About the Laetus in Praesens website and the Kairos facility
-- What does Laetus in Praesens mean?
-- Who is the author of the documents on this website?
-- Who is responsible for the Laetus in Praesens website and its contents?
-- Are the articles associated with a particular ideological agenda?
-- What is the purpose, motivation or bias?
-- Are there any succinct quotations to indicate the intent?
-- Why is such a wide range of topics treated?
-- What is the focus/intention of the articles on the website?
-- What is the best way of obtaining an overview of the range of topics treated?
-- How can the site best be searched for articles on particular topics?
-- How outdated are the views of the earlier articles on this site?
-- If it is claimed that this website has no particular ideological bias, why so much on:
-- -- terrorism? | religion? | Chinese culture/Taoism?
-- Why so much focus on metaphor?
C: Style / Content / Method
-- How are such articles designed to be read? Any advice for an impatient reader?
-- Why are the articles relatively long / complex / unreadable?
-- Why is there a mix of "serious / responsible" and "playful / irresponsible" articles? Is that serious?
-- How definitive are the points made in the articles?
-- What methodology characterizes the papers on this site?
-- Why are many arguments presented in a confrontational critical style?
-- How authoritative are the articles?
-- What knowledge background substantiates the articles on this site?
-- To what academic disciplines do the papers on this site relate?
-- To what extent are the articles subject to peer review?
-- On what basis are the articles produced?
-- Why are so many articles produced?
-- How are the "articles" on this site to be defined? What is their "status"?
E: Publication policy / Audience
-- What is the copyright status of the articles?
-- Are any of the articles published elsewhere?
-- Are there articles produced in the past as yet to be included on this site?
-- For whom are the articles intended?
-- How are these articles publicised for wider readership?
-- Will any of the articles appear in conventional book form?
F: Links / References / Citations
-- Why do the articles have so many links to other documents?
-- Why do the articles cite so many other articles on this site?
-- Why is an accepted standard not used for bibliographical references?
G: Alternative electronic publishing methods
-- Why not use a Content Management System (CMS)?
-- Why not segment the articles into smaller CMS documents?
-- Why not use a blog facility to enable better feedback?
H: Site maintenance and errors
-- Why is this site still "under construction"?
-- Why are so many papers noted as being in "draft" form?
-- Are checks systematically made to repair broken links?
-- Attention to spelling?
-- Errors of fact?
-- How frequently are articles attributed to thematic indexes?
- What does Laetus in Praesens mean?
The phrase was used by the Renaissance figure Marsilio Ficino (1433-99) who headed the Florentine Academy (motto: Laetus in Praesens [Joy in the Present]). It derives from an ode by the Roman poet Horace (Quintus Horatius Flaccus, Ode II-XVI “Otium”) indicating that “otium” or peace is to be valued above wealth or power:
Laetus in praesens animus quod ultra est oderit curare et amara lento temperet risu. Nihil est ab omni parte beatum.
Joyful let the soul be in the present, let it disdain to trouble about what is beyond and temper bitterness with a laugh. Nothing is blessed forever.
For other comments on this epicurean notion, see: Thomas Moore, The Soul of Sex: Cultivating Life as an Act of Love (1998) and Composing the Present Moment: celebrating the insights of Marsilio Ficino interpreted by Thomas Moore (2001).
- Who is responsible for the Laetus in Praesens website and its contents?
The website is that of Anthony Judge on whom biographical information is provided on this site. The articles, papers and reports on this site are authored by him, unless otherwise indicated.
- Who is the author of the documents on this website?
As indicated in the immediately preceding point, the author of the documents is Anthony Judge, unless otherwise specifically indicated. Authorship can be confirmed by viewing the source code of any page where this is so stated. As noted above, biographical information is provided.
- Are the articles and reports on this site associated with a particular ideological agenda?
