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Strategic Complexity -- Attracting Consensus


Strategic Complexity Attracting Consensus
Intractable binary issues
Eliciting a minimalistic approach informed by indirection
Questionable assumptions based on conventional geometric metaphors
Engendering a catalytic holding form of requisite complexity
"Reformulation": Klein bottle as a catalyst for cognitive enhancement
Klein bottle as an ordering principle advocated within the social sciences
Formalization of constraints on "new thinking"
Nature of the requisite self-reflexive skill
Engaging with time-bound paradox
Cognitive products as property subject to possession
Identity otherwise informed

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Recent events continue to demonstrate that the probability of achieving global agreement on conflict-inducing issues and emergencies is low -- within the frameworks and worldviews currently considered appropriate in negotiations to that end. Temporary compromises are primarily conducive to subsequent dysfunctional game-playing and collapse of any consensus. This is an exploration of the possibility of subtler and minimalist patterns capable of eliciting unconventional forms of consensus. It follows an earlier effort to frame the complexity of the current condition (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007).

It is profoundly curious, in a time of evident challenges to effective global governance, that it is considered so laudable to invest vast resources in military systems based on far more sophisticated mathematics than is applied to issues of governance, or in use of such mathematics in risk management on a stock market by which the global system is currently destabilized. It is equally curious that science is funded so extensively to engage in costly multinational experiments in fundamental physics in the pursuit of elusive particles, or in the construction in 2011 of various massive radio telescopes capable of detecting signals over 10 billion light-years in distance -- a view of the beginning of the universe.

Is it to be assumed that the clearly inadequate processes of governance call for no such investment, or that their dynamics are systematically avoided as being too complex for the capacities of science, or that there is an implicit collective preference for learning from catastrophic failure? There is a profound irony to the characteristics of such scientific investments -- the annihilation of humans in warfare, the examination of the infinitely small, and the detection of the infinitely distant -- when no such capacity is applied to the challenges of decision-making and governance on matters "close to home" and capable of ensuring civilizational collapse.

It would appear that there is a case for the attitude implicit in the title of the study of the Chinese classic by Chu Hsi (Reflections on Things at Hand). In the spirit of the title and theme of the prize-winning book by Arundhati Roy (The God of Small Things, 1997), the following exploration therefore focuses on a minimalistic possibility by which people could choose to enhance their lives. Strategically this might be echoed by the articulation of Duane Elgin (Voluntary Simplicity: toward a way of life that is outwardly simple, inwardly rich, 1981).

The focus here is on a paradoxical topological form, the Klein bottle, in enabling a more fruitful approach to governance -- effectively a catalytic "surface" for appropriate cognition. That surface makes evident the possibility of bridging between "inside" and "outside", or "right" and "left", for those obliged to live "between" (Living as an Imaginal Bridge between Worlds: global implications of "betwixt and between" and liminality, 2011). The use in the title of 8 as a conjunction is intended to recall the Möbius strip, a topological relative of the Klein bottle, but more readily comprehensible, as discussed separately (¡¿ Defining the objective ∞ Refining the subjective ?! Explaining reality and infinty Embodying realization, 2011).

In the same spirit, the subtitle of this exploration is a play on the title of the influential book by E. F. Schumacher (Small Is Beautiful: a study of economics as if people mattered, 1973) -- as a contrast to a seemingly fruitless mega-science whose creativity and insights are poorly adapted to the challenges of the times. In anticipation of Rio+20 -- the anniversary conference of the Rio Earth Summit (1992) -- the situation with respect to global governance, and the benefits it derives from science, might well be adapted from the title of another  book (James Hillman and Michael Ventura, We've Had a Hundred Years of Psychotherapy - And the World's Getting Worse, 1992).

The argument which follows is presented during yet another dramatic crisis -- the Palestinian request to the UN for recognition of long-promised statehood -- in the intractable dynamics between two cultures with the strongest mathematical traditions, namely Judaism and Islam. Their incapacity to apply these insights in order to transcend an age-old conflict is itself as remarkable as the seeming inability of mathematicians to advocate techniques commensurate with the complexity of the issue (And When the Bombing Stops? Territorial conflict as a challenge to mathematicians, 2000; Reframing Relationships as a Mathematical Challenge: Jerusalem -- a parody of current inter-faith dialogue, 1997).

The same might be said of the simultaneous dramatic challenge to the eurozone -- engendered and exacerbated by the mathematical complexities of trading in derivatives (Uncritical Strategic Dependence on Little-known Metrics, 2009). Of the IMF Summit, at the time of writing, one commentator indicated (Heather Stewart, Pressure mounts on eurozone ministers as debt crisis dominates IMF summit, The Observer, 25 September 2011):

... this weekend's latest bout of summiteering ended with few concrete achievements, apart from ratcheting up the mood of urgency: reminding eurozone ministers that the rest of the world is looking over their shoulders, and that time is running out.

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