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Polarity: comprehension-incomprehension

Distinguishing Emergent Conceptual Polarities: experimental ordering of a collection of research papers (Part #12)

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Comprehension (meaning, significance) -- Incomprehension (paradox, incommensurability, ignorance, questions)

Comprehension: An early focus has been the comprehension of relationships (Relationship Between Elements of Knowledge: use of computer systems to facilitate construction, comprehension and comparison of the concept thesauri of different schools of thought, 1971 *; Preliminary Notes on the Mathematical Analysis of Networks of Psychosocial Entities in Order to Facilitate their Comprehension, 1975 *), notably in sets (Representation, Comprehension and Communication of Sets: the Role of Number, 1978; Distinguishing Levels of Declarations of Principles, 1980).

The variety of forms of comprehension (Dimensions of Comprehension Diversity, 1986) and the nature of future comprehension have also been a concern (The Future of Comprehension: conceptual birdcages and functional basket-weaving, 1980; Minding the Future: a thought experiment on presenting new information, 1980; Comprehension of Appropriateness, 1986), especially beyond current constraints (Beyond Edge-bound Comprehension and Modal Impotence: combining q-holes through a pattern language, 1981; Threshold of Comprehensibility: a fourfold minimal system?, 1983; Development of Comprehension and Comprehension of Development, 1983; Forms of Presentation and the Future of Comprehension, 1984; Discovering richer patterns of comprehension to reframe polarization, 1998).

A particular concern has been its implication for viable organization (1983), integration (1991, 1995), social order (1994) -- also for policy-making (1994), values (1991), and problems (1999). Some of these issues have been explored from an aesthetic perspective (see below).
Incomprehension: Given concerns regarding lack of comprehension, one interest has been in the nature of ignorance and incomprehension and how to work with its various manifestations, including incommensurability (Reordering Networks of Incommensurable Concepts in Phased Cycles, 1988), the indefinable (Ordering the Undefinable: Identifying meaningful patterns of world problems, 1989), the art of disagreement (1986; Using Disagreements for Superordinate Frame Configuration, 1992; and as noted above), and the process of schism formation (2001).

Incomprehension was explored in a series of gatherings (The International School of Ignorance ?: an ongoing experiment in online dialogue meeting design, 1996). In that light, incomprehension has also been explored in terms of paradox (Antagonistic Dualities: Polarization and Paradox, 1983; Paradoxical merit of negative strategies, 1985; Aesthetic paradox of unitary comprehension, 1995; Dancing through Interfaces and Paradoxes: group alchemy, 1997; Evoking Authenticity: through polyhedral global configuration of local paradoxes, 2003).

A different approach that has been taken is through questions (Checklist of Nasty Questions: regarding development analyses and initiatives, 1981; 1993; Questions to which Many deserve Answers, 2000), notably in relation to the response to terrorism (911+ Questions in Seeking UnCommon Ground and protecting the Middle Way, 2001).

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