Posts Tagged ‘worldviews’

About (Software) Quality

Tuesday, January 20th, 2009

When I attended the University of Leiden Software-Development was in its infancy. In 1969 just a few people were programming for the simple reason that the amount of computers was very low. It took a lot of time (many weeks), intelligence and perseverance to create a small working software-program.

At that time the effect of a software-program on other people was very low. Software-programs were used by the programmers themselves to solve their own problems.

When User-Interfaces, Databases and Telecommunication appeared it became possible to create software for Many Non-Programmers, Users. The software-systems got bigger and programmers had to cooperate with other programmers.

When the step from One-to-Many was made in the process of software-development and exploitation, Software-Quality became on very important issue.

What is Software?

A Software-program is a sequence of sentences written in a computer-language. When you speak and write you use a natural language. When you write a computer program you use an artificial, designed, language.

The difference between natural and artificial languages is small. Esperanto is a constructed language that became a natural language. Perhaps all the natural languages were constructed in the past.

Software programs are very detailed prescriptions of something a computer has to do. The specifications of a software-program are written in a natural language (Pseudo-Code, Use-Case).

To create Software we have to transform Natural Language into Structured Language. The big problem is that Natural Language is a Rich Language. It not only contains Structural components but is also contains Emotional (Values), Imaginative ((Visual) Metaphors) and Sensual Components (Facts). The most expressive human language is Speech.

In this case the Tonality of the Voice and the Body Language also contains a lot of information about the Sender. When you want to create Software you have to remove the Emotional, Imaginative and Sensual components out of Human Language.

What is Quality?

According to the International Standards Organization (ISO), Quality is “the degree to which a set of inherent characteristics fulfills requirements“. According to the ISO the quality of a software-program is the degree in which the software-coding is in agreement with its specification.

Because a specification is written in natural language, Quality has to do with the precision of the transformation of one language (the natural) to another language (the constructed).

According to Six Sigma Quality is the number of defects of an implementation of the specification of the software.

Another view on Quality is called Fitness for Use. It is this case Quality is “what the Customer wants” or “What the Customer is willing to pay for“.

If you look carefully at all the Views on Quality, the Four World Views of Will McWhinney appear.

Six Sigma is the Sensory View on Quality (Facts), ISO is the Unity View on Software (Procedures, Laws, Rules) and Fitness for Use is the Social View on Quality (Stakeholders).

The last worldview of McWhinney, the Mythic, the View of the Artist, is represented by the Aesthetical view on Quality. Something is of high quality when it is Beautiful.

The Four Perspectives of McWhinney look at something we name “Quality”. We can specify the concept “Quality” by combining the Four definitions or we can try to find out what is behind “the Four Views on Quality”.

The Architect Christopher Alexander wrote many books about Quality. Interesting enough he named the “Quality” behind the Four Perspectives the “Quality without a Name“. Later in his life he defined this Quality, the “Force of Life“.

What Happened?

In the beginning of software-development the Artists, the Mythics, created software. Creating high quality software was a craft and a real challenge. To create, a programmer had to overcome a high resistance.

The “creative” programmers solved many problems and shared their solutions. Software-development changed from an Art into a Practice. The Many Different Practices were Standardized and United into one Method. The Method made it possible for many people to “learn the trade of programming”.

When an Art turns into a Method, the Aesthetic, the Quality that Has No Name, Life Itself, disappears. The Controller, Quality Management (ISO), has tried to solve this problem and has given many names to the Quality without a Name. Many Aspects of Software Quality are now standardized and programmed into software.


It is impossible to Program the Social Emotions and the Mythic Imagination.


Software developers don’t use Methods and Standards because deep within they are Artists. The big difference is that they don’t solve their own problems anymore. They solve the problems of the users that are interviewed by the designers.


The Users don’t want the Designers to tell the Programmers to create something they want to create themselves (the Not-Invented Here Syndrome). They also don’t know what the programmers, instructed by the designers will create, so they wait until the programmers are finished and tell them that they want something else.

What Went Wrong?

The first Computer, the Analytical Engine of Charles Babbage, contained four parts called the Mill (the Central Processing Unit, the Operating System), the Store (the database), the Reader, and the Printer. The Analytical Engine and his successors were based on the Concept of the Factory. In a Factory the Users, the Workers, The Slaves, have to do what the Masters, the Programmers, tell them to do.

A part of the Analytic Engine of Charles Babbage

The Scientists modeled successful programmers but they forgot to model one thing, the Context. At the time the old fashioned programming artists were active, software was made to support the programmer himself. The programmer was the User of his Own software-program.

At this moment the Factory is an “old-fashioned” concept. In the Fifties the Slaves started to transform into Individuals but the Factory-Computer and the Practices of the Old Fashioned Programmers were not abandoned.

To cope with the rising power of the Individual the old methods were adopted but the old paradigm of the Slave was not removed. The Slave became a Stakeholder but his main role is to act Emotionally. He has the power to “Like or to Dislike” or “To Buy or not to Buy”.

The big Mistake was to believe that it is possible to program Individuals.

What To Do?

The Four Worldviews of Quality Move Around Life Itself.

According to Mikhail Bakhtin Life Itself is destroyed by the Process of Coding (“A code is a deliberately established, killed context“).

When you want to make software you have to keep Life Alive.

