Coronavirus — Global Plan, Doughnut, Torus, Helix and/or Pineapple?


Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens - TRANSCEND Media Service

Zome Modelling Dynamics Allowing for Uncertainty in Perception of Order in Governance?


6 Apr 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 — inte urgent quest for “new thinking” — 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 protein 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.

That argument was developed in a subsequent discussion (Cognitive Engagement with Spike Dynamics of a Polyhedral Coronavirus: aAlternation between assertive arrays and systemic patterns of comprehensible coherence, 2020). This frames the current question regarding the appropriate form of global organization and knowledge architecture required in a response to any pandemic — and any crisis of other crises.

Given widespread urgent calls for a “Global Plan” in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, the argument first challenges the appropriateness of any “plan” in a global context. This is contrasted with the so-called doughnut model which has been presented as appropriate to ensuring a safe operating space for humanity. The pandemic is seen as presenting a fundamental challenge to the safety purportedly framed by that model. Consideration is then given to a torus model, of which the doughnut model is an obvious instance — much favoured in technical and popular imagination with respect to future habitats in outer space, especially if there is a need to transfer humanity safely to a distant planet. That geometry is compared with the strategic framework associated with the helix, most notably the Triple Helix model of innovation in interweaving the preoccipations of government, business and academia.

The range of possibilities is then extended by suggesting a “pineapple model” of global governance — in contrast to the doughnut model, but incorporating its focus on nine planetary boundaries, now seen as fundamental to sustainability within a fragile global environment. Approaches to its articulation are then explored in the light of the development of zomes — as inspired by geodesic domes — thereby incorporating insights from the polyhedra forms previously discussed.

However, rather than stressing the unquestionable superiority of any one of these approaches to “global planning”, the argument concludes with an emphasis on a need to be able to shift flexibly between geometrical frameworks as lenses. This strategic nimbleness is usefully understood both in terms of the game-playing, which has informed policy development for so long, and a degree of playfulness vital to the comprehension, memorability and communicability of any strategy expected to evoke widespread support (Playfully Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion: climate change as focal metaphor of effective global governance, 2005).

This playfulness is presented as consistent with a fundamental sense of “organizing” in its particular historical association with the organ as a musical instrument through which harmony is variously explored. There is a degree of irony in this period of crisis in that the enthuasiasm for a “global plan” by the highest authorities ignores the current familiarity from an early age with the far greater technically-supported complexity in online gaming (potentially enhanced by musical appreciation).

Such implications follow from recognition that any future viable global organization is, to an as yet unrecognized degree, an exercise in collective imagination — if it is to attract widespread popular support, as argued seaparately (Engendering 2052 through Re-imagining the Present, 2012; Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007; Imagining Order as Hypercomputing, 2014).


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