World Introversion through Paracycling
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 24 Jun 2013
Global Potential for Living Sustainably “Outside-Inside”
Produced on the occasion of the G8 Summit  in Eniskillen (Ireland)
At a time of considerable social unrest in various countries of the world, with more foreseen exacerbated by unresolved environmental issues, it is not to be expected that any meeting of the G8 will be able to address matters coherently, creatively and responsibly — despite declarations to the media to the contrary. Any actions taken as a result will in all probability further exacerbate the situation — despite denials of any such consequences.
The question meriting reflection is whether the courageous protests against the mindset of those who claim capacity to govern society could be set aside to enable exploration of other modalities. Clearly such protests will continue and will be met with ever more severe repression by “security forces” in the name of “law and order” — framing any form of protest as instigated by “terrorists” (recently exemplified in the US by protest regarding water quality). The possibility that there are other forms of “security” thereby neglected (and alternative understandings of “order” which merit consideration) has been discussed separately (Law and Order vs. Lore and Orders? Imagining otherwise the forceful engagement of singularity with plurality, 2013). There is clearly a case for recognizing that the form of security currently promoted as paramount is only achieved at the cost of exacerbating other forms of insecurity currently considered irrelevant.
Potential of imaginative personal reframing: The concern here is how to reframe the situation for oneself in one’s own imagination — without succumbing to the dysfunctional authoritarians worldviews so widely promoted. The situation could be compared to the prehistoric period when the dinosaurs roamed the planet threatening other lifeforms. The question is then what strategies to explore personally in order to coexist with “gloriously terrifying monstrosities”, as speculatively suggested previously (Systemic Biomimicry of Dinosaurs by Multinational Corporations: clearing the ground for future psychosocial evolution, 2011).
Another way to frame the challenge is evoked by the recent disclosures regarding the level of invasive surveillance by the US National Security Agency and its collaborators, as separately discussed (Vigorous Application of Derivative Thinking to Derivative Problems, 2013). Science fiction, through the Star Trek series, has conveniently imagined the Borg Collective inhabiting interconnected box-like space-vessels — usefully reminiscent of the NSA “boxes” at Fort Meade and Bluffdale. Such imagination is echoed by that of the Matrix series (a title exploited in the Wired magazine reporting in 2012 on the NSA Bluffdale installation). All such speculations frame challenges to “security”, whether physical or cognitive.
Untrustworthiness and cultivation of fear: Most curiously, the case for invasive surveillance — as with the argument for assimilation into the hive mind of Borg-society — is promoted as a defence against societal disruption and erosion of “human values”, currently framed as threatened by elusive “terrorists” to be feared above all else. This cultivation of fear is reminiscent of that promoted, with the assistance of the Tonton Macoute, at the height of voodooism in Haitian society through fear of Baron Samedi (aka Osama bin Laden?) as the epitome of evil.
Use of “human values” and “human rights” in the declarations of those cultivating such fear can be compared to a fig leaf carefully adjusted to disguise invasive intentions of the most reprehensible nature. Those declarations have been proven to be no longer trustworthy — or rather any confidence in them merits recognition as a significant risk to the person according it. Their artfulness lies in the capacity to make new promises, whilst reframing broken promises of the past to appear unbroken.
The untrustworthiness of the powerful has been most recently exemplified by revelations of the surveillance of participants by the UK at a G20 Summit hosted in London as well as of more comprehensive operations complementary to that of the NSA (Ewen MacAskill, et al., GCHQ intercepted foreign politicians’ communications at G20 summits, The Guardian, 17 June 2013; GCHQ taps fibre-optic cables for secret access to world’s communications, The Guardian, 21 June 2013). This pattern had been made evident with respect to the UN itself, as previously documented (Alleged Breach of UN Treaty Obligations by US: press coverage and commentary following WikiLeaks cable dissemination, 2010). Recent response to concerned questioning on the role of Australia reinforces the supposition that cooperation on sharing such intelligence may be ensured through the Anglosphere Five Eyes security organization. However all such “disclosures” may well be a form of false flag operation to achieve public habituation to invasive surveillance, as suggested by Naomi Wolf (Joe Coscarelli, Naomi Wolf Thinks Edward Snowden and His Sexy Girlfriend Might Be Government Plants, NYmag.com, 14 June 2013).
The difficult for the powerful is their inability to provide concrete proof of the veracity of whatever they claim to be truth — given their ability to fabricate any evidence, if the cost justifies such fabrication in relation to their strategic assessment.
“Outside-Inside”: Rather than engaging fruitlessly with such processes, the following exploration concerns the radical possibility of “internalizing” the “externalities” whose manipulation by those empowered to do so is far from engendering a quality of meaningful coherence in resonance with the values to which individuals may aspire. The possibility has been variously articulated in previous discussions (Being the Universe : a Metaphoric Frontier, 1999; Existential Embodiment of Externalities: radical cognitive engagement with environmental categories and disciplines, 2009; Psychology of Sustainability: embodying cyclic environmental processes, 2002).
Rather than simply arguing for the freedom of subjectivity (and introversion) in contrast to entrapment in objectivity (and extroversion), the argument here concerns the cyclic dynamic of the paradoxical relationship between them (¡¿ Defining the objective ∞ Refining the subjective ?! Explaining reality ∞ Embodying realization, 2011).
Riding a paradoxical cycle: Indicative images are offered by the sense in which the dynamic can be framed metaphorically as with walking or use of a bicycle — echoed in the first case by use of “left” and “right” in politics. The suggestion here, however, is that these readily comprehensible images obscure the paradoxical nature of that relationship. This is only too evident in the problematic relationship of such dualities in politics, especially in efforts to achieve bipartisan consensus and coordination. The question is then the possibility of transcending the limitations implied by such metaphors (Transcending Simplistic Binary Contractual Relationships, 2012).
Rather than metaphorically acquiring the capacity to “ride a bicycle”, it would seem that the challenge is better framed as one of “riding a paradoxical cycle” relating the conventions of “inside-outside.” to the underexplored potential of living “outside-inside”. This recalls the arguments for “simple living” as articulated by Duane Elgin (Voluntary Simplicity: toward a way of life that is outwardly simple, inwardly rich, 2010) and those more recently made by Susan Cain (Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking, 2012 ).
This paradoxical cycle is notably recognized to a degree in developmental psychology, as by Willis F. Overton (Metaphor, recursive systems, and paradox in science and developmental theory. Advances in Child Development and Behavior, 1991). Use is made here of the geometry of a “paracycle” to frame the dynamics of such a cycle as a “cognitive vehicle”. This is partially inspired by the paradoxical nature of the Mobius strip, and taking account of the arguments of Steven M. Rosen (Science, Paradox and the Moebius Principle: the evolution of the transcultural approach to wholeness, 1994). Use is also made of the paradoxical insights into sphere eversion whereby a sphere can be turned “outside in”.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 24 Jun 2013.
Anticopyright: Editorials and articles originated on TMS may be freely reprinted, disseminated, translated and used as background material, provided an acknowledgement and link to the source, TMS: World Introversion through Paracycling, is included. Thank you.
This work is licensed under a CC BY-NC 4.0 License.
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