HILGARTNER & ASSOCIATES
254 Kensington Place
Marion OH 43302
18 January 1989
RE:Ananalysis of The Hunger Project--done in support of the Global Strategic Plan for the End of Hunger
The Hunger Project has promised to develop a unifying Global Strategic Plan, in support of its commitment to alter the climate of opinion so that we humans will, by the year 2000, no longer tolerate having people on our planet die of hunger._1/ I in my turn have committed myself to deploy the resources available to me, including the body of theory developed by Hilgartner & Associates, to support the development of this Global Strategic Plan. I will provide a coherent framework for the methodology on which the Global Strategic Plan must rest.
As Einstein points out, we cannot solve the problems we have at the level of thinking that created those problems. But the output from Hilgartner & Associates utilizes revised assumptions, not previously put to use in so concerted a way. They yield a level of thinking demonstrably more advanced that the traditional viewpoints in use while we created these problems which we have set out to solve. This level of thinking leads to concerted practices based on these alternative
_1/ The original Source Document of The Hunger Project promises, "To create the end of hunger as an idea whose time has come." To participants in The Hunger Project, this image may seem clear and unambiguous; but to some audiences with whom Hunger Project participants may wish to talk, it may sound like jargon and evidence of dogmatism. As a scientist, I consider the phrase in need of dissection and clarification.
This phrase embeds the old aphorism to the effect that "There is nothing so powerful as an idea whose time has come." I interpret this aphorism as postulating some kind of "social inevitability," apropos of at least one "idea" which eventually got realized in action. In the aphorism, the speaker does not mention people, but rather, makes the idea the active agent. In the metaphor of "its time coming" -- a pregnancy or egg-hatching image -- the speaker postulates that the idea exists in some kind of setting (implied "womb" or "shell"), which can undergo some kind of change or alteration. He tacitly
(cont. next page)
I intend to make available to the participants and staff of The Hunger Project, and to their experts, a technology not previously available. Furthermore, I intend to show my audiences how to use it, so they can further analyze their own situation and that of The Hunger Project for themselves, and guide their further activities by these analyses.
To present my initial findings, I use the rhetorical device of connecting the familiar to the unfamiliar. For the "familiar" pole, I use The Hunger Project, as represented in various written or spoken comments and/or in my own knowledge and experience of it as a participant/observer. To analyze The Hunger Project and display its structure, I draw on a fully developed and rigorous, but unfamiliar, theory of social systems developed by Hilgartner & Associates, part of which I present below.
This rhetorical tactic poses difficulties, since the "familiar" pole seems more than a little unfamiliar: The Hunger Project does not fit the pictures we know how to draw of "an organization" or "a project." As Werner Erhard, one of the founders of The Hunger Project, said at the Global Board Meeting on 15 September 1988,
"Every time I think I've got The Hunger Project all figured out, almost immediately something happens that convinces me that I don't."
The "unfamiliar" pole likewise does not exactly fit its billing. The theory of social systems in question will at first glance, I believe, seem suitably unfamiliar. But, I predict, as you come to
Footnote 1 (cont):
acknowledges that, over long periods, (e.g. before "its time came") the idea got espoused without getting successfully implemented. Then, he asserts, once that change took place, nothing could have stopped the idea from getting realized in action.
The promise embeds the image of an idea, existing in a setting which can undergo a crucial change. But in speaking of creating something as "an idea whose time has come", the speaker brings in active human agency: People acting from a setting, people holding the idea, people espousing it, people realizing it in action.
The whole promise asserts the feasibility of deliberately and consciously changing this setting from which humans act (which I might call "the climate of opinion," specifiable in lived-theory terms, e.g. in terms of special assumptions, vocabulary, metaphors, images, expectations, etc.); and promises to accomplish this change so as to make it inevitable that we humans will cease tolerating having people die of the effects of hunger.
On examination, then, the central promise of The Hunger Project encodes a series of disconfirmable hypotheses which, in the course of concerted efforts to keep this promise, will get adequately tested. This effectively removes it from the domain of dogmatism.
understand it better, you will find that it reflects and models your own experiencing more fully than does any conventional theory/explanation.
THE STARTING POINT
The Hunger Project has developed a powerful methodology. But for the most part its practitioners do not know what theory it rests on. Like most everyone else, they consider theory the antithesis of action, and therefore an obstacle in the way of "getting things done."_2/ Worse than that, they do not see any connection between what someone DOES and whatever theories s/he may hold and practice.
But that view differs from the way I use the term theory. I consider theory as the BASIS for action. In other words, I assume that humans cannot ACT except from what they ASSUME -- from theory. I distinguish between what I call abstract theory, which systematically eliminates the observer or self from consideration and which therefore has no direct bearing on what we DO, and lived theory, which systematically takes the observer into account and so DIRECTS what we do. In principle, no "call to action" can arise except from an appropriate choice of lived assumptions.
lived thoery, lived assumptions
Moreover, to attain the greatest effectiveness in action, we need to disclose the assumptions from which we act and make them explicit, so as to have them accessible for revision.
In other words, to put ourselves into action we not only need to DO freely, we also need to TALK freely about what we do -- and need to keep the two poles of activity separate, so the "doing" does not interfere with the "talking," and the "talking" does not interfere with the "doing."
revising or rejecting assumptions
In my considered opinion, the activities which make up what we call "The Hunger Project" stem from lived assumptions markedly different from those which underlie most of our projects, organizations, social institutions, etc. (and not so different from those which underlie the output from Hilgartner & Associates). Moreover, I hold that there exists no way to achieve the goal of eliminating death from hunger, other than that of bringing it about that the rest of the human community comes to operate from lived assumptions which resemble those now in use within The Hunger Project. That might seem like a daunting prospect. As members of Western society, we tend to regard our own parochial, accustomed patterns of human behavior, which we call "human nature," as virtually unchangeable; and in general, we don't recognize our own assumptions, that lead to these patterns of behavior -- or even that we HOLD assumptions at all. But, I insist, the process of revising our own assumptions, or rejecting our current ones and replacing them entirely (whether we had previously noticed them or not), provides the
_2/Considering what the dominant world culture holds up as theory, I can't blame the practitioners for sharing this common view.
basis for the whole human way of living.
The common "blind spots" about theory, then, limit our effectiveness by limiting our perspective on the structure of The Hunger Project -- obscuring how it actually works.
As part of my job, then, I must make clear (to Hunger Project participants and to others) not only the general pattern -- e.g. precisely how what a human DOES follows from what s/he ASSUMES, and how an alteration in the structure of what s/he does implicates an alteration in what s/he assumes (and vice versa) -- but also, precisely what assumptions underlie The Hunger Project, and how it builds on them.
I assert that the experts who will have the job of developing the promised Global Strategic Plan will find their job easier to do if I have done my job first, and they have access to the results.
PREVIEW OF WHAT I'LL SAY
In order to put The Hunger Project into perspective, and to distinguish it from other, similar-sounding projects, I will need to build up several constructs:
a) the construct of lived theory;
b) the notion of setting, along with at least one example;
c) the construct of time-binding;
d) a logically-and-empirically satisfactory way of describing the apparently 'purposive' activities of living systems;
e) the premises underlying the present frame of reference, contrasted with more conventional premises; and
f) the notion of social transacting, along with subsidiary constructs with which to account for some of the details which make up human social transacting.
eliminating the observer
accounting for the observer
As I mentioned, most people, when they hear the word theory, picture what I call abstract theory, that eliminates the observer and so has no direct bearing on how we live. In contrast, I concern myself with lived theory, that takes the observer or self into account and by which we direct what we do and how we live.
I assume that we humans assume, that we cannot not-assume. (We can assume THIS, or that, or something else -- but we cannot assume nothing at all.) Moreover, I assume that our actions, our "doings" and "choosings," strictly follow from what we assume or guess, and thus fulfill the role of "conclusion" or "theorem." Whatever we DO (in the broadest sense of the term), then, has behind it a complete array of premises, and so amounts to lived theory.
In discussing lived theory, I utilize the map-territory analogy: To say that an organism lives means that it makes some kind of 'maps' of (or guesses about) that 'territory' composed of "what goes on in and around our organism" -- and then it guides its "doings" or "choosings" by these 'maps'.
1. On a primary level, to generate a map (or to make an observation) amounts to accounting for some territory. Any accounting-for amounts to making a GUESS.
2. The simplest of behavior -- crossing a room without bumping into furniture, people, etc., -- requires a) generating a map, and then b) following it. To follow a map requires more guesses, more accountings.
3. The process of generating and following a map leads eventually to an outcome -- e.g., you made it all the way across, without mishap.
4. Further, the process of generating and following a map requires some degree of orientation (guesses) concerning the intention or purpose of the action -- e.g. knowing what you wanted to cross the room for.
5. Still further, the organism which experiences this outcome assesses it against the intention or purpose of the action.
6. To orient oneself, and to assess an outcome against a purpose, requires a next-higher level of discourse, and amounts to drawing relations among (accounting for) these various earlier accountings. (See Oliver & Landfield, 1963)
7. The relations between these various levels of accountings-for constitute a theory -- in this instance, a lived theory.
In these pages, I present selected topics from my explicit theory of lived theory, which accounts in detail for how humans (including me) account for human accounting.
I find two main ways of structuring one's lived theory.
a) When we act on what we awarely assume or awarely guess, in effect we put our guesses to test. When they turn out not to work, we reject and discard them, and then we guess again, and act on the new guesses. When they do appear to work -- do lead to favorable outcomes, from our point of view -- we save and try out again in the next relevant situation. In other words, we function according to the logic of science, in a fashion analogous to an image-correcting or self-correcting system.
b) On the other hand, when we fail, or refuse, to admit that we make guesses in the first place, and then act on them -- when, in effect, we claim to operate from some kind of "Absolute Certainty" -- we disable the process of self-correcting or image-correcting, and instead (tacitly) defend our unacknowledged guesses and premises.
The construct of self-correcting serves as an apt model for human behavior at the pole of the effective, the satisfying, the joyful, etc. The construct of self-defending serves as an apt model for human behavior at the pole of the fixated, the rigid, the neurotic, the psychotic, etc.
The logical construct of domain or setting forms an intrinsic part of any abstracting (and of the abstraction which results from it).
figure of focal interest
background relatively empty of interest
To state this notion in its most general form, I utilize the construct of choices: In abstracting (e.g. generating a viewpoint or frame of reference), a human makes two sequential binary choices. The first specifies the setting, spelling out which possible or available symbolic aspects to include in it, and which to exclude from it. By so doing, the abstracting organism specifies the "subject" within which s/he does her/his abstracting, and so protects her/himself from trying to deal with "everything on every logical level all at once." The second choice specifies a Gestalt on this setting, spelling out which of the included aspects (at a given moment) the human doing the abstracting treats as "the figure that focally interests her/him," and which aspects s/he treats as "the (back)ground which interests her/him relatively little (at that moment)."
As one example of a setting, consider the ways groups of humans treat the construct of human. Every culture has its own way of defining the species-term "Man" or "human." This way includes its own origin myths, as well as the patterned range of behavior which members of the culture expect of, and allow in, themselves-and-everyone-else. These definitions, myths and patterns vary wildly from culture to culture; and where the humans involved hold their views in a mainly self-defending fashion, anyone who doesn't behave "properly," by the standards of the group in question, gets tacitly dismissed as not-human. (In many cultures, the chronically hungry get included in this outcast group.)
In 1921 Alfred Korzybski (1879-1950) found a way to define the species-term Man in a way that transcends particular cultures. He did so by re-framing the key question: Instead of asking, "What IS Man?", as other workers had done for over two thousand years, he asks instead, "What do we humans DO that distinguishes us from other living organisms?" (Korzybski, 1921)
He answers this question in a disconfirmable (self-correcting) manner, which sounds deceptively simple: We humans accumulate human knowledge (in the form of tested guesses), at exponential rates. This forms both the distinguishing mark of the species, and the way we gain our living in the world of living things: We function as a time-binding class of life, cooperating to apply what we know, and in the process coming to know more.
For example, when certain members -- "the farmers" -- of a given group plant maize for use as human food, that represents one detail of what I mean by "cooperating to apply what we know." The farmers did not themselves domesticate the corn, nor develop the methods and tools they use to plant, tend, harvest, store, distribute, and cook it, etc. -- they inherited the knowledge which allows them to do those things. And inevitably, in the process of growing and handling their crop, they test the guesses which underlie that inherited knowledge, and so modify and contribute to the entire body of knowledge they inherited to start with. In principle, they pass on their re-worked body of knowledge to their successors.
Every human, then, has a primary, direct relationship with the entire body of accumulated knowledge available within her/his culture. This relationship has three aspects:
(a) We inherit this body of knowledge, unconditionally (and, in the process of growing to maturity, each of us assimilates some fraction of our time-binding heritage, making it our own); having assimilated it,
(b) We administer and care for it, and contribute to it so as to increase its extent; and
(c) We pass on the enhanced body of knowledge to our peers and progeny and to the generations yet unborn.
In principle, every human who ever lived made me her/his direct heir. Moreover, every human now living contributes to me, as I do to her/him.
This construct provides an altered perspective on the topic of food production and world hunger:
A. Our time-binding heritage currently enables us to produce a quantity of food each year more than sufficient to provide every child, woman and man now alive with enough to eat every day of their lives.
chronic persistent hunger
B. But -- as Hunger Project participants point out -- somewhere between fifteen and twenty percent of humans worldwide (750 million to 1 billion) do not get enough to eat to maintain their health. Of these, somewhere between 1.5 and 2.5 percent (15 to 18 million) die each year of the effects of hunger. No more than 10% of these hunger-related deaths result from famine; the remaining 90% occur among those who live under conditions of chronic persistent hunger.
C. In practical terms, these two kinds of hunger require different treatment. To prevent deaths from famine, we humans must get food to the victims in time. To prevent deaths from chronic persistent hunger, experience shows that famine relief programs, in the long run, don't work. Instead, Hunger Project participants express the problem in terms of "lack of opportunity" -- the chronically hungry lack the opportunity to contribute to their own societies so as to generate the resources required to end their own hunger.
D. So far, students of world hunger have described this fatal lack of opportunity mainly in standard economic, educational, health-care, etc., terms. But to me it seems trivial to frame the problem only in those conventional terms. It makes more sense to recognize that the chronically hungry lack precisely these fundamental opportunities: to share fully in the common human heritage of accumulating knowledge; to contribute to it; and to pass it on intact, as augmented, to their progeny.
E. We can come to understand and visualize a restrictive relationship to time-binding by remembering one example of a fixed social hierarchy, namely, the institution of chattel slavery, as practiced in the USA prior to 1864: Law and custom made teaching a slave to read and write -- a basic and empowering skill from the time-binding heritage -- into an offense punishable by death.
The climate of world opinion which allows people to die of hunger also condones restrictions on the relations of some humans, e.g. the hungry, with the common time-binding heritage.
TRANSACTING vs. INTERACTING00
The construct of time-binding refers to "certain activities of living humans." Thus it presupposes the construct of living. In dealing with this construct, I find a pair of terms proposed by Dewey & Bentley (1949) particularly useful. They distinguish between
i) the mechanical, one-way interacting characteristic of the non-living, which produces no alterations more profound than changes of shape, of physical state, etc., and
ii) the organic, two-way transacting of living systems, which leaves both participants fundamentally and profoundly altered.
APPARENTLY 'PURPOSIVE' ACTIVITIES
apparently 'purposive' activities
Whenever we look in detail at what living systems DO -- at their behavior, ecology, morphology, anatomy, physiology, biochemistry, etc. -- we find that whatever particular details we may examine seem "goal-directed." They fit into biological activities on the next higher level as if "on purpose," so as to make the higher level functions work. Furthermore, underlying whatever details we may examine, we find subsidiary details, occurring on the next lower level of activities (down to atomic and quantum-mechanical levels), which fit in as if "on purpose," so as to make the details under examination also work.
Accounting for these "goal-directed" or apparently 'purposive' activities has long posed severe problems; and these have led biologists into temptation. For several centuries, physicists and other workers have successfully represented the one-way interacting of non-living systems by means of what we call one-to-one mathematical functions. (Think of a one-to-one function as the kind of "logical machine" which, when you give it one value, returns another value, according to some "rule.") For example, when you kick a pebble, how fast it goes and the direction in which it starts its travels depends strictly on the mass of the pebble and on how hard and in what direction you kick it. A one-to-one function can accurately model the relationship between the strength-and-direction of the kick and the resulting trajectory of a pebble of mass m . Biologists, admiring the successes of physical theory, set out to copy physics, modeling their biological theories on the pattern of physical theory (and even using its vocabulary). They express their constructs in terms of the kind of 'mechanisms' representable in terms of one-to-one functions. But unlike the one-way interacting of non-living systems, the two-way transacting characteristic of living systems mostly shows a many-to-one flavor. For example, if you kick a dog, the consequences take on the character of apparently-'purposive' activities -- they do NOT depend strictly on how hard and in which direction you deliver the kick. (If you kick a human, the consequences depend even less on the physics of the kick.)
Gerd Sommerhoff (1950) proposes a mathematically-defined model for the apparently 'purposive' activities of living systems, which he expresses in many-to-one terms. Where previous efforts to model these "doings" or "happenings" (usually in one-to-one terms, as 'mechanisms') had failed, his model, which he calls directive correlation, succeeds both logically and empirically. I re-name it directively correlated, and use it as the hinge-pin of the present theory.
I can express the setting for the construct of directively correlated in several ways, e.g. in terms of a run-on phrase, such as "ONE PARTICULAR organism-as-a-whole-dealing-with-his-environment-at-a-date." Or as Perls, Hefferline & Goodman (1951, p. 227) put it,
We speak of the organism contacting the environment, but it is the contact that is the simplest and first reality.
That makes the paired constructs of organism and environment, or I and it, or I and thou, into secondary and inferential constructs, and treats the contacting as simpler than and primary to them._3/
On this specified setting, I then define four constructs, which occur in an ordered sequence that spans the interval t0 to t2 . To express the first of these, I utilize two terms ("initial conditions" and "goal"), and posit a strict logical relation between the two.
_3/This unfamiliar usage of the term setting may to most readers seem "unreal" and "slippery." Here, let me present a simple experiment which anyone can do, with no guidance other than the text, and which will serve to convert this "new idea" into a part of your own first-hand, non-verbal experiencing.
Instructions: Here-now, please reach out and touch something -- the arm of your chair, a friend's hand, the frame of your glasses, or whatever. Continue touching it for ten seconds or more, while letting yourself experience doing so. But do your best not to SAY anything, aloud or to yourself, about this experiencing. Just keep noticing your non-verbal experiencing, while continuing to touch this object in your environment.
Take a look at your own experiencing here. I imagine that you had no difficulty distinguishing "the feel of what you touched" from "the feel of your hand touching it."
(cont. next page)
a) Initial conditions and "goal": The construct of initial conditions signifies a grouping of existing or possible "disturbances." When such a disturbance occurs, it initiates the 'purposive' sequence by affecting both organism and environment.
The logically related construct of goal, a subsidiary portion (or "subset") of the construct of "outcome," gives the criterion for an outcome which appears 'favorable' from the point of view of the organism.
Each of these constructs stands as polar to the other: neither could "exist" or "occur" without the real or imagined presence of the other. (If, for example, the "initial conditions" consisted of a "need," e.g. a relative lack of nutrients -- which a human might express by saying, "I feel hungry!" -- then the "goal" consists of the conditions that spell out what it would take to satisfy this "need," e.g. to leave this human feeling well-fed and replete.)
b) Effects of the "initial conditions" on the organism: This construct expresses "what the organism does" immediately after the "disturbances" impinge on it.
Footnote 3 (cont.)
Consider that experiencing as a case in point, an example: The setting on which we build up this non-aristotelian world-view consists precisely of transacting(s) (as we say it in English) like what you just produced in your own experiencing by touching something.
From such transacting or contacting, then, you INFER constructs such as "I"-and-"it," "I"-and-"you," "organism"-and-"environment," etc. As a quantum physicist, you might infer constructs such as "observer"-and-"elementary particle." But the two go together, like the "heads" and "tails" of a single coin. The setting of transacting requires us to consider, at a minimum, "an observer observing the observed."
In quantum physics, this would mean something like, "a physicist-observer observing an elementary particle." However, this specific delimited setting disallows constructs such as "an 'it' that occurs or exists independent of any observer." Instead, once you have grounded your constructs on this setting of transacting, ... (f)rom certain experiencing, you infer the "elementary particle" in question. But you cannot do this without also inferring the "physicist-observer" who observes this "elementary particle." And any observing s/he does entails this physicist-observer generating a Gestalt of the "elementary particle" in question.
C. A. Hilgartner & Joseph DiRienzi, "A Non-aristotelian View of Quantum Theory." Presented at the International Conference on General Semantics, Yale University, 29 July 1988.
c)Effects of the "initial conditions" on the environment: This construct expresses "what the environment does" immediately after the "disturbances" impinge on it.
d) Outcome: The interplay between (b) and (c) leads eventually to an "outcome" of the sequence. This may (or in the negative case, may not) satisfy the "goal," the criterion for "'favorable' from the point of view of the organism."
A directively correlated sequence, then, over the interval t0 to t2 , involves the following "doings" or "happenings":
At t0: the "initial conditions" function;
At T1: "what the organism does" and "what the environment does" in responding to the "initial conditions" takes place:
At t1: the outcome, produced by the interplay between "what the organism does" and "what the environment does", occurs; and it satisfies the "goal," the criterion for what constitutes a 'favorable' outcome from the point of view of the organism.
As an example of a directively correlated sequence, consider how The Hunger Project actually got started. Let me start with a prose description:
Some time after he had devised the EST training, Werner Erhard wanted to set up a suitable project against which to test the new methodology at his disposal. Prompted, perhaps, by a movie which dealt with the existence of hunger throughout the world (The Hungry Planet?), he focussed on that topic and began meeting with John Denver and with Robert Fuller, then president of Oberlin College, and eventually with Roy Prosterman, to discuss world hunger as an issue. After a couple of years of exploring the topic, they framed the crucial problem as a matter of "context" (or what I would call the social setting in which we humans live), and set out to modify that context. Erhard first announced the formation of The Hunger Project at an EST Seminar in 1977. Subsequently, he and his colleagues gave a series of public events/press conferences to announce the formation, the intention and the promise of The Hunger Project, namely, "To create the end of hunger as an idea whose time has come," within a period of 20 years. A total of some 40,000 people attended these events.
Some of the people who attended these events joined The Hunger Project at that time. At first, The Hunger Project focussed mainly on eliciting personal commitment from individuals, as manifested by signing a card which says, "The Hunger Project is mine completely. I commit myself to making the end of the persistence of hunger and starvation an idea whose time has come." These initial members set about to enroll other members.
I can express these "happenings" in terms of the construct of directively correlated, as follows:
Initial conditions: The fact of widespread death by starvation throughout the world, in the presence of sufficient food; Erhard and his colleagues looking for a suitable problem to tackle with their new methodology; their choice to declare intolerable the continuation of death from hunger, and to promise to alter these social conditions so we humans will eliminate death by hunger and starvation; an environment which includes other humans looking up to Erhard as a suitable role model.
Goal: To have other humans join in a concerted effort to build up a constituency committed to "making the end of hunger by the turn of the century an idea whose time has come."
What the organism does: Werner Erhard and colleagues making a Public Statement (declaring their intention to bring about changes in the human community which will produce the effect of ending world hunger by the turn of the century).
What the environment does: A portion of the audience finding themselves moved to join in The Hunger Project, and actually joining.
Interplay between the responses of organism and environment: Participants ready to initiate further enrolling activities.
Outcome: The successful launching of The Hunger Project -- which satisfies the Goal.
PREMISES AND COUNTER-PREMISES
In the second paragraph of this document, I mention that the output from Hilgartner & Associates (including the explicit theory of lived theory used in the present analysis) stems from revised assumptions, not previously used in so systematic a fashion. To bring these assumptions out, and to contrast them to the less-revised assumptions which underlie the currently dominant world culture, consider with me some of the most obvious implications of the construct of time-binding.
A. SELF-CORRECTING vs. SELF-DEFENDING
The construct of time-binding embeds the insight that the human species generates, tests and judges behavioral hypotheses (guesses), and so in principle functions like an image-correcting or self-correcting system.
inaccurate, incomplete and self-referential
1) In order to function in a self-correcting fashion, a system must treat its guesses (its perceiving, abstracting, hypotheses, theories, etc.) as in principle inaccurate, incomplete and self-referential.
2) In contrast, a system which treats its guesses as "Absolute Certainties" (for example, one which takes the attitude that "I don't make guesses -- I see only what's REALLY THERE!") effectively blocks the process of image-correcting or self-correcting. Instead, it defends its guesses -- conceals and otherwise protects its assumptions.
B. THE PREMISES OF EACH
radical-humility or radical-uncertainty
conflict, hostility and aggression
In holding one's own guesses as intrinsically inaccurate, incomplete and self-referential, one relies on the non-aristotelian premises proposed by Korzybski (1943) -- and dwells in a setting and spirit of radical-humility or radical-uncertainty.
In contrast, in holding one's own guesses as "Absolute Certainties," one relies on the traditional, tacit assumptions encoded in the grammar of the WIE languages -- those antecedents which I call the (generically Aristotelian) counter-premises of a non-aristotelian system. Then one dwells in a setting and spirit of conflict, hostility and aggression, of dogmatism, of power-struggle.
