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Relevance of Mythopoeic Insights to Global Challenges

Uses the Lord of the Rings to explore integrative understanding appropriate to global governance.


Relevance of Mythopoeic Insights to Global Challenges
Neglected geometric "metrics"
Mythopoeic insights of relevance?
Cognitive drama of the disciplines
Human remedial capacity: a ninefold challenge?

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Part 2 of Uncritical Strategic Dependence on Little-known Metrics (2009)


Metrics with a "human face"?

"Eclipse of the lifeworld": The nature of what tends to be lost in conventional abstraction has been highlighted by Steven M. Rosen (Topologies of the Flesh: a multidimensional exploration of the lifeworld, 2006; Dimensions of Apeiron: a topological phenomenology of space, time, and individuation, Value Inquiry Book Series, 2004). He notes the manner in which the richness of psychosocial engagement with the world has been completely undermined by formal discourse -- an "eclipse of the lifeworld" in his terms. Ironically, in a period of sensitivity to the challenges of "resources" and "energy", this view is echoed by other authors, notably arguing for the desirable potential of a participatory encounter with reality:

Overly simple "answers": As noted in assessment of criticism of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential:

There is widespread hope that a simple answer can be formulated to the challenge of the times. Many believe fervently that such answers exist in single-factor statements such as "peace", "love", "order", etc. Whilst a necessary feature of the psychosocial system, such belief obscures the richness and significance of the fundamental disagreement concerning the ways such conflicting answers can be implemented in practice.

Edgar Morin (Pour sortir du siècle XX, 1981) and Kenneth Boulding (Ecodynamics: A New Theory of Societal Evolution, 1978) both note the dangers of single factor explanations at this time. In Boulding's words: "The evolutionary vision sees human history as a vast interacting network of species and relationships of many different kinds, and there really is no "leading factor" always in the forefront. At times, changes in material technology are the major mutational developments and create niches for social changes of various kinds. At other times, however, intellectual or spiritual movements take the lead and create niches for new material artifacts and technologies; sometimes climatic changes dominate the scene, or sometimes biological mutations dominate, such as the disease bacteria that caused the great plagues." (1978, p.19-20)

To safeguard global society in the longer-term, the challenge would seem to be to find some comprehensible way (or set of ways) of interrelating the simple answers which must necessarily emerge as short-term local responses to such an environment.

Achieving "traction": There is however little attention to how credibility is attributed (sustainably) to information funnelled through a single metric. Arguably it is the very "singularity" of the metric that leads to "polarization" between "believers" and "sceptics" in debates. This has been dramatically evident in that on climate change (although manifest with respect to other potentially dramatic issues). As an extreme alternative to such equations and single factor metrics, it might even be appropriate to understand amy belief system as a "metric" of a different kind, encompassing a topic in its own way.

The difficulty with conventional efforts by governments to "deploy" a single metric is that typically they lack psychoactive "traction" -- irrespective of the dangers with which they are purportedly associated. This is evident in efforts at mobilizing populations in support of global strategies.


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