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Dematerialization and Virtualization

Comparison of nuclear fusion and cognitive fusion (Part #1)

Annex B of Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor: Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing (ITER-8)
[See also website of ITER-8: Cognitive Fusion Reactor]

Correspondence between the virtual reality of ITER and ITER-8
Complementary fusion metaphors: "plasma dynamics" and "attention dynamics"
Towards a language appropriate to dynamic engagement
3-fold Complementarity
Helical threading of "incommensurables"

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Sources of conventional energy are typically associated with well-recognized forms of matter. These range from solid fuels (wood, coal, peat, etc), through liquid in some form (rivers, tides, oil, etc), to gas (wind, natural gas, etc). With the focus on plasma to achieve controlled nuclear fusion, there is now a progression to what is described as a "fourth state of matter". The shift in focus to plasma, as ionized gas, may be understood as a form of "dematerialization". The capacity to derive energy directly from the sun (solar power, etc) may also be understood as directly dependent on plasma-based processes.

The question of whether human society is subject to dematerialization processes has been a matter of research since the work of Robert Herman, et al (Dematerialization, in Jesse H. Ausubel and Hedy E. Sladovich, eds., Technology and Environment 1989). Initially dematerialization was defined primarily as the decline over time in the weight of materials used in industrial end products or in the "embedded energy" of the products. More broadly, dematerialization now refers to the absolute or relative reduction in the quantity of materials required to serve economic functions (cf Iddo K. Wernick et al. Materialization and Dematerialization: Measures and Trends, Daedalus 125, 1996, 3). This may be expressed as reducing the total material that goes toward providing benefits to customers -- accomplished through greater efficiency, the use of better or more appropriate materials, or by creating a service that produces the same benefit as a product (cf Dematerialization and Immaterialization)

Dematerialization has taken on a wider significance in relation to electronic information. It may then be understood as a process to convert assets and securities held in physical form into electronic form or to directly allot securities in electronic record form. Ecological sustainability may be assessed as the dematrialization of production and consumption (cf Peter Bartelemus, Dematerialization and Capital Maintenance: two sides of the sustainability coin, 2002). An important potential avenue for achieving sustainability objectives is to develop policies aimed at dematerialization of consumer preferences and consumption patterns (cf Dematerialization, habit formation and social interactions in consumer behaviour, 2005).

The widely-recognized emergence of a knowledge-based society, matched by an increasing concern with faith-based structuresand disciplines, also points to the importance of dematerialization. It is within this context that "cognitive fusion" may be understood to take place. This trend is better recognized under the term "virtualization".

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