiness.

By emphasizing equal rights in a nation that authorized slavery, the founders introduced a profound moral ambiguity that some argue has not yet been entirely resolved. The idea of equality became as compelling as that of liberty in American political discourse, but its meaning is less clear. Liberty meant freedom from government interference to the founders and still retains essentially that meaning. But what does equality mean? Does it mean social equality, equality under the laws, equality of opportunity, equality of condition-or some combination of them? Equality, in all its many meanings, took on great significance in the rhetoric of public live and social discourse and even in family life in America.

The American narrative is also about the tension between the values of liberty and quality. Much of the debate in American domestic politics is about society's obligation to promote equality of opportunity for those who are born to inherently unequal conditions. Those who are suspicious about public policies that attempt to do that point out that equality of opportunity implies the opportunity to compete with and rise about others and to be rewarded for one's successful efforts. The opposite view holds that without government intervention, equality of opportunity can have little meaning for those born to economically or otherwise disadvantaged circumstances. However, much Americans differ in the debate as to how they should promote equality of opportunity, most of them deeply cherish equality of opportunity as an American value.

In recent years, the political debate has focused increasingly on the role of government in providing equality of opportunity through policies that give particular recognition to the claims of members of groups who have suffered (and many say continue to suffer) restricted opportunity because they are women, African-Americans, or members of other designated minority groups. The very fact that disadvantage is presumed to be a condition that inheres in membership in such groups regardless of one's individual circumstances (health, wealth, education of parents, family situation) has given new meaning to the question of the relationship of the pluribus to the unum. Group membership has become an increasingly powerful way of defining individual identity, and public policies now go beyond equality under the law in recognizing gender, color, and national origin as a basis for what is usually called affirmative action regardless of individual circumstances. In addition, some members of groups designated as disadvantaged claim a status of inherited victimization that deepens their sense of grievance against the political and economic system that they see as dominated by white males. As a result, much of the current debate about multiculturalism revolves around their insistence on having their separateness acknowledged and affirmed in public policy generally, including education. Some, including even white males, reject the idea of a common culture, even a common political culture, as long as members of certain groups cannot show aggregate (group) results in economic, educational, and political attainment equal to that of white males.

Others see in this view of American life a danger to the value of liberty itself. They ask what freedom means if not the freedom to assert one's individuality regardless of inherited group status. What does it mean unless one is free to cross group boundaries regardless of one's color or inherited religion or nationality? What, they ask, will happen under the strains of increasing diversity if those who live, work, and vote in this country begin to think of themselves first and foremost as members of separate groups

and not as Americans?

My own view is more optimistic than these questions imply. I agree with those who believe that the tension between the claims of the pluribus and the requirements of the unum can be resolved in a nation that values both liberty and equality, but only if we pay at least as much attention to the requirements of the unum as to the histories, sensibilities, and claims of the pluribus.


Toronto -- Supporters of the Lubicon Lake Indian Nation have been denied leave to appeal a court decision they say is silencing criticism of a transnational paper company. Last January, Daishowa Inc. was granted an injunction by an Ontario Divisional Court preventing the Toronto-based Friends of the Lubicon from continuing a highly successful boycott campaign directed at Daishowa products. On Friday, the Ontario Court of Appeal denied the Friends the right to challenge that decision.

"This is adding insult to injury," says Friends' spokesperson Stephen Kenda. "Granting an injunction against a peaceful consumer boycott is an affront to Canadians' freedom of expression and now we're not even allowed our day in court to challenge that decision."

The court would not give any reasons for its decision.

"When the United Nations Human Rights Committee ruled in 1990 that the Lubicons couldn't achieve effective legal redress in Canada, most Canadians probably didn't think that it applied to the rest of us as well," says Kenda. "But if you think you have equality under the law, just try challenging a wealthy corporation and see what happens."


The Lubicon Lake Indian Nation of northern Alberta has been fighting for a land rights settlement for almsot 60 years. In 1988 the timber right to almost their entire traditional lands were sold to Daishowa, a transnational paper giant. An international boycott of Daishowa paper products has convined almost 50 companies representing over 4,300 retail outlets to stop using Daishowa paper bags, forcing Daishowa to abandon clearcutting operations since 1991. Last year the company began a massive lawsuit against the volunteer group Friends of the Lubicon, claiming over $5 million damages and asking for a permanent injunction against the consumer boycott campaign. On January 23, 1996, the Ontario Divisional Court rendered a split 2-1 decision granting an injunction against the boycott, arguing that the boycott was intended to cause economic harm to Daishowa and that intention renders a boycott illegal.

[E4] 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. The referenced quote is as follows;

"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."

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