Transformative Approaches Project
Poetry and Policy: Voice of the Matchmaker
Transformative Approaches Project |
Is there even the faintest recognition in our times of the need to make use of poetic disciplines in response to the challenges we face ? Surprisingly there is. The recognition comes from those who recognize the limitations of scientific disciplines in dealing with the complexity of the world problematique -- and specifically with the limitations of the human mind, or of any particular language, in comprehending and encompassing the subtle dimensions amongst which a dynamic balance needs to be maintained.
For example, the biologist/anthropologist Gregory Bateson, in explaining why "we are our own metaphor", pointed out to a conference on the effects of conscious purpose on human adptation that:
"One reason why poetry is important for finding out about the world is because in poetry a set of relationships get mapped onto a level of diversity in us that we don't ordinarily have access to. We bring it out in poetry. We can give to each other in poetry the access to a set of relationships in the other person and in the world that we are not usually conscious of in ourselves. So we need poetry as knowledge about the world and about ourselves, because of this mapping from complexity to complexity." (Cited by Mary Catherine Bateson, p. 288-9)
1. Quality vs. Complexity
As noted above, policy-making and management are faced with a crisis of impotence, incompetence and gridlock. This has been explored in many ways by numerous authors. Yugoslavia and Somalia are only the most publicized examples. The failure to respond creatively to the needs of the former socialist countries is another. The challenge of unemployment is yet another.
Of course there are many highly publicized efforts at "restructuring" institutional systems, including reforming the United Nations. Many conferences are now held on enhancing the "quality of life", of which the 1992 Earth Summit was the most important. The "dismal science" of economics even has its reformers that are endeavouring to quantify the value of quality (United Nations Research Institute on Social Development, 1991). Creativity has long been à la mode in seminars for corporate executives. Whilst effective in "cost cutting", such initiatives fail to disguise an abysmal lack of imagination in collective response to the conditions of physical suffering or psychic alienation in which many are plunged.
One response to this general challenge has been the focus on the science of complexity as a development of earlier concern with systems research and cybernetics. There remains the hope amongst certain academic elites that computers can be used to model the richness of society in order to guide policy-making at the highest level. Unfortunately this initiative is based on the naive belief that voters will have equal confidence in approaches that are essentially quantitative and which are in no way influenced in their design by the qualitative dimensions that make life worth living. It is also believed that leaders will themselves be able to grasp policies of appropriate subtlety and will be sufficiently empowered to implement them. As before, quality is only honoured to the extent that it is quantifiable, and it is hoped that leaders will be adequate to the task. Quality is increasingly emerging as incompatible with complexity --given the simplistic nature of institutional responses.
At the Sante Fe Institute (USA), specifically established by the best and the brightest to explore with mathematical rigour the science of complexity in the light of chaos theory, the director of their first economic initiative (1987-89), W Brian Arthur notes: "Nonscientists tend to think that science works by deduction. But actually science works mainly by metaphor. And what's happening is that the kinds of metaphor people have in mind are changing....Instead of relying on the Newtonian metaphor of clockwork predictability, complexity seems to be based on metaphors more closely akin to the growth of a plant from a tiny seed, or the unfolding of a computer program from a few lines of code, or perhaps even the organic, self-organized flocking of simpleminded birds." (Waldrop, 1992, p. 327 and 329; see also p. 149)
Arthur indicates that the institute's role is to look at the ever-changing river of complexity and to understand what they areseeing. "So we assign metaphors. It turns out that an awful lot of policy-making has to do with finding the appropriate metaphor. Conversely, bad policy-making almost always involves finding inappropriate metaphors. For example it may not be appropriate to think about a drug 'war', with guns and assaults. So, from this point of view, the purpose of having the Sante Fe Institute is that it, and places like it, are where the metaphors and vocabulary are being created in complex systems." (Waldrop, p. 334)
Ironically, the process of articulating such understanding with mathematical "rigour" necessarily has to be contrasted with the "mere" metaphors from which such understanding derives. When articulated in a rigorous computer simulation, the simulation may be recognized of greatest value as a new metaphor (Waldrop, p. 334), precisely because it is an abstraction of limited relevance to understanding the real complexities of current social concerns.
2. Autopoiesis and self-organization
Fundamental to some of this research however is concern with the emerging theory of self-organization. Although the social implications are far from having been fully investigated, it is clear that there is a movement towards understanding how organization emerges and becomes coherent -- quite differently than if order is imposed by a leader in the conventional manner. How does an organization compose itself?
There are real challenges here to existing practices. The present approach is to articulate organizational programmes using point-by-point agendas, supported by linear text reports (often of great length). Selected key points may be repackaged by communications specialists in press communiqués to attract external support. Such programmes are then implemented through hierarchies of departments. In more enlightened bodies there may then be some endeavour to ensure "popular participation". The European Community has been especially challenged by this need since 1992.
Although there is no "self-organization" in this process, it may be argued that the "networking" reaction to such approaches is in many respects self-organizing. Unfortunately, as a reaction, it has gone to the other extreme. There tends to be little patterning in the organization of the networks that have emerged over recent decades. They too have proven inadequate to the collective challenge. It might be argued that hierarchical structures are poor carriers of quality because of their simplistic linearity -- hence their essentially monontonous quality. The current approach to networking has however led to structures that are so amorphous that the qualities they may well carry cannot be adequately contained or brought to any focus. They are too chaotic.
Living systems, including social systems, are too far from thermodynamic equilibrium to persist indefinitely in their environment. They become able to maintain themselves over time when they develop the capacity to replicate the structural pattern on which they are based. This self-organizing or self-producing ability has been termed "autopoiesis", from the Greek for "self-creating". Humberto R Maturana and Francisco J Varela (1980, 1987) define an autopoietic system as one in which a network of interrelated component-producing processes such that the components in the network generate the same network that produced them.
The relevance to strategic planning has been noted by Erich Jantsch (1980): "Strategic planning creates a mental non-equilibrium structure with fluctuations fed into it deliberately to trigger further evolution in one or other direction. And above the strategic level, there is the policy level at which the dynamics of the system in question (eg an industrial corporation) is viewed in the context of an all-embracing socio-cultural dynamics. And even higher is the level of values which is no more subject to rational elaboration but always plays a decisive and guiding role, whether implicitly or explicitly." (p. 266). His remarkable synthesis continues with chapters on artistic creativity, but without explicitly linking this to policy-making.
Of course "poiesis" or "poesis" is also the Greek term for poetry. This suggests a fundamental understanding of organization in all its forms which is to be associated with those qualities of poetry which have been systematically excluded from everything associated with policy-making. Questions of "self-organization" are now at the cutting edge of all studies of complexity in social systems from which some hope to derive insights into developing policies for their control. Thus Ilya Prigogine was awarded the Nobel Prize for insights into the way in which self-organization depended on self-reinforcement, namely the tendency for small effects to become magnified (rather than dying away) when conditions are right. The insights from the poetic dimensions have however been ignored --and yet does not much of the skill of the poet lie in achieving analogous effects at the level of understanding? Is this not a reason for which poetic effects continue to remain memorable?
3. Systems of knowledge: Techne vs Episteme
The United Nations University WIDER group has recently explored the challenge of dominant systems of knowledge (F Apffel Marglin, et al) to the processes of modernization and development. In presenting a new research programme on the "greening of economics", a key representative, Stephen Marglin, argues that: "the focus is on the difference between practice and ideology. Practice always involves a combination, synthesis, even tension between different systems of knowledge, between...techne and episteme. Techne (or T-knowledge) is embedded, contextual knowledge based on intuition, authority, and above all experience. Episteme (or E-knowledge) is disembedded, super-contextual knowledge based, in the West, on the discovery of acceptable first principles and logical deduction from these first principles."
However: "Notwithstanding the complementarity in practice, the Western ideology of knowledge has elevated its E-knowledge to a superior position, to a point, in the extreme case, that T-knowledge is not only regarded as inferior knowledge, but as no knowledge at all. Except to the extent that T-knowledge can be justified by E-knowledge, it remains superstition, belief, prejudice."
Criticizing the reliance of economists on E-knowledge, Marglin asserts: "under conditions of uncertainty, decision makers do not and cannot mobilize the apparatus of calculation and maximization. Without something to peg probabilities on, individuals necessarily fall back on quite different methods -- on intuition, conventional behaviour, authority -- in short, on a different system of knowledge from that which drives maximizing behaviour."
He then continues: "It should be clear from the foregoing that the greening of economics is to some extent metaphorical, that it includes more than an ecological dimension, central as the ecological dimension is to this project....The various notions of greening nourish one another. Thus this project is conceived as a dialogue, or rather a series of overlapping dialogues."
