C-99. A measure of presence

The relative absence of Presence (App. XIX, C-96) can be shown and measured as the ratio of observed relationships after the fact to cognitive relations used in relating before the fact. Increases in the ratio negatively affect the balance requisite’s dynamic considerations (XI), impeding composition and compositional change (II; IV), reducing potential interdependency and complementarity of relation and relationship (C-71) – all of which are Presence deficiencies.

(To obtain as much interpretive clarity here as possible, we are assessing via this Rel/rel ratio the all-too- imposing absence of Presence rather than struggling with the (all-too-common) minute fractional results we would obtain via a rel/Rel ratio as the more direct measure of Presence. In this way the enormity of the overemphasis on relationships is suggested and perhaps can be countered.)

Presence, we have said, comprises what can be, and is, brought to bear, of functional capability and its exercise, on a focus of attention (C-96: Sensory vision’s peripheral contribution). It could be regarded as demonstrating, and thus exhibiting, the health of one’s behavioral architecture (C-90) – and thus a higher Rel/rel ratio as diagnosing ill behavioral health (e.g., institutional atrophication).

The unfortunate use of “relationship” and “relation” as synonyms misses the point here completely – i.e., of their independence (XI). We then fail to see the needed functionality, and the development appropriate to meeting that need, that this ratio would have us heed. Similarly, using concepts such as “cause-effect” to denote both relationship and relation is self-defeating (X).

The Rel/rel ratio can also vary if we involve differences among types of relation, making the Presence picture much worse. Consider, for example, a physicalist view that cognition comprises (only) connections in mental functioning. (Brain mapping, take note?)  Presence, then, would be only more connectivity, as if minding’s cognition were not a needed capability that can be developed and exercised to produce, not just absorb, instruction (C-90). Connection, just like cause-effect, also confounds relation and relationship.

When we looked into ideational mechanics (X; App. III) we saw a variety of relations commonly, if not impressively, in use. Roughly and simply (e.g., as employed in Cognigraphics), these relations are similarity, difference, inside-outside and before-after.  All these, except for similarity, posit asymmetric relations involving the focus of attention. (And similarity is a difference that may make a difference.) In all cases, something is implied –i.e., a promise of instruction.

Of this, via sensory vision, we can say that there is information in the relation as well as in the focus of attention. This is huge for minding … for consequentiality and for Presence.

The Nature of Things, we saw, comprises three qualities – three general persisting conditions — one of which is partial order (III). Partial order says behavioral entities are incompletely instructed. This dictates for minding as capability the need to furnish, not just find, order.  Relations, and our relating with them, are how cognition, communication and composition make this furnishing come about (App. XII). “Information” is thus no simple concept about a single property of observed entities or relationships (i.e., particulars) as foci of attention (C-33). As a theoretical construct (C-81), we see it in regard to instruction we must produce, not just find. Relations give us leverage to use in our relating. Leverage with which to build (the steps) with which we can build by the steps we take (App. XIX: stages 3A and 3B). Which is to make the point that Behavioral Architecture (C-90) is quite a bit more than a metaphor for behavior qua process.

The relations have more to say about consequentiality than mere connectivity. They vary in how and how much each deals with consequentiality. For example, we may unite similarity and difference relations to produce a relationship of opposition. We also link these two to produce humorous compositions. We can expand use of the inside-outside relation to build a hierarchic structure. (See C-100.) The before-after relation offers even more opportunity for technological innovation.

With respect to ideational mechanics, and in looking at compositional change in contrast to circumstantial change (II: “all that it takes”), especially re problem solving, we saw that the before-after relation has been badly neglected, the consequential not fully realized (e.g., as attempted by variants of cause-effect, such as “multiple causes” or “factors”) from its primitive stem in sequence. Realization, we have seen, depends on grasping and involving all four stages of consequentiality (App. XIX), from consequentiality per se (re the Nature of Things) through needed, developed and exercised step making and taking.

This neglect of the before-after relation increases the Rel/rel ratio and limits Presence. Were we to achieve more developmentally, via technological innovation (e.g., employing “all that it takes” as a procedural tool [App. VII]) and provide a more developmentally infused education (e.g., bringing behavioral architecture into curricula from pre-K through post-graduate) … we would be advancing Presence and doing ourselves, individually and collectively, a great favor.

Presence at its best is compositional. And that is what problem solving – if not decision making — needs (C-98). The inside-outside relation, as employed via object-attribute analysis, may serve decision making [data matrix non-singularities and incompleteness notwithstanding], but it falls far short of providing the minding capability required for problem solving.

Presence is very historical, in that it brings a sense of the Nature of Things’ generality (i.e., consequentiality) … from beyond the particulars of the past,  and contributes to the history that is yet to be (App. XVI) … in consequence of the relating we are and shall be doing.

Presence is imaginative, as it uses pointed questions to mind all that the past has been and what we might make of the future. In these questions, Presence is perhaps most present. Cultivating imagination via pointed questions systematically can improve Presence (X; C-34). Some questions are more pointed than others (X: “Huh?” is not pointed!) Practice using the “all that it takes” refinement on the before-after relation, especially as elaborated for communities as agents of change (App. II), helps make more of consequentiality apparent.

Reducing the Rel/rel ratio (XI brings us more in accord with the Nature of Things (C-9). We become more consequential. We can build the steps that we need in order to be able to build what we needed the steps for. Most pointedly, we can build solutions to problems. The inside-outside relation does not have the consequentiality for step making that the before-after relation should and could have. More developmental investment in the before-after relation seems obvious (C-100).

Presence promises consequentiality. Now we must deliver on that promise. Ideation has worked wonders, even though many ideas have not. There are yet unrealized ideational resources. Behavioral architecture can help us bring them into being (C-90).

Weak Presence is risky in our incompletely instructed condition – i.e., in this World of Possibility. And if we begin to lose ground here, for lack of compositional capability development, the risk increases. Further, should there be an increased rate in ground lost, then the threat of “that other climate change” (C-98) will become great indeed.

(c) R.F. Carter