Toxic Inquiry in Community-as-Complex-System

Montreal, May 16, 1999

Margaret Wheatley comments that 'the corporate business environment is toxic to her [earth-centric or ecological] message'. Henri Laborit [1] comments "We are witness to the reign and the dominance of the technocrat and bureaucrat who employ a strictly professional level of understanding, coming from ever narrowing professional domains, ... who believe, in total ignorance of what motivates them to act, that their little 'thing', their social subsystem, is the whole 'story'.

Clearly, it's not that there are not good ideas and understanding 'out there', ... as many philosophers, psychologists, physicists etc. have noted, ... it's that the recognizeably good ideas do not 'take root'. .... Why so?

One of the exceptional team leaders, ... more of an alchemist than a manager, ... that I interviewed several years ago, who operated by carving out a little 'safe space' for his teams and he to do their magic, ... shared with me a lesson his father had shared with him when he was a small boy in Sienna, Italy. His father had said, ... 'what's the most difficult thing for a man to do?', ... and little Giorgio had guessed all kinds of things, like ... 'jumping over a tall building' etc., ... and his father had finally told him, ... 'the hardest thing for a man to do is to teach someone something he does not know.'

Giorgio never forgot that, and while it was initially enigmatic, after many frustrating years as a respected manager of people and business, who was nevertheless perpetually blocked from trying to directly introduce 'new ways' into the corporation, his father's remark blossomed into a 'lived' awareness, .... an awareness that most 'learning' is simply giving form to, and putting one 'in touch with' what we already know, ... but if there is no seed to water and fertilize, ... or if the seed is buried so deeply that the warmth of the light of day and the rains cannot reach it, ... it will not be grown.

I have read and discussed with others, many complicated arguments as to why the ground is toxic to what is needs to be done, even when everyone cheers for the ones that end up dying and jeers the ones that thrive. But to me, the simplest arguments which explain the observations ring most true, and in the case of complex systems it has been noted that very simple principles can give rise to very complex behaviors.

This essay, then, is a view of how one principle, gone wrong, can be the source of chronic social dysfunction which is itself toxic to natural remedies. This notion is well supported by scientific reasoning, ... but that's not the point, ... the point is whether 'it works for you', ... because most of the last century of modern physics discoveries about characterizing the reality we live within, ... relativity, quantum duality, curved space-time continuum, the non-existence of classical determinism, ... have not been assimilated into the perception, inquiry and behavioral aspects of our 'community as complex system'. So being scientifically 'correct' is not what it's about. My thirty two years in the bureacratic-technocratic world of business, were now't to do with the scientific correctness of my ideas, ... they were, unfortunately, more about the degree to which such ideas would support pre-ordained bureacratic-technocratic strategies. As Henri Laborit had implied, ... the bureacratic-technocratic 'show' was not what was up on the blocks for revision, ... it was instead deemed to be 'the whole show' by those in the control hierarchy, ... and as Laborit further said, ... most people remained in the hierarchy, though unfulfilled, because they felt impotent, ... caught in a state of 'action-inhibition' where neither of the alternatives of 'fight or flight' seemed to be workable.

So what is the 'one principle gone wrong?', ... my opinion, it is the common perception wherein the world is seen to work according to the principle of 'cause and effect', when in actuality, the notion of 'cause' is no more than 'analytical backfill' within a far more comprehensive dynamic.

As Giorgio would say, .... I'm not asking you to believe this, even though I believe it, and even though it fits with and explains oceans of data and experience that I have come upon in my explorations, ... but if you're interested, you can simply read on and assess for yourself the consistency of this proposition which is indeed based on modern physics principles, most of which continue to be ignored in this era of the reign of narrow bureaucratic and technocratic 'storylines'.

To restate our 'one principle gone wrong' in a 'reciprocal' context, ... 'we assume that things happen due to the behavior of material things' when in fact they happen by the combined effect of the 'pull of attractors' and the 'push of material behaviors'. Or in slightly more technical terms, 'causality is the special case viewing of wave-particle duality where we ignore the relativistic, relational interference effects.'

To illustrate this point, which Nietzsche described in the terms; 'the belief in cause collapses with the belief in purpose' and Feynmann described in terms of a more general formulation of the uncertainty principle, "one cannot design equipment in any way to determine which of two alternatives is taken, without, at the same time, destroying the pattern of interference.", ... imagine that you are a free electron, roaming around in space. What are you looking for? You are certainly not immune to the effects of repulsion and attraction arising because of your wave properties (natural resonance), ... are you not trying to find 'your place' in space-time?, .... something which 'completes' that which you possess in you, your natural attributes? And if you come back, in this thought experiment, to your human incarnation, are you not looking for the same thing, ... an environment for being and becoming which co-resonates with your authentic makeup?

The reason why many quantum physicists have looked at the eastern religions (buddhism, hinduism) and aboriginal belief systems is because the 'geometry' of the conceptual notions in these religions is very consistent with this 'attractor-oriented' geometry as just alluded to. The basis for what happens in Zen is the attractors or 'yin-pull' of space, ... the symbolism associated with the Zen circle, which brings forth all life is 'the void which must be filled, ... enter from here'

Regardless of the support from ancient traditions, ... one of Nietzsche's points here was as follows ; "Kurze: die psychologische Noetigung zu einem Glauben an Kausalitaet liegt in der UNVORSTELLBARKEIT EINES GESCHEHENS OHNE ABSICHTEN: womit natuerlich ueber Wahrheit oder Unwahrheit (Berechtigung eines solche Glaubens) nichts gesagt ist." (the emphasis is Nietzsche's). ("In short, the psychological necessity for a belief in causality lies in the UNIMAGINABLENESS OF EVENTS WITHOUT PURPOSE: as to which, of course, nothing is said in regard to the truth (the legitimacy of such a belief) or falsehood."

Nietzsche hung his proposition of 'cause and purpose', directly on the basic principles of physics common to our everyday experience; i.e. " 'Anziehen' und 'Abstossen' in rein mechanischem Sinne ist eine vollstaendige Fiktion: en Wort. Wir koennten uns ohne eine Absicht ein Anziehen nicht denken." (" 'Attraction' and 'repulsion' in a purely mechanical sense is an out-and-out fiction: in a word. We can't think about an attraction without thinking in terms of purpose." In essence, the cause and purpose principle of Nietsche's amounts to a statement on the particle and wave duality in quantum physics equivalent to Heisenberg's Uncertainty Principle.

Going back to the electron or human being attracted by something 'out there' in its englobing space, ... it may be true that the fulfilment being sought is not articulable in explicit terms, ... but the pursuit of fulfilment can hardly be described as 'purposeless' movement, as is implied by the use of the causality principle.

So here we are in 1999, in spite of the pleas of Nietzsche and modern physics, continuing to base our understanding of our world, including 'community as complex system' on an unmitigated 'causality', ... the purposeless pushing of material behaviors to fabricate a future strictly out of the material and behaviors of the past. Ignoring the tendency of all things to be attracted towards some sort of 'completing' or 'fulfilling' environment where they may be able to co-resonate in a way which works for both them and their surroundings. What are the effects of this 'unimaginable' belief in purposeless causality?

* * *

'Fred, as CEO of this corporation, ... to what do you attribute our enormous profits of the past year?',

'I would say that the cause of these very favorable results are about 60% due to the new marketing strategy which I introduced, ... about 30% due to the successful implementation of Bob's financial effectiveness program, and about 10% to the continuing diligent performance of our most valuable asset, our highly qualified staff.'

'Excuse me gentlemen, ... I couldn't help but overhear you, and while I'm only the janitor here, ... I have watched everyone working and it strikes me that the overall team effort amongst your employees caught the imagination of the marketplace and that you have been really 'jamming' over the past year, ... it seems to me that the whole team has been doing a creative dance in harmony with the business space which englobes and attracts you. I would say that your mechanical notion of 'cause', which ignores the coherency of purpose of your employees, is an out-and-out fiction, ... a poor attempt at 'analytical backfill' of a far more complex process, the product of ego inflation perhaps.'

'Who the hell asked you? Your lack of respect for the entrepreneuring guts and intelligence which makes companies and countries successful, is the type of thing that's infusing dysfunction, undermining confidence in leadership, and bringing down our whole social system. I'm not about to continue to finance this type of cynicism and internal sabotage, ... you can pick up your final check tomorrow morning.'

* * *

Where is the janitor coming from, in complex systems terms?

This can be seen if we take a closer look at the choice of working principles and how they reconcile with the basics of physics and common experience, starting from a statement of the principles themselves and developing a view of the dynamics. Again, the suggestion is that the principle of 'causality' is a special case, where purpose (pull of attractors in the englobing space) goes to zero.

Causality Principle which is in the Primacy in the West

1. All phenomena, complex or otherwise can be explained in terms of the behavior of material things (i.e. 'the causal - particulate view in quantum duality').

An example of 1. would be the explaining of how a gasoline engine works in terms of the behavior of chemical reactions whose effects propagate through and into the behavior of the engine parts. The same basic mechanical model approach is being used by today's mainstream scientific research (in an attempt) to determine the origin and sustaining of life in biological organisms (see Edward O. Wilson's 'Consilience').

'Completionality' Principle which should be in the Primacy (by Geometry)

2. All phenomena, complex or otherwise evolve from the co-resonant confluence of the pull of environmental space (attractors in the space-time which englobes the system) and the behavior of material immersed within that space. (i.e. the 'wave view' in quantum duality).

An example of 2. would be ocean waves. The ocean wave system develops through a co-evolutionary perturbation of atmosphere and sea, wherein the imbalances in atmospheric dynamics are converted into material dynamics in the liquid system which is itself immersed in the atmospheric system. This is not simply an exchange of energy between the atmospheric and the marine system, but an exchange of ORDERING INFORMATION as well.

Explanation versus Understanding.

It was not accidental that while the the word 'explanation' was associated with 'causality', the word 'understanding' was associated with 'completionality'. This is because only 'explicit' knowledge can be shared by the vehicle of 'explanation'. Tacit knowledge, which comes from co-resonance based experience, (experience which comes from being immersed in the experimental space), can only be indirectly alluded to in linguistic discussions. For example, one can't explain to another person how to ride a bicycle or play in a jam session because the information is only specifiable RELATIVE TO the overall immersing, environmental dynamic, and the environment is an open system subject to deterministic chaos.

For example, ... the exact state of the bicycle and the exact way it hits the pothole which, together with the rider's response, constitutes the homeorhetic (evolving) 'completional' or 'purposive' co-dynamic, cannot be pre-specified, thus the rider's action cannot be isolated as a thing in itself and expressed in terms of detached (stand-alone) procedures, principles or rules, ... and similarly for the combination of musicians and audience and acoustics etc. in the jam session, ... if there are kids tap-dancing or babies crying etc. this is part of the environmental condition which must be accounted for in the overall system dynamic. That is the essential 'character' of co-evolutionary dynamics does not reside in either of the participating subsystems but is a property of the relational dynamic 'in the space' between them.

The relationship between the 'material behavior' or 'causal' way of looking at things and the 'space-and-material behavior' or 'completional' way of looking at things is such that the latter contains the former as the special case where (relativistic) relational interference information (attractors, purpose) between the observer, observed and environmental container either goes to zero or is ignored. While 'causality' considers only the past and the specific alternatives which have occurred, 'completionality' considers future, present and past, and the purposive potentials in the gap between attractor and attractee prior to their having been 'determined' or 'consummated' in specific terms and renderings.

We can explain what happened to the person who became addicted to drugs and committed suicide in strictly causal terms, such as, .. 'he lost his job and got in with a bad crowd, .. had access to drugs and tried the hard stuff once and there was no turning back, ...', but this 'explanation' is implicitly referenced to the base case of him living normally. To respect relativity, we cannot simply ignore or take for granted the 'life attractor' or the space-pull which brings life into blossom and sustains it, nor the fact that something can 'go wrong' with the 'life attractor'. As the practioners of ju-ju in west Africa know, ... if one can destroy the positive imagining of the future which pulls people into their lives, the person will die, and there will always be a 'causal explanation' such as 'heart failure' which is no more than 'analytical backfill' for the more complete 'completional' view of what transpired. In nonlinear 'problem solving' the 'problem' must be considered 'in toto', and in the example just cited, .. the attractor which pulls the individual into a sustaining homoerhesis or 'life' cannot be considered a detached, taken for granted platform.

While mainstream science 'solves' for explicit solutions to material-behavior or 'causal' views of phenomena, ... it can only 'simulate' the 'space-and-material' or 'completional', view, without 'solving' and 'explaining' for specific outcomes based on specified initial conditions. For example, we can simulate the problem of a boy being blocked from the pursuit of his 'life attractor' due to the narrowness of the studentocratic gauntlet and his inability to fit into and run that gauntlet, ... but we cannot say what will specifically happen to him in this 'completional' view The causal approach is to speak, instead, in retrospective terms about the fallout from this type of 'community as complex system' behavior, such as the suicide of one such person, ... and since the belief in purpose collapses with the belief in cause (the material-behavior accounting of his death) as Nietzsche says, ... by explaining his suicide in material-causal terms, we destroy the relational interference information which pertained to the degeneration of his 'completional' co-resonances. Seen in this manner, his death is simply the symptom of his broader problem of 'action inhibition', as Laborit points out. That is, if the doors are opening up for a person in the areas he most aspires to develop in himself, his is not caught in the anguish of the 'action-inhibition' state, and can continue to harvest the pleasure which comes from the unleashing of action. But pathologies arise from the situation where he cannot escape from a dominance which he cannot overcome but which leaves him no place (that he can perceive) to flee to, incarcerating him in an anguished state of action-inhibition.

Again, the general case in nature is that all phenomena are the 'space-and-material' 'completional' type, and the 'material-behavior' or 'causal' view of nature is an incomplete view, which may or may not be adequate for explaining the questions one is exploring with it. Henri Poincare, in 'Science and Hypothesis' outlined the nature of the approximations implied in the 'material behavior' view and counselled that its suitability with respect to the understanding being sought should in all cases be pre-assessed for appropriateness. (the approximations Poincare cited are; 'homogeneity', ... 'relative independence of remote parts', and 'simplicity of the elementary fact'), and of course, the notion that such an assessment for appropriateness should be undertaken is ignored in our culture, and that includes our scientific culture.

The point to take away here is that, questions of validity notwithstanding, it is always possible to explain things with the 'material-behavior' or 'causal' principle, and that's all we seem to do in the west, ... but this approach can rightfully and in general be called 'analytical backfill' since it ignores the 'attractor-pull' or 'completional' effects which induce phenomenal evolution. If the 'attractor-pull' aspects are small, as in mechanical systems (they will, however, predominate over geologic time), ... then the 'analytical backfill' explanation provided by the causal principle may 'look reasonable', ... however, if the attractor effects are large, then 'analytical backfill' no longer 'rings true'. One cannot attribute the success of the Beatles in the causal sense of what they did in their own right, ... instead, they co-evolved with their englobing audience space and it was their ability to create material which co-resonated with the 'completional' needs of youth which gives an understanding of their success. Similarly (geometrically). if the CEO explains the success of his condom company in the usual causal terms, and omits mention of the emergence of AIDS in the middle of his five year plan, ... he is pushing the causal explanation beyond its value, in the sense that he is ignoring the completional pull of the immersing environment on the company.

The co-evolutional effects (neglected in the causal view) which complete our understanding of 'community as complex system', as in the case of the atmosphere over the seawater, originate in the sphere which 'englobes' the system which is being studied, and this outer 'englobing' sphere is exchanging 'ordering information' with the inner 'englobed' system (as attractor and attractee co-respond). It is always possible to enlarge the system being observed, to account for more of the dynamics within the problem space, and help the causal assumption to hang together better, but there will always be yet another enveloping sphere, ... short of including the whole space-time universe in the problem space.

A reconcilation of our perceptual approach and the character of natural structures with the use of the 'causal' and 'completional' principles may be useful at this point.

Perception and Natural Structures

Donald Kunze's essay on representation [2] uses the illustration 'Artist and Model in the Studio', by Albrecht Duerer, as an illustration of the incompleteness of the 'perspective' form of representation. In the diagram, we look in on the artist and model from the side, as the artist (on our right) is looking through a lucinda (wire grid located between the artist and model) at the semi-nude model (on our left), and transferring what he sees in the grid cells onto paper which is correspondingly gridded. The fact that the viewer is looking in from the side, and that the artist is looking through a limited grid frame, emphasizes the general principle that the artists 'perspective' is necessarily incomplete.

If we regard the female model as the 'system being studied', we can also imagine Henri Laborit's description of natural 'englobing' structures via this diagram to bring out a basic view of what's missing in the 'material-behavior' or 'causal' systems explanation.

In this case, the 'system' which the artist is looking at is basically the system of model plus the bed she is on and the portion of the room that is visible to the artist. The geometry of this perspective arrangement of observer and observed is a general one. For example, we could also imagine the artist, instead, being a biologist, and the 'model' he is looking at, perhaps through a microscope instead of a lucinda, a live organism of some type.

