WORKSHOP ON SUPPLEMENTAL WAYS FOR IMPROVING INTERNATIONAL STABILITY

 

A STABLY UNSTABLE SYSTEM WITH 4.5 BILLION PARTICIPANTS

 

C. A. Hilgartner, MD

Hilgartner & Associates, 241 Canterbury Road, Rochester, New York, USA

 

Ronald V. Harrington, PhD

Department of Foreign Languages, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

 

Martha A. Bartter, MA

Department of English, University of Rochester, Rochester, New York, USA

 

Abstract. The current instability of our world system shows empirically the inadequacy of the current self-defending World-View. To replace it will require a sequential procedure of at least two steps. First, we humans must create a theoretical system which qualifies as self-correcting, and meets other constraints; and second, enough people must learn how to USE the new system (as opposed to TALKING ABOUT it) to begin to replace the current one. We may consider such a World-View satisfactory in these terms if and only if: It qualifies as lived rather than "intellectual," and satisfies at least four constraints: 1) delivering a self-consistent symbol-system acceptable to humans regardless of native language, culture, ethnic origins, etc. 2) showing itself capable of guiding us to deploy our currently available human resources so as to gain our living in the biosphere without producing planetary catastrophe; 3) qualifying as scientifically adequate, in the sense that it does not hinge on or subscribe to already-discovered error; and 4) qualifying as a comprehensive Gestalt, which transforms every aspect of the World-View: the logics, mathematics, quantitative and non-quantitative sciences, philosophies, jurisprudences, religions, as well as the lived patterns by which humans deal with themselves, each other, other species, and their non-living environments. I present a theoretical system which rigorously develops the construct of self-correcting. I present evidence that it qualifies as lived rather than intellectual, and that it satisfies these four constraints.

 

I. INTRODUCTION

 

In the first Call for Papers for this conference, the International Program Committee of the IFAC characterizes

 

our world system [as one] whose instability is the most threatening ever experienced.

 

I assume that I do not need to elaborate on that point for this audience. The fact that the Call for Papers went out and that, in response, we have gathered here, suffices to document that we comprehend that assertion and agree with it.

 

In general, humans may regard any perceived danger as a cue for an opportunity. In the current and widely perceived threat to species survival, we have a situation so fearsome that most humans blot it out of awareness. But the magnitude of the danger betokens an opportunity equally great. As the obverse of the threat, we confront the chance to transform the way we humans conduct ourselves, and in the process to bring the human species into the next stage of human psycho-social evolution (Korzybski, 1921; Huxley, 1953).

 

The task becomes how to make advantageous use of this opportunity.

 

HEURISTICS OF PROBLEM-SOLVING

In order to make sense of the current human crisis, we must frame our key question in an answerable fashion. To begin with, we must characterize the structure of the WORLD SYSTEM spoken of in the Call for Papers, and determine in what sense it qualifies as UNSTABLE. Furthermore, we must do so in a manner which suggests what we might do to make the world system in question stable enough to remove the threat which its present instability poses.

 

Students of heuristics have long recognized that how we frame the key question serves as a potent determinant of the answer to it which we arrive at; how we state the problem determines our approach and therefore the solutin we devise. Some have come to recognize further that how we frame the key question also determines whether our answers and solutions, when implemented, turn out to present even worse problems. In the current instance, the whole issue hinges on how we humans represent humans, and represent the world system within which humans transact. If we do not pay sufficient attention to the dynamic systems which humans create, we will probably set up problems worse than the ones we have. And we do not have much room for error; we have already put ourselves on the brink of species suicide and extinction.

 

An Analogy

 

For the purpose of stating the key question in a suitable fashion, I make an analogy between formal deductive systems and human BEHAVING (as viewed from the "outside") and EXPERIENCING (as viewed from the "inside"). In this analogy I posit that every human ASSUMES (has or holds PREMISES); and that what he does functions in the role of CONCLUSION. According to this analogy, what the IFAC calls OUR WORLD SYSTEM becomes a function of these assumptions and conclusions. In other words, I represent human "doings" as if

 

We all make maps;

All the time;

And we live by them;

The ones we regard as maps, and test, we can, at need, change;

The ones we do not regard as maps (do view as "the way things REALLY ARE"), and do not test, we cannot change;

Further, we can consciously and explicitly make maps that describe us as map-makers who can utilize these maps of us to account to ourselves for ourselves.