Much of the work has been conducted in response to opportunities created by work at the Union of International Associations (UIA) and the strategic challenges of governance perceived from that perspective. Such opportunities notably included invitations to present papers to conferences or to participate in projects -- of which the most personally influential has been that of the United Nations University (on Goals, Processes and Indicators of Development). The papers presented do not necessarily reflect the views of any such body and should be considered as having been written in a personal capacity. The UIA has however been closely associated with the development of the information sciences and with the production of comprehensive reference books, from an international perspective, covering every field of human activity -- reflecting a wide range of ideological and other agendas as objectively as possible. The papers on this site reflect that mindset. Examples of that perspective are indicated by the long-term projects for which Anthony Judge was responsible: Yearbook of International Organizations: guide to global civil society networks and Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.
- What is the purpose, motivation or bias?
Irrespective of particular opportunities, which may have elicited the articles, a continuing concern has been with approaches to synthesis, transdisciplinarity and transcendence of polarized thinking in responding more strategically to the challenges of the times. This is associated with challenging conventional assumptions and exploring potentials and possible new ways of understanding -- or honouring those neglected from other cultures or times. This may simply take the form of formulating interesting questions suggestive of the possibility of new kinds of answer. Whilst many of the articles have a practical focus relating to the use and organization of information, others are more concerned with the challenges of understanding complexity. Of particular interest is how all such explorations constitute a mirror to self-reflexivity and what such mirroring implies. In this sense some of the articles may be understood as exercises in philosophy, possibly only of personal significance. Many arise from the fun of intellectual exploration and creativity in a period when there is a desparate need to bypass the inadequacies of conventional approaches. In this sense, engagement with such challenges is a significant bias.
- Are there any succinct quotations to indicate the intent?
Fundamental to the approach of this site is the search for new ways to reframe the challenges and possibilities of the times -- notably through new questions. For some this intent may be usefully summarized by a set of passing thoughts -- succinct statements or self-critical questions.
- Why is such a wide range of topics treated?
The topics treated have emerged as relevant to a number of interconnected themes which are briefly listed in the pull down menu on this page and elsewhere as a single document. These themes are associated in one way or another with how what kinds of information are used in response to the challenges of world problems, appropriate strategies, and to what end -- and how such information is best to be organized in an emerging knowledge society. One publication that is an outcome of these preoccupations is the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential, now accessible online. Many of the commentaries in that publication are adapted from papers on this site.
- What it the focus/intention of the articles on this website?
A simple answer to this question is best to be avoided given the complexity of the relationships between seemingly disparate themes that call for some non-simplistic mode of integration. It might be said that the intention of this collection of papers is progressively to elicit that focus whilst avoiding premature closure. Some relatively primitive approaches to this challenge are reflected in a form of mind map (Distinguishing Emergent Conceptual Polarities: experimental ordering of a collection of research papers). Other approaches include efforts to visualize the relationships between the topics treated. Particular concerns that inform the explorations on this site include: future orientation, out-of-the-box frameworks, transcending polarization, computer facilitation, more appropriate strategies, interdisciplinarity, conceptual integration and synthesis, comprehension of complexity, benefitting from more powerful metaphors, insights from non-western cultures and traditions, unconventional epistemological frameworks (other "ways of knowing").
- What is the best way of obtaining an overview of the range of topics treated?
This is best answered through the pull down Themes menu on this page and elsewhere as a single document. A more extensive overview can be obtained from Distinguishing Emergent Conceptual Polarities: experimental ordering of a collection of research papers.
- How can the site best be searched for articles on particular topics?
The site is well-index by the Google search facility accessible from the home page. Keyword access to titles only may also be done via the browser search facility on the chronological page ALL years. Chronological listings of titles, for different spans of years are accessible from the home page, and may also be scanned. Alternatively listings of articles by some 35 themes are available via the pull-down menu or from this page. However this facility is only occasionally updated.
- How outdated are the views of the earlier articles on this site?
One of the purposes of this site is to provide an archive of published studies by the author from the early 1960s. One of the values of such an archive is to document early understandings of possibilities and fruitful lines of inquiry at that time. Whilst some of the preoccupations and challenges are outdated, or have since been reframed, many of those explored remain unresolved. More recent documents may cite such older explorations.
