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11. Morphology, Structures, the Cultural Pattern


11.1. Morphology

The following section contains material on the systematics of Cultural Pattern , the Morphology. The salient aspect of pattern is that of form over content or substance or matter. We are deriving this usage from Goethe's concept of morphology as described in Riedl (1987a), Ruth Benedict's "patterns of culture" (1934: 49-56), and Bateson's (1972) and (1979) work on pattern. The cognitive model of of pattern is that of relation and interconnectedness as described in the section on paticca samuppada .[421] It has been characterized by Bateson (1979: 17, 18) as " a pattern that connects ", referring to Goethe.

Bateson (1979: 18): We could have been told something about the pattern which connects: that all communication necessitates context, that without context, there is no meaning, and that contexts confer meaning because there is classification of contexts...
So we come back to the patterns of connection and the more abstract, more general (and most empty) proposition that, indeed, there is a pattern of patterns of connection.

Tyler Volk (1995: vii) has derived from Bateson's "pattern of patterns of connection" the term metapattern. Now "a pattern that connects" is strictly speaking, a tautology, because there is nothing else to a pattern than its connectivity in the neuronal action of the cognitive system of the observer.

Stafford Beer, in (Sieveking 1974, preface): What after all is order, or something systematic? I suppose it is a pattern, and a pattern has no objective existence anyway. A pattern is a pattern because some one declares a concatenation of items to be meaningful or cohesive. The onus for detecting systems, and for deciding how to describe them, is very much on ourselves. I do not think we can adequately regard a system as a fact of nature, truths about which can be gradually revealed by patient analytical research. A viable system is something we detect and understand when it is mapped into our brains, and I suppose the inevitable result is that our brains themselves actually impose a structure on reality.

It is true that a pattern as Gestalt has no separate reality in the physical world apart from a set of stimuli. That is cogently shown by the Boring flip Gestalt picture [422] where exactly the same set of physical visual stimuli is perceived in two very different ways. Thus the Gestalt must be a production of the cognitive system. But if these Gestalten have no reality in the physical world, they have so much more of a presence in the world of relations, the SEMsphere. [423] They certainly have an effect. Bateson makes a definition of context (1979: 15) " as a pattern through time ". This will be taken as essential platform for the present systematics of the cultural pattern. Patterns persist in time, and in communication, and we wouldn't be able to communicate about patterns (or about anything) if we were not constantly and self-speakingly apply our ability to perceive and understand the patterns of our voiced and written communications (ie. react to them in an intersubjectively coherent manner). The best known cultural pattern by which context arises, is called language, but it is not the only one, and it probably is not the most fundamental one. The SEMsphere is the present term for the most encompassing, the all-embracing, pattern of patterns that generates context. So, the world of intersubjective communication, the SEMsphere, is created by the structural coupling of cognitive systems, and ensures that everything we tell each other is not just a chaotic mumbo-jumbo, but it is meaningful.
->:SEMIOSPHERE, p. 116

Morphology derives from the Greek word morphae: form, gesture, position, pattern. (Rost 1862: 98) . In philosophy, the concept found application in the Aristotelic hylemorphism, and in scholastic usage by Thomas Aquinas as materia and forma (Hoffmeister 1955: 310-311). There exists also a mythological connection to the Greek god of dreams, Morpheus. Mental images of waking life and dreams were considered by the ancient Greeks as productions coming from the same source . Hamilton (1942: 107).
->:FORM_MATTER, p. 246

(Encarta: Morpheus): Morpheus, in Greek mythology, god of dreams, the son of Somnus, god of sleep. Morpheus formed the dreams that came to those asleep. He also represented human beings in dreams.

The term morphology is used in slightly different meanings by different schools of thought. In linguistics, morphology is the study of morphemes -- the minimum meaning-bearing constituents of words.