But despite this concern with metaphor, and the expressed need for overlapping dialogues between themes which would not be foreign to poetry, it might be asked whether such an initiative is not trapped by a form of knowledge that it sets out to transcend. The critique projects all that E-knowledge lacks into a poorly understood T-knowledge that is reduced to a form which excludes much that poetry stands for -- or leaves it implicit in broader interpretations of T-knowledge. There remains the unexplored possibility that in the above terms only a third, mediating, form of knowledge, namely poesis (or P-knowledge), can provide the degree of continuing renewal and creative balance without which genuinely qualitative efforts at "greening" can be rendered sustainable -- rather than simply "technically" feasible. It might be argued that this is an important reason why so many cultures have cultivated this latter form of knowledge.
Anne Buttimer (1983) introduces this notion of poesis into a four-fold classification of professional roles in relation to planning or government service: Logos (promotion of analytical rigour and theory building); Ergon (practical application of discipline to solution of social and environmental problems); Paideia (teaching and documentary work); and Poesis (evolving a sense of place, meaning of landscape and civilization). Clearly Logos and Ergon relate to E-knowledge and T-knowledge respectively.
4. Cycles and phasing
In response to complexity, the policy and management sciences are increasingly obliged to structure their initiatives and programmes intophases over time. "Five Year Plans" are now common, as are multi-phase programmes, notably in complex construction projects. Businesses and national economies are increasingly concerned with the ways that they may be affected by business cycles. There is renewed concern with long-period cycles of natural and social processes (Mallmann, 1993). The adaptation of mathematics to the study of cycles of social significance is now being undertaken (Mushakoji, **). Accompanying this trend is the tendency to develop multi-track programmes in which complementary tasks are undertaken in parallel -- with such tracks converging and combining to achieve the final objective. Special computer tools (such as PERT) are used to visualize and modify the relationships within such complex pathways.
It is possible to look at classical Chinese approaches to strategies of change in terms of "sustainable policy cycles" (Union of International Associations, 1991) -- even though they were originally formulated in poetic and metaphoric form.
It is tempting to see such articulations as complex patterns of associations which might otherwise be of significance to poets or musicians.
5. Cognitive function of metaphor
Since the 1970s there has been an explosion of interest in the role of metaphor in all areas (Van Noppen, 1985, 1990), but especially in the language of disciplines (Dirven, 1984). It is no longer considered merely a matter of rhetorical flourish or poetical imagination (Ortony, 1979). Robert Nisbett (1969) states: "It is clear from many studies of the cognitive process generally, and particularly of creative thought, that the act of thought in its more intense phases is often inseparable from metaphor -- from that intuitive, iconic, encapsulating grasp of a new entity or process." E L Doctorow (1977) has even argued that: "The development of civilizations is essentially a progression of metaphors". In a similar vein, Gibson Winter (1981) argues that: "..if the present age faces a crisis of root metaphors, a shift in metaphors may open new vistas of human possibilities."
Lakoff and Johnson (1980) argue that our conceptual system is fundamentally metaphorical. The give such examples as: argument as war (resulting in indefensible claims; attacking an opposing view) and spatialization (happy and health as up, with sad and sick as down). These are domains in which poets are most skilled.
Metaphors are used to get a conceptual handle on complexity, notably in physics (Jones, 1983). They have a major role in psychoanalysis and psychotherapy (Gordon, 1976; Hillman, 1983). Educators make extensive use of metaphor, building on its traditional role in religion. Elise Boulding (1988) has explored its educational uses in relation to the "imaging capacity" required to build the future. Metaphor is fundamental to skilful advertising and image building, notably in politics (Miller, 1979). It underlies discussion of organizational cultures and their ability to innovate (1986). In that respect metaphor or guiding imagery (leitbild in German) is also vital to technological development (Dierkes, 1988; Romanyshyn, 1989; Rogers, 1990).
