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25 February 2009 | Draft

Engaging with Globality through Cognitive Crowns

3rd Dimension: All-encompassing, well-rounded experience

-- / --

Dimension 3 of a four-fold exploration. Produced on the occasion of the "coronation" of Barack Obama (as president of the country from which insightful leadership is expected in response to global problems) and of the "crowning experience" of the Davos World Economic Forum (for the instigators and observers of the global credit crisis and its consequences). [Engaging with Globality -- Dimension 1: Cognitive Realignment; Dimension 2: Cognitive Circlets; Dimension 3: Cognitive Crowns; Dimension 4: Knowing Thyself]

Overview of Engaging with Globality

Dimension 1: Cognitive Realignment -- making points and aligning a target

Dimension 2: Cognitive Circlets -- learning/action cycles

Dimension 3: Cognitive Crowns -- all-encompassing, well-rounded experience
Engaging with globality through "triple crown" cognition?
Understandings of "crowning experience"
Potential clues to embodying globality through "crowning experience"
-- Synergetics | Spherical configuration of categories | Spiral dynamics
-- Infosets |Self-reflexivity and recursion | Metadialogue
-- "Polyocular stereoscopic engagement"
Reflexivity and the global financial crisis
Understanding "union"
-- Dynamics and movement | Knowledge gardening
-- Patterns of aesthetic associations
Organization of memory

Dimension 4: Engaging with Globality through Knowing Thyself

Annex A: Engaging with Globality through Playful Re-categorizing
Annex B: Global Governance via a Double-breasted Strange Attractor
Annex C: Engaging with Globality through Dynamic Complexity
Annex D: Intercourse with Globality through Enacting a Klein bottle



This develops the argument of Dimension 1 relating primarily to the cognitive significance of the circlet. Here the focus is on the potentially more cognitively significant implications of the crown -- as a developed version of the circlet or a combination of such devices. It might be described as the challenge of achieving "cognitive traction" in governance.

Together these parts focus on the challenge of providing succinct integrative vehicles for significance, notably as this relates to any existential sense of identity. The focus in Dimension 1 and Dimension 2 is on the challenge more conventionally understood in terms of the knowledge management required by governance and the governors -- on behalf of the governed. Separately in Dimension 4 the inadequacies and impracticalities of such possibilities, hitherto considered realistic, are used to reframe the cognitive challenge for any individual obliged to order cognitive skills and accessible insights -- where such dependence on external authority is now clearly unrealistic. A summary of the 4-part argument is provided separately (Metaphorical Geometry in Quest of Globality, 2009)

For those "crowned", the cognitive challenge might be summarized as one of achieving a higher degree of "cognitive traction" on reality in some global sense. This might be exemplified by the complaint of Tony Benn, newly crowned as UK Secretary of State for Industry, who indicated that he had "all the levers of power arrayed before him" but finally recognized that, although "he could pull on them at any time", the issue was that "they were not in fact connected to anything". The term "cognitive tractions" is notably used in the arts and theology.

A more extensive introduction is provided in Dimension 1.

Understandings of "crowning experience"

This phrase is commonly used in a variety of contexts:

Engaging with globality through "triple crown" cognition?

Triple crown significance: Curiously significance continues variously to be attached to a "triple crown". As noted in Dimension 2, it is a feature of the Papal Triple Tiara. It also features in the Swedish coat of arms and in a wide variety of sporting and other awards (including the 'Triple Crown' of college diplomacy and the Triple Crown of Acting). The group Global Knowledge has, for example, received a newly launched Microsoft award (Introducing Redmond's Triple Crown,, January 2009).

In it most commonly recognized form, triple crown cognition is a recognition of excellence (from the Latin excellentia) in relation to "rising above" the ability or qualities of others -- offers the intriguing possibility that ordinary cognition (thereby transcended) might be usefully indicated by "cellence". In the light of the limitations of Dimension 2, the cognitive "circlets" might be understood as delimiting cognitive "cells" -- with triple crown cognition emerging only in 3D. This implies that "cellence" is an indication of "in-the-box" cognition -- with out-of-the-box cognition appropriately indicated by ex-cellence and recognized in terms of a triple crown (award). This offers new implications for the EU approach to collective intelligence through its enabling of "networks of excellence" based on think-tanks (Meta-challenges of the Future for Networking through Think-tanks, 2005).

Historical significance: In Jewish tradition, Moses is naturally recognized as having emerged from the shadow of the throne of the Pharaohs to inspire Jews to move out of their state of bondage. He has been described as having "put on the triple crown of a prophet, a warrior and a legislator" -- suggesting quite different modes of cognition, although the "crown" was in this case virtual. [more]

In the case of the three-crowned Papal Tiara, the first representation is found in a statue of Benedict XII, who died in 1342. It is not known why a third crown was added. One interpretation of its Latin name triregnum (meaning triple rule) suggests that the crowns represented authority over heaven, earth, and hell.

Curiously although much is made of the double-crowned Pharaohs, reference to their triple crowning is less common. However one of the earliest feminist historians, Matilda Joslyn Gage (Woman, Church and State, 1893) even notes:

Upon the monuments of Egypt... queens alone are found wearing the triple crown, significant of ecclesiastical, judicial and civil power, thus confirming the statement of Diodorus that queens were shown greater respect and possessed more power than kings: the pope alone in modern times claiming the emblematic triple crown.

