Application XXI: OrthoSearch

Questioning is what is called for far more often than it is exercised, considering that we find ourselves IN and AT the Frontier, with a World of Possibility in front of us if we can develop questioning technology to better help us solve our problems, both situational and behavioral. (As, for example, doing a much better job with the, instead of separating the latter from the former as in puzzle solving [e.g., "ivory tower" science].)

Questioning capability IN and AT the Frontier gives us a way of reaching out to the future to bring materiality into the Present so that we can make and take more effective steps. Reaching out, in turn, needs a Grasp capability that can bring in that materiality to be involved. Here, humans can turn to the cognition-communication interdependency for the needed sensery capability. But do we?

Like its fellow functional requisites of exposure, focal attention, cognition, memory and the Involve Grasp interdependency,questioning capabilities are very much needed. We are, however, much better acquainted with the questioning needs for situational problems (:Psit), such as for clarification and/or to establish identity and/or ascertain the location of something,than for our basic behavioral problem (:Pbeh). And that is a serious matter. For example, a prospective question might be silenced situationally as challenging authority or trust. But for the behavioral problem, and to create situations and solutions by the steps we make and take, we depend on the need, the urge and the capability to question – to be able to imagine what might be by becoming, via our agency.

Most familiar are particular questions predicated on L-ignorance (something not yet learned) – i.e., situational problems in which we look to and for information already possessed … by someone who already has, is presumed to have, and/or hoped to have, that information. Even here communication and cognition difficulties abound. How can we improve the Read and Tell (and the language) of and for message? Can we, for example, build into a communication medium (e.g., the Internet, our schools) a program, a technology, that could bring about this very desirable remedy for the countless instances of messages poorly told and/or either not understood or misunderstood – this needed strengthening of our collective minding capability, this strengthening which community development, not just individual development, needs?

Also familiar, although perhaps less frequent given their greater risk situationally, are questions that state or imply opposition, abetted as they often are by the confounding of disagreement with the person and disagreement with what has been said and/or done. When the person questioned occupies an authority position, then that risk is even greater.

Doubt is another source of questioning. However framed tactically (e.g., as by repeated asks of others for clarification rather than, say, a more open opposition), doubt can be as much – if not more – a matter of one’s own behavioral problem (e.g., “I think, therefore I am”) than this or that situational problem.

Much less familiar, and even then often in the dress of an L-ignorance question, is a question about the Nature of Things. The Nature of Things leaves us incompletely instructed given its general persisting condition of partial order. So self-instruction, using imagination – i.e., a pointed question technology, is called for.What of questioning as needed functionality, not for the particulars of situational problems, but for the generality of the behavioral problem … whose force persists and grows, ? What of questioning to serve what might be, even ought to be, but is not yet (e.g., “We won’t know until we try” ) in this World of Possibility (i.e., given partial order) … that “what” which is neither puzzle nor mystery, that what which is unrealized? Question is, after all, an R-word. What questioning capabilities are required to fully “know thyself”? To bring us into accord with the Nature of Things, to give us ADEPT and not just ADOPT and/or ADAPT as capabilities and as behavioral meta-strategies, ?

And what if we consider questioning in light of Grasp Involve, keeping the matter of reach in view? The G I dynamic is fundamental to our arranging collisions … and arranging collisions is the crux of much forward progress (given the Nature of Things’ persisting qualities of partial order, discontinuity and consequentiality). Whatever aids GI, for minding and/or moving, needs our attention. Reach and reaching out can do that, as for active reception (e.g., catching a thrown ball, listening) vs. passive hearing.

Reach extends our grasp, whether seen in the familiar mode of hands at the end of arms, in the less familiar technological mode of astrophysics’ radio telescopy, or via the yet-to-be fully realized viewing platform offered by BFEPS as a reaching question.Reach is effective only if it is strong enough to provide the stability that Grasp needs to do its work. And reach plus grasp are very much dependent for their effectiveness on our exercise of (and guidance for) focal attention (to which BFEPS can make an I=>G contribution).

Imagination can reach into the future and bring something back to the Present. Pointed questions (e.g., “Er?” or “?rE”) use a relation, r, with the involving act of relating to grasp, say, a thingk as an answer to the pointed question. The thingk is thus made present for minding … and may become a thing later via composition, if not already existent … and subject to discovery.

What if we were to develop a technology to increase pointed question capability:something comparable to the leverage Socrates exerted personally as agent. He habitually challenged answers, pushing “definition” beyond the Read of voiced concepts toward improving a sharpening of Tells made by his fellows. He was a nuisance listener, we might say. For which, evidently, he died. But for generations to follow the form of discourse he initiated has been remarkable for its aerobic effect on minding and message development.