6. Organizational science in a postmodern context
Kenneth Gergen, concerned with the dilemmas of identity in contemporary life (1991), sees the future of organizational science in the following terms: "the most significant and potential powerful byproducts of organizational science are its forms of language -- its images, concepts, metaphors, narratives and the like. When placed in motion within the culture, these discourses may -- if skilfully fashioned -- be absorbed within ongoing relations. Such relations thereby stand to be transformed. Not only does this place a premium on reflexive critique within the profession...but it also invites the scientist to enter the process of creating realities....Rather than "telling it like it is," the challenge for the postmodern scientist is to "tell it as it might become." Needed are scholars willing to be audacious, to break the barriers of common sense by offering new forms of theory, of interpretation, or of intelligibility." (Gergen and Thachankry, 1993)
These concerns are shared by sociologists David Cooperrider (1987) and Suresh Srivastva (1988, 1990)
7. Metaphor and policy-making
The consequences of implicit metaphors for policy-making are just beginning to be explored (Judge, 1988, 1993). In a key paper,Donald Schon (1979) argues that the essential difficulties in social policy have more to do with problem setting than with problem solving. For him: "the framing of problems often depends upon metaphors underlying the stories which generate problem setting and set the direction of problem solving." In a much cited example he contrasts a housing problem where slum areas were defined as a "blight" or "disease" with one in which they were perceived as "natural communities". Using the medical metaphor the former justifies use of radical "surgery" to excise the blight, whereas the other calls for ways of enhancing the life of those communities.
A metaphor thus provides a framework of credible associations that increases the probability that relationships in other domains will be conceived according to that pattern, rather than another. The potential of generative metaphor in relation to problem-setting and social policy has since been explored by others (14). It has been associated with the question of framing, reframing, and the frame conflict underlying controversy (15). Metaphor has major implications for knowledge representation in artificial intelligence because of its use in refining ontologies (16).
Increasing interest in the role of imagination in the creation of present and future realities relies to a high degree on the use of metaphor (17). The envisaging process may be triggered by guided fantasy or the appropriateness of a newly encountered metaphor.
8. Mathematics and poetry
There have been efforts to explore the mathematical principles underlying aesthetic appreciation. Their interest is usually thought to lie in either "explaining" the attraction of art, or as a means of developing new approaches to aesthetics, most recently with computer assistance. But of greater relevance to the theme of this paper are the implications of such insights for the articulation of subtler scientific hypotheses and forms of social organization. Any "new world order" will be based on some principle of organization, beyond the simple hierarchy or the complex network. To be coherent and comprehensible it must necessarily embody aesthetic principles. Such an order will have to be articulated through text, at least in part.
It is interesting therefore to note the work of the Romanian mathematician, semiotician and systems scientist, Solomon Marcus (1973). His study of mathematical poetry reviews the distinctions between mathematical and poetic discourse and endeavours to model them. He analyzes poetic figures. There and elsewhere he explores the role of metaphor in articulating scientific insights. Such explorations are a valuable groundwork for exploring the relevance to policy-making -- on which he has also produced a number of studies.
The Russian mathematician V V Nalimov (1982), in a striking interdisciplinary synthesis ranging across the arts and the sciences, discusses the use of metaphors in relation to the construction of mathematical models in the case of the softer sciences. He argues: "I believe that the difficulties of constructing mathematical models may be largely explained by the fact that biologists and psychologists try to construct them in order to obtain a literal, mechanistic interpretation of phenomena. This is what happened in early physics." (p. 38). But he points that E H Hutten (1956) demonstrated that the mathematical models of modern physics are metaphors.
Nalimov then raises the question as to whether "we can say we know something which we have been unable to put into words" (p. 39). He concludes: "I believe that we can if the scientific concept turns from a familiar scientific term with a rather unambiguous meaning into an extremely semantically polymorphous symbol with a metaphorical flavour. A word, a sign of our language, is contrasted here to a symbol since these two notions are not completely synonymous....Constructing such models turns into a kind of art: the modeller must become a symbolist-poet. He creates a model-symbol by means of which he does not so much actually describe the phenomenon as consider it from a new angle. The model proves to be nothing more than a hint. It makes use of the ability inherent in people from the days of yore to control their consciousness through symbols" (p. 39). From such a perspective, how different is poetry-making from the construction of policy models -- when these seek to deal more effectively with social intangibles?
9. Poetics of scientific hypothesis formation
Gerald Holton (1973; 1978) was an early explorer of the question of the "thematic imagination in science" as a factor in hypothesis formation. More recently, under the heading In Favor of a Poetics of Hypothesis, Fernand Hallyn (1990) uses the work of Copernicus and Kepler to demonstrate the role of poetics in scientific hypothesis formation. He investigates the cultural problem of hypothesis formation, and why certain facts and not others are used in support of a particular theory. He is not concerned with the logical form of theories, nor their truth value, but rather the way in which hypotheses are established as such.
Hallyn argues that it is the "moment" that Charles Peirce called abduction, encompassing "all the operations by which theories and conception are given birth," that poses the greatest problems for both epistemology and the history of science. The establishment of a new hypothesis remains an enigmatic moment. Once it has effectively become the basis for a new conceptual language the poetics of hypothesis formation then gives way to the epistemology and history of science.