Now Laborit's point is that 'ordering information' is in general exchanged between the 'englobing system' and the system being 'englobed'. Thus, we can imagine, going back to the artist and the model, ... that the model smiles, and in the artist's attempt to understand the system, i.e. model, ... he assumes that she is thinking amorously about him, the artist. But instead, the origin of her smile (i.e. the 'ordering information') is arising from her hearing the mellow throbbing of her hell's angel boyfriend's Harley, as it brings him home a week early from his Tijuana rally.

Here we come to the point where this choice of 'causal' or 'completional' view of the system comes into play, ... we can think in terms of there being 'attractors' in the space surrounding a system which 'pull' certain behaviors out of them, ... and this could equally be at the level of an electron who is attracted by a spare slot in a molecular orbit out there, as it could be at the level of a human model. Thus, we can persist in thinking in terms of 'cause'; e.g. she smiled because of a biochemical reaction stimulated by brain activity, and drive down all the way to her basic neurons and chemistry to explain the system, or we could look for informational exchanges between the system and its englobing surroundings.

While we can only think of it in terms of one or the other (attractor or cause), as Nietzsche and Feynmann pointed out, there is an important difference, ... the attractor is in the future and is purely geometric (not yet specifically rendered) while cause is specific and explicitly specifiable, but only after-the-fact (i.e. it is 'analytical backfill'). The 'completional' view is inclusionary with respect to cause, in that it allows the biochemical rationale to exist as well, but on a lower level. On the other hand, ... causal explanations entirely exclude or ignore the completional aspect, and if we ask and explain on the basis of 'what caused' the boy to die or what caused the company to make money or what caused the model to smile, ... we focus on the system itself (boy, company, model) as being the source of the behavior, and ignore the co-evolutionary 'space-pull' aspects which would be considered in the 'completional' approach.

Denis Gabor pointed out (1946 , 'Theory of Communications') that the mathematics for a physically realizeable system of information transfer insisted that the basic informational units be complex (real plus imaginary) and influenced by the future. Again, this future influence on the present is an inherent aspect of wave phenomena; i.e. the flow mogul (standing bump or wave in the water) in a turbulent stream is due to the rocks around it, including those immediately downstream which is has not yet hit. The 'oddness' we might feel, in thinking of the future influencing the present is simply an artifact of thinking in terms of 'material behavior' all of the time rather than in terms of turbulent flow and wave behavior, which more realistically characterizes our reality.

The future reaching back to effect the present is no big deal from an experiential perspective since we know that everything can be subjected to 'attractors' in their environment, just like we as humans are. Thus as these attractors take shape or we become aware of them, our behaviors are exposed to significant influence and ordering coming from imagined futures.

What IS a big deal is that traditional science, and this includes scientific theory as applied to organisation and management, typically accepts only CAUSE (past material behaviors) and does not accept 'ATTRACTORS' (future immaterial pull) in explaining the behaviors of systems. And in order to flip from a belief in cause to a belief in attractors, ... there is a whole package of philosophical-cultural underpinnings from exclusionary logic to ethics and absolute 'good' and 'bad' that have to 'make way' in the process, as has been discussed in prior essays.

The co-evolutional interplay between the atmospheric system dynamics which englobe marine system dynamics gives the general geometry. The atmospherics-induced upwelling of a marine current many years ago (e.g. the 'el nino' phenomenon) can in turn give rise to atmospheric disturbances which help to pull new system states into being in both the englobing and englobed systems. In this view, space and time become an enfolded and continuously enfolding space-time continuum. Similarly in the case of the artist and model and surrounding environment, some earlier 'move' on the part of the model re-ordered behaviors in the englobing world of the Harley biker, ... and that dynamic is about to pull new behaviors into being in the englobed system of the model and its surroundings. In this 'completional' perspective, there is no natural stopping place and the adage comes to mind; "a fact merely marks the point where we agree to let investigation cease."

Now we come to a last (for this essay), but very essential point in this cause/attractor issue and it is with respect to 'tacit' understanding. There is no way that the observer who is seeking to understand a finite system on the basis of material-behaviour (causality), can account for 'completional' type ordering information which is exchanged between the space englobing the system he is studying and the system being englobed (other than to expand the problem space he is considering so that influential materials and behaviors are more fully contained within his problem space, and that has to stop somewhere). So there is a fundamental incompleteness associated with the 'material behavior' or logical-causal approach to system perception and inquiry due to exchanges of ordering information. This was Henri Laborit's point with respect to living structures like the human body, .... complex systems which are open to the englobing space from the level of molecule through cells, organs and nervous system to the body in its entirety.

The essential point is that if the observer wants to account for ordering-information exchanges which are coming from the sphere which englobes the system being studied, ... and which includes himself, the observer, as well, ... he must use his 'imagination', since he cannot visualize the space he himself is situated within, without imagining it. If he does use his imagination, he may resolve the ambiguity in the behavior of the artist's model, not in biochemical terms, but by realizing that the coherent behavior (the model's smile in the example) he observed did not wholly originate from within the system being studied. This imagined connection, which comes by virtue of the observer reverting to the 'immersed view', as described by Einstein in connection with relativity and non-Euclidian space ('bringing real and imaginary experiences into connection in the mind), ... may be triggered when the angry biker comes crashing through the door, if not intuited in advance.

To summarize the technical aspects prior to reconciling them with the toxicity issue, our culture stresses the use of 'material-behavior' (causality) as the prime means of understanding phenomena, including dysfunction in complex systems such as social systems (where deployment of the causal approach has proven itself to be radically inadequate at best and strongly exacerbatory of dysfunction, at worst).

The causal method is an approximative method which is innately susceptible to error since it does not account for 'completional' effects (the effects of attractors) nor their role in exchanging ordering information between the system and its englobing environment. The only way to account for behavior-ordering information exchanges between the finite observed system and the unbounded englobing space is for the observer to perceive and inquire into the system from an 'immersed space' perspective which requires that he go beyond explicit 'voyeur' observations of the object system and use his imagination (bringing multiple real and imagined experiences into connection in his mind), to give himself a 'tacit' understanding of relativistic, environment-pull effects.

That is, for a purely causal view to be 'complete', he would have to extend the problem space to include all of space-time, ... i.e. he would have to have a 'divine perspective'. Since this is not realistic, ... the alternative inquiry action is to intuit how order may be induced in the observed system from co-evolutional effects between the system and its englobing surroundings. In order to envisage the space which englobes the observed system, the observer must 'immerse' himself in this extended space and have a view of it at the same time, ... i.e. he must see himself in his own viewfield, and this requires the melding of real and imagined perceptual information. At this point, he moves beyond finite systems of exclusionary logic and the notions of absolute 'true' or 'false', 'good' or 'bad' etc., ... i.e. he violates limits which have been placed on his worldview by the culture. In this 'immersed' view, he sees 'facts' as arbitrary, being the product of where the investigation is arbitrarily started and stopped. This means that any and all factual perspectives on events (eg. Kosovo, Iraq etc.), however useful and handy for sharing with others, must be seen as arbitrary, and the notion of 'eliminating the cause of the problem' as nonsensical, and having to give way to the 'restoring of completional harmony'. Only in a purely mechanical world of causality, which was empty of all purpose, would the causal model on its own be appropriate, ... the insistence on purely causal inquiry can therefore become somewhat of a self-fulfilling prophecy.

As quantum physics indicates, the wave view gives interference information (extra, relational information) which the particle view lacks, although the wave view 'contains' the particle view within it. For example, the co-evolutional dynamics of atmosphere- englobing-ocean, ... contains as a special case subset, the material-causal story where the water molecules and the 'forces' on them which 'cause' their behaviors are examinable in their own right. As Erich Jantsch notes in 'Design for Evolution', the concept of quantitatively measurable 'force' is an ad hoc concept, ... since we can always ask, what was the evolutionary history which set up this force?, and this leads us quickly back to the never-ending, never-beginning story of attraction and repulsion, ... 'attractors' and 'purpose'. The causal questions pertain to the internal physics of the observed system in its current state, but say nothing about the atmospheric co-engendering of the sea condition, which will come back around again and again to modulate the overall sea condition.

