Thursday, March 29, 2007

Chinese Centralism?

Beyond propositions, names, numbers and advice

"But what has still not been seriously investigated in modern linguistic analysis during the course of secularization of myth, religion, and metaphysics is the increase of secularization on human language. In its insect like persistence, in which it naively supposes that Man and not the universe as a whole is the proper subject of speech and thought, it has completely forgotten God and myth, which both await their metamorphosis." G. Gunther

The question arises: Is there any rational structure beyond name- and sentence-oriented thinking?
Or: Is there a rational operativity beyond alphabetic sign systems?

In an idealized form, both, name- and sentence-based thinking, are depending structurally on trees. Well known as binary trees of diaeresis or Porphyrian trees. Today as XML trees. The same holds for generalized sign systems, i.e., semiotics. But today, the tree model of organizing knowledge is producing more problems than it solves in complex computing.

Post-modernism has hallucinated the metaphor of net or rhizomatic writing, but didn’t provide any operativity to be useful for real world problems, like programming. Media theorists are fantasizing about the structure of the Web as decentralized, open, complex, heterarchic and not hierarchic at all. They are lost in the chaos of surface-structures, not being able to recognize the strong and strict mathematical centralism and hierarchic organizational order of the Web’s deep-structure.

The acceptance is slowly growing that pre-modern thinking of Pythagoras in the West and Ancient Chinese is neither name nor sentence guided, hence not to be organized by any tree structure. How could such a structure look like? The simplest structuration of Ancient thinking can be supposed as a pre-semiotic proto-structure, realized in history by a triangle model, i.e., a commutative graph, by the Ancient (Pythagoras, Yang Hui, later Blaise Pascal). Each knot of a triangle model is over-determined and therefore logically contradictory.

This structure was re-discovered by the Western thinker Gotthard Gunther for the purpose of mediating number and notion as well as thought and will and exposed in his theory of polycontexturality and kenogrammatics. The proto-structure is offering a devise to distribute and mediate a multitude of binary trees and studying their interactivity and reflectionality in an operative and computable way. A similarity between such a distribution of binary trees over the proto-structure and on the other side, the multitude of spoken Chinese languages and their common scriptural system is proposed.

It is my experience that there are strong existential and emotional defence strategies and barriers which are preventing people from learning about such ways of pre-semiotic thinking. Thus I introduce a format to deal with such anxieties: The Diamond Strategies.
Surprisingly, the Diamond Strategies are in a good correspondence and harmony with Ancient Indian and Chinese formats of thinking and acting as well with Gunther’s concept of proto-structure.

Of the many practical applications possible, only one question is proposed, re-opening a new round of thinking the Chinese Challenge aiming to surpass the common Double Blind Spot:

Can the Chinese Centralism be the same as the Western?

1. Name-oriented languages

Modern linguistics as the study of sign and languages systems in general, has to be separated from the philosophical decisions to focus on certain language interpretations, like the noun-, proposition-, action-oriented understanding of language. The aim of this study is to make some steps toward a reasoning beyond such decisions for propositions and their hierarchy (diaeresis) in favor of a new way of orientation and computation guided understanding of thematization and symbolization by the decision for polycontexturality and kenogrammatics.

Chad Hanson writes about the linguistic analysis of Chinese language by Chinese thinkers.
"Chinese linguistic thought focused on names not sentences."
"This explains the anomaly of treating all terms as 'names,' but fails to explain the similar treatment of adjectives and verbs. Lack of function marking is again part of a possible explanation. Adjectives used in nominal position did not undergo abstract inflection so theorists treated 'red' and 'gold' as analogous. They could associate descriptive adjectives, like mass nouns, with a range or "extension" and view adjectival "names" as distinguishing one range from others. The ranges distinguished by different "names" can overlap. In those cases, they would use compound "names." Distinguishing between the ways adjectives and nouns worked in compounds produced puzzles for pre-Han theorists."

