Dear all:

Here attached you may see what I developed as an experiment. Hope you will find it interesting. I will give you in the next two or three days my interpretation of the results obtained. Please refer also to the last postings I made in the Discussion of the Wikispace we are familiar with. I initiated a last thread ("Results and interpretation of a new experiment" at , see the copy below the link to the attached document and its picture),
but the previous one
(at and )
was one of my motivations to do what I did. "Heresy" might be included...

With love,




The ideas chosen:

CogniSystem Ideas for file : 2obamain.dat Generated at : 17:02:34 on : 03-25-2009 Page #1
Triggering Question - Set A:

In the context of Obama's vision for engaging stakeholders from all walks of life in a bottom-up democracy employing internet technology, what factors do we anticipate, on the basis of our experiences with SDDP, will emerge as inhibitors to the actualization of his vision?

(3 - Set A) Layers of clay (Government administrators filtering the upward messages) (rsmithl35)
(7 - Set A) Confusions leading to exclusion of stakeholders with different lingual and cultural background (Heiner)
(10 - Set A) Limited capacity for dialogic sensemaking (phjones)
(12 - Set A) Insufficient access to technology (normaromm)
(20 - Set A) Market-Driven Democracy (kmcdye)
(24 - Set A) Individual Cycle-Time (tom_flanagan)
(29 - Set A) Cognitive overload (kbausch)
(32 - Set A) Required insight of hypothetical results as worthwhile (Reinholdl)
(35 - Set A) The Moral Hazard of Anonymity (kmcdye)
(40 - Set A) Getting to root causes (LLHarris)
(41 - Set A) Great expectations (LLHarris)
(43 - Set A) Official transparency rules (paulrhays)
(47 - Set A) The persistant blindness of special interest (CraigLindell)
(48 - Set A) Fear of openness (CraigLindell)
(52 - Set A) Digital divide (larryf)
(58 - Set A) Poverty, lack of knowledge and fear (mcinOl)
(59 - Set A) Obviating decisions by non-participants (phjones)

1. Some preliminary observations:

1.1 I will use the definition of "digital divide" given by the Wikipedia:

"The gap between those people with effective access to digital and information technology and those without..."

I think this idea by Larry (52)is somewhat different to the idea proposed by Norma (12), specificly in regard to the qualification of "effective access" as not equal to "insufficient access". The nuance is not small in my opinion. The first idea has to do with both "practical access and technological know-how", while the second idea has to do with "equity in accessing" if I understood Norma's idea correctly.

1.2 I tried to honour at least one idea (sometimes two) coming from each participant, but I also tried to select ideas in such a way that they were in some proportion contained in all the clusters peviously designed by the participants according to their size. Only cluster 3 and cluster 11 were left out, because their included ideas already were taken into account for constructing the Root Cause Map of January 31, 2009. The only exception was that the idea 39 proposed by Laura and pertaining to cluster 11 was also discarded, because I found two other ideas authored by her more relevant and included in two different clusters.

1.3 I deliberatedly wanted to break one of the rules of SDDP regarding the necessary accumulation of two votes for selecting ideas (I only selected ideas with one or zero votes) to construct a Root Cause Map following two personal considerations:

1.3.1 I wanted to see if I could find another "sound story" by relating such kind of ideas, and what, if obtained, a sound story could mean in our case. I anticipated something as a "tridimensional structure" containing at least two different layers of ideas. I supposed I could differentiate between (using an analogy) "coarse tuning" and "sharp tuning". This characterizations of layers have nothing to do with under appreciation of any of the ideas. They have to do only with a kind of intuition I had. You will see the results and judge by yourselves.

1.3.2 Though apparently equal, I supposed that "discrimination of ideas based in a cloudy criterium of importance" was different than "discernment of ideas". This last notion required more information over the possible relationships between ideas. That is why I am considering that there is a principle similar to the Erroneous Priority principle" working unconsciously or behind our process of selection based on a general criterium of importance or relevance, which nobody knows how we are exactly applying into our voting of ideas. Elimination of ideas by the simple aggregation of votes (I am citing Kevin to some extent) is very likely "arbitrary". Our different backgrounds which are not explicited work behind bambalines.

1.4 Strangely I noticed that in the first and second Root Cause Maps that we had constructed, there existed only one Cycle between ideas 1 and 2. My experience in many different workshops was that almost always more than two Cycles of ideas appeared in the inferred maps, and sometimes the number of ideas contained in one of the Cycles were more than two. I began suspecting that ideas in Cycles have much more to tell us about the type of variables or qualitative aspects involved in a complex situation. I will refer to this theme later.

Since this analysis is becoming too long, I will partition my postings to make them "lighter" for you all. I hope you don't mind...

