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Enabling Governance through the Dynamics of Nature

Explores use of flow-related metaphors for knowledge management and governance.

Enabling Governance through the Dynamics of Nature
Problems as the key to solutions: water as an example
Vortices of opinion?
Psychosocial vortices as self-referential traps
Being "in the flow" -- learnings from a trout
Governance and the flow of information
Information flow: threads and vortices
Vortex generation and mandalas
Experiential application of vortex insights
Helicoidal integration of dynamics of self-referential initiatives?
Technological innovation as template for cognitive innovation
Vortex management
Overcoming psychosocial fragmentation and buffetting
Navigating psychic space?
Global governance vs. Toroidal governance
Sustainable "global" governance -- through double helicoidal invagination?

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This follows from the case previously made for exploring "toroidal governance" to compensate for the evident inadequacies of "global governance" (From global governance to toroidal governance, 2010). Of particular interest in that respect are the vortex dynamics by which toroidal forms are sustained, as commonly illustrated by the smoke ring. Vortex rings have been acknowledged by many investigators as one of the most fundamental and fascinating phenomena in fluid dynamics (Feliks Kaplanski, Dynamics of Vortex Rings, SciTopics, 12 July 2010).

Considerable insight into the functioning of vortices in nature emerged from the work and applications of Viktor Schauberger (1885-1958). His principal argument was that humanity could benefit considerably by learning from nature -- specifically the dynamics of water -- rather than trying to correct it. His motto was Comprehend and Copy Nature -- thereby relating experience to a much wider and more exciting worldview. His concern was to liberate people from dependence on inefficient and polluting centralized energy generation. That concern with water predates the current recognition that freshwater is in increasingly short supply and has been seen as a likely trigger for future world wars.

The following argument is not concerned with water, energy or flow in the conventional sense. The focus here is on the value of insights, as exemplified by those of Schauberger, in enabling a mode of reflection with a higher probability of engendering forms of governance capable of responding to the challenges of the future. Specifically of interest are the insights into psychosocial processes which might be derived from understanding vortices -- as these might relate to enabling "toroidal governance".

The enthusiasm and controversy associated with the innovative approaches to "energy" of Schauberger bear some resemblance to those associated with Nikola Tesla (1856-1943) or with R. Buckminster Fuller (1895-1983). The magnum opus of the latter on synergetics claimed to highlight the cognitive implications and informed his social analysis of the human condition (Synergetics: Explorations in the Geometry of Thinking, 1975). The inability to derive cognitive benefits from that work, of significance to global governance, was the subject of an earlier argument (Geometry of Thinking for Sustainable Global Governance: cognitive implication of synergetics, 2009). Schauberger defined the challenge as one of "thinking an octave higher". It is such a possibility that is of concern here rather than the subtle "energies" with which these innovators were variously preoccupied.

Rather than regretting the controversies and academic antipathy to such innovators, the assumption here is that it is indeed by learning from nature that a more fruitful approach to such characteristic "psychosocial vortices" may emerge -- of relevance to governance of a complex society. This preoccupation follows from the context for the earlier argument for "toroidal governance" (Warp and Weft of Future Governance: ninefold interweaving of incommensurable threads of discourse, 2010). The latter took specific account of the cognitive "strange loops" extensively discussed by Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid, 1979; I Am a Strange Loop, 2007). Schauberger's formulation of the cognitive challenge is consistent with that of Hofstadter:

Humanity has become accustomed to relate everything to itself (anthropocentrism). In this process we have failed to see that real truth is a slippery thing upon which the perpetually reformulating mind passes judgment almost imperceptibly ... Truth resides only in all-knowing Nature (Our Senseless Toil,  1934)

Of interest in relation to the dynamics of strange loops is that this "slippery thing" was effectively well-represented by Schauberger's early insight into the capacity of a trout to remain motionless in a fast moving current and to "screw its way" up a waterfall. The argument here is that such insights may well be of relevance to comprehension of the requisite dynamics for sustainability and governance.

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