“We have met the Zionists and them is us”
– / –
Medha Editor’s Note:
Below Essay strikes one as a philosophical take on the vexed problem of the Israel-Palestine question. Of particular interest is the section “Fruitful exchange between the tribes: key to viable globality“, which starts with “The challenge for an “Israel”, or any of its tribes, is any implication that it has nothing to learn from the others — irrespective of what it assumes that others should necessarily learn from its own particular insights.“
This is made available via the good offices of our own ‘Founding Philosopher’ Dr Antonio De Nicolas (see his work in Medha Gold). More works of Anthony Judge are available at http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/
Prepared on the occasion of the visit of Pope Benedict XVI to Jerusalem and of
the visit of Benjamin Netanyahu to Barack Obama
This exploration follows from a conclusion of the experiment Towards a Generic Global Issue Statement: evoking an instructive pattern of unquestionable responses (2009) of which it is effectively an Annex.
The question raised by that experiment was:
Arguably most people identify with some pattern of behaviour which they consider their fundamental right, potentially functioning like “Zionists”… according to others who challenge that right — given its problematic implications for others who suffer as a consequence. This leads to the question for whom is one a “Zionist” and for whom is one “Mahmoud Ahmadinejad”?
Given the central strategic importance of Zionism and Israel to global security, notably in the Middle East, the concern here is whether the implications of that question offer further insights of any value in understanding the divisiveness that undermines coherent approaches to future challenges.
This exercise uses Israel and Zionism because of the challenge they exemplify for any dialogue between worldviews, especially in the reaction of any worldview to criticism of its perspective. This challenge has previously been explored in relation to a wide range of worldviews, whether religious, scientific, or otherwise (Guidelines for Critical Dialogue between Worldviews: as exemplified by the need for non-antisemitic dialogue with Israelis? 2006).
Worldviews are in their own right necessarily exclusive and divisive. Any distinct worldview is necessarily confronted by the existence of others who do not subscribe to it, whether or not they subscribe to another distinct worldview and endeavour to promote it — even “competitively”. Criticism of any worldview is readily construed by its supporters as blasphemy — or some analogue to it.
As a metaphor, Israel offers an ideal metaphor for exploring such divisiveness within the world. It is the most evident model of exclusiveness as this manifests in many forms throughout society. The strength of the example is reinforced by the explicit and conscious manner in which emphasis is placed on the “choseness” of a people that has traditionally considered itself specially “Chosen”.
The point of the following exercise is to show how members of any collectivity with a strong identity, upholding a distinct worldview, may explicitly or implicitly consider themselves to be “chosen” or “exceptional” — excluding others in consequence if only as “unbelievers”. This is notably the case with respect to the triumphalism and exceptionalism of all the Abrahamic religions (Christianity, Islam and Judaism). Marked in quotes in what follows, “Israel” is then a metaphor for a worldview — a marker which could as well have been applied to any other worldview had its implications been as evident.
As a metaphor, Zionism is then to be understood as the primary individual and collective aspiration driving growth and development in society — articulated, generation after generation by “Jews” of every kind, through some form of ever hopeful “Next Year in Jerusalem”.
The challenge in what follows is to identify what forms “Israel” and “Zionism” then take for “Jews” — with the culminating focus of “Jerusalem” — as they manifest as a focus beyond the particular case of Israel, Zionism, Jews and Jerusalem. The metaphors necessarily also imply the metaphorical challenge of “Palestinians” everywhere, beyond the particular case of Palestinians.
A further purpose of this exercise is to clarify the extent to which the distinctness of one’s own worldview, by its exclusiveness and the special insight one claims to draw from it, is necessarily problematic if it is assumed to be “innocent” of damaging consequences for others who do not share that perspective. In a world of multiple mutually challenging worldviews, if one does not understand how one is part of the problem with which society is faced one is seriously constrained in the capacity to understand the nature of the solution required. In a sense, to frame others as uniquely part of the problem — in contrast to one’s own collective — is the essence of exclusiveness.
“Israel”: a place of exclusive excellence for “Jews”
As a metaphor, every community with a sense of collective identity may be understood as composed of “Jews” — righteously imbued with their particular sense of triumphalism and exceptionalism, whether associated with religious beliefs or otherwise. Being “Jewish” is then to be understood in this exercise as the essence of that sense of identity. That community may be understood as inhabiting its own “place” — the “Israel” of this section — or yearning, as “Zionists”, to fulfil a “Right of Return” to such a place elsewhere (as discussed below).
It follows naturally that we as “Jews” have a special sense of bonding with those who are “our people” in the place we share. It is “our place” with which we identify and by which we are identified. Examples of such exclusive place bonding include:
- our city, town or village, including those who have moved elsewhere
- our university, including any extended network of alumni
- our island (as with Ile de Re, St Barts)
- our nation (as with celebration of Britishness, Irishness, Scottishness)
- our residential (gated) community
- our territory (as with an urban gang)
- our temple, mosque, church, ashram, or dojo
- our regimental base
- our company (as with IBM)
- our shop (as with Harrods)
- our farm, land or forest
- our club (country club, sports club, night club), possibly part of an exclusive network of clubs
- our pub, cafe, restaurant, hotel, or resort
- our team (as with Manchester United)
- our movement, gang, secret society, or guild (notably as in online gaming)
- our cyberspace domain (or virtual world)
Identification with the excellence of the “place”, whether physical or virtual, may be specially promoted (eg London as the “coolest” city, etc). Living there, or in identification with it, enhances the sense that “we are the chosen ones”. Its existence, possibly over generations, justifies some sense that this is the “land of our fathers”. We have a sense of being specially qualified, whether genetically or memetically. There may even be a sense in which the place has effectively chosen us.