The Paradigm-Shift you have to make is not very difficult. Individual Programmers want to make Software for Themselves so Individual Users want to Do the Same!

At this moment the Computer is not a tool to manage a factory anymore. It has become a Personal tool.

It is not very difficult to give individuals that Play the Role of Employee tools to Solve their own Problems.

When they have solved their own problems they will Share the Solutions with other users.

If this happens their activities will change from an Individual Act of Creation into a Shared Practice.

If People Share their Problems and Solutions, their Joy and their Sorrow, they Experience the Spirit,  the Force of Life, the Quality that has no Name.


How to Analyze a Context

About the Human Measure

About the Autistic Computer

About the Worldviews of Will McWhinney

About Christopher Alexander

About Computer Languages

About Mikhail Bahtin

About Ontologies

About Model Driven Software Development

About the Illusion of Cooperation

About the Analytic Engine of Charles Babbage

About the Analytic Engine of Thomas Fowler

About Human Scale Tools

About Old-Fashioned Programming

About the Human Measure

Thursday, January 8th, 2009

A few years ago (2003) somebody asked me to address the Dutch IT Architecture Congress. The subject was the Human Measure. To understand the Human Measure you have understand the relationship between the Human Being and The Human Measure System, The Emotions.

At that time I was already highly influenced by Will McWhinney so I used his model of the Four Worldviews to describe the Human. Later I discovered a Fifth Worldview (Consciousness) that was hidden in his teachings.

The consciousness is the monitor of the Whole of the Human Being. It reflects about the behavior of the parts and takes action when the Whole is not in Balance (Stressed).

According to Will McWhinney the Human can be described by The Emotions (Values), The Imagination (Ideas), The Senses (Desire, Facts) and the Expectation (Control, Rules).

The Four parts can be combined in six (or twelve = 4x3x2) Games. A Game is a strategy to solve the Conflict between the Four Independent Parts.

To me it is very clear that IT is focused on the combination Expectation/Senses. This combination is called the Analytical Game. It solves the Conflict between Facts and Rules. Will showed that this game was the dominating game in Western Culture.

In the Analytical Game the Emotions, the Consciousness and the Imagination are not important. In the Analytical Game you want to find the Absolute Truth, The Rules of the Game, by Analyzing the Facts sensed by the Eyes.

When you want to understand the Emotions you have to look at “emotional” Psychology. When you start to study “emotional” psychology the “box of Pandora” of Psychology opens up. Psychology is not a science like Mathematics or Physics. Everybody has his own theory about Emotions and everybody is defending his own “territory”. Psychology is simply a scientific mess.

One of the most helpful scientists (a friend of Will) was Rodney Cotterill. Cotteril analyzed the evolution of the Sensory-Motor System of every Organism on Earth. The Sensory-Motor System is an Interaction between the Emotions, the Motor, and the Senses.

The bacteria is drifting around, explores an inhomogeneous environment that contains all kinds of chemical structures. Some of these structures are destructive, some of them are neutral and some of them are attractive (food). When the bacteria finds (senses) food his rotator (the flagellum) moves the bacteria in a circular motion. The circular motion of the bacteria is preserved for a short time and this preservation could be called memory

The emotions are aimed at the survival of the human being. They Explore environments to find something that helps them to survive and Avoid destructive environments. When Humans have found an Attractive environment they Stay there and Store the data about the environment in their Memory. Humans are Moving Memories (E-motion means movement!).

According to Rodney Cotterill the Emotions are the basic structure, the infrastructure, of an organism. All the other structures are specializations of one of the parts (the Sensors, the Calculator (Imagination, Expectation)) of the Emotional Infrastructure.

IT is highly focused on Sensors and Calculators (the Senses and the Expectation). IT has no idea what to do with the Emotions, the E-Value-ator, the basic Measurement System of the Human Being. The main objective of the Evaluator is to find Food and to stay Alive.

The Human Imagination has created many “abstractions” of Food and Secure Environments. They are all stored in the Memory as Symbols and Metaphors but it is not difficult to define what Humans don’t like. They don’t like the same thing IT-experts don’t like. IT-experts want to be Valued. They don’t want to be Dominated. They demand the freedom to Express their Creativity. They don’t want to play a role in a Play that was Designed by somebody else.

IT-experts love to play the Analytical Game. In this Game the Humans, called the Users play the role of the Object, the reusable Module, that has to do its Job. In the Analytic Game Users don’t have Emotions and Imagination. They have to Eat the Food that grew out of The Seeds of the Imagination of the Architect.

What is the Human Measure?

The basic measure of the Human Being is related to everything that gives him or her a feeling, an Emotion, of Security. The Human Value-System, the Emotions, is always looking for Shelter, Protection and Love. Humans Beings need other Human Beings to tell and show them that they are Value-able.

If the Human Being has an Expectation this Expectation has to be realized in the near Future.

When the Emotions of the Human Being are Dominated it wants to move away from his environment because a dominating environment could be Destructive. When something or somebody is Dominating a Human Being he/she feels worthless.

If the Imagination of the Human Being experiences No Change, (Highly Repeating Actions) it wants to Explore a new Environment.

If the Senses experience Too Much Change the Human Being becomes Confused. When you are Confused your Expectation fails and the Human starts to drift around just like the bacteria.