(Encarta: Linguistics): Morphology is concerned with the units, called morphemes, that carry meaning in a language. These may be word roots (as the English cran-, in cranberry) or individual words (in English, bird, ask, charm); word endings (as the English -s for plural: birds, -ed for past tense: asked, -ing for present participle: charming); prefixes and suffixes (e.g., English pre- , as in preadmission, or -ness, in openness); and even internal alterations indicating such grammatical categories as tense (English sing-sang), number (English mouse-mice), or case.

11.1.1. Goethe's morphology

In the present context, morphology is used in a meaning derived from Goethe, Bateson, and Benedict, which we might call the Gestalt tradition of morphology. Its earlier traces go back to Herder and Vico. (Straube 1990: 168), (Herder 1975: XVI-XVII), Berg (1990: 61). Severi's (1993: 309, 311-315) description of Goethe's idea of morphology shows the similarity with the paticca samuppada principle of Macy, and later on p. 315, he describes how Bateson took up Goethe's idea. Further, on p. 318, he shows how Goethe's work "Farbenlehre" pioneered the application of the Gestalt principle to higher cognitive forms of perception.

Severi (1993: 314): Doch für Goethe ist jeder lebendige Organismus eine Ganzheit, die nicht auf die Summe ihrer Elemente reduziert werden kann... Diese spezifischen Formen, die das Reich des Lebendigen charakterisieren, ändern ihre Gestalten und folgen dabei einer von den Gesetzen der Physik unabhängigen Logik. Diese Logik kann nur von einer systematischen Morphologie enthüllt werden..
Nach Goethe... muß man die Idee, daß jede Ursache ihre bestimmte Wirkung hat, durch die Idee eines wechselseitigen Bedingtheitsverhältnisses mehrerer eine Ganzheit bildender Elemente ersetzen.
(315): Man muß vielmehr die Natur der Beziehungen analysieren, aufgrund derer die Elemente eine Ganzheit bilden.
(318-319): Die "Farbenlehre" ist im Grunde einer der ersten Versuche, die Beeinflussung der Wahrnehmung durch die Tätigkeit des menschlichen Geistes zu studieren... [dann] bedeutet dies für Goethe, daß der menschliche Geist auf spontane Weise eine Form der Organisation der Materie zum Ausdruck bringt. Wir können also etwa, wenn wir die Wahrnehmung einer Landschaft studieren... in dieser das Funktionieren des menschlichen Geistes wiederfinden, wenn wir dabei nur die kausale Betrachtungsweise ausschließen.

Goethe: Morphologie, cit. in Riedl (1987a: 21): Die Erfahrung muß uns vorerst die Theile lehren... und worin die Theile verschieden sind. Die Idee (die Vorstellung) muß über dem Ganzen walten und auf eine genetische (zusammenhängende Weise) das allgemeine Bild abziehen .

Riedl (1995: 114): Goethe... tried to understand the principle underlying his ability to discern pattern.

Riedl (1996c: 105): Morphology: since Goethe (1795), the methodology of comparing Gestalt and to generalize the Typus; the cognitive basis for comparative anatomy, taxonomy and phylogeny.

Riedl (1995a): This year, 200 years have passed since GOETHE focused his attention on the path of discovery the mental/cognitive process which allows us to grasp synthetic concepts in morphology, comparative anatomy and taxonomy, to justify them and to estimate their probability. Since this cognitive and epistomological path has become an indispensable foundation for modern science, we hereby honour the anniversary with a translation and commentary of this treatise. Key words: GOETHE, morphology, typus, comparative anatomy, homology, epistemology. [424]

Goethe's approach was elaborated in the art theory of Wölfflin, and the Gestalt psychology movement, whose founders were Ehrenfels, Wertheimer, Koehler, and Koffka. Severi (1993: 319), Rock (1991: 68), Luchins (1975: 21-44), Koehler (1969), Ertel (1975). These early Gestalt pioneers didn't have the recent neurological knowledge available to their research, but their methods were influential to the later biological and neurological research (Pribram 1975: 161-184), and on later models of neuronal networks (Rock 1991: 75). In the biological sciences, the Gestalt morphology found a main proponent in the work of Riedl who continues the Konrad Lorenz school and its specific branch of evolutionary epistemology (EE). (Riedl 1976-1996c), specific in: Riedl (1987a: 20, 21, 126, 128) and (1995). In the present usage, Gestalt will mean the phenomenal side of a pattern perception process. When a neuronal system interprets a pattern of external stimuli, the recognition configuration that it reaches, will be a Gestalt. And it needs to be noted, this Gestalt is also a pattern of neuronal excitation in the neuronal system.