1) First I shall state the non-aristotelian premises colloquially, in terms of the map-territory analogy (see above).
2) Then I shall summarize the grammatical structure of the Western Indo-European (WIE) languages (such as English or the mathematical theory of sets), and shall explicitly state the traditional counter-premises encoded in this grammar.
1. THE NON-ARISTOTELIAN PREMISES OF KORZYBSKI
The premises of a formal deductive system include a set of undefined terms, and a set of postulates stated in terms of these undefined terms._4/ As Korzybski (1933, p. 153) points out, the undefined terms themselves function as postulates -- but tacit postulates, which one cannot express verbally: By convention, one does not attempt to tell, in words, what the undefined terms "mean" (or to define them explicitly in any other way). But as a criterion of adequate mastery of the system, one has to know how to USE the undefined terms.
structure, order and relation
Non-identity, Non-allness and Self-reflexiveness
a. For his undefined terms, Korzybski chooses structure, order and relation.
b. Stated colloquially, in terms of the map-territory analogy, the postulates become:
Non-identity: The map IS NOT the thing it stands for.
Non-allness: The map represents NOT ALL of the aspects of the 'territory'.
Self-reflexiveness: Any map contains some kind of representation of the map-maker.
_4/The premises of a formal deductive system also include rules of inference, standards of proof, etc., topics which I shall not further discuss here.
scientific method The cautionary principles expressed by postulating map-territory non-identity and non-allness underlie the scientific method and form the basis for its power. Remember, the scientific method can accomplish one and only one thing: To provide the basis for selecting between guesses. In a fully specific setting (e.g., with reference to such and such kind of happenings, as tested by these specific methods, as judged by this criterion), it can either show one's hypotheses, assumptions or other guesses as in error; or else, THIS TIME, find nothing wrong with them. Whenever one violates the tenets of Non-identity and Non-allness, one thereby allows the possibility of starting from already-discovered error, and thereby predictably reduces the predictability of one's guesses (maps).
The cautionary principle expressed by postulating Self-reflexiveness underlies taking the observer into account. To violate its tenets also predictably reduces the predictability of one's maps.
2. THE COUNTER-PREMISES: THE STRUCTURE OF WIE LANGUAGES
No traditional world-view or frame of reference consistently posits a setting and spirit of radical-uncertainty. The social institution of science aspires to do so, but in its currently dominant versions it encodes a tacit presumption to "Absolute Certainty," which renders it image-defending or self-defending at least in part, and thus unable to satisfy this standard.
a. To see one example of this presumption to "Absolute Certainty" in action, recall that the anthropological linguist, Benjamin Lee Whorf (1956, p. 246), points out that
What we call "scientific thought" is a specialization of the
western Indo-European type of language....
Any language has to have some kind of grammatical structure, and that structure incorporates assumptions (or "implicit and unstated agreements") which, in effect, segment along linguistic lines that which its speakers experience. We who use the language
cut nature up, organize it into concepts, and ascribe significances as we do, largely because we are parties to an agreement to organize it in this way -- an agreement that holds throughout our speech community. The agreement is, of course, an implicit and unstated one, BUT ITS TERMS ARE ABSOLUTELY OBLIGATORY; we cannot talk at all, except by subscribing to this way of organizing and classifying data decreed by the grammar. (Whorf, 1956, p. 213-4)
The particular assumptions built into the grammar common to the Western Indo-European (WIE) discursive and mathematical languages (such as English or set theory) slice up what we experience into fixed "THINGS" and more or less evanescent "RELATIONS." In our discursive languages, we signify these "things" by self-identical nouns or noun-phrases, and the "relations" by not-self-identical verbs or verb-phrases. In our mathematical languages, we designate the "fixed entities" by self-identical quantities or things (e.g. 3 or x or A ) and the "non-fixed aspects" as operations or relations (e.g. equals or not- ). Then to form a complete sentence, a speaker or writer in a discursive language combines at least one noun-phrase with at least one verb-phrase, e.g.
The cat grinned. ;
or, to form a well-formed formula in a mathematical notation, combines at least one quantity with at least one operation, e.g.
x = 3 .
Thus any language, discursive or notational, built up on the WIE grammar becomes a linguistic picture of static-and-unchanging "things" which enter into more-or-less-transient "relations."
If we treated this linguistic pattern as intrinsically inaccurate, incomplete and self-referential, perhaps we would do no harm when we used it. Unfortunately, we don't; instead, we unawarely project this traditional pattern onto ourselves-and-the-worlds-we-live-in, in several ways and on several levels.
i) In the WIE tradition, we presume, with "Absolute Certainty," that the "WORLD" really does consists of two kinds of "things": of static-and-unchanging "entities" exactly suitable to designate by means of self-identical nouns or noun-phrases, and of more or less evanescent "relations" exactly suitable to represent by means of (not-self-identical) verb-forms. Also, on another level,
ii) we presume that, like our two-part sentences, the "world" really does consists of two incompatible realms, or of pairs of incompatible realms, which we variously name as dualisms, e.g. 'mind' vs. 'matter, 'soul' vs. 'body', the 'subjective' vs. the 'objective', etc.
On each level, we tacitly presuppose a perfect match between the "happenings" in the "WORLD" and the grammatical categories of our traditional languages. No actual evidence supports, or could support, the hypothesis of such a "perfect match" -- but we still tacitly assume it.
Ancient Greek philosophers built on these dualisms, these sterile "Certainties" -- but so do modern scientists. For example, physics allegedly deals with 'matter,' psychology with 'mind.' The early exponents of relativity and quantum theory made various breaks with traditional patterns of language-and-assumptions -- but as exponents of a quantitative science, they insisted on writing in a notational language; and the only notational languages then available to them, in which to frame their revolutionary proposals, came from WIE mathematics -- and encoded precisely the traditional patterns of "Absolute Certainty" which, in other parts of their theories, the innovators partially repudiated and replaced.
grant a privileged position to the WIE grammar
b. To summarize, we exponents of "scientific thought," along with the rest of the WIE speech community, unawarely grant a privileged position to the grammar common to the WIE languages, and to the untenable assumptions tacitly encoded in that grammar: We do not recognize nor acknowledge these assumptions, nor allow ourselves to question them, nor permit anyone else to do so. Thus -- despite their best efforts -- our scientists, and our science, function in part like an image-defending or self-defending system.
c. No one previously had set up the grammar of the WIE languages as an explicit deductive system, so no one had specified undefined terms for it. I suggest the terms noun, verb, and identical with (represented below by "TAKE ... as if it WERE ..." or "not distinguish explicitly," etc.).
d. Stated colloquially, the Counter-Postulates become:
Identity: (One may TAKE B as if it WERE A ; one need not distinguish explicitly between 'map' and 'territory'.)
Allness: (One may TREAT one's map as if every point of the map represented one and only one point of the territory, and no point of the territory went un-represented.)
Linearity: (One may TREAT one's map as entirely and absolutely objective, with no taint of reflexiveness, no trace of contamination by the map-maker.) (See Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969b, pp. 353-6)
logical and empirical
There exist two grounds for criticizing the postulate of tacit identity, which hinge on the related constructs of logical and empirical.
The term logical refers in general to the level of the symbols used by a symbol-user. Specifically, within a given symbolic system (theory), we examine the relations between the symbols (including the premises) which make up the symbolic system in use, and judge them by various criteria. For example, we regard frankly self-contradictory arguments, or arguments which confuse "name" with "thing named" or "use" of a term with "mention" of that term, or more generally, arguments which fail to distinguish between map and territory, as logically unacceptable.
From the standpoint of a non-aristotelian system, the counter-premises fail to survive logical scrutiny. A symbol-user relies on the postulate of tacit identity if and when s/he fails to distinguish between some B and some A -- or in other words, TAKES this B as if it "WERE" that A . But in so doing, s/he engages in the archetypal example of "making a mistake," by the dictionary definition of (to make) a mistake. A symbol-user relies on the postulate of allness if and when s/he treats her/his map as exhaustively accurate and complete -- which amounts to treating "map" as 'identical with' "territory." A symbol-user relies on the postulate of linearity if and when s/he treats her/his map as if it had no "room" in it for any kind of representation of the map-maker -- which amounts to treating "map" as 'identical with' "territory."
On logical grounds, then, we judge any symbolic system (theory) which includes the postulate of tacit identity among its premises as ultimately unacceptable.