The only way to go beyond the 'abitrary facts' and assimilate the never-ending, never-beginning story is to access our experience and imagination, by switching from voyeur perspective based inquiry (causal inquiry) which involves explicit knowledge of things, ... to immersed visualization based inquiry (completional inquiry) which involves tacit (co-evolutionary) understanding. And again, .... this is a perception and inquiry approach which is not the currency of our culture, and can be expected to be heavily discounted in value, if not rejected outright. The tacit understanding which comes from immersed perception and completional inquiry tells us how to 'navigate complexity' rather than 'how the complex system works', and the workings of a complex system can only be explicitly known from a 'divine perspective'.

Toxicity Implications of 'Causality' versus 'Completionality'

There is clearly a problem here in that 'the belief in cause collapses with the belief in purpose'. What this means is that we can only see things, at a given point, one way or the other. Since 'causality' is contained within 'completionality', but not vice versa, ... if we look at things in 'causal' terms we lose the relational information on attractors etc. in entirety. If however, we look at things in 'completional' terms, this view contains within it, the causal view, though packaged in an ambiguous geometric form. This is the reason why, if we put the 'completional' and the 'tacit' in the primacy, we can still get to the 'causal' and 'explicit', but not if this primacy is reversed, as an example may illustrate;

From a causal perspective, we say that man and animals have an instinctive urge to 'reproduce'. This is a clear instance where the causal approach gives us 'analytical backfill' justified experimentally by the fact that animals or people of all cultures copulate and thus reproduce themselves.

However, ... there is nothing stopping us from viewing this phenomenon, not in terms of material behaviours but in 'completional' terms, wherein the behavior of the system (man) is being induced by attractors in his englobing environment (order-inducing information exchanges with the englobing space). This is a reciprocal perspective from the material behavior perspective and it might be useful to look at the mathematical definition of 'reciprocal' here in relation to the notion of the 'identity' of the part and the whole and their direct and reciprocal relationship, to get a better feel for 'things' versus 'inter-thing space' or 'causal push' versus 'attractor pull'.

In mathematical terms, zero is defined as 'the 'identity element' in the set of all integers under addition, that leaves any element of the set to which it belongs unchanged when added to it'. Also, when we add all of the positive and negative integers together, we get 'zero', the identity element since from the symmetry, for every positive integer, there will be an equal and opposite negative integer. In this sense, then, 'nothing' is the 'whole set', ... the 'mother' of all of the 'parts', and we are back once again to the 'Zen circle' notion, where all things come from the identity element which is a kind of 'full-emptiness' or 'whole-void'. The reciprocal view to a particular number or material component, can be seen to be unifying dynamic or the number's 'longing for it's mother, zero'. To 'feel this' in an immersed space view, one has to imagine that they are the part which is looking to become whole again, ... like the piece of pie which wants to rejoin the rest of the pie so as to reform the circle (the whole-void). In this manner, the reciprocal view to material-behavior or 'cause' can be seen as the attraction towards wholeness of the material in question. There is a solid geometry notion here which seems to emerge naturally 'from the numbers'.

Thus the reciprocal to the causal 'urge to reproduce' can also be seen in the broader terms of 'urge to complete', ... to re-embrace the whole, ... to become fulfilled.

As the psychologist and sex therapist David Schnarch points out, ... those who feel that the pleasures of sex and its reproductive goals are as a smaller sphere contained within the larger sphere of self-fulfillment through intimacy (a very small proportion in our culture achieves this 'client-defined' 'true intimacy' or sustained sense of 'wholeness' through sex according to his research, because it is not perceived to exist, therefore it is 'not experienced because not looked for.'). Schnarch's findings parallel the Buddhist and Hindu tantric traditions and writings where 'sexual desire' is used as a catalyst for enlightenment or a sustained sense of wholeness. This is clearly a 'completional' view of sexual relations rather than a causal view as Schnarch points out; "One of the great myths of American culture is the belief that we achieved sexual liberation in the 1960's. That was the era that we convinced ourselves that sex is a natural function and gave ourselves permission to like sex. The squeaky clean effectiveness of 'the new sex therapy' encourages our technocratic society to believe we could break sex down into its component parts with the right technology, study it and subdue it. We were about to discover the secrets of eroticism the same way we had cracked the atom."

The point here is not about sexual values or mores, ... it is about systems principles and 'community as complex system' which run the gamut of our experience. It seems clear that if a person puts 'causality' or 'material behavior' in the primacy, they will never see 'completionality' because 'completionality is 'tacit' and involves co-evolutional dynamics with attractors in the englobing environment. If one is busy filing notches on one's causal gunbarrel, one is unlikely to, at the same time, be tuning in to one's 'completional', 'growth of harmony' status. How the culture educates one in these issues, will of course make a significant difference to overall system behaviors.

In other words, we have some perceptual choices here which will effect social systems behavior, ... do we see the pleasure of sex as an end in itself, ... or do we see that pleasure as an evolved attribute of the instinct to reproduce, ... or do we see sex and reproduction as a special case of the 'completional' attraction towards wholeness and harmony of self? ... and the last part of this question is purely on the plane of physics and mathematics and not depth psychology or mysticism (although they may concern the same thing, the manner of understanding them is very different).

Clearly, if one starts with the causal specifics of the notion of 'reproduction', ... one will never see reproduction as a special case of the more general completional notion of co-evolutionary wholeness, ... since the causal notion of reproduction is the special case where imagination goes to zero, and one sees only the material objects and transactional behaviors of sex. Whereas, one who starts with the more general notion of wholeness, will see sex as one of multiple activities which can catalyze an evolving towards a state of sustained wholeness (subject-object-environment intimacy).

Similarly, one can look at topics such as 'education' in either causal or completional terms; i.e. 'the educating of a person causes success', but of course, 'success' in whose terms? On the other hand, one can look at the completional notion of catalyzing and cultivating the development of one's gifts in the context of co-evolution with the englobing environment, education as it often exists today in our culture, being one special case of this, .... the case for which imagination goes to zero and we look, as voyeurs, at an imposed causal fabrication process.

In summary, the behavior of any system can be looked at in either 'completional' or 'causal' terms, ... if the former is opted for, it involves tacit understanding, which is eschewed by many in our culture, for use within our social control hierarchies, the explicit and crisp being much preferred, ... though the completional choice preserves our causal option as well; i.e. if we choose to see intimacy between male and female as the completional attraction towards wholeness of self, ... we can still get to the specific subcase of sex for pleasure and reproduction. And if we choose to see the cultivation of talents in youth as a multidimensional thing wherein the youth is assisted toward a co-evolutional blossoming of his potentials with respect to whatever environment may englobe him, ... we can still get to the specific subcase of education for economic success. BUT, if we put the causal subcase into the primacy, we cut the higher dimensional perspectives off at the ankles, ... i.e. we 'detune' from the tacit cultivation of the completional pursuits. We become self-conscious sea-waves who focus on our own rolling and crashing and no longer tune to the englobing atmosphere and the harmony of whole-and-part. Of course, ocean waves never forget who they are, ... that's why we like to walk along the beach and listen to them.

The toxicity in the environment then, ... stems from the fact that the causal mode of perception and inquiry 'occludes' the completional or attractor-oriented dynamics which are present in all natural systems, whether we care to acknowlege them or not. The exceptional team performances which I studied in the '93 - '96 period depended on the 'completional' view and orientation, relegating the causal 'effects' measured in their traditional quantities (cost, revenue, elapsed time etc.) to special case subsets, ... while personal and community fulfillment was put into the primacy. The environment for this mode was only attained through a unique set of circumstances and unique set of people coming together. The influx of new people and outflux of the exceptional team players, ... led to a return to practices which were exclusionary with respect to the broader completional dimensions aspired to by the individual team members and the exceptional character of the team collapsed. Tangible productivity also dropped while anguish from 'action-inhibition' rose back up to 'normal' levels.

Toxicity to more ecological forms of social organization can thus be seen as emanating from a blindness to the completional aspects of 'community as complex system' and the corresponding need to put tacit understanding in the primacy (in the driver's seat) over explicit knowledge. As discussed in several recent essays, ... when control hierarchy is in the primacy (it can exist without being put in the primacy), ... this leads to an increased focus on the technology-based leverage of explicit knowlege, and a commensurate de-emphasis on tacit understanding. People in such environments feel like they are being strip-mined for their specialist knowledge and prevented from engaging their tacit understanding gifts. Simultaneously, they are being transformed into the 'technocrats' and 'bureaucrats' which Laborit speaks about, who dominate today's society through the hierarchical control structures. So they are put into a state of action-inhibition anguish by their perception that they cannot fight and win, nor flee, and thus they perpetuate the system which is removing their natural potency and undermining their pursuit of 'completional' wholeness.