The Uraeus, a cobra in attack position, often formed part of the royal headdress, sometimes as double or even triple Uraeus crown. It symbolized the sun god's eye.

It is doubtful whether any unusually enhanced understanding is now held to be associated with a form of crowning that dates back to ancient Egypt -- whatever faint echoes of such are associated, through crowning at that time, with an enhanced relationship to the gods. This situation is however to be contrasted with a masonic ritual asserting:

Man is a god in the making, and as in the mystic myths of Egypt, on the potter's wheel he is being molded. When his light shines out to lift and preserve all things, he receives the triple crown of godhood and joins that throng of Master Masons who, in their robes of Blue and Gold are seeking to dispel the darkness of night with the triple light of the Masonic Lodge. (Manly P. Hall, The Lost Keys of Freemasonry, 1976).

In the case of the Rose Croix freemasons, the head of the traditional compass is surmounted by a triple crown. Given the early association of the USA with freemasonry through George Washington and others, attention has focused on United States presidents who were freemasons, or perceived to be such (Adam Phillips, 14 US presidents also freemasons, 19 February 2007).

Various claims, necessarily unsubstantiated, have been made asserting that Barack Obama is a freemason of high degree. His election as president is all the more significant given the traditional mutual disregard of black and white masons in the USA. His references to slavery in his inauguration speech are also significant as indicative of closure of an historic cycle relating to the darker history of the American dream -- perhaps to be understood in psychoanalytic terms as a degree of integration of the "shadow".

Enhanced significance: Irrespective of these considerations, of interest is any unusual mode of cognition that might be associated with "triple crowning" or expected of those crowned in this way. As a person from whom world leadership is expected, Obama's "coronation" might be fruitfully considered as such a triple crowning. There are expectations amongst his idealistic and enthusiastic supporters that his cognitive approach should combine those of archetypal philosopher-king-poet. His rhetorical skills have reinforced such expectations. Commentators on his inaugural speech were surprised at his avoidance of the poetic style it was expected he might use -- as he has previously done so successfully.

In a country where faith plays such an important part in politics, and the perception of politicians, the fact that George W. Bush was recognized as "born-again" was of considerable significance to his electoral support. Those "twice-born" in this way are held to benefit from a form of enhanced cognition through their relationship to divinity. Many would now argue that this cognition was seemingly totally inadequate to a presidency that ended in humiliation -- indicative of a form of cognition from which the world could ill-afford to benefit again.

The question however is whether more might be understood through this process and the further enhanced cognition purportedly associated with being "thrice-born" rather than simply "twice-born". The condition has been variously recognized as a feature of cultural mytho-poesis as discussed elsewhere (Web Resources on Being "Born Again", 2004). It features in: Norse mythology (Gullveig), Greek mythology (Dionysos, Athena), Celtic mythology (Taliesin), Christian references to Hermes Trismegistus, Assyrian mythology (Semiramis), and Wiccan mythology.

Entheogenic implications: Whether or not the pharaohs, as original wearers of the Triple Crown (notably the triple Atef crown), are to be considered as having benefitted thereby from the cognition of the "thrice-born" (as the masonic tradition would appear to imply), the unusual nature of such cognition is suggested in a study by Stephen R. Berlant (The entheomycological origin of Egyptian crowns and the esoteric underpinnings of Egyptian religion, Journal of Ethnopharmacology, 2005). With respect to the design argument here, of particular interest is his presentation of textual and graphic evidence that the Egyptian White and Triple Crowns (pschent, hemhem) were originally primordia of the entheogenic Psilocybe (Stropharia) cubensis.

Entheogens are psychoactive substances used in a religious or shamanic context or outside such structures. He stresses how entheogenic plants can affect the user's world view and how they have traditionally been used ritualistically to commune with ancestors who, in many cases, were deities. He contrasts the regard in which ancients Egyptians held the effects induced by psychotropic plants with the implicit tendency of Egyptologists to regard such substances disdainfully -- thus introducing a cultural bias in the review of widely available evidence. Berlant argues that:

Accordingly, there are grounds for believing that the Pharaohs - who also served as high sem, or herbal, priests - were essentially shamanic herbalists, whose well-documented belief in their own divinity and immortality was induced by Psilocybe cubensis ingestion, and that these monarchs then paid homage to the Psilocybe cubensis, first by wearing various stages of it on their heads and, later, by wearing representations of those stages as crowns.

Cognition appropriate to global challenges: Nothing is however said about the way in which such substances enabled the pharaohs (as wearers of the Triple Crown) to be cognitively empowered to see and engage with the world otherwise -- or any disciplines associated with doing so. More might be expected in this respect from the Pope, wearer of the Triple Tiara -- although many would argue that, under the papacy, the Catholic Church has failed (as with George W. Bush) to exhibit a mode of cognition appropriately responsive to the global challenge. The declarations Urbi et Orbi are presumably a measure of this.

The binary logic ("you are either with us or against us"), used to reinforce unfruitful good/evil polarization and demonization, has undermined the emergence of new and more appropriate modes of cognition. Given their acknowledged association with power and finance in a global society, to the extent that freemasons of high degree are characterized by some form of thrice-born insight (as seemingly implied above), it is appropriate to ask to what extent such insights are fruitfully applied in response to the dramatic challenges of the times, most notably through the influential World Economic Forum (Emergence of a Global Misleadership Council: misleading as vital to governance of the future? 2007).

