Framing Dynamic Transcendence of Simplistic Cognitive Polarization


Anthony Judge | Laetus in Praesens – TRANSCEND Media Service

Implication of Circular Configuration of Targets, Dartboards, Mandalas, Codons and Hexagrams


History may well find it remarkable the extent to which the present period cultivates the pretence of the adequacy of binary distinctions. Arguably these have even been embodied in the technologies on which civilization is now so dependent. In the case of the computer, this is most evident in the on/off distinction of logic gates — ironically at a time when progress in quantum computing is revealing other practical possibilities. It is also obvious in the nature of many competitive games in which the triumph of the winner over the loser is the objective. It is clearly fundamental to democratic processes and the emergence of a governing party or coalition

There is little interest in more complex possibilities, despite the poisonous nature of public discourse on many matters (Destabilizing Multipolar Society through Binary Decision-making: alternatives to “2-stroke democracy” suggested by 4-sided ball games, 2016). A major difficulty is that typically there is limited consensus on the appropriateness of the outcome of binary decision-making, as is only too evident in democratic elections — exemplified by that of the US presidential election. Each side effectively defines itself as exemplifying the “good” in contrast to the other then appropriately framed as “evil”. This process is captured by the proverb “one man’s meat is the other man’s poison” (Edward de Bono, I am Right and you are Wrong: from rock logic to water logic, 1992).

The “dilemma” is how to ensure a viable society in which the co-existence of the “good” and the “evil” is so evident — especially when it is “them” who are “evil”, and “us” who are “good”, if only by implication. There is little acknowledgement of the wisdom of the insight of Pogo: We Have Met the Enemy and He Is Us (1970).

It is of course the case that the tradition of binary distinctions dates back over millennia — especially reinforced by religions allowing for little subtlety and humility in the matter. In a civilization faced with crises of every kind, it can usefully be questioned whether the dependency on this mode of thinking is “fit for purpose”. Despite vain and desperate efforts at “Getting to Yes“, there is an extensive literature on the case for transcending such dualism (Edward de Bono, Po: Beyond Yes and No, 1990). Ironically the world is now witness to the highly controversial emergence, in formally recognized practice, of categories beyond male or female — exemplified by the initialism LGBT, variously extended to LGBTIQ and beyond

The concern here is more general and focused, to whatever extent this is deemed more fundamental. The question is how might polarized discourse be framed such as to enable and allow for emergence of a richer pattern of modalities. Curiously polarized discourse does not encourage visualization of such possibilities since it only provides for two possibilities — thereby rendering trivial any visualization, with few exceptions. There are however many familiar clues to more complex patterns. It is these which are highlighted here in quest of a more generic pattern.

Emphasis is given here to a wide variety of circular patterns. These include circular configuration of targets, dartboards, logos, mandalas, genetic codons and hexagrams. Related clues are to be found in the design of some game boards. Some are presented by their advocates because of their relevance to comprehension and learning in contrast with tabular arrays.

As yet to be clarified is the extent to which such arrays reinforce the silo thinking reflected so widely in urban grid layouts of skyscrapers — in a period in which joined-up thinking in increasingly perceived as vital, especially to communities. More provocatively it might be asked whether the “magic” of magic squares has been lost, despite having been deemed so important to governance by Benjamin Franklin, as a Founding Father of the US (Salvation Enabled by Systemic Comprehension — via aesthetics of magic squares? 2015). Can the new challenge be speculatively presented, as argued separately (Reframing the Square Wheels of Global Governance: transcending vain hopes of squaring the circle in global decision-making, 2017). Time for magic circles?

Given the possibility of richer patterns, of interest is how they might apply to problematic polarities variously conflated, such as: good/evil, guilt/innocence, right/wrong, winner/loser, positive/negative, relevant/irrelevant, profit/loss, secret/open, or beauty/ugliness? How are richer patterns to be thought about and discussed?



Anthony Judge is a member of the TRANSCEND Network for Peace Development Environment and mainly known for his career at the Union of International Associations (UIA), where he has been Director of Communications and Research, as well as Assistant Secretary-General. He was responsible at the UIA for the development of interlinked databases and for publications based on those databases, mainly the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, the Yearbook of International Organizations, and the International Congress Calendar. Judge has also personally authored a collection of over 1,600 documents of relevance to governance and strategy-making. All these papers are freely available on his personal website Laetus in Praesens. Now retired from the UIA, he is continuing his research within the context of an initiative called Union of Imaginable Associations. Judge is an Australian born in Egypt, a thinker, an author, and lives in Brussels. His TMS articles may be accessed HERE. (Wikipedia)

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.


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