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Cognitive implication in a personal Ponzi scheme?


Global Economy of Truth as a Ponzi Scheme (Part #10)


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Tropic versus Trophic? The "strange attractors" noted above could be usefully recognized as tropisms, namely a form of growth in response to a particular stimulus. The following are distinguished in biology, although metaphorical connotations can be readily recognized:

  • chemotropism, movement or growth in response to chemicals
  • geotropism (or gravitropism), movement or growth in response to gravity
  • heliotropism, diurnal motion or seasonal motion of plant parts in response to the direction of the sun, (e.g. the sunflower)
  • plagiotropism, movement or growth at an angle to a line of stimulus such as gravity or light.
  • orthotropism, movement or growth in the same line of action as the stimulus.
  • hydrotropism, movement or growth in response to water
  • phototropism, movement or growth in response to lights or colour
  • thermotropism, movement of growth in response to temperature
  • electrotropism, movement or growth in response to an electric field
  • thigmotropism, movement or growth in response to touch or contact
  • exotropism, continuation of growth "outward"

The cognitive analogues are not recognized by psychology although the Psychology Wiki offers entries on both tropism and trophic levels in their biological sense. It is also intriguing to note a long-standing debate about the relation between the two insights, especially in terms of their etymology (Robert W. Buck, et al. Trophism versus Tropism, New England Journal of Medicine, 13 March 1952; Werner Steinberg, Trophic vs. Tropic, JAMA Network, 3 May 1952; George W. Corner, Tropic versus Trophic in the Terminology of the Pituitary Hormones, December 1943).

In the exploration of cognitive parallels, it is intriguing to note the determination of measures of the Human Trophic Level in different populations in terms of their diets in relation to the food chain (Bob Yirka, Researchers calculate human trophic level for first time, Phys.org, 3 December 2013). As noted with respect to that insight:

We human beings like to think of ourselves as living at the top of the food chain -- doing so implies we have dominion over all the other plants and animals living on this planet. And while that implied perspective is perhaps correct in one sense, it's not when looked at in its truest biological sense.

Trophic levels? As implied above, each individual is variously engaged with external reality at the lowest "trophic level" -- most notably in the consumption of facts or factoids (as via the media), the quest for the resources to sustain daily life, and possibly the engagement in dialogue with its variety of "emissions" (Sins of Hot Air Emission, Omission, Commission and Promission: the political challenge of responding to global crises, 2009).

Of greater relevance to this argument is how the primary process of this trophic level provides some form of nourishment for higher trophic levels, of greater subtlety and of increasing intangible nature. Aspects of this pyramid are recognized in such devices as Maslow's need hierarchy with its five levels: physiological, safety, love/belonging, esteem, self-actualization. Presumably there should be little surprise to the distinction of five levels, given the argument above. More intrguing is the neglected possibility of a greater number of trophic levels. This is suggested by traditional belief systems giving pyramidal form to their recognition of nine levels of consciousness -- potentially implied by depiction of the pyramid on the dollar bill.

As a model long-favoured in academic discourse, the Maslow device essentially discourages any exploration of personal cognitive implication -- as is characteristic of the non-self-referential nature of such discourse. This is somewhat ironic in that it offers labels for what might be interpreted as degrees of increasing self-reference -- but with little ability to render them meaningful within that framework..

Outside-Inside? The question here is the nature of the possible "internal" cognitive implication in construction of models then (radically) dissociated from that implication through projection onto a reality framed as "external". Aspects of this argument are of course a theme of social constructionism, personal construct theory, and enactivism -- well-framed by the traditional phrase of "laying down the path through walking". This featured as central to the arguments of Francisco Varela (Laying down a path in walking: a biologist's look at a new biology, Cybernetic, 2, 1986, pp. 6-15).

The argument can be explored through the nature of the binary distinction between "outside" and "inside", as discussed separately (World Introversion through Paracycling: global potential for living sustainably "outside-inside", 2013). This was developed through the following sections:

Incoherence of external reality
Transformation of worldview from "inside-outside" to "outside-inside"
Imagining a window of strategic opportunity for change
Insightful confusion: outside-in, inversion, introversion?
Alleviating the "weight" of external matters
Alternation of worldview between "inside-outside" and "outside-inside"
Paradoxical cycling between "inside-outside" and "outside-inside"
Paracycling: towards a terminological and visual clarification
Sphere eversion as guide to the cognitive twist of global introversion?

Imagining transcendence appropriately challenging to comprehension
Approaches to distinguishing requisite cognitive variety
Paradoxically dynamic coherence of internalized "pantheons"
Engaging with "peaceful" and "wrathful" deities
Embodying the world as a strategic opportunity

Globalization? Especially intriguing is the manner in which personal cognitive implication applies to any sense of global, globality and globalization -- as a progressive identification with ever greater coherence. Aspects of this process in systemic terms were noted above.

The argument can be developed otherwise in the sense that globalization, recognized as an external process (associated with global civilization on the planetary globe), can be fruitfully recognized as an internal process (associated with a personal sense of global coherence). One thread to this argument is the sense in which "global" also implies coherence in the most general sense, as recognized in its mathematical sense, where it is typically contrasted with "local", as separately discussed (Future Generation through Global Conversation: in quest of collective well-being through conversation in the present moment, 1997).

More specific development of the argument can be made through exploring globalization as a personal process, as discussed separately (Personal Globalization, 2001). There the argument included the following considerations.

Conceptual prosthetics and surrogates
Conceptual traps and Ponzi schemes
Globalization of experience
Conceptual de-regulation
Conceptual dimensions of globalization
Reflecting the environment
Recognizing the 'cultural rainforests' of the globalized person
Universe, solar system, cell and atom
Technology as metaphor
Planetary thinking and human experience
Globalized experience as nonlocal consciousness
Patterns that connect
Clues to the pattern that connects

Internal-External mirroring? Such an argument suggests the need to recognize the degree to which explanatory articulations regarding external reality mirror internal cognitive possibilities. An aspect of that argument has been developed from the perspective of cognitive psychology with respect to mathematics (George Lakoff and Rafael Nuñez, Where Mathematics Comes From: how the embodied mind brings mathematics into being, 2001). This suggests the possibility of a fruitful "confrontation" between mathematics and theology, as separately discussed with respect toany self-reflexive global reframing to enable faith-based governance (Mathematical Theology: Future Science of Confidence in Belief, 2011).

The argument can be developed with respect to mimicry, whether biomimicry, ecomimicry or technomimicry (Reimagining Principles Enabling an Existential Ecostery: engendering out-of-the-box awareness and its transformation, 2013; Engendering a Psychopter through Biomimicry and Technomimicry Insights from the process of helicopter development, 2011; Enactivating a Cognitive Fusion Reactor Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing (ITER-8), 2006).

The mirror test is fundamental to recognition of self-consciousness. Given speculation regarding communication with extraterrestrial cultures, there is then the interesting possibility that such aliens may value a form of mirror test relating to higher "trophic levels", as separately discussed (Self-reflective Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration (SETI): the universal criterion of species maturity? 2008). Current cognitive challenges of "globality" may then be extended to challenges of "universality" -- far beyond current human assumptions in that regard (and despite presumptuous use of that term).

Indicative speculation in that regard is offered in the entry in the Encyclopedia Galactica on Trophic Levels in Society (appropriately citing as source the Reality Trophic Levels of Interstellar Societies (2677) in Reviews in Metasociology). The entry concludes:

Metasociologists have known for a long time that there is a strong correlation between the second Xmutex index (the variance of reality layering) and the number of trophic levels in the economy. A simple economy cannot sustain a society of many reality levels. More surprisingly, a simple reality levelling cannot sustain the hypereconomies that reach 10 trophic levels. This observation, sometimes called the Xmutex Law of Reality Economics, has been a major source of investigation among economic eschatologists. There is an extensive history of Realist criticism of the Law, but it remains a firmly established empirical finding.

With respect to globalization, the approach also suggests a means of exploring the nature of a "flat earth mentality" -- as a stage in the emergence of global insight (Irresponsible Dependence on a Flat Earth Mentality -- in response to global governance challenges, 2008).

Betwixt and Between? Clearly an aspect of the cognitive challenge is the risk of entrapment in binary distinctions reinforcing unfruitful polarization, as may be variously discussed (Coherent Value Frameworks: pillar-ization, polarization and polyhedral frames of reference, 2008). Whilst there may be conditions where there is a case for either "inside" or "outside", there is also a case for "inside and outside" or for "neither inside nor outside", as argued by Kinhide Mushakoji (Global Issues and Interparadigmatic Dialogue, 1988).

These conditions could be imagined to be related as framed by some kind of phase diagram. The most common of these relates the phases of matter, most notably water (sold, liquid, gas, ions). These conditions merit reflection in relation to current preoccupations with post-truth and its Potemkin-village function (Towards articulation of a "post-truth table"? 2016).


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