"Zilu said, ‘The ruler of Wei awaits your taking on administration.
What would be master's priority?’ The master replied,
‘Certainly--rectifying names!’ . . . .
If names are not rectified then language will not flow.
If language does not flow, then affairs cannot be completed.
If affairs are not completed, ritual and music will not flourish.
If ritual and music do not flourish, punishments and penalties will miss their mark.
When punishments and penalties miss their mark, people lack the wherewithal to control hand and foot.
Hence a gentleman's words must be acceptable to vocalize and his language must be acceptable as action.
A gentleman's language lacks anything that misses--period.(13:3)"

A chain of terms is build: rectification/names –> language –> ritual/music –>
punishment/penalties –> control
==> acceptance of vocalization/action.

This chain of terms, from rectifying names to the acceptance of vocalization and action, suggests a linear and hierarchic order of entailments. There are no chiastic elements or relations involved. But there is also no system mentioned in which the hierarchic development takes place. Thus, it is open to interpretations.

Cyclic and chiastic order
If, on the other side, it is said, that "war becomes peace and peace becomes war" (Confucius, Heraklit) a cyclic and chiastic (dialectic) order is established. What is basic in this approach are not the names and notions involved but the rules of the interplay between them. This chiastic model, even still archaic, is neither sentence- nor notion-based. The change, the differences of the play are primary to the notions involved. Because of its chiastic form, the whole statement is in itself also not strictly a sentence or proposition in the definitional sense. Because a sentence is based on the hierarchy of subject and predicate.

Chiastic forms are circular, violating the hierarchy of propositions. Thus, the operator "and" is not simply a logical or linguitic conjunction but a term for mediation between the two order relations between war and peace. There is no reason to thematize chiastic formations as name-based. This change as such is neither name- nor proposition-based, but a chiastic interplay between the terms.
In the terminology of polycontextural logic, this situation is modeled by the proemial relationship.

2. Thought, will and numbers

Name/proposition/contexture or sign vs. kenogram
Before the digitalists have overtaken Western ideology, the philosophical trend of the "linguistic turn" was dominating the theory of science as "analytic" philosophy. Sentence, statement, proposition, etc. based thinking was confronted to noun/name/notion-based thinking. Their conclusion was, the one who is not opting for propositions is poised to be stuck in the archaic name-oriented approach.
Gödel and Gunther didn’t decide for the linguistic turn. Nor had they been lost in the past of name-oriented disorientation.

Now, it is said, that Ancient Chinese thinking is not sentence-based, thus it has to be noun-based; TND. "Chinese linguistic thought focused on names not sentences." Contextures and even more, kenograms, are not involved into this logocentric game of names and sentences. Not even in texts and contexts, and their inter-textuality as it was introduced and studied mainly by the French structuralists and deconstructivists.
Kenograms and morphograms are understood as patterns of actions. In Günther’s words, they are the general "Codex für Handlungsvollzüge".

Ancient pragmatic advise: Tetraktys as a device
Like Chinese thinking, Pythagorean thinking was action-oriented and not concerned with the eternal truth (of axiomatic systems). Action-orientation is not simply the pragmatic dimension of logocentric sign systems.

The Pythagorean tetraktys was not primarily a concept but a device: to do the tetraktys, i.e., to tetraktomai. To tetraktomai is to produce the grid of the proto-structure. The tetraktys doesn’t stop with the number 4, it starts with it. But in ancient time, there was no theory of action but material advices for a better life, only. Learnable in secret schools from teachers or from Guru’s.
Today, advices have to become programs to compute new chances in a changing world.
Yang Hui (楊輝, c. 1238 - c. 1298)
Pascal Triangle:

Gotthard Gunther's Proto-structure

Hierarchy and heterarchy of thinking and action
Occidental philosophy is mainly thought-orientated. Thoughts are represented in statements and statements are represented in written sentences. Then, on the base of sentences, action can happen. Thus, scripturality is secondary. In other words, thoughts in established Western philosophy are first, will comes second. But Western technology is on the way to turn this hierarchic order into an action-based paradigm. Until now, this inversion happens proposition-based, i.e., the logic of action and programming is still the logic of propositions. This happens in different forms, sometimes hiding its logocentric origin, like with the lambda calculus.
There is no reason to belief that a simple inversion of the hierarchic order is of any real help. Both systems are more or less isomorphic and are building a symmetric dualism. There is not much research to observe which would intend to change this situation of semiotic based hierarchy.

