New Discussion on Feb 10

Very exciting essay. Challenging habituated thinking is a difficult thing to expect people to reflect on, but is absolutely needed as we rapidly move into a future that is transforming faster than humanity has ever had to adapt to before. I would suggest you add Benj Whorf as an important analyst of how we recognize the global environment around us. Not the conventional opinions of Whorf’s remarks about language, but the following:

From “Language, Thought and Reality”, ed. John Carroll, 1956.

"The familiar saying that the exception proves the rule contains a good deal of wisdom, though from the standpoint of formal logic it became an absurdity as soon as "prove" no longer meant "put on trial." The old saw began to be profound psychology from the time it ceased to have standing in logic. What it might well suggest to us today is that, if a rule has absolutely no exceptions, it is not recognized as a rule or as anything else; it is then part of the background of experience of which we tend to remain unconscious. Never having experienced anything to contrast to it, we cannot isolate it and formulate it as a rule until we enlarge our experience and expand our base of reference that we encounter an interruption of its regularity."

"For instance, if a race of people had the physiological defect {aka: "limitation"} of being able to see only the color blue, they would hardly be able to formulate the rule that they saw only blue. The term blue would convey no meaning to them, their language would lack color terms, and their words denoting various sensations of blue would answer to, and translate, our words "light, dark, white, black", and so on, not our word "blue". ... The phenomenon of gravitation forms a rule without exceptions; needless to say, the untutored person is utterly unaware of any law of gravitation, for it would never enter his head to conceive of a universe in which bodies behaved otherwise than they do at the earth's surface. ... The law could not be formulated until bodies which always fell were seen in terms of a wider astronomical world in which bodies moved in orbits or went this way and that." ...

... "When linguists became able to examine critically and scientifically a large number of languages of widely different patterns, their base of reference was expanded; they experienced an interruption of phenomena hitherto held universal, and a whole new order of significances came into their ken. It was found that the background linguistic system (in other words, the grammar) of each language is not merely a reproducing instrument for voicing ideas but ... is itself the shaper of ideas, the program and guide for the individual's mental activity, for his analysis of impressions, for his synthesis of his mental stock in trade." ...

... "This fact is very significant for modern science, for it means that no individual is free to describe nature with absolute impartiality but is constrained to certain modes of interpretation even while he thinks himself most free. The person most nearly free in such respects would be ... familiar with very many widely different ... systems. ... We are thus introduced to a new principle of "relativity", which holds that all observers are not led by the same physical evidence to the same picture of the universe .... unless their linguistic backgrounds are similar, or can in someway be calibrated."“

This is a cybernetics viewpoint, written in a pre-Wiener context … but the association should be recognizable.

Thank you for discussing the challenge that humanity faces in the years ahead. Maintaining the conventional mindset is more problematic than useful … and we need fresh clear NEW understandings.

James Rose (Integrity Paradigm) (