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Aesthetics of Meaning

Published in UniS Briding Worlds (UniS Institute), Volume III, No. 4. Oct./ Nov. 1991, pp. 37-43.
Abridged adapation of Aesthetics of Governance in the Year 2490

Movement of Meaning
Artistic Vehicles for Meaning
Artistic Discipline

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One of the difficulties of these interesting times is the vast out pouring of information, insightful and otherwise. Even the most creative people with many helping hands have large piles of documents and periodicals in their offices labeled "To Read" - where many remain unread. In an era of "desktop-publishing" the "desktop- reader" does not accomplish for us what its name implies. It is a mark of eminence for a person to be able to claim lack of time to read all the relevant documents in his or her field. This has serious implications for those with policy-making responsibilities and forthe insightfulness of the innovations to which they subscribe. Oursociety seems to be decreasingly capable of channeling its best insights to the places where decisions are taken and interrelating them in such a way as to empower those capable of acting in terms of new paradigms - although upbeat reporting might lead us to believe otherwise.

Information specialists delight in describing what computers will be able to do for us to resolve such difficulties with new gadgets and fancy soft ware. But they focus on fact shuffling - at a time when many "facts" have become questionable.

The question of how creative, integrative insights emerge, are comprehended and rendered appealing, to a wider audience is not addressed. How do we collectively sense and grasp a fragile new gestalt that is an emerging paradigm in embryonic form?

What follows is an exercise in imagining how the creative imagination might be used some time in the future, possibly 500 years in the future - unfettered and unconstrained by the obvious difficulties arising from ourpresent priorities and understanding. The focus is on the contribution of the arts to more appropriate forms of policy- making and to the design of more appropriate forms of social and conceptual structure.

One stimulus forthis exercise has been the poverty of imagination associated with fictional and dramatic scenarios of how executive councils function in the distant future-Even when entities gather from "the 100 galaxies", in thousands of years through 'holographic projections' they still seem to be modeled on the United Nations Security Council or its unfortunate imitations. This organizational archetype is no challenge to our imagination, especially when other styles might be more appropriate. The degree of innovation in such policy councils since classical Greek or Roman times is laughable compared to that in any technology. High tech Pentagon-style "war rooms" and corporate 'situation rooms' do not empower participants to interweave value-laden views that differ and cross-pollinate in realms beyond the quantifiable. It is sad to see this same archetype impoverishing the gatherings of spiritual leaders of different faiths.

his same archetype impoverishing the gatherings of spiritual leaders of different faiths.

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