Communications with Aliens- A View From Academia – Audio and Text Versions

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by David Griffin, M.Sc. and Natasha Acimovic, M.A.

June 2011

from ExopoliticsJournal Website

Spanish Version

About the Authors
David Griffin established the UK network of the global exopolitics initiative in 2006 as the first national exopolitics site outside of the American continent. Although he has no long term background in UFOlogy he found himself returned to this framework repeatedly when researching wider areas and currently considers exopolitics to be the best ‘lens’ through which to view the complexities of contemporary, deep political culture. Academically David attended the well known Peace Studies and Conflict Resolution dept. of Bradford University just after then Prime Minister Thatcher tried to get the School closed down. In addition to a degree he worked at various higher education organizations in the UK in the area of Virtual Learning and courseware development. He also achieved an MSc in Multi-media and Education with an emphasis on Human Computer Interaction. He regularly speaks at events in the UK and Europe.

Website: http://www.exopolitics.org.uk – Email address: david@exopolitics.org.uk

Natasha Acimovic is a lecturer in Further Education and currently teaches Adult Literacy and Academic Study Skills at a British college. An interest in various theories, language and constructions of identity led her to complete a degree in Creative Writing and English Literature, an MA by Research in English Studies and a PGCE in Adult Literacy. An interest in the UFO phenomenon early on led her to research the less well known elements of the field including the human-alien identity, comparative literature of contact and abduction, the impact of the alien Other on language and symbolic communication forms. She also contributes to the UK Exopolitics Initiative and can be contacted at Natasha@exopoliticsunitedkingdom.org

 

ABSTRACT

As linear time appears to be speeding up and many people discuss the feeling of being pulled towards some indefinable future incident it is crucial that the issue of interfacing with visiting intelligent cultures is explored as efficiently and fairly as possible.

As it stands today, despite 60 years of modern UFOlogical research, some methods of validating interaction with this ‘Other’ are promoted and others sidelined.

Although academia has failed to fully embrace the issue in any real manner, what can we learn from the approaches by some academics to codify the phenomenon to date?

By examining published sources and the available deconstructions of both theory and language, can we gain useful insights and transfer this knowledge to the wider investigating community?


Introduction

The modern era of what we term UFOlogy has seen the dramatic rise in what we call ‘exopolitics’ – a field of enquiry that builds on the UFOlogical debate of the post-war era highlighting the importance of a multidisciplinary approach to the issue – one which is capable of embracing the complex or ‘deep’ political cultural layers we see around us at the turn of the millennium.

 

Exopolitics deals with the developing aspects of formal disclosure to the public, new energy systems and preparation for contact of this ET ‘Other’ – which incorporates contact itself.

 

A cultural contradiction exists however with relation to this latter point as awareness and integration of the issue of visiting intelligences, despite the issue being the second most searched area on the web, still exists in a relatively unacknowledged space both in academia and bizarrely enough in mainstream UFOlogy itself.

 

Given the state of dangerous geo-political game playing and the on-going desire to focus researchers on more basic issues [lights in the sky, state and FOIA file release etc.] instead of the crucial aspects [ET contact, transformational free energy technologies etc.] it is crucial that two main sectors begin to understand the validity of interaction with acknowledged visiting races in order to facilitate the species into an off-planet and/or hyper-spatial environment with as little collective trauma as possible.

One pattern that emerges after a period examining how our terrestrial species will engage more advanced, visiting cultures is the conditioned human desire to anthropomorphize the Other and to formulate boundaries around its associated ‘high strangeness’.

 

Right from the post-Roswell initiation of the US National Security state, the various actors tasked with shaping and steering the public response to the issue were aware of what needed to be done to keep the issue of visiting intelligences under control.

 

In the mid 1960s, academic at Colorado University Robert Low issued a memo related to his involvement with the forthcoming Condon Report [1] stating:

The trick would be, I think, to describe the project so that, to the public, it would appear a totally objective study but, to the scientific community, would present the image of a group of non-believers trying their best to be objective but having an almost zero expectation of finding a saucer.”

This careful and covert steering of the Condon Committee was not an isolated direction – several other committees and reports were infiltrated so as to ensure a firm grasp of the perception of the wider exopolitical issues.

 

This policy was made even more effective as we progressed through the post-war decades by a complicit media.

 

Great Britain used its D-Notice framework – essentially allowing the government or military to prevent publication of an issue and the USA managed to infiltrate and control vast media monoliths by stationing intelligence assets in editorial teams news outlets.[2]

 

As we shall see, it’s not just upper government groups that are imposing a framework of ‘imposed ignorance’ or as one academic paper we’ll review terms it an ‘authoritative disregard’ onto wider society – this process has, since the era of the major reports such as Condon and Robertson, become the staple approach for the majority of institutions that come into contact with the issue.

In addition to this top down matrix of control – the very nature of the wider UFO paradigm appears to create its own ‘internal plausible deniability’[3] as it moves from the variety of vantage points which aim to explore or maybe ‘expose’ its essence. It is this objective ‘exposure’ that the phenomenon constantly resists.

 

We could reason that this is due to a couple of points:

  1. the high-strangeness [4] of the topic itself

  2. the inability to objectively download the alien experience into terrestrial language structures

Add these points on to the imposed misinformation [power and hegemony] directives we briefly mentioned above and it shouldn’t really come as a surprise to anyone why exploring the issue can be problematic and more importantly requires new methods of investigation and judgment.

 

We can see casualties of the contemporary approach to this supposedly ‘legitimate’ investigation of the issue in detailed contact cases such as the 35 year long accounts of Swiss farmer Billy Meier and the case of Washington University of Child Psychologist Dr Jonathan Reed.

 

Both these cases appear to have every evidential element present that would satisfy most rational investigators – including forensic aspects such as advanced metal samples and DNA lab results – yet these appear to be insufficient. When persons attempt to tackle the issue in a realistic manner from within an academic institution – they may find themselves sidelined and in several cases threatened with being removed from their post.

The alien issue acts as a mirror to the various realities and frameworks that assume they are legitimately investigating ‘it’, revealing that particular disciplines various failings and inherent contradictions.

 

Astrophysicists are one such collective who claim to be present at the cutting edge of space research yet the majority can’t find room in their discipline for the mass of data on UFO sightings and documented human-ET contact.

 

For example, given that we are a developing planet – not far from moving out of the gravity well and into some form of space exploration, we could be forgiven for assuming that the two sectors handling the issue efficiently and to an extent objectively would be the UFO community itself and academia.

 

The latter has, since Plato’s era, established itself as the very institution which would take hold of [almost esoteric] knowledge yet to be processed by a wider society and by discussion, testing and reason then embeds this knowledge into the wider world in a manner deemed comprehensible and useful.

 

The UFO research community may be a more modern invention but at this point in history it has at its disposal the ability to examine vast archives of data on what this extra-terrestrial Other could be as well as having been witness to a more unique facet of history – the embedding of this phenomena in culture and having been witness to the creation of global national security apparatus, circa 1947,[5] due to collective fear of the alien issue itself.

What we find by isolating both these frameworks or in Robert Anton Wilson’s term “reality tunnels” is that both claim to have an objective hold on the ET issue [or an objective reason for dismissing it!] but on closer examination they in fact simply create their own internal logic of rationality for arriving at their desired conclusions.

 

The UFO research community one would assume to be the closest to the phenomenon itself and thus have the best insight.

 

In fact we find that even after several decades of experience, UFOlogy either fails to agree on an overall concept or allows itself to be diverted off into numerous branches supporting different scenarios [Extra-terrestrial hypothesis, ultra-terrestrials, time travelling entities etc] which fail to catalyze the epistemological base of the very collective exploring it. The issue of contact is a case in point.

 

Although we have a vast data-sphere of contactee or experiencer accounts spanning from the 1950s ‘space brothers’ era through to the more recent abduction paradigm, research of this issue appears to be sidelined in favor of continued attention to ‘lights in the sky’ type sightings.

 

Mediated experience continues to be favored over direct experience – whether those mediating are news agencies, military groups or even an ‘acceptable’ ring of researchers from within the UFOlogical field itself.

 

Why does the very community aligned with those who have unmediated contact appear to have created a hierarchy of “evidence efficacy” which appears to sideline some aspects of how we interact with the alien Other and promote others as ‘legitimate’?

If we return to our notions of disinformation [including power and sovereignty] and high-strangeness [language and clashing cultural-conceptual issues] – we can see how these two meta-elements shape our individual and collective perception of the issue at hand.

 

Truth’ is often shifted by the very process of exploration and research itself.

 

What is truth though, and how do we discern it? What constitutes evidence?

 

In this following section, these issues will help to inform our examination of how academia processes the ET contact issue and we will offer some possible feedback for the wider UFO research community itself.

Professors Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall’s paper, Sovereignty and the UFO, is amongst one of the few academic works to critically consider extra-terrestrial reality as a plausible hypothesis for the UFO issue and, subsequently, it inhabits a unique space within academic discourse.

 

Their theoretical premise is not to suggest, however, that UFOs are extra-terrestrial in origin, but rather their principal concern is to systematically address why UFOs are dismissed by the authorities. Using an approach based in political theory they view this subject matter via the constructs of modern sovereignty [which they contend is anthropocentric in nature] and governmentality to outline how an ‘authoritative disregard’ of the UFO issue is necessitated and actively reproduced by science and the state.[6]

 

Since sovereignty is anthropocentric, in other words ‘constituted and organized by reference to human beings alone’, then state preserves and exerts the right to decide the norms and laws of society, as well as its exceptions.[7]

 

The threat then that the UFO poses is that the extra-terrestrial hypothesis [ETH] may account for its manifestation. The possibility of an ET presence, therefore, entails that this threat to modern rule takes three forms: physical, ontological and metaphysical.

 

Wendt and Duvall further elaborate upon this idea, but it be can be summarized as,

physical threats to life and ontological threats to identity or social being.’[8]

In light of this, why not, then, mobilize the UFO issue as a political endeavor to securitize the populous?

 

The answer, Wendt and Duvall assert, resides in the particular type of danger that the UFO presents to the metaphysics of anthropocentric sovereignty. Sovereignty relies upon its unquestioned authority in order to maintain its ability to rule, so an,

unknown that incorporates the possibility of ETs confounds this metaphysical certainty’, and therefore it cannot be safely securitized. [9]

Subsequently, Wendt and Duvall propose that the UFO, as an unknown, can only be “known” as a ‘taboo’.

 

They argue that its active denial is a political project, which can be thought of us as the ‘production of [un]knowledge’, or, as they employ Nancy Tuana’s term, the “epistemology of UFO ignorance”.[10]

Ignoring the UFO issue, however, requires a strategy, and here science is mobilized in the state’s campaign. Wendt and Duvall draw attention to the fact that, despite the existence of indirect physical evidence for the UFO, as well as witness testimony, the subject has never been consistently studied by science. In addition, and central to our debate, the state utilizes a scientific worldview, and UFO skeptics employ this version of truth in dispute of the ETH.

 

Wendt and Duvall outline how science allegedly advocates an objective, factual discourse in its pursuit of truth, and, therefore, politics is assumed to be distinct from this. Yet, they provide a critique of the skeptics’ proposals, such as the notion that ETs would land on the White House lawn if they were here, to demonstrate that ‘debates about ET intention are not based in scientific fact’.

 

Nevertheless, UFO skepticism is expounded as scientific truth. It appears then that a double standard is unveiled in the deployment of the scientific method, and it is the skeptics, ‘having secured the authority of science’, that have gained the ‘decisive advantage’ while the arguments of those in the UFO community are ‘dismissed as irrational belief’.

 

Crucially, UFO witness testimony is also rejected by the skeptics whereas in law and social science it carries ‘considerable epistemic weight in determining the facts’.

 

Science and truth it seems becomes a subjective process when mobilized by the state, and the UFO issue is regarded with ‘ridicule and scorn’.[11] The dismissal of the UFO issue is frequently evident in academic literature that encounters it.

 

The mechanism of modern rule ensures that,

power flows primarily from the deployment of specialized knowledge for the regulation of populations’.[12]

Arguably, in spite of interdisciplinary discourses, academia is structured in such a way: as compartmentalized, specialist areas.

 

Although academic discourses create the space for both resistance to and assimilation of dominant metaphysical constructs, as well as sites of ambivalence, in reality sovereign rule necessitates a conventional scientific world view. Therefore, it is perhaps unsurprising that the authoritative disregard of the UFO issue is prevalent in the academic community.

 

Moreover, the higher the authoritative status of those in academia the more ‘epistemic weight’ an authoritative voice has, and this privilege is reserved for the few that inhabit this elite space.

 

The authoritative disregard that Wendt and Duvall underscore is clearly evident in Dr Mark Newbrook’s essay, The Aliens Speak – and Write Examining Alien Languages.[13]

In 1999, Gary Anthony, a ‘skeptical examiner’ of the UFO subject, initiated the Alien Semiotics Project and recruited the aid of scientists who specialized in cryptanalysis and linguistics.[14]

 

The aim of the project was to involve ‘unbiased qualified experts’ in the scientific, ‘fair appraisal’ of experiencers’ use of alleged alien languages and scripts. Newbrook was enlisted in the project and their call for contactee data was published in the MUFON UFO Journal in 2002. In this article, Anthony and Newbrook address the lack of ‘qualified linguistic, cryptanalysis or phonetic analysis’ of such contactee accounts.

 

This, they claim, is surprising given the efforts of ‘enthusiastic amateurs’, although often ‘well intended’, into the alien abduction phenomenon.[15]

 

By the time Newbrook’s 2004 essay appeared, this mode of rhetoric is markedly more distinct. UFO researchers are now ‘amateurs in linguistics’ with ‘a low level of expertise’ that have ‘no awareness of the subject’. Furthermore, Newbrook alludes to the idea that should they risk assisting in ‘the complex task of analysis and assessment’, their observations are liable to be ‘scanty and/or confused’ and of ‘almost no value’.[16]

 

He does not, however, provide in-depth scientific results for this assessment, much less an adequate discussion of how these conclusions were determined. Nevertheless, this rhetorical strategy serves a dual function: to reaffirm Newbrook’s position as an authoritative voice, while simultaneously marginalizing UFO researchers, and it excludes the audience from access to the authoritative domain.

 

It seems that Newbrook did not anticipate significant scholarly interest in this project from his peers, much less academic scrutiny via a peer reviewed process, so it would seem that his target audience are the ill-informed UFO researchers and ‘believers’.

 

Of course, what credible academic would seriously dispute Newbrook’s assertions anyway? Newbrook’s authoritative claims, it seems, and his delineation of truth are secure.

Another point of contention for Newbrook is that enthusiastic UFO amateurs are,

clearly committed to an interpretation of UFO abductions and contact as genuinely involving extraterrestrial aliens’.

This is a curious statement considering that Newbrook’s research interests include,

the application of skeptical methods to ‘fringe’ or controversial ideas about language’.[17]

Newbrook has also contributed articles to the Skeptical Inquirer as well as the Association for Skeptical Enquiry.

 

The subheading of the latter reads ‘Casting a critical eye over suspect science, dubious claims and suspect beliefs’.[18] Given that Newbrook, as a Skeptical Linguist, is ‘predisposed in favour’ of the skeptical hypothesis it is unlikely that alien languages and scripts would be granted a scientific ‘fair appraisal’.[19]

 

Also, if we were to adopt Newbrook’s empirical requirements for the study of ET languages and communication then Gary Anthony’s involvement would be highly questionable since he is described not as a linguistic specialist but rather as a ‘linguistic enthusiast’.

 

By virtue of association, however, Anthony’s entitlement, as representative of a subdominant order, is legitimized and regulated by the dominant order as bestowed by Newbrook’s authoritative rights.[20]

 

Anthony’s claim to the ‘Alien Semiotics Project’ is authenticated while the research of UFO ‘amateurs’ is sidelined. Evidently, as Wendt and Duvall imply, the dominant order reserves the right to decide the exception.

There are other examples of empirical gaps in Mark Newbrook’s essay. Far from providing the results of a rigorous scientific analysis into alien languages and scripts, as highlighted earlier, he reserves a few remarks for the Garden Grove abduction case, Paul Potters’s study of Betty Luca’s alien language and John Elliott’s SETI related research.

 

His main focus remains on Mary Rodwell’s work and, in particular, Tracey Taylor’s case.

As an experiencer, Taylor appears to be able to write and speak in various alien scripts and languages. One of his main criticisms is how she delineates such language in use, particularly that there ‘’is no preconceived idea or concept about what a particular sound actually means’’ and that ‘’each utterance’’ is not related to ‘’earlier utterances’’.[21]

 

Taylor elaborates upon this further in Rodwell’s book by explaining that sounds and words do not denote specific meanings and the filtering of this process bypasses the ‘linear logical aspect of consciousness’ as well as ‘linear space-time’.

 

Furthermore, each utterance is ‘not related to the past in anyway’. She posits that it is interpreted unconsciously, intuitively and instantaneously by another. The origin of this ‘sound vibration’ is attributed to the ‘universal mind’ or to ‘God’ and, at this present time on Earth, cannot be accurately translated. Instead, it ‘directly connects to the ‘soul of another’ and she implies that this method moves towards a mode of telepathic communication.[22]

Although Taylor’s delineation of such language may seem incomprehensible to some, evoking the notion of the ‘uncanny’ whereby the seemingly familiar or everyday becomes the unfamiliar and strange, it is, nevertheless, recognizable to others.[23]

 

Rodwell states that these languages, when spoken by experiencers, are familiar to many and she highlights the reaction of Dana Redfield upon hearing the use of Taylor’s alien language:

I spoke along with her, almost as if I was engaging in a two way conversation’.[24]

Newbrook, however, fails to mention this.

 

Presumably, this constitutes a moment of when witness testimony is rendered meaningless but it is, nevertheless, representative of an essential moment in moving towards an understanding of what may be occurring in forms of alien communication. Consequently, a language or mode of communication that exists only in the present and is interpreted via an unfamiliar process, and does not, seemingly, signify a particular meaning would indeed confound a standard linguistic analysis.

 

If this is accurate, it would in fact disrupt conventional concepts of time and challenge our understanding of the methodology of language and how we define it. Newbrook does concede that the translation of this type of alien language, as described by Taylor, would be impossible in the absence of a ‘stable or well-defined structure’.

 

However, he implies that such a language would be ‘unlikely in the extreme’ since language conveys the ‘repetition of meaningful units’.

 

This leads him to speculate about the improbability of these languages and that they could ‘differ in such a fundamental respect’, and suggests that aliens that had these psychological capabilities,

would presumably not need or use alien language’.[25]

Newbrook’s mode of analysis is in-keeping with skeptical rhetoric but, in utilizing Wendt and Duvall’s argument, is not based in scientific fact.

 

Similarly, it is not far removed from their criticism of the skeptics’ strategy of adopting debates about ET intentions as scientific discourse. In another passage, Newbrook is able to describe Taylor’s scripts as ‘grass-stroke style in a range of large alphabets’, but he is unable to translate the meaning.

 

This is apparently due to the fact that there is ‘too little material’.[26]

 

Philip J. Imbrogno however received eight pages of a script from Dean Fagerstrom, a security guard, in 1982 and they were examined by cryptographers and linguistics. They were unable to produce a sufficient analysis except to offer that the symbols in his script appeared to resemble a real language and contained two hundred individual characters.

 

Imbrogno asserts that he was able to eventually identify,

symbols and letters from over fifty different languages, of which thirty no longer exist.’

The implications of this are still compelling since Fagerstrom had reported to have obtained these during a missing time episode and has no conscious recollection of producing the symbols.[27]

 

Does the establishing of known languages in Fagerstrom’s script therefore eliminate the possibility of ET involvement?

 

Not necessarily, and even Newbrook suggests that Taylor’s spoken material could be indicative of glossolalia ‘speaking in tongues’, and that,

such phenomenon are still very interesting in themselves’.