Indigenous insight: With respect to the knowledge derived from entheogens in a shamanic context, especially valuable is the anthropological work of Jeremy Narby (The Cosmic Serpent: DNA and the origins of knowledge, 1999; Intelligence in Nature: an inquiry into knowledge, 2005). The sense in which DNA may be understood as a "coiled, coiled, coil" is suggestive of a higher order of self-reflexivity (discussed below***) that may be associated with being thrice-born (DNA Supercoiling as a Pattern for Understanding Psycho-social Twistedness, 2004).

Undoubtedly modern explorers of such psychedelic substances would claim analogous insights, as argued by Myron Stolaroff (Misreported Science, 1999):

They mainly function to open the door to the unconscious mind, which can expose an enormous range of possible experiences. This includes repressed psychic material and the release of a wide range of positive functions, including intuition, creativity, and the crowning experience of directly perceiving the ultimate nature of reality. It is possible to discover the Divine nature of all of creation, and even achieve the most cherished experience possible to mankind, direct union with the Godhead.

However it is not apparent how these have contributed to more appropriate responses to the emerging challenges of global governance.

Knowledge of the "thrice-born"?
The knowledge of God is the wisdom of man
This is the end of Being, wisdom ; this
Of wisdom, action ; and of action, rest ;
And of rest, bliss ; that by experience sage
Of good and ill, the diametric powers
Which thwart the world, the thrice-born might discern
That death divine alone can perfect both,
The mediate and initiate ; that between
The Deity and nothing, nothing is.
(Knowledge, Philip James Bailey, 1816-1902
from The Oxford Book of English Mystical Verse)

Potential clues to embodying globality through "crowning experience"

Further exploration is necessarily constrained by the concern implied in the title of a later work by Gregory Bateson and Mary Catherine Bateson (Angels Fear: towards an epistemology of the sacred, 1987). Nevertheless it seems vital -- if only as an act of imagination -- to explore possible ways of understanding the mode of cognition that might prove essential to the challenges of governance at this time. This is especially the case in the light of the recognition accorded to divinity in any coronation process.

The discussion in Dimension 2 of Enabling designs of cognitive circlets and crowns provides a range of clues. However, although helpful in some respects, the suggestions highlight the need to seek greater understanding of the nature of the "crowning insight", its articulation, and of how it might be brought into "focus" -- if a visual metaphor is indeed appropriate (Strategic Challenge of Polysensorial Knowledge: bringing the "elephant" into "focus", 2008).

In considering the cognitive and epistemological nature of the challenge, it would seem to be a fundamental error to neglect the subtleties, paradoxes and complexity of the most sophisticated conceptualization that humanity has engendered. If the most complex theories of physics and cosmology are so vitally significant (primarily as a consequence of their beauty and elegance) to global comprehension of the universe (a Theory of Everything), how is it that they are held to be so irrelevant to comprehension and governance of the psycho-social universe -- both by those who formulate them and by those faced with the challenge of global governance? If it does not have equivalent characteristics, why should it be considered of requisitely adequate richness to encompass globality or be of appropriate elegance to be comprehensible, memorable and susceptible to communication?

Synergetics: One important point of departure is the recognition by R. Buckminster Fuller (Synergetics: explorations in the geometry of thinking, 1975/1979) that a minimum of three interlocking circles are necessary to constitute a system -- whose "global" nature is implicit in the resulting approximation to a sphere in 3D. In the light of the above, these may be understood as cycles, possibly represented by circlets of some kind. This then provides a basic criterion for shifting out of linearity and binary logic into a mode in which the complementarity of distinct (even incommensurable) dynamic loops -- of different "orientation" -- is essential to the sustainability of a system.

For governance, if each government ministry is seen as responsible for such a cycle or loop, then ensuring they interlock appropriately constitutes a viable engagement with globality. It is such a configuration that is a pointer to thrice-born cognition of requisite variety to encompass, engage and cognitively embody a global system. There is much to be derived from Synergetics of relevance to cognition. However, despite the subtitle, the cognitive implications have not been developed -- although much has been articulated that lends itself to interpretation. Fuller himself also understood synergetics as a form of self-discipline.

The insights of synergetics with respect to polyhedra, as constituting and representing systems, lend themselves to representation of possibilities of polyhedral governance based on a polyhedral configuration of values responding to the need for psychoactive engagement (Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors, 2008; Topology of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations, 2008). Such engagement with a spherical; configuration of some kind effectively depends on the cognitive topology taking the form of a crown.

Spherical configuration of categories: Following from Fuller's arguments (Synergetics, 1975/1979), a sense of the globality implicit in the cognition of a set of categories could be usefully reinforced by appropriate representation beyond hierarchical listing or tabular presentation (Spherical Configuration of Categories -- to reflect systemic patterns of environmental checks and balances, 1994). This has implications for the configuration of web-based fora (Spherical Configuration of Interlocking Roundtables: Internet enhancement of global self-organization through patterns of dialogue, 1998).

The adequacy of the conventional spreadsheet presentation of accounting details, as the basic instrument of strategic management, could similarly be called into question in favour of a spherical representation (Spherical Accounting: using geometry to embody developmental integrity, 2004). Curiously recognition of such integrity may imply a relationship between consciousness of the management concepts of a "bottom line" and that of being variously "born again" -- given the challenges of the double bottom line (socially responsible enterprise management) and triple bottom line (values and criteria for measuring success in economic, ecological and social terms). Comprehension of such "bottom lines" may be associated in practice with the mutual constraints of interlocking cycles essential to global sustainability. The case made there for a quadruple or fourth bottom line (Sohail Inayatullah, Spirituality as the Fourth Bottom Line, 2003), or a quintuple (fifth) bottom line, call for exploration in the light of the arguments of Synergetics. Such constraints could also be explored in terms of the need for "double capping" and "triple capping" of behaviours which tend to undermine sustainability.

As noted above, given the fundamental relationship between sphere and torus, any such investigation could be extended with greater generality to include the torus (Comprehension of Requisite Variety for Sustainable Psychosocial Dynamics: transforming a matrix classification onto intertwined tori, 2006). Links to related approaches are presented elsewhere (Beyond the Matrix: becoming other wise, 2007).

Spiral dynamics: As mentioned in Dimension 2, in relation to the AQAL system of the Integral Movement, its integration with Spiral Dynamics may be understood as taking the form of a crown. However the concentric circles of AQAL are then to be understood as interlinked as a spiral rather than such as to constitute the basis for a sphere -- as promoted in Synergetics. There are however interesting transformations between such geometries -- with their cognitive implications.

Infosets: Partially in the light of the work of Fuller on spherical tensegrity, management cybernetician Stafford Beer (Beyond Dispute: the invention of team syntegrity, 1994) pointed to the possibility of eliciting "infosets" of "sovereign individuals" (implicitly recognized to be "cognitively crowned" in their internalization of the pattern of relations with each other and their preoccupations). He argued :

There are people all over the world, sovereign individuals, who have ideas and purposes that they wish to share with others. They do not see themselves as bound by hierarchy (even to their own nation-states) or committed to the processes (even those called democratic) that demand the establishment of political parties, dedicated movements, delegations - or indeed high-profile leadership. These people are the material of infosets: neighbourhood infosets of thirty local friends, global infosets of thirty world citizens. Infosets of either kind formulate themselves, because they constitute potential command posts; they spread epidemically, demonstrating their redundancy; they interact massively, as is the nature of shared commitment. It is not a commitment to some shared manifesto, but a commitment to circumvent folly wherever it is found; it is a commitment to alleviate suffering; it is a commitment to brotherhood and peace. This worldwide syntegration does not of course exist. It is a vision. But although visions may be inspirational, they do nothing much to alleviate suffering until inspiration is embodied in a plan of action. And if mounting human misery is the product of a triage machine as I have argued, and if the triage machine is endemic to the ruling world ideology so that it cannot be dismantled, then the action plan must circumvent triage altogether. The aim is ambitions: to start a process that invokes the redundancy of potential command as the methodology for a new system of world governance. (World in Torment: a time whose idea must come, 1992)

This concept has since been extrensively explored by Markus Schwaninger (Intelligent Organizations: powerful models for systemic management, 2009)

Self-reflexivity and recursion: Hilary Lawson (Reflexivity: the post-modern predicament, 1986) has clarified the dilemmas reflexivity implies for the future, notably in relation to the closure associated with the sense of globality explored here (Closure: a story of everything, 2001). Its importance have been noted in relation to administration (Ann L.Cunliffe and Jong S. Jun, The Need for Reflexivity in Public Administration, Administration and Society, 2005, 37: 225-242). Self-reference or self-reflexivity had been given a particular focus through the work of Douglas Hofstadter (Gödel, Escher, Bach: an Eternal Golden Braid: a metaphorical fugue on minds and machines in the spirit of Lewis Carroll, 1979). Elsewhere, as Recursion and self-reflexivity, it has been discussed in relation to complexity and autopoiesis, namely as the process of auto (self) creation that is presumably at the core of any adaptive reorganization in response to the challenges of the times (Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations, 2007; Engendering the Future through Self-reflexive Group Initiatives, 2008).

A cognitive circlet or torque exemplifies this notion of closure -- especially as traditionally symbolized by the Ouroboros. Clearly a higher degree of closure and self-reflexivity is implied by interlocking circlets forming a cognitive crown. A contrast may then be drawn between the degree of self-reflexivity of a single circlet and that associated with their interlocking.

The question is explored as metacognition, namely in thinking about thinking, considered one of the most important developments in the contemporary study of cognition (Maxwell J. Roberts and George Erdos, Strategy Selection and Metacognition, Educational Psychology, 13, 3 and 4, 1993, pp. 259-266). Metacognition is then knowledge (as awareness) of one's cognitive processes and the efficient use of this self-awareness to self-regulate these cognitive processes. As a field of psychology of importance to learning processes, it is the focus of the International Association for Metacognition. It is traditionally defined as the knowledge and experiences that people have (or are able to develop) about their own cognitive processes and as such -- beyond the preoccupations of psychology -- is a focus of many spiritual disciplines in the East (yoga) and West which would have different terms to describe it (commonly associated with the injunction Know Thyself). Metacomprehension is a form of metacognition that involves knowledge and consciousness of strategies employed by a learner to comprehend information while receiving it. Metamemory is a feature of metacognition concerned with the process of deciding about the adequacy of information acquisition and retention.

The recursive dimension is evident in references in the literature to "meta-metacognition" (cf Christopher Andersen, A Theoretical framework for examining peer collaboration in preservice teacher education, 2000). As argued by Stephanie Pieschl, most theoretical models of epistemological beliefs (namely beliefs about the nature of knowledge and knowing) agree that they are related to metacognitive processes, that they are probably even 'meta-metacognition', but very little is known about the exact processes of how epistemological beliefs might influence metacognition or self-regulated learning. Curiously, in the light of the circlet focus of this exploration, the newly launched Centre for Innovation and Research in Cognition, Learning, and Teaching is known by its acronym CIRCLETS.

