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Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors


Towards Polyhedral Global Governance
Strategic geometry
Strategic "pillars"
Configuring pillars
Polygons, poles and axes
Strategic "footnotes to Plato"
Configurations of attractors
Engaging with the cognitive challenge of global governance: operationalization
12-fold Modalities for "heavy duty" global governance?
Indicative implications for global governance (A)
Indicative implications for global governance (B)
Mnemonic aids to the challenge of global governance
Polyhedral coherence of sustaining narratives
Transformational challenge of global governance: "changing gear" and "development"
Challenging mechanistic thinking: contribution of complexity sciences
Mediterranean Union: a symbolic challenge
Gaia: default global governor of "last resort"?

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Previously distributed under the title: Global Complexification of Classic Hellenic Metaphors: transcending the Euro-centric "pillars" of institutional architecture and strategy. The theme has been further developed in associated papers: Polyhedral Pattern Language: software facilitation of emergence, representation and transformation of psycho-social organization (2008), Configuring Global Governance Groups: experimental visualization of possible integrative relationships (2008) and Polyhedral Empowerment of Networks through Symmetry: psycho-social implications for organization and global governance (2008). [searchable PDF version].


This exploration develops one possibility in response to the impoverishment of metaphors sustaining current approaches to governance and strategy. This has been argued elsewhere (Governing Civilization through Civilizing Governance: global challenge for a turbulent future, 2008) on the occasion of the 3rd Annual Conference organized by the Global Governance Group of the Club of Athens (Theme: Making Global Governance Work: Lessons from the Past. Solutions for the Future, Athens, 2-5 April 2008).

The argument is illustrated here by the common use of "pillars" in articulating institutional strategies for Europe. Metaphorically these are seen here as a trace of their use in the temple architecture of classical Greece and Rome, through which distinct values and functions were celebrated as deities -- values now variously associated with configurations of "pillars". Following the lead of Charles Handy (The Gods of Management; who they are, how they work and why they will fail, 1979), who used Greek deities to characterize the different styles of management, the challenge of asystemic governance is explored here in terms of the dysfunctional role of deities as isolated metaphors.

The approach taken is to complexify the geometry of "pillars" into distinct three-dimensional polyhedral structures, themselves understood as appropriately configured to hold the many-sided challenges of global governance. Metaphorically a pantheon of deities -- understood as the strange attractors of complex dynanmic systems -- may then be associated mnemonically with a polyhedral array appropriate to the requisite complexity of any global strategy. Polyhedral structures are seen here as a valuable means of configuring the seemingly incompatible "sides" of any strategic understanding into a structure of global integrity based on their complementarity -- rather than by seeking consensus through the elimination of all but one "side".

"Polyhedral" is therefore also understood here has "many-sided", in the political sense basic to governance of multiple distinct agendas. "Global" is also understood in an integrative sense, beyond its purely geo-political application to the world as a whole, as argued elsewhere (Future Generation through Global Conversation: in quest of collective well-being through conversation in the present moment, 1997).

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