Furthermore, neither does this remove the possibility of an engineered language that is a hybridized endeavor.[28]

Aside from Newbook’s exclusionary rhetoric, such as the deployment of linguistic terms that, on occasion, omit sufficient explanations regarding their meaning and usage, Newbrook manages to create the impression that his use of linguistic application is the only method of analyses.

 

In fact, linguistic typology, phonology and grammar, for instance, form only a part of linguistic studies, and even debates about the use of such fields configure part of a contemporary, on-going process of revision.

 

For example, debates about linguistic typology include the consideration of,

language as a dynamic system operating simultaneously on multiple levels of representation – rather than as a disparate assemblage of discrete levels of analysis [lexicon, phonology, syntax], or as a collection of particular linguistic phenomena’.[29]

Moreover, there are many fields and sub-fields that interrelate, and yet we are left to accept that Newbrook’s framework, which is suggestive of a reductive paradigm, can somehow adequately account for the totality of a completely unfamiliar discourse: alien languages and scripts.

Another example of the differences in linguistic application can be found in Robert de Beaugrande’s work.

 

As a text linguist, he observes that linguistic studies had become ‘obsessed with the system [units of analysis] at the expense of the text’, and he notes the limitations of a linguistics that examines the arrangement of words within sentences, but not the reasons for ‘why speakers say what they say, how language is used in various social groups’ and ‘how it is used in communication’.

 

Furthermore, he advocates the use of other disciplines, such as,

literary studies, cognitive science, artificial intelligence, ethnography, economics, and political science’, in the application of a linguistic framework.[30]

Robert de Beaugrande’s argument is a crucial one.

 

For example, intertextuality, normally employed in the use of literary studies, is highly relevant to the examination of alien languages and scripts. Although its definition and use varies somewhat, this model can be employed to study the multifaceted interrelationships of ET contact accounts.

 

In Newbrook’s analysis however, no such analysis of the relationships between ET contact texts is made. Instead, for the moment at least, a comparative study of ET contact accounts is curiously absent from Newbrook’s study of alien scripts. Of course, such an endeavor as The Alien Semiotics Project would prove to be a challenging one.

 

Problems not withstanding however, it seems that the project is little more than a political one, designed to reaffirm the authoritative discourse and foreclose the possibility of a serious, consistent examination. At present, no definitive results by Newbrook and Anthony have entered the public domain.

Perhaps then, amongst the inherent difficulties in the examination of alleged alien scripts is in the application of a mainstream, compartmentalized discipline that it is derived from conventional, human constructs of metaphysical reality. Indeed, the possible implications of Taylor’s account would entail such an ontological threat to identity and social being that Wendt and Duvall speak of, an unknown practice that exists outside of the state’s ability to know, whereby disrupting, its capacity to regulate its subjects.

 

In addition, this unknown discourse, a seemingly intuitively derived, non-local mode of communication, defies authoritative discourses and potentially engenders a move towards a ‘non-sovereign notion of self’.[31]

 

It is also possible that this mode of communication extends beyond our current understanding of what a language actually is.

 

As Mary Rodwell has highlighted, recent discoveries by Russian scientists have found that,

DNA can be influenced and reprogrammed by words and frequencies’.[32]

Consequently, it is possible that a currently unobservable, deeper purpose exists to experiencers’ use of alien languages; one that transcends our current conceptions of language to reveal a bio-communicative modality. Nevertheless, the intervention of alien languages contests our understanding of reality.

Whereas Wendt and Duvall’s political theory approach adopts a ‘realist moment’ to seriously consider the epistemology of UFO ignorance, and Newbrook’s analysis is informed by skeptical linguistics, a fairly significant body of academic texts that consider the ETH is situated within the humanities: in disciplines such as cultural and literary studies.

 

However, Wendt and Duvall’s, somewhat rare, realist approach stands in sharp contrast to these anti-realist texts. In fact, Wendt and Duvall draw attention to this issue in reference to Jodi Dean’s Aliens in America.

 

Her cultural, sociological critique attributes the manifestation of the ET presence to the,

postmodern breakdown of all modern certainties”.[33]

These types of text exist within the anti-realist paradigm since the possibility that ET contact could form a part of the fabric of reality is foreclosed from the outset.

 

Instead, the phenomenon is typically viewed within a cultural, sociological or psychological context. In fact, psychology’s treatment of the ETH is a fairly extensive area in of itself.

In Jodi Dean’s text the UFO issue is also political. However, unlike the ramifications implied by Wendt and Duvall’s rendering of the UFO as a subversive threat to modern rule, Dean situates declarations of ET contact as a political act that consigns the claimant to the margins of society.

 

Aliens then, as a symbolic trope, serve as a focus for societal ills, especially,

those located around the fault lines of truth, reality, and reasonableness’.

Aliens, Dean says, are connected to the hopes and fears ‘inscribed’ by technology, and the postmodern conditions of ‘passivity’, ‘suspicion’ and ‘paranoia’, have become reconceptualised via the alien abduction discourse.

 

She implies that the once marginalized have now, in a ‘techo-global information’ age of ‘networked opportunities’, gained access to communicative mediums that enable the stigmatized to articulate these fears. The representation of ET contact, as indicative of a postmodern state of ambivalence or dissonance in America, reconstructs the ‘familiar’ as ‘strange’ and Dean situates the UFO community within this site by alluding to the notion that science becomes reinterpreted as irrational.

 

Furthermore, it is,

ufological discourse [that] upholds the very criteria for scientific rationality that mainstream science uses to dismiss it’.[34]

As Wendt and Duvall note, however, Dean locates ‘scientific truth’ as a “fugitive”, and not that this,

might be overcome by considering, scientifically, the reality of UFOs’.[35]

In spite of this, Dean’s observation concerning the UFO community’s utilization of the scientific perspective is an important one, and one that, crucially, influences the various dynamics.

 

On this point, we shall return to this in the conclusion to our debate.

Other academic texts that adhere to an anti-realist discourse process the ET contact issue via the lens of race and identity. In Captivity Narratives and the Unknown Frontier, Anne Tiernan examines and compares the use of linguistic devices in Indian captivity, alien abduction and war captivity narratives. In this instance, the ET contact issue is consigned to a literary and cultural endeavor.

 

Metaphors, that unveil how “the Other” is delineated, are utilized in Teirnan’s approach to demonstrate how Americans responded to the capturing of its citizens by Native Americans; namely, that they became defined as ‘inferior or barbaric’.

 

Subsequently, alien abduction accounts, like the Indian captivity narrative, is illustrative of ‘the unknown’ and ‘undiscovered’ territory. This unknown reflects concerns about,

crossing frontiers and the forced experience of another culture’.

Similarly to Dean, the impact of globalization is the site for the new and unfamiliar frontier, but included within this concern is ‘the rapidly changing face’ of American society.[36]

 

The aspect of race is explored to an even greater degree in David Drysdale’s framing of the ET contact experience, in Alienating Futures: Raciology and Missing Time in The Interrupted Journey. In this he notes that scholars have observed the alien abduction narrative’s ‘strange obsession with race’.

 

The Betty and Barney Hill case provides the material for Drysdale’s theoretical premise that competing constructions of race ‘organise themselves around the body’, and the abduction narrative is viewed as a societal response to anxieties about a ‘technologically mediated raciology’.

 

In the Betty and Barney Hill case, the use of ‘advanced imagining technology’ to scan the Hills’ bodies is interpreted as a dystopian vision of a post racial future; a scientific colonization of the body that deletes the historical experience of race since the body is read as ‘code and information’.

 

Race, therefore, is subsidiary in this ‘nano-politics’ but the potential for racial transcendence includes the possibility of,

the affective significance of the body and its physical reminder of racial difference and its history’.

Similarly, the description of the grey signifies the postracial body:

a future vision of humanity that collapses racial differences ‘to the extent that they become inhuman’.

Additionally, Betty’s alien captor indicates that although she may remember her experience Barney will not. Subsequently, Drysdale suggests that a historical remembrance of race cannot be accessed by all in the postracial future.

 

The ETs therefore denote,

a cold, ahistorical future where history can be, and is, selectively deleted’.[37]

Drysdale’s processing of the ET contact issue raises some crucial points that warrant serious consideration by the UFO community since its cultural location is not exempt from wider societal issues.

 

Nevertheless, he does not engage this very point. Human articulations of experience are shaped by the historical moment in which they are enunciated and the use of language will illustrate this.

 

For instance, Drysdale highlights Betty’s use of various racial descriptors, such as the use of the term ‘mongoloids’, and attributes this to the historical moment.

 

Still, his viewing of Betty and Barney’s testimony of ET contact never moves beyond the racial paradigm to conceive of their discourse as a potentially real experience. Similarly, Jodi Dean’s insightful analysis of the ambivalent, anxiety ridden experience of contemporary society brought about, in part, by the impact of globalization is also a valid perspective.

 

Yet, her positioning of the UFO issue as a manifestation of these concerns, that in turn provides a political site for the displaced, is an over simplification of the UFO issue and one that uses subjectivity, not scientific discourse, to disregard a body of evidence. Crucially though, it is the pervasiveness of the scientific world view that assists in how the ET contact issue is processed in anti-realist texts.

 

The parallels that Anne Tiernan draws between Indian captivity and alien abduction narratives are somewhat tenuous since it is heavily reliant upon some broad themes, although well-established ones, of the alien abduction narrative.

 

Yet, the reproduction of these themes is not without pit falls since the complexities and diversities experienced in ET encounter narratives, especially those often labeled as exhibiting high strangeness, are often overlooked or not extensively analyzed.

 

Therefore, the processing of the alien abduction narrative in academia that disregards the possibility of ET contact as a real experience is demonstrative of a peripheral vision.

Some Implications of Academic Discourse

…and the Scientific Worldview for the UFO Community

Ufology, as a site distinct from the wider community, has sought to employ the scientific method in an attempt to validate the ETH as an authentic discourse within consensus reality.

 

Subsequently, the influence of the dominant order has shaped the treatment of the UFO issue in the UFO community. Yet, Wendt and Duvall’s assessment of the scientific paradigm suggests that the ETH cannot be, at present, authenticated by it.

 

This places the UFO community within an uncomfortable paradox, unable to achieve significant advancement in its dependence upon a conventional framework that cannot, at least in its conventional usage, sufficiently address the wider impact of the alien Other. Equally important is the impact of this upon the UFO community.

 

Since scientific evidence and reliable witnesses testimony is, typically, the hallmark of what determines a case’s validity then incidents which appear to lack respectability or scientific proof are often significantly marginalized or fervently contested.

However, we find often when contact cases are fully documented with all the differing stands of data required under this framework this still isn’t really enough. We mentioned previously two cases which had sufficient databases of evidence that would lead most legal organization to declare them “authentic” in a trial situation and yet these cases are ignored or derided by many from within the UFO community.

 

Thus in addition to the conflict outlined above – certain aspects of the contact community are also subject to the vast disinformation and PR resources of those power vectors who continue to prefer to see the issue marginalized.

The Gulf Breeze, the Billy Meier and the Jonathan Reed cases are representative of only a few examples of such accounts that dramatically split the UFO community, sparking fierce debates about their authenticity.

 

However, in a reassessment of the Jonathan Reed case, Craig R. Lang maintains that,

the pursuit of the deepest truths behind the ET/UFO anomaly phenomenon is, in fact, a harshly forbidden endeavor’.[38]

What are these deepest truths?

 

It is interesting to note that Jodi Dean’s anti-realist analysis is able to offer a shrewd observation concerning the UFO community’s assimilation and utilization of the scientific method that is rarely, if ever, interrogated by the UFO community itself. Instead, any limitations regarding this approach remain, largely, unacknowledged.

 

In addition to this, those in the UFO community who are keen to establish an authoritative discourse exemplify, in their attempts to adhere to a conventional scientific worldview, the dominant order’s practices. Therefore, as representative of a subdominant order they regulate, whereby determining, the wider UFO community’s practices.

 

Certainly, alternative studies of cases believed to be tenuous or unreliable would perhaps not prove to be a wise move for the established, authoritative researcher, and the use of language in the positioning of credible and non-credible researchers contributes to polarization.

 

Comments such as those made by UFONAUT RADIO would not seem out of place in the Skeptical Inquirer magazine. In a recent interview the site remarked that Nick Pope is,

far from your average grey-worshiping alien sycophant – he’s into evidence and open mindedness, much like ourselves’.[39]

Given the media line their interviewee has taken for the last decade or more, it seems this open mindedness implies the establishing of evidence via the scientific method with a good degree of formula fence-sitting thrown in.

 

It’s important to remind ourselves, with all this discussion of models, theories and metaphors, that there is a real impact for the way we confront the issue of ET contact. People have lost jobs, finances and been threatened or even killed for either being directly involved in or supporting certain contact cases that the state, or more likely above-government groups, have no desire to see illuminated.

 

Those members of the UFOlogy community who continue to declare what they see as the legitimate cases over the ‘hoax’ or inauthentic ones are in one sense directly aiding the very tangible negative effects on those associated with contact cases.

Thus as a dynamic and responsive model, we maintain that Exopolitics should seek to address the very constructions of reality that help to shape the Ufological discourse and, in the process, seek new approaches to contribute to the existing frameworks of analyses.

 

John Mack suggested that the scientific method, as a paradigm, could not sufficiently account for the ET contact issue. Instead, his call for the development of a scared science was an attempt to address the limitations of a Western, scientific discourse and its inability to account for the complexities of the ET contact issue.[40]

 

In the process, we perhaps may move towards enabling wider society to view the UFO issue with the urgency and importance that such a transformational event truly deserves.


ENDNOTES

[1] http://condon-committee.co.tv/
[2] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Operation_Mockingbird
[3] With relation to the complex contact case of Billy Meier – Jim Deardorff has explained this multi-layered process on his website: http://www.tjresearch.info/denial.htm
[4] High strangeness was a term coined by Fortean author John Keel. A term he concluded after much research as being representative of the often bizarre incidents that took place that eluded labeling of any real form.
[5] Examining of prominent researchers work such as Richard Dolan’s book “UFOs and the national Security State” leads to the conclusion that a pre-cold war National Security status was established in 1947 partially due to the panic over more overt contact with ET life after the atom bomb and Roswell crash.
[6] Alexander Wendt and Raymond Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” (Sage Publications, 2008) Political Theory: Volume 36 Number 4, August 2008, 607-633. This paper can also be obtained here: http://ovnis-usa.com/DIVERS/Wendt_Duvall_PoliticalTheory.pdf Wendt and Duvall draw upon Michel Foucault’s notion of governmentality, which can be thought of as the art of non-coercive governing via the regulation of knowledge to produce subjects who adequately fulfil governmental policies and, in turn, subjects become a part of the normalization process. See Michel Focault’s “Governmentality,” Ideology and Consciousness, No.6, Summer 1979, 5-21.
[7] Wendt and Duvall, Sovereignty and the UFO, 608-612. They employ the use of Carl Schmitt’s term, “decide the exception”, to argue that when governmentality is challenged then its sovereignty authority can decide when to suspend its norms and laws.
[8] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 620-622.
[9] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 621-622.
[10] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 611-612.
[11] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 607-17.
[12] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 612.
[13] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[14] http://www.uk-ufo.org/condign/bioga.htm
[15] http://www.theblackvault.com/encyclopedia/documents/MUFON/Journals/2002/July_2002.pdf
[16] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[17] http://users.adam.com.au/bstett/AWritersNewbrookMark75.htm
[18] http://www.aske-skeptics.org.uk/lost_for_words.html
[19] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[20] See Mae Gwendolyn Henderson’s essay for her use of the dominant and subdominant order, Speaking in Tongues: Dialogics, Dialectics, and the Black Woman Writer’s Literary Tradition, available in: Cherly A. Walls, eds., Changing Our Own Words: Essay’s on Criticism, Theory, and Writing by Black Women (Great Britain: Routledge, 1990), 17.
[21] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[22] Mary Rodwell, Awakening: How Extraterrestrial Contact Can Transform Your Life (UK: New Mind Publishers, 2002), 230-231.
[23] http://www.nthposition.com/uncanny.php
[24] Mary Rodwell, Awakening, 230.
[25] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[26] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[27] Philip J. Imbrogno, Ultraterrestrial Contact: A Paranormal Investigator’s Explorations into The Hidden Abduction Epidemic (USA: Llewellyn Publications, 2010), 237-238.
[28] http://magonia.haaan.com/2009/the-aliens-speak-and-write-examining-alien-languages-mark-newbrook/
[29] http://www.fas.harvard.edu/~lingdept/LT%2011.pdf
[30] http://www.beaugrande.com/texttmillennium.htm
[31] http://ojs.ed.uiuc.edu/index.php/pes/article/viewFile/1806/516
[32] http://merkaba.tribe.net/thread/cbbc4f8c-c4bf-45bf-9652-df48554ac5cd
[33] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 612.
[34] Jodi Dean, Aliens in America: Conspiracy Cultures From Outerspace to Cyberspace (New York: Cornell University Press, 1989), 6-15.
[35] Wendt and Duvall, “Sovereignty and the UFO,” 612.
[36] http://abacus.bates.edu/eclectic/vol4iss2/pdf/troaaams.pdf
[37] David Drysdale, Alienated Histories, Alienating Futures: Raciology and Missing Time in The Interrupted Journey (Association of Canadian College and University Teachers of English) ESC: English Studies in Canada: Volume 34, Issue 31, March 2008, 103-123.
[38] http://home.comcast.net/~lang.craig/reed_qs.htm
[39] http://jesserandolph.com/?p=1836
[40] http://experiencers.com/media/mack_goodchild.mp3

 

 

Introduction

The SETI debates have included cautionary arguments about the possibility that aliens might be hostile. But this perspective, most easily dealt with by military attitudes, tends to be set aside in favour of an assumption that aliens would necessarily be intelligent and motivated to communicate in a way that fits comfortably into western assumptions — to the point of commercializing the dispatch of personal messages into deep space at a charge of $14.95 each.

Unfortunately the assumptions associated with this process do not seem to have been explored. Reliance on number theory as a basis for developing communication could easily be interpreted as a convenient projection by a psycho-socially unchallenged scientific milieu — which has its own internal communication problems between disciplines for which no common language has yet been developed. The nature of the challenge can perhaps best be scoped out by exploring the difficulties of communicating with the “aliens” that are frequently encountered in the daily life of a global society.

In exploring these challenges it is worth reflecting on the Aztec culture which, according to some archeologists, was effectively destroyed by its own surprise at the arrival of the conquistadores in 1519 — in conformity with predictions by its own priesthood. It could not respond effectively to the surprising nature of those who arrived — or the diseases they brought. To what extent does modern civilization — with its own apocalyptic and doom-mongering “priesthoods” — have lessons to learn from the cultural unpreparedness of the Aztecs? Is our civilization as brittle and inward-looking as that of the Aztecs proved to be?

Many strategic studies relating to the future of modern governance stress the challenge of surprise in a turbulent environment. How might aliens surprise us and undermine assumptions vital to the integrity of our civilization? And why is it almost universally assumed that they would bring no microbial life-forms that might be highly problematic for some species on Earth?

In the examples which follow it is not the issues of negotiating the evident differences — already difficult enough — but understanding what those differences may imply. A major part of the challenge may come from unforeseen ways in which humans are challenged by what aliens value as “positive” as well as what they necessarily question as “positive” in human society.

Then there is the challenge of what aliens value as “negative”, including differences in their evaluation of what humans consider as “negative” — especially when it is accompanied by deep denial. For an extensively documented review of such challenges as they manifest in the relationships between modern culture and the “alien” cultures of indigenous peoples, see the study by the United Nations Environment Programme: Cultural and Spiritual Values of Biodiversity: a complementary contribution to global biodiversity assessment (1999).