The epistemology of logical positivism focuses on the form of theories once they are established. The activity by which a theory was established is then relegated to a prelogical stage situated outside the scientific enterprise properly speaking. For Carl Hempel, the way in which facts are selected and combined to establish a particular hypothesis depends on previous hypotheses and involves the play of the imagination in an indefinable act of creativity. Karl Popper invokes literary or artistic intuition: hypotheses are "free creations of our own minds, the result of almost poetic intuition, of an attempt to understand intuitively the laws of nature" (1972, p. 192). Hallyn reviews other approaches to abduction, especially the work of Gaston Bachelard (1964) and Gerald Holton (1978) on "presuppositions", noting their inadequacies.
Hallyn (1990) stresses his intention not to call the study of abduction a poetics in the Aristotelian sense of a system of normative rules, "but rather in the sense that one speaks of the poetics of Racine or Baudelaire, namely to designate a collection of choices made at different levels (style, composition, thematics...) by an author or group" (p. 14). For Hallyn this comes down to what Umberto Eco (1990) calls "the plan for shaping and structuring the work".
An important aspect of this poetics is tropology in which metaphor is the trope most frequently cited in connection with abduction. Hallyn notes the recognition of the link between metaphor and model, including Max Black's suggestion that a model is nothing more than the explanation of a metaphor (1977). He points to Michel Meyer's affirmation that the first level of scientific activity through which a hypothesis is inferred is governed by a form of logic which resides in the making of metaphors (1979).
Hallyn refers to the recent study of Dedre Gentner (1982) which concludes that scientific analogy and literary metaphor are "more alike than different". The differences are of degree, orientation, and coherence, not composition. The key difference lies in the "assimilation" of things to the subject in the literary case, as compared with the subject's "accommodation" to reality in the other. The former tends to subordinate the environment to the organism as it is, whereas with the scientific trope the subject aims to subject himself and others to the constraints that the object is supposed to impose on all. The metaphor used then aims to supplant the language pattern that it opposes (p. 31).
He uses Michel De Coster's (1978) differentiation of the status of metaphor:
a discursive status, when the purpose is to enlighten, persuade or explain;
a methodological status, when it has a heuristic function; and
a theoretical status, linked to a vision of the world that poses a priori the existence of a real analogy.
It is the two latter types which belong in the poetics of the hypothesis.
Hallyn demonstrates the achievement of Copernicus through a tropological operation. The requirement for symmetry, already widespread in Renaissance art, was transposed through metaphor."The replacement takes the form of metonymy when it is necessary to reconceive the empirical data; it corresponds to synecdoche when attention turns to theoretical elements. Thus a metonymic operation makes it possible for the empirical perception of the sun to be interpreted as an effect replacing its cause (the earth's motion). In the physical theory...a synecdoche of a part of the whole comes into play when Copernicus replaces the totality of the universe with celestial bodies taken individually..." (p. 283)
10. What is meta for?
The theme of metaphor runs throughout the work of anthropologist/biologist Gregory Bateson. In preparing his final book, the author of Mind and Nature: a necessary unity, became aware that the unity of nature he had been affirming might only be comprehensible through the kinds of metaphor familiar from religion (p. 2). From this perspective there were strong and clear arguments for the necessity of the sacred, and these arguments had their base in an epistemology rooted in improved science (p. 11). What is referred to as the "sacred" is in this sense a way of coping with certain epistemological problems (p. 86). He argues that "metaphor is not just pretty poetry, it is neither good nor bad logic, but is in fact the logic upon which the biological world has been built, the main characteristic and organizing glue of this world of mental process..." (p. 30). For him formal logic rejects as invalid the metaphorical connections that are so pervasive in the natural world (p. 144).
