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[ba-unrev-talk] The Bootstrap Forums

Hello, all:    (01)

I have been following with keen interest (without having contributed 
anything myself) a good bit of the correspondence at this message board on 
various issues of import, ranging from the “War on Iraq” to “Problems in our 
educational systems”  to the “Ills of Advertising”.    (02)

May I now take the liberty of tendering some ideas that, I believe, could 
help promote Doug Engelbart’s great and noble vision of the “unfinished 
revolution’ in the specific areas of interest that have been discussed in 
this forum?  In particular, I believe that these thoughts could help  
"create the co-evolutionary environment capable of handling simultaneous 
complex social, technical, and economic changes at an appropriate rate and 
scale” in the very challenging times in which we are living.    (03)

My opinion of this forum
My opinion is that the participants in the “Unfinished Revoltion” forums, 
individually and as a group, have much of the knowledge needed to enable and 
ensure significant progress towards satisfactory resolution of the issues 
they've been discussing.  Unfortunately, the mode of the discussion (what 
I'd describe as the 'prose mode') very severely limits practical application 
to the issues discussed of the knowledge available with the participants.    (04)

'Prose mode' - a major hindrance
What is this 'prose mode' of discussion?  What I am using now in this mail 
is the prose mode - abstractly, omitting punctuation, it looks like this:    (05)

word + word + word + ….  = sentence
sentence + sentence + sentence + …. = paragraph
paragraph + paragraph + paragraph + …. = chapter
chapter + chapter + chapter + … =  ----  I believe you get the idea I'm 
trying to convey.    (06)

The prose mode, as discussed above, is relentlessly entirely 'linear' in 
form.    (07)

Unfortunately, the problems and issues we confront in real life are NOT 
linear at all.  They are generally multi-linear, complexly linked - and they 
just cannot be adequately represented by ANY prose document!  (To 
demonstrate this multi-linearity of real life, I shall need to get out of 
the prose mode).    (08)

It's my claim that it is, by and large, not very useful to discuss complex 
issues and problems in the prose mode, for at least two reasons:    (09)

1) Each participant in a such a 'prose mode' debate, for example Participant 
'A', is usually unclear about the assertions made in the debate by 
participants 'B', 'C', 'D', etc.  In particular, he or she does not know 
clearly how exactly the assertions made by  'B', 'C', 'D', etc may be 
related to the issues that 'A' is discussing.  (It is difficult to clarify 
this important point further without actually illustrating the kind of  
'multi-linear linkages' between factors that I am talking about [in prose, 
unfortunately!!].  I can provide such needed illustrations if I may be 
permitted to send a Word document including some graphics of the kind of 
multi-linear 'mental models' that could be used to clarify issues between 
participants in a debate)    (010)

In any case, the major point being made here is the following: the outcome 
of a 'prose-mode' debate is that each participant is generally quite unclear 
as to exactly how the ideas  of other participants are related to his or her 
ideas about the issues involved.  Further, in general, our understanding of 
the issue as a whole remains quite superficial, as we are rarely able, in 
the prose mode, to explore the 'deep logic' that lies beneath the surface of 
every complex issue we confront.    (011)

2) Using the conventional 'prose mode' of debate, it is EXTREMELY difficult 
to create an effective 'Action Plan' to resolve a complex issue or problem, 
or to accomplish a Mission.  (I might even go so far as to claim that it is 
probably IMPOSSIBLE to create an effective Action Plan on any complex issue 
in the 'prose mode').  The outcome of this is that many of the actions taken 
on most complex issues are highly ineffective - This obviously leads to  
disastrous results for society and for organisations and for individuals.    (012)

Getting into the depth of issues: beyond the superficial layers
A renowned systems scientist, Professor John N. Warfield (Emeritus 
Professor, retired a year ago from George Mason University) has, a designed 
a powerful set of methodologies that enable people to articulate and 
communicate about their perceptions of the complex systems within which they 
work/live with high precision and clarity, through using a combination of 
prose and graphics (the graphics here specifically arising out of 'graph 
theory').  These methodologies involve:    (013)

a) Tools for Idea Generation    (014)

Tools to enable 'generation of ideas' relating to the system under 
discussion (these are, in essence, 'brainstorming tools' highly 
systematized).    (015)

b) Tools for ‘structuring’ ideas    (016)