If the Human Being is not Conscious (Aware, Focused) it is unable to Reflect. If the Human Being is not Aware he is unable to Balance the Emotions, the Imagination, The Expectation and the Senses. If there is no balance the Body becomes Stressed. A Stressed Body slowly kills the Immune System. An Unbalanced Immune System is the Cause of many Diseases.

What is IT Doing?

IT is still creating Dominating, Always Changing, Insecure and Confusing Software.

IT is not automating the repeating activities Humans don’t like. IT is producing highly disconnected software-systems.

IT is not helping the Humans to makes senses of the complexity of the Outside World. IT is increasing the Complexity of the Environment.

IT is not supporting the Human to explore its environment. IT is shielding the outside environment and is creating an artificial outside environment. Many people believe the Imaginary World is the Real World. The most destructive artificial worlds are the Destructive Computer Games. They give the Player the Believe that Killing People is no problem at all. The destructive Games are the Games of the Military. They kill people by looking at simulators and pushing buttons.

IT is Playing the Same Game using Different Terminology all the time. If you understand the transformation of the terminology the Game is Boring. If you don’t understand the terminology the Game is Confusing. If you Mix the Terminology the Game is too Complex to Play. Almost nobody knows the Rules so many People make mistakes, believe they win the Game but in reality lose the Game.

What to do?

Perhaps somebody is able to Invent a New Game.

I have an Idea.

Why don’t we create a Game that Creates Games? According to the Theory of Will this Game is called the Game of Culture. It solves the conflict between The Imagination (The Creator) and the Emotions (The Mover). When the Mover is Inspired by the Creator the Sensory/Motor-System starts to Act with Spirit (Imagination) and Soul (Emotions). In terms of Emotional Psychology: The Human becomes Highly Moti-vated!

If we look at the theory of Will we now can see that the Analytical Game is the Complement of the Game of Culture.

If we Unite the two Games, the Games of the West and the Games of the East, we are able to connect all the parts of the Human Being in a Cycle, the Cycle of Human Innovation.

About Ontology

Tuesday, August 12th, 2008

magic chaldrounMetaphysics is a theory of being in itself, of the essence of things, of the fundamental principles of existence and reality.

A major part of Metaphysics is concerned with the Static Part of the Reality, Being (Ontos, Ontology). The main issues of Metaphysics can be simply derived by playing with the verb to-be.

Behind Ontology (Being) is the verb to Be. The noun Being is-a-State-of to Be. When we take the first-derative, the difference of Being, Being becomes Becoming.

When you apply Causal Reasoning you have to find out Who is the Cause of the change of Being to Becoming. You also have to find out how a Static System changes into a Dynamic System.

A solution is to Imagine an Ultimate Being (The Absolute) who changed his Being into Becoming. This Absolute Being is the One. The change from the Static to the Dynamic is called Creation.

There are two possibilities. The Creator is Outside the Becoming or the Being is part of the Becoming. In the first case we are talking about an Ultimate Being, God, the Void, who is the creator of the Dynamic System.  In the second case God IS the Dynamic System. Let’s call this Being “All That Is“.

The Difference between God and “All That Is” is the way the Act of Creation takes place. The Act of Creation of God is an Explosion, a Unique Act. The Act of Creation of “All That is” is an enfolding. Creation as an Enfolding moves slowly. Every new Expressions of the Unfolding show itself at the Right Time and the Right Moment.

The distinction between Being and Becoming has resulted in a major Fight on every Scientific Battleground we can imagine.

Let’s have a short look at Information Technology.

Data-oriented methodologies emphasize the representation of the Static relationships between the parts of the whole, the Data or the Database. On the other hand, process-oriented methodologies emphasize the actions Performed By a software artifact, a Program.

When we dig a little deeper into this subject we see that A Program (something written in a Programming Language) is a Static (Stored) Representation of a Process. When the Computer Executes a Program it Becomes a Process.

So the Dynamic is Stored in the Static and the Static becomes Dynamic because something called a Computer (An Actor, the Operating System) activates the Static. Interesting Enough the Computer is also a Program that is stored in itself. The basic part of the Computer is the Clock. The Clock generates a Rhythm.

So the Static is really a Dynamic and the Essence (The Metaphysics) of the Computer is a Clock, A Rhythm.

The Dynamic Structure of the Computer is an Enfolding of the Basic Structure of the Computer Itself which is Stored in Itself, which is a Rhythm. During the Rhythm the Computer moves through a Cycle.

I don’t want to dig deeper but I hope you see that the Computer Metaphor is a representation of the idea of “All What Is”.

The interesting point is that in the Reality of the Computer Metaphor there are Many Beings (Monads).

If we dig a little deeper we see that the Many Beings Communicate (by the Internet Protocol). They Unite on a deeper Level and transform into a Network. The Network is What it Is.

To a Human Observer the Network makes no Sense. We are unable to understand the essence (The Metaphysics) of the Network. We understand our Part but don’t see the Whole.

The Whole, the One, is beyond our Understanding. It is Unknowable (“neti neti“, “not this, not that“).

Language is a Static Representation of the Dynamics of Speech. A Human executes Language to perform the Process of Speech but Speech is not captured by Language. Human Speech is constantly adapting to Practice and Language is adapting to Practice. New (Computer) Languages are created all the time.

A Computer Language is a sub-set of Human Languages called Logic. Logic is a sub-set of Human Speech called Reasoning but Reasoning is not able to Understand the Whole.

