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Ensuring Strategic Resilience through Haiku Patterns: reframing the scope of the martial arts in response to strategic threats


Ensuring Strategic Resilience through Haiku Patterns
Conventional attributes of haiku
Semantic and epistemological potential of haiku
Experiential focus of poetry
Haiku and the martial arts
Strategic potential of haiku
Catalytic role of haiku in kairotic time
Existential quality of life-and-death decisions
Haiku and strategic decision making
Natural cognitive templates offered by haiku
Cognitive configuration of haiku -- and dimensions of strategic engagement
Configuring the pattern that connects
Strategic potential of cognitive commonalities between poetry and music
Beyond knowledge -- to wisdom?

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Published in Journal of the Interdisciplinary Crossroads, Volume 2, No. 3, December 2005 [text]

Abstract: Explores the role of haiku poems as a means of predisposing the mind to a higher order of strategic resilience in response to threats, especially when a configuration of haiku defines a form of pattern language. Such possibility relies on valued attributes of haiku: embodiment of transformation, capacity to hold several layers of meaning that may be discovered or explored, and capacity to act as a container for deep meaning. In responding to the experiential challenge of the sheer present, haiku are presented as relevant to any strategy that is required to deal with the urgent challenges of the moment -- as is typical of the preoccupations of the martial arts. A link is made to personal experience of death in contrast to facile attitudes to the death of others -- framing the significance of honourable personal sacrifice in a higher cause. Haiku provide a communication modality for essential understanding of the nature and quality of the experiential reality intuitively recognized at the core of the martial arts through the risky juxtaposition of life and death. This points to the dynamic opportunity of the transformative potential of the shifting patterns in such moments -- the aesthetic immediacy essential to paradigm change.


The General Assembly of the World Academy of Art and Science (Zagreb, November 2005) had as its theme the Future of Knowledge (Evolutionary challenges of the 21st century). The meeting was accompanied by an invitational NATO Advanced Research Workshop on Security in Knowledge-based Society (Developing resilience in societies at risk and threatened by terrorism). Some participants attended both events. As was pointed out by Pieter Drenth (All European Academies), the distinction between "art" and "science" in English is bridged and encompassed, in some other European languages at least, by variants of the single German term "wissenschaft". This can be well translated by "ways of knowing".

With regard to any distinction between art and science, it was also pointed out that the military and security preoccupations of NATO strategists and tacticians can also be understood in terms of "martial arts" -- notably as articulated in classical texts on strategy favoured in western military academies (cf Sun Tzu, The Art of War; Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings: the classic guide to strategy). In this particular sense the "arts" were well represented on that occasion in the NATO event, whether or not the aesthetic dimensions were considered by participants in the WAAS event as meriting as much attention by the "sciences" -- despite the aesthetic qualities characteristic of the most fundamental theories extolled by scientists. One particular WAAS workshop was however devoted to the "organization of knowledge for human benefit" in which the aesthetic dimension was emphasized as fundamental to the comprehension and organization of complexity, and the mnemonic requisites of its communication and memorability in policy-making (cf Union of Intelligible Associations: remembering dynamic identity through a dodecameral mind, 2005).

The following argument endeavours to draw together these various cognitive threads through an exploration of the Japanese art of haiku, notably in the light of references to it by Swedish Ambassador, Kai Falkman, who participated in both the WAAS and NATO events. Falkman, President of the Swedish Haiku Society, focused on the interest in this art form of Dag Hammarskjöld, a writer of haiku, who during his mandate as Secretary-General of the United Nations, was especially preoccupied with security issues. UNESCO, one of the funders of the WAAS gathering, featured haiku through the website of its Italian National Commission, in collaboration with the World Haiku Club, on the occasion of World Poetry Day in 2002.

Politics needs poetry - so hooray for Herman Van Rompuy
Tribute by former poet laureate, Andrew Motion (The Guardian, 20 November 2009),
on the occasion of the election of the first President of the European Council
The first "President of Europe" has been presented as a person with considerable skill in achieving a degree of political harmony under difficult circumstances. He is also widely known -- as "Haiku Herman" -- for his writing of haiku (published on his personal website). The argument below explores the relevance of the insight implied by haiku-writing skills to the challenges of future global strategy. The possibility has also been examined with respect to an early concern for Europe (Poetic Engagement with Afghanistan, Caucasus and Iran: an unexplored strategic opportunity? 2009) and the more general concern (Strategic Jousting through Poetic Wrestling: aesthetic reframing of the clash of civilizations, 2009). Possibly Herman Van Rompuy could promote a conference on poetry and strategy as previously outlined (Proposal for an Exploratory International Conference: Poetry-making and Policy-making).

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