- If it is claimed that this website has no particular ideological bias:
- why so much on terrorism? The conflicting issues in the way in which terrorism has been framed, the responses to it, and the justification claimed for it, together constitute a major conceptual and strategic challenge, especially given the increasing stress on faith-based governance. It is as a conceptual challenge that these matters have been addressed in many papers -- as one of the themes consistent with others on this website (see Documents relating to Terrorism: the Conceptual Challenge).
- why so many on documents relating to religion? In an era of increasing faith-based governance, such implications cannot be ignored, especially given the manner in which evidence is reframed from that perspective. A high proportion of the papers on this site are written from an information science / strategic management perspective which typically considers the religious dimension irrelevant. It could be argued that the pro-religious would find the bias of this site to be anti-religious, whereas the anti-religious would find it too sensitive to the religious dimension (Documents relating to Faith, Religion and Spirituality), notably with regard to alternative modes of awareness (Documents relating to Human Development and Self-reflection). It would be more correct to argue that the papers tend to be anti-religious and pro-spiritual -- but anti-science, to the extent that science itself tends to take on the problematic behaviours characteristic of organized religion. The degree of anti-religious bias may be best apparent from Thinking in Terror: refocusing the interreligious challenge from "Thinking after Terror" (2005) .
- why so many documents from a Taoist perspective? One of the major merits of Chinese classical texts (I Ching, Tao Te Ching, and T'ai Hsüan Ching) is that they directly address the challenge of rendering comprehensible subtly complex processes of change -- recognizing that this remains a lifelong challenge for everyone. The texts themselves are all written as poetry -- even though intended for strategic decision-making at the highest and most ordinary levels. As such they make very extensive use of explanatory metaphor. These expository considerations are totally absent from the articulation of modern governance, both amongst the governors, in their relation to the governed, and in terms of how the latter are empowered to respond to a complex environment faced with such directives. In combining mathematical, strategic, and metaphorical dimensions, these provide potentially important insights at a time when the Chinese culture is having an increasing role to play in governance of the world (see Documents relating to Patterns of I Ching / Tao Te Ching). They are consistent with other explorations on this website.
- Why so much focus on metaphor? This focus has indeed been developed in many papers (Documents relating to Metaphor for Governance) precisely because it is one of the few tools that enable communication between sectors, whether relating to governance, academic disciplines, or to wider publics.
C: Style / Content / Method
- How are such articles designed to be read? Any advice for an impatient reader?
It is assumed that increasingly few readers of articles anywhere read them in a linear fashion -- from beginning to end. This mode tends only to be used by those with a deeper interest in the topic treated. The articles on this website therefore tend each to have a table of contents enabling readers to skip directly to points of interest. Furthermore headings and subheadings are extensively used to highlight items of interest. A recommended mode of reading is therefore to scan the documents for such points of interest before reading the paragraphs so highlighted. This also corresponds to the most frequent mode of access to such detailed themes in the body of an article -- via search engines and keyword based inquiries. The "introduction" to many of the articles may well serve as an abstract -- obviating any need to explore the body of the article.
- Why are the articles relatively "long" / "complex" / "unreadable"?
Many of the articles deal with relatively obscure themes. One purpose is therefore to assemble arguments and references in support of the preoccupation -- possibly from a variety of otherwise unrelated perspectives. The themes may be quite abstract and the arguments equally so. Part of the challenge is to find metaphors and other devices through which to render such abstractions meaningful and applicable to concrete situations. It is assumed that if there is a case for a shorter version of an article it can be relatively easily produced by cutting paragraphs and sections -- or ignoring such sections when reading them. This abridgement approach is often used when versions of the articles are included in peer reviewed journals. It is otherwise more difficult to elaborate a shorter argument at a later date.
- Why is there such a mix of "serious / responsible" and "playful / irresponsible" articles? Is that serious?
Some themes merit treatment in a totally serious, conventional, "academic" mode. Some challenges faced by strategic governance in responding to serious problems call for such treatment. On the other hand, some very serious problems have not responded to conventional solutions and therefore justify exercises in reframing in a humorous, playful, "irresponsible" mode as a stimulus to alternative ways of thinking about them -- as specifically argued (cf Humour and Play-Fullness: essential integrative processes in governance, religion and transdisciplinarity, 2005; Playfully Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion: climate change as focal metaphor of effective global governance, 2005). The documents that are more deliberately outrageous and speculative contain "musings" in their URL and are also separately listed (Documents relating to Musings -- Irresponsible and Otherwise)
- How definitive are the points made in the articles?