Theory is a Static Representation of the Dynamics of Practice. A Human executes a Theory to perform the Process of Practicing. But Practice is not able to Understand the Whole so When a Practice fails we create a new Theory. Theory is adapted Practice and Practice is applied Theory. Being is adapted Becoming.

Being changes in Time because we are Experiencing (Being (t) = Being (t-1) + Experience). Experience is the Difference of Being is Becoming. The Becoming who is The One is generating Experience.

God is the Experience of God.

roseAs You see it is possible to create many concepts and theories of Metaphysics just by Playing with the Verb To Be.

There is one more Language Game to Play. If we Play this Game we are entering the World of Deleuze.

Deleuze was fascinated by the Mathematician and Philosopher Leibniz. Leibniz invented a new Mathematical Game called Differentials. When you calculate a differential you calculate the way a function is changing in time.

Leibniz found a way to move from being to becoming and his formula is very easy. Becoming = Lim (t -> 0) (Being (t+1)-Being (t)). Find the smallest distance between two moments of Being. The smallest distance between two Beings is an Event.

The basis Structure of our Reality is not a Substance (The Static) but something that Moves Us (Emotion). The basic Structure of our Universe are Moments, Nows.

We are Points of View that are Experiencing a Beautifull Fluent Crystal, a HyperDiamond. Every Point of the Multi Dimensional Diamond is an Event.

 We are trying to explain the Beauty of this Crystal to the other Points of View but we are unable to do this because we are only able to see a very small part and we are looking from our own angle.

 We will never See the Whole until we are able to become a Circular Point of View, A Communion.


A Website about Ontology

About Events, Time, Being and Becoming in Physics

About Leibniz and Differentials

The Relationship between Events and Free Will

Deleuze and Events

Why the Universe is a Configuration of Nows

 About Spinoza, The Philosopher of the Emotion

About the Relationship between Events and Creativity, the Ontology of Deleuze



Why Weapons are Unable to Enforce Peace or How We Create our own Enemies

Sunday, September 23rd, 2007

You don’t need to be a scientist to understand that hostile behavior always attracts hostile behavior. So if you want to Enforce Peace with Violence you will always attract Violence.

Perhaps if you could eliminate the Cause of Violence it would be possible to stop the Violence.

If you could eliminate Saddam Hussein or Adolph Hitler you end it all. Sadly enough those people are not the only cause of the violence. They are the Symbol of Something that is creating the violence. Behind those people are other people who support the Leader, the Followers.

They support the Leader because they believe in his cause or they support the Leader because they are afraid to show that they don’t agree with what he is doing. There are also people who don’t do anything (the Silent Majority). They “Wait and See”.

If you eliminate the supporters of the Leader (The Taliban, The Nazi’s) the Others will stop the Violence and Peace will come.

If you use extreme violent weapons you will always make a mistake. Sadly enough you will always kill innocent people. Because of the first rule some of them will be attracted by hostile behavior and join the followers.

When Extreme Violent Weapons are used a small amount of violent people is able to destroy many people. This is called A-Symmetric Warfare.

If the Enemy looks like “a normal person” they are able to do what they want. If you want to stop the violence of people that look like a normal person you have to suspect everybody is a violent person. This will increase the amount of mistakes and because of the first rule it will attract hostile behavior.

When Extreme Violence is used a new Level of the Human is opened the Level of the Reptile. The Human starts to react with violence but he is not able to control this actions anymore. He is dissociated. Dissociations can stay for many years. You can observe Dissociation when you have a look at the Eyes of People. They Stare.

I hope you see the problem. Every time you kill a follower with Extreme Violence a new follower will take his place. The violence will never stop.

Is there Solution to this Problem?

When people of two different World Views meet they are unable to understand the Other.

When they don’t start a dialogue the mis-understanding will lead to a conflict. The conflict can be resolved when they generate Ideas, Act and Learn from their Mistakes. They start to Innovate.

To do this we need two World Views, Mythic (Ideas, Artists) and Sensory (Act, Sense, Facts).

The World View Unity (Rules, Control) is always blocking Innovation because Innovation leads to Chaos.

A person is mentally ill when he is only able to handle one World View (Interpersonal Theory). A mentally disabled Unity is called a Paranoid. If we observe people like Hitler or Saddam Hussein I think many of you will admit that they were Paranoid.

The Social World View is Easy to manipulate by a Paranoid. They are influenced by Status and always “Do What others Do”.

Soldiers in the Western Armies are recruited from two categories Social and Unity. The Unity is trained to become a Manager. They always obey the Rules. The Socials are trained to become Soldiers. They will always do what the Managers are telling them to do. They can be easily forced by Status and Violence.

What we need to solve a conflict are Mythics and Sensories. Both of them almost never join an Army. They are not violent and it is also very difficult to get them into a violent state.

To build a bridge to the Unities we need the Unity/Mythic or the Unity/Sensory-combination.

A Unity/Mythic (Transform Ideas into Models) is an Architect, A Designer. A Unity/Sensory (Put Models into Action) is A Maker, A Builder. A Mythic/Sensory (Put Ideas into Practice) is an Entrepreneur and An Inventor.

So a Conflict is solved when people start to Build and to Trade in the Social Ecology, The Context, where the Conflict Takes Place. When People build and trade the context moves to new levels of Culture by itself. This what happened in Western Civilization. It took about a 1000 years to move from the level of the War Lords to the level of the State.

A Conflict Never Stops when “the Context is Killed” (Bahktin) by Extreme Violent Weapons. People are able to rebuild their environment but when the environment is totally demolished this is a very complicated process. The US created a special program (The Marshall Program) to help Europe after the Second World War. It took more than 20 years to rebuild Europe.

Unity People really believe (!) Violent Weapons will end a Conflict. They believe this because their World View is aimed at Controlling Others.

Unity People also believe in catagories. They believe in the Good and the Bad. Sadly enough the Bad believe they are the Good and vice-versa. Both of them will endlessly go on fighting each other. This is not a real problem. The real problem is that the Unities make mistakes. They kill innocent people (Collateral Damage). Unities don’t believe in Mistakes. They believe they are always Right. They believe in the Absolute Truth.

They also believe they are able to develop new weapons that reduce Collateral Damage. That is why the Arms Race goes on and on.

When the War Lord were in power battles were fought at the battlefield at a certain time and a certain date. Soldiers wore uniforms so everybody could see “who’s who”. Most of the weapons where used in a man-to-man fight. There were also rules for combat. These rules were improved all the time and are now worldwide applicable (The Geneva Convention).

When the Rule Systems went UP the battlefields went DOWN to the level of the Human again. Soldiers are now playing the guerilla game and ignore all the rules. We are back at square one again. We are now in the stage of the 1 Soldier-to-many Civilians combat.

This is an innovation the World Wide Legal System cannot handle. It can only be resolved at the Local Level. People that are part of the Culture of the guerilla-fighter have to convince him that Extreme Violence will not solve their problems. This is the only solution. Inspirational Leaders (Mythics) like Nelson Mandela and Gandhi were able to do that.

The Weapon Systems also moved UP. Weapons were and are able to destroy the World. Strangely enough nobody was able to stop the development of Arms by International Law. Only the EFFECTS of weaponsystems were “forbidden”.

Many people believe this is easy to explain by the theory of “The Evil Weapon Industry“. “They are behing Everything that is Happening

The US en the Sovjet Union are the biggests Users and Exporters of Arms in the World.

Personally I don’t think the explanation is so simple. My feeling is that many factors are at work and if we are unable to move to the right level of observation we will always ignore something. If we ignore something we will interfere on the wrong level. Instead of solving a conflict we will create a new conflict.

My feeling is we have to Observe at the Level of the World but ACT at the lower level of a Country or Culture according to the State of the Cycle this level is in.

The Arms Industry shows the same behavior as any Industry. Industry is the place where the Sensories are developing new tools (technology). They are the Experts, the Technicians. When a Sensory has developed a Model he wants to put the Model into Practice. When they have build new technology somebody (A Social) starts to Sell to a Unity. When a Unity has bought a new tool he HAS TO use it (Don’t Waste the Money!).

Many Scientists (Mythics and Unities) spend all their time and enthousiasm to develop the Atomic Bom and the Hydrogen Bom. Much later they awoke and saw with their own eyes what they had given to the World.

The problem here is the Process of Creation. When an Idea takes you you HAVE TO DO something with the Idea. The only thing that could happen was that the Creators took some time to have a look at what could be the effects of their creation. The Mythics had to take some time to reflect but time was running out.

If they would have a look at the Context they would realize that Worldwide Weapons of Destruction will always have a negative effect. They were “blinded” by the Enemy (Japan, Germany). They were Idealists and really believed the Bom would create a better world for everybody. This was the Final War. After the Final War Democracy would Rule the Earth. This proved to be wrong.

The most important factor that influenced the final decision to drop the Atomic Bomb was Russia. Japan was in the state of surrender and the bomb did not influence their decision. Everybody agreed that it was very important to stop the expanding Russian Empire ruled by Stalin.

The dropping of the Bomb was a signal to Stalin to show the Power of the US. Again innocent people outside the context of the “upcoming” conflict were the victims. The most important effect of the decision was the Cold War and the Atomic Arms Race. Nobody at that time was aware of this.

Let us have a look at the local level of the Conflict in Afghanistan.

The Culture of Afghanistan is “way behind the European Culture”. It is dominated by the War Lords. Afghanistan looks like Europe in the Middle Ages.

If the War Lords and the Taliban would use their old tools (the Jezail, Guns) nothing would happen. They would fight their battles on the battlefield. After some time one of them would become King and later the Renaissance would start. Just what happened in Europe. The big difference is that this process of Cultural Development would not take a thousand years.

The big business of the Warlords in Afghanistan is opium. Everybody is trying to change the attitude of the farmers. They have to grow wheat. Wheat is not what the War Lords want. Opium is paying 15 times more money. When the Warlords stay in power nothing will ever change the situation. When the people in the West keep on buying and using opium the market will also not disappear.

Afghanistan was already in the stage of the King. This stage was stopped by the Russians. They wanted to create a Socialistic (Read Paranoid) State. To stop the Russians (The Bad Guys) the US Secret Service (CIA, The Good Guys) started to support the Warlords and the Taliban. They supplied them with weapons to fight the Sovjet Union. They had a rule that no weapon in Afghanistan could be traced back to the west, so they supplied Soviet designed equipment from Egypt and China. Unfortunately the Soviet Technology was Inferior (!!!!) so they gave them the American Stinger. When the war with the Russians ended the CIA tried to buy the Stingers back from the Taliban. They wanted to pay $150,000 each. It is almost certain that the Taliban still have a few left.

The US and NATO are fighting their Own Weaponsystems. They are fighting their Own Creation, the War Lords and the Taliban. They are fighting a Market while they promote the Free Market. Many of the consumers of this market are living in their own country. They are fighting their own consumers in their own country. The consumers are addicted. Addiction is a problem of Socials. They get addicted when they are highly stressed. Many soldiers are addicted because of all the stress they have experienced in the War against the Enemy the Unities (or the Paranoids??) of their own Country have created.

How can we resolve this conflict?

It sounds strange but my feeling is by doing nothing in Afghanistan but doing something in Western Civilization itself. If We Solve our Own Problems first this will have a huge impact on everything that is happening in the World.

Observe at the World Level but Act Locally in your Own Context. This is the only Context You Understand.

Start a Dialogue with the other Contexts and accept their Local Culture. Try (!) to understand Why they are doing the Things they are doing.

This can be done by looking at your own Cultural History.

Somewhere in the past You were doing the same things they were doing. Find out what happened that made your culture move to the Next Level. Now you have a common ground to talk. Accept that the others are trying to find a solution of their own. Perhaps this is also something that will help you in your own culture.

Start to innovate and collaborate.

About Paths of Change by Will McWhinney

Monday, August 27th, 2007
Will McWhinney

Will McWhinney

The Navajo Pollen Path inspired Will McWhinney to write his book Paths of Change

The Navajo Pollen Path

Oh, beauty before me, beauty behind me, beauty to the right of me, beauty to the left of me, beauty above me, beauty below me, I’m on the pollen path.”

About ten years ago I met Will McWhinney.

Will became the most influential person in my whole life. He died this year.

Will wrote just one book called Paths of Change.

Paths of Change is based on the ancient Navajo Pollen Path.

Will was an expert in the myths and culture of the Ancient Tribes that lived in the Four Corners-area of New Mexico.  Every year he organized a seminar in the Ghost Range for his ex-PHD-students. I visited many of his seminars and fell in love with New Mexico and the ancient cultures (Hopi!) that live in this area.

Will tried to write a second book called Grammars of Engagement. The book is about Coupling or Entrainment.  For about ten years we discussed many of his ideas.

Unfortunately his book was never finished. The reason it was never finished can be found in Paths of Change. Will was not able to apply his own theory. Strangely enough this proves his theory.

Let me try to explain the theory of Will. The theory of Will is based on his reflection about the Practice of Change.

He did not write the book alone. He discussed his intuition with all his colleagues of UCLA (University of Los Angeles).

What they wanted to resolve was a very strange pattern behind the failures of Personal and Organizational Change.

Will and his colleagues found out that the explanation was simple. Human beings don’t think the same. They are unaware of this. Almost everybody is convinced that all humans think the same. This is the main reason why many people don’t believe the theory of Will. This again proves the theory.

Will discovered four basic ways to think. He named them Mythic, Social, Unity and Sensory. The four ways are completely independent.

The consequence of Path of Change is that You reader when you are not of my world will read this article and think you understand what I am trying to say but in reality you understand something else.

The Chinese Pollen Path

The Chinese Pollen Path

When I meet you you will prove this when I ask you to explain what you think I am trying to say. The only way to explain the theory is to detect your worldview and use your language to tell the same thing.

When I do that you will think I am explaining a different theory. Probably you will ask me why I have changed my point of view (= world-view) and I have to explain you in your language that I did not do that. This will cause the same problem. You will think I am inconsistent.

When you are living in a world with only one world view you are according to all the Best Practises in Mental Ilness (Interpersonal Theory) highly disturbed.

Many people are able to think in two world views. They are able to switch from one world view to the other.

The amount of different combinations of Two of the Four Worldviews is Twelve (4×4 = 16 but 4 are the same x the same = the same -> 16-4 = 12). Will named the 12 Duals Games but you can also call them Apostles (with Jezus at the Center 12+1 = 13), Knights (of the Round Table with Arhur at the Center) or Constellations (of the Zodiac with the Sun at the Center).

Some people are able to switch to all of the world views. When you are able to switch to the worldview of the other you are able to explain the same thing differently. You are able to look at the world with a shared view.

The four worldviews in the book of kells

The Four Worldviews in the Book of Kells

When both our worldviews are the same we will agree on everything but both of us will not see the others. This is the main reason why people with shared worldviews join in all kinds of cooperation’s. They join because they need a secure place that shields them from the strange outside world.

It is also the reason why people with different world-views leave a cooperation in due time. They feel the others don’t understand them. Clusters of shared world-views become highly inflexible when the outside world changes.

When you are a Sensory you will say “what I read until now is highly theoretical. I want to see facts and prove. Is the theory of Will tested?”.

Although Path of Change is Best Practice you will not accept what he is writing. You want to experience the theory yourself and perhaps 20 years later you will write a book telling the same thing. You will write a book full of examples because you love examples. You will be convinced it is telling something very different Will was telling. Happily Will has also written a book that uses examples and cases to help You.

