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Engaging with Questions of Higher Order: cognitive vigilance required for higher degrees of twistedness


Engaging with Questions of Higher Order
Helicity or twistedness as a fundamental pattern in nature
Psycho-social twistedness
Possible isomorphism between "natural" and "psycho-social" twistedness
DNA supercoiling as a pattern for understanding psycho-social twistedness
Potential significance of DNA coiling for reframing psycho-social twistedness
Biological cell as the "Garden of Eden"
Helical organization of knowledge
Towards higher order questions: varieties of questions
Problematic questions and missing dimensions
Higher order questioning
Functional complementarity of higher order questions
Conclusion: "Music of the spheres" vs "Conceptual boneyard"
Postscript: Questioning "terrorism"

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This paper refers to three annexes: Twistedness in Psycho-social Systems: challenge to logic, morality, leadership and personal development (2004); DNA Supercoiling as a Pattern for Understanding Psycho-social Twistedness (2004); References


This is an exploration of how significance is associated with being what is metaphorically described as "straight" (or droit in French) as opposed to being "bent", "twisted" or "warped" -- notably as in "going straight". Following the French, this may well be interpreted as "right-thinking". Specifically it is concerned with how higher degrees of "twistedness" are encountered in social interaction and in arguments in support of certain strategies. Is it reasonable to expect a straight anwer to a straight question under such circumstances? What might be the nature of questions and answers of higher order?

The aim in this exploration is to recognize how twistedness works and the conditions under which its complexity is of "positive", as opposed to "negative", significance. This argument aims to clarify the nature of more complex forms of understanding that may appear "twisted" to others and may, or may not, indeed be usefully associated with "richer" or "higher" forms of cognitive insight --whether exemplified by "holiness" or "perversion". The argument relates to structural insights summarized in a separate paper (Strategic Opportunities of the Twice Born: reflections on systemic camouflage of mass deception, 2004).

The approach here is through two lines of exploration. The first is through the extensive work on the phenomena of coiling and knottedness that are fundamental to magnetic, bio *** and specifically to DNA replication. The latter is related to the preoccupations of biosemiotics. In this connection, it is also appropriate to note here the importance of various forms of "coiling" in the symbolism of different cultures, whether the caduceus, the ourobouros, or more generally the coiled snake and its "satanic" associations dating back to Adam and Eve. The ambiguity of serpentine associations is illustrated by the symbolic status of Moses's Snake: "Just as Moses lifted up the snake in the desert, so the Son of Man must be lifted up, that everyone who believes in him may have eternal life" (John 3:1-16 ).

The second approach is through a review of current investigations into the taxonomy of questions and the insights of work of Arthur Young (The Geometry of Meaning, 1978; The Reflexive Universe, ***) as a template for interrelating higher order questions beyond conventional taxonomies..

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