 

` I can being to make the degree of usefulness of this analogy apparent by considering two special cases of formal deductive systems, which I term SELF-DEFENDING and SELF-CORRECTING (Hilgartner, 1963, 1965). The first of these generalizes the kind of deductive system that most people already feel familiar with -- like Euclidean geometry or the mathematical theory of sets.

 

Self-defending. A self-defending system, like any other formal deductive system, has an array of premises. But as a special feature, it functions so as to prevent its own premises from getting revised, from even coming into question. For example, up to the era of Vesalius (1514-1564 AD), the views of Galen (130?-201? AD) on human anatomy enjoyed general acceptance throughout the medical community of Europe. The inaccuracies of Galenic anatomy sufficed to prevent surgeons operating on the basis of that doctrine from successfully doing any procedures more complicated than amputations, removing bladder-stones and lancing boils. Not only the customs but also the laws of the day protected Galenic doctrine from scrutiny, by making illegal any first-hand study of human materials, including by post-mortem examination, which might have led to revision of its premises.

 

Consider a different kind of example, Euclidean geometry. For over two millennia in our tradition, we regarded plane geometry as "the way things REALLY ARE" in earth-measurement. After we had set up the framework roughly the way Euclid did, the familiar conclusions emerged: the sum of the angles of a triangle equals 180 degrees, the Pythagorean theorem holds, the area of a circle equals pi times the square of the fadius, etc. The system allows no other possibilities. Any "theorems" to the effect that the sum of the angles of a triangle equals more than, or less than, 180 degrees; or that the square on the hypotenuse equals more than, or less than, the sum of the squares on the two sides, qualify as wrong. The tacit assumption that "This is the way things REALLY ARE" positively impeded treating geometry as analogous to a map -- and questioning or altering its premises.1

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1 In order to generate alternative geometries, which turned out to have important practical applications, Gauss and Bolyai and Lobachevsky and Riemann had to question the validity of the Euclidean 'map'.

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When functioning like a self-defending system, a living organism (such as a human) does not EXPLICITLY dilstinguish between his maps -- surmises, hypotheses, perceptions, etc. -- and the territories they allegedly represent. Indeed, in the most fundamental sense, a human functioning like a self-defending system tacitly regards his maps as somehow IDENTICAL WITH the territories (viz. as showing "absolute and complete agreement or negation of difference" with their territories). Consequently, his behaving-and-experiencing takes on an aroma of ABSOLUTE CERTAINTY (Hilgartner, 1978b). He takes the attitude that he sees, hears, smells, tastes and touches only what REALLY IS THERE; and he gets upset if anyone else claims to habe perceived things differently. He functions as a TRUE BELIEVER, following what he views as THE ONE AND ONLY RIGHT WAY of doing things. He secretly believes that he knows how things SHOULD BE, and he judges any actuality as DEFICIENT if it does not match his expectations.By definition, he holds only TRUE opinions. As aresult of his false certainty, he casts himself in a "passive victim" role: Since (in his view) he apprehends things CORRECTLY, he feels only the feelings which his circumstances MAKE him feel, and he does what events REQUIRE him to do. When events turn out otherwise than he expected or desired, he disavows responsibility for this outcome and declares his own helplessness by BLAMING others and/or himself. This amounts tosaying that he feels fundamentally isolated from his environment (including other humans) and from himself. Above all, heavoids acknowledging that he assumes, and that HOW or WHAT he assumes affects how things turn out for him.

