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Embodying Values Dynamically through Alternation: Integrating sets of polarized static values through indicative metaphor


Embodying Values Dynamically through Alternation
Environmental engagement: from bullet points to topoi

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This is an exercise in response to the ambiguities of articulation and comprehension of values, whether individually or collectively -- and their strategic implications.

A notable feature is its self-reflexivity -- and consequently its inherent uncertainty as a necessarily tentative articulation. Partly for that reason, the arguments are presented in indicative and metaphorical form rather than being developed "linearly" at any length.

The challenge is understood to be one of dealing flexibly with cognitive challenges, especially in the light of their strategic implications with such topics as "extremism", future uncertainty, precautionary initiatives, and individual and collective engagement in change, notably in relation to "sustainability". Contextual preoccupations are those articulated by Jared M. Diamond (Collapse: how societies choose to fail or succeed, 2005), Thomas Homer-Dixon (The Upside of Down: catastrophe, creativity, and the renewal of civilization, 2006) and Nassim Nicholas Taleb (The Black Swan: the impact of the highly improbable, 2007).

The exploration follows from work relating to the Human Values and Wisdom Project, most recently as a contribution to a Panel on Ethics and Policies for Sustainable Futures (Hyderabad, 2008) of the World Academy of Art and Science (In Quest of Engaging Values: context of the Human Values and Wisdom Project, 2008), especially a concluding section on Topology of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations (2008). The following is effectively a summary of that multi-paper exploration. The argument has also been presented in poster form In Quest of a Strategic Pattern Language: a new architecture of values [also available in PDF].

This exploration is associated with related studies of the relevance of "polyhedral" structures to governance (Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors, 2008; Polyhedral Pattern Language: software facilitation of emergence, representation and transformation of psycho-social organization, 2008; Configuring Global Governance Groups: experimental visualization of possible integrative relationships, 2008).

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