Sphereland cognition?: With respect to Dimension 2, the crown re-cognition of this Dimension 3 might be understood as offering a global sense of the strategic perspective of the systemic articulations of the "planar world" -- especially as "plans". Although not in strategic terms, or with any reference to globality, the interface between Dimension 2 and Dimension 3 has been extensively explored in several well-known works and/or films by mathematicians (Edwin Abbott Abbott, Flatland: a romance of many dimensions, 1884; Charles Howard Hinton, An Episode on Flatland: or how a plain folk discovered the third dimension, 1907; Dionys Burger, Sphereland, 1965); A. K. Dewdney, The Planiverse, 1984; Ian Stewart, Flatterland, 2001). In Irresponsible Dependence on a Flat Earth Mentality -- in response to global governance challenges (2008) the strategic significance of Dimension 3 has been contrasted elsewhere with the "flatland" understanding of globality of Thomas L. Friedman (The World Is Flat, 2005).

Such imaginative explorations might well offer insights on the cognitive inadequacies of current global change initiatives designed in terms of "plans".

Metadialogue: As a development of the argument for argument mapping (made in Dimension 1), this has been variously described by the following:

The emphases of behavioural psychology in exploring these issues contrast radically with those of spiritual disciplines. A more recent study of Douglas Hofstadter (I Am a Strange Loop, 2007) might be understood as an intermediary perspective. Of particular relevance to global governance are the collective challenges of any form of metacognition, notably in relation to collective memory (Societal Learning and the Erosion of Collective Memory, 1980; Pointers to the Pathology of Collective Memory, 1980). The issues may be explored from the perspective of the adequacy of futures research (Self-reflexive Challenges of Integrative Futures, 2008).

The question regarding any wearer of the cognitive Triple Crown, faced with the leadership challenge of global governance, is the degree to which the quality of their awareness of their own awareness is vital to a viable integrative approach. To what extent does Barack Obama need to be a "strange loop" in Hofstadter's terms?

The strategic challenge of such cognition, of the unknown knowns and the known unknowns (famously publicized by Donald Rumsfeld) has been explored elsewhere (Unknown Undoing: challenge of incomprehensibility of systemic neglect, 2008). This suggests the possibility of a three-fold mode of knowing, doing and feeling that may be articulated into a rich and integrated array of cognitive modes.

"Polyocular stereoscopic engagement": The interlocking circlets which it is suggested here are the basis for Triple Crown cognition may be fruitfully understood as functioning as metaphorical "eyes". This follows from the need for such an integrative combination of complementary approaches as argued by Magoroh Maruyama (Polyocular Vision or Subunderstanding, Organization Studies, 2004).

The contrasting geometry of this configuration of circlets is reminiscent of the four (or five) socio-cultural/epistemological mindscape distinctions described earlier (Magoroh Maruyma, Mindscapes, social patterns and future development of scientific theory types. Cybernetica, 1980), notably as extensively explicated by David M. Boje (2006) and Michael Caley (Mindscapes: the epistemology of Magoroh Maruyama, 1994) in terms of :

The relation of this approach to that of the Myers-Briggs MBTI typology is the subject of a detailed comment by David M. Boje (Mindscape Theory and the Myers-Briggs, 2006).

But whereas Maruyama is relying on a vision-based metaphor, consistent with most strategic thinking, the argument can be fruitfully extended through a polysensorial metaphor consistent with human reliance on a set of distinct senses. In strategic articulation there is then a need to combine appropriately the cognitive approaches of those distinct senses, if only metaphorically, as argued elsewhere (Strategic Challenge of Polysensorial Knowledge: bringing the "elephant" into "focus", 2008). It is this integration that transcends the dysfunctional disassociation of "cognition" and "manipulation" regretted by George Soros (above) and is perhaps usefully to be understood in terms of "operacy" as defined by Edward de Bono:

The idiom of education is that it is enough to build up the information base and that action is then easy. It is not. The skills of action are every bit as important as the skills of knowledge. That this is not recognised in education is a tragedy. For convenience I have coined the term 'operacy', which is derived from 'operate' and 'operational' and thus indicates 'the skill needed for doing'. I believe that operacy should rank alongside literacy and numeracy as a major aim of education.

In cognitive terms, there is widespread appreciation of stereoscopic effects to achieve 3D perception in depth and a sense of perspective -- forming an image in 3D by this means. However, despite reliance on the vision metaphor, there is indeed a strategic assumption that any vision is somehow single-eyed or "cyclopean" (Cyclopean Vision vs Poly-sensual Engagement, 2006). The conventional political distinction between "right" and "left" seldom implies the need for the stereoscopic effect derived from the integration of the contrasting "visions" obtained through those perspectives -- although supposedly it is the essential merit of democratic debate and of bipartisan initiatives in response to crisis. A related case has been made from a theological perspective (John A T Robinson, Truth is Two-eyed, 1979). A more realistic sense of the need to integrate multiple perspectives is associated in practice with processes to interrelate the contrasting claims of stakeholders.

