Global Strategies Project
Strategic appropriateness: Constraints on a meta-answer
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To avoid creating the impression that the previous argument amounts
to pluralist relativism, it is necessary to clarify some constraints which
counteract such a condition before taking the argument a step further.
Ranges of possible constraints have been explored elsewhere
(Encyclopedia, Section KP, 1991). At this point it is appropriate
to list the following:
- Single, exclusive, universal claims: Such claims are what the
meta-answer must necessarily interrelate. A claim of this type defines
itself as of a different type than that of a meta-answer.
- Eclectic pluralism: The meta-answer must necessarily be open
to any perspective, but it is of little value if it does not achieve more
- Artificial agglomerations: Grouping together answers within
a framework of categories (e.g. a matrix or a thesaurus) may prove to be
a valuable step towards a meta-answer, but the framework does not possess
all the required characteristics of one.
- Partial strategies: Reduction of the range of factors to be
considered may lead to valuable insights but it fails to respond to the
basic challenge of interrelating the full range of answers.
- Non-self-reflexive approaches: Any approach to a meta-answer
which is not faced with the paradox of the status of a meta-answer in relation
to an answer avoids an essential dimension of the challenge.
2. Constraint-sensitive system
Earlier (Encyclopedia, Section KP, 1991) it was argued that statements
about a meta-answer could best be formulated as an open-ended ordered series
of mutually-incompatible, transformation-oriented propositions of which
210 were outlined in 20 sets. A measure of self-reflexiveness is built
into them but is most evident in the earlier sets. The statements are formulated
in sets based on the number of elements by which it is hoped to "contain"
the description of the complexity of an adequate meta-answer. The earlier
statements are as follows.
3. Level-1: Inadequacy of formulations
- No single formulation (including this one), nor any logically integrated
set of formulations, adequately encompasses the nature of the development
process. 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
4. Level-2: Opposition/Disagreement
- 2.1: New initiatives, including this one, are formulated by taking
and establishing a particular position in opposition to whatever 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 position as a result of a new initiative engenders
or activates a formulation which is its denial. Every formulation 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 with one of the opposed positions.
5. Level-3: Dialectic synthesis
- 3.1: A form, 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. Tothe 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 form existing in the present stands in opposition to other preexisting
forms within the same context. As a result it is constrained by them to
be of the necessary scale and proportion to oppose the preexisting forms
most dynamically. Within a given context, however, an opposing form of
a particular type may be engendered which has been superseded in other
copresent contexts. Forms corresponding to different stages of development
may thus reemerge and coexist 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 forms engendered within them diminished
with a corresponding increase in the inertia or resistance associated with
the least developed forms.
- 3.3: Opposition between two forms tends to give rise to a new form
which has properties characteristic of both of them as well as new mediating
properties unique to itself. The new form interrelates or harmonizes the
original opposing forms. It reconciles them at a new level of expression
of unity, whether or not they then disappear. The potential existence of
the new form is therefore partially implicit (although incomplete) in each
of the opposing forms 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 form will in its own turn prove inadequate
and be opposed and superseded by more adequate forms whose nature it partially
defines. The attraction of a particular form may however prevent the energetic
development of this process.
6. Other statement sets (4 to 20)
The tentative titles used to indicate the qualitative characteristics
of the other sets
formulated in Section KP (Encyclopedia, 1991) are:
- Level-4: Development interaction
- Level-5: Constraints on existence
- Level-6: Coherence through renewal
- Level-7: Modes of change
- Level-8: Constraints on change
- Level-9: Implementation of a transformation process
- Level-10: Endurance of a form
- Level-11: Empowerment and importance of a form
- Level-12: Harmoniously transformative controlled relationship
- Level-13: Creative renewal
- Level-14: Cycle of development processes
- Level-15: Construction and development of form
- Level-16: Values and assumptions
- Level-17: Relationship potential of a form
- Level-18: Inadequate transformation attempts
- Level-19: Qualitative transformation
- Level-20: Significance of mutually constraining forms
In effect such sets attempt to clarify the kinds of significance domain
perceptible under different conditions of observation whilst at the same
time challenging the nature of the formulation and of the observation process.
In a sense the ordered sets establish the necessity of the fragmentation
of answers into domains.
From Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential