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    Quality & Value, a Polytopian stance
    Project: Polytopia
    "The psychology of the mature human being is an unfolding, emergent, oscillating, spiraling process marked by progressive subordination of older, lower-order behavior systems to newer, higher-order systems as man's existential problems change.

    Clare W. Graves (the futurist-1974)


    Quality I shall define here not as a property of a ‘something’ but as the relational attitude a conscious aware intelligent entity employs for the ‘e’/valuation of a given set of coordinates (topos).

    Value for the purpose of this conceptualization we shall define as the property, which gives a quality its characteristics.

    Therefore if quality is a relational attitude employed by a conscious aware intelligent entity then value is the determination of its characteristics.

    A quality is thus a stance, a mind state of affairs having a definite set of characteristics or value.

    Following the above it can now be stated that the quality/value of a given system reflects both its characteristics and the attitude contained therein. In other words, the quality/value of a given system implies/indicates its nature.

    Following the above we can now state the following:
    A system’s situation (state of affairs in time) indicated by its nature has at any given moment in time a quality/value that reflects its dynamic change.
    Furthermore, given the faculty of reality assessment contained inherently in each and every being (conscious aware intelligent entity) and given that this faculty is in a continuous flow of change (evolution) it might be sensible to imply that reality is a continuous flow of quality/value assessment; a continuous flow of reality assessment, observed via its quality/value realization is thus the flow of knowing.

    To know ‘something’ is therefore claimed here to be, the continuous reality assessment in time performed by a conscious aware intelligent entity, via its quality/value management.
    Said quality/value management is that which determines both the actions to be taken and the ensuing (continuously updated) worldview.
    Such a worldview can be said to be free from static (absolute) constraints and liberated in its self-reflection.

    Finally, a Polytopian worldview softens the distinction between self and other, mind and objects, the world and I. A soft, upgradeable, updateable, dynamic quality/value assessment worldview, open ended and continuously flowing between diverse states of affairs (topos) is a Polytopian worldview.

    An extended version

    Evolution has endowed us with a penchant towards abstraction and ideation. This very inclination is what sits at the basis of our language capability, in fact it will be true to state that our penchant for abstraction has allowed us to, as it were, ‘invent’, terminologies that have no basis whatsoever in our perceptual mechanism. We have even invented a term to designate an abstract projection into a possible phase space of improbable realities, we call this: ‘belief’.

    Belief is a hard won evolutionary capability that has allowed us to translate our capabilities of essence extraction (abstraction), into motivations and finally into actions. Said actions in turn create products, designs, art, poetry, hammers and even the Buddha-dharma. In fact, the flow of our minds, can be said to be a generalization of this very process, however what need be emphasized at this point is twofold: the process is both recursive (loop-like) and repetitive.
    The above points of recursively occurring loops and repetitions are fundamental to the realization that the reality we ‘experience’ is multidimensional in nature and fuzzy in its own reflectivity.
    The reference point of fuzziness is crucial, for from this fuzziness stems the idea of separation. The separation of the abstract conceptualization of ‘me’, and the ‘culture’ in which ‘I’ exist, the very basis of the Neolithic mind.

    This apparent separation between ‘me’ as a subject of identity and ‘the culture’ in which I exist is based on an even more fundamental idea of separation, the separation between ‘me’, supposedly housed in the brain machine carried by ‘my’ body and entitled to the designation ‘I’ as a separate entity in the world, and the world. Given this state of affairs, the Neolithic brain system of perception (and representation), sees ‘me’ and the ‘objects in the world’ as relating to one another via a series of actions, attitudes and behaviors that carry a certain sense of distance (physical, mental, emotional and so on) which therefore require a system of values to critically employ the objects and the world to/for ‘my’ benefit.

    There are many problems in this ‘wheel’ (system of values), first amongst which is the problem of identity (‘me’ as an intentional agent); without going now into the gritty details philosophical problem of the intentional agent, let us just assume temporarily that ‘I’ am an intentional agent able to perceive and conceive the world in a more or less, reasonable manner. In this case the worldview that I carry within me is the fundamental array of agreements both perceptual and social that eventually lets me qualify something (an object or a subject) and thus measure it. But, and there’s a great ‘but’ here, this whole arrangement can be sustained if and only if I view myself as separate from the world (the Neolithic view) in which and by which ‘I’ am a user and the world/culture/objects are there for me to use. If however we take the view (such as the Polytopia proposes) that the whole of existence is continuous and overlapping (via the agency of multiple characterized topos), we now have a situation in which there is no separation between ‘me’ and ‘the other’ (be it an object or indeed an other intentional agent, a culture or the world). What I find myself in is a smooth transitional phase space having different gradients and vectors of connectivity, or in other words, I am an extended Bioperson, moving within a large (er) and dynamic (flow) framework of characterizations. Within this motion there can be no fixed relations since the very idea of a measurement is based on stable/constant components allowing the measure to be related to a benchmark (whether natural or artificial).