What if we were to introduce the Socratic habit technologically for questions asked … if we were, based on the structural parallel between statements and questions, to build on that … and if, to be sure, our technology were able to furnish the requisite parallel message structure?This could help us toward further realization – i.e., to become more consequential, , .

Consider, for example, the matter of Type 3 errors. They were originally introduced to complement Type 1 and Type 2 statistical errors, which deal with erroneously accepting or rejecting a hypothesis about what would be found. The Type 3 error is to pose the wrong hypothesis. If we now distinguish the two kinds of knowing: via finding, Kf, and via trying, Kt, then we have two kinds of Type 3 errors: 3f and 3t. In trying something to see if it works, Kt, that “it” is a question whose construction we very much need to work on. CEM-history says that progress is a matter of materiality … and good questions are very material.

The requisite parallel structuring would develop messaging’s pointing technology into something akin to available languages but more responsive to needed representation … of what the Nature of Things has to say about consequentiality – not just about consequences. Something like systematic pointed questioning (: Ideational mechanics) that would help us in producing compositional change,to improve knowing by trying … and to go along with, and sometimes to supplant, circumstantial change. Something that would remind us of the (theoretical) depth of consequentiality, per se and in its particulars, – something responsive to our problems and our need for solutions as well as answers.

Let’s call it OrthoSearch. Which is to suggest that what we are here endeavoring is to bring Message, like Behavior, more into accord with the Nature of Things. The purpose is to augment our capability. As with the SGN correction, we are most concerned with what has been underdeveloped. Any “correction” of misrepresentation is a secondary (albeit consequential) consideration.

Can we now emulate Socrates, but providing not a relentless programmed nuisance listener/reader capability, but rather a program to help in asking pointed questions better, thus for users to develop stronger tells (not settling for questions no better than inflected weak tells) and, importantly, to encourage better tells and reads from others?

Even if we pursue this possibility at first – even just – as a thought experiment?

(Before continuing, let me report an experiment I tried in a senior-level university course in communication theory. An assignment each week was for students to submit a question relevant to the material covered that week. [For each of which I would endeavor to give written answers.] The result: I spent more time reconstructing the questions to make them answerable, to elucidate their point[s]– given such difficulties as non-singularity (: no, or more than one, point) and conceptual confusion or confounding, — than I did in writing answers for them.)

Curiosity, even encouraged curiosity, is not equipped for the task(s) confronting us. It is, as a foundation for development, too much an attributional concept and not enough behavioral theory, ,. After the fact, any development in questioning capability may be filed conceptually as curiosity. But before the fact we need guidance from theoretical principles to bring about that development systematically and optimally.

Curiosity, we can see, has been treated primarily as a trait – i.e., as a Stage 4 realization, , , as though its presence can be credited to circumstance rather than development, as though it called upon little more than the capabilities of exposure and focal attention and a desire (or some administered incentive) to learn. As if cognition had nothing better to do IN and AT the Frontier than to recognize the focus of attention and as if learning were behavior’s primary informative resource. Not much Grasp in the first instance, whereas pointed questioning’s cognition furnishes an Involve capability with which to grasp … grasp enough that one may be able to bring a thingk, invaluable initially for Realization, into being.

Curiosity, undifferentiated by pointed question, is not too helpful even to a knowledgeable source willing to help. Consider, for example, the student in a large lecture class who having raised a hand says, “I’m lost.” The teacher might like to respond, “Where are you lost?” The student’s problem (if “lost” is in fact all that it is!) is obvious. Consider too the lack of capability at hand for responding to undifferentiated curiosity … and the likely erosion of curiosity (if retained as a body state concept) in consequence of that limited competence.

How else are we to handle the problem of “we don’t know what we don’t know” unless we use pointed questions to suggest what lays, or might come to lay,apart from what we now know? Unless, in the absence of a Tell correspondent from whom to learn it, we can imagine it – as humans have throughout their history with respect to sources and resources of available and/or needed functionality. Unless we use pointed questions to produce thingks, which may turn out to be something knowable because we can then find or make them.

Too easily we see questioning as an activity used here and there, situationally and particularly. Its centrality to the behavioral problem (:Pbeh) is overlooked. Consider, for instance, the relationship between linguistic questioning and reading. Secondary and tertiary Reads (including listens) are actually technological developments of questioning (its realization being a manifestation of the incomplete instruction visited upon behavioral entities by the Nature of Things). To read is to question, whatever else we may think of reading or do with it. Primary reads should remind us of this, when and where we must make something of the focus of attention … where cognition must relate it to something else … where the appropriate technology differs (and which pointed questions can serve).