With love,

Posted Apr 1, 2009 4:06 am


Now, I will continue with the preliminary observations:

1.5 Any model of any real system is, like General Systems Theory states, a "simplification of reality". The structures that we build with the use of the SDDP are not an exception. In sociothecnical systems research, the construction of "maps" like "Problematiques" or "Root Cause Maps" renders a very valuable service in the extent that we can approach a complex experienced situation and obtain insights of the behaviour of the system implied as an identifiable whole, and also in the extent that we can use the results and the comprehension of its substantial elements,traits and inter-relationships, to guide human individual or collective action for bettering the situation experienced as "undesireable" or for fostering its evolution into a healthier condition or, at least, to promote a more conscious evolution. If the structures built are "ephemeral" as Aleco states, or "hypothetical" as I say, we should necessarily ask "how ephemeral they are and still useful for attaining the above goals", or "how the hypotheses implied may really help to change the undesireable situation into a better one" The insights achieved need to be tested and corrected if they happened to be "oversights" instead of "insights".

1.6 In our case, I think that we need not to lose the focus of our aim: fostering through a "scalable methodology" the participation of grass-root people, citizens, coming from all walks of life, in the construction, enhancement and development of a bottom-up democracy. As much as I am informed of, such effort has, with the exception of the Ancient Greek Society through the Athenian Agora during the V Century before Christ, never been seriously addressed. We have only experienced "good intentions" but "no real commitments". Our governmental systems in the whole world and during the acknowledged history from that time until now, have never really observed the "essence" of democracy. The aim is more than relevant after 2,500 years.

1.7 If we began with a "triggering question" that intended to make a reality of such a "common concern", then I believe that we are not dispensed of examining the value of the answers given by all of us. The "discernment of ideas" must follow deeper criteria before discarding any of the answers we proposed. When I reflected over the proposal of Roy Smith of an "inhibitor 3" that referred to "layers of clay", I intuited that we could build "layers of glass", totally transparent for us to consider in our dialogue.

1.8 Recurring to a very free translation, I want to cite now an interesting point of view of the great philosopher Dilthey in his most important book "Introduction to the Sciences of the Spirit" (1883), who sustained that the method required for the sciences of the spirit should not be the "causal explanation" like in the science of physics, but what he named "comprehension" (Verstehen) of the "nexus of meaning", the ling├╝istic domain among them; and he thought all these sciences referred to a more fundamental one that should be their basis, i.e., to a "comprehensive science" of the human being, which should inquire about human life in its totality of thinking, wanting and feeling, going against the traditional epistemology until Kant, that reduced its aim to a mere intellectual dimension. He named this science "selbstbesinnung" and Ortega y Gasset translated it into "autognosis" or "becoming aware of our own self". (Garrido Manuel, The Philosophical and Scientific Legacy of the XX Century", Catedra editions, Second edition, Spain, 2007, pp.25 and 26).

I opened this citation to your attention, because first I believe that we should not name our map built in January a "Root Cause Map", and second, because the importance of addressing the inhibitors we espoused, lies much more in the deeper comprehension of their mutual influences and in the nature of their inter-relationships. In fact, the CogniScope Facility for obtaining any map of these qualities is named "Influence Structuring".

I will continue later, otherwise you will get bored, don't you?

With love,

Posted Apr 2, 2009 11:13 pm


Dear Brother Reynaldo: Thank yoou very much for your wonderful insights about what is happening while it is happening. I thouroughly enjoyed reading your contributions.

I would like to see your Map and at least learn from you what were the drivers. It would be also interesting to translate your Map into a narrative similar to what Tom Did for the December, 2008 Map of the Obama vision work of the international team.

In the last two months I think Obama has made significant contributions in terms of the world system model. It would be interesting to engage a group on an SDD fcousing on this theme. What do you think?

It would also be so wonderful if you were to undertake doing a similar application of the Webscope Wiki on a subject of crucial interest to Mexican or spanish speadking people, and doing it using your language. It will be very exciting although unfortunately I will not be able to comprehend it because I do not speak spanish yet...

What do you think?
Posted Sunday, 10:37 pm


Brother Aleco and everybody in our Obamavision Wiki Group:

Excuse me that I continue with the preliminary observations before specificly answering to your last response. I will do my best to address both needs in this message.

1.9 Every Inhibitor, that we have named after the triggering question posed in this wikispace, is a changing item. If it changes along time, then it can be measured, transforming itself into a "sociotechnical variable" that, when isolated, shares with "mathematical scalar entities" the property of possessing magnitude, dimension or size, as an indicator of its own evolution.
However, some of the Inhibitors also exhibit, when addressed, a relationship of influence with the diminution and probable disappearance or extinction of other Inhibitors, as we presume it occurs between the connected ones in the Influence Structure Map of January 31.

