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Engaging with the cognitive challenge of global governance: operationalization


Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors (Part #8)


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Whilst the tetrahedral representation of the cognitive challenge may have some merit as a description, as such it might be said to be inadequate in responding to the operational challenge of global governance. It is both insufficiently articulated and effectively excludes the cognitive functions of any "operator" -- whether individual or collective -- expected to embody the governance process. The challenge of embodiment may indeed be understood as implying a cognitive challenge for governance (cf George Lakoff and Mark Johnson, Philosophy In The Flesh: the embodied mind and its challenge to Western thought, 1999). This engaged operational capacity has been stressed by Edward de Bono as "operacy".

This operational inadequacy might be seen as well-represented geometrically by the non-viable nature of the space between the four attractors at the centre of the tetrahedron -- where non-viability might be understood as the operational instability or meta-stability of an inscribed insphere. Viable embodiment is then better represented by the circumsphere, circumscribing the tetrahedron of four attractors -- the global identique. Arguably, it is around this that a requisite variety of other modulating attractors or modalities needs appropriately to be configured.

There is of course a tradition of reflection over centuries on the significance of the Platonic forms for any coherent understanding of the world. Various approaches offer insights in this context:

  • the four attractors might be individually associated with the four other Platonic forms positioned tetrahedrally, as indicated above, around a central tetrahedron
  • the four other Platonic forms might be configured concentrically such as successively to envelope the tetrahedron and each other, with the most complex on the inside; this configuration has been variously explored in centuries past, notably by Johannes Kepler (Harmonices Mundi, 1619) with respect to the harmony and congruence in geometrical forms and physical phenomena, which together with Kepler's (Mysterium Cosmographicum, 1596) -- constitutes a possible pointer of future relevance to any understanding of the cognitive challenge of global governance at different degrees of complexity

In operational terms, such configurations might be understood as approaches to the design of a "cognitive gearbox" through which to engage globally with reality and its challenges for governance. It might be compared to a "cognitive transmission system". But as with the contrast between the gearbox of private automobiles and that of heavy duty vehicles, many more "gears" are required in the latter case for the loads that have to be moved under different terrain conditions. Similarly one might expect that governance needs more than the 4-fold gearbox of the private automobile -- whatever the private preferences of any leader.


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