Weather Metaphors as Whether Metaphors
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 12 Oct 2015
Transcending Solar Illusion via a Galilean-Style Cognitive Revolution?
The argument here follows from that made separately with respect to the possibility of understanding the challenge of climate otherwise (Enhancing Strategic Discourse Systematically using Climate Metaphors: widespread comprehension of system dynamics in weather patterns as a resource, 2015). In a period of notably shambolic global governance, that argument was presented in anticipation of the significance of the UN Climate Change Conference (Paris, November 2015). The argument was developed further through the technical demonstration of movements relative to one another of geometrical objects in three dimensions (Psychosocial Implication in Polyhedral Animations in 3D: patterns of change suggested by nesting, packing, and transforming symmetrical polyhedra, 2015).
As the latter title indicates, the objects in question are understood as carriers for distinctions in discourse expressed metaphorically, notably with respect to climate. Climate itself is understood there as encompassing its tangible experience in nature as well as the widespread use of climate and weather metaphors to distinguish intangible psychosocial phenomena.
The point is usefully made in the wordplay between weather and whether, given the manner in which decision-making is so extensively determined by weather — notably with respect to catastrophic conditions framed by weather metaphors. A degree of semantic convergence is also implied in use of “well-weathered” with reference to those exhibiting experience in the survival of problematic circumstances.
Beyond recognition of their value in advertising, as yet to be explored is the potential implication of such “strategic homophones” for decision-making. This might be further illustrated with respect to any quest for harmony in the Middle East dependent on the interplay between peace and piece — as might be articulated through rhyme in poetic terms, for example (cf. Denis Drieghe et al, Strategic Effects in Associative Priming with Words, Homophones, and Pseudohomophones, Journal of Experimental Psychology: Learning, Memory, and Cognition, 2002).
The point of this argument is made most succinctly in visual terms through the technical demonstration exploring four distinctive animations (in the annex):
- Relative movement of nested Platonic polyhedra: pumping and rotation
- Decomposition and recomposition of a toroidal polyhedron — towards vortex stabilization?
- Packing and unpacking of 12 semi-regular Archimedean polyhedra
- Rotation and pumping of nested Chinese “puzzle balls” as symbolizing “worlds-within-worlds”
The following argument is essentially a commentary on the implications of the relationships between these four seemingly disparate models presented as distinctive animations. As a proof of concept exercise, the presentation is effectively an annex to this paper and that with respect to climate metaphors as a key to decision-making.
Is it possible that global governance could be explored as being currently constrained by a degree of equivalence to autism — a blinkered form of dynamic pattern recognition? This is especially evident in its remarkable pursuit of particular short-term obsessions to the exclusion of longer-term, more contextual considerations, as exemplified by the current refugee crisis (Behzad Yaghmaian, Migration Crisis: how to break the cycle of death and amnesia, The Globalist, 5 October 2015).
In an argument stressing a more cyclic perspective, this short-term focus recalls the policy adage of George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. This understanding is strangely echoed by the recognition of President Obama in his response to the most recent school shooting in the USA (Oregon college shooting: Angry Obama says response to shootings has become too routine, CBC News, 1st October 2015). Such failure to learn — on a global scale — is evident in the repeated military strategic failures in the Middle East.
How is the credibility of proposed remedial action in response to climate change to be determined in the light of recent revelations regarding systematic abuse of regulatory measures by one of the most esteemed multinational corporations — Volkswagen, as a distinguished founding member of the UN Global Compact?
How to assess the environmental impact of unregulated emissions by millions of vehicles? How to reconcile such abuse with the exorbitant remuneration accorded to those responsible? Is the pattern consistent with that in the banking community, or by the widespread sexual abuse by clergy?
The question raised by the argument is whether it is time for another “cyclic revolution” of which that instigated by Galileo offers a highly insightful metaphor regarding the relationship of local, global and universal. Metaphorically the need for such a “revolution” in thinking is indicated by continuing assumptions regarding the movement of the Sun — exemplified by reference to sunrise and sunset. This is suggestive of entrapment in relation to “cognitive suns” of which the Sun is then a convenient metaphor (Psychosocial Implication of Without Within: enjoying going solar for oneself, 2014).
The concern is of relevance given the widespread tendency to seek and frame values, solutions and models in both “global” and “universal” terms. The repetition to which Santayana refers can then be related to the insight of policy scientist Geoffrey Vickers: A trap is a function of the nature of the trapped. The cycle-blind are therefore to be understood as trapped in a form of stasis through the mistaken belief that their known universe revolves around their own worldview.
The conflicts of society are then more readily explored through recognition that contrasting worldviews derive from their adherents effectively inhabiting different worlds revolving around different suns — possible only visible to others as the remotest of stars. In this sense humanity may well have already migrated to the stars in ways which remain to be understood.
In the light of the emerging insights from physics regarding a multiplicity of “curled up” dimensions, there is the further question as to whether “climate change” may have unsuspected cognitive implications of which increasing social unrest may be an early indicator — with the dangerous rise in global temperatures and sea levels needing to be understood otherwise (Climate of Change Misrepresented as Climate Change: insights from metaphorical confusion, 2008; Disastrous Floods as Indicators of Systemic Risk Neglect, 2011).
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 12 Oct 2015.
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