Luke the Evangelist, the Social

Luke the Evangelist with the Sheep, the Symbol of the Social

When you are a Social you want to know the opinions of important social scientists and others you feel are of importance. You believe important people are telling important things and you have never heard of McWhinney so his theory is not important to know.

When you are a Unity you want to know the Rules. You want to be told what to do and most of the time you do what the Rules tell you to do. The book Will has written is without Rules it contains concepts and ideas. You think concepts and ideas are not concrete. You even don’t like some of his concepts because they are not according to the concepts you think are true. They are violating your System of Thought. You believe in absolute truth.

When you are a Mythic you believe everything is possible. Life is full of opportunities. You generate ideas and concepts all the time. A Mythic creates his own unique theory and his theory is really a theory about himself. A Mythic is unaware of this. To become aware of this he has to face the facts. He needs to switch to a Sensory world view or accept the view of an other who is able to see the world this way. This is very difficult for a Mythic because a Mythic is very Will-full.

john the evangelist the mythic

John the Evangelist with the Eagle, the Symbol of the Mythic

A Mythic is convinced he is the only person who understands the World and some day the World will understand what a genius he is. This will never happen when he is alive. Mythics become a Myth when they are dead.

A Mythic is also an artist. He produces paintings, poems and even theory but his theory is mostly incomprehensible for others just like poetry.

Only Mythics understand Mythics. They feel the Field of Meaning. A Mythic does not understand that the others don’t understand him because his poetry is `the way it is`. It tells everything there is to say.

Will’s basic patterns were Mythic and Social. He was also able to switch to Unity. His blind spot was Sensory. Although many people were very enthusiastic about his book he did not see the facts about his success.

As a Social he focused on the recognition of important social scientists. At the end of his life he was very sad about this. As a Mythic he was convinced his theory was simple and easy to understand. This created even more sadness. Sadness and depressions are the mental illnesses when a Social becomes too Social.

Why was Will unable to finish his book? A Mythic is a highly creative person. He was constantly generating new ideas and concepts. The book was changing and changing and changing because Will wanted to create the perfect book about Engagement. Every version of the book he created was a jewel of poetry and insight. Will wanted to create the perfect book and striving to perfection is again an act of a Mythic. Will was falling in the trap of his own world-view.

What Will also did not realize that he was really writing to understand himself. Path of Change and Grammars of Engagement were a personal quest to understand the real Will McWhinney.

Mark the Evangelist, Unity

Mark the Evangelist with Lion, the Symbol of Unity

In the last year of his life somebody asked him to write his life-story. He tried to do this. He became aware of the fact that his whole life was centered around one personal quest. He wanted to find harmony. He never found harmony because a Mythic is on a Quest and the Quest never stops because every time when he has found the Grale he will start to look for a new Grale.

In Grammars of Engagement he started to write about Harmony.

A few citations out of his unpublished manuscript:

All communication arises through coupling. All communications are dances that coordinate the rhythmic processes shared among the engaging systems

Communication is not a transmission of information, but rather a coordination of behavior among living organisms through mutual structural coupling. Coupling, the instrument of coordination, is established by the physics of exchange and by traditions that associate both human relations and communications with music: harmony, rhythm, tone and tune”.

Just right’ communication work because it allows systems to exchange energy, thus information, through entrainment. They dance to a just right message. The communication follows from exchanges that take place as the systems draw each other toward a common resonant mode. Systems communicate in the process of being more similar, approaching a harmonious state at least in the domain of the communication. Entrainment stops short of perfect harmony. With perfect harmony there is no exchange. ‘Just right’ is becoming close to harmonizing”.

What Will is describing is a dialogue. Will was always playing with his own thoughts. He was busy with an internal dialogue called Reflexion. Intense reflexion is a Mythic Process. When you only talk with Your Self there will be no difference. You are similar with yourself and the internal dialogue stops. You are in harmony.

matthew bull

Matthew with the Bull, the Symbol of Sensory

To make a difference you have to introduce others like your wife or your mother. People talk internally and externally with many voices. Most of them do this without noticing. They are not aware of the many personalities they are. They are not similar to themselves and therefore “out of balance”.

To become balanced they need to talk. A huge amount of conversations (gossip) are aimed at creating an internal balance. To find internal balance people look for people that are similar. Again they need a secure place that shields them from the strange outside world.

When people are constantly moving in similar environments they will never find their Kernel, The Self. It will be watching unable to interfere in the many dialogues that are taking place.

When the Self is unknown, people will not accept the theory of Will. They will be switching from one theory to the other without finding rest.

When they find themselves they will not need the theory of Will because they will be able to play with all the world-views. This is a paradox. It also proves the theory of Will because Will tried to explain that Life is a Paradox.

Another citation: `The process of coming close to harmonizing is visible in an old example. Automobiles and farm machinery once had clutches. These clutches consisted of two plates, one attached to the driver motor, the other attached to the wheels, thrasher, or rotary saw. When the operator ‘let in the clutch’ the two plates moved flat up against each other. As the clutch ‘comes in,’ the driver plate begins to transfer energy to the follower plate getting thus it to turn. At first, the clutch slips and most of the power goes to grabbing, which produces heat. Increasingly the driving plate turns the follower. With full ‘letting in,’ the two turn together. There is no more heating; they form a unit with no further visible communications. The coupling established at the molecular level joins the material of the driver and follower plates in transmitting power to the wheels and cutting blades. This clutching sequence is a model of entrainment. We can recognize similar entrainment sequences in many other situations: a spoon stirring batter in a bowl, cellular protein molecules latching onto antibodies, two persons entering into conversation, and 100,000 people being captured by Marion Anderson singing God Bless America at the Lincoln Memorial

Will was unable to operate his own clutch. This was really visible when he was driving his car.