11.1.2. Structures

Laughlin (1974: 5): As generally formulated, structures are viewed as naive systems. That is, structures are comprised of elements of some sort and the rules of their combination. Structures thus form configurations, the meaning or total impact of which cannot be understood apart from the set of relationships between elements. This is really a restatement of philosophical holism present in Bergson (1907), Whitehead (1929) [425], and later perfected in the general system theory of Bertalanffy (1956-1971, cg. 1968). In this immediate sense the structuralist-functionalist controversy that was waged in anthropology during the first half of this century was also a very lively topic in ancient Greece - Plato's Timaeus certainly may be considered a structuralist document.

The view of structures as formulated by Laughlin serves to illustrate the role of Bertalanffy's (1956-1971) and Whitehead's work in the context of General Systems Theory.

Severi (1993: 312): Struktur ist ein aus interdependenten Faktoren gebildetes Ganzes. Jeder dieser Faktoren hängt von den anderen ab und kann, was er ist, nur durch seine Beziehung mit ihnen sein.

As Severi (1993: 311-315) further points out, the morphological work of Goethe had been influential on the concept of structure as used by Trubezkoi and Jakobson, as well as on the works of Levi-Strauss, Wittgenstein, G. Bateson (1968, 1972, 1979), Piaget, and Frobenius. [426] The usage of the structural principle in the present context seeks a generalization beyond the concept of language to non-verbal cultural transmissions. The Semiosphere [427] encompasses, but extends beyond, the range of verbal language. The structural principle is based on the factor of interrelation that is described in Whitehead's relation principle of society.
->:WHITEHEAD, p. 114

11.1.3. The Kulturmorphologie movement

In the field of cultural studies, Goethe's approach was taken up by Frobenius. Severi (1993: 312), (Haberland 1973: 15-20), and Spengler (1980), whose work "Untergang des Abendlandes" is mostly known for the controversy it generated. (Encarta: Spengler), Straube (1990: 168).

Frobenius (cited in Haberland 1973: 15): Cultural morphology, which endeavours to discover the meaning and the phenomena of culture as such. The data of the three other related disciplines [History, Prehistory, Ethnography] provide its raw material and its aim is to discover the correlations of the building up of human culture as a unity, according to meaning, geographical distribution and chronological order.

Even though the present academic consensus largely rejects the earlier interpretations of the cultural morphology workers as too much tied to their {biologistic / mentalistic / idealistic / romantic / Deutschtümelei} [428] ideas that are not valid any more in the light of present CA knowledge, in the present study the method of the morphological approach is still assumed useful.

(Straube 1990: 168, 169): Sieht man in einer Kultur nicht nur ein Aggregat von Einzelelementen, sondern einen Organismus [wenn auch nicht notwendigerweise im strengen biologischen Sinne (A.G.)], dessen Teile in einem sinnvollen Funktionszusammenhang stehen und sich gegenseitig bedingen, so wird sich die Bedeutung einer einzelnen Kulturgestaltung nur bei Erfassung des gesamtkulturellen Zusammenhanges erschließen... Er bezeichnete dieses wissenschaftliche Bemühen, also die ganzheitliche Betrachtungsweise, die heute eine Selbstverständlichkeit ist, als Kulturmorphologie.

Ruth Benedict recurs in her "Patterns of culture" to the Gestalt psychology movement and Spengler's work (1934: 49-56). In her discussion of Spengler, she makes clear the difference between the principles of his morphological method and his untenable and premature conclusions that derived from a falsely applied biological metaphor of culture

(p. 53) : ...but Spengler's far more valuable and original analysis is that of contrasting configurations in Western civilization.
(p. 55): ... the facts of simpler cultures may make clear social facts that are otherwise baffling and not open to demonstration. This is nowhere more true than in the matter of the fundamental and distinctive cultural configurations that pattern existence and condition the thoughts and emotions of the individuals who participate in those cultures. The whole problem of the formation of the individual's habit-patterns under the influence of traditional custom can best be understood at the present time through the study of simpler peoples.

