Application XII: The future of history: CEM-HAS (BFPS)

Consequentiality continues on (until it doesn’t!), accompanied by partial order and discontinuity, with countless collisions ahead for humans, some hard and some soft, some to be avoided and some to be arranged – the last of these preferably by informed composition, arranged collisions especially of solutions to our problems, both the behavioral problem itself (in consequence of the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions) and the endless situational problems we face.

Also ahead of us is the task of developing the “3C” sector of cognition, communication and composition, for this is the stepping stone to community as a more realized expression of behavior’s needed functionality, a further realization of CEM’s contingent emergent materiality. Geographically speaking this sector (not well developed as sciences of the possible) is now more territory than a developed entity like a state or nation – territory replete with conflicting claims of proprietary interest (e.g., as proclaimed by/in concepts) and dysfunctionally familiar to us primarily through instances of past and present initiatives involving some measure of cognition, communication and composition. Which is to say that we typically see the relationship of structure and function unilaterally: in terms of S => F (or even worse: S = F) to the neglect of F => S and thus of the history stretching back to the Nature of Things that has come far enough so that we can contemplate composing solutions to problems (F => S) because needed functionality has evolved and has been developed.

When, as now, we characterize communities – even purport to define “community” – by ascribing properties, including particular behaviors, to them as entities (S => F overemphasis), and do the same for the 3C sector, the littered territory constitutes a serious impediment to improving our quality of life. We budget our efforts far too much toward the problem of sustaining the solutions we have in hand (0: Sp), forfeiting the possibility of coping better with biased intellectual technology (: S-P), unwanted consequences that pollute (:Ps), and problems still to be attacked and which almost surely need community efforts (:P).

We have only to look at community maintenance (0: Sp) practices in education to see the budgeting overemphases at work (: elementary/ basic > 1; learning/knowing > 1; efficiency/effectiveness > 1; ADOPT/ADEPT > 1; etc.). And where is composition? It should, in its various functional aspects and structural expressions, be a significant curricular component. Are we really preparing ourselves, looking ahead, facing the future as well as we should?

Face … and facing. What all is there here to be read? How telling are the particulars of face(s)? Many tells indeed. We may welcome the smiles of a behaving face. But we puzzle over many other others, smiling or not. More to the point: How telling is the fact of facing – our de facto forward-to-the-future body orientation, a body shape IN consequence and OF consequence? Profoundly telling.

Consider what it portends for our dealing with collisions, for the minding capacities and capabilities we can bring to bear: Facing immediately reduces our exposure, with attendant risk from the behaviors of other behavioral entities (BE). Focus of attention, further enabled by bilateral moving capacities and sensory capacities of vision and hearing, further limits our ability to avoid collisions. More risk. What is the payoff here? There most definitely is one: more capability to arrange collisions … but only to the extent that we have evolved capacities and developed capabilities of memory, cognition and imagination (esp. pointed questioning:) to maximize minding’s consequentiality.

Poised as humans are on the frontier of a history of contingent emergent materiality, CEM, what should be our meta-strategy? Forward? We are always facing forward, even when we turn away from facing the future and look to the past – as, for example, in seeking instruction. When we do face toward the future, what is our best course of behavior? How do we temper and shape our necessary aggressiveness most productively – i.e., best compose soft collisions, most notably effective communities (as an expression of human progress as well as to solve problems that defeat the efforts of individuals, separately or in mere aggregate)?

HAS – the fusion of humanism, art and science – is a reasonable candidate. Institutionalized as each of these currently is, with skill acquisition requirements for art and science as practices, they resist union – let alone a productive fusion of relevant problem solving capabilities. Take the “hard sciences” of physics and chemistry and their renowned “classic experiment” to establish a causal order of things. You might never come to see that being able to compose the experiment is as consequential as the findings of the experiment. Art in its general sense of composing capability was there. If there was someone to ask, “So what?” about the findings, humanism may have been present too — afterwards, if not beforehand. Is “So what?” asked about the composing? Most probably never. (See for a more complete research recipe.)

