Application XIII: Innovation and infrastructure

Humanity’s way forward, that which we characterize with terms like purpose and progress, when pursued via problem solving, is marked by technological advance. Innovation, the composing of solutions to problems, may comprise one or more of the four types of technology: tools (T), procedures (P), tool-using procedures (T-P), and procedural tools (P-T).

If we set these four against the four outstanding problem types defining our quality of life (: Sp, S-P, Ps and P), respectively: solutions that need to be repeated (e.g., as in manufacturing), solutions whose minding modes are a problem (e.g., naive causation), problems arising from particular solutions (e.g., “meanings” of words) and problems not yet solved (e.g., global warming), we get an Innovation Matrix. (See diagram below.) Laid before us then are 16 areas in which we might profitably invest our innovative capabilities – such as they are.14

How prepared are we to innovate? Is this, like music, to be a humanity in which few compose, more play – but most listen? (The decision making, consumer imbalanced clog of contemporary highly technological societies suggests that the infrastructure for innovation is not yet well established, that we depend on a few with “talent” rather than making it possible for everyone to become a more capable composer-innovator.)

What this brings us to is the question of our innovative priorities. Not that innovative need and opportunity do not lie in all 16 domains. But in the diagram below, three of the 16 cells are assigned special markers: X, Y, and Z.

QL problems:













These indicate high priority domains. Briefly, the reasons for these designations are:

X: As seen in the diagram for App. XII (Future of history), there is a huge impediment to our progress because of the minding inadequacies and mind-binding technologies (aka intellectual tools) at work in our problem solving.

Y: Our technological investments appear to have been severely imbalanced, favoring capacity developments over capability developments – if and when that distinction is realized. Computer-age technology is a case in point. Rampant behavioral dysfunction demonstrates the need for, but lack of, capability development. We have been increasing our capacity for dysfunction – another Ps result.

Z: Many of these unsolved problems, perhaps the most critical of them, require collective effort in composing partnered solutions (e.g., policies for national and international problems) and the behavioral infrastructure for community has not yet been laid – and it depends on getting past the X blockage. One missing infrastructure on top of another. Community requires a collective capability to compose, to deal with the force and extent of the behavioral problem (: Pbeh; ), the same problem which its members have had to prepare themselves for as individuals … and haven’t. The “scaling up” problem to top all other scaling up problems is just that: We must handle the behavioral problem individually and then prove that we have by effecting community (and the articulation of self-realization with community realization).

(The behavioral vs. situational problem distinction immediately multiplies the 16 cells by two.)

And all this is just a start. For either or both the four problem types and four technology types, we can set them against two elementary components from the body, B, and step, S, of the behavioral entity (as double crystal:) and/or four dynamic aspects of body x step: the S/B balance ratio; the S B interdependency (S => B; B => S); and the S + B complementarity.

We might well want to do this, for example, in looking at technological needs and opportunities in a field like Health. Without the step – body input engendered by implications of the Nature of Things, five of these six potential sectors involving behavior could have been neglected and may continue to suffer for lack of needed technology. (And that’s four more cells in each sector defined by problem type or technology.)

Consider, for example, pre- and post-treatment aspects in the medical field: Diagnosis can be severely handicapped by lack of attention to behavioral aspects of the patient’s history (e.g., need for support [: ATIT] based on stress factors) — other than, say, smoking and drinking habits. Also by overreliance on conceptual categories for behaviors for which therapy has been determined (on the basis of actuarial data). Hospital readmissions for post-treatment consequences pose a similar problem, in which, for example, instructions to patients on medications and procedures may not be comprehended and/or followed. (The history of information campaigns and instructional efforts is a sorry one. Such tactics are a major source of “communication accidents,” sometimes with extensive losses and damages – in that respect not least to the doctor-patient relationship as an operating system. See App. IX).

A similar “opportunity matrix” expansion can be envisioned for each of the behavioral requisites and imperatives and their implied facets (Topics VI-XI). There are the gap, gappiness and supergappiness aspects of the control imperative for situational problems and the behavioral problem (, ). Then, within the functional requisite, another expansion can be made for aspects of minding (exposure, focal attention, cognition, memory, questioning). And so it goes.

What needs to be emphasized at this point is that technology does not have to just build on prior technology – observed tendencies to that effect (e.g., “new, improved”) notwithstanding. There is now with BFPS a well-specified domain of needed capabilities (i.e., functionality) that could and should be assisted by one or more of the four technology types. Adjustments should include a reorientation to the implications of the Nature of Things – to a more productive, satisfying way forward.

What it comes down to is that every unit, every aspect – every protocol particle – of functionality, from needed functionality through developed and exercised functional capacities and capabilities to functional consequences, F 1-3, deserves our attention as nominees for technological development.

It comes down to a matter of appreciation. We appreciate effort in response to need; we appreciate informed, inspired effort; we appreciate successful effort. But we do not appreciate them well enough. We don’t appreciate appreciation.