The purpose of an OrthoSearch is two-fold: 1/ to strengthen the questioning capability of the actor; and, 2/ to increase the pointing power of questioning technology (e.g., languages). Both of these in respect to the Nature of Things and its principles. This is not something that can happen all at once. Where then might we start? Two kinds of problems suggest themselves: 1/ distinctive situational problems badly in need of help, such as the small proportion of online students who complete a course for credit; and, 2/ the Escarpment problem (:S-P, , ), wherein the ways we think, so to speak, are weak (not well realized, , ) and flawed (imbalanced, and biased, , ) … such as in the challenges of union, community building and community-individual interdependence.

BFEPS can help in either case. But the behavioral problem in the latter case is so compelling (the Escarpment is steadily growing) as to claim precedence. However, the two are not mutually exclusive. Let’s look at several illustrations….

First, suppose someone asks, “What is communication?” or “Would you define ‘communication’?” An OrthoSearch protocol would, based on our discussion of concepts, offer an alternative, Realization form for the question and an answer to the reformulated question, accompanied by two points TO (e.g., websites):1/ an explanation of why a Realization perspective (i.e., theoretical explication:) is preferable to a lesser form of identification/definition; and 2/ (prospectively)to a new kind of dictionary, where, eventually, the answer to such a question might be found along with many other terms whose functionality would be improved by a Realization perspective – i.e., providing for the general as well as the particulars of meaning.)

Much of the height and depth of the Escarpment is due to our continued reliance on a concept-based minding technology, strong on the inside-outside relation usage and weak on the before-after relation usage,. Our behavioral problem (, ), as well as our situational problems, are made worse. Concepts are polluting (:Ps), despite whatever functionality they may offer as, say, calls for attention and/or territorial markers. What is offered as knowledge piles up without much adding up. Just being able to deal better with these seemingly simple questions would help.

Second, with questions like, “What caused this?” about an outcome and “What will effect this?”– “How” questions about an outcome and a desired (or not) outcome, we have another common type of query in need of improvement. Consequentiality is being compressed into a concept, this in blatant disregard of the many and varied capabilities, capacities and circumstances which we must bring to bear in the relatings that constitute, often compositionally, the changes we want to realize … to understand after the fact and to understand and bring about before the fact.

We have used “all that it takes” (ATIT) re compositional change to emphasize aspects of needed functionality required to solve our problems – to effect (verb) an effect (noun): to be effective (, , , ). ATIT begins to elaborate the before-after relation beyond the compressed “cause” concept. Applied in an OrthoSearch manner, it could begin to add strength to our other Realization efforts.

ATIT comes with nine contributors … one of which, agency, has six requisites and imperatives to offer guidance. (See diagram, App. II.) Consider, for example, the implications for agency of the balance requisite. When a step is advanced, before or after the fact, are capabilities exercised, or to be exercised, held up to analysis for their independence, balance, interdependence, et al., , , )? Difficult solutions, I think we understand, will often require interdependence of capabilities exercised in addition to interdependence among agents involved.

It does little good to speak of “complexity” when the fundamental problem of behavior has not been addressed. It’s too much like speaking of “mysteries” as if puzzles and learning, not problems and knowing, were the major challenge we face … in the wake of seriously biased behaviors (:S-P, , ) and languages (,), biased toward bodies (vs. steps), particulars (vs. non-universals generality) and the order of things (vs. the Nature of Things), all of which are in need of correction. A bias that is even worse for its sins of omission than for its sins of commission.
Consider the difference, remarked and notated graphically in our discussion of pointed questions (, ), between how a thingk works conceptually when we cognize using the inside-outside relation (i.e., as a hypothetical entity that might be found) versus how a thingk works theoretically using the before-after relation (i.e., as the initiation of Realization for something to be made).


This second-stage Socratic strategy might help, providing some leverage for strengthened behavior and for empowered language technology and its usage. It does not seem at all likely, formally via education or informally via adoption of this or thatRead and/or Tell practice, that a systematic improvement can be imposed on all. (For example, would freer usage of many words in any and all of two noun and two verb forms, if enabled by a change in language structure, improve both the Read and Tell of realization, ? Would Grasp <=>Involve improve?).

However, given that Reads as questions are but inflections of Tells as statements, it does seem plausible that productive use, even by a few users initially, of pointed questioning, based on the BFEPS-ATIT platform, might catalyze needed improvement (e.g., among those disposed to catch up, or tired of intellectual pollution. It would be a boon, to say the least, if “critical thinking” were to become a better balanced ratio of criticism and analysis and thus a more productively interdependent relation between them – an interdependence threatened by the current decision making over problem solving emphasis, of “that other climate change”.