The Magician, The Mythic

The Magician, The Mythic

He was a staccato person. He loved to work with steel and stone. He was a sculptor. His art was concrete. He loved to practice what he preached but he always practiced his theory in the outside world. He loved to help others but never wanted to be helped. This is the sad consequence of a Mythic/Social-combination.

Will showed that all the combinations are games and the Mythic/Social-game is the game of creating new games. A Mythic Social is an innovator. He is always on the front-line.

He does not see that his inventions wil be taken over by other World-View combinations that are highly practical like the Unity/Sensory-combination, The Expert.

Expert always think they have invented things themselves and never give the Mythic/Social the credits. This is a fact of life but Mythics don’t accept the facts of Life.

His books are wonderful pieces of English words I never heard of. He was a child of a highly educated family in Boston. His mother and father did not love him. They wanted him to become somebody. At the end of his life he was convinced he had failed to satisfy the ambitions of his parents. He told everybody this was the fatal trap in life.

Will was not only a Mythic but also a Social. Socials are highly influenced by Others. Of course parents play the most important role because a young child is incapable of resisting their influence. The Self of the young child is watching.

The Fifth World Views, The Center, Consciousness

The End of the Pollen Path, The Dove, The Fifth Worldview, Consciousness

In the internal dialogue of Will his mother plaid a very important role. In his external dialogue he looked for a similar person and his wife plaid that role. He was unaware of this. He was constantly fighting the mother in his wife without noticing she was a different person. His wife plaid the same game. Will was her father and she did not notice Will was really looking for love and harmony.

Will promoted ”Just right” because ”With perfect harmony there is no exchange”.

Another citation:”Too Large—Overloads. Highly energetic perturbations overload a system, tearing apart the autocatalytic loops that hold its definition. Too much energy bifurcates the stable basins of a system’s memory and ultimately violates its autopoietic identity. The overly energetic perturbations leave open non-reflecting fragments of nodes: neurons, bits of stories, and social customs. These fragmented networks are no longer able to hold meanings or link to memory traces. Short of total destruction, strong perturbation will wipe out the fine structure of a receiving system, leaving it only able to operate in those sequences enforced by the invasive perturbation. To protect the networks of connections, electrical and mechanical systems have features to handle ‘over-modulation.’ With appropriate design, they digitize signals to compress the spectrum, thereby allows the message to be accepted. Human systems have a variety of means to block or censor invasive signals that violate our senses and psyches. Some at the physiological level block the energy that carries the messages; others receive, understand and reject the overwhelming impact. Blocking and the use of censorship disconnects us from the environment and preempts the discrimination they would our systems had more capacity”.

The Paths of Change of the Hopi

The Path of Change of the Hopi

Wills communication was Too Large.

He was a genius and his wife a normal person. He did not realize this.

His knowledge and experience was so enormous that he overwhelmed everybody.

He was looking for a dialogue but in every dialogue and project he became the leader.

He was a guru but he did not want to be a guru.

He was a child longing for his mother but he never wanted to be touched.

He cared for everybody but not for himself.

He was fighting but he wanted peace.

He wanted to create a better world but the outside world was moving into the wrong direction. He did not accept the Cycle.

He always wanted to cure himself. He wanted to find the eternal youth and searched the whole world for new treatments and medicines. He did not believe in the medical system but at the end of his life he needed the system desperately. He never listened to the experts so they left him alone.

He preached meditation but he could not calm himself.

Will was the prove of his own theory.

He was a living paradox.

What Happened?

The personality and the vision of Will McWhinney attracted many Mythic people. All of them started to play with the theory of Will in their own way. Soon it became very clear that Will had re-discovered a very ancient theory of Life.

A pastor found a relationship between the World Views of Will and the Four Apostles (see pictures in this blog). He  discovered that the Four Books of the Evangelists where written to adress one particular World View of the believers.

We discovered a relationship with the very powerfull psychological theory called Interpersonal Theory, Game Theory, Conflict Theory, the Cycles in History, the Tarot, the Four Humors, the Zodiac, the Four Forces of Nature, the Archtetypes of Jung, the Myers Briggs test, the Big Five, the metaphors of George Lakoff and many many other ancient and modern theories.

Paths of Change has proved to be the perfect meta-theory to map and understand all kinds of different physical and social sciences. It shows without any doubt that a theory of everything is possible.

The most interesting find was the self-referencial nature of the theory. It is possible to map the theory on itself.

This website contains many examples of the remarkable power of Paths of Change to understand what is happening in the World.  Use the tag Will McWhinney to find them all.


About Entrainment

About Meta-Perspectives

About a Model that Explains PsychoPathology

About Engagement, A Chapter out of the never published book of Will McWhinney

About the Infinite Game

About the Game of Politics

About the Analytic Game

About the Game of the Market

About the Game of Invention

A PPT Presentation about the Paths of Change of Will McWhinney

A PPT Presentation about the World View of Will McWhinney

Paths of Change in PDF-format

About the Pollen Path