Transforming and Interweaving the Ways of Being Stoned
BY TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 10 September 2012
by Anthony Judge – TRANSCEND Media Service
Imagination, Promise, Rocks, Memorials, Petrification
“Stone” is used metaphorically and otherwise in a quite disparate range of contexts. These nevertheless offer an elusive implication of connectivity which merits exploration, as attempted here — especially given the associated sense of concreteness.
This offers an alternative understanding of the frameworks of belief systems, their articulation, and the problematic relationships between them — exemplified by the communication processes in any gathering in which multiple themes are evoked and challenged from a variety of perspectives — and to relatively little avail. This preoccupation follows from a previous discussion (Interweaving Thematic Threads and Learning Pathways, 2010).
An early justification for this experimental presentation was the instigation by Johan Galtung of a project on Forms of Presentation: a forgotten aspect of social science epistemology (1978) within the project on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development (GPID) of the United Nations University — offering possibilities previously discussed (Forms of Presentation and the Future of Comprehension, 1984).
The question here is whether connotations of “stone” carry an implicit common insight readily and usefully to be understood as degrees of material formalization — of relevance to inspiration, creativity, model building, and conflicts between them, appropriately commemorated prior to their deprecation and abandonment. However, whatever the degree of materialization, “stonework” of any era tends to be honoured in ways which authorities deprecate and desecrate at their peril. It typically enshrines identity, constitutes a trigger for potential conflict, as well as figuring in the instrumentalization of conflict.
This experiment explores analogies between the mnemonic pentagrams fundamental to the Hygieia understanding of health of Pythagoreans and to its current understanding through the Wu Xing system of Chinese culture. The focus here is however on their relevance to the dynamics of “cognitive health”, especially with respect to a global knowledge-based society — whose conflicts are variously driven by societies attaching central significance to the pentagonal star. This follows an earlier exploration of symbolic framings (Middle East Peace Potential through Dynamics in Spherical Geometry: engendering connectivity from incommensurable 5-fold and 6-fold conceptual frameworks, 2012).
Understood in terms of a cyclic dynamic, the “cognitive health” of a global system is then explored with respect to its environmental implications, exemplified in reality by the world-encircling ocean conveyor — of which the serpentine symbols favoured globally by health systems offer a provocative metaphor.
In a period of global crisis, with a widely remarked lack of new thinking, it might be asked how bad things need to get before new questions are asked and neglected opportunities are explored. Within such a context the importance desperately attached to the need for “confidence building” in relation to the financial system seems ironic in the light of the past. Appeals to the “conscience” of the international community in response to flagrant abuse of human rights appear equally curious in a world in which faith in anything is systematically abused (cf. Abuse of Faith in Governance, 2009).
Use of “stoned” as a provocative mnemonic device is then arguably appropriate through the distraction it offers, whether through use of drugs by individuals, or collective dependence on oil as a drug. The exorbitant expenditure on the occasion of global summits is also suggestive of the “stoned” conditions under which it is deemed appropriate for decision-makers to envision the future (U.N. General Assembly 2012: leaders spend millions as their citizens starve, Huffington Post, 5 September 2009; Financial Costs of G8 and G20 Summits). For the multitudes depending for a viable future on its promises and proposals, the international community is readily to be perceived as having a “heart of stone”.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 3.0 United States License.