11.1.4. Connections of Harold Innis and cultural morphology

Harold Innis (1952-1991) was a pioneer of cultural media studies whose work is relevant for the present study. [429] There are several connections between his work style and that of cultural morphology:

Innis (1972: v, Foreword): If Hegel projected a historical pattern of figures minus an existential ground, Harold Innis, in the spirit of the new age of information, sought for patterns in the very ground of history and existence. He saw media, old and new, not as mere vertices at which to direct his point of view, but as living vortices of power creating hidden environments that act abrasively and destructively on older forms of culture.

Innis (1972: vii, Foreword): Innis is unique in having been the first to apply the possibilities of pattern recognition to a wired planet burdened by information overload. Instead of despairing over the proliferation of innumerable specialisms in twentieth-century studies, he simply encompassed them. Whether by reading or by dialogue with his colleagues, he mastered all the structural innovations of thought and action as well as the knowledge of his time.

Innis (1972: ix, Foreword ): That is why Innis carefully watches the changing material conditions of cultures since a reversal of figure-ground relations will put an individualist culture overnight into an extreme bureaucratic or hieratic posture.

Innis (1992: x, Introduction ): This is macro-history on a broad canvas. It freely acknowledges the influence of Oswald Spengler, Arnold Toynbee, and Alfred Kroeber, scholars concerned with understanding the fate of civilizations [430].

11.2. Cultural Patterns: observation, stability, transmission, synchrony and diachrony

Benedict (1934: 223) : The three cultures of Zuñi, of Dobu, and of the Kwakiutl are not merely heterogenous assortments of acts and beliefs... They differ from one another... because they are oriented as wholes in different directions... and these ends and these means of one society cannot be judged in terms of those of another society, because essentially they are incommensurable.
(231-232): It is obvious that the sum of all individuals in Zuñi make up a culture beyond and above what those individuals have willed and created. The group is fed by tradition; it is 'time-binding'. It is quite justifiable to call it an organic whole. It is a necessary consequence of the animism embedded in our language that we speak of such a group as choosing its ends and having specific purposes... These group phenomena must be studied if we are to understand the history of human behaviour, and individual psychology cannot of itself account for the facts with which we are confronted... only history in its widest sense [observation / documentation of cultural patterns in their diachronic extension, A.G.] can give an account... history is by no means a set of facts that can be discovered by introspection.

With the morphological approach and Ruth Benedict's (1934) concept of "Patterns of culture" , the theoretical basis of the cultural memory system will be further elaborated. Patterns are most generally, Gestalten that are perceived in the neuronal system of an observer. To be of cultural relevance, there must be an intersubjective stability of patterns on the side of the observer as well as on the observed. That is, if a pattern is just a subjective hallucination, then it has no intersubjective relevance. Also, the sensory inputs impinging on a neuronal system must not be just a random noise. The intersubjective stability of cultural patterns is insured by the structural coupling of organisms in social systems. This factor, their stability, is what makes the study of cultural patterns possible at all, and justifies their stystematic treatment. Stability shows as diachronic and synchronic extension. If there were no such stability or extension, then again, no observation would be possible. A quotation of Delius supplies those essential traits of observable cultural patterns.

