What to call the use of relational models in politics? Relational Politics? Systems politics? I don't like the sound of either. Maybe you can help. What I do want to do is to try to create a way of looking at the political aspects of our life that does not dissect politics out in a Cartesian reductionist manner but emphasis the way political activity relates to other aspects of the system and demonstrates that it can not be isolated from them without losing essential information. I have sown seeds for this way of thinking in this series and began this phase of the discussion in the last diary Readings Ramblings: Let's talk politics which also serves as the first of a set of links that can be followed back to the beginning. I am going to also introduce you again to my latest published work which serves as a summary of how we are going to proceed. Read on below to get started.
In this paper I sketched out where I think we need to go and I also did one more thing. I gave you my answer to a question that has bothered me for a long time. Namely: "Why has Robert Rosen's new paradigm been so carefully ignored by the world and, in particular, by the scientific community. I assert that this question and its answer are important from a political point of view along with others. Here's the link to the paper and also its abstract:Even More than Life Itself: Beyond Complexity
AbstractLet us review the ideas in the abstract with more care. I hope you will read the entire essay. For our purposes here, you can see that I put together a "panel" of Modern experts to try to begin to put each of their ideas, along with the Rosen question, into a common context.
This essay is an attempt to construct an artificial dialog loosely modeled after that sought by Robert Maynard Hutchins who was a significant influence on many of us including and especially Robert Rosen. The dialog is needed to counter the deep and devastating effects of Cartesian reductionism on today’s world. The success of such a dialog is made more probable thanks to the recent book by A. Louie. This book makes a rigorous basis for a new paradigm, the one pioneered by the late Robert Rosen. If we are to make such a paradigm shift happen, it has to be in the spirit of the dialog. The relationship between science, economics, technology and politics has to be openly recognized and dealt with. The message that Rosen sent to us has to be told outside small select circles of devotees. The situation has even been described by some as resembling a cult. This is no way for universal truths like these to be seen. The essay examines why this present situation has happened and identifies the systemic nature of the problem in terms of Rosen’s concepts about systems. The dialog involves works by George Lakoff, W. Brian Arthur, N. Katherine Hayles, Robert Reich and Dorion Sagan. These scholars each have their own approach to identifying the nature of the interacting systems that involve human activity and the importance of identifying levels of abstraction in analyzing systems. Pooling their insights into different facets of a complex system is very useful in constructing a model of the self referential system that humans and their technology have shaped. The role of the human component in the whole earth system is the goal of the analysis. The impact of the Cartesian reductionist paradigm on science and the related aspects of human activity are examined to establish an explanation for the isolation of Rosen’s paradigm. The possible way to proceed is examined in the conclusion.
George Lakoff is already familiar to many here. He is the author of many books and teaches us about the cognitive workings of the political mind and why the idea that framing issues, avoiding the oppositions frames (Don't think of an elephant), and causal reasoning explain the things we seem to be unable to understand about why so many of the 99% vote as the 1% want them to. He also has a lot to contribute to answering the Rosen question. Katheryn Hales ideas about how we became "posthuman" contribute valuable insights into the way technology changes us. Brian Arthur, besides being a source in economic thinking, has written a marvelous book on technology and helps us see the way technology s something that has come from human activity to turn things around and actually drive human activity. The latter idea has close ties with the way our economic system works. Economics is intimately entwined with the rest of this and I call upon Robert Reich for the systems idea that the particular agents at work at any given time are nearly irrelevant to understanding how the system works as a composite of all these complex functional components. So the stage is set now and we can go forward into uncharted territory. Stay tuned.