Most people I have spoken with along the 'community as complex system' exploration trail, indicate their primary motivation is one of 'searching' for a situation within their englobing environment which 'feels right' and they mean by that that it 'co-resonates' with them, .... i.e. they do not mean that there is plenty there for them to exploit, ... they do not want to win success by being educated in mindless tasks, and they do not want to pursue sexual relationships strictly for pleasure or to cause children, ... they want to engage in co-evolutionary dynamics which bring out the natural best in themselves and those they engage with. In other words, they reject the purely causal view of the world.

The catch 22 is that our culture has put a causal orientation into the primacy, and this is a perception and inquiry mode which is not only blind to the completional dynamics in systems behaviors, .... but which induces blindness in those that are forced to play the game. As Nietzsche and Feynmann emphasize, ... no equipment can be built which can focus on cause and purpose at the same time, ... purpose disappears from view when one looks at cause. The toxin we are talking about, then, is an infectious disease, ASIDS, or 'Acute Systems Inquiry Deficiency Syndrome' which blinds one to purpose and transforms one into doing everything out of a sense of 'cause', ... of 'fixing problems', but relative to what? ... a progressively degenerating normality which features a growth in explicit knowledge application and a corresonding decline in the application of tacit understanding, ... emanating out of our own unquestioned subjectivity whose voyeur eyes look out on the world and make of their owner a 'parasite of the visible', slowly emptying himself of his tacit understanding of the whole, and converting himself into an empty-eyed technocrat-bureaucrat whose job is to similarly blind others in preparation for their entry into the dominating control hierarchy.

It's not a pretty sight, .... perhaps that's why we keep our eyes closed as we do our 'causal thing', even if our vision of wholeness is not quite extinguished.

* * *

[1] Laborit, Henri, 'Les bases biologiques des comportements sociaux', 1991, Musee de la Civilisation, Editions Fides

[2] Kunze, Donald, 'Representation'


Footnote to 'Toxic Inquiry'

Montreal, May 30, 1999

'Toxic inquiry' is intended to connote inquiry which is pathological with respect to its own purpose, as when, for example, a lover, in order to eliminate suspicions of infidelity in a relationship inquires of the partner, ... have you been faithful to me? This situation exhibits a curved-space rather than flat-space geometry; i.e. the quest for 'trust' is not the simple opposite of 'suspicion'. Suspicion entails imagination-based uncertainty regarding the gap between perceived and actual behavior, while trust entails an absence of concern regarding behavioral actualities. Thus inquiry intended to eliminate doubt and restore trust is in itself a negation of trust; i.e. it is 'toxic inquiry'.

A similar geometry arises with respect to rational inquiry into non-rational systems. For example, if the regulator of an autistic community (i.e. 'autistic' as used here connotes those whose views of reality are tailored to satisfy emotional needs, perhaps the general case amongst homo sapiens), intervenes in a dispute and initiates inquiry into 'who's perception is right and whose is wrong' for the purpose of restoring equilibrium. Such inquiry is toxic since equilibrium in the 'community' derives from the satisfying of emotional needs, a purpose which is fundamentally incompatible with logical agreement on a unique and 'correct' objective reality.

In real-life communities (teams, families, corporations, nations etc.) which are englobed within a continuously evolving system, local perception can never be 'complete' and the system is in a continual state of learning. The pace and permeability with which this 'updating tide' experiences as it penetrates the fabric of community is clearly a function of emotional preparedness, thus one could say that human perception is, in general, shaped by emotional needs and that human communities are for all practical purposes, 'self-educating autistic collectives'. From this vantage point, purely causal inquiry into complex community behavior, for the purpose of 'regulation' to maintain equilibrium within the internal system and with the external englobing system, can be 'toxic inquiry'. As Laborit implies, biologic systems also include non-causal behaviors (non-actions) such as the mouse who 'freezes' when the eagle in the englobing sphere approaches his 'englobed sphere'. Patterns of non-action in response to signals from the englobing sphere, while beyond the scope of causal inquiry, are nevertheless important.

Thus, in seeking to understand 'community as complex system', ... it seems useful to cross-compare typically employed social regulatory process with regulatory process in non-human 'communities'; i.e. regulatory process which does not assume the 'rationality' of its system components and avoids exclusive reliance on causal inquiry.

The essay 'Toxic Inquiry in 'Community as Complex System' hypothesized that an understanding of our cultural pathology demands the recasting of our models of systems regulation into a dipolar format where the informationalizing flow polarity is of paramount importance. In our standard 'monopolar' (closed system, exclusionary logic based) models of system regulation, the eradication of dysfunction can only be perceived in unidirectional informationalizing flow; i.e. in terms of 'cause-imposed-flow'. In natural or 'ecological' regulatory systems, however, which are 'non-rational', informational exchanges are 'dipolar' (inward and outward flowing at the same time) with respect to the interior or 'englobed' system and the exterior or 'englobing' system. It can also be shown that the inward flowing informationalizing is 'implicit' while the outward flowing informationalizing is 'explicit', and that dysfunction in social systems is inevitably attacked in terms of 'explicit-only' information and knowledge, ... a diodic valving of informationalizing flow which can exacerbate dysfunction by ignoring the implicit inward travelling regulatory signals coming from the englobing environment.

In the views of investigators into system regulatory process such as Laborit, and the Kiowa author, Scott Momaday, ... we are being informed by the landscape which 'englobes' us, ... whether we care to listen on an aware level or not, is another matter. In Scott's words, "The events of one's life "take place", "take place" . How often have I used this expression, and how often have I stopped to think what it means? Events do indeed take place; they have meaning in relation to the things around them. And a part of my life happened to take place at Jemez. I existed in that landscape, and then my existence was indivisible with it. (excerpt from 'House made of dawn').

On the other hand, inquiry into social pathology typically ignores incoming implicit informationalizing 'signal' from the englobing system sphere and characterizes everything in terms of cause. For example, in papers by Thomas Berry on 'Environmental Ethics' and 'Ethics and Ecology', the author infers that, "... we are caught in a deep cultural pathology, a pathology that is sustained intellectually by the university, economically by the corporation, legally by the constitution, religiously by the church." The implication in these papers is that everything is the result of 'what is being done' and revisions to the 'cause-imposed-flow' of regulatory information will solve the problem; e.g. "Only a jurisprudence based on a primary concern for an integral Earth community is capable of sustaining a viable planet." .... "The universities must decide whether they will continue training persons for temporary survival in the declining Cenozoic period or whether they will begin training students for the emerging Ecozoic period." It seems that, to Berry, the problem is one of explicit content and cause; i.e. "Both our religious and our humanist traditions are committed to an anthropocentric exaltation of the human." ... "The present urgency is to begin thinking within the context of the whole earth, the integral community of non-living and living components."

The mono-polar focus on the 'content' of explicit cause-imposed-flow of regulatory informationalizing is typical of investigators into 'cultural pathology' in that it replicates mainstream scientific perception and inquiry. One might suggest that the cultural pathology Berry speaks of is not simply one of homo-centricity but one of rationo-causal-centricity, ... the exalting of euclidian space and exclusionary logical concepts, and the imposing of these on a non-rational-causal 'community'. In this context, ... if the pathology emanates from the misplaced assumption of 'the rational community member', Berry's rationo-causal mode of inquiry and suggested regulatory adjustments could be described as 'toxic' to his purpose.

An examination of system regulatory processes employed by 'sub-communities' (teams) within the larger community of corporation reconciled with regulatory processes in natural but non-human ecologies suggests that flow polarity considerations have more impact on 'ecological harmony' (maintaining equilibrium with the englobing system as well as within the internal system) than issues of explicit content.

In reviewing the regulatory processes in 'community as complex system', it is necessary to return to basic scientific inquiry principles and, in particular, to revisit the question of bi-directional information exchanges between the 'englobed system' (interior) and its 'englobing system' (exterior), and our cultural 'default' of ensuring the dominance of outward flowing 'explicit' information in the regulatory process.

The modelling of systems behaviors out of the context of co-evolutional effects between the englobed system and its englobing environment is addressed via the assumptions and approximations permitting linear rule and equation-based generalization, as outlined by Poincare in 'Science and Hypothesis'; e.g. 'homogeneity', 'relative independence from remote parts', 'simplicity of the elementary fact'. These 'detachability' or 'disconnection' approximations may or may not be acceptable with respect to the question for which the inquiry is being conducted, since they clearly ignore or deny the influence of memory and experience at the fundamental level. This assumption is suspect when one tries to get to the bottom of resistant pathologies in 'community as complex system', since there is a strong basis in physics for hypothesizing that the behavior of things cannot be fully described in terms of the properties of the 'thing in itself', but that 'things' may have experiential co-dependencies with other 'things' outside of their local environment; e.g. as evidenced in the Einstein-Podolsky-Rosen effect. A similar experiential 'co-dependency seems to emerge at the macro level in 'community as complex system', ... as Bell's Theorem suggests that it might well do.