Delius (1989: 26): Culture will be taken to mean ... the ensemble of behavioural traits that characterize specific human groups in the sense that members of such a group at a given period of time tend to hunt with this or that technique, sow seeds in this or that way, adore this or that god, speak this or that dialect, wear this or that dress, greet in this or that manner, build this or that kind of housing, cultivate this or that kind of music, respect this or that institution and so forth. Furthermore, it will be understood that the behavioural traits that constitute a culture are passed on among the members of the population by individuals taking them over from other individuals. The transmission of cultural items occurs through learning by observation of others, by imitation, through instruction, through tradition. The transmission may be direct or may involve intermediaries such as letters, newspapers, advertisements, books, records, videotapes, radio, television. Behavioural traits that are transmitted from parents to children by biological inheritance, such as the coordination patterns of suckling, crying, smiling, sleeping and the organic bounds of perceptual, cognitive and motor capacities of individuals, are thus not part of culture... Thus culture does not include traits that are innate or that are learned individually but only those that are learned from others, directly or through media.

Culture is not inherited through genes, but the genetic endowment of the human sets the constraints to what can be acquired by learning from other human beings and what can be re- or creativly new-produced. Wilson (1978: 21):

In a sense, human genes have surrendered their primacy in human evolution to an entirely new nonbiological or superorganic agent, culture. However, it should not be forgotten that this agent is entirely dependent on the human genotype.

Mühlmann (1996: 112) [431]: Kultur ist eine Transmissionsdynamik. Merkmale werden innerhalb einer Generation und von einer Generation auf die nächste übertragen.

Clarke (1978, 84): ...every attribute on an artefact is equivalent to a fossilized action, every artefact is a solidified sequence of actions or activities, and whole assemblages of artefacts are tantamount to whole patterns of behaviour... then we can understand artefacts as simply 'solid' behavior...

To be observable, and to class as cultural patterns, and not as individual idiosyncrasies, there must be a measure of constancy of reproduction of behavior instances. The factors in cultural pattern reproduction involve
1) the facilities of the human agent, especially memory, and possibly
2) external storage, and
3) transmission.

ad 1) Cultural pattern reproduction is done by the human agent. The prime factor for reproduction is in the structures of the human memory , and, to allow action on the environment, to make memory content intersubjectively experienceable, the human body as expressive device. This is also called the somatic aspect of cultural pattern reproduction.

ad 2) A secondary storage factor is to be found in (some of) the material and biological elements of the cultural environment. This may be called the extrasomatic, artefacts, or technological aspect of cultural pattern reproduction. This is elaborated further elsewhere.
->:CMM_TYPOLOGY, p. 140

ad 3) Transmission of cultural patterns is effected by direct human communication and (trans-) action, and indirectly, through media and artefacts.

The life patterns, and life habits, the behaviors, creeds, and the forms of the artefacts of peoples of specific human cultures on the planet Earth preserve a certain degree of constancy even while the generations come and go. In some cases, cultural patterns change very profoundly and very rapidly during the lifetime of one generation, such as fads and fashions, or mass conversions. (Bee 1974: 12, 186). A primary cause for rapid cultural change is a disruption resulting from confrontation with external cultural influences, like invasion or colonization by people from another culture. (For example the colonization of the Americas which changed the cultural patterns of the Amerind people profoundly, or the post- world-war-II cultural turnabout in Germany and Japan.). Leclerc (1973), Said (1979, 1994). Cultural change is the inverse of cultural pattern stability. Bee (1974: 9-11) gives a discussion of the problematics by which factors and criteria to discern cultural change, factors that are as much observational as they are attributable to some "objective" data of a society observed.

The most remarkable and most problematic factor for observation of the diachronic extension of cultural patterns is that many of them extend beyond the life span of individuals. How are long-lasting, slowly changing, cultural patterns observed at all? The diachronic extension of cultural patterns can be indefinitely large, spanning many millennia, as in the case of languages and religions. To objectively observe and study their diachronic extension, one would need to be in the position of an (quasi-) immortal "Extraterrestrial Observer", [432] since within the lifetime of one human being, only partial views of the long-time cultural pattern process are available. Therefore the recognition and classification of such patterns depends on the cultural memory itself, but cultural memory consists of transmission of cultural patterns, and so the whole task of the study of cultural pattern is self-referential.

