Primary Question:

How can we entice auspiciousness into complex systems?

Some notes (by John Wood) after inviting Prof. Mark D’inverno to our meeting on 2/2/07

some of our assumptions

(please feel free to challenge):

  • In the age of climate change + economics of self-interest we need a paradigm shift.
  • Loosely speaking - a miracle is needed
  • A situated mathematics of the 'thinker-inclusive whole' may be helpful



1) Is there a situated, context-inclusive mathematics?

  • i.e. one that is observer/player inclusive?

E.g. Polanyi (1963) said, ‘all human knowledge can be considered to be tacit knowledge if it rests on our subsidiary awareness of particulars in terms of a comprehensive unity’

2) How might this work?

(assuming that:

  • maths is poor at mapping reasonably comprehensive holistic relations
  • maths is observer independent
  • maths is context-independent
  • maths is not intended to facilitate serendipitous outcomes

Mark mentioned Dan Sperber & Deirdre Wilson's work on 'Relevance Theory'...

3) Could it be used to turn vicious circles into virtuous circles?

  • Positive feedback is important issue.
  • Actual dystopian or quasi-utopian situations are open systems that sustain/augment (i.e. positive feedback) their own momentum.
  • This means that wars, poverty, droughts, etc. often self-perpetuate until external factors (e.g. local resource depletion) force an end.
  • Perhaps we could metadesign (micro-)utopian conditions that self-sustain (with a little co-cultivation)
  • This may mean that metadesigners would need to attune themselves to the auspiciousness surrounding us (c.f. weak signal theory)

return / go to m21 Meetings Page
return / go to Other AU Research