Hjem Op


"Implicate Order" and the Good Life

Ib Ravn

Appendix: What Should Guide Reality Construction?
- Values and Implicate Order in Social Research


A.1 Introduction

During the past fifteen years, cybernetics, once defined as the study of communication and control in animals and machines (Wiener, 1948), has been rejuvenated under the influence of a loose-knit group of scholars and practitioners, several of whom appear as contributors to the present volume.2 Coming from disciplinary backgrounds as diverse as biophysics (von Foerster, 1973, 1981), neurophysiology and biology (Maturana & Varela, 1980, 1987), psychology (von Glasersfeld, 1984, 1985), communications (Krippendorff, 1982) and organization studies (Steier & Smith, 1985), they have provided the impetus to what is now commonly called the cybernetics of cybernetics, or "second-order" cybernetics.

This new cybernetics dispenses with the naive realism of the classical, "first-order" cybernetics and introduces the observer into the equation. No longer may we think of a cybernetic system such as a thermostat or an ecosystem as simply "there." In observing it we attend to certain aspects of it rather than others, and we do so in a manner influenced by our predispositions, desires, histories, and social background. Reality does not exist for us in a ready-made form; we "construct" it. Hence, "constructivism" is the epistemological "-ism" associated with second-order cybernetics, and reality construction is the central epistemological activity identified by constructivists.

However, constructivism is not only a rebellion against naive realism and objective criteria of truth, but also against "objective" (that is, conventional and uncritically accepted) criteria of good. This is more clearly brought out if we consider a sibling to the constructivism of second-order cybernetics, viz., the recent constructivist movement in the social sciences (Berger & Luckmann, 1966; Coulter, 1979; Reiss, 1981), which includes another contributor to this volume (Gergen, 1985).

For these social scientists, the point that social institutions are the constructions of a community of human agents implies that the same human beings possess the power to radically change those institutions. This raises what may be called the values problem in constructivism, which, in its simplest form, is put in the title of the present chapter: What should guide reality construction? If we are not forced to reproduce the given (social) reality, what alternative realities should we try to construct? What economic institutions, what foreign policies, what roles for the sexes, what schooling, what care for the sick?

This problem is accentuated in the sort of social research that is informed by constructivist principles (Gergen, 1982; Morgan, 1983; Steier, 1985; Torbert, 1976). While the objectivist researcher of yesteryear could ignore the value implications of her research activities, the constructivist is forced to acknowledge her influence on the research situation (research subjects or hosts, etc.) and her role in co-constructing the reality of her hosts. This acknowledgement implies responsibility; and, to be meaningful at all, responsibility, in turn, presupposes some measure of integrity and a personal sense of values. If the values problem is central in constructivism as a general outlook on the world, it is even more so in the practice of constructivist research, since the values aspect has been actively suppressed in the scientific community, whereas in the general community it is at least acknowledged as an issue.

The values problem in constructivism has been addressed by most of the above-mentioned writers in second-order cybernetics, as the following review will reveal. I shall conclude from the review that the reflections on ethics and values offered are quite tentative and calls for further elaboration. The remainder of this chapter represents an attempt to provide a broader context for a constructivist discussion of values and ethics.

To do this I discuss the concept of the "implicate order," an ontological framework proposed by the theoretical physicist David Bohm (1980b). As will be shown, this ontology implies no simplistic realism; it is an ontology highly compatible with constructivist epistemology. In this chapter, it serves to provide inspiration for the formulation of two normative principles, to be called the unity principle and the diversity principle. These will be combined into a simple model that describes some common ethical positions (relativism and absolutism) as distorted or degenerate cases of an ideal case, characterized by unity-in-diversity. This model is offered as a framework for a discussion of the values problem in constructivism, particularly in social research.


A.2 The Values Problem in Cybernetic Constructivism: A Review

What do the constructivists of second-order cybernetics say about the values problem? Let us take a quick look at three of them, as well as a constructivist writer from outside of cybernetics.

In a paper called "On constructing a reality," Heinz von Foerster finds that the nervous system "computes a stable reality" (1973, p. 44). This stipulates autonomy, which in turn implies responsibility (p. 45). After considering briefly the social dimensions of knowing, he asks, "What are the consequences of all this in ethics and aesthetics? The Ethical Imperative: act always so as to increase the number of choices" (p. 45).

Likewise, another paper concludes with a few reflections on ethics in a constructivist perspective (1984, p. 188). To replace the "dictatorial proscriptions" of the past ("Thou shalt not...)" von Foerster proposes, in the paper's last sentence, what "may well serve as a Constructivist Ethical Imperative: 'I shall act always so as to increase the total number of choices'" (p. 188).

