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From Statics to Dynamics in Sustainable Community

Navigating through chaos by playing on polarities as attitude correctors (Part #1)

Fascination with dynamics
Danger of state-orientation in a dynamic world
Comprehending dynamics
Working with dynamic reality
Comprehending the language of pattern shifting
Challenge: how to play polarities

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Objects are necessarily well-bounded. Whether or not they need to be seen through microscope or telescope, they have a stability to which meaning can be attached. It may even be difficult to disassociate object and meaning. Objects may of course move but comprehending them is usually achieved through what amounts to a photograph -- a visual moment out of time. Their movement may be also be understood through a series of such photographs. The mind shifts readily from one to the next to construct some kind of gestalt -- a sort of conceptual average or identikit portrait.

People may also be treated conceptually as objects. They too are grasped and communicated through one or more photographs. Similarly, non-photographic artists may seek to portray a person through painting or sculpture. These are held to be more or less satisfactory "representations" of a person. "Representation" is a term essential to democracy as will be seen below.

Organizations and communities can also be photographed top some degree. Considerable effort may be made by corporations to ensure that their image is appropriately portrayed through photographs -- of their headquarters, their executive officers, or their projects. It is standard practice to represent the reality of a "class" through an annual class photograph -- whether for students, sports teams, or military groupings. Indeed this may be the only visual trace of the grouping as a whole. Communities are also photographed -- indeed this is one of the principal means used by anthropologists to represent traditional communities for distant colleagues and the future.

This paper is concerned with the dangerous over-simplification that results from such static representation. What exactly is the challenge of comprehending the significance of more dynamic representations? What is the space-time phenomenon that is delineated by movement? What is the cost of ignoring that dynamic reality in favour of a static reality, jerking conceptually from one state to the next? What implications might this have for the viability of sustainable community?e state to the next? What implications might this have for the viability of sustainable community?

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