It’s a much smaller piece, but right on the money. Consider:
Onstage, Harris, the former prosecutor, distinguishes herself as a storyteller, who conjures up images as well as arguments in ways the other contenders do not. Answering a question about health care, she spoke of parents looking through the glass door of the hospital as they calculated the costs of treating their sick child. Answering a question about detainment camps for undocumented immigrants, she hypothesized about a mother enlisting the services of a coyote, desperate to secure a better chance for her kid. “We need to think about this situation in terms of real people,” Harris insisted. She certainly demonstrated her ability to do so—to imagine policy as embodied in actual American lives. That narrative instinct framed the most powerful moment of the debate. Criticizing Biden for his past lack of support for busing, Harris began telling another story. “There was a little girl in California who was part of the second class to integrate her public school, and she was bused to school every day,” she said. “And that little girl was me.”
The New Yorker is celebrated for excellent writing with insight: Katy Waldman has insight — nicely done!
Here, we consider artistry of another sort — polyphonic, graphical, yet still clearly artistic in execution ..
Here’s a drawing from Victor Papanek‘s Notebook — and very notebook it is — courtesy Roelof Pieters:
Compare the above with this example of Mark Lombardi‘s fine art “conspiracy” graphs from his book, Global Networks:
We’re getting positively calligraphic here, and approaching the scope of one of those Song dynasty scroll paintings that feature (am I right? memory, imagination!) a hermit disappearing into his cave in some obscure not quite corner of the scroll, while thunder wreaks havoc on armies by a river in almost center field..
Speaking of which..
Ah, but we’re straggling away from our topic: On the felicities of graph-based game-board design. The point is that the arts have many inventive ways to approach complexity.
[ by Charles Cameron — I suspect Mike Sellers & Ali Minai might find them of interest as subtle narrative avenues into complexity ]
I’ve been watching Black Earth Rising , British writer-director Hugo Blick‘s latest series, starring Michaela Coel:
As with his earlier series, The Honourable Woman featuring Maggie Gyllenhaal, I’m transfixed. Here is complexity delivered — in both cases, brilliantly — on TV:
Once Blick puts down his first card, as a viewer you think, “Oh, that’s good. That will be interesting.” Then he essentially flips the other 51 into the air and lets them fall all over the script. That’s the ambitious beauty of The Honorable Woman, which explodes across each episode with elaborate twists involving the Israelis, the Palestinians, the British and the Americans.
I think of novels and plays as offering approaches to an intuitive grasp of complex situations
I think polyphony and counterpoint are what we meet with in the social world, and indeed in our conflicted minds and hearts, and that Bach will prove to be the great master of our age, once we’ve matured enough to learn from him. But listening must come first, and that seems a skill that’s wildly at variance with our times..
Novels and plays give us, I think, something of an implicit systemic view, in that we understand how a greater whole (a love story, a tragedy, etc.) emerges from the mutual interactions between actors. Same with counterpoint and polyphony — the notes mutually interact at the same time, and set up call-and-response interaction within our minds across time, to create a larger experienced whole from the entire musical piece.
I’m trying to make those relationships more explicit and more generalized, seeing the commonalities in books, music, biology, and games
so — for both Mike and Ali — I’d recommend these two Hugo Blick series as contemporary works of Shakespearean subtlety, to consider as avenues into coomplexity. And although I lack the linguistic skills to appreciate him I’m sure Ali would like to add the Urdu poet Ghalib to the list..
So that’s my interest.
Complexity, what is it? Which avenue takes us deepest into the heart of the matter?
“Combat charities”—entities that seek to provide non-profit military and political assistance to weaker armed groups or minorities resisting the military onslaught of others (like ISIS)—are one mechanism for foreign anti-ISIS volunteers to join the fight. “Combat charities” are a new rising phenomenon of the 21st century battlefield and political dispensation. They can significantly affect both local orders and international politics. [ … ]
Thousands of Western foreign fighters have traveled to the Middle East in recent years to join the fighting that has engulfed the region. They have overwhelmingly participated on the side of jihadi organizations like the Islamic State (ISIS) or the Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly the Nusra Front).
However, a smaller and often unnoticed segment of these volunteers has embedded with groups that resist the jihadis, such as Kurdish, Assyrian, and Yazidi militias. These fighters vary in their motivations for joining the fight: Some are driven by moral outrage and seek to prevent the atrocities minority groups have suffered at the hands of the jihadis, while others are motivated by co-religionist solidarity. Some seek a sense of adventure and the adrenaline highs of military tourism, while others wish to escape problems at home, finding in the fight a form of self-medicating for post-traumatic stress disorder and other problems. [ … ]
THE WESTERN PATHBREAKERS
SOLI is the oldest and most established combat charity in the world. Founded and led by American citizen Matthew VanDyke, it operates in Iraq, and is building abilities to operate in Syria and North Africa. Since its creation in 2014, SOLI has helped form, train, and to certain extent equip the two largest Assyrian militias in northern Iraq fighting against ISIS. [ … ]
…AND THEIR JIHADI TWIN
Founded in May 2016, Malhama Tactical is the first sunni jihadi private military company. As Rao Komar, Christian Borys, and Eric Woods reported in Foreign Policy magazine in February, during its short existence Malhama Tactical has provided training and battlefield consulting for Jabhat Fateh al-Sham (formerly known as the Nusra Front, affiliated with al-Qaida) and the Turkistan Islamic Party, an Uighur extremist group from China’s restive Xinjiang province.
