Graphics I Found (III.)

How do we depict an outer picture about what results from our untangling an inner representation?

[click thumbnails to enlarge] Source: Abduction and Affordance: A Semiotic View of Cognition; Donald J. Cunningham

comment: Bridges. Figures 2-5 in order of complexity, or, if you will, ‘bit order’. Soon, I’ll round out the quintet with Figure 1. (And circle back to the matrix, the 4-square, to Bateson.) One thing that comes up for me, is how much pressure the conventions of intellectual genre came under during 1980s–the Reagan era–and how this afforded what followed. This period came a little more than a generation after the renaissance of the new left and post-modernism and what I term ‘pragmatic syncretics’ (in the U.S.) So, after the stirrings of, for example, Kenneth Boulding (1956; The Image,) Herbert Marcuse (1964; One Dimensional Man,) Norman O. Brown (1967; Love’s Body,) Gilles Deleuze (1968; Difference & Repetition,) Gregory Bateson (1972; Steps to An Ecology of Mind.) Somehow the network now fits in, and the genre busting seems today much more to breath as it organizes and reconfigures, Although, I suppose one has to pay attention in some narrow or creative way.

Note to self-I have to dig up Maturana’s ideagram showing co-assimilation and take the scanner to The Geometry of Meaning, Arthur M. Young, 1976–the year I started reading philosophy while managing a record store in the back of a book store in Middlebury, Vermont.

Abduction and Affordance: A Semiotic View of Cognition (Cunningham) Abstract: The shortcomings of the dominant information processing models of cognition are outlined, and two alterative models derived from semiotics are presented. In addition, the possibility of incorporating J. J. Gibson’s ecological theory of affordance within the semiotic models is explored as a means of addressing some criticism of the latter models. The semiotic models addressed are J. Deely’s (1983, 1986) sensation-based Umwelt model and U. Eco’s (1976, 1979, 1984) Model Q. The criticism that semiotic models lead to solipsism is dealt with through Gibson’s rejection of perception as based solely on sensation. In his theory of visual perception, Gibson considers the environment to be the surfaces that separate substances from the medium in which animals live. But environments also”afford” things, such as shelter and locomotion. The processes of perceiving affordances and abduction, as described by Deely, allow semiotics to escape solipsism. Five figures are provided. (TJH)

Graphics I Found (II.)

When one puts objectivity in parenthesis, all views, all verses in the multiverse are equally valid. Understanding this, you lose the passion for changing the other.


comment: system is us comment: ‘As found in Maturana. . .objectivity or the search for a good argument.’ (I’ll reveal the secondary source of this in a follow-up.)

[click thumbnail to enlarge]

(from Oikos) When one puts objectivity in parenthesis, all views, all verses in the multiverse are equally valid. Understanding this, you lose the passion for changing the other. One of the results is that you look apathetic to people. Now, those who do not live with objectivity in parentheses have a passion for changing the other. So they have this passion and you do not. For example, at the university where I work, people may say, ‘Humberto is not really interested in anything,’ because I don’t have the passion in the same sense that the person that has objectivity without parentheses. And I think that this is the main difficulty. To other people you may seem too tolerant. However, if the others also put objectivity in parentheses , you discover that disagreements can only be solved by entering a domain of co-inspiration, in which things are done together because the participants want to do them. With objectivity in parentheses, it is easy to do things together because one is not denying the other in the process of doing them. Humberto Maturana

H.M. and Francisco Varela, Autopoiesis and Cognition: The realization of the living.


All doing is knowing, and all knowing is doing.


“On the one hand, one can move down a level and study the properties of the components, disregarding their mutual interconnection as a system. On the other hand, one can disregard the detailed structure of the components, treating their behaviour only as contributing to that of a larger unit. … We cannot conceive of components if there is no system from which they are abstracted; and there cannot be a whole unless there are constitutive elements.”

(Lots of fore-running in M&V to ecosociosemio traversing.

This is for you Mike, if you haven’t been dealed in yet. Varela, from 1995:

Francisco Varela ( I guess I’ve had only one question all my life. Why do emergent selves, virtual identities, pop up all over the place creating worlds, whether at the mind/body level, the cellular level, or the transorganism level? This phenomenon is something so productive that it doesn’t cease creating entirely new realms: life, mind, and societies. Yet these emergent selves are based on processes so shifty, so ungrounded, that we have an apparent paradox between the solidity of what appears to show up and its groundlessness. That, to me, is a key and eternal question.