Back to Contents

Communicating with Aliens:

the Psychological Dimension of Dialogue

PART I

TEST CHALLENGES FOR ALIEN ENCOUNTER

29 March 2000

The experiences of “alienness” in communicating with “normal” terrestrials can be clustered as follows:

A: Language: challenge between languages

  • of same group (English-French, English-Greek)
  • of different language groups (English-Chinese, English-Hopi)
  • of different accent (Average English-Caribbean English)
  • of different subculture (Average English-Teenage jargon)
  • of different age group (older/parent–younger/teenager)
  • of different gender (male (chauvinist) — female (feminist))
  • of different ideology (right-wing (establishment) — left-wing (revolutionary))
  • of different computer languages (Windows — Macintosh — Unix)

Some of these challenges are best explored in the light of the work on linguistic typology. The challenges of communication with aliens are perhaps best exemplified in the classic parent-teenager situations, where supposedly a common language is in use — and despite lack of familiarity with prime number theory !

The challenges of communication with mothers-in-law are a continuing theme of drama. The appropriate language for communication between sexes has been explored in a variety of ways in many cultures known to anthropologists — challenging assumptions about how neutral aliens may be to such matters. In discussing aliens, it is ironic that a current best-seller is entitled Men are from Mars and Women from Venus!

In a discussion of anthropomorphism, Stuart Watt (The Lion, the Bat, and the Wardrobe: myths and metaphors in cognitive science) comments on Ludwig Wittgenstein‘s (Philosophical Investigations, 1953) point “if a lion could talk, we could not understand him.”

Watt remarks, in points relevant to any foreseen communication with aliens:

Wittgenstein’s point was that language forms part of a larger “language-game” outside which that language cannot be understood: the language is shaped by aspects of the language-game that form “outward criteria” for it, implying that since humans and lions don’t share language-games they cannot share language or understanding. Unfortunately, it isn’t that simple.

Somehow we intuitively feel that we could interpret, to some very small degree, what a lion would say to us, even though we don’t speak ‘Lion.’ A lot of human interaction is based in paralinguistic rather than linguistic communication.

It would be interesting to see a typology of cultures, in the light of cultural anthropology and cross-cultural psychology, that could be used to identify test challenges for communication with aliens — and to hypothesize the existence of challenges in cases which are outside any such Earth-bound framework. Of special interest is the possibility may have fundamental concepts that cannot be translated into any human language. Examples in the case of human languages have been well-explored by Howard Rheingold (1988) and suggest the need for an Encyclopedia of Conceptual Insights from the World’s Cultures.

The case of communication between incompatible computer languages is intriguing because of the precise intermediary steps involved in ensuring an appropriate interface.

B: Behavioral contexts: challenge of overlays of etiquette / protocol between:

  • Average Westerner — Southern African Bushman
  • Average Westerner — Aristocrat (at court)
  • Average Westerner — Diplomat
  • Average Westerner — Gypsy
  • Average Westerner — Spiritual hierarch (charismatic guru, etc)

Etiquette may be of far greater consequence to communication than is assumed in the crude etiquette of average western society. This may be more clearly seen in less common cultures — and most readily accessible in simplified form in the country-by-country Culturgrams produced by a program of Brigham Young University. Is there a case for an interactive cross-cultural web database on etiquette and protocol to guide people venturing into challenging dialogues that may be filled with behavioural minefields and protocol traps that could potentially undermine any fruitful outcome?

Such challenges have been most charmingly exemplified in a scene from The Gods Must Be Crazy where the desert bushman reaches out to take the muzzle of a revolver pointed at him in anger — thinking it was some kind of gift to be graciously accepted. It is therefore very possible that when the aliens gesture to indicate some distant possibility, humans (like dogs) will look attentively and expectantly at the gesturing portion of the alien anatomy.

More challenging to the westerner is the continuing problem of communication between “castes”, such as those of Hindu culture, in which associating with a westerner may itself be problematic for the higher castes. An intriguing test case is the process of interaction with a gypsy group, perhaps one of the best defined “aliens” in western society — and visiting extraterrestrials could well be interstellar gypsies looking for a place to camp for a while.

Perhaps the most obvious challenge is that associated with gender bias. It is only in very recent years that gender bias in formal dialogue has been to some degree overcome amongst westerners. It is still the case that the presence of women in dialogue with Arabian cultures, for example, can be extremely problematic. Japanese culture, for example, makes assumptions about the seriousness of dialogue where younger generations are present — also an only recently overcome bias in the West. For aliens, of course, the reverse may well apply in each case. The West is developing its own cult of youth — notably in the high tech industries and the fundamental sciences, where creativity is not to be expected beyond a certain age.

Many have explored the communication challenges of relating to gurus or other people held to be of spiritual authority. Especially interesting is where the special conditions of such communication raise issues about the replicability of development-related insights across cultures, as explored in an earlier paper concerning the Swadhyaya (Judge, 1995)

C: Behavioural attributes: challenges of communication between:

  • Average Westerner — Dwarf/Midget
  • Average Westerner — Super-gifted, genius, etc
  • Average Westerner — Mentally or behaviorally challenged
  • Average Westerner — Exceptionally beautiful, elegant, etc
  • Average Westerner — Exceptionally ugly

Communication may be severely conditioned by differences in physical or psychological attributes and how they are to be negotiated by both parties, as has been amply demonstrated in human societies.

Aliens may have quite different memory (and mental) capacity to that of humans, whether individually or collectively. In human societies the erosion of collective memory, especially in a situation of information overload, can lead to many dysfunctionalites (explored in Judge, 1982). There is a striking parallel between the many attempts by the UN Secretary General to communicate to world society the urgency of the present human situation and the following fictional account of an analogous situation for an alien encountering a planet-bound individual:

“To say that he understood what went on was true. To say that he did not understand — was true. I would sit and explain, over and over again. He listened, his eyes fixed on my face, his lips moving as he repeated to himself what I was saying. He would nod: yes, he had grasped it. But a few minutes later, when I might be saying something of the same kind, he was uncomfortable, threatened. Why was I saying that? and that? his troubled eyes asked of my face: What did I mean?

His questions at such moments were as if I had never taught him anything at all. He was like one drugged or in shock. Yet it seemed that he did absorb information for sometimes he would talk as if from a basis of shared knowledge: it was as if a part of him knew and remembered all I told him, but other parts had not heard a word.

I have never before or since had so strongly that experience of being with a person and knowing that all the time there was certainly a part of that person in contact with you, something real and alive and listening — and yet most of the time what one said did not reach that silent and invisible being, and what he said was not often said by the real part of him. It was as if someone stood there bound and gagged while an inferior impersonator spoke for him”.

(Doris Lessing. Re: Colonised Planet 5 – Shikasta, London, 1979, pp. 56-57).

What may aliens believe that we have equivalent difficulty in understanding? The collective inadequacy of society in the face of information on the world problematique suggests that such aberrations should be reviewed carefully. Collective memory would seem to be exposed to processes leading to its very rapid erosion. Psychiatrist Ronald Laing has given an account which can be interpreted as dramatizing the problem of institutional and inter-institutional learning (see elsewhere) that may be relevant to how aliens will experience humans.

Such examples suggest that understanding the possible constraints on societal learning in the presence of aliens could benefit from a systematic review of the pathology of individual memory (see elsewhere) — notably with respect to its fragmentation, whether as systems almost completely independent of each other, or individually in their isolation of subject categories from each other.

D: Different agendas: challenges of communication between:

  • Average Westerner — Media attention freak (movie star, etc)
  • Average Westerner — Mafia gangster
  • Average Westerner — Demonic cultists, satanist, etc
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive salesperson, con-artist, etc
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive entrepreneur, “developer”, etc
  • Average Westerner — Security freak, agoraphobe, etc
  • Average Westerner — Health freak, or severely/chronically/terminally ill
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive seducer, nymphomaniac, etc
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive substance abuser
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive (psycho)therapist
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive religious proselytizer, soul-saver, etc
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive socio-politcal reformer
  • Average Westerner — Political subversive, terrorist, etc
  • Average Westerner — Political refugee / Economic refugee
  • Average Westerner — Hypernationalist (Yugoslavia, etc)
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive gambler
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive property claimant
  • Average Westerner — Obsessive hunter (scalps, trophies, booty, or food)

These cases point to the ways in which the interest of the alien in any communication may be far from as innocent as the SETI programs assume. From the reverse perspective, presentation of a sequence of prime numbers by a visiting alien, desirous of establishing communication with any of the above could have quite laughable consequences. Such examples make clear that in an encounter with an alien the process may not be a neutral, innocent exercises in mutual curiosity.

Science fiction scenarios have vaunted human skills as traders, but humans may even be perceived like a special food to some aliens (caviar for extraterrestrials !). Groups concerned by alien abduction have articulated their own perspective on “communication” with aliens. Intelligence aside, it may be that aliens have more developed skills in areas in which humans are totally naive.

The legal issues may be significant, especially since the aliens would necessarily be defined as “stateless” and subject to the many challenges of statelessness. More intriguing is the possibility that the aliens may have a more highly developed sense of property, to the degree that any utterance by them may be considered personal property (for which some unforeseen “release” may be obligatory), or that they would be free to lay claim to real estate and mining rights according to some galactic regime (in a manner similar to European colonial claims on American soil in recent centuries past).

Current concern with the patenting of genetic products from developing countries may point to the need of aliens to act in a similar manner — perhaps as a consequence of obsession with extremely challenging diseases (such as the equivalent of AIDS). Science fiction has explored scenarios of dying alien civilizations subject to chronical illness for which remedies are desperately sought at any cost.

The use of humans for alien breeding programs is another theme — making “alien abduction” a major preoccupation for some. The human equivalent, in the form of (forced) acquisition and trading in physical organs, should not be forgotten. Genetically modified animals are now being used by humans to produce new drugs — a process known as “pharming” that aliens may have developed in ways that humans would find challenging.

Also intriguing is whether the arriving aliens are accompanied by special guarantors of appropriateness in the person of the equivalent of: a priest (as with Columbus), a political commissar (as with Communist regimes), an intelligence agent (reporting to secret military authorities), the representative of the equivalent of Galactic Greenpeace (preoccupied by the environment) or Amnesty Galactica (concerned by species rights), a trading agent (to ensure the commercial prospects of multigalactic corporations), or a scientific researcher — as some would like to assume. Which might be dominant, and what others might be possible?

Some have speculated that aliens might have strong game-playing agendas the outcome of which would determine the form of communication with humans. Such games are as likely to be mental as emotional. The mental variants would delight (or depress) the IQ-obsessed, as with the mathematical puzzles favoured by Mensa. The psychological and emotional variants, used by humans in occupational tests, might be another matter — although those resonating with the psycho-cultural dimensions of Hermann Hesse’s famous Glass Bead Game (discussed in Part II) might be especially intriguing.

If the tests take the form of virtual reality simulations the uncertainties might increase considerably. If they are situational, as with some Japanese-style executive team-building programs (termed “hell camps”), it is quite unclear how prepared humans might be — especially if the stakes are a matter of life or death. The current avid enthusiasm for videogames may however be a vital preparation for such games. Perhaps aliens might make use of virtual “avatars” to portray and explore a variety of positions in virtual role-playing — or maybe this is done through forms of psychodrama (as with the Transformation Game).

Some might hope that aliens will have a strong spiritual preoccupation, affirming religious beliefs of mankind — and Earth’s “universal” values. An appropriate tone of dialogue may be evoked by some equivalent of preliminary prayer, attunement or meditation. Arranging this process, and its aesthetics, can also be fraught with challenges and traps — as outlined in an earlier paper (Judge, 1997) based on the challenges of inter-faith dialogue.

Clearly there is a high probability that there spiritual beliefs would be “alien” in many ways that would make humans extremely uncomfortable and offer every opportunity for negative stereotypes. They may have very strong proselytizing agendas like the Christian charismatics — effectively visiting Earth on a door-to-door-missionary circuit armed with an appropriate sacred text through which humanity should be saved.

Checklist of possible alien purposes (incomplete)

curiosity aesthetics, landscapes fauna, flora
scientific exploration “because its there” sport, mountains, waves
pilgrimage inspiration missionary / charity
tourism weather photo safari analogue
for the opera (Wagner!) for the art people watching
“for a laugh” carnival / to party “to hang out”
gourmet tourism food (blood, vampire, etc) drugs, drink
gambling trophy hunting  
organ replacement bodies for breeding  
tax write off analogue sex-tourism analogue  
infliction of pain Schadenfreude disaster tourism
“pacification” “human rights” analogue “development”
products / minerals trade military / security / strategic
therapy rest / recuperation biomedical experimentation

The ultimate irony would be if the communication priorities of the visit mirrored those of the international community in relating to developing countries (and transitional economies) — namely concerned the severe underdevelopment of the planet, the treatment of “minority” species, and the need to implement a variety of remedies through some stringent austerity programs à la IMF (designed by galactic economists preoccupied by the unquestionable logic of rapid galactization or universalization).

Science fiction has frequently explored the possibility that they might be refugees from environmental collapse, terror or exploitation elsewhere.

E: Different knowledge disciplines (epistemological frameworks): challenge between:

  • Average Westerner — Pure mathematician
  • Average Westerner — Lawyer
  • Average Westerner — Psychologist
  • Average Westerner — Cybernetician
  • Average Westerner — Engineer
  • Average Westerner — Biologist
  • Average Westerner — Political scientist
  • Average Westerner — Religious dogmatist (Catholic, Islam, Hindu, Buddhist)

The challenges in human society of communication with specialists, or conveying their insights to others, are well-documented — as are the tragic dynamics of communications between specialists, even of the same discipline. Practitioners of opposing schools of thought can readily perceive each other as totally alien — even in the same university common room. Those strongly identified with a particular discipline, whether mathematics or classical music, are commonly understood to perceive those that do not share their enthusiasm as “alien”.

The implications of use of different patterns of logic, beyond the binary logic favored by Western cultures, has been explored in an earlier paper (Judge, 1982), but especially by Magoroh Maruyama. Even the constraining tendency towards polarization can be usefully reframed in the light of non-Western insights (Judge, 1998) as an illustrative challenge of the possible nature of dialogue with aliens. Such exercises are valuable reminders when endeavoring to deal with cultures that have a different relationship to space and time.

F: Different temporal contexts: challenge between:

  • Average Westerner — Gung-ho, high pressure yuppie
  • Average Westerner — Hanging out style (Caribbean, etc)
  • Average American — Latin style
  • Average American — Arab style
  • Average Westerner — “Eternal” style (Vatican, monasteries, ashrams, etc)

Aliens may not favor directive, instrumental communication. Scheduling a dialogue may be the kind of nightmare which northern Europeans experience in dealing with other cultures. As in some rural and other contexts, communication may only be considered possible after a variety of lengthy processes of co-existence and mutual adjustment. Also intriguing is whether the aliens would be primarily concerned with the past (the historical sweep of their own cultural evolution), the future (evolution of their culture), or the present encounter with humans. Like the Hopi or the Australian Aborigines, aliens may have a different relationship to time and the co-presence of the past.

Like many Asians, even amongst elites, successful communication for the aliens may be highly dependent on the auspiciousness of the time — just as many westerners are averse to acting on days about which there are superstitions (such as the 13th, notably Friday the 13th). It would be ironic if, in terms of galactic time, the recent non-communication with humanity was due to the 20th century having been an inauspicious period for dialogue — or perhaps the century was the galactic equivalent of Ramadan or the Sabbath.

Much more intriguing is the possibility that aliens may have an entirely different understanding of time. This might be described by humans in terms of either a much more rapid pace or a much slower pace. If faster, their experience would be akin to that of encountering the slowest of country bumpkins (intriguingly a key presenter at the Davos 2000 Forum spoke so rapidly that the chairperson had to promise to replay the presentation at half speed).

Humans might experience them like mayflies. If slower, as perhaps befitting a species that had achieved longevity, humans experience of them might resemble that of encountering a guru who only responded in dialogue after an hour or day of reflection on any remark made.

G: Different spatial contexts: challenge between:

  • Average American distance — Latin touching/proximity
  • Average American distance — Diplomatic/Aristocratic distance
  • Average American distance — Chinese/Japanese imperial distance

Only a few decades in the past the degree of physical distance considered appropriate between the cultured and others was very high. Marked traces of this remain in the attitude of diplomats and government officials, whose status and identity may be largely defined by the distance they maintain from those they consider their inferiors. Aliens may hold such views to a much higher degree, or may practice the reverse (possibly even requiring a degree of intimate contact that would be considered offensively invasive). However, reduced distance does not imply successful communication, even when it may seem to do so.

In addition to differing senses of appropriate linear distances, there could well be radical differences in the configuration of participants considered appropriate to meaningful dialogue. Traces of this are to be seen in setting up a table arrangements for a multilateral peace negotiation or great power summits — on which much preliminary negotiating time can be spent. Current concern about terrorist groups is relevant in that it is claimed that such groups do not want to get “a place at the table” but rather to “destroy the table”.

Other variants can be seen in ritual settings, notably with respect to some religions, and especially those based on pagan or magical inspirations stressing geometrical configuration of participants. Aliens may react like some dialogue groups who see any table structure as an inappropriate separating device between participants, as well as symbolically differentiating between what is above (or on) the table from what is below (under) or off the table.

Much is made of this symbolism in secretive arrangements and “under the table” deals. This is more clearly recognized in Eastern cultures where there is as much sensitivity to what is said as to what is not said (cf the Japanese distinction between tatemae and honne, between the explicitly stated and the unspoken realities). It leads to conditions in which people say one thing and do something different — typical of the more cynical at many international conferences

Aliens may be far more sensitive to the geographical locus of dialogue — following the kinds of preference of those who consider that only meetings in spiritual or “powerful” locations are effective or meaningful. What assumptions might aliens make about effective configurations and locations?

H: Different historical socio-technical eras: challenge between:

  • 20th century western — 15th century western
  • 20th century western — 10th century western
  • 20th century western — 5th century western
  • 20th century western — 0th century western

Many studies have explored the changes in mindsets over the centuries and the nature of the challenge of communicating with a person from centuries past, whether a genius like Leonardo da Vinci, or with the less educated or cultured.

I: Different species: challenges of communication between:

  • Average Westerner — Other primates (chimpanzees, etc)
  • Average Westerner — Other mammals (dolphins, whales, horses, dogs, etc)
  • Average Westerner — Spiders, snakes, snails, scorpions
  • Average Westerner — Plants

The first two are the subject of extensive research. Many have experience of the nature of communication with pets — and even with plants. The challenge of communication with aliens is that humans may have the same status for them as pets — and judged like other mammals (lacking some quality analogous to a soul) as being essentially challenged in their ability to communicate. It is also possible that the prime galactic criterion determining the basis for any communication is that the species in question be able to demonstrate its unambiguous recognition of intelligence in species other than its own — totally in contrast to the speciesism implicit in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.

Why is it assumed that aliens would be of a single distinct species, when they may come as symbionts or an ecosystem — a cluster of mutually dependent species. For humans this can be best understood by those who have a strong bond with pets and cannot travel without them. Some may travel on them — like parrots — but whether the rider or the ridden is the intelligent partner may be an initial challenge in any dialogue.

As with guide dogs, animals may be essential to the ability of the aliens to interact with their surroundings — or perhaps they may ride them like horses. The human-alien dialogue process may be conditioned by the possibility of interaction via such “pets”. Aliens may wonder why human conferences only allow decorative plants as companion species, and fail to benefit from the communication processes catalyzed by animal species. After all as “working dogs”, a team of Labradors could well have a role as dialogue facilitators in any conference — following recent experiments in such use in convalescent homes.

