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Polarity: facts-aesthetics


Distinguishing Emergent Conceptual Polarities: experimental ordering of a collection of research papers (Part #13)


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Facts (data, detail, evidence, technicity, linear) -- Aesthetics (mytho-poetic, contrafactual, visualization, non-linear, play)

Facts: Matching the preoccupation with information has been a concern with the kinds of data that could be usefully collected and the appropriate level of (exhaustive) detail. The focus has been on comprehensive data sets (see diversity above) -- with an extensive investment in documenting networks, more recently using hypertext.

Associated with this focus has been a concern with the quality of that data, and the potential of more sophisticated levels of analysis (Preliminary Notes on the Mathematical Analysis of Networks of Psychosocial Entities in Order to Facilitate their Comprehension, 1975 *; 1976 *; Mathematical Challenge for Systems Science, 1995; Reframing Relationships as a Mathematical Challenge, 1997; Applying Mathematical Insights to Comprehension of World Problems, 1999; And When the Bombing Stops? Territorial conflict as a challenge to mathematicians, 2000), especially for networks (Feedback loop analysis in the Encyclopedia Project, 2000), and speculatively in terms of hyperspace (Hyperspace Clues to the Psychology of the Pattern that Connects in the light of 81 Tao Te Ching isights, 2003).

More recently this has led to a preoccupation with rules of evidence (Warping the Judgement of Dissenting Opinion: towards a general framework for comparing distortion in rules of evidence, 2002; Politicization of Evidence in the Plastic Turkey Era, 2003) and approaches to truth-handling in a media-dominated context of news management and spin (Complementary Truth-handling Strategies, 2003)
Aesthetics: In contrast with the factual approach, has been the recognition that comprehension is not facilitated through exhaustive levels of detail, especially when data is constrained to linear organization. One response to the challenge of succinctness has been the exploration of visualization (Computer-aided Visualization of Psycho-social Structures, 1971; Conceptual Challenge of Visualization, 1992; Information visualization and sonification: Displaying complexes of problems, strategies, values and organizations, 2001) and mapping possibilities (Mapping World Problems: illustrated by the case of IGOs and NGOs, 1972; Mapping Possibilities in Response to Information Needs of Science Policy-making for Development, 1978; The Territory Construed as the Map, 1979; Network Mapping: Clarification of Requirements, 1992; Mapping the Network of Terror, 2002) -- notably emphasizing the aesthetic dimension (Approaches to the art of disagreement, 1986; Aesthetics of Governance in the Year 2490, 1990; Aesthetics of Meaning, 1991; Aesthetic paradox of unitary comprehension, 1995; Aesthetic Challenge of Interfaith Dialogue as Exemplified by Meditation, 1997; Envisaging the Art of Navigating Conceptual Complexity: in search of software combining artistic and conceptual insights, 1995; Aesthetics and Informatics: Art of Information for Policy-making and Community-building, 1999).

Other approaches have included poetry (Poetry-making and Policy-making: arranging a marriage between Beauty and the Beast, 1993), notably the Tao Te Ching (Tao Te Ching Interpreted Succinctly: a 9-fold pattern of 81 insights presented as phrases, 2003), as well as music (Some Clues to Social Harmony from Music - a metaphor, 1993; Knowledge Gardening through Music, 2000; Structuring Mnemonic Encoding of Development Plans and Ethical Charters using Musical Leitmotivs, 2001; Musical Articulation of Pattern of Tao Te Ching Insights, 2003).

Another has been to experiment with contrafactual, "as if", approaches (including play) that enhance meaning -- even when this is not supported by facts (Universal Declaration of the Rights of Human Organization: an experimental extension of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1971; (Gardening Sustainable Psycommunities: Recognizing the psycho-social integrities of the future, 1995; Convention on the Rights of the Child Within, 1997).

In addition, various exercises have been undertaken with mytho-poetic approaches -- using mythological and poetic associations to create a domain of coherence that sustains other forms of meaning and relationship. Provocative and satirical explorations have also been undertaken (Principles of the Conscientized International Expert: political correctness in international initiatives, 1979; Interplanetary Security Council: Nibiru-sponsored draft resolution on Earth, 2003; Arming Civil Society Worldwide, 2003)

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