If this type of 'connectivity' is a factor, our envisaging of system regulatory processes in terms of 'cause-imposed-flow' of information may be seriously incomplete. In other words, the suggestion that solving our problems involves 'doing the right thing rather than doing the wrong thing right' may be wrong in the very basic sense that our problems stem from the domain of 'not-doing' rather than the domain of 'doing'. If our 'community as complex system' is in effect, 'non-rational', ... what good will it do us to continue to think in terms of perfecting our 'rational doings'? The possible remote codependency between external (englobing system) and internal (englobed system) entities would seem to provide a speculative basis in theory for explaining the emotional 'customization' of perception, as in 'community as autistic collective', and the substituting of a 'non-rational' for 'rational' citizen of the community in the models. With or without a theoretical basis, the superiority of the 'non-rational citizen' model can be supported by real-life observations.

Just as the 'rational investor' assumption has had to give way to the 'non-rational' investor (i.e. due to memory and behavior triggering thresholds) and the linear systems treatment of investment 'economies' has had to give way to nonlinear treatments, ... the same appears to be true for the 'rational citizen' in the study of 'community as complex system', due to induced informationalizing effects between the citizen and events in the englobing environment, which impacts 'ordering' and regulation within the community.

The failure to account for such order influencing informationalizing exchanges between different levels of natural systems, on the part of the contemporary scientific approach, is Henri Laborit's central complaint in 'The Biological Basis of Social Behaviors'. Laborit's biological structural models are in terms of space-time spheres containing 'ensembles' (subsystems) concentrically 'englobed' by larger space-time spheres, a system visualization which entails 'inclusionary' logic and allows external sources of regulatory influence to permeate through to the core of a biological system. This mode of visualizing system ordering processes suggests that a system cannot be understood in isolation from its informationalizing exchanges with its environment, since they are seen to constitute important regulators of the 'englobed' system.

Laborit, in speaking of moving beyond the limitations of the cybernetic, feedback based model of the 1950's, says; "... it was even more important to specify how the multiple regulations were able to harmonize themselves, how a level of organization is 'ordered' by information from the exterior of the system represented by this level of organization, ... information which emanates from the system which 'englobes' it. And, starting from this point in time, I set myself the task of discovering the 'commands external to the system' and, from organizational level to organizational level, to understand the manner of functioning of the whole ensemble. Now, you will have guessed, without doubt, the misfortune of comtemporary science and what one calls 'reductionism', comes from the fact that one confines oneself to the study of a level of organisation in ignorance of it's energy relationships, and above all its informational relationships, with the other levels. One cuts off the exterior commands [information ordering exchanges from the englobing space-time environment] that one observes, and one believes that in describing the functioning of this level of organization, one has understood the entire functioning of the system." [Note: Laborit opted out of the biological disciplinary community and undertook his own independent biological research since he saw the notion of a closed discipline in itself as a flawed implementation or as 'toxic inquiry'.].

That the closed system approach of mainstream science, which ignores system-environment informationalizing exchanges was innately limited was well noted by Poincare in his discussion of the three approximations implicit in the system interior-based causal assumption; i.e. the 'homogeneity' approximation denies the different impact on system behavior of physically similar systems parts by virtue of their 'experience', .... the 'relative independence from remote parts' denies the ability of a system to have had 'connective experience' with external entities which continues to influence behavior (e.g. as in the Einstein, Podolsky, Rosen effect), and the 'simplicity of the elementary fact' denies the possibility that 'cause' may not be solely attributable to simple sources residing as some depth or other within the interior of the system.

The 'informationally connected' view of nature puts everything into the category of a relativistic, evolving flux, and precludes the 'building up from the bottom' of an understanding of phenomena, as has been the scientific tradition.

As noted in an earlier essay, ... one of the advantages and disadvantages of 'business systems' is that they appear to have no allegiance to any theory or scientific tradition, other than to exploit economic supply and demand patterns in a financial sense. Thus, the recognition that the investor is 'non-rational' and the investment economy, nonlinear, has led to some leading edge scientific treatments which visualize the system much like a weather system, ... and to search for patterns which emerge and persist, perhaps only for very short periods, ... such as hurricanes and tornados upwell and subduct from and into the atmospheric base. Such a treatment is purely 'relativistic' where the visualization of the process is 'bootstrapped' from emergent patterns and does not depend on fixed axioms or approximations as are involved in inquiry where understanding must be in the sole terms of 'interior cause', ... an error-prone assumption flagged by both Laborit and Poincare.

One can see a natural emergence of the 'relativistic treatment' of 'community as complex system', implicitly capable of handling the case of the 'non-rational' citizen, emerging in the macro field of 'knowledge management', and it is possible to extract the basic precepts as follows;

1. Opposing yet Complementary Informationalizing and Resourcing Processes

A view of transformation in a system seen in purely relativistic terms (e.g. continuing evolutionary metamophosis such as in plate tectonics or geomagnetism) is accommodated by visualizing two complementary processes; the dissemination (upwelling) of explicit knowledge and explicit material (productized materials), and the subductive implanting of implicit knowledge and implicit resources (recyclable materials).

In terms of spheres englobing spheres and information exchanges, ... the 'explicit' aspect can be visualized in terms of a sphere with many radial arrows emanating from its center and pointing out towards the surface of the sphere, ... all arrows being the same colour to indicate the 'one-to-many' nature of the informational process, as it is commonly referred to in information management (business) jargon. The 'implicit' aspect can be visualized in terms of a sphere with many radial arrows pointing in towards the center from the sphere's surface. These arrows will be of diverse colours to indicate the 'many-to-one' nature of the informationalizing process. Information and/or resources which are implicit rather than 'explicit', get that way because of one's attitude towards them; i.e. if one dumps a number of explicit items into a 'spare parts' box, they become an implicit ensemble ready to take on new ordering and definition depending on the purpose for which they are needed: i.e. an axe handle can become an axle for a wagon or, a 'lunar landing module' can be recycled (for parts) as a atmospheric re-entry control and guidance system (Apollo 13).

In terms of 'community as complex system', ... it has been commonly observed that there are two informational 'forces' at play, ... the 'push' of explicit knowledge and product (from the expert and from mass production), .... and the 'pull' of implicit knowledge and generic resources (by the purposive creators of new explicit knowledge and products). Professor A. J. Berkhout of Delft University, in an invited submission to the OECD, (Sept. 1997) speaks to the issues surrounding these two complementary processes in these terms; "Successful interaction at the two principal interfaces of the innovation system requires two types of knowledge workers at each interface; the knowledge disseminators [disciplinary specialists or one-to-many 'disseminators'] and the knowledge integrators [systems thinkers or many-to-one 'knowledge integrators'].

In fact, reflection will show that 'community as complex system' can be described in terms of two concurrent, multi-level processes involving the 'one-to-many' dissemination of explicit knowledge and resources and the 'many-to-one' integration of implicit knowledge and resources.

2. Explicit and Implicit Knowledge in 'Community as Complex System'

The distinction between 'explicit' knowledge and 'implicit knowledge' (the integrative recombination of multiple disparate elements of information) is widely discussed in the literature of; business (e.g Nonaka and Takeuchi in 'The Knowledge Creating Company'), and psychology (e.g. Lev Vygotsky, 'Thought and Language', Daniel Schacter, 'Searching for Memory'). It is also described in the context of relativistic systems and non-euclidian space visualization (Einstein, 'Geometry and Experience', Bohm, 'Wholeness and the Implicate Order').

The notion of implicit knowledge is congruent with 'geometrical-physical theory', the integrating of disparate informational entities in terms of their relational geometry as described by Einstein in the following terms; .. 'First of all, an observation of epistemological nature. A geometrical-physical theory as such is incapable of being directly pictured, being merely a system of concepts. But these concepts serve the purpose of bringing a multiplicity of real or imaginary sensory experiences into connection in the mind. To 'visualise' a theory, or bring it home to one's mind, therefore means to give a representation to that abundance of experiences for which the theory supplies the schematic arrangement.