Presumably, unlike Hindu temples, the only animals tolerated in United Nations conferences on environmental issues are guide-dogs for the visually handicapped. Aliens may well see the need for animals as an essential aid to the emotionally handicapped. In this respect it is worth reflecting on current human use of animal mascots by the military, and in Christmas or harvest celebrations in churches (cf use of donkeys, sheep and cows).

There is also the possibility that aliens may perceive humans themselves as belonging to a variety of co-dependent species — if they define “species” in terms of function in society (qualities that humans associate with academic disciplines, occupations, inter-personal roles, class, belief systems, ideologies, etc). For them, dialogue may require inter-action with a healthy ecosystem of such human species — a real challenge to an inter-disciplinarily challenged academic community.

J: Different modes of communication: challenges between:

  • Verbal conversation — Song (bird song, etc)
  • Verbal conversation — Touch (bird grooming, etc)
  • Verbal conversation — Smell (pheromones, etc)
  • Verbal conversation — Taste (kissing, licking, etc)
  • Verbal conversation — Movement, gesture, etc
  • Verbal conversation — Empathy, telepathy, etc

The procedure of verbal negotiation may be considered as a very narrow band mode of communication, as it is in many human cultures and relationships. The contrast has long been made between the vital use of gestures by Latin cultures and its disparagement by non-Latin cultures as an indicator of inadequate education (see especially the paper by Bernard J Hibbitts on performance cultures). Some human subcultures even attach great importance to intuitive communication, whether it is interpreted as sympathy, empathy, or telepathy. Alien aesthetics may well-perceive the preferred modes of humans as totally uncouth.

Even amongst humans, the total impact of a message is reported to down like this: 7 percent verbal (words); 38 percent vocal (volume, pitch, rhythm, etc); 55 percent body movements (mostly facial expressions, eye contact). However these percentages may vary with cultures, as is indicated by Japanese preferences for avoidance of eye contact, and for the challenges of eye contact between the sexes, notably in Islamic cultures. The discomfort that many feel with videoconferencing as a communication medium may be indicative of another challenge. What would the situation be with aliens?

In the light of the traditional interest of human elites in communication with the supernatural (whether framed in religious terms or otherwise), it is possible that the aliens may be more dependent on “channelling” than humans — to the considerable annoyance of natural scientists. This dimension is regularly explored in the popular series Star Trek — which has a telepathic empathy as a regular crew member.

Aside from the challenge of infectious disease during the dialogue process, there is a subtler challenge of non-physical consequences of the dialogue process. The exchange may result in humans being memetically modified, and it may result in some form of communicable mental or affective disturbance. Just as encountering some humans can be experienced as inherently depressing, negative, and an energy drain, much more severe consequences may result from alien contact. Science fiction has explored scenarios in which contact might send people mad.

Of course many are optimistic that the reverse may be the case. This too could be a challenge if humans become effectively enchanted or entranced by aliens whose behavior holds them spellbound — as media stars can affect human teeny-boppers. The overwhelming impact of such future development of public relations techniques on human susceptibilities might be imagined in the light of the effects of present day techniques on isolated peoples of the world.

Earlier, reference was made to the possibility that aliens might consider normal in dialogue a degree of intimacy (whether physical or psychological) that humans would experience as extremely challenging — although the reverse might also be the case if it was the aliens who required high degrees of distance during social intercourse. Just as some people engage in social intercourse in a manner which can be perceived as very “forward” — “coming on strong” — it may be that aliens would have a degree of engagement in such intercourse that was more reminiscent of an intense courtship initiative.

This might be expected to engender some form of inter-cultural progeny through inter-cultural analogues to the reproductive process. They might perceive encounters between species and cultures as having more in common, in psycho-behavioural terms, with “making love” than with the rigidities of diplomatic protocol and conventional dialogue. This would be an ironic inter-cultural echo of the 1960s slogan: “make love, not war”. Their manual of inter-cultural intercourse might bear more resemblance to the Kama Sutra than to conventional manuals on negotiation and dialogue.

Do these possibilities raise the need for some form of conceptual contraceptive to ensure “safe dialogue”? Or maybe it will be aliens who are more concerned at being memetically contaminated — like members of some sects who strongly discourage contact with non-believers.

K: Different modes of confirming trust and confidence bonds:

  • Giving one’s word
  • Sharing blood (blood-bonds)
  • Signing documents
  • Drinking / Breaking bread together
  • Sharing (bed) partners
  • Making a sacrifice

It would be a mistake to believe that signifiers of agreement with aliens can be focused on some variant of document signing. A useful contrast to average Western engagement is with the Japanese understanding of giri. Use of forms of contractual bondage could also be explored. It is worth recalling the treaties cynically made by the Europeans with indigenous peoples in colonial lands, and how their commitments were skillfully avoided or ignored by arrogant authorities.

Humanity might well find itself in the position of the indigenous peoples in dealing with the equivalent of galactic law and the loopholes through which treaty commitments could later be manipulated to the disadvantage of humans. But it may be into conceptual, rather than territorial, “reservations” that humans are effectively encouraged to move.

Again, in the not too distant past, both dialogues and agreements could be given special significance by sacrifice. After all sacrifice of animals is still considered appropriate by some major religions at religious feasts (even in Brussels, special containers have to be provided annually to collect the remains) or to celebrate the opening of new building complexes. So why assume that aliens would not consider this appropriate before a dialogue?

It should not be forgotten that our civilization effectively requires human sacrifice prior to adopting any new health and safety legislation — no deaths, no legislation. It is just a question of how many bodies are required to gain passage of the legislation, just as cultures of the past have made greater sacrifices in response to greater need. The aliens may see our approach as we see that of the Aztecs.

In this respect, it is worth remembering that in the USA in 1996, about forty-five million turkeys were slaughtered for Thanksgiving (and twenty-two million for Christmas, and nineteen million for Easter). In what respect should this not be considered a sacrifice? The same may be asked about Christmas trees. The question is especially pertinent to dialogue with aliens if they resemble turkeys or pine trees.

L: Different degrees of personal enhancement (cosmetic, bodily modification, genetic, memetic)

  • Cosmetics (including fragrances)
  • Minor modifications (cosmetic surgery)
  • Piercing, tattooing
  • Mechanical implants (breasts, etc)
  • Electronic implants (interfaces, etc)
  • Biological implants (symbionts)
  • Psychological implants (cognitive systems, personalities, etc)

These may be vital signifiers of status (or lack of it), as they have been in human societies. Strong judgments may be attached to their use, as has been the case with human attitudes to cosmetics (eg Protestant purists). Some humans already envisage implants of various kinds to enhance their interface with data networks — as well as the many possibilities of nanotechnology for personal enhancement.

There has been speculation that aliens may have a closer integration with machines. Others are already focused on the possibilities of genetic modification which aliens may have taken to what humans would consider unacceptable extremes.

More intriguing is the possibility that the differences between humans and aliens may be understood in terms of memetic, rather than genetic, modification. Focused education is effectively a process of memetic engineering to implant new meme patterns — especially in the case of indoctrination as practiced in some military, religious, political, or business education programs. Aliens may understand this in terms of memetic implants and again may have taken the process to extremes beyond that achieved by academic specialization and religious schism formation.

This would be specially relevant if aliens assumed the appropriateness of “corrective memetic surgery” to remove unwanted patterns — as effectively practiced in cruder forms in human “re-education programs”. Given the recognized need to change behavior to meet environmental challenges, the aliens may see it as appropriate for them to facilitate this corrective process — with a benevolent interventionist policy analogous to that of the World Health Organization vaccination programs. Objectors to such vaccination, as with Jehovah’s Witness opposition to vaccination, would need to be dealt with.

M: Different value systems: challenge of non-conformity with galactic equivalent of:

  • Trade law standards
  • Human rights standards
  • Health and safety standards
  • Military security standards
  • Environmental standards
  • Cultural development standards
  • Indecent information (privacy, obscenity, pornography, etc)
  • Species rights standards
  • Child rights standards

Human standards may be viewed with repugnance, notably when they signal underlying attitudes to alien species — still challenged by issues of color and ethnicity amongst human species. As noted earlier, the conformity of Earth’s “universal” values to galactic standards may be a real challenge to human society. An ironic example might be galactic concern with radio emissions from Earth as a noisy neighbor (especially at $14.95 a message) — an analogue to the challenge of pollution by carbon emissions.

Unlike the emphasis on the accumulation of wealth, it is possible that aliens may be preoccupied with the accumulation of some other value. Buddhists, for example, seek to accumulate merit. Some traditional societies have sought to accumulate honour. Urban gangs may be primarily concerned with accumulation of respect or reputation.

Aliens may value life quite differently. As with some human societies of the past (and some military leaders of the present), lives may be quite expendable in pursuit of some larger cause. The case of fanatical suicide bombers and kamikaze pilots should be borne in mind. As with certain religions, reincarnation may be a fundamental reality.

The consequence of this might be dialogue situations in which participants are deliberately placed at extreme risk merely to test out communication hypotheses. The lack of reluctance of governments in this respect has been recently remarked in the case of experimentation on prisoners, military personnel and hospital patients in connection with radioactivity and biological warfare.

N: Different understanding of the nature of agreement, disagreement and unity:

  • Meaning of universal (with the contrasts of uniformity, unity-within-diversity, and unity-through-diversity)
  • Meaning of global
  • Meaning of agree versus disagree (with the extremes of physical opposition and musical harmony as possibilities)

Aliens may have a richer or much narrower understanding of these concepts. An agreement may brook no disagreement and may imply subservience to some distant power (as with the colonial relationship to the British monarch). Alternatively emphasis may be placed on the interplay between agreement and disagreement; as with the musical interplay between consonance and dissonance through which coherence or incoherence is judged.

Concern may be far more with the quality of the interplay than any statistical measure of agreement. As with the Chinese concepts of wa, wei and shih, the aliens may seek above all to maximize an insightful, elegant kind of knowledge — a special quality of knowing.

Especially intriguing is that aliens may attach far greater importance to understandings of trans-disciplinarity, conceptual integration and coherence than is characteristic of human society with its plethora of academic and other disciplines dedicated to fragmentation, specialization, turfism and mutual hostility. Aliens may have a quite different understanding of “global conversation” than exchanging emails and photographs with people on the other side of the globe — a theme explored in an earlier paper (Judge, 1997).

In this respect, as noted earlier, and to the extent that aliens attach importance to mathematics, there is the possibility that they may assess the value of communicating with humanity more in terms of the integrative order which humanity has been able to give to mathematics as a whole (rather than to a specialized “branch” concerned with number theory). This is tentatively explored in a separate paper (Judge, 2000).

There is an assumption that, however aliens signify whatever meaning they attach to agreement, that it would be to some conventional text — structured into a laundry list of articles as with human legislation and treaties. Amazingly there has been no innovation whatsoever in the structure of such documents since they were first used. However aliens may expect that the structure of an agreement should be, to the extent possible, isomorphous with the system of preoccupations that is the subject of the agreement.

Minimally this suggests (hyper)links between parts of the text defining the feedback loops of checks and balances — as is done with some modeling techniques. The ability to develop such “behavioral flowcharts” may for them be a criterion for meaningful dialogue. Laundry lists may signify that humanity falls below a threshold of ability to enter into dialogue capable of operational agreement — a form of incompetence which human societies associate with those judged legally incompetent to act. Aliens may also deliberately structure agreements and declarations to embody polarizing dimensions that tend in practice to tear apart human agreements (as tentatively explored in a separate paper).

Aliens may have developed ways to reflect the content of complex agreements in visual, or other patterns, as humans may come to do in the light of their use of system flow charts. But their aesthetic qualities may be considered a vital attribute — making them resemble carpets or tapestries perhaps. In this respect it is worth reflecting on the encounter between the Spanish conquistadores and the Inca who used quipu instead of written records — complex networks of colored, knotted strings, some weighing up to 20 kilos and composed of tens of thousands of knots.

These allowed them to organize information (including their agreements) in a non-linear manner. These media were systematically destroyed by the “aliens” from Europe. What might human texts contain that would cause aliens to destroy them all?

O: Different sense of content and modality concerning

  • Questions
  • Answers
  • Facts
  • Opinions

It is readily assumed that aliens will be as interested in responses to a barrage of questions and answers as are western tourists in exotic locations. Aliens may reframe any question/answer focus within an unexpected context. An earlier paper (Judge, 1982) explored the challenges of questionable answers, the “answer economy”, and possibilities of shifting into a more complex pattern of strategic dialogue.

The Web provides an interesting metaphor in that it is through the universal use of “browsers” that the process of question and answer is sustained. But in nature there are predators who feed on browsers, just as there are those who are designing Web usage to exploit browser users in various ways. The human question-and-answer process may be encouraged (“cultivated”) by aliens in a similar manner.

However, even amongst existing cultures of the world there are many who do not give priority to questions and answers in their encounters, nor to the facts and opinions which arise from such interactions. Greater priority may be attached to patterns of behavior, courtesy and attentiveness, for example. The assumption that aliens will have any motivation to engage in the kind of structured discourse that would satisfy scientists, is indeed an assumption of the 20th century. Like the tourists, their motivations may be cultural, philosophic, religious, or otherwise.

Alternatively, as with military agents, they may only be willing to disclose the equivalent of “name, rank, and serial number” — possibly disguised within a pattern of disinformation. Would western military agencies require of their agents to do otherwise under such circumstances — especially when some equivalent of “national security” was considered to be at stake?

There is another well-documented challenge exemplified by Japanese avoidance of negative answers — the use of “no”. Aliens may have a range of linguistic sensitivities of this kind — possibly including reluctance to discuss numbers for “religious” reasons (as was the case at the time of some early Christian heresies regarding the trinity). Edward de Bono (1972) has explored ways of moving beyond “yes” or “no” in a dialogue — namely through the use of “po”.

He maintains that most of us are trapped within the rigid confines of traditional thinking, limited by concepts which have developed simply for the purpose of arriving at the ‘right’ answer. While humanity has advanced technologically, in the realm of ideas and thought processes we are, he says, still using the restricted and the restricting concepts that have always been used. Po is a device for changing our ways of thinking: a method for approaching problems in a new and more creative way. The basis of logical thinking is the word “no”.

By enabling you to reject what is wrong, it allows you to be right at each step. The new word, Po, is a new thinking tool – but with a completely different function. Po lets you step outside the harsh rigidity of the Yes/No system and change from the present thought pattern to creating new ideas.

Aliens may well be more “politically correct” in their own terms than the most extreme in human society. It is worth remembering the tendency of some very active religious groups today to suspect the demonic in discourse alien to their own — even after past centuries of witch-hunts. However, it is virtually certain that some religious groups will perceive aliens as necessarily demonic since their origins will call into question (or reinforce) some interpretations of sacred scriptures.

To many the arrival of aliens may be symbolically heralded by “luciferian” phenomena (recalling biblical predictions) resulting from the operations of their spacecraft. Such factors will make it extremely problematic to initiate and maintain fruitful dialogue.

There is also the possibility that the aliens may be primarily intrigued by the curiosity or entertainment value of contact with humans — just as many tourists visit exotic locations, from within protective environments (buses, hotels), to take away photographs and other memories, leaving little of meaning in exchange. Aliens may be the ultimate “couch potatoes” such that media communications from the Earth are avidly watched within a radius of 100 light years — with FTL relays to other parts of the galaxy.

Earth may be seen as the Hollywood of the sector — observed liked Dynasty or Dallas as the ultimate soap opera. Like Western tourists, there may be little impulse for more meaningful contact. Worse still, as explored in the Truman Show, civilization on Earth may have been set up and maintained as an entertainment show or experiment.

P: Different sense of aesthetics

Implicit in a number of the points above are the ways in which aliens may have a radically different sense of aesthetics that they may consider vital to appropriate dialogue. Some sense of the importance of this can be seen in the attention given on the occasion of carefully orchestrated ceremonies and celebrations — where care is taken not to offend invited notables from foreign cultures. It is possible that aesthetics may be woven by them into their dialogue and decision-making processes in ways that humans would find quite challenging (as explored in an earlier paper Judge, 1990)

There is now widespread use of music in public spaces, offices and conference environments — often carefully selected to enhance preferred dynamics. The early experience of such use to promote sales in shopping complexes is benign enhanced by the use of fragrances in air conditioning for similar purposes. Such preferences may be experienced as offensive by aliens, who may on the other hand favor alternatives which humans would experience as undermining any possibility of dialogue. This challenge is easily experienced by a person favoring low noise levels when encountering a group that prefers to meet with loud music.

It is also possible that certain forms of design or decor would be considered inauspicious by the aliens — as with the Chinese attitude to feng shui in certain buildings considered unlucky and totally inappropriate for successful business. Color schemes for color sensitive aliens may also be a challenge — as with different appreciations of black, white, red, green between human cultures. Also of possible concern is the sexual symbolism associated with conference room podia and proscenium design and their confusion with altars for religious celebrations.

Q: Different dependence on stimulants

Just as some human cultures and sub-cultures favor the use of stimulants as a catalysis for effective dialogue, aliens may have unforeseen requirements in this respect. The challenge may be seen in efforts to dialogue with human business partners who favor alcohol or drugs, or are effectively chain smokers — or need women. American Indians traditionally attached great importance to participative smoking of a peace pipe in support of dialogue.

Analogous behavior is involved in modern use in sub-cultures of marihuana (notably in the case of the Rastafarians) and harder drugs. It is difficult to imagine effective communication with some sub-cultures in the absence of such stimulants.

The issue of allergy during alien contact should not be forgotten given its determining effect on contact between humans, and with pets. Beyond smoking, alcohol and drug sensitivities, the city of Halifax (Canada), for example, now has an ordinance restricting use of fragrances (perfumes and other odiferous cosmetic substances) in public places.

R: Different understanding of team work

The contrast between Western and Asian approaches to team work has been widely explored in the light of the individualism of the former and the collective preoccupation of the latter. Aliens in a dialogue may be either more individualistic, or more collective in their approach — or stress some other dimension quite unfamiliar to humans. The challenge to comprehension is illustrated by the problem for westerners to understand some of the dimensions of dialogue important to Japanese (cf nemawashi) .

The dialogue process may not “work” if it is assumed that it is based on one principal “representative” of the aliens speaking to a human counterpart — according to the model favored by western diplomats. The aliens may have the practice of speaking simultaneously as a group, interacting with one another and their dialogue counterparts. Elements of this may be seen in television talk shows that do not follow the northern model of one speaker at a time. As a richer means of communicating, they may have developed what humans only practice in complex multi-part songs A single voice may be considered primitive and inadequate to the needs of multi-channel communication in highly uncertain situations of which such a dialogue would be typical.

Ironically it might also be team ball players who would have the best insight into some of the complexities of moving a point of dialogue focus (the “ball”) around between dialogue team members “marked” by members of an opposing team. But then the aliens may have worked out how two teams can do this in a way that is more meaningful than the competitive desire to score against the opponent. Some sense of this may be gained from present understanding of what constitutes a “good game” rather than one in which one side simply seeks to “beat” the other.

S: Different understanding of privacy and confidentiality

Modern civilization has moved towards media-dependence and invasiveness. Aliens may be hypersensitive to privacy or even more preoccupied with media coverage for galactic audiences. Efforts to have confidential discussions and negotiations may be undermined by their media needs. To the extent that this capacity is lacking, any response is inhibited or focused on superficial detail.

Humans may find themselves in the same situation as the representatives from British colonies in the 1960s negotiating their independence in Lancaster House (London) — whose every word amongst themselves was subject to electronic eavesdropping by the government from whom they were seeking freedom. Aliens might legitimately see such invasiveness as a total breach of faith.

A variant of some possible concern is the kind of personal privacy needs which evoke the need for veils, screens or some equivalent. This remains an issue in dealing with women in purdah or in Islamic societies, or with Touaregs. New variants are emerging with the need to silver vehicle windows. It is still the case that direct eye contact may be considered offensive in some cultures.