The term empirical refers in general to the level of how well hypotheses derived from a symbolic system, when treated as predictions, survive testing. On empirical grounds, we judge a hypothesis as empirically unacceptable (and thus in need of revision or replacement) if, when tested in a fully specific setting (cf. above), it ends up (partially or completely) disconfirmed. If a significant number of the hypotheses we derive from a symbolic system or theory end up disconfirmed, we judge the symbolic system itself as empirically unacceptable, and in need of revision or replacement.
We call a species of living organisms social if each member of the species manifests both a fundamental need,_5/ and the behavioral ability, to transact so as to form-and-continue enduring relationships with other members of the species. In other words, in a social species, the "doings" and "choosings" of the members appear directively correlated in such a way that, for each member, to associate oneself with others and to continue the associating forms an ultimate goal. (Sommerhoff, 1950, pp. 164-71, 195-6; Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969a, pp. 297-303, 335-6; Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969c,d)
Here, let us limit ourselves to the topic of human social transacting -- the details of how one human associates her/himself (in a directively correlated fashion) with one or more other human(s).
I have maintained the central role in human living played by what we call time-binding. The generation and transmission of knowledge comes about through the apparently 'purposive' functioning of groups of humans. But as noted in the section on "Premises and Counter-Premises," humans can assume in ways that allow aware time-binding, or in ways that tend to impede time-binding and keep the process unaware. The former requires a setting of radical-uncertainty, based ultimately on the non-aristotelian premises; the latter follows from a setting of presumed "absolute certainty," which follows from the generically Aristotelian counter-premises.
_5/Among humans, the need for forming-and-continuing an association appears fundamental to survival itself, from infancy on. For example, Anna Freud found that any infant who has all physical and nutritional needs adequately taken care of, but who gets handled in systematic rotation by the members of a group of care-takers instead of by some one person, and thus does not have the opportunity to associate her/himself with one particular parent-figure and to feel associated-with by that parent-figure, will develop the syndrome of marasmus, and may die.
1. Flexible, non-fixed roles
In order to make sense of human social transacting in a setting which would allow time-binding awarely, I will need terms for "recognizing a person as human," and for "understanding the activities this person engages in, in terms of one's own experiencing," as well as terms that describe the detailed processes by which knowledge (in the form of tested guesses) gets passed on from one person to another.
approach or avoid
A. Personing (Classifying as fully-human): In the on-going process of guiding her/himself through her/his surroundings, any human has the choice, at any moment, to approach or avoid the further development of the present situation. This manifests itself in a series of discriminations or classifyings. Thus s/he can distinguish a human from a hacksaw, a hawthorn, a hummingbird, etc. S/He also makes more subtle discriminations, e.g. the "us vs. them" distinction. I use the
term personing to signify the process of classifying a human as "fully-human," a member of the "us," a part of the "moved-toward." Older children learn, in a social context, to person larger and larger groups of humans. Exponents of the construct of time-binding generate an "us" composed of anyone who can (or soon will) talk, or can otherwise participate in time-binding. This comprises the most inclusive "fully-human" category I know of. In accordance with the construct of directively correlated, for a human to person another human or humans satisfies one of that human's fundamental human needs.
As the inverse of the need to person others, for a human to sense that someone else persons her/him satisfies one of her/his equally fundamental human needs.
B. Empathizing --"putting oneself into the shoes of ..." Any human has the capability not only to recognize another as human, but also to "put her/himself into that person's shoes" -- to sense (infer), in terms of the observer's own experiencing, what that observed human does, feels, etc. This amounts to a kind of (more or less) aware projecting (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969b, pp. 367-9): We say, in effect, "If I were holding my head at that angle, and had that kind of expression on my face, I would be FEELING such-and-so; therefore, I infer, she must be feeling her version of such-and-so." (Hilgartner, 1965) I designate this kind of aware projecting by the term empathizing. In accordance with the construct of directively correlated, for a human to empathize with another human or humans satisfies one of her/his fundamental needs.
Again, as the inverse of the need to empathize with others, for a human to sense that someone else empathizes with her/him satisfies one of her/his own, equally fundamental, human needs.
C. Fostering: In the lived-theory sense of the term, knowledge refers to a situation in which someone knows HOW-TO (do something). Passing knowledge on means that someone who knows HOW-TO enters into a special relationship (which I call fostering) with someone who WANTS to know how-to, and who in some sense or other accepts apprenticeship to the fostering person. In effect, the fostering person says, "I have a need for this apprenticed human to find her/his needs satisfied. Therefore, I offer myself to her/him as a role-model, for this kind of knowing how-to. If s/he will intelligently imitate (assimilate) the way I do these things, s/he will find it satisfying, and will learn the how-to in question." In this directively correlated relationship, the fostering person finds satisfaction of a fundamental human need (goal) in seeing or sensing that an apprentice's needs have gotten satisfied.
As the inverse of the need to foster others, for a human to sense someone else fostering her/him satisfies one of her/his fundamental human needs.
D. Emulating: The person who wants to learn how-to (do something) has a choice about who to learn it from. When he accepts apprenticeship to a fostering person, he enters into a special relationship (which I call emulating) with this person. S/He says, in effect, "I accept him as a role-model. I assume that if I intelligently imitate and assimilate what I see him doing, I will find it satisfying, in some sense related to the how-to in question." (Polanyi, 1964, pp. 206-8) In this directively correlated relationship, when the emulating person learns HOW-TO, to some degree, s/he experiences satisfaction of a fundamental human need -- and s/he becomes, to that degree, independent of the fostering person.
As the inverse of the need to emulate others, for a human to sense that someone else emulates her/him satisfies a fundamental human need.
E. Mutual fostering: Some of the most important kinds of human relationships involve a sustained associating in which all participants find themselves engaging in both fostering and emulating with relation
to the other participant(s).
In the two-person case, this reciprocal relationship follows these lines: Person A both derives direct satisfaction from her/his dealings with Person B, and also fosters Person B, so that s/he derives satisfaction from seeing Person B's needs satisfied; Person B both derives direct satisfaction from her/his dealings with Person A and also fosters Person A, so that s/he derives satisfaction from seeing Person A's needs satisfied. In accordance with the construct of directively correlated, for a human to engage in mutual fostering with another human or humans satisfies direct and inverse fundamental human needs of every participant.
2. Rigid social hierarchy
In order to make sense of humans social transacting in a setting that impedes time-binding and keeps it unaware, I will need terms for "classifying a person as less-than-fully-human," and for "declining to understand that declasse' person's activities, in terms of one's own experiencing," as well as terms that describe the processes by which one sets up and/or participates in a rigid social hierarchy -- in which time-binding gets impeded in defense of personal advantage, special privilege, etc.
A. De-personing: When a human assigns another human to the "them" pole of an "us vs. them" distinction, in effect s/he avoids this human, classifies her/him as a part of the "moved-away-from." In an infant, this seems innocent enough, representing the newly-acquired ability to discriminate "mommy" from other humans. When done by an adult in a social setting and spirit of presumed "Absolute Certainty," it amounts to assigning that human to some scapegoat category. I use the term de-personing to signify this process of relegating someone to the ranks of the "not-fully-human." In accordance with the construct of directively correlated, for a human to de-person another human or humans leaves a fundamental, irreducible human need unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- an intrinsically painful situation.
As the inverse, for a human to sense that someone else de-persons her/him leaves one of her/his fundamental, irreducible human needs unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- again, an intrinsically painful situation.
In the currently dominant version of American culture, the scapegoat-categories include convicted law-breakers, those who show "wrong" behavior, the 'mentally' ill, women, blacks, small children, the elderly, the terminally ill, etc. They also include the hungry.
B. Counter-empathizing: When a human observes the "doings" of another human whom s/he has de-personed, s/he can find her/himself unable or unwilling to "put her/himself into the shoes of" the de-personed human -- substituting instead a kind of blank unawareness of the other, or "explaining" the observed "doings" in terms of a scapegoat role, etc. This amounts to a kind of unaware projecting of the observer's experiencing (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969d, especially pp. 30-1 and 45-68) -- usually, a projecting of those aspects of her/himself which the observing human vehemently or unawarely rejects -- which grants to the observed human no existence independent of the observer's allegedly "completely-known" category system. In accordance with the construct of directively correlated, for a human to counter-empathize with (and in the process, to de-person) another human or humans leaves one of her/his fundamental, irreducible human needs unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- an intrinsically painful situation.
As the inverse, for a human to sense that someone else counter-empathizes with (and in the process, de-persons) her/him leaves one of her/his equally fundamental, irreducible human needs unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- again, an intrinsically painful situation.
rank, status, social class, etc.