Warfield has invented powerful modeling tools to enable 'structuring' (or 
organising) of ideas generated about the system.  The structuring of ideas 
is accomplished by the creation of models showing the inter-relationship of 
factors in the system.  For example, one model might show how various 
activities undertaken in the system may "CONTRIBUTE TO" the accomplishment 
of each  other and the Mission.  Another model might show how the various 
barriers, difficulties or problems in the system may "AGGRAVATE" each other.    (017)

What’s been discussed above is ‘Interpretive Structural Modeling’ (ISM), 
Warfield’s grand generalisation of PERT/CPM - well known as the fundamental 
technology/tool in what is commonly termed “Project Management Software”.  
The problem with PERT/CPM is that it enables organisation of 
EVENTS/MILESTONES in a project into a hierarchy based on their relative 
“precedence” in time. Using the ‘transitivity’ of the relationship 
“precedes” to draw inferences, we can quite efficiently structure or 
organise the events to show where they lie along a ‘time-line’.  The 
profound defect in PERT/CPM is that it is generally difficult or even 
impossible to gauge the relative precedence of EVENTS and MILESTONES when 
the system itself is largely unknown – which is the case in most of the 
systems we encounter when we want to design them or improve them in some 
way.    (018)

What Warfield has made possible through ISM is to enable people involved in 
any problem situation to view the STRUCTURE of the problem within the system 
through the lenses of whichever specific relationships that may be 
appropriate at any stage.  It turns out that, for the accomplishment of any 
Mission in organisations or in society (or even by individuals), the 
relationship “contributes to” is crucial.  (Because, if we can discover how 
to do all the things that may contribute to the accomplishment of the 
Mission – and then DO those activities – then the Mission would certainly be 
accomplished).    (019)

Apart from modeling with “contributes to”,  Warfield’s ISM enables people 
involved in complex system issues to create models based on exactly the 
appropriate and specific transitive relationship in each part of the system, 
at each stage of its development, so as to enable all involved to arrive at 
a continuingly clearer understanding of various aspects of the system and 
how it functions.    (020)

Besides the ISM process, Warfield has also developed another powerful 
'relational modeling' tool, Field Representation (FR) Method, which enables 
people involved in systems to create representations of systems in terms of 
various  ‘similarity classes’ or ‘clusters’ (technical name: 'DIMENSIONS'), 
in such a way as to show inter-relationships between the 'elements' in the 
same or different Dimensions.  It is found that the FR tool enables us to 
create representations of systems that would, over time and iterations, tend 
to satisfy "Ashby's Law of Requisite Variety".    (021)

For those not yet acquainted with Ashby's Law, I provide my 'Simple Simon' 
explication of it:  "The dimensions of any proposed solution to a problem 
should match the dimensions of the problem".  (Because, if too few 
dimensions, the proposed solution will not work; if too many, the proposed 
solution is likely to be too expensive or too complicated).    (022)

The statement of Ashby's Law may appear to be a truism, something obvious - 
but it is remarkable how very few human-made systems in organisations or in 
society are designed so that they will EVER come to satisfy this fundamental 
law!  On examination of real systems, we find that most failures of our 
systems arise out of this design failure: the systems are not DESIGNED to 
grow into satisfying Ashby's Law.    (023)

John Warfield's methodologies for system design are collectively known as 
'Interactive Management' (IM), and, over the past two-three decades, have 
been successfully applied to a wide number of design situations by 
organisations and institutions ranging from small to large in size, on 
'complex, boundary-spanning' problems.  Linkages to more information about 
Warfield's seminal contributions to systems design may be found at: 
www.ajarmail.com .    (024)

The Underlying Philosophy IM:
IM postulates: "A satisfactory resolution to a complex system problem can 
come only from the people involved in the problem"    (025)

The 'OPMS'
I've created an enhancement to Warfield's work, by creating the concept of a 
'model of models', which integrates all lists of ideas and all models made 
from them into one 'global meta-model', which, in its management avatar, I 
call the 'One Page Management System' (OPMS).  This name arises because it 
is a tool specifically designed for management, which enables people 
involved in a problem situation to crystallise onto a single page - without 
any loss of information whatsoever - EVERYTHING that occurs while the 
problem solver(s) is(are) pursuing any Mission of current interest.  One 
major benefit of creating an OPMS is that anyone may use it with significant 
benefits arising, for accomplishing Missions of any kind, which are of 
interest to: individuals, organisations or to society as a whole.   More 
information about the OPMS is available from a sizable number of PowerPoint 
presentations and Word documents that have been uploaded to the following 
site:  www.angelfire.com/space/opms    (026)