T: Different sense of personal hygiene

The period of colonial exploration was characterized by expressions of astonishment at the total lack of personal hygiene exhibited by indigenous peoples. Ironically those same explorers would now be seen to quite offensive for the same reasons (infrequent bathing, unwashed clothing, etc). Westerners are still experienced as having an unwelcome level of transpiration in a number of Eastern (tropical) countries.

These differences were not assisted by the preference of some indigenous peoples for nudity — ensuring them a higher degree of cleanliness than that of their clothed invaders. The situation in any dialogue is further complicated by food preferences — as exposure to Mediterranean garlic eaters quickly makes clear.

If aliens have a quite different relationship to other species, as suggested earlier, it is possible that they may appreciate a much higher degree of personal “infestation” than humans — although it is only in recent years that humans have become obsessed with ridding themselves of lice and fleas to some degree. Like the primates, they may provide an opportunity for grooming rituals or the equivalent of cocktail snacks.

The tendency of humans to repress any insight into the millions of microorganisms for which they provide a personal environment may be considered barbarous by aliens with a preference for being “inhabited”. Or perhaps they will have a dynamic relationship to such species — as with the necessarily “dynamic” relationship to flies in the Australian Outback. The reverse may of course be the case, especially for a space traveling species.

But aliens may be far more focused on what might be termed emotional, conceptual, or even spiritual hygiene. A sense of this is evident in the increasing use of the expression that someone in perfect physical health “needs help”. Group and personal psychotherapy is very clear on the extent to which attention needs to be given to this dimension in order not to undermine personal relations — including dialogue situations.

What probability is there that an encounter with aliens would be undermined by experience of what would be described as emotional, conceptual, or spiritual “halitosis” — by either or both parties?

U: Different understanding of maturity

It was noted above that aliens may assess worthiness in dialogue in terms of age (as in Japanese culture), youth (as in Western high tech culture), or lineage (as in aristocratic systems). There is also the possibility that aliens may be most sensitive to some understanding of spiritual maturity (as in Buddhist culture).

Western New Age cultures have on the other hand developed criteria based on some understanding of number of initiations (and in what context they were given or received). Some schools of psychotherapy focus very seriously on the number of years of analysis (and with whom). Alternatively personal charisma, as evidenced by evangelical preachers or Eastern gurus, may be valued.

Communicating with Aliens:

the Psychological Dimension of Dialogue

PART II

STRATEGIC CLUES FOR ALIEN COMMUNICATION

19 Jan 2000

Where might one look for strategic clues to enrich any communication process with aliens — extraterrestrial or otherwise? Who are the people most skilled at communicating in unforeseen contexts and ways?

Possibilities include Sun Tzu‘s Art of War, Miyamoto Musashi‘s Book of Five Rings (or its western fencing equivalents), martial arts, the game of go, or the like. Modern Asian management texts exploit such classical insights in a variety of interesting ways (see Gao Yuan, 1991; and summary table). Such disciplines combine vigilance with subtlety in the dialogue process. Misplaced rigidity or insouciance in the assumptions about the role and skills of the person encountered are then matters of life or death.

It is ironic that “fencing” is used as a metaphor to describe some approaches to dialogue, but that the art of fencing, with its nine types of thrust (and matching parries), has not been mined for clues to more fruitful dialogue. The same might be said of “jousting” — indeed aliens might approach dialogue with humans within a framework equivalent to a joust. Ironically debating societies, as well as debates between presidential candidates, tend to follow a jousting model — as do certain theological debates.

In the best encounters between well-matched opponents in the martial arts (such as aikido) the annihilation of the other is not the objective — as with dialogue at its best. How the adversarial process is transcended is a matter of art rather than science — for which there is little insight. How strange it would be if the aliens had evolved dialogue as humans have evolved martial arts — so that the best human negotiator / communicators were effectively “yellow belts” endeavoring to deal with “black belt” alien communicators. Clues from dance and musical harmony have also not been explored.

One way to reframe the approach is through an exploration of process reality.

 

Process dialogue

It would be naive to assume that some people were not highly skilled at living in a process reality. Such people would not be dependent on static categories and snapshot takes on processes. Some sense of this can be obtained by contrasting people whose identity can be satisfactorily captured by still photos — with those who can be better captured on video, or with those who cannot be so captured at all. What would be the nature of an encounter with such a person?

The challenge would be that the “person” might have a sense of identity as a process. It would then be a case of a static identity encountering a dynamic identity — a rock in a river. But for those locked into static category thinking, such a process identity would effectively be undetectable — or only minimally detectable.

Another approach is to question whether aliens would necessarily be restricted to three dimensions, especially if they can travel effectively through space-time. The possibility that aliens, as four-dimensional beings, would experience humans as humans might experience two-dimensional “flatlanders” has been most recently explored by Clifford Pickover (1999; reviewed in New Scientist, 23 October 1999).

The communication implications for the higher dimensionality of cognitive space have been explored by mathematician Ron Atkin (1981; reviewed in a separate document). This work provides vital insights into the nature of incommunicability, even when there is no language barrier.

The challenges of the mathematics of language have been explored by V V Nalimov (1981), with an epilogue on how humanity’s use of language might be perceived by aliens (pp 203-5). His probabilistic view of the world is reviewed separately. His effort to integrate a multi-disciplinary understanding of the many dimensions of language notably stresses the semantics of rhythm as offering a means of direct access to the continuous stream of consciousness that could be an experience of process reality (pp 186-193).

In contrast to the linear mode, which might easily be assumed to be that through which humans would communicate with aliens, he argues that rhythm “allows one to record the phenomenon in an essentially briefer form than it is described and signified, without resorting to abstraction”. Rhythm in its outer manifestation is understood through rhyme, consonance, assonance, alliteration, or refrains.

But inherently and essentially:

“…rhythm is something much more significant; rhythm probably means the dissolving of word meanings, their merging into a continuous, inwardly indissoluble stream of images. In other words, rhythm provides an opportunity for non-Bayesian reading of the texts… in a rhythmically organized text, everything happens otherwise. Rhythm here is a governing essence welding separate groups into integral wholes.

The text is organized so that the words do not limit one another but, on the contrary, have their meaning broadened, smoothly flowing into one another and merging into one stream…A formal mathematical study of a rhyme, no matter how delicate and subtle it is, does not reveal the image of the poem. It is not the rhyme which tells but the words interlacing thanks to the rhythm and catching the gliding image…Being “inside”, where there are no discrete symbols, everything is in everything, where the continuous stream of images is being “read” unconsciously and extra-logically.”

How would a group of such process people function in a collective encounter — a process dialogue? Would the encounter be meaningful to someone locked into a static identity? Would it only be poets or musicians that had some hope of engaging in such dialogue? How would meaning be processed, if not through static categories — ascribing meaning to a sequence of snapshots?

Incorporating another non-textual dimension, another approach to understanding the language of pattern-shifting in process reality can be obtained from insights into the 4,000 year-old chanted hymns of the Rg Veda of the Indian tradition (as discussed elsewhere). A very powerful exploration of this work by a philosopher, Antonio de Nicolas (1978), using the non-Boolean logic of quantum mechanics (Heelan, 1974), opens up valuable approaches to integration.

The following themes are explored in the de Nicolas study:

  • Interrelating formal languages based on tone

  • Toward reintegrating the individual in action

  • Integration embodied: the re-imaging of man: Pluralism: integration through community dialogue

  • Integrative renewal through sacrifice

  • Integrative vision encountered in movement

The unique feature of the approach is that it is grounded in tone and the shifting relationships between tone.

It is through the pattern of musical tones that the significance of the Rg Veda is to be found:

“Therefore, from a linguistic and cultural perspective, we have to be aware that we are dealing with a language where tonal and arithmetical relations establish the epistemological invariances… Language grounded in music is grounded thereby on context dependency; any tone can have any possible relation to other tones, and the shift from one tone to another, which alone makes melody possible, is a shift in perspective which the singer himself embodies.

Any perspective (tone) must be “sacrificed” for a new one to come into being; the song is a radical activity which requires innovation while maintaining continuity, and the “world” is the creation of the singer, who shares its dimensions with the song.” (de Nicolas, p. 57)

De Nicolas contrasts this perspective with that of conventional western languages governed by vision:

“Thus, in a language ruled by the criteria of sight, vision may mean the sum of perspectives from which a fixed object can be seen, plus the theoretical perspective of the relationships holding amongst different perspectives of the object, plus the mental acts by which those perspectives, relationships and visions are performed. In any event, the invariant object is the condition for the variations in the meaning of vision. The object is the condition for the variations in the meaning of vision.

The invariant object is, therefore, not a reality, but a theoretical precondition (phenomenal or noumenal) for a whole system or method for establishing facts. Therefore, it is no wonder that when people speak of transcendence, within this framework, they are mostly forced to speak in mystical terms of things unseen or unseeable, either in terms of religious experiences, or in terms of modern physics. In a literal sense, in the latter two cases, speech is about no things by the same criteria of the speech used to designate things.”

Whereas in a language governed by sound:

“In a language ruled by the criteria of sound, perspectives, the change of perspectives and vision, stand for what musicologists call “modulation”. Modulation in music is the ability to change keys within a composition. To focus within this language, and by its criteria, is primarily the activity of being able to run the scale backwards and forwards, up and down, with these sudden shifts in perspectives.

Through this ability, the singer, the body, the song and the perspective become an inseparable whole. In this language, transcendence is precisely the ability to perform the song without any theoretical construct impeding its movement a priori, or determining the result of following such movement a priori. Nor can any theoretical compromise substitute for the discovery of the movement of “modulation” itself in history.

The human body would then be asked to lose the memory of its origins; a task the human body refuses to do by its constant return to crisis. It is up to the philosophers to discover the language ruled by the criteria of sound, rather than presuppose a priori that the only language universally human is the one ruled by the criteria of sight.”

(de Nicolas, p. 192)

In considering the challenge of a rhythm-based mode, Nalimov points out that rhythm is “archaic, alien to our culture, legally preserved only in poetry and only sometimes breaking through in other texts” (p. 190). But he notes that amongst such non-poetic texts one might discover “bifacial ones, i.e. those having simultaneously logical and rhythmical constituents” (p. 191), amongst which he cites Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1951).

Nalimov argues:

It is written by a professional logician, and one of its constituents is, indubitably, precise logic. But I am sure many will agree that it is also rhythmical, and this accounts for its magic effect. However the source of the rhythm is not rhyme of any sort but rather a paradoxical character of the propositions.

The text of the Tractatus consists of sequence of enumerated paradoxes, and it is their structure which is unusual….Instead of using logic, he weaves a lace of words that makes the reader ponder not over what is expressed by words (strictly speaking, they lack meaning) but over what lies behind them if their meaning is expanded infinitely.

His words do not prove his idea; rather they makes us think of what there must be in the mind of the person who proved capable of penetrating the problem to its very core…In European philosophical literature Tractatus occupies a unique place as a result of its ‘alien’ nature. This also accounts for the acutely negative attitude of positivists towards it.” (p. 191-2)

The use of such structured contradictions is explored in the exercise in Part III as a means of setting up a framework of cognitive preparedness for unforeseeable patterns of dialogue with aliens.

From a static perspective, the challenge is to build up larger patterns of insight in a dialogue. From a dynamic perspective, it would be the flow pattern that would carry larger meaning — rather than a carpet or a map, an evolving dance or musical composition (like “generated music”). Group improvisation in music is an example that is being studied for organizational creativity (cf Jamming, John Kao).

Perhaps some sense of a dynamic identity is associated with those who are known especially for their style or charisma — for which there are various related terms in other languages: élan, baraka, sprezzatura. When deliberately cultivated, as the art of the courtier, the elusive quality can be described as follows:

Sprezzatura: the well practiced naturalness, the rehearsed spontaneity, which lies at the center of convincing discourse of any sort, and which has been the always-sought but seldom well-described center of rhetorical “decorum” since Aristotle first tried to describe it. (http://omni.cc.purdue.edu/~davidswf/tds.wc.html)

 

Process riders

But it would also be naive to assume that those capable of carrying their identities through such process thinking are necessarily benevolent in their attitude towards the well-being of static approaches. Within the dynamic, they would have an ideal “place” in which to hide — a “non-place”.

As with frequency-hopping encrypted communications, they would be everywhere but nowhere — the new approaches to widespread, invasive, electronic surveillance provide powerful metaphors of this. Like web “spiders”, they could effectively “ride” the dynamics in which static identities participate. Rather than being the “substantives” of which reality is normally understood to be composed, they would be the “verbs” through which its dynamics are expressed.

The psychology of multiple personality points to some of the challenges since the integrated personality, to the extent that it “exists”, is then expressed through a variety of sub-personalities that may or may not communicate with each other to any degree. An integrated personality might then be understood like an alien riding a complex vehicle. Many people are only partially understood through some aspects of their personality, even when they cannot be said to suffer from multiple personality disorder.

The challenge of how an alien might perceive the average human as psychologically unintegrated (and constrained to lower dimensionality) is dramatically articulated by psychologist Ronald Laing in describing an interview with a schizophrenic patient (see elsewhere). Each facet or personality then is rather like one of a number of moving feet on which the the entity as a whole navigates through reality.

This suggests a way of thinking about “aliens” — those who are not linked into conventional society [cf lien as the French for “link”, also as in hyperlien]. A lien is a legal right to hold another’s property until a debt is paid. A community, in the light of static thinking, is a pattern of bonds or links — the checks and balances of civil society. But from a dynamic perspective, there are flows and processes that sustain the community — for which only the skeletal structure might be usefully described by “links”.

The identities sustained by the dynamics alone are effectively “aliens” — unrecognizable from a static perspective. In folk traditions they might be readily recognized as spirits and the like — hidden fairies contributing coherence to the forest. The religiously inclined might refer to them as angels or demons.

In part, they would only live through the dynamics between the static identities. The “demons” would be of special concern as malevolent riders of those dynamics — “dark riders”. What identities live through processes of overpopulation, starvation, disease, injustice, pollution and violence — or globalization itself?

 

Communicating with aliens

For those puzzled by the lack of communication with extraterrestrials, the possibility that their identities may only be associated with dynamics opens avenues of reflection. In this sense aliens could even be omnipresent in our civilization through the dynamics between static identities — as verbs. How does a substantive communicate with a verb? Note that the question of the “grammar” of process organization has been explored at MIT by Thomas Malone and others (1998).

From such perspectives there is the possibility that aliens would have a radically different attitude to subject-object relationships. That there is much to be discovered in this respect has been explored by philosophers, notably Max Deutscher (Subjecting and Objecting), and those concerned with convergence between physics and consciousness. At a time when physicists are comfortable with multiple parallel universes, it may be that aliens have an entirely different way of reframing their relationship to space-time. Work is needed to anticipate such extreme possibilities (for one example see Judge, 1996 and 1996).

Nalimov in his In the Labyrinth’s of Language (1981) argues that from the standpoint of cybernetics, language may be understood as a form of independent living organism that, once it has emerged, continues to develop, following its own specific line of evolution. Aliens may take this understanding further, such that their “individuals” are in unforeseen ways considered subservient to their language or are essentially understood as continuing expressions of it.

From this perspective the language, like the culture of a human civilization, is the carrier of identity with which the encounter must necessarily take place if it is to be meaningful. Such an organism necessarily has a longer lifespan than the individuals who are the vehicles of its manifestation.

As noted above, the limited literature on the strategy for communicating with aliens is focused primarily on mathematics and numbers on the unexplored assumption that this would be fundamental to intelligence anywhere. The mathematical language advocated stresses what amounts to static concepts of numbers (1, 2, 3, etc). However, if aliens were more identified with dynamics, their focus would be more on one-ing, two-ing, three-ing, etc — more closely associated with the biodynamics of cell-division, and other generative or destructive processes, or even dance.

Or possibly their focus would be on music, as dramatized in the Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)? How might a maths based on flow and pattern be experienced with kinesthetic insight? Many animals, including bees, live and express themselves through movement — no wonder that we pretend that they cannot communicate “intelligently”. Humans may be judged in the same way by aliens — and by many animals.

A further reason for lack of communication might simply be that human understanding of dialogue is profoundly boring to a galactic society. For aliens living through dynamics, the almost total absence of co-creation in dialogue would render communication with humans virtually meaningless. Just as from a static perspective, “watching grass grow” is an experience to be avoided. So, from a dynamic perspective, for an alien, “moving icecubes around in patterns” in human dialogue until they melt would be equally alienating.

Communicating with Aliens:

the Psychological Dimension of Dialogue

PART II

STRATEGIC CLUES FOR ALIEN COMMUNICATION

19 Jan 2000

Where might one look for strategic clues to enrich any communication process with aliens — extraterrestrial or otherwise? Who are the people most skilled at communicating in unforeseen contexts and ways?

Possibilities include Sun Tzu‘s Art of War, Miyamoto Musashi‘s Book of Five Rings (or its western fencing equivalents), martial arts, the game of go, or the like. Modern Asian management texts exploit such classical insights in a variety of interesting ways (see Gao Yuan, 1991; and summary table). Such disciplines combine vigilance with subtlety in the dialogue process. Misplaced rigidity or insouciance in the assumptions about the role and skills of the person encountered are then matters of life or death.

It is ironic that “fencing” is used as a metaphor to describe some approaches to dialogue, but that the art of fencing, with its nine types of thrust (and matching parries), has not been mined for clues to more fruitful dialogue. The same might be said of “jousting” — indeed aliens might approach dialogue with humans within a framework equivalent to a joust. Ironically debating societies, as well as debates between presidential candidates, tend to follow a jousting model — as do certain theological debates.

In the best encounters between well-matched opponents in the martial arts (such as aikido) the annihilation of the other is not the objective — as with dialogue at its best. How the adversarial process is transcended is a matter of art rather than science — for which there is little insight. How strange it would be if the aliens had evolved dialogue as humans have evolved martial arts — so that the best human negotiator / communicators were effectively “yellow belts” endeavoring to deal with “black belt” alien communicators. Clues from dance and musical harmony have also not been explored.

One way to reframe the approach is through an exploration of process reality.

 

Process dialogue

It would be naive to assume that some people were not highly skilled at living in a process reality. Such people would not be dependent on static categories and snapshot takes on processes. Some sense of this can be obtained by contrasting people whose identity can be satisfactorily captured by still photos — with those who can be better captured on video, or with those who cannot be so captured at all. What would be the nature of an encounter with such a person?

The challenge would be that the “person” might have a sense of identity as a process. It would then be a case of a static identity encountering a dynamic identity — a rock in a river. But for those locked into static category thinking, such a process identity would effectively be undetectable — or only minimally detectable.

Another approach is to question whether aliens would necessarily be restricted to three dimensions, especially if they can travel effectively through space-time. The possibility that aliens, as four-dimensional beings, would experience humans as humans might experience two-dimensional “flatlanders” has been most recently explored by Clifford Pickover (1999; reviewed in New Scientist, 23 October 1999).

The communication implications for the higher dimensionality of cognitive space have been explored by mathematician Ron Atkin (1981; reviewed in a separate document). This work provides vital insights into the nature of incommunicability, even when there is no language barrier.

The challenges of the mathematics of language have been explored by V V Nalimov (1981), with an epilogue on how humanity’s use of language might be perceived by aliens (pp 203-5). His probabilistic view of the world is reviewed separately. His effort to integrate a multi-disciplinary understanding of the many dimensions of language notably stresses the semantics of rhythm as offering a means of direct access to the continuous stream of consciousness that could be an experience of process reality (pp 186-193).

In contrast to the linear mode, which might easily be assumed to be that through which humans would communicate with aliens, he argues that rhythm “allows one to record the phenomenon in an essentially briefer form than it is described and signified, without resorting to abstraction”. Rhythm in its outer manifestation is understood through rhyme, consonance, assonance, alliteration, or refrains.