CEM takes composing much more seriously. It immediately questions the applicability of “cause” as a helpful contributor to productive composition (the face of the future). This concept, we have noted, confounds the relating and relations of minding’s process with the relationship that is the envisioned product of that process. (It is a tautology which is neither sensible nor [logically] permissible.) We have to make differences in order to make differences –lest we be of little consequence. Our behavior is more molecular than “cause” implies, even when amended to “multiple causes.” It is more molecular than even biology’s profusion of molecules. (“Cause” is of the same ilk as the notion that thought, the verb, is what produces thought, the noun.) Composing, serving as the engine for our forward advance, needs more art than this and far more purpose than establishing what existing order can be discovered. In this World of Possibility (and of many problems) it also needs that further kind of discovery which is the reward for asking, “What if?” not just as a conjecture about order after the fact but as a recipe for ordering before the fact.

What seems critical here is that our compositional capability depends on how we go about shaping our aggressiveness. How relevant, in process not just product, can we be? Consider, for example, how staggeringly dysfunctional is the emphasis we place on defining, explicating and clarifying the words and languages we use. We struggle to see what is being said about what is being talked about, the former not always helping that much in regard to the latter. (“Show, then tell!”) But how much effort are we putting into finding better ways to express what we are saying about what we are talking about? (The commentary part of this website contains many cases of poorly anchored concepts. Both in Applications and Commentary we remark on the need for a better technology to express the process and products of cognition and communication, the cem-basic capabilities for composing.)

We have to do better by pointing, functionally speaking. Our questions need to be better pointed, re points AT (what we are talking about) and ABOUT (what we have to say about the point AT), to respect the point OF (what is the relevance of this communicative act), and to improve the point FOR likelihood (the sharing of these points). Such is the message of cem-functionalism.

The asymmetric relations of cognition (: broadly: inside-outside, before-after) give us some capacity to create points ABOUT. But variants of same and different make a contribution too – as in the elaborations of different to discrepant, more or less, and into quantitative measurement. Still, natural languages founder when it comes to points ABOUT. And we pay the price, having to solve in order to see.

Messages, as material compositions, can be a real mess. (Yes, I know; I provide ample proof.) However, if we look at them molecularly, if we can get inside them as they are constructed to see each of their structural units in functional terms — re needed functionality, functioning capabilities exercised, and consequences of that functioning, then we can make a significant improvement in the 3C sector. For the interpretation of messages as well as in their construction. We can develop technology that enables us to assess effectiveness during the making of the message, and not have to wait for the often-ambiguous, always incomplete evidence of the message’s summary effect. “Make and measure” is in the spirit of shaping, of sharpening aggression – of more minding for the moving.

Development in the 3C’s sector is so far pretty much a history of practices, some of them institutionalized, as in cultures and businesses, to the neglect of CEM’s forward thrust and needed further development. Empirical research in communication shows the focus on practices and their effects. Non-chance correlations take precedence over solving vexing problems. Theories, methods and principles employed are adopted and/or adapted from work in the earlier sectors. Metaphors abound. As though 3C behavior were nothing more than more of the same. Just what we might expect of cross-sectional perspectives from the several, very proprietary institutionalized and earlier sciences.

CEM says something different. Behavior in this 3C sector is more behavioral, different in molecular quality and quantity. And there is another very important difference. This sector has distinctive principles to guide its development. It shares the Nature of Things’ general persisting conditions as principles. But this more behavioral sector also has behavioral necessity’s requisites and imperatives as guiding principles. They give direction to future development. They already preface the emergence of cognition, communication and composition. These 3C behavioral developments have been evident in our discussions of these principles (Topics VI-XI).

For the way forward, what remains is to further implement these 3C capabilities: via new (HAS) technologies, more D&R (development and research, not vice versa), revised educational policies … improved operating systems just about everywhere.

As we come closer to solving the community problem – HAS development achieved — it will necessarily entail having a more complete and accurate picture of behavior, up to and including the principles that guide our building the community and communities (behavioral entities) we need via a much better realized (understood and developed) cognition, communication and composition.

And of the curiosity implied by compositional endeavor.

