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A necessarily questionable open source articulation ?


Governing Civilization through Civilizing Governance: global challenge for a turbulent future (Part #8)


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In a knowledge society, populated by a multiplicity of more or less definitive "models", what follows is most usefully considered as a "non-model" that highlights the "open source" design challenge of knowledge tools in support of governance -- generalizing beyond the application of "open source" to software development.

Use is tentatively made here of the distinctions highlighted by the Club of Rome:

  • problematique: the configuration of problems for which a strategic response is sought through appropriate analysis.
  • resolutique: the configuration of strategic initiatives through which progress to a preferred condition of humanity could be achieved

These correspond to the author's responsibility (from 1972) for the comprehensive online databases on world problems and global strategies within the framework of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential.

The above set was further elaborated to distinguish the:

  • imaginatique: the totality of potential patterns on which the imagination can draw to order conceptual and organizational initiatives -- beyond simplistic orderings of integrative concepts, values and strategic initiatives that are neither adequate nor engage commitment.
  • irresolutique: the challenge of resolve, resolution and political will -- typically characterized by (partially denied) dysfunctional interpersonal and institutional game-playing through which appropriate responses are avoided

This four-fold schema has been detailed elsewhere (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007). This endeavours to benefit from insights into mapping the dynamics of complex systems using the "real" and "imaginary" axes of a complex plane. As clarified in Figure 3, the problematique and resolutique are then to be associated with the imaginary as explicated, whereas the imaginatique and irresolutique are then to be associated with the implicit real as experienced.

In this context, the explicit "imaginary" is understood as associated here with a Thinking/Doing axis and the implicit "real" with a Re-imagining/Game-playing axis, where

  • Explicit ("above the table"):
    • Thinking (as typically performed "collectively" by policy think tanks) is primarily associated with the Resolutique, based on learning from the Problematique
    • Doing (as undertaken "collectively" through typical projects and programmes) is primarily addressed to the Problematique, informed by learning from the Resolutique
  • Implicit ("under the table"):
    • Game-playing (as undertaken "individually" by all actors) is primarily associated with the Irresolutique, inspired by the Imaginatique. Strikingly exemplified both by online interactive gaming and by the current internet "cold war" between China and the USA.
    • Re-imagining (as promoted by the media, and undertaken by cultural creatives and through individual recreation) is primarily associated with the Imaginatique, based on learning from the Irresolutique. Strikingly exemplified by news management and "spin".

The above ordering of the array of thinking/doing items as a checklist lends itself to a fruitful critical process in terms of the number of categories (Representation, Comprehension and Communication of Sets: the Role of Number, 1978) and its configuration as a table rather on some more complex surface (Comprehension of Requisite Variety for Sustainable Psychosocial Dynamics: transforming a matrix classification onto intertwined tori, 2006; Spherical Configuration of Categories -- to reflect systemic patterns of environmental checks and balances, 1994).

Exemplification of the "implicit" challenge of global governance?

With respect to the strategic integration of a future Mediterranean Union, as proposed by Nicolas Sarkozy, President of France and opposed by Angela Merkel, Chancellor of Germany, Ian Traynor (Germany pours cold water on Sarkozy union, The Guardian, 14 March 2008) comments:

Diplomats say the fundamental problem is one of personal chemistry, with Merkel's self-effacing sobriety jarring with Sarkozy's attention-seeking theatricality.


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