Liberal as it may sound, this ethical imperative, however, raises several questions. Assuming that by "choices", von Foerster means "options" (and not "situations in which one can/must choose"), one may ask whether any option we are able to create is as good as any other? Further, what is particularly good about having many options? They may all lead to bad results. And, more to the point, does not action in itself ("act always so as to...") imply a commitment to one particular option? Action presupposes decision (conscious or otherwise), and does not decision involve elimination of all options but one? To be sure, it is useful to maintain flexibility and keep an open eye to other possibilities, but does the ethical imperative not skirt the issues of commitment and responsibility?

In a paper called "On the Ethics of Constructing Communication," which was originally addressed to a conference of communication researchers, Klaus Krippendorff (1989) picks up and modifies von Foerster's imperatives and adds a few of his own, for a total of five. As regards the first three imperatives, what is relevant here is that they call on the scientific observer to assume responsibility for her constructions.

The fourth imperative, which is called the ethical imperative, reads: "Grant others that occur in your constructions the same autonomy you practice in in constructing them" (p. 40). What this means is presumably that the autonomy one claims for oneself should also be granted to others. Further, "...the acceptance of the ethical imperative by the participants in a social process turns communication into dialogue (p. 41) (emphasis in original). A dialogue "...does not entail aims like to convince, to manipulate or to control, it rather means being together in mutual respect, empathy and caring for the identity of others just as much as for one's own" (p. 41). In other words, here is a plea for respect for the other, for her world-view, for the way she has constructed her life.

Krippendorff's fifth, so-called social imperative, is preceded by the admonishment that the received notion of objectivity not be replaced by a theory that is equally restrictive. "What it boils down to is that the criteria we adopt to evaluate the constructions we introduce into our world ought not to yield stabilities without assurance of continued freedom... from historical oppressions" (p. 48). This leads up to the social imperative: "In communication with others, maintain or expand the range of choices possible" (p. 48), which amounts to von Foerster's ethical imperative.

In sum, in Krippendorff's paper we find exhortations to be responsible for one's constructions, to show respect and caring for others, and to increase the number of options.

Ernst von Glasersfeld (1985) derives a constructivist view of knowledge from Vico and Piaget and finds it has relevance for ethics. The growing child constructs cognitive structures that allow her to manipulate and relate to the world, and among these constructions are the concept of Other. In order to understand other organisms and people she attributes to them the abilities and cognitive structures she herself holds: locomotion, hearing, pursuit of goals, use of means etc. This provides von Glasersfeld with a justification for Kant's otherwise unjustified categorical imperative (that it is good to consider Others):

Since the highest level of reality a subject's organization of the experiential world can achieve depends on hypothesizing the cognitive structures of Others, it follows that this level cannot be attained without conceptualizing Others. The consideration of Others, therefore, is no longer a requirement of ethics alone, but has become an indispensable requirement of the construction of reality. Needless to say, this in itself does not yet determine any particular ethical rules or prescriptions, but it does provide a rationale for considering Others that is not itself an ethical proposition (von Glasersfeld, 1985, p. 99) (emphases in original).

In other words, von Glasersfeld suggests that the constructivist view of Others implies that since we conceptualize them for them to exist for us to begin with, we must also be concerned about them. What is noteworthy for us here are two things. First, in this passage von Glasersfeld reveals more clearly than any of the other constructivist writers reviewed here a desire to make the epistemological enterprise of constructivism relevant to ethics. He does this by attempting to provide a justification for a moral imperative (consider Others!) that otherwise would remain a postulate. Against von Glasersfeld's proposed justification, however, one may argue that it rests on a conflation of the two meanings of "consideration": to consider someone in the sense of thinking about them does not necessarily require one to be considerate of them.

The second thing to notice is that he focuses on the Other, that is, on that aspect of the problem of values in constructivism that concerns the social relations between people and the realities they construct together. It is similar to Krippendorff's fourth imperative about respect for other people's autonomy.

Although not explicitly associated with cybernetics, the social psychologist Kenneth Gergen (1982, 1985) is included here for his pertinent discussion of constructivism (which he prefers to call constructionism, cf. 1985, p. 266) in research methodology. Gergen joins Habermas (1971) and other critical theorists in their denunciation of conventional social theory as supporting the existing power structures in society and argues that rather than depicting the social world, social theory in fact contributes to shaping and changing it. He dismisses the traditional standards of theory evaluation (by truth value, empirical content, etc.) and asks what alternative criteria may be used:

Let us propose... that competing theoretical accounts be compared in terms of generative capacity, that is, the capacity to challenge the guiding assumptions of the culture, to raise fundamental questions regarding contemporary social life, to foster reconsideration of that which is "taken for granted," and thereby to generate fresh alternatives for social action. It is the generative theory that can provoke debate, transform social reality, and ultimately serve as a stimulus to reordering social conduct (1982, pp. 108-109) (emphases in original).

On the critical question of how to compare the alternatives produced by a generative theorist--that is, which is the "freshest," the more emancipatory, the more enhancing of human potential, the more sensitive to the inequities of social life, to use his own formulations--Gergen offers only very general statements. A few representative examples: "Moral debate must come to play an increasingly important role in the new science" (p. 205)"; ...the extent to which values can guide theory construction without endangering the discipline must be examined" (p. 209); and, in a later paper, "...constructionism reasserts the relevance of moral criteria for scientific practice" (1985, p. 273).