A number of the articles should be considered as "essays", namely exercises in exploring a possibility to see where it leads. Some take more extreme positions -- with an alternative position being taken in another article. The challenge of polarized thinking is a theme which is explored and such polarities have been used as a way of organizing the themes on this site (Distinguishing Emergent Conceptual Polarities experimental ordering of a collection of research papers).
- What methodology characterizes the papers on this site? The papers typically have a bias characteristic of a documentalist, due to the information science context of much of the earlier work. This means that there is an effort to portray the scope of a field in all its variety with whatevever references and links may be of assistance to others. Much of the work is also inspired by the exploratory interdisciplinary methodology of futures studies, with which the author has long been associated. However the author is temperamentally in sympathy with the approach of Paul Feyerabend (Against Method: outline of an anarchistic theory of knowledge, 1975; Conquest of Abundance: a tale of abstraction versus the richness of being, 1999), as notably reflected in an early paper (Beyond Method: engaging opposition in psycho-social organization, 1981). The "methodology" that characterized a proportion of the work of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential is explicitly articulated in its commentaries.
- Why are many arguments presented in a confrontational critical style? Many of the explorations on this site have been inspired by the inadequacy of the institutional response to dramatic levels of suffering in the world. This failure is often matched by a degree of denial, complacency and claims to the contrary, together with appeals to emphasize the "positive" and to avoid "negativity". The dangers of the latter attitude have been explored in extensive detail (Being Positive Avoiding Negativity: management challenge of positive vs negative, 2005). The broader challenge of critical thinking and bias has been explored in a range of papers (Documents relating to Criticism, Bias and Dissent).
- How authoritative are the articles?
The inclusion of articles on this site is not subject to the authorization of some external party. Every effort is made to cite sources in support of the arguments made -- and to provide links to documents on other websites. These sources may or may not be considered reputable by this or that constituency. Importance is attached to the possibility that an argument may be considered credible by a constituency which it would be inappropriate to discount simply because it is not considered credible from some other perspective. It is the dynamic between constituencies, respectively considering themselves credible, that is characteristic of the reality in which strategic governance has to be elaborated.
Some papers were in fact elaborated in response to the themes of international meetings or commissioned for presentation at such events. Some were commissioned for publication in (peer reviewed) journals, or were subsequently included in such journals. To the extent that the credibility of papers derive from such relationships, a checklist of papers by (international) institution and journal is provided (see Conference-, Organization- and Publication-related Initiatives). This does not however include the separately-listed documents and publications produced during the author's work as Director of Research and Communications at the Union of International Associations (see UIA-related Publication and Meeting Initiatives).
Some themes may have been very new when the papers were first written to address them. Their cross-disciplinary and cross-sectoral nature may continue to make it difficult for any particular authority to evaluate and authenticate the arguments. Many of the papers are also exploratory and speculative -- as part of a search for more creative ways to present complex arguments and challenges. Some are also highly controversial.
Ultimately it is expected that it is for the reader to assess the credibility of the arguments made, in the light of the resources cited, and thereby to arrive at a conclusion as to how "authoritative" is the article for the reader's own purpose.
- What knowledge background substantiates the articles on this site?
The articles emerge from a background of decades of work at the interface between the challenges of knowledge management, its facilitation in computer-enabled environments, its relevance to international organizations, the need for more effective strategies and styles of organization in response to new kinds of problem, sensitivity to more meaningful understandings of human development, and a sense of the conflicting values that sustain initiatives. This background is most evident in the author's responsibility over decades for the Yearbook of International Organizations: guide to global civil society networks and Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. With such responsibilities was associated involvement in a wide variety of international and interdisciplinary conferences, notably those concerned with knowledge management, international relations and futures studies (see Conference-, Organization- and Publication-related Initiatives; UIA-related Publication and Meeting Initiatives). .
