Con-quest Aesthetically Reframed via the Concordian Mandala


Anthony Judge | Laetus in praesens – TRANSCEND Media Service

Inspired by Implications of the Systemantics of the Discordian Mandala


The focus here on the Concordian Mandala derives from previous interest in the surprising importance of “con” as a prefix, as variously discussed (New Paradigms via a Renewed Set of Prefixes? Dependence of international policy-making on an array of operational terms, 2003; Primary Global Reserve Currency: the Con? Cognitive implications of a prefix for sustainable confidelity, 2011). The argument of the latter notably framed the preoccupation with respect to building and sustaining confidence, namely the integrative function of “con”.

As discussed, of particular interest in global discourse are the controversial implications of the prefix “con”, as used with both integrative connotations and those of condemnation or opposition — of contrariness and contradiction. An annex provided an extensive listing of a selection of the words with the prefix “con” (Embodiment of Identity in Conscious Creativity: challenge of encompassing “con”, 2011). A second annex focused on the current strategic preoccupation with building and sustaining confidence (Exploration of Prefixes of Global Discourse: implications for sustainable confidelity, 2011).

A subsequent paper explored further the possibility of configuring the cognitive implications of the contrasting uses of “con” in a comprehensible, integrative pattern (Considerable Conglomeration of “Cons” of Global Concern: eightfold constraint on constructive conflict control? 2012). Using the site offering a listing of 1947 words starting with “con”, that paper reproduced the list of 643 most common words (with the frequency of occurrence per million words given in parenthesis in each case).

In a period of remarkable global discord, the following speculative exploration is inspired by the so-called Discordian Mandala to which reference is made in the Wikipedia entry on Borromean rings (recognized to be of fundamental significance as the 3D logo of the International Mathematical Union). The mandala is described in the controversial Principia Discordia, elaborated by Greg Hill with Kerry Wendell, as the provocative doctrinal manifesto of Discordianism.

The focus here is on the possibility of reframing the ingenious Discordian Mandala as a Concordian Mandala — by interpreting the former through the variety of connotations of “con”. Given the ambiguity of those connotations, the concern is whether their suitable juxtaposition is suggestive of a means of transcending the constraints of the simplistic binary implications of “dis” versus “con”.

This speculative possibility merits a degree of attention — given the unfruitful conventional approaches to concord and conflict at this time. Seemingly it is too confidently assumed and asserted that desirable concord can be best achieved and sustained through conquest and control — an assertion with which many would concur. However confidence building is itself increasingly called into question through its association with the duplicity of confidence trickery.

The argument here is that the widespread enthusiasm for use of “con”, with its ambiguous implications, could be usefully understood as framing a quest for an elusive dynamic condition — an inherently mysterious concept. This reframes con-quest as a confluence of connotations transcending conflict and contradiction. Rather than this being simply an artifact of English, it could be considered a factor unconsciously favouring the popularity of that medium.

The possibility was introduced in a previous exploration of the requirements for an adequate cognitive “container” for such contrasting connotations (Evoking Castalia as Envisaged, Entoned and Embodied, 2016). With respect to its comprehensibility and memorability, particular emphasis was given to the aesthetic requirements of such a dynamic configuration. This was specifically explored with respect to figures of speech, rhyme and game-playing in contrast to those of reason — metapoetics versus metalogic. The necessity of a dynamic approach therefore contrasts here with the conventions traditionally associated with a “cognitively static” mandala (or other static concept maps and mind maps).

The Discordian Mandala is assumed here to be a valuable catalyst for any such exploration — given its explicit association with the discord characteristic of problematic psychosocial system dynamics. These can be usefully framed as “systemantics“, variously documented by John Gall (2003, 1986, 1978) and separately summarized (Why Systems Fail and Problems Sprout Anew: commentary on the principles of ‘Systemantics’, 1980).

In conclusion, consideration is given to use of the Concordian Mandala to order the pattern of 45 value polarities resulting from the Human Values Project within the context of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.

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