The Chinese Challenge :: 中国挑战

"The Chinese Challenge"-Teamblog is opening up a discussion about a possible new rationality hidden in the Chinese writing. The main question is: What can we learn from China that China is not teaching us? It is proposed that a study of polycontextural logic and morphogrammatics could be helpful to discover this new kind of rationality. Those topics of polycontexturality are presented at my website and at the complementary Blog Rudy's Diamond Strategies. Start with the "Pamphlet".

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Wednesday, June 20, 2007

A Schematic Calendar of Epochs

One of the big successes of Western globalization is the globalization of its understanding of human nature. There is one and only one such understanding. And this is the Western concept of human nature. Other understandings of human nature are simply not yet matured to the Western model.
This judgement, obviously, is applied to the Islamic world and it is thought that the new Chinese awakening will soon follow the Western model of humanity with all its noble achievements.

The idea of different ways of realizing humanity, different types of human self-definition, is taboo.

It is accepted only backwards to distinguish high civilizations from Primitive cultures. A projection into the futures is damaged by the well known attempts of the German Uebermensch ideology. Thus, to stay clean, we have to believe in Americanism and its ideology of humanity and human rights.

This is not in conflict with the American dream of TransHumanism. TransHumanism is not questioning the very idea of human beings but tries to augment pragmatically its very realization.

Funny enough, Gotthard Gunther,
with his cybernetic studies from the 50s, is one of the Grand fathers of TransHumanism .

As a philosopher of history, Gunther proposed another model of anthropology and civilizations which is open to futures and able to understand the past. Because of its structural conceptuality it is as neutral to ideologies as possible.

Gotthard Gunther proposed a theory of a connection between historical epochs and the structural complexity of their logics used in practice and reflected in science. The complexity of a logical formation was, at this time, considered as the many-valuedness of a logical system.

– The epoch of Animism is considered as the epoch of 1-valuedness.
– The modern Occidental, esp. European epoch is connected with 2-valuedness.
– The post-modern US-American epoch is proposed as 3-valuedness.

– It seems that the post-Occidental epoch of Chinese thinking is linked with
4-valuedness which is opening up the pre-semiotic patterns of morphogrammatics and general m-valuedness.This step is not yet considered in Gunther's approach.

At the time of the proposal of his theory of Western civilisation, topics like morphogrammatics had not yet been discovered.

It has to be mentioned, that Gunther’s concept of many-valuedness is poly-contextural and thus principally different from the logical multiple-valuedness of Lukasievicz, Post and others. Their multiple-valuedness is strictly mono-contextural.

The first 3 epochs are dominated by their Double Blind Spot, that is, the lack of self-reflectionality and awareness of being positioned into history.
Technically, their morphogrammatics are not accessible and are in the hidden.

The 3-valued epoch is opening up a certain relativism of 2-valuedness, discovering a first Blind Spot, but remains in the negativity of denial (of roots, etc.). Such a relativism has no means to reflect itself and to produce a "positive" self-definition.

This ability of self-reflection is given within the 4-valued model, but this model is realizable only with the simultaneous acceptance of its morphogrammatics. That is, with the acceptance of the distinction between general valuedness and value-free kenogrammatics.

The first three epochs had been linked with the semantic and meontic (semantics of negativity) function of valuedness.

The fourth epoch is rejecting the dominance of valuedness in favor of the activity of diamondization as an activity of kenogrammatics.

Valuedness is strongly connected with names, notions and sentences.
Multi-valuedness can be considered as a classic interpretation of the semantics of inter-textuality.

"Totem and Tabu" may correspond to an ancient name-based understanding of the world.
Notion-based thinking is opening up a scientific-narrative approach to the world in the sense of the first world model (Lambda Abstraction).
A reflective, relational and relativistic word-view is based on sentences (Modal logics).

With the new distinction of valuedness (semantics, meontics) and morphogrammatics (kenogrammatics) a full reflectional and interactional system is possible.

Differentiations in the transitions

According to Gunther’s theory of history the transition from the 1-valued to the 2-valued world-view happened in a differentiation of two decisions producing a structural difference between the Oriental and the Occidental existence (psyche).

Formally, the semantics of a two-valued system has a positive and a negative value. The function of the values is to designate or to non-designate. With the choice for a coincidences between the positive values and its designative function a strict symmetry between positivity and negativity is guaranteed. This is the Occidental decision.

The Oriental decision is the opposite:
The negative value has a designative function. With that, a indefinite asymmetry is established.