That is, when we are faced with the relational interplay between diverse ensembles or 'subsystems' in a finite space, as in a rainforest, or as in the case of a child's pre-explicit knowledge exploring of the world, the notion of 'tacit' or 'implicit' knowledge comes into play which deals in the relational geometric patterns (e.g. of the type the chaos theory investment 'weathermen' concern themselves with). From this implicit knowledge, whose meaning is 'pulled' into place by the need to 'do something', or pulled by 'ontegenetic' need as discussed by Vygotsky, new 'explicit' knowledge emanates. Thus implicit knowledge is the 'parent' of 'explicit' knowledge in a circular, upwelling-subducting type of 'evolutionary' thought and language system.

Dienes, Zoltan & Perner, Josef. (1999) A Theory of Implicit and Explicit Knowledge. Behavioral and Brain Sciences 22 (5):, Cambridge University Press (in publication), in their conclusions state; " The most important type of implicit knowledge consists of representations that merely reflect the property of objects or events without predicating them to any particular entity. The clearest case of explicit knowledge of a fact are reflective representations that represent one's own attitude of knowing that fact."

The notion of purely relative or 'relational geometry' free from explicit meaning (patterns towards which we suspend the attitude 'I know what this is') emanates from the notion of 'implicit' knowledge, while the notion of fixed, non-relativistic 'subjectivity' emanates from the notion of 'explicit knowledge'. In the case of 'implicit knowledge', research by Vygotsky and Schacter adds the further qualifier that 'implicit' knowledge associates with the achievement of experiential purpose, ... thus 'implicit' knowledge may start off as what Vygotsky terms the 'pseudoconceptual' or purely associative patterns but its full utility comes into play as the associative patterns are reconciled with 'purpose' and acquire space-time 'phase' properties in connection with with real experience, such as riding a bicycle. Whereas 'explicit knowledge' is structured arbitrarily and for convenience of dissemination and non-experience related ingestion, ... 'implicit knowledge' can include dynamic ordering information with respect to experiential process. In this sense, it is not 'knowledge in its own right' but co-dynamical knowledge which 'reconstitutes' when one is re-immersed in the experiential dynamic.

3. The Polarity of Informationalizing and Resourcing Processes

As described by Berkhout (above) and in my 1997 essay 'Complexity and the Learning Organization' ('Complexity', vol 2, No. 5), the ongoing, transformative (evolutionary) process in 'community as complex system' involves two complementary yet opposing processes in a dipolar arrangement; i.e. the dissemination of explicit knowledge and explicit material (productized material) on the one hand, and integrative or recombinative subduction characterized by 'implicit knowledge' and the recycling of diverse explicit materials, now seen as generic resources.

These contemporaneous, opposing patterns are basic in nature and in the most general metaphor, can be described in terms of 'growth' and 'decay' or 'living' and 'dying'. What is most important to observe, as noted by Laborit, is that the contemporary (mainstream) scientific process, and particularly so in management and organizational theory, considers only the explicit upwelling component which is sourced from the interior of the system and ignores the implicit, subductive process which is sourced from the exterior of the system (the growth-limiting aspect of the overal evolutionary process). The outer-to-inner permeability of regulatory informationalizing in systems models is, in fact, specifically precluded in mainstream science models by the use of closed systems assumptions and exclusionary logic.

Examination of the multiple level (sphere-englobing-sphere) workings of these two informationalizing processes (explicit dissemination and implicit recombination) shows the explicit mode as leading to the formation of control hierarchies (ontogeny-controlling hierarchies) based on the dissemination of explicit knowledge (expert-based) and explicit materials (product-based) on the one hand, ... and the implicit mode as leading to the formation of 'ecological hierarchies' (ontogeny-serving hierarchies) based on an integrative recombination of knowledge (implicit knowledge) and an integrative recombination or re-cycling of products. Since the 'explicit' attribute is simply an attitudinal attribute, ... in the recycling process, the explicit knowledge and products lose their 'meaning-in-themselves' and become raw materials whose new meaning will be determined relative to 'purpose'. The choice of which of these two informationalizing processes will 'lead' and which will 'follow' gives rise to the notion of flow 'polarity'. This 'flow polarity' issue can also be looked at in terms of whether 'cause' dominates over 'purpose' or vice versa. As Nietzsche pointed out, traditional science orients its view to 'cause' though nature appears to be 'purpose' (attractor) oriented.

In this 'dipolar flow' model, there seems to be potential for 'purpose' to be defined, not in terms of an absolute pre-destined teleology or karma, but in the purely relativistic terms of the pursuit of co-evolution of the englobed system with its englobing system; e.g. the 'oceanic system' is englobed by the 'atmospheric system' and 'oceanic system', rather than being viewed as causally driven, can be viewed as being 'pulled' by the purpose of satisfying the needs of internal and external equilibria (as Laborit suggests). In the permeable, open systems inclusionary logic terms of this flow model, such a purpose extends on out to the evolution of the whole and wraps back down and around to the evolution of its innermost subsystem.

In other words, ... ecological hierarchies incorporate informational and resourcing flows which are based on an integrative recombinational flow induced by purpose (e.g. englobing attractors), while societal control hierarchies typically incorporate informational and resourcing flows imposed by explicit knowledge and product dissemination. In western social systems, the dominant behavior 'ordering' information seems to come in the form of causal structuring procedures which are forcibly and artificially implanted into the interior subsystems. Whereas, in ecological systems, behavior 'ordering' information seems to come from attractor-induced integrative recombinational flow 'fed' by multiple explicit (specialized) disseminational sources.

In other words, social hierarchies are typically developed in the form of control hierarchies incorporating process flows which are the reverse polarity from the process flows incorporated in ecological (evolutionary) hierarchies. However, in the case of exceptional, high performance teams, ... this polarity can be manifestly seen to 'flip' as the teams move into 'ecological' or 'evolutionary' mode. A typical example occurs in the film Apollo 13 when the mission leader, who is taking his team into 'purpose-induced-flow-mode' after the oxygen tank explosion, ... butts heads with a Grumman rocket engineer who is stuck in 'cause-imposed-flow-mode' and who keeps insisting that the lunar landing module's rockets are not 'designed' to fire in open space (outside of the moon's gravity field). The mission leader, exasperated that the engineer is still hung up in 'cause-imposed-flow-mode', finally explodes, saying; 'I don't give a damn about what ANYTHING was designed for, all I care about is what it is CAPABLE of.', and exposing the the polarity flip between cause and purpose as the driver for the system's informationalizing and resourcing flow.

4. Resilience of Control Hierarchies versus Ecological Hierarchies

From the above 'dipolar' modelling of informationalizing and resourcings flows in hierarchical (sphere-englobing-sphere) systems structures, ... it is easy to detect a fundamental difference in the regulatory attribute of control hierarchies (incorporating 'cause-imposed-flow-polarity') and ecological hierarchies (incorporating 'purpose-induced-flow-polarity') relative to 'resilience' in the face of perturbation.

While both hierarchies achieve material production from regulated systems behaviors, the regulatory process of the 'control-hierarchy' is 'inverted' or 'polarity-flipped' with respect to the regulatory process of the 'ecological hierarchy'.

In the case of control hierarchies, regulatory informationalizing is by means of 'explicit perspectives' maintained and disseminated by hierarchies of 'experts' (i.e. 'managers' or 'technologists', or, 'bureacrats' and 'technocrats' as Laborit refers to them). The evolutionary response of the system is accommodated by a separate and 'offline' development and 'downloading' of revised and updated 'cause-imposed-flow-mode' directives. In this mode, explicit knowledge and explicit resourcing (expert direction and product dissemination) are in the primacy and implicit knowledge integrators and implicit resource integration (skunkworks operations) are the supportive mode.

In the case of ecological hierarchies, regulatory informationalizing is by means of 'implicit visualization' of diverse informational inputs seen in the context of purpose, and solicited by hierarchies of 'knowledge integrating' subsystems in the interior. Evolution is thus simultaneously accommodated on all system levels in the hierarchy via the 'purpose-induced-flow-mode' opportunities. In this 'ecological' mode, implicit knowledge and implicit resourcing (integrative recombination by knowledge integrators and skunkworks operations) are in the primacy and explicit knowledge and explicit resourcing (experts and products) are in a supportive mode.

Metaphorically speaking, in ecologies, ... dying and integrative recombination --- the domain of the 'implicit' --- is the 'parent' of life and differentiated dissemination --- the domain of the 'explicit' --- is the child. In the context of thought and learning, .... the simultaneous death of old thought and the emergence of 'learning' are the leading edge of the evolutionary front, and it is in their wake that new explicit knowledge is born. This dying of the old is not a rational process (we cannot make a thought go away by thinking it out of existence) but is born of purpose. As Vygotsky says; "Thought is not begotten by thought; it is engendered by our motivation, i.e., by our desires and needs, our interests and our emotions." Although we have the option to restrict our understanding of biological/ecological systems to internal 'cause' in terms of biochemistry and biophysics, ... it seems a trivial observation that attractors within the englobing sphere; i.e. purpose associated with our need to maintain a harmony with our englobing environment, is a primary inducer or engenderer of explicit ideas and behaviors.