In a posthumous summary of his work on this point, in a chapter entitled So What's a Meta For?, his editor (his daughter) states that he: "contrasts the general preference of biological communication for metaphor with the human development of a system organized around nouns set in subject-predicate relations. In metaphor, two complex propositions are set side by side and, to some degree, equated -- the affirmation lies in juxtaposition." (p. 188). His stress is on the need to develop a mode of discourse appropriate to knowledge and decision making in the world of relationships (p. 190). "If we want to be able to talk about the living world (and ourselves), we need to master the disciplines of description and reference in this curious language that has no things in it but only differences and relationships. Only if we do so will we be able to think sensibly about the matrix in which we live, and only then will we recognize our affinity with the rest of that world and deal with it ethically and responsibly." (p. 191)
He presents evidence "for the reality of very large mental systems, systems of ecological size and larger, within which the mentality of the single human being is a subsystem. These large mental systems are characterized by...constraints on the transmission of information between their parts. Indeed, we can argue from the circumstance that some information should not reach some locations in large, organized systems to assert the real nature of those systems -- to assert the existence of that whole whose integrity would be threatened by inappropriate communication." (p. 135) And again: "The mental world is vastly bigger than we are, but we do have various 'tricks' that enable us to grasp something of its vastness and its detail. Of these tricks the best known are induction, generalization, and abduction....It is this last step, for which I use the term abduction, that is the glue that holds all science (and all religion?) together." (p. 174-5).
But because of the complexity and subtlety, this holding together can only be achieved through maintaining appropriate barriers: "we must bear in mind the barriers that must be maintained if the network of mind is to become richer and more complex, evolving towards something like ecological climax, a semistable system of maximum differentiation, complexity, and elegance. We look for contrast that develop or differentiate as sophistication increases." (p. 175). For him metaphor was the vital tool for thinking when faced with complexity and paradox.
His arguments are of importance to the contradictions and challenges of policy-making in the large systems of concern to the international community, whether social or ecological. Drawing upon contradictory and conflicting dramatic themes from myth he concludes: "It is not that one or the other of these double phrasings is right, or that it is wrong to have such double myths. What seems to be true is that it is characteristic of large cultural systems that they carry such double myths and opinions, not only with no serious trouble, but perhaps even reflecting in the latent contradictions some fundamental characteristic of the larger mentality." (p. 141)
11. Therapeutic metaphors
Bateson's work continues to be related to ongoing studies of cybernetic epistemology as in Bradford P Keeney's Aesthetics of Change (1983). For example, Douglas G Flemons (1991), uses Bateson (1972, 1979, 1987) and Keeney, plus insights from Taoism, in new approaches to the relations between problems and solutions in therapy -- an early concern of Bateson's. Flemons suggests that addiction and other social and ecological dilemmas stem from the belief that distinctions such as hate and love, sickness and health, or problem and solution are irreconcilable oppositions. He shows how such separations can be completed so that genuine healing can occur in individuals, families, organizations, and ecologies. The stress on metaphor continues and poetry is extensively used to illustrate the argument.
Aspects of the work of Bateson on language and metaphor have been extensively developed by Richard Bandler and John Grinder (1982) (his students) and others into a training programme for therapy and communication known as neuro-linguistic programming. The study by David Gordon (1976) is perhaps the most explicit with regard to metaphor.
The school of archetypal psychology, and notably the work of James Hillman (1983) on healing fiction and metaphor represents a quite distinct approach. Depth psychologist Andrew Samuels (1993) has done much to relate outward political convictions to inner processes and journeys.
12. Light of the mind
In an unusual study, Arthur Zajonc (1993) explores the understanding of light down the centuries. He shows that even with the latest advances of science, there are aspects to light and the processes of perception that remain mysterious. He clearly shows from medical histories that a healthy eye is not sufficient for vision. There is a special contribution from the brain, effectively a "light of the mind" or of consciousness, which creates what is seen, including patterns and colours.
What comes to the eye "objectively" is thus constantly challenged and moulded by what comes from the eye "subjectively" to create the environment in which an individual dwells. People in particular cultures may bring to the perception of colours constraints which transform the spectrum of colours seen and the colour values attached to certain objects.
Zajonc's study offers many clues to ways of exploring the manner in which poetry may affect the light of the mind and thus transform what is effectively seen. It explores the manner in which the objective world that preoccupies policy-makers is intertwined with the subjective world that preoccupies poets.
This perspective is confirmed in a an interdisciplinary study of perception entitled Perceiving Ordinary Magic: science and intuitive wisdom in which Jeremy Hayward (1984) uses Heidegger's argument that it is our knowledge of what is present (eon in Greek) and our ability to describe what is in language, which have increasingly obscured eon from us. Existence becomes inauthentic when people get caught up in the descriptions, taking these to be what is. Thus for Heidegger (1968) : "Thinking is only thinking when it recalls in thought the eon (what is present), that which this word indicates properly and truly, that is unspoken, tacitly." Hayward states: "When language and thought are in this way freed from their bondage to description, they point beyond themselves to what is. This is poetry. And poetry is, therefore, the highest, most human use of language." (p. 50)
From Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential