Encyclopedia of World Problems - Archived Information

Status message

You are currently in UIA's online document archive. These pages are no longer maintained. To search the full archive click here.

The Encyclopedia is currently undergoing redevelopment !

10.5 Constraints on a meta-answer

1. Constraints

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 than this.
  • 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 inhibits development.

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.