In epistemological term, the symmetric 2-valued world-view is based on a egological ground, founding subjectivity, spirituality and temporality, the asymmetric concept is founding spaciality, objectivity.

The grammatological coincidences are obvious:
The Occidental world-view is based on alphabetical sign systems, i.e., logocentrism.
The Oriental world-view is based on a planar system of characters.

Technologically, the western model was accessible to formalization, producing formal systems, incorporating the Arabian algebraic and algorithmic concepts and procedures and exploiting the power of the Indian concept of zero.
This historic formation was then connected with the idea of mechanical computation, like it was realized long ago by the Chinese Abacus.

A similar formalization of the structure of the Chinese writing system like the formalization of alphabetism has not yet been attempted or considered as a necessary task.

Further on, more open questions are occurring.
What are the differentiations in the transition from the 2-valued to the 3-valued system?
And, what are the corresponding transitions from the 3-valued to the 4-valued world-view?

A 3-valued system is at first enabling circular structures, i.e., negation cycles. Thus, the characterization of the values as designative or non-designative is relative.

The hegemony of strict dualism of the 2-valued approach is dissolved. Such a negation cycle is the smallest possible real cycle next to the 2-valued self-cycle.

This may be a hint to understand in a positive way the US-American relativism and its realization in pragmatism. (Peirce, Dewy, Royce)

But also its structural Double Blindness.

Additional to this "value-oriented" structural approach of Gunther, considerations about the differentiation of alphabetic and hieroglyphic writing systems had been involved into his theory of history. The thesis of a weakness of alphabetism in contrast to a specific identity strength of Chinese writing had been explored.

"That is, in holding to the ideograms, lies an unconscious insight of a massive asymmetry between spoken and written language. It is the written language, on which a main culture rests. It possesses an identity strength, which stands out clearly against the identity weakness of the spoken word." Gunther

Media theoreticians, like Alfred Kittler, have studied in recent time the connection between alphabetism, culture and computer technology in European history, but they are not aware that mathematics, programming paradigms, formal systems are depending on the linearity and atomicity of alphabetism.

This blindness of alphabetism and its late ideological defence by European media scientists is just what has to be surpassed if we want to stop the self-destruction of culture in general.


But the proof of a new logic is found in its application. I have therefore - after developing the basic categories of that new technique of thinking - applied my three-valued non-Aristotelian logic to the problem of History.

If you look at American History with conceptual categories of non-Aristotelian origin this course of human events does not longer appear as a continuation of Western Civilization but as a novel departure from the general trend of history in the Old World of the Eastern Hemisphere.

A new and indigenous form of historical existence is emerging in the New World of the Western Hemisphere - and with it goes a principal rejection (or technical secularization) of the metaphysical premises of Old World History. This is indicated in Thomas Jefferson's amazing criticism of Plato's "Republic" and his repudiation of the historical concepts implied in Plato' s philosophy.

My interpretation of American History is based on the following trend of thought: Generally speaking the history of Man has so far developed on two very different historical levels.

The first is that of the so-called Primitive Culture with the concomitant metaphysical world-conception of animism. The animistic interpretation of Reality is the product of a mind which works with a one-valued logic. Here the subject is completely identified with the object, namely the world that surrounds it.

The following, second level of the history of Man is that of the so-called regional High Civilizations (Egypt, India, China, Greek/Roman and Western Civilization of northern Europe). In this second form of historical existence Man develops concepts of life based on a two-valued pattern of consciousness.
It is significant that Aristotle's logic of duality was discovered in this era.

Traditionally American History is regarded as belonging to that epoch. It is tacitly assumed that since the advent of Columbus America should be regarded as an extension of Western Civilization.

It is my contention, on the other hand, that American History does not anymore belong to this second level which is characterized by the appearance of regionally limited High Civilization!

On the American continent a novel form of History is coming into existence, constituting a third level of World-History.

The structure of the human consciousness is changing and with it the spiritual aims of the race. Not the knowledge of natural objects but the science of Man himself will be the central core of all intellectual efforts.

This, however, presupposes a new logic in which an exact theory of the subject as different from the mere object is developed.

For this purpose a three-valued logic is absolutely necessary.

The American mind is potentially non-Aristotelian ... or let us say: post-Aristotelian.

The primitive mind is pro-Aristotelian, and the epoch of regional High Civilizations is dualistic. Only this dualistic mentality corresponds with the concepts of a two-valued logic.
(Gotthard Gunther, 1953)


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