- To what academic disciplines do the papers on this site relate? As stressed in the previous points, the range of papers tend to have as a common thread an interdisciplinary focus, even one that explores the challenge of synthesis across disciplines (Documents relating to Synthesis, Transdisciplinarity and Integration). The papers may in addition have a practical preoccupation whether in terms of the information sciences or strategic management. Such a focus is typically anathema to any given discipline. For students and researchers with career ambitions within conventional academic disciplines it is therefore inappropriate to cite the papers here, whether or not they contain pointers and arguments of value. As noted, below the publication and peer review approach taken here should encourage readers with conventional academic needs to focus on journals increasingly available online on a micro-payment basis and whose contents are strictly controlled according to the criteria of the discipline in question. A number of the papers on this cite are explicitly critical of the fragmentation of knowledge into disciplines that treat each other as mutually irrelevant (cf Dynamically Gated Conceptual Communities: emergent patterns of isolation within knowledge society, 2004). Others seek ways to move beyond such constraints (Coherent Policy-making Beyond the Information Barrier, 1999)
- To what extent are the articles subject to peer review?
Some articles on this website, that have been accepted for publication in journals, have indeed been subject to peer review. Such publication in journals is indicated wherever appropriate (see Conference-, Organization- and Publication-related Initiatives). Other articles are modified in response to commentary from readers.
- On what/strong basis are the articles produced?
Articles are produced in response to a variety of situations. Invitations to present papers at conferences, emergent themes in current affairs, strategic challenges, creative possibilities, etc.
- Why are so many articles produced?
The articles have been produced in response to a variety of opportunities over decades. They are a convenient format for any exercise in pulling together insights and possibilities in response to the challenges of the times. Particular articles may be considered useful or not by particular constituencies. As a repository of explorations since the 1960s, the number is largely irrelevant provided that access to them is facilitated by keywords and other devices.
- How are the "articles" on this site to be defined? What is their "status"?
There is a mix of "articles" or "documents" on this site. Some correspond to the conventions of academic papers and have been published separately in journals (as indicated therein where appropriate, and so listed Conference-, Organization- and Publication-related Initiatives). Some take the form of reports typical of management or strategic studies, and may have been intended to serve that purpose. Some are commentaries or speculative explorations, perhaps best considered as essays -- possibly of humorous or satirical intent. Some are primarily intended as compilations of bibliographic or web resources. Some are deliberate experiments in alternative forms of presentation, especially when focused on visualizations, animations or the use of unusual metaphor. Some are primarily included as part of an archival record of past explorations, whatever the original concern -- and whether or not they have been completed. Given the web context, and their frequency, some might be framed as blog postings on current concerns, or may be so treated and (partially) copied into blogs elsewhere. Similarly, in an extensively hyperlinked web context (and given the intention also to provide the documents in segmented form in a content management system), some might be understood as "knols" (as defined by Google) -- pieces within the larger puzzle constituted by the collection of documents on this site. This is consistent with the movement towards early "pre-publication" of academic studies in a Web 2.0/Semantic web environment as a means of eliciting comment and sustaining discourse (rather than submitting to the delays of conventional hardcopy publication).
E: Publication policy / Audience
- What is the copyright status of the articles?
It is deliberately intended that use of the material in these articles should not be restricted by copyright. Initially a "copy left" policy was used. Use was then made of a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 2.5 License is used. Following consideration of the restrictiveness of this license, articles are now published under the Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-Share Alike 3.0 Unported License. As specified in more detail on that link, this permits documents to be freely copied, distributed and transmitted, and allows them to be freely adapted. The restrictions are that: any such usage include attribution of the work to the author, Anthony Judge (but not in any way that suggests that they endorse any such use or adaptation); the document should not then be used for commercial purposes; any distributed alteration of a document from this site may only be distributed under the same or similar license to this one.
- Are any of the articles published elsewhere?
Many of the articles, or sections of them, have been published in one form or another in other publications and journals. When this is the case, this is duly indicated. Typically publication in journals is only agreed when the medium in question allows for the possibility of publication on this site and does not impose some exclusive copyright agreement. Many of the earlier articles focusing specifically on international nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) were in the past published in the UIA journal Transnational Associations (possibly under its previous title of International Associations). Where appropriate, portions of other studies have also been reprinted in the extensive commentaries sections of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.
