Reframing the Righteousness Enabling Repetition of the Titanic Disaster
TRANSCEND MEMBERS, 6 Jul 2020
Comprehension of 144 Distinctions — Mahjong as “Angels” versus “Demons”
6 Jul 2020 – There is a case for exploring the distinctions made with respect to a 144-fold pattern. This follows from the more general argument with respect to Identifying Polyhedra Enabling Memorable Strategic Mapping: visualization of organization and strategic coherence through 3D modelling (2020). There the focus was on a wide variety of patterns in which the symbolic significance of 64-foldness, 72-foldness, 81-foldness, 108-foldness, and 144-foldness was only highlighted in passing as examples of traditional systems of belief, most notably religions. By contrast a focus was given there to the challenging Memorability of 17 Sustainable Development Goals with 169 tasks — with the latter starkly defined as an unwieldy mess (The 169 commandments: the proposed sustainable development goals would be worse than useless, The Economist, 26 March 2015)
It was noted in the earlier argument that the Eastern board game of Mahjong, with its 144 tiles, was relatively unique in distinguishing visually clusters of tiles within such a set — representative of opposing parties in the game. As with those other patterns of N-foldness, the question raised was whether the pattern as a whole, and its dynamics, could be comprehended more memorably in 3D. It so happens that a range of experiments in this respect is evident in the case of Mahjong — mainly as stacks of tiles, as is illustrated in many images accessible over the web. More complex strategic experiments have been undertaken with chess in 3D.
By contrast, various Western traditions have accorded significance to sets of 72 angels and 72 demons, as discussed separately (Engaging with Hyperreality through Demonique and Angelique? Mnemonic clues to global governance from mathematical theology and hyperbolic tessellation, 2016). In together totalling 144, these two sets effectively constitute a form of game, long imagined to be of far more archetypal significance than Mahjong, despite the strategic thinking the latter requires. However, in a period in which the dynamics of global civilization is variously held imaginatively to be a battle between the forces of good and evil — if not the final battle — there is a case for exploring the articulation of what have been traditionally identified as the representatives of both.
Little is explicitly said of the forces of “good”, other than by implication. However that implication notably takes the form of an unquestionable degree of righteousness — currently challenged by a wide pattern of popular unrest. Curiously this arrogant righteousness is epitomized in the forms of denial which contributed to the tragic sinking of RMS Titanic just over a century ago. It is appropriate to ask whether institutions and value systems currently held to be characteristic of global civilization are imbued with similar righteousness — similarly held to be beyond question, despite indications to the contrary (Vigorous Application of Derivative Thinking to Derivative Problems, 2013).
Is there a fundamental inability to ask relevant questions — thereby rendering global civilization vulnerable to a “Titanic moment”? This is suggested by the adage of George Santayana: Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it. (Graham Readfearn, Scientist’s theory of climate’s Titanic moment: the ‘tip of a mathematical iceberg‘, The Guardian, 2 Dec 2019).
By contrast, much is definitively asserted regarding “others” — as representing the forces of evil (Encyclopedia of Evil Claims, Claimants, Counter-claims, and Sigils: proposed facility in support of current global strategic priorities, 2016). The latter included discussions of Existence of evil as authoritatively claimed to be an overriding strategic concern and Framing by others of claimants of evil as evil. Noteworthy is the formal declaration as to the existence of “evil” by President Obama in his acceptance speech of the Nobel Peace Prize (2009). As with earlier recognition of an Axis of Evil by George Bush, the assertion has been characteristic of other recent presidents of the USA — themselves typically framed as evil by others.
Although highly questionable for many, the reference here to the “demons” and “angels”, as actively imagined in many cultures and religions, usefully corresponds to the current secular framing of the many “problems” and “strategies” — as profiled, for example, in the online Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. However either forms are engendered to populate the ethereal realms of the collective imagination, contemporary science has as yet been unable to agree on how to order them fruitfully. It is therefore ironic to note that experts of the distant past distinguished 72 constellations of 1600 stars (O. Neugebauer, A History of Ancient Mathematical Astronomy, 2012, p. 286).
