Radical Localization in a Global Systemic Context
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 28 Dec 2015
Distinguishing Normality Using Playing Card Suits as a Pattern Language
There is currently considerable confusion as to what is to be distinguished as “radical” in contrast to “fundamental”, “extraordinary”, “exceptional” and “extreme”. As discussed separately this leads to conflation whereby any exception to the normal is indicated as radical and is readily subject to demonisation and association with terrorism (Coming Out as a Radical — or Coming In? Risks of cultivating negative capability in a caliphate of normality, 2015; Radicalisation of Existence and Identity, 2015; Radicalisation versus Demonisation? 2015).
The issue is whether there is some useful way of representing the distinction between normality and extremism, as separately considered (Norms in the Global Struggle against Extremism: “rooting for” normalization vs. “rooting out” extremism? 2005). In the latter clarification was sought using the Gaussian normal distribution, otherwise commonly known as the bell curve. The argument was that, at least from a statistical perspective, this offered a distinction between those associated with “normality” (however this might be understood) in contrast with various degrees of “extremism” — of which the lower degrees could be understood in terms of “radical”. By using the distinction of the Gaussian distribution in terms of standard deviations a more precise indication of such degrees of extremism could be offered. That distribution also offered an indication of the proportions of the population likely to hold views of more or less radical nature.
The issue is particularly clear with respect to political ideology in distinguishing the radical left from the radical right. In the argument which follows the approach is further developed by using the standard deviations of the Gaussian distribution as a means of defining concentric circles — with the centre indicative of average normality (“Us”) and the outermost indicative of extremism of lower frequency of occurrence (“Them”). This allows distinctive forms of “radical” to be associated with an orthogonal axis — namely with that associated with the fundamental reframing of objective reality at one extreme in contrast with that associated with the fundamental reframing of subjective (existential) reality at the other.
Increasing the complexity meriting comprehension in this way raises a further concern, namely the nature of the schematics by which such distinctions could be represented succinctly and comprehensibly as an invitation to richer discourse about them. The challenge can be framed in terms of the quest for an appropriate pattern language with which most have a degree of familiarity. Use was therefore made of the four basic patterns of the suit of playing cards (diamond, heart, spade, club).
As discussed in the accompanying argument (Coming Out as a Radical — or Coming In? 2015), there is also a case for using such basic patterns in ways suggestive of the insights of the new physics rather than those of the Newtonian worldview within which the distinction of “radical” from “normal” is made in the oversimplistic terms of binary logic. Especially relevant are the notions of superposition, entanglement and nonlocality which are characteristic of quantum mechanics. Arguably the confusion of the current psychosocial crises of governance merits such subtle counterintuitive insights — given the limited strategic options currently offered when framed by the classical perspective.
This article originally appeared on Transcend Media Service (TMS) on 28 Dec 2015.
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