C. Counter-fostering: In a setting and spirit of presumed "absolute certainty," social relationships take place within a more or less fixed social hierarchy, expressed in terms of "rank" or "status" or "social class," etc. In the context of passing knowledge on, "rank" may depend on "knowing how-to"; but the participants in the hierarchical social system focus more on the "rank" than on the "knowing how-to." In her/his dealings with a human of lower "rank" -- e.g. with an apprentice -- a human of higher "rank" expresses a special relationship (which I call counter-fostering): S/He says, in some sense or other, "I can get my needs satisfied only if this human of inferior rank finds satisfaction of certain of her/his needs blocked. Therefore I will function in such a way as to see that satisfaction of those particular needs of hers/his remains blocked." In this directively correlated relationship, the counter-fostering person finds one of her/his fundamental human needs unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- an intrinsically painful situation, which will continue as long as the setting and spirit of presumed "absolute certainty" remains in effect.
As the inverse, for a human to sense that certain of her/his own needs remain blocked, and that another human remains committed to see that they remain blocked, leaves one of her/his equally fundamental human needs unfulfilled and unsatisfied -- an intrinsically painful situation, which will continue as long as the setting and spirit of presumed "absolute certainty" remains in effect.
D. Counter-emulating: In a setting and spirit of presumed "absolute certainty," a human assessed as inferior in "rank" may want to learn how-to (do something); but whether s/he does or not, s/he probably has little or no choice as to whether or not to get "taught" how-to (do it), and little or no choice about whom to "learn" (it) from. In this milieu of forced-choice, the human of lower rank may awarely accept apprenticeship anyway, and more or less freely emulate the designated "teacher" of higher rank. Alternatively, s/he may awarely decline to model her/himself on the designated "teacher," and instead hold her/him as a model of what s/he does NOT want to become. More blindly, s/he may express a special relationship to the counter-fostering "teacher" (which I call counter-emulating), in which s/he in effect says, "I recognize her/him as the designated role-model, but I refuse to do things the way s/he tells me to!" (This kind of "rebelliousness" glues the counter-emulator to the counter-fostering "role-model," developmentally speaking -- s/he won't intelligently imitate the designated role-model, but by "rebelling," s/he prevents her/himself from developing any alternative pattern of relationship.) In this directively correlated relationship, the counter-emulating human finds one of her/his fundamental needs unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- an intrinsically painful situation, which will continue as long as the setting and spirit of presumed "absolute certainty" remains in effect.
As the inverse, for a human to sense that someone else counter-emulates her/him leaves one of her/his equally fundamental human needs unsatisfied and unfulfilled -- an intrinsically painful situation, which will continue as long as the setting and spirit of presumed "absolute certainty" remains in effect.
THE HUNGER PROJECT AS A SOCIAL SYSTEM
With these tools in place, I can now examine the structure of The Hunger Project in some detail. I shall discuss
a) The assumptions which make The Hunger Project different from the larger culture;
b) How the process of enrolling people into The Hunger Project works.
When I discussed how The Hunger Project got started, I did not tackle the topic of assumptions. Now, in doing so, let me make a crucial point: I find that the activities which we call "The Hunger Project" stem from some tacit version of the non-aristotelian premises, rather than from the generically Aristotelian counter-premises which underlie the currently dominant world culture.
A. EVIDENCE (part 1):
In order to see the assumptions from which The Hunger Project arises, let us start by examining those of the larger culture as a whole. I shall consider the way the dominant world culture handles world hunger as a directively correlated pattern, and examine the Initial Conditions and Goals of this pattern.
"The Larger culture," with respect to world hunger:
Initial conditions of the larger culture:
1. Widespread death from hunger.
2. Enough food to go around (but no big studies of world food production, yet).
3. Status quo: Social conditions of fixed social hierarchy.
a) Predominant pattern: Many of our social institutions show
i) a characteristic top-down command-structure (e.g. corporation, small business, school, family, etc.);
ii) the expectation of divided responsibility: each member of an organization should "do her/his part," which implies a social "differentiation" into fixed social "classes."
iii) the expectation that each member of the privileged levels of an organization will "give her/himself" to the organization -- and in return, get back some money, power, privilege, etc. At best, this kind of "giving of self" qualifies as self-eliminating; at worst, it often proves self- abnegating, self-destructive -- cf. the syndrome of "workaholism," etc.
b) Historical: In baldest outline, the present situation has come in part out of historical "happenings" which included:
i) Western conquest of non-Western tribes and peoples; progression from chattel slavery to colonialism to post-colonial "development" of Underdeveloped and Third World Countries (Hilgartner, 1978);
ii) The ascendancy of WIE science, that grants a privileged position to WIE grammar (and to its native speakers/writers);
iii) and of WIE medicine, which brought about exponential growth in population size by drastically reducing death rates from infection and contagious disease, without addressing the problems posed by the resulting lack of equality between death rates and birth rates; etc.
c) Contemporary social problems in Third World and Developing Countries: The current assumptions concerning "private property," money, etc., have the effect of
i) keeping in power the very wealthy, e.g. local large landholders, and blocking land-reform projects;
ii) producing cash crops instead of food;
iii) favoring the export of raw materials and the import of finished goods;
iv) making Third World "international loans" available to support "development projects" modeled on Western high-technology, centralized, capital-intensive patterns (inappropriate for local conditions);
v) financing projects which mine the topsoil, destroy the rain-forests,
vi) And we sometimes call these activities "Progress."
4. "Resignation" to the status quo of fixed hierarchy: "That's the way things REALLY ARE." (Hilgartner & Randolph, 1969d, 45-68)
Goalsof the "Larger culture":
TO MAINTAIN THE STATUS QUO OF FIXED HIERARCHY, and so to defend the assumptions underlying the currently dominant world culture.
Although many people claim to discern goals of the currently dominant world culture, and some phrase their findings in terms resembling those I use, few state these goals explicitly and publicly -- surely no one has the JOB of stating them explicitly and publicly. Moreover, lots of people would deny that THEY held the goals listed above. I believe that almost no one would claim as his own the goal of seeing to it that a fifth of the human race remained poor and hungry, and that 15 to 18 million died each year of the effects of hunger, when we already produce enough food to feed everyone.
Yet, as the late Harley Shands put it, we all participate in the activities which produce these results:
No matter whether democratic or communist or socialist or theocratic, all social systems in this period look to persistent "development" and limitless "growth" as the ultimate ideal. In my current state of pessimism, that is tantamount to the idealization of cancer as a way of life. But at the same time, the ideal of growth in income, prestige, and power is one to which every single effective middle-aged human being of my acquaintance is committed. (Shands, 1974)
Under current conditions, a human who maintains a lifelong commitment to increasing her/his own income, prestige, and power presupposes a fixed hierarchy within which to work. Such a human would not look forward to having the assumptions which underlie this fixed hierarchy come up for scrutiny and possible revision. In fact, s/he might regard any significant revision as distasteful and dangerous.
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS entailed by the "Larger culture":
"I can get my needs satisfied only if my inferior finds certain of his needs blocked. Therefore I will function in such a way as to see that satisfaction of those particular needs remain blocked."
The usual activities designed to "deal with" the problems of the poor and hungry mostly have left the rich getting richer (in the Underdeveloped and Third World countries, and abroad) and the poor getting poorer (in the Underdeveloped and Third World countries, and abroad).
The standard ways that individuals (of a privileged "class") "deal with" world hunger (and other global problems) provide a paradigm of self-paralysis in a setting of self-deception. For they usually presuppose the inevitability of fixed social differentiation (the idea that society remains stratified into fixed, mutually exclusive (and probably mutually hostile) social "classes," with a permanent bottom level made up of poor and hungry humans). This assumption makes poverty and chronic hunger into a necessary, unavoidable part of "how things REALLY ARE." Then, when, in the face of this presupposition, someone claims to want to "do her/his part to feed the hungry," this amounts to a non-congruence between SAY and DO: It utilizes the dissociated image of divided responsibility to cover up ways that, in what s/he DOES, this privileged person "benefits" (in the narrow-self-interest sense of the term) from the inequitable and exploitive social relations between the Developed and the Under-Developed or Third World countries which experience persisting hunger and starvation in the first place. The "benefits" include lower prices on some goods made with their cheap raw materials or cash crops, the opportunity to feel superior to the unfortunates, to decline to mention explicitly (and otherwise verbally to deny) the inequities, and to drag up the smoke-screen pattern of the sense of personal helplessness (a special case of resignation): "I'm only one person, and there are so many of THEM -- what can I do about such overwhelming problems?"
Thus the activities in question cement in place the counter-fostering social arrangements by which we cooperate to see to it that the poor and hungry, the disenfranchised, remain (by comparison with ourselves) poor, hungry and disenfranchised.
