Correspondences between Traditional Constellations and Pattern Languages
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 17 Nov 2014
Requisite Simplexity for Sustainable Comprehension of Complexity
There is no lack of theories, explanations and strategic plans claiming relevance to global crisis. Many are formulated and disseminated in copyrighted documents. These are relatively inaccessible to most in terms of cost and/or comprehensibility. Through appeals, people worldwide may be called upon both to believe in the truth they claim to represent and to supply resources to enable their application. The proponents tend to disparage each other’s frameworks. When taking the form of commercialised products, each may be asserted to be of uniquely superior value.
These modern formulations by academia and the policy community stand in curious contrast to other more traditional frameworks held to be more comprehensible, to which many attach more credence, and with which many identify more willingly — or find themselves better reflected in the mirror they may offer. Again, enthusiasts for particular traditions tend to disparage alternative frameworks of this kind. For convenience, the two clusters are distinguishes here as a language of patterns and as constellations of significance.
The question addressed here is how some form of cognitive bridge might be constructed between these two modalities. Is there the possibility of imagining a cognitive device of some kind which could serve as such a bridge, as previously discussed (In Quest of Mnemonic Catalysts — for comprehension of complex psychosocial dynamics, 2007; Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007). Metaphorically might this be some unforeseen paradoxical combination of the Rosetta Stone and the Philosopher’s Stone?
Given the quarrelsome relationship between proponents of alternative modalities and belief systems, it would seem that what is called for is not a new articulation. Rather the need is for a special kind of “surface” with which significance could be variously associated — interactively and in a learning mode. The surface needs to be both sufficiently complex to hold variety and sufficiently simple to be comprehensible.
The surface also needs to have integrative characteristics such as to attract attention and be worthy of it. The iconic image of the Earth from space is promoted as being appropriately symbolic of the integrity of a global civilization.
The question is how the imagined surface can enable the arrangement of highly disparate meanings — implying connectivity vital to global governance (Imagining Attractive Global Governance, 2013). Expressed otherwise, the challenge is one of reconciling the requisite variety articulated by cybernetics with the requisite simplicity vital to the comprehension, upheld as a democratic right (Ungovernability of Sustainable Global Democracy? 2011). Or, in other terms, is what can be comprehended of sufficient complexity — and is what can be adequately explained sufficiently comprehensible?
Stated most succinctly and provocatively, it is assumed here that people in general derive more personal meaning and sense of identity from reference to their astrological sign — or some equally memorable symbol — than from any complex pattern of explanation formulated by qualified authority. The appeal of such symbols might be due to the perception that they have “more soul” — irrespective of the degree to which some may be deprecated. The question is how this situation could be reframed with respect to a global civilization in crisis.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 17 Nov 2014.
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