Transcending the perspectives of right and left in this way recalls the mythological importance of the "third eye" -- the Eye of Horus in the ancient Egyptian symbolism of royal power. It is this third eye, as with the interlocking provided by a third circlet, that then effectively provides the cognitive integration basic to any crowning experience assumed to be associated with such royalty. In some Eastern and Western spiritual traditions this third (or inner) eye is related to the ajna chakra -- leading to the kinds of higher consciousness that is framed here as such a crowning experience. Curiously, whereas future strategy development is universally based on the vision metaphor, any recognized capacity to use a third eye is typically attributed to "seers". Within the Hindu tradition however, a "crown chakra" (sahasrara) is actually recognized above the ajna chakra. Within the agni yoga tradition, as the Brahmarandhra, it is often referred to as "the bell".

However, as noted above, the more fundamental challenge of cognitive engagement is implied by associating Maruyama's epistemological mindscapes (or the MBTI cognitive modalities) with circlets -- moving beyond reliance on the vision metaphor (Stepping into, or through, the Mirror: embodying alternative scenario patterns, 2008). The capacity of the contrasting sensing circlets is then better understood through the dynamic implied by each as a cycle -- perhaps in the terms developed with respect to the process philosophy of Alfred North Whitehead (Process and Reality: an essay in cosmology, 1929) and others including Nicholas Rescher (Process Philosophy: a survey of basic issues, 2000). Whitehead articulated his understanding in mereotopology, a mathematical formalism combining mereological and topological notions. It would be useful to explore the cognitive intersections between the associated point-free geometry of Whitehead and the articulation of R. Buckminster Fuller (Synergetics: explorations in the geometry of thinking, 1975/1979).

Reflexivity and the global financial crisis

That the issue of reflexivity is more than an academic indulgence is remarkably illustrated by George Soros (The New Paradigm for Financial Markets: the credit crisis of 2008 and what it means, 2008) for whom a Theory of Reflexivity is "indispensable" to an understanding of the financial crisis. He argues that:

People are participants, not just observers, and the knowledge they can acquire is not sufficient to guide them in their actions. They cannot base their decisions on knowledge alone. That is the condition I describe by the word "fallibility". Without fallibility there would be no reflexivity...People's understanding is inherently imperfect because they are part of reality and a part cannot fully comprehend the whole... Logic and mathematics are more precise and objective, but they are of limited use in coping with life. Ideas expressed in ordinary language do not constitute an exact representation of an underlying reality. They compound the complexity of the reality with which people have to cope in the course of their lives.

Soros indicates that in endeavouring to define and explain reflexivity, despite the advances of the cognitive sciences, he encountered enormous difficulties. He points to:

Are these to be variously understood as manifestations of dynamics within circlets, perhaps operating in "AC" rather than "DC" mode?

Soros argues for a Human Uncertainty Principle given that :

He recognizes the crudeness of the distinction between cognition of reality and manipulation of it but suggests that nevertheless this crudeness:

... pinpoints a distortion in the way philosophers and scientists tend to look at the world. Their primary concern is the cognitive function; insofar as the manipulative function interferes with the proper functioning of cognition, they are inclined to ignore it or to deliberately eliminate it from consideration. Economic theory proves the best example...That is how the assumption of perfect knowledge morphed into the theory of rational expectations -- a make-believe world that bears no resemblance to reality. [emphasis added]

Perhaps it is indeed the understanding of George Soros -- as a "strange loop" in his own right -- that is indicative of the nature of crowning experience of strategic relevance.

Understanding "union"

Much use is made of notions such as "union", "unified", "integrated" and the like. A set of 633 such concepts was the focus of the Integrative Knowledge Project. Understandings of them feature notably with regard to knowledge, to institutional structures, and to strategies in response to global problems. Curiously the complex of problems -- the world problematique in the Club of Rome's terms -- is seldom understood as integrated in this way (although this was a focus of the World Problems Project). A form of such understanding is implicit in the globality of an emergent global brain (Simulating a Global Brain: using networks of international organizations, world problems, strategies, and values, 2001; Integrative Design Metaphors: enabling strategic comprehension of the global brain, 2005).

In relation to global governance, reference is increasingly made to "global consciousness" or to "planetary consciousness" (notably as promoted by the Club of Budapest and the World Wisdom Council) -- possibly associated with understandings of a global brain. In November 2008, Global MindShift made a presentation to Google on how technology could help accelerate the shift to a global consciousness. It is however very unfortunate how easily the capacity to communicate (irrespective of content) is dissociated from the subtleties potentially associated with the insights which may be so readily communicated. It is quite unclear at this time how "wisdom" may be fruitfully communicated, integrated and comprehended with the benefit of such technology -- as discussed elsewhere (Transforming Static Websites into Mobile "Wizdomes": enabling change through intertwining dynamic and configurative metaphors, 2007). This is especially the case in endeavouring to interrelate the plethora of strategic proposals purportedly relevant to governance of the globe -- as explored through the Global Strategies Project.

It is curious that understandings of "global consciousness" would seem to be failing to distinguish itself significantly from swarm consciousness, as manifested in the often beautiful collective behaviour of large shoals of fish, flocks of birds and insects. This is successfully simulated in artificial agents as swarm intelligence. It has for example been argued that witnessing the construction of a painting by autonomous robots represents for the human viewer an experience of global consciousness. Nor is it clear how either is to be associated with the collective intelligence inferred from the collaboration and competition of many individuals whether bacteria, animals, humans, or computers. Indeed in all such cases it is the emergent global order resulting from local decision-making that is associated with consciousness.