Formal deductive systems of the self-defending type stand as models of "isolated systems." We pretend that the undefined terms, postulates, rules of inference, conclusions, etc.,of such a system somehow "exist" independent ofthe environment of the "isolated system" and also independent of the logician who writes about it. In other words, such systems systematically eliminate from consideration the observer. But within the setting of the transacting between organism and environment, relying on the construct of "isolated system" leads to trouble. When a dynamically-changing organism, operating on the basis of unavoidably incomplete and inaccurate information in the midst of a dynamically-changing environmenth, functions like an "isolated system" and so comes to the pre-determined conclusions no matter what, such inflexible and unexamined functioning may or may not fit -- may or may not match up with the current environmental constraints so as to satisfy the organism's fundamental needs. Where it does not, the resulting behaving-and-experiencing appears disoriented and ineffective. Thus the construct of self-defending functions as a model for human behaving-and-experiencing at its most stereotpyed or rigid or fixated or impotent.

 

Self-correcting. A self-correcting system, like any other formal deductive system, has an array of premises. But as a special feature, it generates, tests, judges and perhaps rejects hypotheses -- surmises derived from its premises. To say this means that the system operates on a specific kind of uncertainty: Unavoidably, instead of addressing itself to the situation of an "isolated system," it must posit "happenings" which occur outside the system itself; and must posit that its surmises, hypotheses, perceptions, etc., function at least in part as maps of thos "exterior" "happenings." Furthermore, it must posit that its own maps, in principle and at best, remain incomplete and

inaccurate, in some way or ways and to some

 

degree. In other words, at the most fundamental

level, the system rests on the non-aristotelian

postulates proposed by the late Alfred Korzybski

(1879-1950):

 

NON-IDENTITY. The map IS NOT the territory

for which it stands.

 

NON-ALLNESS. No map includesrepresentations of ALL aspects of the

territory for which it stands.

 

SELF-REFLEXIVENESS. No map qualifies as

free of aspects which represent the map-

maker.

When functioning like a self-correcting

system, a living organism (such as a human)

operates from the non-aristotelian postulates: In

the most fundamental and "gut-level" sense, he too

EXPLICITLY distinguishes between territory and

map, non-verbally TREATING his perceptions, etc.,

as survival-oriented hypotheses which he

generates, tests and judges. His surmises, then

--non-verbal as well as verbal--include guesses

as to how to obtain suitable air, water, food,

shelter clothing, physical safety, and the

physiological aspects of sex; how to give-and-get

love, friendship, esteem and self-esteem, and what

Maslow calls self-actualization (Ref); how to find a

mate, produce offspring and raise them to psycho-

sexual maturity; and so on. And where the

surmises he started with end up disconfirmed, a

human functioning like a self-correcting system

not only throws out the surmises but also the

premises they stem from, and he surmises anew. For

example, while driving home, say our human organism

starts rehearsing the quarrel he had with his

 

boss, and becomes inattentive to the traffic

conditions around him. An emergency arises, and he

becomes aware of his danger barely in time to

avert a serious accident. A human functioning like a

self-defending system would not question his own

premises at that point. Instead, he would probably vow to "pay

attention to his driving in the future," without

considering the question of how to do that nor the

likelihood that he, like most of the rest of us,

might rapidly forget about the weak intentions we

call "vows." A human functioning more

like a self-correcting system would conclude from

this frightening experience that his premises

concerning how to drive so as to arrive safely at

his destination got disconfirmed, and he must

change his premises. For example, he might choose to

find ways to make the act of driving his main

focus while driving (rather than reveries about

past circumstances, future plans, etc.). This would

amount to a fundamental revision of how he goes

about driving.

 

As a consequence of explicitly distinguishing

between map and territory, a human who functions

like a self-correcting system acts from THE

CERTAINTY OF UNCERTAINTY. He acts as if his seeing, hearing,

smelling, tasting, touching, etc., deliver GUESSES

rather than "absolute certainties"; and that in

utilizing his perceiving to guide what he DOES, in

effect he TESTS his guesses. He regards guesses

which have survived testing without

disconfirmation as the most reliable basis

available to him for further guiding himself,

although they still remain tentative. He

recognizes that guesses which survive testing

become assimilated and reappear in the next

relevant situation as the kind of initial

by which one orients oneself and

one's actions. Moreover, a human functioning like

a self-correcting system expects that he and other

will perceive things differently, and he

holds these differences as potentially valuable.

other words, he feels fundamentally related to

(not-isolated from) his environment (including

other humans) and to himself, and in his survival-

oriented behaving-and-experiencing, he

spontaneously continues his associating.