Think of this as the other calculus. The behavioral calculus that doesn’t just treat of differentiating and integrating whole-body movements in B-time and B-space. This calculus deals with the rest of behavior, with BE’s minding and moving in S-time and S-space too. With far more to be differentiated, as the psychlotron protocol elaborates re functionality, and much more yet to be integrated via our still underdeveloped compositional capability. This calculus embraces the span of history’s – past and future (, ) – contingent emergent materiality (CEM). This calculus respects our need to apprehend what is not there, so to speak (i.e., partial order, consequentiality and discontinuity as general persisting conditions) … which is of consequence (e.g., behavioral necessity), as well as what is readily apparent to our senses. This calculus is responsive to questions of what might be and what should be, and of how, why, how come, and what for. And most assuredly not just to questions of was, is and must be. CEM addresses the thread that extends through history – from the past into the future. It does not promise an underlying order of things. It wants explanation, not just prediction.

Think in this way because we understand fully well the infrastructural contribution that the mathematical calculus innovation made. A calculus to deal with the behavioral problem will make a further contribution to every solution of every situational problem thereafter. Unless, of course, it is a calculus merely of stones.

Consider our having to calculate the way forward. We have by now many indications of the quantity and quality of steps and steps-within-steps (i.e., behaviorally consequential units) that such a path may involve. There is the “All that it takes” reminder of compositional change. There are the functional requisites and imperatives for change agents (Topics VI-XI) given behavioral necessity. There are the needed capabilities they comprise. The extent of CEM complexity (App. XI) within the behavioral molecule can be enormous as we proceed from needed functionality to developed functionality to resolved need. And within that process, we should expect to have to produce structures via functioning, then dictate functioning for those structures (e.g., VI: control structures and control entities).

All this aided by a vague notion of causality? Abetted by technologies we have adopted as – or into our – practices (aka “actions”: our inadequate characterizations of the behavioral molecule)?

Composing is the way forward. Cognition and communication as developed capabilities (App. III) are available to assist the composing – if the functional units are available to be arranged. Cognitive and communication technologies, especially language (which serves both), could be vastly improved (as we have seen, for example, in the need to distinguish relation – and relating – as units independent of, and constitutive of, relationship. (This calls for us to abandon the casual practice in English of considering “relation” and “relationship” as synonyms.)

All of which we see Materials Science now bringing into play. There is the attention to consequentiality via CEM’s materiality. (“Consequential” is, tellingly, one of the definitions for “material.”) There is the CEM-recovery aspect too, the looking into the history – physical, chemical, biological, compositional – of materials for functionally relevant conditions that can be used anew, compositionally, to develop useful technology. In this way material science is acting as a catalyst to bring the partnership of science and engineering (aka technology) closer together. Development and research procedural tools team with research and development as sequences of discovery. A science of the possible becomes feasible – which, given the Nature of Things as expressed via CEM, it is in full accord.

It remains, to be sure, to bring the materials science perspective to bear on other materials, such as the messages produced by language as technology for cognition and communication. Informally, when we work or play with language we have been doing just that. But much more needs to be, should be, done with our practices and their products. “Sift and winnow,” for all its welcome relevance and encouragement, falls far short of the materiality analysis and imaginative recomposing needed.

(It’s not that there hasn’t been a de facto materials art for centuries. Music and story, for example –the former having profited greatly by the physical decomposition of sounds [e.g., cries] into tonal notes, there to be recomposed and represented [aka scored] as melody, rhythm, orchestration, etc. Once we ground ourselves in CEM’s materiality, the gap between art and science becomes more like the linguistic distinction between “essay” and “assay.” This is a gap readily bridged – and necessarily so, because they should be interdependent and complementary as knowledge resources with respect to behavior.)

Community doubles the needed infrastructure investment because of its dual compositional aspects, its need to be composed before it can become a composer of solutions. Community, therefore, would be the major beneficiary of a science of the possible. And, with its concern for solving humanity’s problems and composing solutions, it promises a behavioral unification of humanism, art and science (App. VIII). We get fusion via compositional capability to complement the catalyst of materials science and art.

About CEM’s community, the important things to keep in sight are two. First, that community is, or can be and should be, the most developed expression of materiality and composing. It continues the thread and thrust of CEM. Second, that the materiality of community is as much functional as it is structural, and that it begins with needed functionality, given the Nature of Things.

Structural “isms” (e.g., socialism, communism, fascism) are anathema to the CEM thread. Adopting a particular structure as a community template almost surely invites decline and fall. Unless ceaselessly and carefully amended these “structure-first” communities all-too readily reduce problem solving to questions (and decisions) of simple sufficiency. They assume and employ naïve causality with respect to functionality. Projected need (as goal) gives direction, but not directions.

Mathematics’ calculus began by using stones. Our way forward, our behavioral calculus, cannot usefully be merely a path of stones.

(c) 2012 R.F. Carter