But inherently and essentially:

“…rhythm is something much more significant; rhythm probably means the dissolving of word meanings, their merging into a continuous, inwardly indissoluble stream of images. In other words, rhythm provides an opportunity for non-Bayesian reading of the texts… in a rhythmically organized text, everything happens otherwise. Rhythm here is a governing essence welding separate groups into integral wholes.

The text is organized so that the words do not limit one another but, on the contrary, have their meaning broadened, smoothly flowing into one another and merging into one stream…A formal mathematical study of a rhyme, no matter how delicate and subtle it is, does not reveal the image of the poem. It is not the rhyme which tells but the words interlacing thanks to the rhythm and catching the gliding image…Being “inside”, where there are no discrete symbols, everything is in everything, where the continuous stream of images is being “read” unconsciously and extra-logically.”

How would a group of such process people function in a collective encounter — a process dialogue? Would the encounter be meaningful to someone locked into a static identity? Would it only be poets or musicians that had some hope of engaging in such dialogue? How would meaning be processed, if not through static categories — ascribing meaning to a sequence of snapshots?

Incorporating another non-textual dimension, another approach to understanding the language of pattern-shifting in process reality can be obtained from insights into the 4,000 year-old chanted hymns of the Rg Veda of the Indian tradition (as discussed elsewhere). A very powerful exploration of this work by a philosopher, Antonio de Nicolas (1978), using the non-Boolean logic of quantum mechanics (Heelan, 1974), opens up valuable approaches to integration.

The following themes are explored in the de Nicolas study:

  • Interrelating formal languages based on tone

  • Toward reintegrating the individual in action

  • Integration embodied: the re-imaging of man: Pluralism: integration through community dialogue

  • Integrative renewal through sacrifice

  • Integrative vision encountered in movement

The unique feature of the approach is that it is grounded in tone and the shifting relationships between tone.

It is through the pattern of musical tones that the significance of the Rg Veda is to be found:

“Therefore, from a linguistic and cultural perspective, we have to be aware that we are dealing with a language where tonal and arithmetical relations establish the epistemological invariances… Language grounded in music is grounded thereby on context dependency; any tone can have any possible relation to other tones, and the shift from one tone to another, which alone makes melody possible, is a shift in perspective which the singer himself embodies.

Any perspective (tone) must be “sacrificed” for a new one to come into being; the song is a radical activity which requires innovation while maintaining continuity, and the “world” is the creation of the singer, who shares its dimensions with the song.” (de Nicolas, p. 57)

De Nicolas contrasts this perspective with that of conventional western languages governed by vision:

“Thus, in a language ruled by the criteria of sight, vision may mean the sum of perspectives from which a fixed object can be seen, plus the theoretical perspective of the relationships holding amongst different perspectives of the object, plus the mental acts by which those perspectives, relationships and visions are performed. In any event, the invariant object is the condition for the variations in the meaning of vision. The object is the condition for the variations in the meaning of vision.

The invariant object is, therefore, not a reality, but a theoretical precondition (phenomenal or noumenal) for a whole system or method for establishing facts. Therefore, it is no wonder that when people speak of transcendence, within this framework, they are mostly forced to speak in mystical terms of things unseen or unseeable, either in terms of religious experiences, or in terms of modern physics. In a literal sense, in the latter two cases, speech is about no things by the same criteria of the speech used to designate things.”

Whereas in a language governed by sound:

“In a language ruled by the criteria of sound, perspectives, the change of perspectives and vision, stand for what musicologists call “modulation”. Modulation in music is the ability to change keys within a composition. To focus within this language, and by its criteria, is primarily the activity of being able to run the scale backwards and forwards, up and down, with these sudden shifts in perspectives.

Through this ability, the singer, the body, the song and the perspective become an inseparable whole. In this language, transcendence is precisely the ability to perform the song without any theoretical construct impeding its movement a priori, or determining the result of following such movement a priori. Nor can any theoretical compromise substitute for the discovery of the movement of “modulation” itself in history.

The human body would then be asked to lose the memory of its origins; a task the human body refuses to do by its constant return to crisis. It is up to the philosophers to discover the language ruled by the criteria of sound, rather than presuppose a priori that the only language universally human is the one ruled by the criteria of sight.”

(de Nicolas, p. 192)

In considering the challenge of a rhythm-based mode, Nalimov points out that rhythm is “archaic, alien to our culture, legally preserved only in poetry and only sometimes breaking through in other texts” (p. 190). But he notes that amongst such non-poetic texts one might discover “bifacial ones, i.e. those having simultaneously logical and rhythmical constituents” (p. 191), amongst which he cites Wittgenstein’s Tractatus Logico-Philosophicus (1951).

Nalimov argues:

It is written by a professional logician, and one of its constituents is, indubitably, precise logic. But I am sure many will agree that it is also rhythmical, and this accounts for its magic effect. However the source of the rhythm is not rhyme of any sort but rather a paradoxical character of the propositions.

The text of the Tractatus consists of sequence of enumerated paradoxes, and it is their structure which is unusual….Instead of using logic, he weaves a lace of words that makes the reader ponder not over what is expressed by words (strictly speaking, they lack meaning) but over what lies behind them if their meaning is expanded infinitely.

His words do not prove his idea; rather they makes us think of what there must be in the mind of the person who proved capable of penetrating the problem to its very core…In European philosophical literature Tractatus occupies a unique place as a result of its ‘alien’ nature. This also accounts for the acutely negative attitude of positivists towards it.” (p. 191-2)

The use of such structured contradictions is explored in the exercise in Part III as a means of setting up a framework of cognitive preparedness for unforeseeable patterns of dialogue with aliens.

From a static perspective, the challenge is to build up larger patterns of insight in a dialogue. From a dynamic perspective, it would be the flow pattern that would carry larger meaning — rather than a carpet or a map, an evolving dance or musical composition (like “generated music”). Group improvisation in music is an example that is being studied for organizational creativity (cf Jamming, John Kao).

Perhaps some sense of a dynamic identity is associated with those who are known especially for their style or charisma — for which there are various related terms in other languages: élan, baraka, sprezzatura. When deliberately cultivated, as the art of the courtier, the elusive quality can be described as follows:

Sprezzatura: the well practiced naturalness, the rehearsed spontaneity, which lies at the center of convincing discourse of any sort, and which has been the always-sought but seldom well-described center of rhetorical “decorum” since Aristotle first tried to describe it. (http://omni.cc.purdue.edu/~davidswf/tds.wc.html)

 

Process riders

But it would also be naive to assume that those capable of carrying their identities through such process thinking are necessarily benevolent in their attitude towards the well-being of static approaches. Within the dynamic, they would have an ideal “place” in which to hide — a “non-place”.

As with frequency-hopping encrypted communications, they would be everywhere but nowhere — the new approaches to widespread, invasive, electronic surveillance provide powerful metaphors of this. Like web “spiders”, they could effectively “ride” the dynamics in which static identities participate. Rather than being the “substantives” of which reality is normally understood to be composed, they would be the “verbs” through which its dynamics are expressed.

The psychology of multiple personality points to some of the challenges since the integrated personality, to the extent that it “exists”, is then expressed through a variety of sub-personalities that may or may not communicate with each other to any degree. An integrated personality might then be understood like an alien riding a complex vehicle. Many people are only partially understood through some aspects of their personality, even when they cannot be said to suffer from multiple personality disorder.

The challenge of how an alien might perceive the average human as psychologically unintegrated (and constrained to lower dimensionality) is dramatically articulated by psychologist Ronald Laing in describing an interview with a schizophrenic patient (see elsewhere). Each facet or personality then is rather like one of a number of moving feet on which the the entity as a whole navigates through reality.

This suggests a way of thinking about “aliens” — those who are not linked into conventional society [cf lien as the French for “link”, also as in hyperlien]. A lien is a legal right to hold another’s property until a debt is paid. A community, in the light of static thinking, is a pattern of bonds or links — the checks and balances of civil society. But from a dynamic perspective, there are flows and processes that sustain the community — for which only the skeletal structure might be usefully described by “links”.

The identities sustained by the dynamics alone are effectively “aliens” — unrecognizable from a static perspective. In folk traditions they might be readily recognized as spirits and the like — hidden fairies contributing coherence to the forest. The religiously inclined might refer to them as angels or demons.

In part, they would only live through the dynamics between the static identities. The “demons” would be of special concern as malevolent riders of those dynamics — “dark riders”. What identities live through processes of overpopulation, starvation, disease, injustice, pollution and violence — or globalization itself?

 

Communicating with aliens

For those puzzled by the lack of communication with extraterrestrials, the possibility that their identities may only be associated with dynamics opens avenues of reflection. In this sense aliens could even be omnipresent in our civilization through the dynamics between static identities — as verbs. How does a substantive communicate with a verb? Note that the question of the “grammar” of process organization has been explored at MIT by Thomas Malone and others (1998).

From such perspectives there is the possibility that aliens would have a radically different attitude to subject-object relationships. That there is much to be discovered in this respect has been explored by philosophers, notably Max Deutscher (Subjecting and Objecting), and those concerned with convergence between physics and consciousness. At a time when physicists are comfortable with multiple parallel universes, it may be that aliens have an entirely different way of reframing their relationship to space-time. Work is needed to anticipate such extreme possibilities (for one example see Judge, 1996 and 1996).

Nalimov in his In the Labyrinth’s of Language (1981) argues that from the standpoint of cybernetics, language may be understood as a form of independent living organism that, once it has emerged, continues to develop, following its own specific line of evolution. Aliens may take this understanding further, such that their “individuals” are in unforeseen ways considered subservient to their language or are essentially understood as continuing expressions of it.

From this perspective the language, like the culture of a human civilization, is the carrier of identity with which the encounter must necessarily take place if it is to be meaningful. Such an organism necessarily has a longer lifespan than the individuals who are the vehicles of its manifestation.

As noted above, the limited literature on the strategy for communicating with aliens is focused primarily on mathematics and numbers on the unexplored assumption that this would be fundamental to intelligence anywhere. The mathematical language advocated stresses what amounts to static concepts of numbers (1, 2, 3, etc). However, if aliens were more identified with dynamics, their focus would be more on one-ing, two-ing, three-ing, etc — more closely associated with the biodynamics of cell-division, and other generative or destructive processes, or even dance.

Or possibly their focus would be on music, as dramatized in the Spielberg film Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)? How might a maths based on flow and pattern be experienced with kinesthetic insight? Many animals, including bees, live and express themselves through movement — no wonder that we pretend that they cannot communicate “intelligently”. Humans may be judged in the same way by aliens — and by many animals.

A further reason for lack of communication might simply be that human understanding of dialogue is profoundly boring to a galactic society. For aliens living through dynamics, the almost total absence of co-creation in dialogue would render communication with humans virtually meaningless. Just as from a static perspective, “watching grass grow” is an experience to be avoided. So, from a dynamic perspective, for an alien, “moving icecubes around in patterns” in human dialogue until they melt would be equally alienating.

 

Communicating with Aliens:

the Psychological Dimension of Dialogue

PART III

DISTINGUISHING PATTERNS OF ASSUMPTION IN DIALOGUE WITH ALIENS

14 March 2000

The exercise below explores, in a highly formal structured way, the challenges to comprehension in initiating and maintaining strategic dialogue in highly uncertain situations. The “progressive” stages in the structure are designed to isolate zones of relative certainty within a global pattern which configures incompatible assumptions that sustain local certainties.

As such it is a global framework for a diversity of perspectives — designed to create a relationship between a variety of assumptions that offer degrees of certainty whilst being each a trap in their own right.

The exercise below originally appeared in the 1986 edition of the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential. It was partly based on a collection of work published in Patterns of Conceptual Integration (Brussels, UIA, 1984) analyzing different philosophical and conceptual schemes. It was subsequently used in its original form to distinguish levels of declarations of principles. A discussion of the “method” that resulted in its generation is given elsewhere.

The structure endeavors to embody the kinds of discontinuity, incompatibility and contradiction that emerge in dialogue. As Nalimov notes:

“Strange as it may seem, very little can be said about contradictory statements” (1981, p. 75). He notes that “many contradictions arise only because of the heterogeneity of our language: in everyday language we are mixing judgments made in the object-language with those made in meta-language. Other contradictions result from ascribing to words too precise meanings” (p. 76)

Rich dialogue always include self-referential dimensions. Incidentally, Nalimov sees metaphor as one way to handle this difficulty — raising the question whether aliens might rely to a far greater extent on metaphor in dialogue.

Nalimov argues that the power of Wittgenstein’s Tractatus, rejected by positivists as full of nonsense, as “in fact due to to its paradoxical nature; separate statements in a certain sense contradict one another though they possess a certain inner consistency, too.

It is only through this game of consistency and contradiction that Wittgenstein managed to express elegantly a very complicated outlook which could hardly have been expressed in strictly deductive and inwardly consistent statements” (p. 1981, 79-80).

He continues:

“Even at the stage of completion, in constructing concepts generalizing a macroworld, we have to allow contradictions to arise. Classical logic proves insufficient for the description of the outer world. Trying to comprehend this philosophically, Bohr formulated his famous principle complementarity, according to which in order to reproduce an integral phenomenon in a sign system, mutually exclusive complementary notions must necessarily be used.” (p. 80)

The following exercise constructs a succession of patterns of complementary perspectives, such that the early patterns embody the maximum level of explicit contradiction, whereas the later ones render explicit the maximum amount on variety. Unlike the elegant exercise of Wittgenstein, the resultant texts are crude.

However they are merely designed as markers whose content could be much refined to enhance the incompatibility, charging the contradiction to a higher degree. The texts could also be enhanced to further highlight the complementarity within each pattern.

Note that the source material for certain levels tends to be associated with particular philosophical perspectives but an effort has been made to “tune” the pattern into an integrated whole. The wording is unfortunately cumbersome in order to keep some link to such sources and because the pattern is designed as a continuing challenge to comprehension — including the author’s! The result is far from satisfactory.

This experiment can be used as a way of reviewing varieties of dialogue by number. Ironically, given the enthusiasm for patterns of numbers in communicating with extraterrestrials, the following structure is developed as a pattern of numbers. Here however the emphasis is placed on the qualitative challenges to comprehension associated with such numbers in a dialogue situation: comprehending unity, polarization, the eternal relationship triangle, etc. (following from an earlier paper, Judge, 1979).

The pattern below is about the processes and stages of dialogue in which those in the encounter are engaged — not about formal abstractions irrelevant to the immediate challenges to comprehension through that dialogue. In this sense it is self-reflexive.

The pattern is designed to relate the degree of certainty/uncertainty associated with apparently simple understandings of unity, polarization (binary yes-no), etc, situations to progressively more apparently complex sets of distinctions. At later levels, as the degree of certainty that it is possible to associate with any given distinction becomes greater, the challenge to comprehending the complementarity of the set at that level itself becomes greater. In effect the pattern as a whole is a play between implicit and explicit uncertainty.

In a given dialogue, the challenge is to determine where the participants are within this framework — or possibly their pattern of movement within it — in order to respond appropriately to sustain the dialogue. The framework might also serve as a working document to assist elaboration of a guide for anyone preparing for communication with aliens — if such a manual can be developed !

Sub-Contents

01 : Inadequacy of strategic approaches
02 : Opposition/Disagreement
03 : Dialectic synthesis
04 : Developmental interaction
05 : Constraints on existence
06 : Coherence through renewal
07 : Modes of change
08 : Constraints on change
09 : Implementation of a transformation process
10 : Endurance of a strategic approach
11 : Empowerment and importance of a strategic approach
12 : Harmoniously transformative controlled relationship
13 : Creative renewal
14 : Cycle of development processes
15 : Construction and development of a strategic approach
16 : Values and assumptions
17 : Relationship potential of a strategic approach
18 : Inadequate transformation attempts
19 : Qualitative transformation
20 : Significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches

Next: Part IV – Designing a team for alien encounter

Back to Contents

 

 

 

 

 

Level #01 : Inadequacy of strategic approaches (index)

1. No single strategic approach (including this one), nor any logically integrated set of approaches, adequately encompasses the nature of the appropriate dialogue process with aliens (or unbelievers). Every position or formulation is therefore suspect. When it is formulated within a domain of unquestioned consensus, this potential doubt is inactive, thus establishing a boundary of uncritical discourse which inhibits appropriate dialogue.

Level #02 : Opposition/Disagreement (index)

2.1 New strategic initiatives, including this one, are formulated by taking and establishing a particular position in opposition to whatever alien position is conceived as potentially denying it. The nature of the initiative is partly determined by the way in which the challenge, or initial absence of any opposing position, is perceived and the possible nature of the response. It is the immediacy with which the challenge is perceived that empowers the initiative.

2.2 The taking of a strategic position as a result of a new initiative engenders or activates an approach which is its denial. Every strategic approach is therefore necessarily matched by an initiative which is incompatible with it, or opposed to it, or takes an essentially different direction from it. This opposition is fundamentally unmediated and as such cannot be observed or described. It can only be comprehended through identification with one of the opposed positions.

Level #03 : Dialectic synthesis (index)

3.1 A strategic approach, through the affirmation of its existence, exerts pressure in response to its context which acts as an impulse for the continual transformation of the latter. As antecedent of any such transformation, it subjects any outcome to constraints. To the extent that the nature of the pressure on its context is unrecognized, any action initiated is distorted or unregulated in its impact on the context.

3.2 A strategic approach existing in the present stands in opposition to other pre-existing approaches within the same context. As a result it is constrained by them to be of the necessary scale and proportion to oppose the pre-existing approaches most dynamically. Within a given context, however, an opposing approach of a particular type may be engendered which has been superseded in other co-present contexts.

Strategic approaches corresponding to different stages of appropriate dialogue may thus re-emerge and co-exist if the communication between contexts is obstructed in any way. To the extent that ignorance concerning this obstruction prevails, contexts become progressively more restricted, such that the dynamism of the opposition of the approaches engendered within them diminishes with a corresponding increase in the inertia or resistance associated with the least developed strategic approaches.

3.3 Opposition between two strategic approaches tends to give rise to a new approach which has properties characteristic of both of them as well as new mediating properties unique to itself. The new approach interrelates or harmonizes the original opposing approaches. It reconciles them at a new level of expression of unity, whether or not they then disappear. The potential existence of the new approach is therefore partially implicit (although incomplete) in each of the opposing strategic approaches prior to its generation.

It thus functions as a stimulus or attractant by providing a pattern for their interaction and the organization of its outcome. Once created, the approach will in its own turn prove inadequate and be opposed and superseded by more adequate approaches whose nature it partially defines. The attraction of a particular approach may however prevent the energetic development of this process.

Level #04 : Developmental interaction (index)

4.1 In a set of strategic approaches, one approach acquires a dominant status at any one time. As such it establishes the formal pattern of relationships between other strategic approaches by observing and distinguishing their elements, and interpreting their significance. Any infringement of this monopoly of power is met by a conscious reaction on the part of those associated with it who strive for position within the framework it supplies.

4.2 In a set of strategic approaches, one or more approaches acquire a recessive or sub-dominant status at any one time. As such they are characterized by both minimal inherent organization and high inertial resistance to transformation. Any attempt to change those associated with such approaches is met by unconscious reaction.

4.3 In a set of strategic approaches containing a dominant and a dominated approach, the pattern of relationships governed by the dominant approach proves progressively more inadequate as a framework for handling the accumulation of new information and experience. Inconsistencies, contradictions and incompleteness gradually accumulate and become increasingly apparent as conditions change. The dominant approach alone does not contain the variety to encompass and control the complex conditions to which it is exposed.

The value of the recessive or inferior approach becomes correspondingly apparent by contrast. The unconscious or impulsive actions of those associated with both strategic approaches serve merely to aggravate the condition and to highlight the absence of an approach providing any adequate sense of direction or functional orientation for the whole.