The challenge of reframing understanding of "union", in ways relevant to global governance, has been explored elsewhere (Dynamic Reframing of "Union": implications for the coherence of knowledge, social organization and personal identity, 2007; In Further Quest of "Meta-Union"? Interplay of generic dimensions of any "union of international associations", 2007). Such reframing is presumably relevant to whatever may be understood by the crowning experience appropriate to such governance.

Of particular interest, in terms of the arguments regarding self-reflexivity, is a more radical appreciation of the "questions" to which governance is conventionally expected to provide "answers". Given the complexity and subtlety of the challenge, are there questions of "higher order" as explored elsewhere (Engaging with Questions of Higher Order: cognitive vigilance required for higher degrees of twistedness, 2004)? Are they interrelated in unusually significant ways (Functional Complementarity of Higher Order Questions: psycho-social sustainability modelled by coordinated movement, 2004)? Such considerations are especially relevant given the strategic proclivity framed by Myron Tribus as "There is a simple answer to every question and it is usually wrong" or as variously attributed to Will Rogers and H L Mencken 'There is a simple solution to every problem - and it is always wrong". This has in turn been variously paraphrased, for example: "For every human problem there is a solution that is quick, simple, inexpensive -- and wrong".

If there might be an unusual dynamic to the relation between questions and to transcending the question-answer dynamic currently so fundamental to the dilemmas of global governance, this would indeed appear to be relevant to any crowning experience (Comprehending Questing in the Union of the Whys: "beyond why", "prior to why" and the "end of questions", 2007).

Dynamics and movement: It has been suggested at several points above that any cognitive circlets are best understood in dynamic terms, whether as feedback loops or learning/action cycles, and possibly as basic to a sense of identity. Emphasis has also been placed on the manner in which cognition of reality is integrated with manipulation of reality -- necessitating movement. Elsewhere the ways in which it might be possible to move and navigate within alternative realities and paradigms was explored -- if they can be identified beyond the metaphoric frameworks in which people may unknowingly be trapped (Navigating Alternative Conceptual Realities: clues to the dynamics of enacting new paradigms through movement, 2002). That study identified useful clues and guidelines to such movement, notably from a number of spiritual traditions but also from disciplines of the body that are assiduously and popularly practiced by many possessing a high degree of kinetic intelligence.

In particular the study focused on the the possibility of "re-reading" the clues from spiritual traditions in the light of the disciplines of movement. As guidelines these may well be vital to what might be understood as "attitude control" and coordination -- within any crowning experience. They may also be usefully understood as prerequisites to any process of shifting attitude into subtler perceptions -- described metaphorically through somewhat misleading terms such as "ascent" or "escape". The distinction between attitude control and ascent for an individual (possibly in a position of power) may then be compared with the various highly elaborated challenges of launching any vehicle into planetary orbit as explored elsewhere (Entering Alternative Realities -- Astronautics vs Noonautics: isomorphism between launching aerospace vehicles and launching vehicles of awareness, 2002). Are the challenges of cognitive launching into the "stable orbit" of a crowning experience to be so compared? (Noonautics Four modes of travelling and navigating the knowledge "universe"? 2004).

Does the ultimate challenge of global governance involve embodying experiential cycles in some unforeseen manner, as explored elsewhere (Psychology of Sustainability: embodying cyclic environmental processes, 2002; Emergence of Cyclical Psycho-social Identity Sustainability -- as "psyclically" defined, 2007)? In the light of the traditional symbolisation of integrated governance by pantheons, and the arguments of Buckminster Fuller regarding polyhedra, does the requisite crowning experience involve what might be termed a dodecameral cognition reflecting distinct epistemologies -- engagement with some form of dodekatheon (Union of Intelligible Associations: remembering dynamic identity through a dodecameral mind, 2005)?

Knowledge gardening: The interlocking pathways through which any ecosystem is sustained offers a powerful modle of the integrative possibility of a future cognitive ecosystem as explored elsewhere (Knowledge Gardening through Music: patterns of coherence for future African management as an alternative to Project Logic, 2000). The implications may be explored through the recognition of philosophers and others that the ultimate secret of wisdom was to cultivate one's own mind, as noted by Pierre Ryckmans (The View from the Edge: aspects of culture, 1996). He remarks that it is not by chance that we use the same word when we speak both of cultivating our gardens and of cultivating our minds.

As a garden world, Bali may offer special insight through the interlocking and interweaving of its complex of calendar cycles -- but especially in the light of individual cognitive engagement with their integration.

Patterns of aesthetic associations: Reference was made tin Dimension 2 to a "circle of aesthetic associations". Of greater potential interest is the interlocking of such circles -- possibly to be understood as the essence of a "well-rounded" aesthetic sense, perhaps the subject of the allusive references in The Glass Bead Game (1943) of Hermann Hesse. The interlocking might be imagined in terms of interference effects between 3-dimensional Chladni patterns.

Cognitively, interlocking aesthetic associations are of course a primary feature of poetry and other forms of art. Of interest for the crowned is then the manner in which such "beautiful" patterns may "engage" with any oppositional "beast" -- understood as an alternative aesthetic style (Poetic Engagement with Afghanistan, Caucasus and Iran: an unexplored strategic opportunity? 2009; Ensuring Strategic Resilience through Haiku Patterns: reframing the scope of the "martial arts" in response to strategic threats, 2006; Poetry-making and Policy-making: arranging a marriage between Beauty and the Beast, 1993; Aesthetics of Governance in the Year 2490, 1990).

