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Concordian Mandala as a Symbolic Nexus

Insights from dynamics of a pentagonal configuration of nonagons in 3D (Part #1)

Three-dimensional configuration of nonagon mandala
Meaningful configuration engendered only by tacit aesthetic entanglement
Ninefold configuration in practice and its comprehension constraints
Speculation on potential symbolic relevance of the concordian mandala

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Concord: The case for a "concordian mandala" was made previously (Con-quest Aesthetically Reframed via the Concordian Mandala, 2016). This was inspired by the social chaos purportedly addressed by the so-called Discordian Mandala. The mandala is described in the controversial Principia Discordia, elaborated by Greg Hill with Kerry Wendell, as the provocative doctrinal manifesto of Discordianism. It was originally published under the title Principia Discordia or How The West Was Lost (1965). The name was intended to signify The Principles of Strife.

In a period of remarkable global discord, the preculiarity of that mandala (and the paradoxical controversy with which it has been associated) is suitably matched by mention of it in the Wikipedia entry on Borromean rings -- recognized to be of fundamental significance as the 3D logo of the International Mathematical Union.

Discord: The Discordian Mandala is assumed here to be a valuable catalyst for new thinking -- given its explicit association with the discord characteristic of problematic psychosocial system dynamics. These can be usefully framed as "systemantics", variously documented by John Gall (2003, 1986, 1978) and separately summarized (Why Systems Fail and Problems Sprout Anew: commentary on the principles of 'Systemantics', 1980).

Rather than the thinking associated with conventional appreciations of concord, exemplified by the inappropriateness to the times of the Anthem of Europe, new insight could even be sought through the discordance of its reversal (Reversing the Anthem of Europe to Signal Distress: transcending crises of governance via reverse music and reverse speech? 2016). There is a case for new understanding of distress given the contradictions between the most fundamental human values, the situation of refugees, and the economic benefits deriving from the supply of arms to regions engendering them (potentially framed by a measure of Refugees Per Kiloton).

In that spirit, the earlier argument focused on the possibility of reframing the ingenious Discordian Mandala as a Concordian Mandala -- by interpreting the former through the variety of connotations of "con" (Considerable Conglomeration of "Cons" of Global Concern, 2012). Given the provocative ambiguity of those connotations, the concern is whether their suitable juxtaposition is suggestive of a means of transcending the constraints of the simplistic binary implications of "dis" versus "con".

Third dimension -- and more? In the following development of the argument, the initial concern is with the possibility of a more significant representation of the mandala in three dimensions rather than two (notably with respect to the configuration of the 5 nonagons of which it is composed). This may ensure the emergence of a pattern of pentagons -- interwoven as a set of Borromean rings.

Subsequently the argument here notes the variety of potential implications of such a configuration as a symbolic nexus, especially in the light of the importance of the nonagon to various schools of thought and practice. In addition to the extensively documented focus on the enneagram, this includes the explicit importance of the nonagon in the most complex symbol of the penultimate degree of Freemasonry -- with all that this is claimed to imply for global governance and leadership. This merits a degree of recognition as the historical driving force for the Holy War against Islam, through the crusading in relation to Jerusalem -- now meriting comparison with a "Christian jihad" in the best and most problematic senses.

Interpretation: Although the geometrical and graphic challenges of this argument are unambiguous, the interpretation of the significance of any such configuration is quite another matter. This is exemplified both by Discordianism and by Freemasonry -- of which each would typically claim to be the antithesis of the other. Both typically arouse the concern of conspiracy theorists in a world increasingly preoccupied with ever higher degrees of secrecy and the urgent need for collective confidence and mutual trust.

A particular form of detachment is therefore required in noting the truths upheld by such contrasting perspectives. This clearly follows from increasing recognition of the role of so-called "post-truth politics" (Post-truth politics: art of the lie, The Economist, 10 September 2016). It is no longer a question of whether any matter is credible, but rather whether some believe it to be so -- and are inspired thereby to act.

The paradoxical context is usefully exemplified by a principal advocate of Discordianism, namely the highly controversial Robert Anton Wilson. His stated commitment was to breaking down conditioned associations, to looking at the world in a new way, with many models recognized as models or maps, and no one model elevated to the truth. Unfortunately it could be said that Discordianism, as a model in its own right, appears to have failed to introduce a requisite degree of self-reflexivity into its own worldview.

Disconnectivity: As a point of departure, the exploitation here of the Discordian Mandala (in its relation to Borromean rings) is also suggestive of neglected insights into the valuable role of disconnectivity. This contrasts with the value so commonly and unquestionably associated with connectivity. Requisite variety in cybernetic terms may then be as readily recognized in terms of disconnectivity as of connectvity. It is delightfully highlighted by the separation of petals in a flower.

The quest for new comprehension of transcendent harmony and togetherness may thus depend to an unsuspected degree on ordering disconnectivity rather than seeking to order connectivity. As an example, such a focus on "apartness" would be consistent with the focus on "apartments" and the constitutional "separation of powers". The argument raises the question as to whether the hegemonic present-day role of the Pentagon derives in part from the cognitive confusion of 5-fold distinctions with those associated with 9-fold distinctions -- an instance of misplaced concreteness, given the illusory emergence of the 5-fold pattern in the the 3D rendering of the mandala.

In this light, the case for representation in 3D could be usefully framed by re-interpretation of the traditional adage that: truth is hidden in plane sight. Such representation, and the many other images in this argument, are of further value in that they are consistent with an increasing shift from dependence on text to the insight enabled by imagery.

further value in that they are consistent with an increasing shift from dependence on text to the insight enabled by imagery.

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