As a consequence, I’m interested in the nervous system, cognitive science, and immunology, because they concern the processes that can answer the question of what biological identity is. How can you have some kind of identity that simultaneously allows you to know something, allows cells to configure their own relevant world, the immune system to generate the identity of our body in its own way, and the brain to be the basis for a mind, a cognitive identity? All these mechanisms share a common theme.

I’m perhaps best known for three different kinds of work, which seem disparate to many people but to me run as a unified theme. These are my contributions in conceiving the notion of autopoiesis — self-production — for cellular organization, the enactive view of the nervous system and cognition, and a revising of current ideas about the immune system.

Regarding the subject of biological identity, the main point is that there is an explicit transition from local interactions to the emergence of the “global” property — that is, the virtual self of the cellular whole, in the case of autopoiesis. It’s clear that molecules interact in very specific ways, giving rise to a unity that is the initiation of the self. There is also the transition from nonlife to life. The nervous system operates in a similar way. Neurons have specific interactions through a loop of sensory surfaces and motor surfaces. This dynamic network is the defining state of a cognitive perception domain. I claim that one could apply the same epistemology to thinking about cognitive phenomena and about the immune system and the body: an underlying circular process gives rise to an emergent coherence, and this emergent coherence is what constitutes the self at that level. In my epistemology, the virtual self is evident because it provides a surface for interaction, but it’s not evident if you try to locate it. It’s completely delocalized.

Organisms have to be understood as a mesh of virtual selves. I don’t have one identity, I have a bricolage of various identities. I have a cellular identity, I have an immune identity, I have a cognitive identity, I have various identities that manifest in different modes of interaction. These are my various selves. I’m interested in gaining further insight into how to clarify this notion of transition from the local to the global, and how these various selves come together and apart in the evolutionary dance. In this sense, what I’ve studied, say, in color vision for the nervous system or in immune self-regulation are what Dan Dennett would call “intuition pumps,” to explore the general pattern of the transition from local rules to emergent properties in life. We have at our disposal beautiful examples to play around with, both in terms of empirical results and in terms of mathematics and computer simulations. The immune system is one beautiful, very specific case. But it’s not the entire picture


Graphics I Found (I.)

This post initiates a series of posts with diagrams and pictures. I have created a new category: Graphic Ethnography for these posts because this is the over-arching conception that was evoked in conjuring up this foray. The intention is to first evoke a moment of the dear perceiver’s consciousness in engagement with the graphics. Then, to see if any response is telling or otherwise related to the missions of ND2.0.

For extra points, some may wonder where connectors could be drawn between some of these and what has already been offered by yurs troolee.


comment: system diagrams to me are either mechanistic or esoteric. This one is the former. I bet one could map Bion’s Basic Assumptions onto a scheme like this one.


comment: This was clipped from a picture on Erica Savig’s short lived blog. Check out it’s context.

She wrote in 2007:

These diagrams are based on three-dimensional curves that were established from programmatic organizations, that are then used as boundary conditions for a looping algorithm. Each set of boundary curves represents the programmatic information from the perspective of a retreatant that is focused on advancing either the mind, body or spirit.

What captures my attention here is the beauty, and, whatever a looping algorithim might have to do with a flux of such algorithims.

Construal Vectors

This matrix depicts the basic two factor conventions of interpersonal construal. As the possible internalized experiential frames of reference become more multiple and flexible and robust in a heuristic sense, egocentric (or individuative,) and stereotypic (ie. proto-typic) simulations likely become more accurate. For example, feedback from the ‘object,’ (the person being simulated,) may adjust the simulation and its surmisals when the simulation itself can flow to a new apprehension.

This can be contrasted with an idealized extreme in the other direction where the available internalized models are not very dynamic and flexible. For such a person, other people tend to be ciphers or inaccurately characterized.

It’s worth noting that other classes of prior knowledge inflect simulations. I’ve long noted that in the lay Jungian community, many so-called Jungians live in a “Jungian” universe. In this universe it is assumed that whether the other person knows of Jung’s model of the personality or not, nevertheless this other person’s personality happens to be a personality modeled in correspondence with Jung’s model! Likewise, many Freudians live in a Freudian universe, in which other minds are Freudian whether they know it not.

It is likely that if I think to myself that another person is ‘trying to sucker me into accepting their persona’ I am not speaking of the actual phenomena.

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