11.2.1. The Collective Cultural Memory and the Cultural Pattern Replicator

In addition to the biological construction and the facilities of the body, the expressive and impressive facilities of the human being are provided by the framework of cultural pattern templates available in a specific culture. Cultural patterns are those standardized forms of behaviors and artefacts that serve as the cultural memory framework for the individual humans, as contradistinct from the contents of human memories, which are {dependent on / expressions of} individual experiences and dispositions.

Eco in (<. Eco in (BB:Lotman 1990: xi): ... led Lotman to ... see that culture as a set of texts and a non-hereditary collective memory

Dudley (1991: 80), Society has value to the individual primarily as a means of obtaining, storing, and transmitting information.

It is possible to view the unfolding cultural process from the different positions centered at the end of the individual, or at the society. This gives rise to a possible antagonism between the aspects of determination (of the individual) by the existant biological and cultural structures, versus aspects of individual freedom and creativity. Ruth Benedict declares this is as virtual:

Benedict (1934: 251-252): There is no proper antagonism between the role of society and that of the individual. One of the most misleading misconceptions due to this nineteenth-century dualism was the idea that what was subtracted from society was added to the individual and what was subtracted from the individual was added to society... The quarrel in anthropological theory between the importance of the culture pattern and of the individual is only a small ripple from this fundamental conception of the nature of society.
In reality, society and the individual are not antagonists. His culture provides the raw material of which the individual makes his life... Every private interest of every man and woman is served by the environment of the traditional stores of his civilization...
The man in the street still thinks in terms of a necessary antagonism between society and the individual. In large measure this is because in our civilization the regulative activities of society are singled out, and we tend to identify society with the restrictions the law imposes on us... Society is only incidentally and in certain situations regulative, and law is not equivalent to the social order. In the simpler homogenous cultures collective habit or custom may quite supersede the necessity for any development of formal legal authority.

Since all human activities take place within the context of the social system, so is also the study of cultural patterns itself an application case of structural coupling in social systems. Cultural patterns are replicated from the memory of the people, and conversely, the collective repertoire of all their cultural achievements, their cultural facilities, their techniques and crafts, are the collective cultural memory , on which each new generation builds their world anew. We can thus view the two aspects of:
1) cultural pattern and
2) cultural memory
as complementary images, or aspects of the same phenomenon, like the two possible aspects of the Boring women Gestalt picture shown above. [433] Thus the Cultural Memory System CMS can be also viewed as a Cultural Pattern Replication System that is based on the structural coupling of self-organizing biological organisms (the humans), which forms itself a self-replicating, auto-poietic, quasi-living, self-organizing system.
->:CMS_DEF, p. 139

The morphological principle of pattern perception, maintenance, stability, and replication, applies to the neuronal networks active in the brains of observers as much as in the connection networks between individuals of an abstract society. The pattern laws are equivalent for neuronal as well as cultural networks, since the agents of culture are (neuronal networks active in the brains of) humans, and all events and data of the cultural world must in some way be reflected in the human brain and acted / re-acted upon through structural coupling of many brains. By this we are able to apply the morphological principles of pattern laws to any networks whatsoever, to treat any (non-human) "social" phenomena as abstract pattern propagation processes, for example networks of physical nature, as already Whitehead and Vernadsky have presented. The structural laws of such pattern processes are the laws of the SEMsphere.

11.2.2. The Entity-Relation-Transaction triad

The following will be an elaboration of the systematics of metapatterns. For this we will recur to the principle of paticca samuppada . We will supply a general logical structure of cognitive dynamics models that generalizes the paticca samuppada principle and sets it in a logical relation to the other known philosophical a priori principles of fundamental perceptual orientation. The following is based on Goppold (1998). In a prior section above, Whitehead's view of the world as system of 'societies' was described. [434] It had been stated that his notion of 'society' is not that of a human society . This is now generalized and brought to an abstract formulation:

Goppold (1998: 1): Society is defined in this context as a generic term for a " relation and transaction system between agents ". An agent is an acting entity as described in Salthe (1993, p. 159). A transaction is defined as a process between agents involving a energy/matter exchange. Transactions can only occur along the path of a physical relation. This definition makes society functionally equivalent to a thermodynamically open system of dissipative flow, regardless of whether the constituent members are human, organic, or purely physical, like for example a turbulent flow in a hurricane. "Biological systems are only more complicated because of their relative stability, achieved through genetic information - we are especially stable dissipative structures" (Salthe, 1992). J. Barham (1996, p. 238) notes another vital difference: "One of the chief properties distinguishing biological systems from inorganic ones is their limited autonomy from local energy potentials... by actively seeking out more favorable conditions."