- Are there articles produced in the past as yet to be included on this site?
In addition to the articles that are currently accessible from this site, the respective index pages also indicate relevant bibliographic references to earlier documents that may not yet be accessible from this site. Although scanned, these may be included as image PDFs rather than endeavouring to correct errors from a character recognition process in order to facilitate full text searching.
- For whom are the articles intended?
Primarily the articles are explorations by the author to clarify issues. At different stages, particular articles have been designed for the audiences of particular conferences and journals -- as indicated in the introduction to the article in question. These may be academic bodies, international organizations, or commercial constituencies. However, given the variety of topics treated and interrelated, the articles might be considered as intended for those who, in pursuit of their own varied lines of inquiry, locate them via search engine queries that identify content within the body of the papers.
- How are these articles publicised for wider readership?
Other than any immediate audience informed directly, the principal method for publicising these articles is via web search engines. Given that many of the articles endeavour to interrelate articles on related topics, a single article may also point to other relevant articles. Of course other websites, interested in any of the themes explored here, also point readers to this site.
- Will any of the articles appear in conventional book form?
Some articles have appeared in collections of academic papers and conference proceedings, possibly in abridged form (as indicated where appropriate). The contents of a number of articles have been adapted for inclusion as commentaries in the Yearbook of International Organizations: guide to global civil society networks and, more especially, in the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. Presentation of collection of the articles in book form is not however considered a priority -- given the publishing and distribution facilities of the web environment.
F: Links / References / Citations
- Why do the articles have so many links to other documents?
One of the intentions is to assemble and interrelate web resources relevant to the topic treated. These may be valuable to the further explorations of some interested readers. There is clearly no obligation for readers to explore such links. This notably applies to links to other articles on this site -- where an aspect of the topic may have been previously treated in more detail or from another perspective.
- Why do the articles cite so many other articles on this site?
As noted in the previous point, hyperlinking is used as a means of maintaining a trace between the many articles on this site. This is considered valuable because of the complex, cross-sectoral focus of many of the articles. It is recognized that in conventional academic publishing such self-citation is considered bad practice, but this is considered an acceptable defect in endeavouring to respond to the needs for more integrative modes of understanding.
- Why is an accepted standard not used for bibliographical references?
As author of a number of bibliographical references books, there is no question of lack of awareness of the issues and the various advocated treatments of them. The most offensive, non-standard, approach to references that is used on this site is preceding the surname by the first name whilst retaining the ordering by surname. This practice was initiated when this site was first launched in 1996. This was done to facilitate search engine access to author names, especially when placed in quotation marks. Typically the references are adjusted for any publication in professional journals. The approach may be adjusted when a database-oriented approach is taken to references at some later date. Basically further standardization of references in the 1,500 articles on this site, dating from the 1960s, has not been treated as the highest priority.
G: Alternative electronic publishing methods
- Why not use a Content Management System (CMS)?
Various approaches to use of a CMS are under active consideration, whether as a complete substitute for the existing collection of articles or as an adjunct to it.
- Why not segment the articles into smaller CMS documents?
The value of breaking up articles and treating them as separate documents is recognized and is under active consideration.
- Why not use a blog facility to enable better feedback?
The primary issue is the degree of editorial management required. A CMS would facilitate this.
H: Site maintenance and errors
- Why are so many papers noted as being in "draft" form? Papers are not made accessible on this site until they are virtually complete (-- or occasionally abandoned). Thereafter feedback is sought from colleagues and they are updated. However no cut-off is fixed for this process and removing the indication "draft" is not considered a priority
- Are checks systematically made to repair broken links?
No they are not, although occasional use is made of link checker facilities. Broken links are typically repaired in response to feedback.
- Why is a standard spelling style not used?
Many of the source materials use different combinations of English and American spelling standards. Harmonising these styles for hundreds of articles has been considered a low priority.
- Errors of fact?
These are corrected in response to feedback.
- How frequently are articles attributed to thematic indexes?
Approximately every six months. However chronological indexes are updated as articles are added. Search engines (notably Google) offer access within days to new articles posted on this site.