4.4 In a set containing a dominant and an inferior approach, and characterized by contradictions, adequate control is usually maintained through the momentum of working processes governed by the dominant approach. Any deviation is corrected by a conscious integrative action on the part of those associated with that approach.

As the contradictions cease to be held in restraint in this way, the source of control is effectively transferred from the dominant approach to the inferior approach which thus emerges to take its place. To the extent that this transfer of control is resisted, the change is likely to be violent rather than smooth.

Level #05 : Constraints on existence (index)

5.1 For a strategic approach to exist and acquire any momentary significance, it must bear a consciously recognized relationship to a context. If this relationship is ignored the approach effectively merges into the context and cannot be distinguished from it due to the absence of any recognized boundaries or limits.

5.2 For a strategic approach to exist and acquire any momentary significance, it must be sufficiently general to be perceived as relevant to other variants of the phenomenon detached from immediate perception within the domain of discourse. If it is so general that it is perceived as relating to too wide a range of phenomena, then its significance is lost. Or, alternatively, it becomes so detached from immediate perception that its significance becomes fragmented into seemingly unrelated facets which arouse differing degrees of attachment or rejection.

5.3 For a strategic approach to exist and acquire any momentary significance, it must be perceived as relating to tangible phenomena of immediate relevance. But if this relationship is so strong as to be perceived as merely a reflection of those phenomena or identical with them, then its significance is lost or engenders contradictions, confusion and associated conflict.

5.4 For a strategic approach to exist and acquire any momentary significance, it must be perceived as sufficiently complex to encompass the complexity. If this is too much greater than that of the phenomena, its significance is either lost or a faith in the form may be engendered which is then valued for its own sake, independently of the phenomena, and possibly as being in some way superior to them.

5.5 For a strategic approach to exist and acquire any momentary significance, it must be sufficiently simple to be a comprehensible vehicle for intention. But if it is perceived as too simple (or trivial) the significance is lost. The unchannelled intention then reinforces inactivity or degenerates into sublimated forms of action.

Level #06 : Coherence through renewal (index)

6.1 Sustaining the coherence of a strategic approach through its continual renewal requires a focused reaffirmation of the existence of the elements which ensure its integrity. To the extent that this reaffirmation is lacking, knowledge of its structure is eroded and the boundaries of the approach become confused or dissolve.

6.2 Sustaining the coherence of a strategic approach through its continual renewal requires redefinition of the approach to distinguish it from the superficial features of encroaching alternative strategic approaches with which it interacts. These may appear more attractive if concentration is relaxed. To the extent that this transformative process is lacking, aspects of the alternative definitions may be partially incorporated, thus progressively destroying the form as an integrated structure by formation of a hybrid or an agglomerate.

6.3 Sustaining the coherence of a strategic approach through its continual renewal requires repeated effort to understand the essential or general characteristics of the approach which underlie any particular set of superficial features and thus not bound by them. To the extent that this understanding is lacking, the superficial features condemn the approach as unnecessarily constraining and unsatisfactory, with consequent reactions.

6.4 Sustaining the coherence of a strategic approach through its continual renewal requires periodic detached recognition of its wider significance and how its development can best be controlled in relation to this. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, transformation of the approach is blocked because of the narrow perspective with which it is viewed.

6.5 Sustaining the coherence of a strategic approach through its continual renewal requires recognition of the contextual structuring constraints, qualitative characteristics, and challenges which ensure its stability, and in terms of which it may be transformed. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the stability of the approach is undermined by doubts concerning its present relevance.

6.6 Sustaining the coherence of a strategic approach through its continual renewal requires adaptation of insights concerning its possible development to a realistic strategy for its actual development. To the extent that this adaptation is lacking, any strategies formulated will be impractical and will result in maldevelopment of the approach.

Level #07 : Modes of change (index)

7.1 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach of change perceived as effective is through the willful destruction of a prevailing approach, whether or not a new or more adequate approach can be substituted in its stead. This is favoured when the existing approach is perceived as essentially static and an inhibitor of any approach to dynamism or growth.

7.2 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach of change perceived as effective is through supportive interaction (dialogue) with the various perspectives formulated within the community concerned. Through such participative involvement on the part of the change agent as a sympathetic catalyst, a new community viewpoint can develop naturally from its existing foundations and be transformed. This approach is favored when existing methods are perceived as implying destructive discontinuity or the imposition of inappropriate external formulations which would do violence to the community’s growth and thus effectively retard it.

7.3 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach to change perceived as effective is through the formulation of a new all-encompassing philosophy (paradigm, theory, or strategy) as the reference framework in terms of which change can be initiated and undertaken. This approach is favored when the diversity of existing initiatives is perceived as breeding confusion, dissipating resources, and undermining any possibility of a new level of collective achievement for the community as a whole.

7.4 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach to change perceived as effective is by enabling a more sensitive recognition of the variety of existing strategic approaches and the manner in which, through their various (and possibly discordant) interactions, they already constitute a rich and harmonious pattern saturated with meaning at a deeper level of significance. This approach is favored when there is concern that new strategic approaches advocated are insensitive to and detached from the inherent harmony in those which have already been organically integrated into the tissue of lived reality.

7.5 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach to change perceived as effective is through the formulation of laws and definitions concerning observable processes on the basis of controlled investigation of their properties. Through such strategic approaches control is obtained over the processes which can then be used to restructure the environment according to their possibilities. This approach is favored when there is concern that the processes of change are clothed in superstition, mystification, and are attributed solely to chance, or accident, or inexplicable agents acting spontaneously beyond the control of participants.

7.6 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach to change perceived as effective emerges by renunciation of strategic approaches based upon the spatio-temporal world in favor of other factors and frames of reference to which appeal may be made. This approach is favored when there is recognition that manipulative control of particular sub-systems of the external physical environment is only partially satisfactory (even when it is complete), and that less tangible dimensions need to be taken into account. Any such approaches are frequently at least partially based on transformations of the inner world of the individual as it relates to the external world.

7.7 Under certain conditions the only strategic approach to change perceived as effective is to design configurations through which the full range of existing strategic approaches in opposition to each other can function creatively as complementaries, compensating for each other’s limitations and excesses. This approach is favored when there is concern that the various strategic approaches to change are functioning together so discordantly that some new strategic approach to dynamic order is required which provides a context for their different, and essentially incompatible, orientations.

Level #08 : Constraints on change (index)

8.1 In assessing any apparent need for change, care is required to avoid mistaken formulations of the environmental condition. These can lead, for example, to an impetuous response or action for action’s sake, from the consequences of which recovery may be difficult.

8.2 In formulating and planning any change initiative, care is required in selecting the point and manner of intervention. The constraints rarely offer the desired freedom of action and may easily be used as a focus for distracting dissatisfaction.

8.3 In formulating the nature of the change initiative, care is required in adapting any representation of it to avoid the temporary benefits of pleasing whoever is identified with the current condition or failing to acknowledge the difficulties to be encountered in changing it. These difficulties include weaknesses in those associated with the change initiative itself.

8.4 In implementing a change initiative as formulated, care is required that the initiative is not itself distorted by close association with the adverse conditions to which it responds or weakened by avoiding unpleasant decisions which have to be made to maintain the integrity of the response.

8.5 In sustaining a change initiative as formulated, care is required in ensuring its equilibrium with the intensification and expansion of activity due to confidence from successful experience with any adverse conditions encountered and with the distractions of contentment with positive achievements.

8.6 Once a change initiative has achieved its maximum deployment, care is required in responding to the limitations on any further development. The original direction of effort may well be deflected in the pursuit of further success, especially in response to any accumulation of negative assessments.

8.7 Once the essential task of a change initiative is approaching completion, care is required in deciding on the termination of activities as originally intended. It may seem natural to continue the activities or to institutionalize them. Positive encouragement to do so may be received from all concerned. Succumbing to these pressures creates the risk of entrapment by a pattern of activity which it may then prove difficult to terminate at any time.

8.8 After a change initiative has been terminated, care is required in evaluating the activities and the achievements in the light of the original intent in order to avoid subsequent dependence on them.

Level #09 : Implementation of a transformation process (index)

9.1 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires assembly of the necessary operational resources of an adequate quality. To the extent that assembly is impossible, or their quality is inadequate, the process will be handicapped and partially controlled by the nature of those deficiencies.

9.2 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires precise and energetic clarification of the succeeding stages of the process. To the extent that this clarification is lacking, action will be confused and momentum will be insufficient to overcome unforeseen problems.

9.3 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires recognition of deviation or conflict between resources assembled and process planning in the light of independent critical questions concerning the implementation process. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, or that the questions are poorly conceived, further implementation (together with any corrective action) will result in an imbalanced process vulnerable to disruption.

9.4 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires attentive preparation of the assembled elements to be processed. To the extent that this attentiveness is lacking, details of the preparation will be carelessly omitted or improperly executed thus jeopardizing the success of the operation.

9.5 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards necessitates a controlled manipulation of the prepared elements into an emerging configuration. To the extent that this manipulation is improperly controlled or that the correspondence between the action taken and the knowledge of the action actually required is otherwise inadequate, the results will be unsatisfactory.

9.6 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires dispassionate evaluation of the strategic approach emerging from the process in the light of the original intention and the current circumstances. To the extent that this evaluation is inadequate (and no corrective action is taken), the product may either not correspond to the original intention or be inappropriate to current possibilities for using it.

9.7 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires that the emergent product be appropriately detached from the process which gave rise to it. To the extent that this separation is inadequate, or the relationship between the product and the process is otherwise confused, the resultant dependency relationship will jeopardize the value of the product.

9.8 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires controlled delivery of the product to its originally intended setting in the face of possible reactions against it. To the extent that there is over-sensitivity to such reactions, the delivery cannot be completed thus jeopardizing the original intent.

9.9 Implementation of a transformative process subject to real-world hazards requires an appropriate attitude on completion of the process to ensure that it is evaluated within its proper context. To the extent that this attitude is lacking, efforts may then be made to associate either the product or the process to other contexts and initiatives. This distorts the originally intended significance of the initiative and runs the risk of confusing any new initiatives.

Level #10 : Endurance of a strategic approach (index)

10.1 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its built-in ability to recognize the probable consequences of initiatives it determines and thus ensure relationships to other formulations which are supportive of their mutual development. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, destructive initiatives emerge with ultimately negative consequences for the development of the original approach.

10.2 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its built-in ability to recognize the determining causes of developments in its environment and thus establish supportive relationships for the development of other strategic approaches on the basis of its own experience. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the approach develops parasitic or exploitative relationships with other strategic approaches which are ultimately detrimental to its own development.

10.3 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize the characteristic initiatives and responses engendered by other strategic approaches in order, by exercise of discrimination, to determine those with which a mutually beneficial association is possible. To the extend that this recognition is lacking, the formulation is continually drawn into illusory or mutually conflicting relationships with other approaches, in an uncontrollable manner which provides no stable foundation for its own development and effectively conceals its possibility.

10.4 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize the developmental potential of other strategic approaches in order to adapt appropriately to such alternative perspectives for its own further development. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the potential of such alternative approaches is misrepresented, thus undermining the future adaptability of the approach and the refinement of its own development goal.

10.5 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize the different levels or capacities by which other strategic approaches may be characterized in order to relate appropriately to them to further mutual development. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, any relationships risk entrapment in apparent contradictions and in inappropriate responses to approaches which stand in active opposition. In such circumstances the approach may simply serve to spread dissension and blind awareness to particular expressions of an approach.

10.6 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize the pathways and goals of different modes of development characteristic of other strategic approaches and to adapt appropriately to an environment with such contrasting possibilities. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, other approaches are actively condemned, often with considerable prejudice. The power and development of the approach is then severely handicapped by the distortion and fragmentation of the actions it determines into rigidly polarized opposition to other approaches.

10.7 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize, through some process of detachment, those of its features which need to be gradually abandoned and those which need to be reinforced. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, rigid attachment to an unchanging approach deflects any inherent dynamism into superficial matters of little consequence.

10.8 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recall earlier stages in its development and the manner in which weaknesses were progressively eliminated. To the extent that this recollection is lacking, the approach is unable to sustain any method for its own transformation and the necessary confidence is instead displaced into reinforcing attachment to existing weaknesses.

10.9 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize the probable future states of strategic approaches and the probable circumstances of their termination. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the approach tends to become the vehicle for negative intentions towards the positive achievements associated with other approaches, rather than channeling that intention to reinforce its own developmental momentum.

10.10 The endurance of a strategic approach is conditioned by its inbuilt ability to recognize in other strategic approaches the weaknesses to which they have developed an appropriate resistance. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the approach becomes a vehicle for the development of destructive misperceptions which hinder any ability either to abandon the weaknesses they have overcome or to free other approaches from such obstacles to their own development.

Level #11 : Empowerment and importance of a strategic approach (index)

11.1 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of constructive or destructive action with which it is associated and the manner whereby they are distinguished.

11.2 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of enriching or impoverishing action with which it is associated.

11.3 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of protection or exposure with which it is associated.

11.4 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of assistance or obstruction with which it is associated.

11.5 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of bias or lack of bias with which it is associated.

11.6 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of security or danger with which it is associated.

11.7 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of confidence or doubt with which it is associated.

11.8 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of consolation or dejection with which it is associated.

11.9 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the degree of inspiration and reinforcement with which it is associated.

11.10 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the quality of remedial advice with which it is associated.

11.11 The empowerment and importance of a strategic approach is determined by the power of the subtle qualities with which it is associated.

Level #12 : Harmoniously transformative controlled relationship (index)

12.1 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by forceful spontaneous initiatives appropriately guided by an implicit sense of opportunity and constraint. Such action opens up viable new possibilities. If inappropriately controlled, it may be excessively violent, misguided, unfruitful or merely self-serving.

12.2 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with it environment is characterized by a capacity to respond receptively to a comprehensive range of external initiatives by providing appropriate frameworks within which they can be embodied and consolidated. To the extent this capacity is lacking, such receptivity may be over-loaded leading to selective resistance, non-response or alternatively to their co-optation.

12.3 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by a capacity to interrelate initiatives, creatively and explicitly, with contexts within which they can be further developed. To the extent this capacity is lacking, any such catalytic mediation becomes diffuse and lacking in continuity. Apparent contradictions are then a source of confusion rather than being perceived as aspects of an intricate pattern of stimulating diversity.

12.4 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by the gradual emergence of higher order organization in response to initiatives and constraints. If such emergence is absent or inhibited, the approach engenders actions which are increasingly incapable of containing the forces to which they respond.

12.5 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment necessitates a degree of organization which enables it to respond fully, in an integrated uncompromising forceful manner, to a full range of external events of which it remains independent. To the extent that this capacity is inappropriately developed, such organization is characterized by domination, self-appreciation, and misuse of power.

12.6 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment necessitates intuitive readjustment of implicit assumptions in order to renew the capacity to respond appropriately to events in context. To the extent that this capacity is lacking, any response is inhibited or focused on superficial detail.

12.6 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment necessitates intuitive readjustment of implicit assumptions in order to renew the capacity to respond appropriately to events in context. To the extent that this capacity is lacking, any response is inhibited or focused on superficial detail.

12.7 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by a capacity for detached evaluation of past development from a perspective which provides both an intuitive balance between relevant factors and a sense of integrative possibilities. To the extent that this capacity is lacking, evaluation of external factors is negative or indecisive thus hindering further development.

12.8 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by the capacity to respond spontaneously to higher order goals and possibilities even if the prevailing set of lower order goals and possibilities (with which it is identified) must be abandoned in order to do so. To the extent that the capacity for this transformation is lacking, the lower order goals and possibilities are distorted and reinforced to the detriment of further development.

12.9 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by the spontaneous initiation of higher order processes which are focused in order to transform the operation of pre-existing lower order processes by which it is governed. To the extend that this capacity is inappropriately developed, any processes initiated are misdirected to the detriment of further development.

12.10 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by an explicit pattern of control processes governing future possibilities, or current needs and opportunities. To the extent that this capacity is inappropriately developed, there is a tendency to over-control which is detrimental to further development.

12.11 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by the capacity to engender appropriate design in the light of significant new insights which bring possibilities and constraints into focus in an unforeseen and fruitful manner, thus facilitating effective action for their development. To the extent that this capacity is inappropriately developed, it results in automatic negative reaction to external initiatives and conditions, to the detriment of their further developments.

12.12 A strategic approach in a harmoniously transformative controlled relationship with its environment is characterized by a response pattern of reconciliation between all potential initiatives or conflicts. This unifying pattern thus acts as a stabilizing influence ensuring continuity, particularly between higher and lower-order processes. To the extend that this capacity is inappropriately developed, the response pattern becomes confused, reacting inadequately to spurious conditions.

Level #13 : Creative renewal (index)

13.1 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any impotence and enfeeblement of action associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.2 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any fragmented or inconsistent action associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.3 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any fragmented or inconsistent action associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.4 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any non-viable products of action associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.5 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any dependence and powerlessness of the approach in its current mode.

13.6 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any rigidity or crystallization of the approach in its current mode.

13.7 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any impracticality or shortsightedness of action associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.8 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any sense of futility associated with the approach in its current mode, or to any (consequent) self-destructive processes.

13.9 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any apathy or pessimism associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.10 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any unpredictability or uncontrollability associated with the approach in its current mode.

13.11 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any action associated with the approach becoming narrowly focused as an end in itself.

13.12 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to any corruption or dissolution of the approach in its current mode.

13.13 Renewal is dependent on the emergence of a creative response to the total disappearance of the approach in its current mode.

Level #14 : Cycle of development processes (index)

14.1 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by static, unchanging strategic approaches.

14.2 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by the breakdown of strategic approaches into their component elements.

14.3 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by the coalescence of strategic approaches through which a new approach is engendered.

14.4 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by the harmonious interaction of strategic approaches which retain their identity.

14.5 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by a unified, continuous pattern of strategic approaches.

14.6 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by a diversity of separate, discrete strategic approaches.

14.7 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by specific conflictual relationships between strategic approaches.

14.8 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by qualitatively significant undefinable relationships between strategic approaches.

14.9 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by chance-determined strategic approaches.

14.10 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by strategic approaches which result as a natural and predictable consequence of those processes.

14.11 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by strategic approaches whose existence in the spatio-temporal world is self-explanatory.

14.12 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by strategic approaches whose existence cannot be adequately explained in terms of the spatio-temporal frame of reference.

14.13 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by fluidity, turbulence and chaos.

14.14 The cycle of development processes includes extreme phases characterized by ordered systems and well-defined patterns.

Level #15 : Construction and development of a strategic approach (index)

15.1 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires direct or indirect observation of empirical facts, whether events, processes, or phenomena.

15.2 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development that requires appropriate procedures of measurement of empirical quantitative can be obtained.

15.3 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires appropriate procedures for the design and interpretation of significant experiments.

15.4 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires appropriate procedures of empirical generalization and descriptive classification to organize empirical data in a preliminary way in preparation for systematic classification.

15.5 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires appropriate procedures whereby explanatory results can be represented.

15.6 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires the use of conceptual elements, whether characteristic abstractions, terminology or techniques, which constitute the intellectual keys by which phenomena are made intelligible.

15.7 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires hypothesis formation, namely postulation through creative insight of a conceptual model based on assumptions concerning existing experimental observations or measurements.

15.8 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires recognition of a problem which appears susceptible to solution by use, or extension, of available techniques.

15.9 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires the possible adjustment or replacement of a conceptual model as a result of new observations or measurements.

15.10 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires the selection of a particular style of explanatory procedure required for the application of a given group of concepts.

15.11 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires use of formal or mathematical elements, whether computational, construction or analytic procedures.

15.12 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires use of techniques of formal transformation, whether formalization (reduction to relations while disregarding the nature of the related) or axiomatization (tracing of entailments back to accepted axioms).