Goppold (1998: 2): One of the fundamental analytical aspects concerns the archetypal notion of state and of separated (external) dynamical laws, so entrenched in natural science; it appears particularly at odds with "the fluid nature of life" (Marijuán (1997) and Introduction to this Issue). Whitehead in his philosophy of process was the main contemporary philosophical proponent of the issue. Whitehead (1957, p. 27): "...the actual world is a process, and ... the process is the becoming of actual entities."
->:WHITEHEAD, p. 114.

Goppold (1998: 2): Interestingly, a sideways glance to another region of the planet shows us that at the same time, when the Greeks laid down the ontology of the western world, an ontology of process and relation sprung into existence with the "pratitya samutpada" (paticca-samuppada in Pali) as it was laid down in the teachings of the Buddha.

Goppold (1998: 2): Peirce has described the ontological categories of Firstness, Secondness, and Thirdness as "a table of conceptions drawn from the logical analysis of thought and regarded as applicable to being". (Peirce, 1958, CP 1.301-1.353). An essential characteristic of category is its non-conversibility (with other categories), or as it will be called further down, its mono-contexturality. The examples of entity, process, and relation, give a primary triadic categorization of being (i.e. a many-valued ontology)... As the discussions between the Parmenides and Heraklit schools show, anything in the world can be perceived either as state (entity) or in flow (process), and it was noted in the beginning (and by the Buddhist philosophy), that the world can also be perceived as a system of relations, thus showing that non-entity oriented systems of ontology are entirely feasible, and whole civilizations have been built on these foundations. The design of the holon as given by Ian Smuts and Arthur Koestler corresponds closely to the positioning of entity as ontological category.

11.2.3. The morphology of metapatterns: the triad of Entity-Relation-Transaction

The above statements can now be condensed and lead to a three-fold Gestalt flip of cognitive dynamics. This is here called the morphology of metapatterns, the ERT: {entity / substance}, relation, {transaction / transition / process} . The morphology of metapatterns is the logical ordering by which patterns of patterns arise.
->:MORPHOLOGY, p. 128

The cognitive dynamics can take three forms of metapatterns:

1) by Parmenides and Zeno, we can entertain a fundamental cognitive model based on {static entities / unchanging substances / persistent objects / eternal, immutable ideas}.

2) by Heraklit, we can entertain a fundamental cognitive model based on { process / transaction / transition }

3) by the Buddha, we can entertain a fundamental cognitive model based on { paticca samuppada / inter-relation / inter-causality}.

On reflection of these metapatterns, a Gestalt flip of the cognitive dynamics can occur, called metanoia. The ability to perform a metanoia, leads to the formation of the next level of metapatterns, ie. reflexions upon reflexion. A still further level is to reflect on the form of the changes of reflexions.

Cyrill von Korvin-krasinski, a researcher who sought to overcome the dualism of the western mentality, saw the potential of the Christian idea of the Holy Trinity which was never used by its philosophy. He wrote in "Trina Mundi Machina" (Korvin-krasinski 1986):

Korvin-krasinski (1986: 51) Ein Vertreter der indisch-tibetischen Lebensanschauung sagte mir einmal: "Ihr Christen habt in Eurer Religion einen geoffenbarten Gott, die Hl. Dreifaltigkeit; und in Eurer Philosophie betreibt ihr nur die dualistische Spekulation des Aristoteles. Eure Philosophie ist kein Abglanz der Trinität! Wir Asiaten dagegen kennen oft keinen persönlichen Gott, noch weniger kennen wir die Göttliche Trinität der Christen, aber unser Welt- und Menschenbild, unsere ganze Spekulation ist triadisch aufgebaut. So eignet sich unsere asiatische triadische Spekulation anscheinend viel besser für die Auslegung Eurer trinitären Religion, als Eure eigene dualistische Philosophie!"