Chinese thought, it was said, is action-based. But as we have shown often enough, this paradigm of action is not based on the same world-model as the Western sentence-based. The crucial asymmetry between the Chinese writing system and its linguistics are building the deep-structure of its action based paradigm. Hence it would be a serious mismatch to identify both concepts, the Chinese and the Western concept of action.
But Chinese thinking has not yet considered to formalize the heterarchic operative structure of its writing system. We can say, the West achieved to formalize its phonologic writing system to the highest perfection. The results are now propagated globally as the ultimate ratio and universal truth.

3. Diaeresis on Proto-Structures

Logic systems distributed over the proto-structure.
Linguistic and logical structure of diaeresis: genus proximum/differentia specifica.
Up and down; the same. (Diels)

But the conceptual use of the triangle is in strict conflict to the binary structure of diaeresis.
The way up and the way down have not to coincide.
Diaeresis is applicable to both approaches, the sentence- and the notion-based.

Different numeric interpretations of the proto-structure
The abstractness of the grid enables not only different notional or symbolic interpretations but is also serving for different numeric calculations. The closest numeric interpretation of the proto-structure is given by the fact of the number of the knots of the grid. This corresponds exactly to the Pythagorean numeric interpretation of the proto-structure. In contrast to the number of knots in the dyadic tree of the Platonic diaeresis, which corresponds the series of 1, 3, 6, 10, ... , the Pythagorean series of knots corresponds to 1, 3, 7, ... Thus differing at position 3 with 6≠7.

Plato’s Diaeresis onto Gunther’s Proto-Structure
Strictly separated diaeresis systems, i.e., binary trees, localized at their common proto-structure, are offering communication as semiotic morphisms (Joseph Goguen) between them. Overlapping diaeresis systems are producing conflicts in communication because the may hide the lack of a common history. At the point where communication seems to be realized, mismatches are produced and their reasons are hidden as blind spots. That is, the semiotic isomorphisms between the different diaeretic systems can not be established because they are violating the condition of separation.
Both diaeretic or semiotic systems have to be disjunct in respect of their elements to enable conversation between autonomous partners. Only if the overlapping can be reduced to an overlapping of the full trees, the conflict is resolved in coincidence. An overlapping of knots (terms) does not mean that the terms have the same meaning. Simply because they are defined by different notional backgrounds (histories).

Diaeresis, binary trees and proto-structure
From Plato’s hierarchic pyramids, Porphyries notion-trees to the tree structure of XML. Trees, everywhere. Diaeresis is not an esoteric structure or an ancient and obsolete method of organizing knowledge. In its form as binary trees it has become a nearly universal method of thinking, computing and organizing knowledge and actions.
But with trees we are getting into trouble. It is also not enough to have forests of trees instead of a general tree. Even the trees in a forest may play some kind of multitude, there are no mechanisms at all to realize interaction and reflection between trees. What’s between trees is not itself a tree.

Different trees can be mapped onto the proto-structural grid. Gunther has given some examples of binary trees on proto-structures with different origins and common overlapping at proto-structural places. This can be freely extended to overlapping of binary trees, not only on common proto-structural places but at overlapping places of the trees themselves.
Gunther’s table VII shows, in black, trees with different origins and proto-structural overlapping. The added red tree is overlapping with another tree, in black, additionally at common proto-structural places. The black tree is producing a differentiation of 3 decisions to meet the red tree which has at the common places realized a differentiation of only 2 decisions.

As a first step to escape the hierarchy of thinking and will, a chiasm between both has to be established. That is, a distribution and mediation of the thought/will relationship has to be installed. This, as a second step, is possible only on the base of non-propositional, non-semiotic deep-structures which are offering a grid to place the thought/will relationship over different loci. The tree-structure of diaeresis corresponds to the rational thinking, the placement of the tree in the proto-structure is not itself a cognition but a volitional decision.