In general, he functions in a non-credulous

manner, assuming that no doctrine, opinion, etc.,

qualifies as "True, period," and that absolutely

 

the best of the theoretical systems which humans

have so far devised, or ever will, still qualify

as incomplete and inaccurate to some degree.

Furthermore, in assuming that no map remains free

of aspects which represent the map-maker, he

expects that the behaving-and-experiencing of any

human will seem in part self-determined: In

prospect or in process, what that person will

actually do next cannot help appearing somewhat

unpredictable; whereas in retrospect, what he

actually did will seem somehow consistent with the

rest of his living.

 

When a human functions like a self-correcting

system, the non-credulity and the constant testing

and revising of premises occur naturally and for

the most part effortlessly. A human relatively

free of rigidly-held attitudes, fixed

expectations, etc., expends less effort in his

living than does one burdened with them.

 

The construct of self-correcting, then,

serves as a model for human behaving-and-

experiencing at its most responsible, its most alive and vital

-- such as learning from one's own experiencing,

or effective problem-solving, or flexible and

spirited contacting of one's ever-changing

environs.

 

c. Relation between self-defending and self-correcting

 

The analogy between human behaving-and-

experiencing and formal deductive systems yields a

further insight here. Logically speaking, I can

turn a self-correcting system into a self-

defending one, or vice versa, by introducing, or

eliminating, a single restricted and restrictive

assumption. This restrictive assumption holds

that the maps generated by the system qualify as

exhaustively complete and point-for-point perfect

replicas of the territories they represent. Or

framed in slightly different terms, that the maps

qualify as identical with their territories.

 

When I introduce this restrictive assumption

into the premises of a self-correcting system, I

thereby eliminate its ability to self-correct. By

the postulate of Non-identity, the system's maps

qualify as distinguishable from (not-identical

with) their territories. Where I regard the map as

distinguishable from the territory, I can test --

and possibly disconfirm -- it. In contrast, given

a map which actually qualified as identical with

its territory, I could not distinguish it from its

territory so as to question it or test it. And

 

whether or not a map actually qualifies as

identical with its territory, if I REGARD it as

identical, that means that I do not distinguish it

from the territory and so cannot question or test

it. No system can self-correct if it can't or

won't question its maps. Therefore, introducing

this special restrictive assumption blocks the

system's special self-correcting feature. The

resulting system can then function only as the

kind of formal deductive system which both comes

to the conclusions pre-determined in its premises

and eliminates from consideration the observer or

participant or self, viz. a system of the self-

defending type.

 

When I eliminate this restrictive assumption

from the premises of a self-defending system, I

thereby introduce the ability to self-correct.

For into a system which did not distinguish

between map and territory, I thereby introduce the

distinction between map and territory, and the

proviso that the system treat its maps as in

principle incomplete and inaccurate to some

degree, and perhaps entirely mistaken. Then the

system can use its resources to test, judge and

perhaps reject its maps, and if necessary, revise

its premises so it can generate different and

perhaps less seriously erroneous maps. The

resulting system both takes into account the

observer or participant or self and shows the

ability to self-correct.

 

The Current World System

 

The current world system appears mainly self-

defending, as manifested in the "doings" of

individuals, families and other small groups,

business and industrial firms, nation-states, etc.

On each of these levels, we humans appear to come

to pre-determined conclusions regardless of the

circumstances. The fact of the present Conference

acknowledges our perception that we humans persist

in striving to eliminate ourselves as a species.

