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  • Curriculum and the Dream Paradigm

    [09.29.06]
    - Stephen Schafer
  •  

     Cybernetics

    I believe that the metaphorical formulations and psychic resonances of the collective persona mentioned above can be quantified and animated at levels of sophistication in which verisimilitude approaches authenticity.  Recent research relative to the quantification of subjective states-psychological/sociological analysis of facial expression and body movement-clearly indicates that methodologies are already available for use in serious game design (Katherine Isbister, 2006, pp 143-181).  The capability to quantify and program highly sophisticated subjective states is imminent.  Therefore, I would like to bring the reader's attention to the work of Cambridge Professor, David Foster, PhD (1985) who has provided us with a way to navigate the Psych-ecology.  He calls it an approach to cosmic software with which he argues the translatability of metaphysical-psychological concepts into practical cybernetics that can be applied to the programming of games.

    Discussing the relationships between the world of ideas and the world of physical fact-what he calls the Dimensions of Logos-Foster rationalizes a continuum that relates the inner world of mind and imagination with the outer world of behavior in speech and action by means of "symbolic coding."  Foster uses the term code which I understand as the "medium" by which the critical interface between idea and fact, between imagination and thing becomes possible.  In Jungian terms the code language is the dream, but in the present discussion of cybernetics I will use the word code because it is the term used by programmers.

    Against a background of time-space dimensionality, Foster defines the world "out there" as Panoramic Space-Time (pST) and the world "in here" as Imaginary Space-Time (iST).  From Greek meaning "comprehensive view," pST-iST exists as a continuum much like the Jungian Psyche.

    "Example of Independent pST and iST.  I am driving a car from A to B so there is not doubt I am involved in pST ‘out there'.  But at the same time I am worried about my bank account and am wondering how to improve my money affairs.  This has nothing to do with driving the car and takes place in iST ‘in here'.

    Example of Co-incident pST and iST.  I am reading a very interesting book.  There is no doubt that the book is ‘a thing out there' and so in pST.  But the reading of the words is triggering all sorts of inner thoughts and images and associations, and this is taking place ‘in here' in iST.

    So we find that our mind can co-incide with the external panorama or it can be independent of it.  As the cyberneticians would say, we can be ‘on-line' or ‘off-line' to reality.  The question arises as to whether we can find a symbolic representation which holds good for both cases.  Fortunately we can, and it was invented by electrical engineers whose currents and voltages are sometimes co-incidental (in phase) and sometimes independent (out-of-phase).  The electrical engineers use the terms real and imaginary for the two aspects and have a symbol ‘i' for manipulating the mathematics of the imaginary (I = √ -1)" (1985, p. 105-110).            

    In the form of a graph, Foster designates the horizontal axis as Imaginary Space-Time to accommodate events "out there," the vertical axis to allow for events "in here," and the area included between the two axes an iST-pST continuum. Within this graphic framework he discusses "reality vectors."

    "Real events consist of Reality Vectors into the Continuum such as are represented by A or B or C and which have different angles corresponding to different relative amounts of ‘out there' and ‘in here'" (1985, p 110).

    "The nature of reality: Reality is an experience now.  At one end of the Continuum spectrum it could be ‘looking at a house, now' dominated by pST.  At the other end it could be thinking about what happened to Julius ceasar 2,000 years ago but noting that such musing is also now in the iST of imagination.  Thus one does not discriminate as between reality ‘out there' or ‘in here' since either can be valid reality if it relates to experience now.  This erects the relativity observer to an eminent position since only an observer can state ‘now' and keep on stating it with the lapse of time" (1985, p 112).


    Figure 9: iST & pST (David foster, p 111-112)

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