“Zionism” and the “Right of Return”
Irrespective of whether we have ever been to “Israel”, it is a place to which we naturally aspire to go. Most have a fundamental yearning to get to “Israel”. It is “our dream”, variously articulated in every community, as by Martin Luther King (I Have a Dream), or by Barack Obama (The Audacity of Hope: Thoughts on Reclaiming the American Dream, 2006). Such lifelong yearning focuses hopefully on “Next Year in Jerusalem” — a yearning that may be passed down the generations. We then have a “right of return” — felt in our very bones — to get to “Israel” as a culmination of our existential aspiration to join “our people” in “our place”, leaving behind the dissatisfactions of ordinary life as previously lived.
The possibility may be celebrated in myth, legend, religion or modern blockbuster movies. It is a place lost in the mists of history (as with Camelot) or located in a secret place (as with Shambhala).
The sense of yearning is especially desperate if “Israel” does not appear to exist, we do not know where it is, or are variously prevented from getting there. The yearning underlies much ambition whatever form that takes. It is also evident in the purchase of lottery tickets and gambling — as potentially offering a ticket enabling travel to “Israel”.
Whatever the sense of “Israel”, if it does appear to exist — as variously indicated in the examples of the previous section — we then naturally feel that we have a fundamental right to return there. It is the right inherent in the quality we exhibit and of who we believe ourselves to be. It is in the very nature of things. Examples of this understanding might include:
- return to one’s country of origin or nationality
- returning to one’s village
- “going home”, as with the tale of the prodigal son
- returning to “our school” or university, perhaps through the privileged right of attendance of our children there
- right of veterans to the sense of community of those who have returned from military service (as with the RSL of Australia or the RSA of New Zealand)
- going to an exclusive gathering or resort where there are others “like me”, reinforcing my sense of identity and quality
- right to travel to Mecca
Of special interest are the cases of:
- centres of excellence (as notably promoted by the European Commission)
- elite units (as promoted by the military and security services)
- holy places and their associated residential communities (as variously promoted by different religions)
- elite clubs (as promoted for and by socialites and jet setters)
- nobility (as preserved and cultivated across generations)
- nomenklatura (as variously promoted by and for the wealthy and powerful)
- associations of the specially gifted (whether intellectually, artistically, or otherwise)
Such examples can only suggest the exceptional quality and values assumed by those involved, uniquely defining and distinguishing their identity from that of others. Such distinctions are most evidently contentious in declarations of religions as with the Christian interpretation of the Great Commission or the Aleinu of Judaism. The radical nature of such exceptionalism is evident in the deprecatory statements that have been intrinsic to the Tridentine Mass and to the Aleinu prayer. Analogous distinctions are made with regard to the excellence of the scientific method, unfortunately also evident in the pecking order of academic disciplines. A controversial line in the Aleinu (derived from Isaiah 45:20), variously excluded and included over the years, exemplifies a cognitive understanding intrinsic to any preferred worldview (namely to any “Zionism”): For they bow to vanity and emptiness and pray to a god which helps not. Any elite perceives the claims of others to be vain and intrinsically empty of significance. Each perceives itself to be otherwise, as Zionism so claims through the Aleinu.
“Jerusalem” and the “Temple”
The ultimate expression of our collective identity and ideals is “Jerusalem” and its “Temple” — battered by history into a collection of ruins and claimed by various others (with their own symbolic edifices there, representing part of the struggle over generations past). This place and its implicit “Temple” is the exemplification of meaning and focus to life. As the strangest of attractors, it is more than a symbol or construct.
Some forms of “Temple” include:
- the Theory of Everything that is the quest of physicists
- ever more complex symmetry groups, or prime numbers, that is a quest of some mathematicians
- “cornering the market” as the quest by many traders for a controlling monopoly of some kind
- acquisition of an extensive domain, whether parkland or an island
- establishing a dynasty, as with the aspirations of some powerful families
- invention of a vital technology (“free energy”), which can be patented to ensure lucrative licence fees
- nomination to a position of the highest status
- acquiring an award of the highest distinction (Nobel Prize, etc)
- acknowledged academic achievement
- the ultimate architectural construct (tallest building in the world, etc)
- recognition as amongst the wealthiest, the best dressed, Miss Universe, etc
- an extreme sports achievement (mountain climbing, polar expedition, round-the-world solo, etc)
- record holder noted in the Guiness Book of Records (effectively one form of Book of Jerusalems)
- membership and successive initiations within a secret society (possibly in a “temple”)
- ensuring passage of key legislation (nuclear disarmament, rainforest protection, etc)
As with the jumble of symbolic edifices, and notably the denominational subdivisions of the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, there is a degree of competitiveness amongst the extant “Jerusalems”. Crudely expressed, each worldview necessarily holds the understanding that its own “Jerusalem” is bigger and more important than that of any other worldview. That is the nature of “Israel”.
Access to any “Israel” by “Zionists” is of course inhibited and rendered problematic by “Palestinians”.
“Palestinians” may be variously understood as:
- specifically not “like us”, not sharing our heritage, and lacking in our most essential qualities
- not sharing our values or “our dream”, being effectively “unbelievers” and “stealing my dream”
- hindering us in exhibiting our qualities, notably by lowering the tone we seek to cultivate and exemplify
- occupying “our space”, the space that most exemplifies our qualities
- having the most questionable right to reside on “our land” in “our place”
- encroaching on our neighbourhood and changing its nature (as with developers)
Metaphoric role reversal
Of course the above exercise allows roles to be exchanged, as in any game of “Cops and Robbers“:
- the Palestinians can instead lay claim to be “Jews”, necessarily with their own aspirations (as “Zionists”)
- the Jews can take on the role of “Palestinians”, then necessarily excluded from “Israel” and participation in the dream of the “Jews”
Such role reversal (with some poetic licence) may be understood as a reframing of the classic text by Martin Buber (I and Thou, 1923) into a necessary plural form, “Wes and Yous”. In this sense, “Israel” is the place of the “Wes” and the “Palestinians” are then the “Yous”. But with the reversal of roles, “Them” becomes “Us” and “Us” becomes “Them”. Recalling Pogo’s perceptive recognition (We have seen the enemy…), for the “Palestinians” the “Zionists” are now “Us”, the “Wes” — and for the former “Israelis”, “Wes” have become “Yous”. Of course the absence in English (and a number of languages) of the more intimate plural of “Thou” reinforces the problematic reification of the “Yous”.
Such reversal creates curious situations and connotations:
- the logic of “Wes” forbidding the “Right of Return” to “Palestinians” becomes more apparent; essentially they have no place in “Israel”
- there is a curious (if perverse) logic to ensuring the privileged access to the (sacred) precincts of (what remains of) the “Temple” by the “Wes” — using a “Wall” to keep the “Yous” out, effectively “walling” the “Wes” in
- the complementarity between the inner “Temple Wall” charged with significance for the “Jews” (but lacking significance for the “Palestinians”) and the Israeli-West Bank barrier charged with symbolism for the “Palestinians” (but of purely secular significance for the “Jews”)
- “Jerusalem” is effectively “dragged back to the Stone Age” by the materialization of the subtlest dimensions of symbolic significance
The reversal between two roles only highlights a degree of metaphoric impoverishment and a degree of entrapment in binary logic. This recalls the limitations of the dominant negotiating focus of Getting to Yes (1981) — thereby excluding (or “assimilating”) any “Nos”. The assumption is made that “Yous” can best be converted into “Wes”.
The possibilities and problems of infinite or subtle mirrorings are not addressed (Self-reflective Embodiment of Transdisciplinary Integration (SETI): the universal criterion of species maturity? 2008).
12 Tribes of “Israel”: a global configuration
Within the dynamics of such metaphoric transformation, it is especially interesting to consider the “12 Tribes of Israel“. The question here is whether there are very significant constraints on the variability of “Israel”, its aspirational “Zionisms” and its understandings of “Jerusalem” — with the possibility that each “Israel” is confronted by “Palestinians”, essentially inhabitants of a distinct “Israel”. The challenge of course is that such enrichment implies a multidimensional understanding of the space in which such “Israels” are in some way topologically contiguous (as explored in Union of Intelligible Associations: remembering dynamic identity through a dodecameral mind, 2005).
This is clearly beyond the current focus on a two-dimensional land surface (Reframing Relationships as a Mathematical Challenge — Jerusalem: a parody of current inter-faith dialogue, 1997; And When the Bombing Stops? Territorial conflict as a challenge to mathematicians, 2000). Provocatively it might be argued that the challenge of any “Jerusalem” is that its design, as a vital focus for global society, currently tends to reflect the capacity of theologians armed only with the mathematics of centuries long past and unable to encompass the design requirements of a complex, multidimensional future.
By variously clustering the examples of “Israel” (above), each such tribe may be understood as driven by its own particular “Zionist” aspiration and yearning, with its own particular understanding of “Jerusalem”. One possible tribal clustering might be:
- scientists, philosophers (academe)
- nature/land/wilderness lovers, land owners, indigenous
- health, welfare and caring
- discoverers / explorers
- entrepreneurs (business and industry) and artisans
- farmers, husbandry, vineyards
This clustering is in its own way as simplistic as the binary clustering into “Israel” and “Palestine”. More intriguing is the possibility that there is a degree of fractal organization to the “12 tribes”, namely with each engendering a further 12 — mirroring to a degree the global subdivision, as suggested by the pattern of Indra’s Net (David Mumford, Caroline Series and David Wright, Indra’s Pearls: The Vision of Felix Klein, 2002).
The “tribes” might also be understood as communicating in distinct languages (or dialects), as presented elsewhere (12 Complementary Languages for Sustainable Governance, 2003). The challenge is how to enable a fruitful conversation between them such as to engender a future with a quality of globality (Future Generation through Global Conversation in quest of collective well-being through conversation in the present moment, 1997).
One key to such a possibility is by configuring the “tribes” in forms richer than a linear checklist such as above — namely forms that exemplify globality and the necessary interplay between the “tribes” in any such configuration. The many such possibilities are discussed separately (Coherent Value Frameworks: pillar-ization, polarization and polyhedral frames of reference, 2008; Towards Polyhedral Global Governance: complexifying oversimplistic strategic metaphors, 2008). The possibilities are perhaps best summarized visually in In Quest of a Strategic Pattern Language: a new architecture of values (2008).
Potentially also of interest is the preference of each tribe for a different prioritisation of 12 “wicked” problems, such as unemployment, climate change, hunger, disease, energy, pollution, etc. Such understanding may combine insights into learning cycles, strategies and modes of dialogue (Characteristics of phases in 12-phase learning / action cycles; Typology of 12 complementary strategies essential to sustainable development; Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue).
Clearly the clustering of the tribes can only be tentative and, with any fractal organization, may require the kind of thinking that combines understandings of periodicity and of the harmonies associated with music (Tuning a Periodic Table of Religions, Epistemologies and Spirituality — including the sciences and other belief systems, 2007).
Topology of “Jerusalem”: a psychoactive engagement with space
Especially intriguing is any symbolic and aesthetic interplay and mirroring between those walls distinguished in relation to “Jerusalem” and thereby bounding its significance — namely between the cognitive wall of the enclosed community (separating it from the excluded) and the symbolic inner wall to which the community attaches most significance (but from whose implication it is to a degree excluded). Possibilities for consideration include:
- the variously named “Temple Wall“
- the variously named Israeli-West Bank barrier (“security fence”, “Apartheid Wall”, etc)
- cultural memories of any wall of traumatic significance to the community (“Ghetto Wall“)
- wider cultural memories of other walls by which civilization has excluded the relatively barbaric:
- as a whole (Great Wall of China, Hadrian’s Wall)
- with respect to a city of symbolic significance (Forbidden City, Vatican, etc)
- other walls of contemporary significance (the “Berlin Wall“, Mexico–United States barrier)
- walls currently constructed for the security of “gated” residential communities
- virtual variants of any of the above, characteristic of protective access to virtual communities (cf Dynamically Gated Conceptual Communities: emergent patterns of isolation within knowledge society, 2004)
The interplay between such connotations invites analysis from various perspectives:
- the psychoanalytic significance of the relation between a secular (desacralized), security wall and one of deep spiritual import, especially in the light of any dynamic process of enantiodromia in which the significance attributed to any inner wall is affected by that of any outer
- as reflections and inversions of focus in the light of optical metaphors, notably the reflections (or displacement) of inner significance into outer manifestation
- as embodiments of degrees of understanding or insight, especially in the case of multiple concentric walls (echoing the distinctions of some form of mandala), whether 3 or 7 as envisaged in the case of “Jerusalem”, or the 12 walls of the “city of Christ” of the Apocalypse of Paul
- in terms of “walls of the mind” or “walls of the spirit” — by which separativeness and fragmentation are embodied in architectural metaphor (Howard W. Hunter, Walls of the Mind, 1990; William S. White, Berlin Walls of the Mind, 1996)
The polyhedral configurations indicated above are inherently conducive to the psychoactive engagement with places (topoi) fundamental to the mnemonic reinforcement cultivated in the classic art of memory and in the geometry of sacred architecture (Topology of Valuing: psychodynamics of collective engagement with polyhedral value configurations, 2008).
“Temple”: implication of a one-sided, walled paradox
Further significance may be derived from the contrast between:
- walls constructed in the distant past that embody and give focus to the intervening history and all it signifies, when they are incomplete (Engaging Macrohistory through the Present Moment, 2004)
- walls under construction in the present as a means of communicating significance to the future, even in a presently incomplete form
Such considerations raise challenging questions regarding:
- the misplaced concreteness through which deep significance is especially bound to the constraints of explicated material forms, thereby obscuring their more subtle implication
- the adequacy of the forms used to carry subtle insights of multidimensional implication, as indicated by the critique of assumptions relating to the display of text on two-dismensional surfaces, in contrast with the self-reflexivity associated with toroidal forms (Michael Schiltz, Form and Medium: a mathematical reconstruction, Image [&] Narrative, 6, 2003)
The explorations of Schiltz develop those relating to the calculus of indications on the boundary between mathematics and philosophy (G. Spencer-Brown, Laws of Form, 1969). This concerns the manner in which distinctions are made, establishing what is included or excluded, what is inside or outside a boundary — denoted here by a “wall”. The challenge suggested by Schiltz is that definition in the form of (en)closure is potentially an indication of failure to encompass the cognitive challenge of the multidimensional reality in question. He highlights the constraints implicit in expression in linear text on a flat surface in contrast with a torus, as discussed separately (Comprehension of Requisite Variety for Sustainable Psychosocial Dynamics: transforming a matrix classification onto intertwined tori, 2006).