We could say that successfully addressing Inhibitor Ax makes the size, magnitude or dimension of Inhibitor Ay at least smaller in some degree. Considering Inhibitors in this way, gives us the impression that they also share the properties of "mathematical vector quantities", i.e., magnitude, directionality, and orientation departing from an original point in the space-time continuum.

Curiously, there are reciprocal influences between some of them when they appear in a typical Cycle (you will see this very clearly in the Map I constructed this time). Looking at them directly as Inhibitors (that is, before being addressed, like in a Problematique construction), they resemble "resonators" or "tensor quantities", and when they appear to be such, their intensities (kind of magnitudes or sizes) go higher and higher until they surpass equilibrium conditions.

An analogy, that I would like to bring here upon, could be a "tennis match", whenever two combating players rise the intensity of the emotions of the public, by sustaining between them a hard duel with the bouncing ball going ever more rapidly after each hit and with the ball flying in many different but opposite directions, until it becomes impossible for one of the players to return the ball to the other side of the net and to the right place inside of the playing tennis field.

Using this analogy, many other properties emerge, like "intensity of the hit resulting in different velocity and acceleration of the ball, frequency (number of hits per unit of time), vibrational energy between forces which lie in opposition, and tortured balance between the opponents. In this context feedback processes become quite important, giving rise to "satisfaction" or "deception" of the public observing the players, depending on which one of the players is favoured by which part of the public.

The analogy with the "tensors" or "resonators" served me to increment the importance of Inhibitors residing in a Cycle of the Influence Structure Map. This kind of inter-relationship between Inhibitors can make emerge many different kinds of results in a "specified sociotechnical system" like the actual and factual US Democracy System.

I want to consciously provoke a reaction in all of you by saying that "dialectical opposition" can really give rise to new "entities" in societal systems. Paul Rhays probably intuited this new kind of inter-relationship when we talked about the "no answers" during the debate processes of the SDDP workshops held in December and January on this wiki.

I believe and suggest that we should go forward examining items inside "Cycles" or even more scrupulously expliciting the "no answers" with some mix of "yes answers" given during the deliberation phase, which Vera Vratusa observed in her first declaration of the previous discussion thread. Does this invite us to really reflect further, or is it a simply personal bias or misunderstanding (oversight) on my particular side of observation?

1.10 I am trying to remark that I believe that "societal phenomena" can neither be viewed nor understood in very simplified manners (for example, with linear thinking operations...)as we have done in the past, because we might be trying to solve one complex problem and simultaneously be posing or creating new perils for the solution of other complex problems. The search for Root Causes, which do not exist as "isolated causes" may be perhaps going in the wrong direction. "Contexts" implying "cultural and ethical contexts", "outside particular space-time contexts" and "inside personal contexts" should not be skipped off or left aside from our group considerations. They might reveal a "very different yet quite meaningful story" around our group thinking, our conceptualization and our interpretation of processes and results.

In the "tennis match" analogy, the part of the public which favoured player "A" becomes "deceived", meanwhile the part of the public which favoured player "B", the winner, becomes "euforic". However, in synthesis, both parts of the public might agree by saying that the whole match was "fantastic", "beautiful", "exciting", even "glorious", or that the match was "terribly boring", "bad" and a "losing of time".

1.11 Despite the wonderful traits exhibited by SDDP (we can not deny any of these on the basis of actual evidence) I suggest that we should try to go further and surpass some limits espoused by the present methodology, and try to find other perspectives for analyzing the complexity of societal systems, and for guiding our group actions in a way of always greater respect to our groupal and individual thinking, wanting and feeling. SDDP is fantastic now, but we should try to convert it in a trascendental effective way of dialoguing with others who come from many different walks of life. Perhaps, I really do not know, we should dare breaking some other factual Rules of the methodology, and see if other results might play a meaningful role in the future. The simply aggregation of votes during the selection and deliberation processes are, in my opinion, neither political neutral nor good enough to decide the final structures we see as results. The structures, in my opinion, should not be planar but tridimensional, implying something as "looking with a microscope" or perhaps with a "telescope"

1.12 My next step will be sending by e-mail my discovered "Influence Structure" to all of you. My further step will be giving you "my story" or "interpretation of these new results".

Not only the construction of the "Influence Structure", but also "my interpretation" could naturally be biased by my isolated own way of understanding the whole and the parts, my limitations coming from my personal formation and history, and my passions working behind bambalines. Please be gentle with me, but at the same time very truthful to your own perspectives, and tell me where you think or believe that I am wrong or right.

With love,