This "trend" toward self-elimination, in my

view, functions as a conclusion which follows from

the current versions of our most fundamental, self-eliminating

premises. And if we intend to stop arranging for

our own extinction, then it follows that we must

alter these premises. To alter these premises

would mean abandoning the stance of

"reasonableness": "I'm just a single individual --

I can't change the whole system by myself." Such

reasonableness manifests the "passive victim" role

and the conviction of impotence which form the

core of our fixation. By eliminating any reliance

 

on the restrictive assumption described above, we

eliminate this whole culturally determined

constellation of delusional certainty, self-

elimination, impotence, reasonableness, and

isolation from self-and-others. This alteration of

premises entails a commitment to radical

uncertainty. So far, we have few examples of

people acting awarely from these alternative

premises. I can demonstrate that Mohandas K.

Gandhi and Martin Luther King both tacitly

operated from some version of these alternative

premises. Each exemplifies the effectiveness of

"unreasonable" personal commitment. Each acted as

if he felt himself in relation with rather than

isolated from his fellow humans. Each put utterly

inviolable constraints on his actions, thereby

affirming the equivalence of means and ends. Each

made what he SAID and what he DID match, operating

from his own dignity and integrity to enhance the

dignity and integrity of all of his fellow humans.

Each acted if he knew that both he and his society

would undergo transformation, and as if he knew

that he did not know and could not know beforehand

what the transformed society and his transformed

self would look like, nor the exact courses that

he and his society would take along the way -- and

each willingly took the risks which that

uncertainty entails. In the terms developed above,

that means that each relied at least tacitly on

the postulate of Non-identity.

 

We have used the phrase, eliminating any reliance

on the restrictive assumption described above to state

the problem addressed by the present Conference. This

suggests a solution which appears both adequate and

feasible.

 

Did we come here to assert to one another

our own impotence and to excuse it? Or do we intend

to find and sieze upon a pattern of reasoning which

can provide ways to stabilize the world system, and

then IMPLEMENT them?

I choose the latter course.

 

Solving the Problem

 

To solve the problem, as posed here, requires

a sequential procedure of at least two steps.

First, we humans must create a theoretical system which

qualifies as self-correcting, and meets other

constraints discussed below; and second, enough

people must learn how to USE the new theoretical

system (as opposed to TALKING ABOUT IT) to begin

putting it to use to replace the current one. I

advocate deliberately replacing the cultures modelled

 

after self-defending systems with "a culture beyond

cultures" (Hall, 1983) consciously

modelled after self-correcting systems. Deliberately

replacing the current systems procedurally means

[elaborating a satisfactory World-View based on

the alternative theoretical system and consciously

putting it to use to guide our actions.

We may consider a proposed World-View as

satisfactory in these terms if and only if:

 

a) It qualifies as lived rather than "intellectual."

 

Traditionally, we regard theories or

theoretical systems as somehow independent of the

living of the humans who create or use them. In

the heat of "doing," we often act in ways that

contradict what we "say" or what we "know." But

the instability of the current world system

manifests itself precisely in the contradiction

between what we "DO" and what we "SAY." This

contradiction, in turn, stands as one of the chief

consequences of the restrictive assumption

described above. If a human ASSUMES that his maps

qualify as identical with the territories they

represent, he thereby puts his whole attention on

the map, eliminating the map-maker -- himself --

from consideration. That act of self-elimination

both manifests self-hatred and leaves no grounds

for comparing "what I do" with "what I say."

But since this human has put his whole attention

on the map at the expense of attention on the map-

maker, he does not openly and explicitly declare

his self-hatred. Instead, the self-hatred remains

only tacit, and if someone points it out to him,

he may disavow and deny it. Hence, once more, he

casts himself in a "passive victim" role, "done

to" and perhaps even "done in" by "forces beyond

his control." Furthermore, a theoretical system

which incorporates that restrictive assumption,

and so qualifies as unstable in this sense, will

continue to remain so until such a time as its

premises get altered. In other words, it qualifies

as stably unstable.

 

But that theoretical system which I designate

by phrases such as the current world system

itself qualifies as lived as well as stably

unstable. Its exponents SHOW their adherence to it

precisely by engaging in symbolic self-

elimination, in SAYING one thing while DOING some

other, usually contradictory thing, even down to

the extreme of assiduously arranging for our

species suicide. I call such a lived system

#dissociated#.

 

To generate a stably stable, non-dissociated

lived system, we need only eliminate from our

lived premises the restrictive assumption

described above. SYSTEMATICALLY.

 

 

b) It satisfies at least four constraints:

 

1) It must deliver a self-consistent

symbol-system acceptable to humans regardless of

native language, culture, ethnic origins, etc.

2) It must show itself capable of

guiding us to deploy our currently available human

resources so as to gain our living in the

biosphere without producing planetary catastrophe.

3) It must qualify as scientifically

adequate, in the sense that it must not hinge on

or subscribe to already-discovered error.

4) It must qualify as a comprehensive

Gestalt (Hilgartner, 1978D), which transforms every aspect of the

World-View: the logics, mathematics, quantitative

and non-quantitative sciences, philosophies,

jurisprudences, religions, as well as the lived

patterns by which humans deal with themselves,

each other, other species, and their non-living

environments.

 

As for (1), no symbol-system derived from any

given natural language or family of natural

languages can satisfy this constraint. Linguists

have established that the languages belonging to

one family differ in structure from those

belonging to another family, and that the World-

View built up by a speaker of one differs in

structure from the World-View built up by a

speaker of the other. We use our symbol-systems

as we use parts of our own bodies. For members of

one tradition, a symbol-system derived from some

other tradition will seem at best like a

prosthesis.

 

As for (2), if in fact the currently-

available dissociated symbol-systems gave clear

guidance as to when, where, how, and why to use or

refrain from using such tools as chain saws,

bulldozers, pesticides or thermonuclear "devices,"

we would not currently engage in ecologically

catastrophic projects and policies. For our

symbol-systems fail to guide us to distinguish

between different logical levels of our key terms.

As I demonstrated above, it makes sense to talk

about stably stable and stably unstable systems.

This unmistakably involves utilizing the term

stable on at least two different logical levels,

on which the meanings differ (Korzybski, 1933). System-stability

 

does not equal system-stability.

 

` The term stable belongs to a special

grouping of terms which includes a

significant fraction of our most important

constructs. These terms share the feature

that we can utilize each of them, taken in a

"single" sense, on more than one logical level.

When we do so, the meaning of this "single" sense

of this "single" #multi-ordinal# term varies.

With one sub-grouping, the second-order usages

somehow "intensify" the first-order usages into

designations for the most valuable of human social

activities -- e.g. curiosity about curiosity,

analysis of analysis, etc. (With other sub-groupings,

the second-order usages reverse and annul the

first-order usages -- e.g. doubt of doubt -- or

somehow "intensify" the first-order usages into

designations for positively morbid reactions -- e.g.

fear of fear.)

 

Failure to distinguish EXPLICITLY between

usages of a "single" term in a "single" sense on

more than one logical level leads to trouble; it

amounts to TREATING discernable differences as

identical. In the process of developing a new

lived theoretical system, the participants will

find it necessary to distinguish rigorously,

or in other words, avoid relying on the

restrictive assumption discussed above.

 

This kind of discrimination applies to

the key terms of systems theory. A systems

analyst unaware of this multi-ordinality of

terms stands in danger of getting used by his

tools. For example, he might produce rigidity

where he intended to bring about control with the

rate of change modulated by relevant

circumstances, or stagnation where he intended to

bring about a dynamic and flexible stability.

 

As for (3), if the mess we see does not

qualify as an empirical disconfirmation of our

scientific World-View, I don't know what does.

As the fact that the IFAC called the SWIIS

Workshop documents, the current self-eliminating

version of the Western scientific World-View WILL

NOT DO. Its long-term hypothesis stands

disconfirmed. By the logic of science, that means

in turn that its premises include at least one

erroneous assumption.

 

We face a clear choice: Either we stick with

the scientific World-View we've got, and follow it

to where it leads -- species suicide -- or we try

 

something different, unfamiliar. And an alternative

exists.

 

We cannot and must not deal with the issues

raised by this global failure by denying it or by

seeking to patch the system up. We cannot afford

to temporize with partial solutions -- as systems

analysists know so well, every "tinkering," every

patch-up job, shifts the whole system. But here

our "experimental system" comprises the whole

biosphere, and we have already brought ourselves

to the brink of extinction. Now and for the

foreseeable future, we can have no "control

system" unaffected by our hypotheses and our tests

of them. But now and for the foreseeable future,

we do have available to us an alternative

theoretical system, different in its structuring

from that of our traditional scientific system.

 

As for (4), I use the term #comprehensive# as

an antonym of dissociated. By the term

Gestalt, I denote "a figure or foreground of

focal interest, against a background relatively

empty of interest." [Refs: Polanyi, H&R, Method in

Madness]. The theoretical system discussed above

has delivered a formalized notation,

the individual terms or the "sentences" of which

express Gestalten. This notation then keeps

within the figure of focal interest the lived

patterns by which humans deal with themselves,

each other, other species, and their non-living

environments. Such a Gestaltist approach qualifies

as extremely general logically, and indeed

potentially applies to any aspect of the World-

View whatsoever. By utilizing this Gestalt

notation, I have succeeded in elaborating a World-

View which places human observer/participants in

central position.

 

By placing human observers in central

position, I have made it possible to represent the

human species in a manner free of divisiveness.

Traditionally, we represent humans in pigeon-

holing terms, e.g. in terms of nationality,

religion, race, ethnic and socio-economic group,

etc. This divisiveness manifests itself in even

the best of the theoretical systems of our

tradition: I have demonstrated that any theory

which posits Identity thereby eliminates from

consideration the observer/participant, expresses

tacit self-hatred, and leads to the kind of

species-suicidal impasse which the present SWIIS

Workshop acknowledges and seeks to remedy. Thus

the divisive classifying which follows from

positing Identity parallels the divisive

 

functioning of of the current world system.

My alternative World-View, in

contrast, posits Non-identity and especially that

of map and territory. Thus it takes into account

the observer/participant, expresses self-love and

self-acceptance, and leads to an ethos of species-

survival. This makes it unfamiliar to everyone, to

a degree that frequently confounds even me and my

closest collaborators. It has already

delivered an unfamiliar, entirely non-standard

grammar, logic and mathematics. By systematically

disallowing the restrictive assumption discussed

above, I created a new pattern for what qualifies

as a #well-formed formulation# (analogous to a

"grammar"), derived by a finite number of logical

steps from the premises of Korzybski.

Subsequently, in collaboration with Professor

Harrington, on this DERIVED grammar I built up a

new family of formalized languages, each member of

which SYSTEMATICALLY takes the observer into

account. These include a "Let's keep track of what

we say" language analogous to the mathematical

theory of sets [Method in Madness, etc.]; a

"number theory" which turns out to support an

"arithmetic," an "algebra," and an "analysis";

and, most recently, we have laid out the

beginnings of an alternative "geometry" and a

transformed "physics" which holds observers rather

than inanimate objects in central position. Thus,

in terms of already written text, the alternative

theoretical system appears at least a candidate

for "a comprehensive Gestalt which transforms

every aspect of the World-View."

 

CONCLUSION

 

In contrast to traditional approaches,

this theoretical system treats the term stable

as meaningful only in contrast to its polar

opposite, unstable Further, it posits that

observers in different times and places will judge

its stability/instability differently. From the

point of view of the broad interests of the

human species, the constructs of stable/unstable

seem pertinent only to the extent that we use

these constructs to enhance our joyful

reverence for living and thereby to improve the

chances of species survival. For

example, to replace the kind of divisive sub-

classifying of humans familiar to us, we need to

develop comprehensive categories such as Member at

Large of the Human Race, or Citizen of the World

-- and also develop the lived institutions which will suffice

to change them from "high-sounding and idealistic

phrases" into "explicit and practical foundations

for how we actually live."

 

REFERENCES