The paradox of any “Jerusalem” is that it implies inclusiveness but is seemingly characterized by various kinds of “walls” — explications of exclusion. In this sense the architecture of any “Jerusalem”, and its focal “Temple”, fails appropriately to encompass and embody that essential paradox, which consequently manifests in the topological tragedy of architectural fragmentation. Disagreement is embodied in “secular” architecture, designed to exclude, rather than used to enrich the inclusive design of “sacred” architecture.
Topology offers a path beyond the constraints of inclusion vs exclusion, most comprehensibly in the form of a Möbius strip — a surface with only one side and only one boundary. A richer illustration of this principle is the Klein bottle — which has no distinct “inner” and “outer” sides, nor does it have any boundary. Forms of this kind point towards the design — whether virtual and/or symbolic — of an “Israel”, a “Jerusalem” or a “Temple” that is “walled” in such a way as to embody inclusiveness. They are ungated.
Fruitful exchange between the tribes: key to viable globality
The challenge for an “Israel”, or any of its tribes, is any implication that it has nothing to learn from the others — irrespective of what it assumes that others should necessarily learn from its own particular insights. As but one example, applicable to any “Israel”, the point was succinctly made on the occasion of the visit of the Pope to Israel (Ed Kessler, Dialogue, not symbolism, The Guardian, 10 May 2009):
The central problem for Pope Benedict resides in his vision of the Catholic church. He sees it as a totally completed institution that does not need to learn anything new theologically from dialogue with other Christians or other religious groups. Consequently, interfaith relations are reduced to symbolic conversation rather than genuine dialogue.
In a period of global financial crisis when the importance of confidence (faith? trust?) has become only too evident as fundamental to sustainable global transactions, the problematic role of “money changers” in any “Temple” is itself cast into new light. The focus on explicit tokens, obscuring the confidence implied, jeopardizes (through “tokenism”) the essential integrity of interfaith, interdisciplinary or intercultural discourse — thereby undermining its viability and that of the “Temple”.
The financial crisis, through the credibility crunch, has demonstrated the dangers of unwillingness to lend within a “frozen” system — the “Temple” of finance. This has been brought about by the focus of the “money changers” on the tokens — neglecting the confidence that those tokens represented. This is also the danger faced by any breakdown in fluid relations between any tribes of “Israel” arising from a misplaced focus on tokenism (Credibility Crunch engendered by Hope-mongering: “credit crunch” focus as symptom of a dangerous mindset, 2008).
It is curious that tokenism inhibits any capacity of the religions, for example, to make collective use of their respective insights into higher orders of relationship in order to reframe their differences in a richer context. Most attach considerable significance to some form of mathematics or geometry but this never features in interfaith dialogue. Possibilities for exchange, in the case of the Abrahamic faiths, include:
- Judaism’s insight into the significance of number, beyond any premature semantic closure on numerology
- Islam’s insight into geometric pattern
- Christianity’s insight into sacred geometry
Although it is known that many eminent mathematicians have been deeply religious, their insights of relevance to interfaith discourse — and the design of any “Jerusalem” — are not apparent. But modern specialists in number theory and symmetry, with no evident religious belief, express the greatest of admiration for the embodiment of such insights in the architectural achievements of Islam, as with Marcus du Sautoy (Finding Moonshine: a mathematician’s journey through symmetry, 2008). It can be readily assumed that few religions would dispute the value of insights that might be derived from the higher orders of symmetry recently discovered (Dynamics of Symmetry Group Theorizing: comprehension of psycho-social implication, 2008). The subtlety of the (counter-intuitive) correspondences was itself a surprise to mathematicians, given the fundamental significance for deeper understanding of order (Potential Psychosocial Significance of Monstrous Moonshine: an exceptional form of symmetry as a Rosetta stone for cognitive frameworks, 2007; Theories of Correspondences — and potential equivalences between them in correlative thinking, 2007).
Beyond the insights of the Abrahamic faiths are those more closely associated with Eastern faiths:
- Taoism has long evoked an interest in aspects of number theory (9-fold Higher Order Patterning of Tao Te Ching Insights: possibilities in the mathematics of magic squares, cubes and hypercubes, 2003)
- Vedic insights fundamental to Hinduism, as articulated through tonal values, have been explored by Antonio de Nicolás (Meditations through the Rg Veda: four-dimensional man, 1978) in the light of the work of musicologist Ernest G McLain (The Myth of Invariance: the origins of the gods, mathematics and music from the Rg Veda to Plato, 1976).
Taoism evolved the binary coding system that is now so fundamental to digital communication — but with largely unexplored significance for qualitative communication, as suggested elsewhere (Discovering Richer Patterns of Comprehension to Reframe Polarization, 1998). But irrespective of any deprecated oracular function, most intriguing is the manner in which its radical existential focus on decision-making and choice might be fruitfully related to the sense of choseness of any “Israel” — as a “Chosen” people, a people defined by an unquestionable metasystemic choice. It is the exceptional metasystemic nature of that “historical” choice that justifies the exceptionalism of the “Israel” so defined and the essentially unexceptional quality of choices made within that system, “elsewhere” or “thereafter”. As implied by the “mark” of the calculus of indications, for example, a choice might be denoted by an unbroken line (the yang symbol) to be construed as the constitution of an “Israel”. The broken line (the yin symbol) then denotes the unchosen “others” and the “left behind” — the “Palestinians”.
Within the patterns of that coding system, possibilities such as the following can then be explored by classic combinations of these symbols:
- a four-fold pattern, from the four combinations of broken and unbroken lines, offering a means of denoting situations in which either “Israel” is predominant, or “Palestinians”, or those in which there is a mix of the two factors — of qualities emanating from choseneness (certainty?) and unchoseness (uncertainty?)
- an eight-fold pattern, through combining three such lines (the Ba Gua pattern). The consequences of failure to recognize how “unchoseness” may be integrated with “choseness” in such patterns has been explored elsewhere (Unknown Undoing: challenge of incomprehensibility of systemic neglect, 2008). Could the phases of the problematic dynamics between “Israel” and “Palestinians” be helpfully distinguished in this way?
- with respect to the “12 tribes”, for example, consideration could be given to the manner in which two patterns of 6 lines (the hexagram) could constitute a 2-fold complementarity. This offers a way of considering the 12 as emerging from a form of alternation or resonance between such paired alternative configurations, in that each pattern of 6 could then be the inversion of the other (swapping broken for unbroken lines). The challenge of comprehension of the 12 then becomes one of understanding a dynamic configuration rather than a static one. The 12 emerge, continuously transformed, from the pattern of the “dance” between the 64 such hexagrams — as suggested by standing waves and the Chladni patterns so fundamental to the operation of some musical instruments
Perhaps most intriguing is the possibility that such a coding system might then be applied to distinguishing the different possibilities and challenges of dialogue, the challenge of the communication between the “12 tribes” — where unbroken lines imply a clear channel within a pattern of consensus (of “agreement”), and the broken lines imply a challenge (of “disagreement”) to any such “instrumental” assumption. One exploration towards this is Typology of 12 complementary dialogue modes essential to sustainable dialogue (1998). Another is the “dialogue” interpretation of Transformation Metaphors derived experimentally from the Chinese Book of Changes (I Ching) for sustainable dialogue, vision, conferencing, policy, network, community and lifestyle (1997).
Of relevance to the “12 tribes”, as quoted elsewhere (Tonal patterns of Rg Veda poetry) from McLain’s study :
The central geometrical image in the Rg Veda is the mándala of the “single- wheeled chariot of the Sun,” harmonizing moon months with solar years and the signs of the zodiac: “Formed with twelve spokes…one wheel, navels three…” If the “twelve spokes” are the twelve tones of an octave tonal-zodiac, then the three “navels” may be powers of three prime numbers 2,3, and 5, each rotating in a sense at its own speed, correlated by any terminating number which includes all three among its factors….In a sense, this essay will be finished when we understand how the Vedic poets arrived at the twelve “spokes” for the Sun’s chariot within the number field generated by our yantras….We need not wait…to sense the relevance of our yantra. Notice that…the only tonal meanings which remain invariant under reciprocation are those along the central horizontal axis (of the yantra)….”The Gods are later than this world’s production” in the sense that our number field must grow systematically to some larger limit in order to produce twelve tones along this axis. (p. 9, 35, 49, and 52)
With respect to the “wall” metaphor, it is Buddhism that has explored the challenges of the “walls of the mind” and the possibility of an “unwalled” mind (a phrase also used in a poem by Sri Aurobindo). This is consistent with the importance attached to a paradoxical Gateless Gate explicated as a set of 48 paradoxical Zen koans. It is intriguing to think of these as a fourfold explication of the cognitive challenge of the 12 tribes — only together enabling the operation of such a cognitive “stargate” at the core of the “Temple”.
These various possibilities might be enriched by the thinking which underlies the hypothesis of a multiverse (or meta-universe) that embodies the universes that together comprise reality. In the above sense, “Israel” is then multiple, whether or not each variant is “parallel” as with the different universes composing the multiverse. Multiverses have been hypothesized by a range of disciplines as well as by transpersonal psychology.
The challenge with all such considerations is to recognize the danger of premature closure from attaching misplaced concreteness to tokens such as to obscure their underlying significance — inhibiting exchange through cognitive “freezing” and “frozen categories” (Framing the Global Future by Ignoring Alternatives: unfreezing categories as a vital necessity, 2009). Self-reflexively the degrees of such “freezing” and “closure” call for an interpretation of the above system of indications — associating closure with an unbroken line and unenclosure with a broken line, for example (cf Hilary Lawson, Closure: a story of everything, 2001; Reflexivity: the post-modern predicament, 1985).
The point has perhaps been best made by the physicist David Bohm (Wholeness and the Implicate Order, 1980) in distinguishing between the explicate order and the implicate order. In the argument above, any explicated closure, whether in architecture or conceptual form, is to be distinguished from implication, cognitively unconstrained in this way — an insight most succinctly expressed by Neti Neti (Not this, Not that). For Bohm there is a necessary alternating movement, the holomovement, between these two extreme conditions of physical reality. Is there a necessary cognitive analogue to such a movement, as argued in Development through Alternation (1983)?
Any closure enabled through cross-fertilization of mathematical insights is however also to be questioned, especially in the light of the symbolism typically attached definitively to numbers by different “Israels” — which has led to religious war in the past (as between Christians regarding the Trinity). More appropriate is a process and dynamic of play with numbers, as the improvisation in the moment of melodies of possibility and potential in the moment (rather than their composition for elsewhen). The significance of play is discussed separately (Humour and Play-Fullness: essential integrative processes in governance, religion and transdisciplinarity, 2005; Playfully Changing the Prevailing Climate of Opinion, 2005; Engaging with Globality through Playful Re-categorizing, 2009). Such play may take poetic form — of current strategic relevance (Strategic Jousting through Poetic Wrestling: aesthetic reframing of the clash of civilizations, 2009; Poetic Engagement with Afghanistan, Caucasus and Iran, 2009).
Conclusion: faith as a strange attractor
The complex dynamic of simplicity and subtlety, which is the nature of the attraction of any form of “Zionism”, points to the merit of exploring the faith associated with any “Israel” as an an attractor — a strange attractor (Human Values as Strange Attractors: Coevolution of classes of governance principles, 1993). Given the complexity to which the dynamics between worldviews gives rise, it is most curious that there is no effort to use the mathematical insights into such dynamics to identify the forms of coherence potentially associated with them. It would seem probable that any viable “Israel” — and its “Temple” — is better and more appropriately understood as constructed on a complex plane. This offers a means of giving a degree of strategic coherence to the dynamic relationship between problematique, resolutique, identique and irresolutique (Imagining the Real Challenge and Realizing the Imaginal Pathway of Sustainable Transformation, 2007).
Given the global strategic significance of “Jerusalem”, and of any core “Temple”, the implication that comprehension of it might be enriched through the lens of the complexity sciences merits careful consideration — especially if this could reframe what is currently incomprehensible, incommensurable and the source of intractable disagreement. It could enable greater recognition of their essential multidimensionality, thereby opening “spaces” for “territories” and “constructs” that cannot coexist where the cognitive attachment is to space of lower dimensionality. The mathematical arguments have been developed by Ron Atkin (Multidimensional Man; can man live in 3-dimensional space? 1981) as summarized elsewhere (Social organization determined by incommunicability of insights). Such considerations might go to the heart of the seeming impossibility of any “two state solution”.
As is only too evident, the struggle engendered by any “Israel” in relation to “others” calls for a dynamic balance between order and chaos. In that sense any “wall”, effectively separating the order of “Israel” from the chaos by which it perceives itself to be threatened, is not a “wall” of a conventional kind. Hence the value of exploring the fractal boundary between chaos and order exemplified by the Mandelbrot set (Psycho-social Significance of the Mandelbrot Set: a sustainable boundary between chaos and order, 2005). It is the nature of the engagement with this “wall” that bars and enables access to a better future — irrespective of hopeful supplication before it. The construction of any “Temple” is then rightfully to be understood through the capacity to construct it on a complex plane.
There are many studies, commentaries and initiatives inspired by the implications of Martin Buber‘s famed I and Thou (1923). The implications are of course general and apply at every level of society, from the individual to the collective. They have notably been applied to the relation between Israelis and Palestinians — clearly with only the most modest success at the collective level, if any. The value for individuals is another matter — then only secondarily relevant to the divisive collective dynamics to which societies are exposed. Again any engagement with the complex boundary between “I” and “Thou”, or “Self” and “Other”, can be fruitfully framed in terms of that between order and chaos (“Human Intercourse”: “Intercourse with Nature” and “Intercourse with the Other”, 2007).
The purpose of the above exercise is not to enable the subtle sense of mutuality of I and Thou — one which may only be accessible between collectivities at some distant future time (with all the challenges of the lion lying down with the lamb). Nor is it to buy into the tokenism in support of such a possibility, as tends to be the primary characteristic of dialogue between worldviews — whether interfaith, interdisciplinary, intercultural, or interethnic. Not to be forgotten is that the UN Year of Dialogue among Civilizations was 2001 — the year of 9/11.
The above exercise endeavours rather to enable any collectivity to recognize its degree of identity with “Israel”, the ambitious “Zionist” yearnings of its diaspora to return there, and the importance of its own “Jerusalem”. And, as a consequence, the problematic challenge of “Palestinians” who are hindering such an inherently appropriate endeavour. Who is not a “Zionist”? Rather than the transcendental mutuality of I and Thou, the argument here is for a recognition of how one’s own preferred collectivity plays out the dynamics of both “Israel” and “Palestine” — an ongoing dynamic of Cops and Robbers in which that collectivity takes turns in each role, as both “good guys” (even “evangelical”) or “bad guys (appropriately “demonised”). Such alternation, as the ongoing process of role reversal, is then a characteristic of the “holomovement” (Psychosocial Energy from Polarization within a Cyclic Pattern of Enantiodromia, 2007).
What should the “Israel” of the scientific worldview do about that of the arts, “pseudoscience” or creationism? (see discussion in End of Science: the death knell as sounded by the Royal Society, 2008)? How ridiculous is a “two-state solution” which ignores the inherent superiority of the scientific worldview — matched by the creationists’ view of their own? What should the “Israel” of the western worldview do about those other cultures that have not yet subscribed to its uniquely enlightened values — actively challenged in a clash of civilizations?
