Morbid Pathologies:

Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance:

In his book with the above title,  Riobert M Pirsig, expresses (to me, at least) a feeling that the quality of life is dependant on the ability to do things "correctly" -which basically means "love" for the tasks that are involved (amateurism).

Unfortuantely, as far as I know, he never went into the details and implications of such a viewpoint:

Presumably, if his metaphor of motorcycle maintenance  has any value,  then "success" must surely involve "maintaining" the that which makes the healthy functioning of the system sustainable.... turn "failure" involves the destruction of a healthy sustainablity.

So, presumably, in order to succeed we need to understand the conditions that promote, or undermine,  the good functioning of the system.....

  -Catalysts, Lockouts and End-games

     Sometimes processes can be done in any order
      -but some processes require a fixed order: One generally needs to put on ones socks before putting on one's shoes

     Sometimes, systems might work -but they can't start
     -for example, one needs to eat in order to work to get a job -but one can'r buy food because one hasn't got the money

     In this case, a "catalyst" might be able to start the  system -by cutting through the viscious circle while playing no further role:
However, if the system has other problems besides the "logical lockout" then the system will start but will founder on another issue......

    A working system can also enter an "end-game"situation
    -where something needs to be done but, for some reason, cannot be done
     for example, perhaps a patient needs to take a blood thinning agent because of a dangerous blood clot
     but because they also suffer from haemaphilia -they cannot  take the medicine......  death may then be the result

     It seems that many accicents involving cars, planes and trains, for example, cannot be reduced to a single situatio
     but are the result of a fatal chain of events that might not have been so disasterous if conditions had been slighhtly different.
 A burst tire may not be a serious problem at slow speeds on an empty road
but at high speed on a crowded motorway in a fog it can cause multiple deaths in a chain reation of colliding cars

-Negative and Positive Feedback:

In "feedback" situations "cause" and "effect"  become mutually supportive (or destructive) of each other, For example:
-In Human Systems:
  -Pressure to solve important problems immediately can mean that there is less time for contemplation and reflection regarding the possible consequences of and alternatives for the chosen strategies or aims.
 -Social isolation tends to turn people into "loose cannons" -which in turn, tends to increase their isolation because nobody knows how to deal with them (Websinnig & Kuro).

   -Conflicts between dependencies:

"Dependencies" are bits of (human or computer) programmes that are used by other "programes" (such as operating a leg muscle would be an erssential part of both walking and running -or indeed any other operation that involves moving the leg...and presumably the "leg-muscle" programme is likely to be dependant on a more genralised muscle operating system.....

-Fatal problems can be caused  by conflicts between external dependancies (resultin in power struggles) or internal dependancies (resulting in philosophical or psychological problems).

 Presumably, the faster systems change -the greater the chance of problems with internal or external coordination.

  -Internal Coordination:

Sometimes whan a system is in a state of (internally or externallly induced) change, the "programmes" of the various sub-components are not (yet) fully syncronised and so may continue to function in ways that are not apporpriate to the new approach -and may indeed even be contradictory to the iether the new aims or other parts of the system.....

  -External Coordination:

Systems that are evolving (in non-parallel ways) will interact differently at different points in time...
For example, two people may meet at one point in time and both behave completely differently if they had met each other at a different point in time.

-Equilibria and Disequilibria:

 -Corruption and Perversion:

                     (preventing systems functioning properly -by short circuiting essential processes)

"Perversion" can perhaps be defined in terms of short-term gains given preference top long-term gains -such that long-term aims can never be realised.

This suggests that the "pursuit of pleasure" can be a dangerous game, if it encourages immediate pleasures at the const of long -term advantages..... However, achieving an aesthetic balence also gives pleasure..... so it seems that there may well be "positive pleasures" (joy of living, etc.) that encourage long-term growth and stability on the one hand, and "negative pleasures" (smoking, drinking, drugtaking, etc) that undermine it.

-Commercial or Political interests can exploit disfunctionality by encouraging disfunctionality....

     -Roman Empire (and the European Conciousness)
           (Christianity: Rome, Byzantium and the "east")
           (Greece and Rome -the Renaissance)

-Perverse Systems of Logic
-Binary Logic
-The Mind/Body Split
         (Athenian aristocratic tradition)
         (division of labour -social hierarchies)
         (theory and practice)
         (Cognition and Perception)
         (Medium and Message)
         (Hardware and Sopftware)
         (User and Programmer)
         (Church and State? -political implications of the immaterial ruling the material (Greece and Rome?))
         (neo-platonic  separation  of spirit and body  (reincarnation) -p57. Icon book)
         (Byzantine Art: the reincarnation and the spiritualisation of form by the artist  -p61 Icon book)

-Abstraction and the NeoPlatonic "ideal"
        (the "abstraction" presumably contains less  characteristics than than prototype -a "ball" has no specific size, colour or weight)
        (the "prototype" usually seems to fall short  of (and therefore be "less" than) the "ideal)

        (so with "ideals" one gets less (perfection) when dealing with the prototype -but with "abstraction" one gets more!)


 -Non-Responsive Systems
        (Auto-Conspiricy Theory: Collabourating with one's own repression)
        (Why are the media -and other intellectuals so complient?)

 -Conceptual Conflicts
        (politcal science: Lim)
        (social science: DeWitte)

A Self-Protecting and Regenerative System, that sometimes fails:

-The Human Body as Linguistic Community -A Potential Model/Metaphor for Social Systems?
        (levels of definition and identity)
        (a diversity of mechanical, chemical and electrical communication systems)
        (articulated synergy)
        (the selfish cancer)

Trevor Batten
Manila, July/September 2006