Ignoring or discounting the inward flowing implicit signals from the englobing landscape and putting the explicit 'child' in an unnatural primacy over the 'parent', as is the flow-mode polarity in the control hierarchy, leads to a number of undesirable exposures. One is that the regulatory nodes are occupied by 'experts' (or those encouraged to 'behave as experts') and thus they maintain and respond to explicit local perspectives, and are not only not free to respond independently to an overall system threat, but must refrain from doing so, if they are to maintain the stability and effectiveness of the control hierarchy. In addition, there is no investment in infrastructure to maintain a current knowledge of external informational 'signalling' in the englobing system level, since the regulatory directives are implanted in each subsystem, and as the englobing environment becomes more complex, and the formality of the control hierarchy intensifies, ... the option for nodal regulators to modulate their regulation on the basis of implicit signals from the englobing environment shrinks (the system becomes more 'machine-like').

In this regard, in high performance teams, one hears the expression that the team has 'flipped from a boss-focus to a customer-focus', where 'customer' is a relative geometrical notion referring to the englobing system level. Where this sensitivity to regulatory 'pull' extends right through the open systems structure to the open market (as it does in the case of the human body regulatory system), when there is an external perturbation or threat to the organization, ... the response at all levels in this open systems structure can be effectively immediate and simultaneous with 'whole-and-part' harmony across the system assured. In this mode, implicit 'purpose' provides the common RELATIVISTIC compass for all levels within the ecological system. One could define purpose in this context in terms of 'a satisfied englobing system level' which continues to nurture the 'englobed system level'; what is implied in the 'satisfied customer' metaphor is 'satisfied co-evolutionary relationship' or 'symbiosis' with the englobing system level. In this open systems, inclusionary, fractal and permeable 'purpose-induced-flow-mode', ... the ultimate reference 'purpose' is evolution itself, ... thus making the system fully relativistic.

Examples of systems failures as are anticipated in the Y2K 'millenium bug' tie in directly to the exposure of inverted polarity control hierarchies. That is, if the system 'becomes unglued' due to the Y2K perturbation, ... not only are the inner nodes constrained to withhold their independent local response (because this will interfere with control-hierarchy regulated informationalizing and resourcing flows) but the informationalizing infrastructure will not be in place to ascertain the informational signalling and resourcing situation in each englobing system level; i.e. the family subsystem will not be positioned for integrative recombination of information and resources emanating from the englobing system of community, nor will the community be so positioned relative to the englobing region etc.


The foregoing discussion suggests that more comprehensive modelling approaches must be employed in seeking an understanding of 'community as complex system', ... approaches which do not depend on the severe assumption of the 'rational community member' and which are consistent with the basic precepts of modern physics such as relativity and quantum mechanics.

In particular, a modelling approach which features dipolar 'implicit' and 'explicit' knowledge flows is suggested which appears to overcome some of the shortfalls in our contemporary mainstream scientific modelling of 'community as complex system'. This dipolar information flow model leads to the notion of opposing yet complementary 'implicit' and 'explicit' informationalizing and resourcing flows, and to the possibility of two very different polarity implementations, the 'explicit-over-implicit' implementation leading to 'control hierarchies', and the 'implicit-over-explicit' implementation leading to 'ecological hierarchies'.

One of the values of this particular model representation, in addition to shedding light on the source of 'cultural pathologies', is that it clarifies and illuminates the respective resilience of the two polarities of implementation, in the context of 'community as complex system', relative to their ability to co-adapt and co-evolve with evolutionary pulses emanating from the environment.

The inverting of the informationalizing flow results in system regulatory nodes, in the case of the control hierarchy, consisting of a hierarchy of 'expert regulators' who disseminate explicit knowledge but who lack a global 'awareness' due to the closed system or 'exclusionary logic' structural design, as well as to the imposed 'implanting' and ad hoc updating of environmental response procedures. External environmental pulses impinging on the system are 'mechanically' addressed, with respect to the development of updated regulatory information.

While the 'experts' may informally be in possession of broad, implicit knowledge of the system and its environment, ... the formal system process looks for an explicit focus on the local system level. What this means is that when the 'management team' or 'regulatory team' gets together, ... local regulators are ill-equipped to represent their 'part' in the context of the whole, leaving the highest level regulator to determine appropriate evolutionary updates based on mechanical summations of observations. Incoming signals from the environment, uniquely available at the local system level, are not looked for thus not seen. The 'leadership' network in this type of system, insofar as it is formally practiced, degenerates into a network of 'mouthpieces' for the analytical-causal informationalizing which dominates the regulatory structure, and at the same time shuts off the flow of purpose-induced implicit information.

In the case of the ecological hierarchy, the regulatory nodes are occupied by 'knowledge integrators' who key to informationalizing and resourcing exchanges with their englobing system level based on 'shared purpose' or 'co-evolutional opportunity'. This is an open systems, inclusionary logic structure which allows evolutionary pulses in the external environment beyond the bounds of the overall organization, to permeate rapidly, inducing adaptive responses at all levels. Since the ecological hierarchy is ultimately keyed to 'co-evolution' with the external environment, this regulatory approach is fully relativistic and since it allows each regulatory node to be experientially sensitive in its response, it allows all nodes within the system to directly engage in local and global 'learning'.

From this view of 'community as complex system', ... the superior resilience of the non-rational ecological hierarchy can easily be seen. In fact, control hierarchies can in theory, also operate as ecological hierarchies at the same time, since humans have the capacity for both explicit and implicit knowledge management, and the extent to which they do, and the relative pervasiveness of either regulatory flow polarity, determines what is commonly called 'corporate culture'. Increasingly, there appears to be a formalizing of the control hierarchy and a squeezing out of the ecological hierarchical mode, as attempts are made to 'teach the elephant how to dance'. If the elephant 'trips' or 'collapses', of course, as is the concern in the case of Y2K, the local system levels must wait helplessly while the network of experts makes the necessary repairs, the ecological oriented informationalizing and regulatory infrastructure having been destroyed during the construction of the control hierarchies.

In terms of 'toxic inquiry' the topic of the essay to which this discussion is footnoted, ... it is clear that the 'polarity' of the these two informationalizing and resourcing flow modes, ... 'implicit' and 'explicit', ... conflict with one another; i.e. one must either give primacy to the 'implicit', the recombinative integration of knowledge and generic resources as regulated by a network of 'knowledge integrators', ... or one must give primacy to the 'explicit', the differentiating dissemination of knowledge and productized resources as regulated by a network of 'experts'. In the 'natural' case where the ordering effect of the 'implicit' is in a primacy over the 'explicit', there is no problem in both modes working together, since the 'explicit' is a special case of the implicit where the 'pull of purpose' goes to zero and the 'push of cause' is the mechanical residue. On the other hand, if the ordering effect of the 'explicit' is in a primacy over the 'implicit', there is no room on interior node levels for independently responding to 'purpose' in the context of englobing co-evolutionary pull.

While the science applied to capital investment markets has foregone the assumption of 'the rational investor', ... it seems that this assumption continues to be clung to in inquiry into 'cultural pathology' and 'community as complex system'. The implication is that the regulatory nodes at all systems levels are 'rational', and are thus restricted to sensing and responding to rational messages. 'Listening to the englobing landscape' is not a rational attribute, but one which involves inclusionary logic, implicit pattern recognition and imagination, or 'geometrical - physical theorizing' in Einstein's words. To ask for a rational response to our 'ecological problem' as Berry does, .... would therefore appear to perpetuate and exacerbate the dysfunction which it seeks to cure.

Lastly, the inclusionary logic and open systems character of the ecological hierarchy allows the 'flavor' of an evironmental pulse to permeate in to the innermost node and, in turn, flavor its response in a kind of experiential imprinting manner. So, in an evolutionary, englobing systems context, as might be exemplified by 'el nino' and the continuing space-time dynamic in the atmospheric englobing of the oceanic system, ... we can see that such experiential flavors can linger on for a long time as they intermingle with others. And since, metaphorically, this evolving ecological hierarchy is a 'death-pulled' system, ... the fractally enfolding experiential flavoring might well be compared with the elusive notion of the 'soul' of the system.

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