Such possibilities acquire greater credibility in the light of a remarkable classic definition of poetry from an Islamic perspective by Ibn Qutaiba ('Uyun al-akhbar, 1964, vol. 11, p. 185):

Poetry is the mine of knowledge of the Arabs and the book of their wisdom, the archives of their hisotry, the reservoir of their epic days, the wall that defends their exploits, the impassable trench that preserves their glories, the impartial witness for the day of judgment. Whoever cannot offer even a single verse in defense of his honor and the noble virtues and praiseworthy actions that he claims for his ancestry will exert himself in vain, even if they were gigantic. But he who bound them together with the rhyme of a poem, reinforced them with its rhythm, and made them famous with a rare verse, a popular proverb, and a fine concept, delivered them from unbelief, and put them above the deceptions of enemies and made the envious lower his eyes in shame.

However, more intriguing is to imagine such associations using sound as the basic metaphor. A cognitive "crown" might then be understood as a bell -- in terms of the cognitive vibrations that enabled a well-tuned bell to resonate, and from which reverberations may emerge and by which any overtones may be sustained. It is possible that this is a feature of the dynamics of the Sun. It is interestijng, as noted above, that within the agni yoga tradition, the crown chakra is often referred to as "the bell".

This metaphor suggests interesting possibilities for reflection on the function of any "global brain", especially in the light of the Yellow Bell tradition in classical China (Simulating a Global Brain -- using networks of international organizations, world problems, strategies, and values, 2001).

Organization of memory

The possibilities above all suggest implications for the organization of memory, whether individual or collective. Whilst shorter-term collective memory is seemingly increasingly well served by internet facilities, it is not clear to what extent this is responding to the needs of longer-term memory (Societal Learning and the Erosion of Collective Memory: a critique of the Club of Rome Report: No Limits to Learning, 1980; Engaging Macrohistory through the Present Moment, 2004).

Sets of insights: In Dimension 2, the role of circlets of beads was noted as a traditional mnemotechnical device. Here in Dimension 3 the theme has been the possibility of reinforcing such a cycle of memories through interlocking several of them. Arguably some traditional sets of stories might be understood, and remembered, in this way (eg Jataka Tales, Panchatantra, Aesops's Fables, Nasreddin's tales). Kinship networks, with their generational intersections, may well be remembered by such means. More generally the challenge is how sets of potentially vital insights are rendered comprehensible and memorable as an integrated whole (Patterns of Conceptual Integration, 1984).

Technology: The question is whether new technology can reinforce memory capacity to a greater degree through enabling more complex approaches to memory architecture. Here the argument would be that what has been externalized in the past as "memory palaces" or "memory gardens" might be internalized through the multi-media reinforcement of intersecting memory pathways. Furthermore, with respect to the architecture of such "palaces", it is possible that the application of modern architectural solutions to traditional challenges of balancing stresses and loads might, by analogy, enable larger and more memory-efficient structures.

Such possibilities are to be contrasted with governance as it emerges in hemicycle debating chambers -- a semicircular, or horseshoe-shaped, debating chamber where delegates sit, the circular shape being designed to encourage consensus rather than confrontation, This organization fails to address the issue of how essential disagreement is to be appropriately integrated to enrich the outcome, despite the possibilities of any complementary virtual organization. The implications of circular organization were discussed in Dimension 2.

Polyhedra: Possibilities with great potential in this respect are those based on polyhedra, now that there is sophisticated software to manipulate them and associate text with them (Polyhedral Pattern Language: software facilitation of emergence, representation and transformation of psycho-social organization, 2008). The computer application Stella: Polyhedron Navigator offers numerous interactive possibilities. The challenge now is to explore means of rendering such structures psychoactive (Topology of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations, 2008). Of closely related interest are the spherical tensional integrity (tensegrity) structures that are based on polyhedral forms -- especially in terms of their use of complementary compression and tension elements that could prove vital to ensuring the coherence of global memory structures of considerable scope (Implementing Principles by Balancing Configurations of Functions: a tensegrity organization approach, 1979).

Geodesic oranization: Such possibilities suggest a form of "geodesic memory organization" as the larger form which individual memory might take supported by technology (Transforming Static Websites into Mobile "Wizdomes": enabling change through intertwining dynamic and configurative metaphors, 2007). This would be consistent with the unexplored implication of the subtitle of the exploration of such forms by R. Buckminster Fuller (Synergetics: explorations in the geometry of thinking, 1975/1979). There may be insights to be obtained from the polyhedral organization of computer memory. This continues to be explored as a means of increasing computational efficiency. A geodesic grid, for example, has particular advantages when it comes to the decomposition of the computational tasks for modern, highly parallel computer systems -- notably as required for the complexities of global climate modelling (K. McGuffie and Ann Henderson-Sellers, A Climate Modelling Primer, 2005).

There is of course the ironic possibility -- with an aging population, challenged by increasingly severe problems of memory -- that mnemotechnical innovations of this nature may become ever more essential. Such "cognitive crowns" may be as important to an individual in retaining a sense of coherence and "globality" as to those specially selected for "coronation".

Given the plethora of wise sayings and insights, more fundamentally there is the issue of how collective wisdom is to be wisely organized for the benefit of global governance. Indeed, when will global governance gatherings be recognizable as giving form to cognitive "crowns" -- configuring "jewels of insight" such as to bring into focus more integrative modes of understanding?

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