Cognitive Engagement with Spike Dynamics of a Polyhedral Coronavirus
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 30 Mar 2020
Alternation between assertive arrays and systemic patterns of comprehensible coherence
30 Mar 2020 – The presentations here follow from an argument previously made (Reimagining Coronavirus in 3D as a Metaphor of Global Society in Distress: crowning pattern that connects spiky organisms, satellite constellations, nuclear explosions, and egomania? 2020). There it was suggested that there were insights to be gained from the form of the coronavirus in 3D. In particular this highlighted the possible isomorphism between the configuration of spikes on the viral form and psychosocial forms potentially characterized in terms of “spikes”. This approach was framed as consistent with the original inspiration of the Society for General Systems Research.
Of some relevance to the seemingly unusual comparison made there is the focus of an interview with Jeffrey Lewis (John Krzyzaniak, How the coronavirus outbreak is like a nuclear attack: An interview with Jeffrey Lewis, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists, 20 March 2020).
The virtual reality 3D models elaborated in the previous paper lend themselves to further development in order to explore such possible isomorphism — especially as triggers to imaginative reflection on possibilities for engagement with spiky forms, as might be generically understood.
Whether or not the unusual dynamics presented in the models (previously and below) above enable and reinforce “new thinking” of relevance to engagement with the coronavirus remains to be seen. The models are of particular interest in ordering the relationships between global strategies which could each be understood as configurations of a certain number of assertive “spikes”. Examples include the 8-fold set of the UN’s Millennium Development Goals, the 16(+1) set of Sustainable Development Goals, and similar strategic patterns of greater or lesser complexity. These lend themselves to experimental mappings on polyhedra, as discussed separately (Interplay of Sustainable Development Goals through Rubik Cube Variations: engaging otherwise with what people find meaningful, 2017; Time for Provocative Mnemonic Aids to Systemic Connectivity? Possibilities of reconciling the “headless hearts” to the “heartless heads”, 2018).
As noted in the previous argument, many viruses take polyhedral form and may well be described as icosahedral viruses. In that light, and on the basis of information available, the preliminary experimental models of the coronavirus presented earlier were assumed to have 72 or 74 spikes. As 72, this would be consistent with the special coherence of 72-fold patterns in human cognition, whether in mathematical terms or in the light of various traditions (see Wikipedia 72 (number)). Traditional understandings of that coherence can therefore be drawn into imaginative reflection on the engagement with a 72-fold virus, or with other configurations of strategies of that order.
Given the psychosocial emphasis (as detailed previously), the following explorations are based as much on science as aesthetics — therefore allowing for poetic licence, despite any controversy in that regard. The assumption made in this exploration is that strategic reflection at this time can ill-afford the niceties of the conventional separation between disciplines. These seemingly enable the emergence of crises and the inhibition of “new thinking” in that regard. Argued otherwise, what perspectives are to be assumed irrelevant to a crisis of crises in which coherent response is only to be found at the price of “conceptual lockdown” — requiring a form of “cognitive lockstep” to ensure that everyone follows the same script?
The question proposed in the earlier paper was whether and how the form of the coronavirus might help people to think fruitfully in new ways in preparation for future crises. How can humanity be enabled to imagine approaches more appropriate to the complexity of crises and distinct from the approaches which have engendered them? The possibility is considered further through suggestive 3D animations emphasizing the global coherence that is seemingly so lacking at this time — despite promotion of “globalization’.
Tags: COVID-19, Coronavirus
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