On the other hand, as the “Palestinians” of some alternative worldview, how best to respond to the strategies of dominance and encroachment of this or that “Israel”? In that sense, “Palestinians” include those who desperately demonstrate for economic alternatives at the G8 Group and G20 Group summits — or who endeavour to articulate their views in the World Social Forum against the problematic globalizing strategies promoted by the “Israel” so well represented at the World Economic Forum. More generally how best to respond to the encroachment on the traditional “lands” of one’s own worldview by the “settlements” of some “Israel” (Varieties of Encroachment, 2004)?
Amongst the citizens of “Israel”, as amongst the “Palestinians”, are readily to be recognized those factions who wish for the “elimination” of the other. There are eminent scientists with such a view of religion, for example. There are Hindus with such a view of Muslims, or “greens” with such a view of “developers”. For all such, their world would be much improved by the absence of the other.
The issue here is the nature of the larger ecosystem constituted by the dynamics of the pattern of relationships between the “12 Tribes of Israel” — an emergent “pattern that connects”, possibly a resonance hybrid whose viability and integrity is dependent on the dynamics between them.
Perhaps the larger challenge for a global civilization might be understood in terms of a form of marriage (Planetary Challenge of 12-fold Strategic Marriage Bonding “Empire” + “Alternatives”, “Global ” + “Local”, and “Behavioural” + “Depth psychology”, 2003). With respect to its governance, an earlier discussion (Towards Fruitful Patterns of Faith-based Governance, 2003) noted the above-mentioned study by Antonio de Nicolas (Meditations through the Rg Veda, 1978) which distinguishes four “languages” in the Rg Veda by their intentionality: images and sacrifice, existence, embodied vision, and non-existence. Such efforts to show the functional significance of sacrifice in relation to social integration need attention in a period when “nobody is willing to sacrifice” advantages acquired under the present systems in crisis — and when the sacrifice of “suicide bombers” is a major challenge to social stability.
For de Nicolas: “The embodiment of Rg Vedic man was understood… as an effort at integrating the languages of Asat, Sat and Yajna to reach the dhih, the effective viewpoint, which would make these worlds continue in their efficient embodiment” (p. 136). Consistent with the argument above with respect to play, the unique feature of the approach is that it is grounded in tone and the shifting relationships between tone. It is through the engendered pattern of musical tones (the tribes of “Israel”, following McLain?) 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. (p. 57)
Beyond play and poetry, this is indicative of the value of taking account of the current global engagement with music in giving epistemological form to the strategies and initiatives of the future (A Singable Earth Charter, EU Constitution or Global Ethic? 2006). In that sense the boundary between chaos and order may be better understood as continuously “sung” rather than permanently “constructed”. However any harmonious continuity implied by such a musical metaphor easily obscures the radical nature of the epistemological “sacrifice” to which the quotation explicitly refers and for which a naive relativism provides a totally inadequate framework. Given the territorial attachment of any “Israel”, there is perhaps a case for revisiting the radical relationship between epistemological frames of reference in the light of the special theory of relativity (Einstein’s Implicit Theory of Relativity — of Cognitive Property? Unexamined influence of patenting procedures, 2007).
Author Biography: Anthony Judge
Summary: Anthony Judge (Australia) is the instigator of the Union of Imaginative Associations (www.un-imagine.org) — following his retirement in May 2007 as Director of Communications and Research at the Union of International Associations (UIA) (www.uia.org). He had held this operational position since the 1970s in addition to his formal role as Assistant Secretary-General. Based in Brussels for the century since its founding in 1907, the UIA has been a self-financed, international, nonprofit, research clearinghouse for information on all international nonprofit organizations and their preoccupations.
His continuing responsibility, dating from 1972, had been the development of interlinked databases on: these international organizations, their meetings, their strategies, the problems on which these focus, and their values, together with associated databases on modes of human development, bibliographical data, and biographical profiles — and on the networks linking these various kinds of entity. Over that period he was specifically responsible for publication of this information in a range of reference media — including the Yearbook of International Organizations, the International Congress Calendar — and on enabling web access to their hyperlinked content. In particular, with the financial assistance of Mankind 2000 (www.m2000.org) of which he became Executive Director, he developed the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential for the UIA from 1972 through to its current online integration with these other databases.
As a development of these knowledge management initiatives, and their associated learnings, he has authored a collection of over 1,600 documents on information and knowledge organization of relevance to governance and strategy-making — including challenges to configuration, comprehension, credibility, communication, and related software possibilities, especially in conferencing dialogue contexts. Specific interests have included futures research and transdisciplinarity with particular interest in exploring user-controlled visual representations of complex knowledge networks over the web (see also Richer Metaphors for Our Future Survival : Narrative autobiography as a futurist, 1996). Other series of papers explore issues relating to governance through metaphor, electronic implications for organization network operation, and the future of dialogue and sustainable community.
These interests, whether professional or personal, have been enriched by involvement with a wide range of international bodies and meetings, whether as organizer, speaker, panelist, contributor or facilitator.
Within the new context of the Union of Imaginative Associations and its associated initiatives, he is continuing this research — now more specifically focused on the challenges of eliciting new insights, and making more effective use of any relevant knowledge, in response to the urgent challenges of governance and meaningful lifestyles in an increasingly complex environment.
For more details, visit: http://www.laetusinpraesens.org/bio/judge_cv2007.php
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