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En-joying the World through En-joying Oneself

Eliciting the potential of globalization through cognitive radicalization (Part #1)


Introduction
Cognitive radicalism
Information and communication constraints
Constrained "deliverance" capacity of governance
Varieties of enjoyment: enjoying the world and the other
En-joying oneself otherwise
Enabling greater enjoyment through cognitive radicalization
Embodying the paradoxes and contradictions of the pursuit of happiness
Socio-political implications
Conclusion
References

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Introduction

This is an exploration of the possibility of radical existential coherence in engaging with the otherness of the wider world. It endeavours to distinguish cognitive radicalization from its current primary association with political radicalization -- and especially through its violent expressions in religious fundamentalism. This is now highlighted on the tenth anniversary of the 9/11 events in the USA and by their aftermath worldwide in the global "war on terrorism".

The primary association thereby justifies policies of counter-radicalization inhibiting potentially valuable challenges to conventional mindsets. Framing radicalization as unquestionably dangerous in this way then implies that socialization, as widely favoured and promoted, constitutes a form of "grooming" in its most questionable sense.

Despite calls for "new thinking" and a "paradigm shift", the disastrous failure of global governance (currently widely acknowledged in response to more recent events) has been characterized by a pattern of conventional thinking (Ungovernability of Sustainable Global Democracy? Towards engaging appropriately with time, 2011). The question here is whether there is scope for far more unconventional cognitive approaches to more effective engagement with the evident paradoxes and contradictions -- if only for the individual seeking to thrive in that context. What indeed are the "rules of engagement"?

A case is made for recognizing ways of engaging more radically with "externalitiies". This has notably been articulated by various schools of thought and previously discussed (Existential Embodiment of Externalities, 2009). The suggestion is that individuals are freer, than is assumed by convention, to reframe their experience of the world (and their relationship to it) with a far greater degree of radical coherence (In Quest of Radical Coherence: a group design initiative, 1994). The approach is also consistent, to a degree, with the arguments of constructivist epistemology, notably as articulated in terms of enactivism by Francisco Varela (Laying Down a Path in Walking, 1987). Hence the use of the form "en-joying" in the title.

The argument here takes special account of the extent to which cognition is increasingly constrained by information overload, attention deficiency, and the limited capacity to communicate knowledge and insight effectively -- especially between relatively incommensurable worldviews. Of particular concern is the partial connectivity of elements of knowledge, thereby losing integrative insight dependent on a systemic perspective. In this sense it recognizes the extent to which individuals and collectivities are increasingly "cocooned", however this may be described (Dynamically Gated Conceptual Communities, 2004). Also recognized is the problematic risk of a radical form of memetic singularity (Emerging Memetic Singularity in the Global Knowledge Society, 2009).

It follows that where greater competence and expertise are only available "elsewhere", with a degree of investment that is considered impossible or unjustified, the individual (or group) is then forced to rely on immediately accessible resources. This is irrespective of however crude and inadequate they may be, as deprecated from "elsewhere". This "information situation" -- effectively "permanent" -- is appropriately illustrated metaphorically by individuals in "info-shacks" in slums and refugee camps, whatever the degree of external assistance.

It is within this context, to the extent that an individual experiences it as credible, that capacity to engage with more radical reframing of the relation to externalities constitutes an opportunity. Any sense of actively "enjoying oneself" may then be explored in terms of "enjoying the world" as an externality creatively reframed. Any quest for radical coherence, as an emergent integrative experience, may then be associated with the integrative potential of globalization -- itself then subject to radical reframing.

This exploration was partially inspired by the statement by James Lovelock "enjoy it while you can" (The Vanishing Face of Gaia: a final warning: Enjoy It While You Can, 2009). Here however the focus is on a more radical interpretation of "it" -- with "it" as a lens for a more radical and richer comprehension of "you".  This then raises the question of the experiential nature of happiness under such circumstances, whether implying a noun or a verb. Is its cultivation then to be explored as an art or a science -- or a matter of being otherwise, however that might be understood (Being Other Wise: dynamics of a meaningfully sustainable lifestyle, 1998)?

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