If “evil” is to be taken as seriously as the leaders of the free world would have it, the question in what follows is how any pattern of 144 could be visualized in new ways — potentially in anticipation of any “final battle” to be envisaged. How might this enable unforeseen insights into the relationships between opposing parties — whether or not either frames the other as “good” or “evil”, or considers that it in so doing it exemplifies the former rather than the latter? Strangely it is religions and similar belief systems which continue to honour patterns of such complexity, if only in strategic board games — including chess and go, now extended to some forms of online gaming.
It is unfortunate that global strategy-making at this time struggles with patterns of much lower articulation, as exemplified by the 17 Sustainable Development Goals of the UN. Strangely, as noted above, these have however been supplemented with 169 recognized “tasks”. Although without explanation, curiously this is 13×13, in contrast to the 144 as 12×12. There is indeed a challenge of visually representing such contrasting patterns variously upheld to be of fundamental global significance, as discussed separately (Strategic viability of global governance enabled by mappings on exotic polyhedra, 2020).
There is therefore a case for employing popular familiarity with such patterns across cultures to reframe the dangerously unquestioned tendencies to righteousness and overconfidence. The current approach to the COVID-19 pandemic could be understood to have exemplified such strategic oversimplification (COVID-19 as a Memetic Disease: Learning from pandemics of the past, 2020). Are there more appropriate ways to imagine and comprehend the complex dynamics of whatever is understood to be “good” or “evil”?
The emphasis here is on challenges to the imagination, and the possibilities of enabling other modes of reflection, most notably through the use of visualization technology and mnemonic aids — whose availability and appreciation is now so evident to the young.
Challenge of mapping 144 distinct forces in 3D
Face-mapping: A more satisfactory approach to such a mapping exercise would be one which positions the 144, duly labelled, on the faces of a polyhedron. The previous exercise noted one such candidate only. This is the 3D projection of a 4D polyhedron (a polychoron). This is illustrated by a
4D rotation below left — presented for information only since it is difficult to see how it could be used for mapping, whatever strategic significance it may imply (Comprehending the shapes of time through four-dimensional uniform polychora, 2015). A second is the dual of the Hendecagonal-faced polyhedron (presented below right).
|65-Chuhoh||Hendecagonal-faced polyhedron (dual)||Hendecagonal-faced polyhedron|
|144 faces (3 types), 96 edges (1 type), 24 vertices (1 type)||144 faces (6 types), 228 edges (10 types), 86 vertexes (5 types)|
Edge-mapping: In this case the 144 distinctions would be associated with the edges of a polyhedron. Nine possibilities are indicated: one of the options is somewhat similar to that illustrated above left and is therefore not presented below; 4 were similar (of the Bruckner type), one of which is presented below. Using edges is somewhat unsatisfactory because of a degree of difficulty (especially in terms of legibility) of attaching text descriptors to each. Edges have the advantage in being able to imply a form of dynamic, communication, or direction of movement, as with feedback loops.
|Two-holed drilled truncated cuboctahedron (dual below)||Augmented cubitruncated cuboctahedron (dual below)||Compound of 4 Truncated cubes
|62 faces (11 types), 144 edges (18 types), 72 vertexes (9 types)||68 faces (5 types), 144 edges (6 types), 72 vertexes (3 types)||56 faces (3 types), 144 edges (7 types), 96 vertexes (4 types)|
|Faceted truncated cuboctahedron 2 (dual below)||2-frequency cubic geodesic sphere
|72 faces (5 types), 144 edges (7 types), 48 vertexes (2 types)||96 faces (4 types), 144 edges (5 types), 50 vertexes (4 types)||48 faces (2 types), 144 edges (12 types), 48 vertexes (2 types)|
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