A Sage saga: A wearied climber nears the mountain top where, it is said, resides a sage of great wisdom who might, perhaps, answer the question for which the climber’s search has been long and arduous.
Indeed, a personage appears who may be that sage.

“Your honor, may I ask you a question that has troubled my life?”
“Ask it, my son.”
“What is the meaning of life?”
“Yes,” encouragingly.
“What is the meaning of life?”
“Yes,” more encouragingly.
“What is the meaning of life?”, rather impatiently.
“Yes,” rather urgently, but still encouragingly.
The wearied climber turns away, defeated and dejected, to start back down, but turns in parting and laments,
“I had hoped you had the answer.”
To which the Sage responds,
“To question is the meaning of life.”


  1. C-110. What is called for (WICF)
  2. App. XI: History: Contingent emergent materiality
  3. C-118. AT And IN The Frontier (BFEPS)
  4. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  5. Topic XII: Research Methods
  6. C-105. Biology and beyond (BFEPS)
  7. App. III: Communication and Cognition
  8. C-96. Presence and Performance
  9. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  10. C-105. Biology and beyond (BFEPS)
  11. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  12. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  13. App. X: The Psychlotron Protocol
  14. C-108. Opposition and absence
  15. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  16. C-34. Imagination
  17. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  18. C-41. Another fundamental force: Pbeh
  19. C-115. The CEM Thing About Functionality (BFEPS)
  20. C-102. “Big questions”
  21. C-93. Two kinds of knowledge
  22. C-111. Realization transform
  23. C-107. The 4th “R”
  24. C-9. Behavioral meta-strategies: The 3 A’s
  25. App. IV: Education
  26. C-9. Behavioral meta-strategies: The 3 A’s
  27. C-105. Biology and beyond (BFEPS)
  28. C-24. Listening
  29. C-34. Imagination
  30. C-96. Presence and Performance
  31. C-27. The thing about a thingk
  32. C-93. Two kinds of knowledge
  33. App. XIX: P=>S mapping: The needs of minding (BFPS)
  34. C-107. The 4th “R”
  35. C-111. Realization transform
  36. C-93. Two kinds of knowledge
  37. App.XI: History: Contingent emergent materiality
  38. App. XX: Message theory
  39. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  40. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  41. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  42. C-16. Process consequentiality
  43. C-104. The SGN correction
  44. Topic VIII: Singularity Requisite
  45. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  46. C-81. Theoretical definition
  47. C-34. Imagination
  48. C-91. Curiosity: the concept
  49. C-122. V/R>1: A Behavioral Generality
  50. App. XIX: P=>S mapping: The needs of minding (BFPS)
  51. C-97. Late-stage functionality
  52. C-114. What a muddle (BFEPS)
  53. Topic VII: Functional Requisite
  54. C-122. V/R>1: A Behavioral Generality
  55. App. I: Helping
  56. C-125. R-Erosion
  57. C-93. Two kinds of knowledge
  58. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  59. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  60. App. XII: The future of history: CEM-HAS
  61. C-56. Up the escarpment!
  62. App. XIX: P=>S mapping: The needs of minding (BFPS)
  63. C-108. Opposition and absence
  64. C-114. What a muddle (BFEPS)
  65. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  66. C-71. Balance requisite extended
  67. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  68. C-39. Language and the BPO bias
  69. C-104. The SGN correction
  70. C-112. Union: the far frontier
  71. C-85. Theoretical explication
  72. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  73. C-124.The Curse Of Concepts (BFEPS)
  74. Topic I: Two problems, two solutions
  75. C-41. Another fundamental force: Pbeh
  76. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  77. Topic II: All That It Takes (ATIT)
  78. App. XIX: P=>S mapping: The needs of minding (BFPS)
  79. App. XX: Message theory
  80. C-94. Linguistic roots
  81. C-97. Late-stage functionality
  82. C-111. Realization transform
  83. Topic XI: Balance Requisite
  84. App. XVII: Policy determination and budgeting
  85. C-71. Balance requisite extended
  86. C-82. Unbalanced balancing
  87. C-120.“X/Y>1”: A Behavioral Universal
  88. C-112. Union: the far frontier
  89. Topics: Introduction - Quality of Life
  90. Topic III: The Nature of Things
  91. C-56. Up the escarpment!
  92. C-39. Language and the BPO bias
  93. C-124.The Curse Of Concepts (BFEPS)
  94. C-104. The SGN correction
  95. Topic X: Construction Imperative
  96. App. III: Communication and Cognition
  97. App. XX: Message theory
  98. C-107. The 4th “R”
  99. C-105. Biology and beyond (BFEPS)
  100. C-98. That other climate change