Interactions of trees onto the proto-structure
In this constellation, Table VII, there are, for the red tree, 7 overlapping situations and 8 non-overlappings of the total of 15 possibilities of the red tree. The black tree, with its different origin has a longer "history". With its 31 situations, only 7 are overlapping together with the red tree. Thus, the harmony of coincidence is not balanced. The red tree has only 8 "free" positions, while the black tree has 24, thus, having a more complex "history".

Interestingly, the overlapping of the red tree with the black tree at the 7 situations is based on a "history" of nil common situations. What is common to both is their being distributed over the proto-structural grid and their meeting at 7 common situations. This is the global analysis.

A focus on the local constellations/situations has to consider the equality of the common positions in their locality. That is, both arrived at those locations and from a local point of view it doesn’t matter how they arrived and from where. Not enough, there is even another binary tree in the game. Its origin is located at another position. Both, the red and the black tree, are involved in proto-structural overlappings with this second (black) tree.

Double Blind Spot
With only a one-step move of the root of the red tree, a fully harmonic overlapping results, with a base, again, of nil common positions. This kind of overlapping is locally suggesting full harmony; globally, it is maximal under-balanced producing the possibility of highest mismatch. Because there is no common "history" realized by the different trees, what seems to be harmonic coincidence can turn out to be a mismatch. They are also blind for the fact of being positioned in a proto-structural grid. This kind of overlapping should be called a Double Blind Spot. Probably the conditio humane of actual inter-cultural communications.

4. Is Chinese centralism the same as the Western?
"Modern society is a polycentric, polycontextural system. (…) Consequently there must be transjunctional operations, which make it possible to go from one contexturality into another, still marking which differentiation is accepted or rejected for specific operations."
(Luhmann 1996).

The multitude of Chinese spoken languages can be seen as a distribution over the uniqueness of the Chinese writing system. This is not only a multitude of different interpretations of a character in the sense of a polysemy of meanings, but the different interpretations are offered by the hieroglyphs the space to be distributed. Thus, different languages incorporating different points of view are mediated by the uniqueness of the hieroglyphic writing system.
Such a system is poly-centric and polycontextural, not only in a linguistic sense but also politically, economically and culturally. With each spoken language, or with each contexture established, the speaker will follow, ideally, the logical structure of diaeresis and its principle of tertium non datur (TND).
Therefore, it is reasonable to think of a distribution of different diaeretic systems mediated by their common written background or hieroglyphic deep-structure of the writing system.

"Polycentrism characterizes a society that cannot observe itself or its environment from a single observational position–or, rather, from within a single observational perspective or “optics”–but has to employ a large number of positions of observation, each using its own individual observational code to manage its own social complexity. This implies that no universal point of observation can be found. Furthermore, this means that a large portion of these observations are observations of observations:[...]." ibd.
It is obvious, that a similar mediation of different spoken languages, like in the Chinese case, is not accessible for Europeans. If a Norwegian and a Catalan person or administration want to communicate, they don’t have, despite their common general European culture, a common system of linguistic or semiotic reference.
Today, this problem of communication is basic for the development of a Semantic Web (Web 3.0). The hope for a solution is found in a common general ontology/taxonomy which is denying all the historic and cultural differences between the different European languages. Such Semantic Web activities are in favor for machine-readability. It further turns out that the concept of European polycentrism is a myth proposed in a notional format, lacking any operativity; supporting in practice by necessity strict political and juridical centralism.

It is said, that we have not to be slaves of our historic writing systems. We can think against their restrictional tendencies. Yes, with which tools? And are not the tools determining our results?

Today, all sorts of narratives about complexity, interactivity, mediation, autonomy and self-organization are on the market. But to talk and write about a topic is not to produce an operational calculus able to master it.

Thus, after the introduction of these grammatological exercises, and to escape the common Double Blind Spot, the question naturally arises:

Can Chinese centralism be the same as Western centralism?

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