Alternatively, if this forum would permit, I could send a few carefully 
selected documents about the OPMS, as attachments to an email message 
(amounting to about 200 to 300 KB), for the interest of participants, along 
with brief explanations of how each specific may be relevant vis-à-vis the 
issues being raised here.    (027)

G.S. Chandy    (028)

G.S. Chandy
Interactive LogicWare Ltd (ILW)
Camp - Mumbai
c/o Sahi Oretrans Pvt Ltd
30 Western India House, 3rd Floor
Sir P.M. Road, Fort
Tel.: +91-22-2281 0033 (7 lines)    (029)

Hyderabad address:
c/o La Multi InfoSystems Ltd
Road No 2, Banjara Hills
(Annapurna Studio Lane)
Hyderabad - 500 034
Tel.: +91-40-5657 3328, 5657 3329
+++++++++++    (030)

>From: Henry K van Eyken <vaneyken@sympatico.ca>
>Reply-To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
>To: ba-unrev-talk@bootstrap.org
>Subject: [ba-unrev-talk] Warped thinking, &c.
>Date: 01 Apr 2003 07:21:44 -0500
>I just read about an eighth civilian killing at a check point:
>"...  U.S. Marines shot dead an unarmed driver and badly wounded his
>passenger south of Baghdad, just hours after the previous deaths at a
>checkpoint near the Shi'ite holy city of Najaf.
>The deaths are another blow to U.S. and British hopes of convincing
>Iraqis to welcome an invasion whose stated goal is to oust President
>Saddam Hussein, not combat the population...." (ref.
>Those deaths are the direct consequence of a military massively blending
>into a civilian population, a crime being committed by Iraq's Baath
>regime. When people the world over protest against a U.S. invasion of
>Iraq, that is one thing; but when people get incensed against American
>troops killing in self-defense because of Baathist criminality, that is
>quite another. One must wonder about the feebleness of human minds not
>to be able to make that distinction.
>Now, back to that invasion. It is unfortunate that political leaders in
>the U.S. and the U.K. keep on stating that one aim is the liberation of
>the people of Iraq, especially because the governments of both countries
>were quite prepared at one time or another to not invade Iraq provided
>Saddam Hussein and presumably his regime would rid themselves of weapons
>of mass destruction. That regime failed to meet the three conditions
>laid out in U.N. resolution 1441. Had this regime met those conditions
>then neither country would have officially cared about the plight of
>Iraq's civilians under Saddam's cruel dictatorship. I take the professed
>concern for Iraqi citizens to be a ploy to sway the Americans and
>British to support the military action against Saddam - an appeal to
>righteous emotions. This is a typical tool in political campaigning, one
>that contributes to politics being so dirty.
>The most important reason for citizens of the world to support the
>action against Saddam and his regime (not against Iraq) is the danger
>those personalities pose to the world community. Leaving them in place
>can only make matters worse over time, especially when one considers
>that people like these produce an offspring steeped in criminal
>mentality. As is shown by putting innocents in harm's way.
>Unfortunately, the objective of removing criminals from the world
>community (quite in line with removing criminals from any smaller
>society) is tainted by perceived greed for power, influence, money,
>economic advantage, etc. It ought be an objective for humans to evolve
>their institutions in a way that greed will become less and less of a
>legitimate motivational factor and do so without removing the needed
>leadership strengths to make society function for the benefit of all.
>That aim calls for a great deal of true understanding of humans and
>their environment, i.o.w. grasp of fundamentals need to replace poorly
>substantiated convictions. Digital augmentation is an important part of
>that process ("tool system"). It complements a desirable understanding
>of humans ("human system").
>Diligent learning must substitute for shouting.
>P.S. For those unfamiliar with the terms "tool system" and "human
>system," see the first session of Doug Engelbart's Colloquium.
>    (031)

Catch the Oscar fever. See winners & losers. 
http://server1.msn.co.in/MSNSpecials/oscar2003/index.asp Right here    (032)