Get that? Rival combat charities to throw a heavy dose of ambiguity into the already three-cornered Syrian situation..
IMO, these combat charities on both sides of an already fraught situation might make excellent fodder for Hugo Blick‘s subtle story-telling mind..
[ by Charles Cameron — oh, i mean, the whole ball of wax, kit & kaboodle ]
I’m trying to figure it out by catching glimpses in other people’s work, finding somethat are part of their pretty obvious ideas that are assumptions for tuthem and indicative of the state of affairs for me. I suppose I’m always on the lookout for such things, but today I’m going to shoot for the big picture.
Item #1 comes from David Ronfeldt, friend of this blog, who posted at TIMN:
It is no longer possible to think of corruption as just the iniquitous doings of individuals, be they street-level bribe payers, government officials, or business executives. In the five dozen or so countries of which Honduras is emblematic, corruption is the operating system of sophisticated networks that link together public and private sectors and out-and-out criminals — including killers — and whose main objective is maximizing returns for network members.
Boom! The main objective is to maximize returns, returns. Nobody says what retiurns are, everybody knows: returns are cash, money, moolah is what everyone is after, “follow the money” is equalled in popularity only by “cherchez la femme” — although “follow the dead Russians” has a temporary place in the sun if you follow John Schindler. Money, sex, that’s about it.
Sex. I’ll need an item for sex, eh?
Item #2 is prestige. I ound it at Tom Whipple‘s post, Starman, whichb describes a Norwegian jazz player’s rooftop searches for items of stardust.
So began the journey that would end with an autodidact gypsy-jazz musician publishing a scientific paper in a prestigious American geology journal,
The item here is prestige, yes, in the words “prestigious journal” — and the thing here is that anm autodidact made it into some prestigious pages, a jazz musician, imagine that!
Oh, and BTW, we are stardust:
I suppose you could call Joni Mitchell a jazz musician too, but she’s not — as far as I know — Norwegian,
Money, prestige, stardust.
Those are my findings so far, that’s what it’s all about. And I’m guessing, sex too, once I find an appopriate reference — oh, totally inappropriate, I’m afraid, not suited to office viewing. .
Sorry about that, I should have used a title-srolling clip from Sex and the City. I mean, good-looking means do it, plain and simple. Those guys who make films know what they’re doing.
I know, I know, I wemt from fishing phrases out of articles into fishing songs out of YouTube — but I’m still after “it” — and now we have money, prestige, stardust, sex..
I am beginning to see a glimmer of the human condition, la condition humaine. I mean, wars — civil and uncivil, compromise, film makers knowing who to film in filmy nightgowns, tight short skirts, and so on, and frankly, Trump, who epitomizes Sex and the City, has moola and no tax returns, and is made of greater stardust than the rest of us, I mean, he Trumps!
What else? I ask you, what else are we?
Frankly, there’s transcendence. We are golden. We’ve got to get ourselves back to the garden. This one’s from my memory trove — it’s from Thomas Traherne‘s little book, Centuries of Meditations:
You never enjoy the world aright, till the Sea itself floweth in your veins, till you are clothed with the heavens, and crowned with the stars: and perceive yourself to be the sole heir of the whole world, and more than so, because men are in it who are every one sole heirs as well as you. Till you can sing and rejoice and delight in God, as misers do in gold, and Kings in sceptres, you never enjoy the world.
Visual forms— lines, colors, proportions, etc.— are just as capable of articulation, i.e. of complex combination, as words. But the laws that govern this sort of articulation are altogether different from the laws of syntax that govern language. The most radical difference is that visual forms are not discursive. They do not present their constituents successively, but simultaneously, so the relations determining a visual structure are grasped in one act of vision.”
I think that’s generally right, and goes some way to explaining why “reading” a HipBone Game is cognitively different, even when the game is played entirely in verbal moves, from an equivalent reading of the same “move” tests in sequence.
I noted Sharro’s visual example — worth clicking all the way through to see it full scale — because although it’s a visual representation of a cluster of texts, it follows a timeline from left to right, and is thus simultaneously sequential and synchronic. A neat trick.
What’s so neat here? Well, it appears to be a paradox of self-reference — ourobouros, a serpent biting its own tail if you like — and it’s very nicely done. The “large numbers of people” gathered in London, of course, aren’t the “large numbers of people” they say shouldn’t be heard, and if Sharro had tweeted —
Large numbers of people gather in London to demand that large numbers of other people shouldn’t be heard”
— the paradox would have been gone, the serpent biting its own tail morphed into a serpent biting another serpent — a far less interesting spectacle.
Or would it? At the level of particular crowds, yes, the paradox would vanish, one crowd biting another, but at the level of implied principle, a crowd voicing the denial of the principle that the voices of crowds deserve a hearing would still be self-refuting in just the way Sharro plays on.
So the paradox would be like Schrodinger’s cat, dead while alive — or even better, the Cheshire Cat, niow here now gone, perhaps?
Zenpundit is a blog dedicated to exploring the intersections of foreign policy, history, military theory, national security,strategic thinking, futurism, cognition and a number of other esoteric pursuits.