***

Here we humans are now at what must be considered the early phases of the Age of Composition, the successor to earlier ages marked by technologies (e.g., “Stone Age,” “Iron Age”) and/or the historical arrivals on the professional observer scene of the several “hard sciences.” These arrivals refract successive sectors of CEM progression, but the sciences themselves so far fail to adequately characterize that progression. The CEM-HAS version of professional observing – i.e., science not divorced from humanism and art – implies a coming composed unity of observers, observing and observed that the sciences have never been able to achieve for and among themselves.

The Age of Composition to now has progressed pretty much just to the QL-point (:Sp); it marks the current quality of life. It lacks systematic implementation. This is evident in the absence of composition in the educational curriculum, in the stunting of curiosity, in the myriad dysfunctions of cognition and communication – and the lack of development of cognition and communication as sciences of the possible (although both need HAS treatment). A World of Possibility without sciences (and arts) of the human potential?

The accompanying diagram (which see) illustrates not only where we are but also something of the road ahead. It modifies the “slope” diagram from Topic 0, to show a continuum of problems to be solved, starting with the erosion among solutions that need to be repeated, then the steep escarpment to be scaled of problematic intellectual modes of previous problem solving (e.g., the BPO bias:), followed by a mound of burdensome “pollution” problems arising from prior solutions, then to be succeeded by a distant horizon of problems still ineffectively made present and which may well require collective behavior – i.e., the composing of community.

The future of history can profit from a better history. This is why it seems advisable to prefix pragmatism, functionalism and positivism with “cem-”. How else are we to be effectively optimistic? Optimistic, after all, is what we should be in this World of Possibility.

But pitfalls there are. Our poor realization of behavior has yielded much more in the way of death systems than life systems. Admittedly, millions of individuals and thousands of institutions make a living off behavioral dysfunction. But really…. It’s time to start over again.

It’s time for some course corrections! Start with the (cosmic) CEM correction: Note the irony in “ahistorical” when history is an outstanding feature of an expanding universe. And there are other corrections to bring us back on course (i.e., see: to be in accord). For example:
  • The Double Crystal correction: Rectifying the neglect of behavior, so as to bring all of materiality into the picture – and into play;
  • The ADEPT correction: To add compositional capability to the limited (in consequentiality) behavioral modes of ADOPT (e.g., decision making”) and ADAPT (e.g., “living in harmony with nature”);
  • The Cognitive correction: Rescuing cognition as relating via relations from the cognition-as-relationship notion (as a kind of acquaintance), so that together with communication it can better serve composing and compositional change;
  • The Everything correction: Respecting the principles of the Nature of Things – i.e., the general persisting conditions (partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity) and behavioral need’s requisites and imperatives – which are essential to further CEM progress through development;
  • The Augustinian correction: Adding development and research to research and development – but with the proviso that compositions – as questions, not just faith as commitment, lead us to greater knowledge;
  • The HAS correction: Changing the dominant progress-through-research-into the-order-of-things paradigm to a problem-solving paradigm unifying the contributions of humanism, art and science;

And so on….

Harken back to the preamble to the U.S. constitution, and its “… toward a more perfect union…” assertion of resolve. (“Resolve” is a nice combination of effort and [problem] solution.) This calls for a companion in resolve to the Declaration of Independence. It calls for a Declaration of Interdependence.” Which is to say, it calls for building community – and for all the functional capability development composition implies. (It certainly does not call for underfunding education. Nor, either, does it call for soft-pedaling compositional capability, and behavioral development more generally, in education.)

How are we doing on composing communities? We tend to invent communities as structures with dictated functions rather than developing needed functional capabilities that can then be structurally embodied – this in violation of the balance requisite. We depend far too much on shared values to initiate and sustain the communities we have – especially the utopian varieties. There is neither logical nor historical reason for community building to depart from the ascending line of CEM (See: “Decline and fall”). But our unrealistic underdevelopment of cognitive and communicative capabilities does provide one reason for the seeming inevitability of death among past and present communities.

(c) 2012 R.F. Carter


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