15.13 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires validation of a conceptual model by checking its predictions against observations or measurements using techniques of confirmation, corroboration or falsification.

15.14 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires the production of rigorous formal definitions of the validity, probability, degree of confirmation, and other evidential relations involved in the judgment of a logical argument.

15.15 Construction of a strategic approach and the logical prediction of its future development requires the use of a formal propositional system having a definite, essential logical structure, namely a formal scheme of propositions and axioms bound together by logical relations.

Level #16 : Values and assumptions (index)

16.1 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the approach is without imperfection.

16.2 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the approach is an end in itself.

16.3 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that there is a permanent dimension to the approach.

16.4 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the approach is composed of independent external features.

16.5 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the inadequacies of the approach have no cause or are their own cause.

16.6 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the inadequacies of the approach arise from irrelevant causes.

16.7 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the inadequacies of the approach are only due to one cause, independent of conditions or secondary circumstances.

16.8 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the inadequacies of the approach are necessarily permanent.

16.9 Recognition of the values underlying a a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that it is impossible to generate an adequate approach.

16.10 Recognition of the values underlying a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the approach as achieved is adequate, can be accepted, and that further effort to generate a more adequate approach should cease.

16.11 Recognition of the values underlying a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that the most abstract strategic approaches constitute the ultimate achievement.

16.12 Recognition of the values underlying a form highlight any unfounded assumption that, however perfect the approach engendered, its inadequacy will eventually become apparent.

16.13 Recognition of the values underlying a strategic approach highlight any unfounded assumption that there is no method adequate to the current circumstances.

16.14 Recognition of the values underlying a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that there is no suitable method, or pattern of methods, whereby acentric significance can be effectively perceived or reflected in an approach.

16.15 Recognition of the values underlying a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption supporting the practice of methods which yield no useful results.

16.16 Recognition of the values underlying a strategic approach highlights any unfounded assumption that there are no effective remedies for the inadequacies of the existing approach.

Level #17 : Relationship potential of a strategic approach (index)

17.1 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on its relative imperfection. Absence of imperfection reduces dependency arising from formal incompleteness thus removing any basis for interdependency. However, the nature of the imperfection strongly influences the quality of interdependence with which the approach can be associated.

17.2 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other strategic approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on the recognition that the approach is not an end in itself.

17.3 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other strategic approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition of the impermanence of the approach. The larger the set of strategic approaches within which relationships may exist, the greater the probability that such relationships will involve patterns of formal development and transformation in which any invariance will be at a higher level of abstraction than that of the approach as originally recognized.

17.4 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition that the approach is itself the integrated development of interdependent approaches.

17.5 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extend to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition of the causes of the perceived inadequacies of the approach. Such recognition establishes a relationship between the approach and other approaches. However the nature of the perceived cause strongly influences the quality of interdependence with which the approach can be associated.

17.6 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition that the inadequacies of the approach arise from relevant causes and not from causes irrelevant to the nature of the approach.

17.7 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition that the inadequacies of the approach are due to a multiplicity of causes themselves dependent on conditions and secondary circumstances.

17.8 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition that the inadequacies of the approach and their causes are necessarily of a temporary nature.

17.9 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on conviction that it is possible to generate a more adequate approach. By focusing attention on possible adaptation of the approach, its evolving relationship to other approaches thus becomes evident.

17.10 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on continuing effort to generate a more adequate approach and refusal, as adequate, of what has already been achieved. This ensures that the approach is placed in a context of approaches in process of transformation rather than in isolation.

17.11 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition that elaboration and retention of the most abstract approach does not constitute the ultimate achievement. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, any such approach, despite its sophistication, is a hindrance to the dynamics of further development.

17.12 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on conviction that approaches can be engendered which will not subsequently come to be perceived as inadequate. Such approaches must necessarily incorporate and counterbalance the factors which make for the emergence of inadequacy in an evolving set of approaches.

17.13 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on conviction that there is a method, or pattern of methods, which can be followed and is adequate to current circumstances. To the extent that this conviction is lacking, it is unlikely that significant relationships between approaches will be recognized.

17.14 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on conviction that a suitable method, or pattern of methods, may emerge whereby acentric significance can be effectively perceived or reflected in an approach. To the extent that this conviction is lacking, methods used will continue to be centered on particular approaches which fail to take account simultaneously of insights emerging from those centered on other approaches.

17.15 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on recognition of the futility of practicing methods which yield no fruitful results. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the methods pursued will limit the range and richness of relationships which can be established between approaches.

17.16 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches, is directly dependent on conviction that there are effective remedies for the inadequacies of the existing approach.

17.17 The relationship potential of a strategic approach to other approaches, namely the extent to which it is assimilated into a larger set of differing approaches depends on (intuitive) recognition of the permeability and variability of the boundary of that approach.

Level #18 : Inadequate transformation attempts (index)

18.1 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the assembly or mobilization of operational resources in accordance with a predetermined concept. This tends to engender either subservience or considerable resistance and alienation of potential support. Such forcing initiatives may well prevent formation of linkages vital to the future integrity of the operation and may lead to its early abortion or a considerable limitation in its scope.

18.2 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as allowing operational resources to assemble, as and when they may, according tot he emergent processes of their initial interaction. This tends to result in considerable confusion, seldom with any creative operational outcome of other than a superficial nature. Such initiatives then lack coherence, continuity and any capacity for endurance.

18.3 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the imposition of a programme of operations. This immediately splits the resources mobilized into the empowered and the disempowered. The strength of the former then tends to be overestimated, whilst their weaknesses are under estimated, and the full contribution of the disempowered is blocked. The imposed programme is never called into question. This procedure further alienates potential support and increases the risk that the operation will go out of control if circumstances later arise in which the blocked or alienated resources are essential.

18.4 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the dependence on spontaneous, participative self-organization of operational programmes. This tends to result in uncertainty and conflicting activities which reinforce lack of coherence, of continuity, and of any capacity for endurance. Any programmes which emerge are immediately called into question.

18.5 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the reassessment of objectives and direction through detailed analysis following the initiation of the operation, this tends to be a destructive, unfruitful exercise providing little more than an intellectual framework as support for programme integration. The exercise then serves to alienate involvement in the operation, rather than to uncover new reserves of support for it.

18.6 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the reassessment of objectives and direction through re-sensitizing processes, affirmation, and celebration of solidarity, following the initiation of the operation. This tends to emphasize the dimensions of consensus (whether intangible or superficial) at the expense of the dimensions of disagreement (often specific and fundamental). Operational coherence is then dependent on the former without any adequate framework to balance the issues raised by the latter.

18.7 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the preparation or partial de-structuring of the operation (for subsequent transformation), according to a rigid procedure unresponsive to contextual feedback. This tends to result in the accumulation of conditions which disrupt the procedure. The operation can then only be continued by overriding such obstacles or by limiting its original scope. Both solutions generate difficulties necessitating future operations for their elimination.

18.8 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the preparation or partial de-structuring of the raw materials of the operation (for subsequent transformation) according to a procedure totally responsive to contextual feedback. This tends to result in the erosion (and eventual dissipation) of the procedure whose impetus is then absorbed into the contextual processes.

18.9 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the transformation of the raw materials of the operation by a series of precisely defined (and reproducible) changes of structure. This tends to limit such operations to those of essentially mechanical scope and renders them inapplicable to transformations of perception, attitude or value.

18.10 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as the transformation of the raw materials of the operation by a set of intuitive, irreproducible processes. This tends to limit such operations to those of essentially intangible scope. This renders them inapplicable to transformations of tangible conditions which should reflect such changes and give them a measure of permanence.

18.11 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as evaluating the transformation in terms of the quality of the results achieved, without taking into consideration the viability of the process as a means to that end. This facilitates the emergence of processes whose by-products set the stage for later difficulties.

18.12 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as evaluating the transformation in terms of the viability of the process, without taking into consideration the quality of the results achieved (if any). This facilitates the emergence of processes carried out as an end in themselves, but which generate little of permanent benefit to the context in which they take place.

18.13 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as abrupt separation of the emergent product from the process which gives rise to it. Such sudden separation endangers the product in its final phases of dependency on the process.

18.14 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as continuing dependence of the emergent product on the process which gives rise to it. This pattern of dependency endangers the ultimate self-sufficiency of the product.

18.15 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as delivery of the final product to the originally intended setting in a manner insensitive to reactions from that setting. This tends to lead to the early rejection of the product.

18.16 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as delivery of the final product to the originally intended setting in a manner overly sensitive to reactions from that setting. Unless the normal resistance to new products is overcome, this tends to prevent the product from being delivered.

18.17 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as complete rejection of any subsequent evaluation of the process or association with it. This tends to deprive subsequent initiatives from any value of the process as a learning experience.

18.18 Attempts at the transformation of a strategic approach tend to be undermined by destructive energy-dissipating conflict between methodological extremes such as continuing identification with the process after its completion. This tends to distort any subsequent initiatives.

Level #19 : Qualitative transformation (index)

19.1 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the assembly or mobilization of, in accordance with a predetermined concept.

19.2 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) allowing operational resources to assemble naturally of their own accord.

19.3 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the imposition of a programme of operations.

19.4 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the dependence on spontaneous, participative self-organization of operational programmes.

19.5 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the reassessment of objectives and direction through detailed analysis, following the initiation of the operation.

19.6 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the reassessment of objectives and direction through re-sensitizing processes, following the initiation of the operation.

19.7 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the preparation or partial restructuring of the elements of the operation, according to a rigid procedure unresponsive to contextual feedback.

19.8 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the preparation or partial restructuring of the elements of the operation, according to a procedure totally responsive to contextual feedback.

19.9 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the transformation of the elements of the operation by a series of precisely defined changes of structure.

19.10 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) the transformation of the elements of the operation by a set of intuitive, irreproducible processes.

19.11 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) evaluating the transformation in terms of the quality of the results achieved, without taking into consideration the viability of the process as a means to that end.

19.12 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) evaluating the transformation in terms of the process, without taking into consideration the quality of the results achieved.

19.13 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) abrupt separation of the emergent product which gives rise to it.

19.14 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) continuing dependence of the emergent product on the process which gives rise to it.

19.15 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) delivery of the final product to the originally intended setting in a manner insensitive to reactions form that setting.

19.16 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) delivery of the final product to the originally intended setting in a manner extremely sensitive to reactions from that setting.

19.17 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) complete rejection of any subsequent evaluation of the process or association with it.

19.18 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus, alternating from (and to) continuing identification with the process after its completion.

19.19 Qualitative transformation depends on harmonious transfer of focus between extremes whilst maintaining an appropriate periodicity for such transfers within a self-organizing pattern.

Level #20 : Significance of mutually constraining approaches (index)

20.1 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with their avoidance of unnecessary or excessive response to each other. To the extent that this forbearance is lacking, the significance is obscured by the turbulent nature of that response.

20.2 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with affirmation of their affinity. To the extent that this affirmation is lacking, the significance is obscured by the consequences of previous unbalanced interactions.

20.3 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with their controlled interaction. To the extend that such control is lacking, the significance is obscured by the uncontrolled nature of their interaction.

20.4 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with recognition of their sensitively supportive response to each other’s condition. To the extent that this sensitivity is lacking, the significance is obscured by destructive interactions.

20.5 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with reconciliation of their respective characteristics. To the extent that this reconciliation is lacking, the significance is obscured by non-recognition or non-acceptance of some characteristics.

20.6 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with acknowledgement of inadequacies. To the extent that such acknowledgement is lacking, the significance will be obscured by distortion of the relationship for short-term advantage.

20.7 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with abandonment of claims to non-existent qualities. To the extent that such claims are not relinquished, the significance will be obscured by efforts to achieve short-term advantage.

20.8 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with the implicit development of principles governing their actions. To the extent that such implicit principles are lacking, the significance is obscured by unconstrained actions and their consequences.

20.9 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with the explicit development of principles governing their actions. To the extent that such principles are lacking, the significance is obscured by unconstrained actions and their consequences.

20.10 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with acknowledgement of obstacles to further development. To the extent that such acknowledgement is lacking, the significance is obscured and their power reinforced.

20.11 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with abandonment of efforts to increase the resources associated with either approach. To the extent that this is not achieved, the significance is obscured by the dependence created on the resource-seeking activity.

20.12 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with reservations concerning the resources and characteristics associated with the strategic approaches. To the extent that this reserve is lacking, the significance is obscured by preoccupation with these attributes.

20.13 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with enthusiasm for the functions with which they are associated. To the extend that this enthusiasm is lacking, the significance is obscured by indifference to those functions.

20.14 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with perseverance. To the extent that such persistent attention is lacking, the significance is obscured.

20.15 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with recognition of the constructive and destructive consequences of their interaction. To the extent that this recognition is lacking, the significance is obscured.

20.16 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with recollection of the multiple aspects of their interaction. To the extent that such memories are eroded, the significance is obscured.

20.17 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with alertness to potential confusion. To the extent that such attentiveness is lacking, the significance is obscured.

20.18 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with intelligent interest in their interaction. To the extent that such interest is lacking, the significance is obscured.

20.19 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with balanced attention to them. To the extent that there is preoccupation with one approach, the significance is obscured.

20.20 The significance of mutually constraining strategic approaches emerges with ability to focus on their interaction. To the extent that such focus cannot be maintained, the significance is obscured.

 

Communicating with Aliens:

the Psychological Dimension of Dialogue

PART IV

DESIGNING A TEAM FOR ALIEN ENCOUNTER

14 March 2000

In the light of the above, how might interested parties envisage the design of a human team to prepare for an encounter with aliens — and improve the operational guidelines for that eventuality?

It is intriguing that fundamental requirements for such an encounter bear a strong relationship to the emerging understanding of the strategic requirements of corporations to meet the future. A prime factor is what has been termed strategic nimbleness and the ability to “turn on a dime”. Rigidity is fatal, although vigilance is essential.

Unlike science fiction scenarios, it is questionable whether the team would simply be a selection from a narrow range of university faculties and academic disciplines. The focus needs to be primarily on psychological and behavioral skills and attributes in an environment of high uncertainty — in the best sense of a dialogue variant of “streetwise”.

A predilection for explaining new phenomena to confirm favorite theories would be less than helpful — as with a preoccupation with the opportunity offered for career advancement. Naturally the team should be able to recognize the need for additional skills, and be able to call upon them. But this does not mean that people with those skills should be physically present at the encounter interface.

Approached from this angle it is clear that designing the team would call on the kinds of skills developed for management and operational teams, rather than teams of scientists. However it needs to be far more subtle in scope because of the variety of challenges that may have to be prepared for — in contrast with the precise objectives that simplify the design of many conventional teams. It may call upon the skills involved in designing an intentional community.

The unproductive dynamic most likely to undermine effective team-building is that associated with ensuring politically correctness at all cost. Considerable thought is therefore required to work out how many constituencies (ethnic groups, religions, disciplines, etc) would want to see themselves represented in any such process and how this number (say 1000) could be present virtually, if not actually — if the practical number was no greater than say 12, or less.

This might be described as the challenge of “access management”. And through what institutional process is the team to be designed in the light of these constraints — bearing in mind the chaotic diplomatic and military dynamics around prolonged negotiations in connection with recent crises (cf Yugoslavia).

One experimental approach to the design problem is to consider the following sequence of options:

  1. If only one person could be appointed as representative for the dialogue process, what qualities should that person have? Here it is worth remembering that the most logical candidates (whose voices have been recorded on a succession of satellites sent into deep space) have been deeply flawed individuals (a former Nazi and a person intimately associated with the largest massacres since the Holocaust).
  2. If only two people could be selected, presumably it would be important to reflect gender differences in addition to other important kinds of complementarity
  3. If only three people could be selected….
  4. If only four people….etc

This experiment links back to the pattern structuring exercise of Part III. For each number, there is a different pattern of complementarity between the strategic functions that emerge at that level of articulation and different types of uncertainty in the selection. At each number level, a corresponding number of functions would be explicitly and associated with a given team member — at Level 7, there would therefore be seven people in the team.

Thus at the first level, for example, the choice is necessarily unsatisfactory, with its requirement for the archetypal “man for all seasons” to effectively assume all functions. At the second, the challenge of identifying the “ideal couple” emerges; at the third and beyond emerge the various levels of tream dynamics more frequently explored in management situations.

The different kinds of intelligence associated with these roles might be explored in the light of Howard Gardner’s classic study Frames of Mind : The Theory of Multiple Intelligences (1983) or Magoroh Maruyama’s work on mindscapes.

It is also intriguing how, according to the number selected, different values become explicit in a person/role or else are spread implicitly across the set of active roles. This merits reflection to the extent that the dialogue team is supposed to represent, and protect, the set of values of humanity. There has been little research into values from this perspective, namely how a comprehensive et of values is to be understood if only a limited number can be articulated within the set (see Judge, 1979)

For example, it may therefore be useful to see a team of 12 as composed of archetypal behavioral styles such as the following (very tentative — work in progress but see reflections on the necessary self-organizing process in Enabling creative response to extraordinary crises, http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/docs/answer.php):

  • Martial arts (aikido, etc) — vigilance, preparedness, respect for opponent (Black belt)

  • Performer, aesthete — responsiveness, reframing, expression

  • Communicator, facilitator, empath, humorist — (Peter Ustinov)

  • “Operator”, trader, con-man — opportunism, vigilance (it takes one to know one)

  • Biologist, species empath — understanding

  • Jesuit — avocatus diaboli

  • Taoist / Mullah Nasrrudin — crazy wisdom response to the moment

  • Anthropologist, linguist, protocol

  • Theoretician, physics, mathematics (Richard Feynman)

  • Game player

  • Philosopher

  • Lawyer

Given the range of such behavioral skills, how are the people to work together as a team? What dynamic should be cultivated between them? Here the challenge is the enthusiasm of various (Western) facilitators to use their particular model and understanding of teams in preference to all alternative models.

  • How is this “frontline” team to communicate with concentric levels of “backup” teams from which more obvious disciplinary and others skills might be drawn, if and when appropriate?
  • What communication technology can be used to providing scaffolding for the dialogue process (see Judge, 1998) — especially if the aliens have preferences for electronic, rather than face-to-face encounter?
  • Maybe the encounter will be entirely in virtual reality, in which case is the available groupware adequate to the task?
  • Or the skills to use it effectively?
  • How is the dynamic of shifting people forward into the frontline team, or back from it, to be determined in practice — “gear shifting” in response to the dialogue process?
  • How does the team tentatively adjust its configuration to situations of greater certainty (when provision for other unforeseen options can be tentatively relaxed) or uncertainty (when provision for more unforeseen possibilities must be activated)?
  • What kind of database of assumption patterns needs to be designed to provide for possible expansion or contraction of active assumptions in response to insights from the encounter?
  • Are there any insights on such a design from interactive health databases where the significance of symptoms (in specifying a diagnosis from a vast array of possible diseases) must be kept open subject to test results, contrasting interpretations, and evolution of the condition?
  • What insights, if any, from diplomatic handling of recent crises, merit incorporation into the guidelines?
  • What insights are to be gained from the way in which teams of astronauts are selected and developed?
  • How much time would such “dialonauts” need in a “dialogue simulator” before they were considered competent?
  • How is communication with them by various operations specialists orchestrated in response to need, when they are on a mission?
  • What would a dialogue mission look like if it was organized with that degree of financial commitment?

Of course such a team might develop its operational effectiveness by endeavoring to engage with human “aliens” in environments in which combinations of the Test Challenges of Part I are of particular significance. This might have the additional benefit of providing some new responses to the dilemmas of human alienation.

There is also an ironic resemblance between the SETI program and the search for the super-gifted within human societies — and the challenge of communicating meaningfully with them. Through what process are communications from the wise detected — beyond those practiced by Tibetan Buddhists?

Back to Contents

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