"Finding oneself unable or unwilling to put oneself in the shoes of the "inferior" -- maintaining instead a kind of blank unawareness of the other, or 'explaining' the observed "doings" in terms of a scapegoat category, etc."
People in Developed countries maintain a considerable degree of unawareness of the existence of the poor and the chronically hungry; or explain away death from hunger in terms of scapegoat categories -- "the poor and incompetent," etc.
Famine often makes the news, and often elicits extensive and effective famine-relief programs -- but frequently in the distancing, "us vs. them" spirit of "charity," of pity, with the Superiors "saving" the starving Inferiors._6/ Moreover, people in developed countries at
_6/This leads to the rationalization, "If we save THEM from starvation this time, that will only mean that there will be that many more of THEM to starve when the next famine hits."
times show poor follow-through in even their famine-relief efforts: when social factors (local wars, local politicians preventing delivery of food to the victims in order to use starvation as a genocidal weapon, etc.) interfere with their famine relief efforts, citizens of Developed countries tend to blame the victims, and, feeling resigned to "the way things Really Are," may despair of their Rescue Efforts, and perhaps even give up.
When the famine ends, so does the awareness of hunger in the area of the recent famine.
The process of relegating humans to the ranks of the "not-fully-human."
Citizens of Developed countries tend to regard as foreign, alien, not-fully-human, the people who live in places where hunger persists and famine sometimes occurs. "Oh, yes, famine seems terrible and I wouldn't want it to happen to me and my wife and kids -- but what happens to the people in India or Africa doesn't affect ME. Besides, they're used to it -- when THEIR children die, THEY don't feel it as much as WE would."
Inferences concerning the "Larger culture":
The currently dominant culture enacts the social constructs of counter-fostering, counter-emulating and de-personing, and so stems from premises which include tacit identity -- namely, the generically Aristotelian Counter-Premises. Thus it posits for its surmises, categories, etc., a setting of "Absolute Certainty"; and it impedes time-binding and the awareness of time-binding, in the service of private advantage and fixed social hierarchy.
That means that we use experiences with human activities based on patterns which stem in part from tacit identity as the basis for our beliefs concerning how much of felt satisfaction, of effectiveness, of congruence between SAY and DO, etc., we can expect humans to show.
II. EVIDENCE: (part 2)
As noted above, a small group composed of Werner Erhard, John Denver, Robert Fuller, Roy Prosterman, etc., went through a period of study and reflection concerning world hunger, and then designed The Hunger Project. I maintain that the "happenings" which made up this small group as it actually launched The Hunger Project now occurred from altered premises, and so from initial-conditions-and-goals markedly different from those of the "Larger Culture."
"The Hunger Project," with respect to world hunger:
1. Widespread death from hunger.
2. Enough food to go around (but still no big studies of world food production, yet).
3. Altered social conditions (the beginnings of "The Hunger Project"):
a) In the process of enrolling in The Hunger Project, the new participant does not utilize the usual pattern of divided responsibility characteristic of fixed hierarchy ("doing my part in The Hunger Project"), but rather subscribes to a pattern in which s/he makes a personal commitment to take personal responsibility for the whole enterprise, in whatever s/he does with/for The Hunger Project:
1. Forming the association: The speech act of declaration:
a) Each new participant "takes a stand" -- associates her/himself with the organization and with the hungry -- by an act of declaration, namely, publicly signing a card which says, "The Hunger Project is mine completely."
b) S/He also associates her/himself with the hungry -- the second clause of the card says, "I commit myself to making the end of the persistence of hunger and starvation an idea whose time has come." (a phrase I analyzed in the footnote to p. 1).
b) When someone participates in The Hunger Project, she/he has opportunities not to blindly continue the pattern of incongruent and dissociated action characteristic of fixed hierarchy, but rather, to operate within a setting of alternative patterns, of coaching in following these alternative patterns, and of personal commitment to accept the coaching.
1. Continuing the association: Making SAY and DO congruent:
For example, the older members invite the newcomer to "keep her/his commitment alive" -- to continue the association -- by SAYING to them, as public witnesses to her/his promise, what s/he will accomplish in behalf of the organization (e.g. "Twenty new enrollments by such-and-such a date") -- and then by DOING what s/he has promised to do.
When s/he succeeds in meeting her/his self-chosen goal, everyone shares in public rejoicing over the successful contribution to the long-term mission of The Hunger Project; if s/he fell short (e.g. one new enrollment instead of twenty), s/he experiences no reproach or public humiliation, but rather gets publicly acknowledged for the successes s/he has had and for showing the courage to try for a goal larger than that s/he actually reached, and gets offered an opportunity to try again, to re-set her/his goals, or otherwise to re- negotiate the commitment.
Goals of The Hunger Project:
TO ALTER THE TERMS UNDER WHICH HUMANS ASSOCIATE WITH HUMANS, the goals of our social transacting -- which amounts to revising the assumptions underlying the currently dominant world culture.
The stated goal of those activities which we call "The Hunger Project" -- to alter the "climate of opinion" so as to make it socially inevitable that we humans will cease tolerating having people die of the effects of hunger -- shows a self-reflexive structure and an evolutionary bent. Those who hold this goal aim to catalyze a revision of the goals, and so of the lived assumptions, not only of the participants in The Hunger Project but also of virtually everyone else on Earth.
If and when the participants in The Hunger Project accomplish their stated goal, and we humans eliminate death from hunger for all peoples, then we will have replaced the present-day power-oriented relationships between humans, marked by restricted access to the time-binding heritage for certain peoples, with a relationship of equals marked by free and unrestricted access to this heritage.
a) In so doing, the Hunger Project participants will (like well-oriented and effective parents) work themselves out of a job -- there will exist no further reason for the existence of The Hunger Project (as currently constituted).
SOCIAL CONSTRUCTS entailed by The Hunger Project:
Deriving direct satisfaction of one's own needs from the association, and also deriving vicarious satisfaction from seeing the Other's needs also getting satisfied.
A great many people have reported finding their participation in The Hunger Project the most satisfying activity that they ever experienced. Many have expressed their felt-satisfaction in redemption imagery -- expressions such as, "I got my LIFE out of participating in The Hunger Project!"
2. Enhanced effectiveness:
As another way to look at what The Hunger Project's pattern of participation has achieved, examine the results of their enrolling campaign: Over the past eleven years, Hunger Project participants have enrolled over 5.7 million individuals in more than 152 countries -- 0.1% of the human race -- into The Hunger Project. This result manifests the sustained, impassioned, frequently inspired contributions of hundreds of thousands of Hunger Project volunteers. (I invite anyone who doubts the appropriateness of these adjectives to reflect on what it TOOK to bring that many people into The Hunger Project within that period.)
I find that this lived pattern just described satisfies the criteria as a directively correlated relation of mutual fostering between The Hunger Project and each participant. The observed high level of satisfaction, passionate commitment and sustained participation of each volunteer, seen against the background of the observed success in the enrolling sector of the Hunger Project's mission, provides primary evidence of the degree of effectiveness and the depth of the felt-satisfaction produced by this successful mutual fostering.
Deriving satisfaction from seeing or sensing that the Other's needs have gotten satisfied.
This lived pattern also satisfies the criteria as a directively correlated relation of fostering the disenfranchised one-fifth of the human species who make up the chronically hungry. Each Hunger Project participant declares her/his explicit concern for whether THEY satisfy THEIR needs. He/She declares her/himself in partnership with the hungry, rather than in a "savior-role." And s/he experiences felt-satisfaction when THEY manifest satisfaction.
"Putting oneself into the shoes of ..." AND
The process of assigning human(s) to the ranks of the fully-human.
In the discussion of the social constructs, I hold that when a human persons another and empathizes with that other, s/he finds that that satisfies some of her/his fundamental needs -- and as the inverse, when a human senses that someone else persons her/him and empathizes with her/him, that satisfies some of her/his fundamental needs.
A recent development involving a collaboration between The Hunger Project and some 175,000 villagers, inhabitants of 161 villages in western India -- residents of the Bayad Talucca (talucca means "district") of Gujarat State -- directly illustrates these constructs.
For the past couple of years, portions of western India have had the worst droughts since their officials started keeping weather records. The unfavorable conditions have not resulted in a famine, but the residents of the Bayad Talucca lost their crops, a sizeable proportion of their livestock (e.g. more than 50,000 cattle), and experienced chronic hunger, as indicated by an Infant Mortality Rate of over 150 per 1000 live births (a sensitive indicator of chronic hunger).
Hunger Project participants already know the story of what happened there: A year or so ago, a professor from the local university heard Joan Holmes, the Executive Director of The Hunger Project, talk on ending hunger. He set out to create an organization in his home talucca -- in direct collaboration with The Hunger Project -- with the goal of eliminating chronic hunger, so as to bring their Infant Mortality Rate down to 50 or below, within three to five years.
On 2 October 1988 (the 119th birthday of Mohandas K. Gandhi), the Bayad Talucca Project had its formal opening ceremonies.
I interpret the story of the Bayad Talucca Project as a direct manifestation of the fundamental effects of the personing and empathizing (and fostering) provided by The Hunger Project -- namely, an alteration in the individual and collective self-image and self-estimate of the villagers (in the absence of alterations in the amount of funding available, of national attention for the region and its problems, etc.), which left them able and willing to take on dealing directly and decisively with the problems posed by their own hunger.
ENROLLING PEOPLE INTO THE HUNGER PROJECT
Accept for the moment the assertion that the activities which we call "The Hunger Project" stem from a tacit version of the non-aristotelian premises. That means that, in the course of setting up the organization, the initial group at least started the process of eliminating a usage of the postulate of tacit identity (in the arena of world hunger) from the premises they shared as a group.
Insofar as s/he eliminates that usage of the assumption of tacit identity from her/his own functioning, each participant experiences felt satisfaction, and shows observably increased effectiveness and congruence in what s/he DOES (in the arena of world hunger)._7/
Now a participant of that organization invites me to enroll in The Hunger Project. I may or may not explicitly notice these felt-advantages in the participant's behavior; but whether I notice or not, the form of the invitation offers me an opportunity to emulate the participant and her/his peers, e.g. to learn how to do what s/he does in approaching and inviting me. When I accept this invitation, I accept the apprentice role, and so, under tutelage, begin MY process of eliminating the relevant usage of the postulate of tacit identity (in the arena of world hunger) from my own living.
By taking part in the activities of The Hunger Project, e.g. striving to enroll new members according to the new patterns, and accepting the coaching as to how to do this, I experience for myself the
satisfaction of the needs to foster, to empathize and to person.
Subsequently, by displaying the new patterns in action as I approach others, I can elicit their emulating and so enroll them into The Hunger Project, in the process experiencing once more the satisfactions engendered by successful fostering.
Inferences concerning The Hunger Project:
I find that The Hunger Project enacts the social constructs of mutual fostering between the organization and each participant, and fostering of, empathizing with and personing of the hungry one-fifth of the human species. Therefore, those successful activities which we call "The Hunger Project" stem from premises approximately free of reliance on tacit identity (in the arena of world hunger).
Thus it posits for its surmises, categories, tactics, etc., a setting of radical-humility and radical-uncertainty. It fosters and enhances time-binding and (potentially at least) the awareness of time-binding, in the service of enhancing the
_7/The present theoretical system accounts for this satisfaction, enhanced effectiveness, increased congruence, etc., in terms of the construct of re-instating the process of self-correcting.
shared tradition and passing it on, without let or hindrance, to all members of the human species now alive and to all generations as yet unborn.
As a consequence of operating from partially revised premises, participants in The Hunger Project show enhanced effectiveness in their activities (in the arena of world hunger, at the very least), increased congruence between SAY and DO, and a kind of felt-satisfaction with respect to what they do with the organization.
These findings gives a hint of what we humans might create for ourselves-and-each-other on a species-wide scale by systematically eliminating tacit identity from both our personal and our socially shared premises.
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Abstracting, 6, 12 | Einstein, Albert, 1
Activities | Environment, 9
apparently 'purposive', 8, 9 | approach or avoid, 18 | Freud, Anna, 17
goal-directed (synonym for | apparently 'purposive), 8 | Gestalt
Apprenticeship, 18, 19, 21 | background relatively empty of
Apprenticeship, 18, 19, 21 | interest, 6, 27
Aristotelian, 13, 17, 22, 25 | figure of focal interest, 6
Aristotelian, 13, 17, 22, 25 | Goodman, Paul, 9
Assimilating, 7, 19 | Grammar, Western Indo-European, 13,
Associating | 14 forming, 17 | given privileged position, 16
continuing, 17 | noun or noun-phrase, 14, 15,
Assumptions, 2, 3, 4, 12, 13, 14, | 16
16, 21, 22, 23, 24, 26, 27, | verb or verb-phrase, 14, 15,
29 | 16,
revising or rejecting -, 1, 3 | Gujarat State (western India), 28
Bentley, Arthur F., 8 | Hefferline, Ralph, 9 | Human, 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9,
| 10, 11, 12, 17, 18, 19, 20,
Conflict, hostility and aggression, | 20, 21, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27 13 | 28, 29, 30
Context, 11, 18, 20 | "- nature" as virtually
see Setting | unchangeable, 3
Counter-empathizing, 20, 24 || distinguishing mark of the
Counter-emulating, 21, 25 | | species, 6
Counter-fostering, 20, 21, 23, 24, | Hunger, 1, 2, 2, 3, 4, 6, 7, 8, 10,
25 | 11, 12, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24
Counter-Premises, 12, 13, 14, 16, | 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30
17, 22, 25 | chronic persistent - , 7
"absolute certainty", 5, 6, 8, | eliminating death from - , 3
10, 12, 13, 14, 15, 17, 20, | famine, 7, 24, 25, 28 21, 23, 25, 27 |
identity, 16, 17, 25, 29, 30 | Image-correcting, 5, 12
allness, 16 | see Self-correcting
linearity, 16 | Image-defending, 14, 16
| see Self-defending
De-personing, 19, 20, 25 | India, 25, 28
"not-fully-human," 6, 20, 25 | Infant mortality rate, 28
Dewey, John, 8 |
Directively correlated, 9 | Korzybski, Alfred, 6, 13
initial conditions, 9, 10, 11, |
11, 22, 25, 29 | Landfield, Alvin, 5
goals, 9, 10, 11, 12, 17, 19, | Logical and empirical, 4, 16 22, 23, 25, 26, 27, 28 |
what organism does, 10 | Map-territory analogy, 4, 13
what environment does, 11 | Marasmus, 17
outcome, 11 |
felt-advantages, 29 | Social, 1, 2, 3, 4, 8, 11, 12, 14,
felt-satisfaction, 27, 28, | 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23,
30 | 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29
DiRienzi, Joseph, 10 | - constructs
Disenfranchised, 24, 28 | see Counter-empathizing
Dualisms, 15 | see Counter-emulating
Non-aristotelian premises, 10, 13, | see Counter-fostering
16, 17, 22, 29 | see De-personing
non-allness, 13, 14 | Sommerhoff, Gerd, 9, 17
non-identity, 13, 14 | Structure, 2, 4, 13, 14, 21, 27
16 | Structure
self-reflexiveness, 13 | order and relation, 13
Observer | Structuring, 5 accounting for the observer, 4 |
eliminating the observer, 4 | Tacit, 13, 14, 16, 17, 22, 25, 29
Oliver, W. Donald, 5 | 30
Order, 13 | Tacitly, 1, 5, 6, 15, 16
Organism, 9 | Talucca, 28
| Theory, 1, 2, 3, 3, 4, 5, 9, 10,
Perls, Frederick S., 9 | 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 29, Personing, 18, 28 | 30
Polanyi, Michael, 19 | - of social systems, 2
Premises | lived - , 2, 3, 4, 18
guesses as inaccurate, | explicit theory of lived
incomplete and self- | theory, 5
referential, 12, 13, 15 | Time-binding, 4, 6, 7, 8, 12, 17
see Non-aristotelian premises | 18, 19, 25, 27, 29
see Non-allness | - heritage, 7 see Non-identity | restrictive relationship to see Self-reflexiveness | 8 Projecting |
aware - , 20 | Undefined terms, 13 unaware - , 15, 20 |
| Whorf, Benjamin Lee, 14
Radical-humility, 13, 29 |
Radical-uncertainty, 13, 14, 17, 29 | Randolph, John F., 16, 17, 18, 20, | 23 |
Rank, status, social class, 20, 21 |
Relation, 13 |
Resignation, 23, 24 | |
Scapegoat, 19, 20, 24 |
Scientific method, 14 |
Self-correcting, 5, 6, 12, 29 |
Self-defending, 6, 12, 14, 16 |
Self-identical, 14, 15 |
Self-referential, 12, 13, 15 |
Self-reflexive, 27 |
Self-reflexiveness, 13, 14 |
Setting, 1, 2, 4, 6, 9, 10, 11, 13, |
14, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 24, |
25, 26, 29 |
- of abstracting, 6 | - of contacting or |
transcting, 9 | - of time-binding, 6 ff |
Shands, Harley C., 23 |