11.3. Cultural patterns as immortality complexes

Dennett (1990) points out one essential property of cultural patterns (which he calls memes) [435]: they are potentially immortal.

Dennett (1990): Memes, like genes, are potentially immortal, but, like genes, they depend on the existence of a continuous chain of physical vehicles, persisting in the face of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. [material carriers]... tend to dissolve in time. As with genes, immortality is more a matter of replication than of the longevity of individual vehicles... Brute physical replication of vehicles is not enough to ensure meme longevity... for the time being, memes still depend at least indirectly on one or more of their vehicles... a human mind.

(Wright 1994: 157): The only potentially immortal inorganic entity is a gene (or, strictly speaking, the pattern of information encoded in the gene, since the physical gene itself will pass away after conveying the pattern through replication).

In the present study, cultural patterns are said to form immortality complexes . Cultural patterns share this property with the genetic patterns of the DNA molecules, which Dawkins (1976) had therefore awarded the attribute "The Selfish Gene". Whether such a character trait can at all be attributed to some otherwise quite harmless strings of nucleotic acid, is a discussion for which this is not the place. The observation is indeed, that the patterns of life forms have enjoyed a fairly good constancy as long as our cultural memory will attest to (the rhinocerosses, antelopes, bisons and horses in Altamira and other caves look pretty much the same as they do now) (Anati 1991), and what comparisons of fossil bones with those of presently living species can tell us.

Within the cultural memory of humanity, we can also conclude, that certain cultural patterns have endured for a very long time indeed: The Australian Aboriginal rituals, which are, to the claim of the Aboriginals themselves, tens of thousands of years old (Strehlow 1947-1971), and the rites of the major religions of the world that are one to several thousand years old, the Vedic and Parsee: Staal (1982), (1986), (1989), the Jewish: Assmann (1992: 196-255), and the Christian (Encarta: Christianity), and Islam (Encarta: Islam, Muhammad). And, as we see from the example of ritual, these patterns depend in their transmission from the past into the future on the humans to perform (enlive) them. A central aspect of cultural memory could be characterized as: CM is that of the personal memories which doesn't die with the person who is dying .[436] Since cultural patterns are also the cultural memory, we thus come to the pact or bargain (pistis) that is being struck between the mortal humans as living agents in the transmission of the (potentially) immortal patterns: the humans can gain a piece of that immortality for themselves. In this way, we can re-interpret the significance of those very old and venerable rituals that the most long-lived traditions of humanity have upheld during all those millennia. To be a transmitter of cultural patterns is a virtual equivalent of an "Alternative to the immortality of the Soul".

[421] ->:PATICCA_SAMUPPADA, p. 120
[422] ->:BORING_WOMEN, p. 123
[423] ->:SEMIOSPHERE, p. 116
[424] Rupert Riedl (1995): "Goethe and the Path of Discovery: An Anniversary". (URL)
[425] In the bibliograpy referenced under the Free Press edition date (1969). See also: ->:WHITEHEAD, p. 114.
[426] ->:GOETHE_MORPHOLOGY, p. 129
[427] ->:SEMIOSPHERE, p. 116
[428] Erdheim (1984: 10): "Unbehagen über eine Ethnologie wie die von Frobenius, die die 'Seele des Negers' verstehen wollte."
[429] ->:LIT_CULTMEDIA, p. 140, ->:TECHNO_FACTOR, p. 155, ->:INNIS_SPACETIME, p. 244,
[430] Also: Innis (1972: 1, 3).
[431] (URL)
[432] ->:EXTRA_OBSERVER, p. 113
[433] ->:BORING_WOMEN, p. 123
[434] ->:WHITEHEAD, p. 114
[435] ->:MEMETICS, p. 248
[436] ->:IMMORTAL_SOUL, p. 243

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