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Polyhedral Pattern Language: Software facilitation of emergence, representation and transformation of psycho-social organization


Polyhedral Pattern Language
PART A: Polyhedral mapping experiments and use of Stella Navigator
Focus and psycho-social relevance
Currently relevant features of Stella
Possible additional features
Pattern language
Possible applications relevant to psycho-social organization
Test applications
Mapping possibilities with regular polyhedra
PART B: Future extension to tensegrity representation
Psycho-social operationalization of polyhedra through tensegrity representation
Process of use
Multi-dimensional heuristic work space
"Cognitive circuits"
PART C: Meta-patterning considerations from other cultural perspectives
Patterns as enabling emergence of a "quality without a name"
Quality of space as a central challenge of governance
"Spirit of team": vibration and resonance
Insights from Chinese culture
Pattern dynamics: change, alternation, resonance
Possibilities of "variable geometry" in psycho-social organization
Comprehension of strategically appropriate patterns through the fourth dimension
Homeostatic equilibrium: necessary "human sacrifice" to the "gods"
CONCLUSION: "Globality", viability and comprehensibility

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Also available in a PDF version for printing convenience. Sequel to Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors (2008). Associated with: Polyhedral Empowerment of Networks through Symmetry: psycho-social implications for organization and global governance (2008), Configuring Global Governance Groups: experimental visualization of possible integrative relationships (2008) and References

The significant problems we face can not be solved at the same level of thinking
we were at when we created them
Learning: Governance needs a new language?


Part A is effectively a commentary on the polyhedral exploration software Stella Navigator, produced by Robert Webb (Stella: Polyhedron Navigator. Symmetry: Culture and Science, 2000); a helpful overview of the application is provided in Wikipedia. Its most recent version provides unique access to polyhedra in both three and four dimensions. Demo versions (3D or 4D) may be downloaded free of charge; an explanatory manual is available.

The commentary follows from a recent study of the relevance of polyhedra to global governance (Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors, 2008). Here "polyhedral" is specifically used to convey the need to explore "many-sided" forms of psycho-social organization. These constitute an integrative challenge of governance from the world to the local level -- if not to personal self-governance and identity. In that respect "global" is also to be understood in its integrative sense of a "whole" and not only in its geo-political sense of world-wide (cf Future Generation through Global Conversation: in quest of collective well-being through conversation in the present moment, 1997) .

The concern here with polyhedra dates from work within the context of the Union of International Associations in the period 1997-2000 on the online, multi-media, interactive representation of complex networks of international organizations, world problems, global strategies and human values, notably developed from 1972 within the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. The later work formed part of a project funded by the European Commission (Ecolynx: an information context for biodiversity conservation, 1997-2000) and subsequently evaluated positively by the World Bank for a development focus (INTERCEPT: Interactive Contextual Environmental Planning Tool for developing countries, 1998). In that period various experiments were undertaken to enable online users to associate particular portions of such networks with polyhedra in virtual reality (VRML) in order to facilitate their comprehension and as a point of entry to text profiles of the entities in the networks. Those in Figures 1 and 2 below were generated online directly from the databases, for example. Although the databases are still online -- some being freely accessible -- the transfer to a new platform has meant that these experiments are no longer accessible.

A range of these facilities is described elsewhere (Information Visualization and Sonification: displaying complexes of problems, strategies, values and organizations, 2001). The concern here however is to identify concrete possibilities and applications for the future.

Part B considers the possible future extension of Stella to tensegrity representation. Part C evokes a range of meta-patterning considerations, notably from other cultural perspectives.

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