    The extended Bioperson is ‘me’ characterized by my perceptual extension/expansion in the infoverse via objects and other subjects, in this case the quality of being me and thus the objects, material, ideas, emotions and so on that I produce, are all reflections of the carving of information in different substrates of reality. The very multidimensional reality of this info-carving implies that it is intimately and inexorably intertwined with everything and everybody, in short, ‘I’, am as much part of the culture as culture is part of ‘me’. We may, therefore, for purposes of clarity of mind and communication integrate the worldview of a/the Polytopia in our understanding of the measurement (of quality) problem.

    There is another aspect that need be taken into consideration here and it is our conceptualization of time. Our evolutionary heritage has, via genetics, environment and culture, produced in us an amazing capability of keenness to immediacy; said ‘keenness to immediacy’ can be translated to mean that we are continuously aware to ‘momentariness’, or in other words, our brains are primed for ‘awareness to the moment’ and more particularly to rewards (and dangers) that are immediately relevant to our survival, be it physical, emotional or mental. It follows that our capacity for measurement can be said to be influenced by this evolutionary trait of awareness to immediacy. (as a side note I have written elsewhere (see here) about the crisis aspect of the trio: consciousness, awareness, intelligence which is basically based/emergent from on the same evolutionary trait). The reason I mention this awareness to immediacy trait is because it has and does influence our capacity to measure rewards and thus impinges on our capability to evolve our worldview into an extended reality of quality assessment.
    A Polytopian worldview involves if so not only a realization of continuation where me and the culture (including the objects we produce and the information we consume) are a dynamically intertwined, open ended, multidimensional reality but also the need to overcome the immediacy of reward situation.

    To summarize the above: Our penchant for abstraction coupled with our keenness to immediacy, in a recursive and repetitive mind environment is that which resides at the basis of our perception of separation and thus defines our quality assessment capability. Same quality assessment capability defines in turn our Neolithic mind. To move from the Neolithic mind view into a Polytopian stance, we need re-assess what a Polytopia stands for.

    A Polytopia is fundamentally fractal, primarily implying that at every level of reality we can in principle define a topos.
    Given that at every level we may define a topos according to an agreed upon criteria, we can visualize the flow of topos as the foundation of the overall flow of a Polytopia.
    A Polytopia is fundamentally dynamic, primarily implying that a Polytopia is in continuous motion and thus each and every frame of sight will always receive the characteristics of /and coordinates of space, of time and the context in which the particular topos is to be understood.
    A Polytopia is Rhizomatic and thus implies that each and every topos is fundamentally both an opening and an exit, allowing the continuous motion of information within the overall flow of topos.
    A Polytopia is transparent and collaborative, emphasizing the value of the unique individual mind its value recognition capability, implying that the mind of the conscious aware entity is devoted to quality assessment.

    to be continued..

    note: This is part one of an extended work in progress concerning the emerging polytopia and the philosophical implications of a polytopian stance

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    connor     Wed, Nov 26, 2008  Permanent link
    Thanks for this, I am really enjoying where it is going. That question really got me thinking as well, and our ideas have kind of ended up along the same path.

    Much of my thought has been around applying a new method of quality control to our current system. One which could thrive in the system that currently exists, create a new awareness of methods of measurement, and continue to exist as future systems emerge.

    The comment that I started, though, is turning into a full post. I will continue to work on it, post it, and add the link in this comment thread.
    Jcinema     Wed, Nov 26, 2008  Permanent link
    This was good. I look forward to the coming additions. I see major implications and even a possible piggy backing thread myself. Your insights have helped me refine a portion of my current work on the nature of difference and similarity... the parallels with your work on measurement are evident. Like i said, well done. I enjoyed this!
    nom the puppet     Wed, Dec 3, 2008  Permanent link
    So good! I especially enjoyed the part about the conception of time. It brought up this question to my mind: Could prediction systems become so advanced as to be indistinguishable from memory systems? What would this mean for our society?