Gergen's call for social-scientific theory that generates alternatives for action is a model application of constructivist principles to social research methodology. He shares with the other writers reviewed the idea that constructivism carries ethical implication: one must break loose from conventional, restrictive definitions of reality and open up for new forms of social organization and new cognitive constructs. More than any of the other writers, Gergen argues that the values implied by constructivism must be practiced by the social researcher herself and must indeed become an integral part of social research methodology.

However, Gergen also shares with the other constructivists a very cautious approach to the problem of values. Only very tentative formulations are offered by the constructivists: "increase the number of choices," "grant others the autonomy you yourself enjoy," "take responsibility for your constructions," "consider the Other," "generate liberating alternatives," etc. To be sure, these phrases express their authors' sensitivity to moral issues, but as ethical or moral propositions they are too close to the precepts of classical liberalism to offer novel moral guidance.

As regards the effort to derive moral guidance from constructivist epistemology, the writers reviewed here have probably gone as far as one can. Maybe the problem does not lies in the derivation of ethical or moral guides from constructivism, but in constructivism itself and the view of reality it implies. Acting on this hunch, I now wish to present a different, yet kindred view of reality and knowing, which lends itself more willingly to the articulation of human values than does orthodox constructivism. To understand this view of reality, we start in quantum physics.


A.3 The Implicate Order

The quantum theory poses a number of well-known problems as regards our view of physical reality, such as the discontinuous motion of the quantum jump, the transformation of matter into energy, the wave-particle duality and many more (for good popular accounts of quantum physics, see Herbert, 1985, and Pagels, 1981).

In response to these paradoxes, the theoretical physicist David Bohm (1980b, 1985b) argues that the problem lies in the very basic way that we think about order and structure in the world. The concept of order traditionally used in physics is the Cartesian system of coordinates, which localizes distinct objects in the 3+1-dimensional grid of space and time. It is a mechanistic order which also characterizes the world of everyday perception: we see the world as a collection of more or less separate objects, such as tables and chairs, located in particular places.

Bohm argues that what is required for the resolution of the quantum paradoxes is a new and more encompassing concept of order, of which the classical space-time order becomes but a special case. In his own words:

Being... alerted to the importance of order, I saw a program on BBC, showing a device in which an ink drop was spread [stretched into a long thread] through a cylinder of glycerine and then brought back together again, to be reconstituted essentially as it was before. This immediately struck me as very relevant to the question of order, since, when the ink drop was spread out, it still had a "hidden" (i.e., non-manifest) order, that was revealed when it was reconstituted (Bohm, 1985a, p. 118).

The "hidden" or non-manifest order of the spread-out ink threads Bohm calls the "implicate order" (from the Latin plicare, which means "to fold"). One may think of the ink drops as folded into the glycerine, as an egg may be folded into (or enfolded in) a batter. This contrasts with the order of the distinct ink drops, which is the Cartesian order of externally related things, or the explicate (unfolded) order. The implicate order of the spread-out ink threads may unfold or manifest as distinct ink drops in an explicate order.

This conceptualization of a "hidden" and non-manifest order that underlies the Cartesian order applies to physical reality as a whole, Bohm argues. The implicate order is deeper than and prior to the explicate order; it is a domain of potentiality which may become actualized into the manifest explicate order. The discrete objects and events of the explicate, Cartesian order are coarse surface manifestations of the more subtle implicate order.

The implicate order is a highly dynamic phenomenon and is best conceptualized as the order characterizing energy in the form of waves, such as electromagnetic radiation, or light. To bring out the implicate nature of light, consider the sunlit room in which I am now sitting. Light waves from all exposed surfaces in the room hit my eyes, and my brain decode the pattern carried by the light in such a way that I obtain a visual experience of the room. No matter where I place my eyes I can see the entire room, although from different perspectives. This is because light waves travel from every exposed surface to the entire space in the room, allowing me a view of the whole from every part of it. The light is an implicate order which, when decoded by my nervous system, becomes the explicate order of my experience: tables and chairs outside each other.3

This example pinpoints two remarkable characteristics of implicate order generally. One is the fact that any part enfolds (contains information about) the whole. The other is the fact that different parts yield different perspectives of the whole. To be referred to as the whole-in-part and perspectivism characteristics, respectively, these characteristics will inspire the discussion about values and ethics that follows below.

To sum up, Bohm's ontological concept of the implicate order provides a framework for a discussion of what the physical reality underlying modern physics may look like. We described the implicate order as a dynamic potentiality that has the special kind of wholeness described by the whole-in-part and perspectivism characteristics. From the implicate order material particles may arise, which may aggregate into the objects of the well-known, manifest, explicate order of space and time, the Cartesian order of classical physics.


A.4 Reality Construction and the Implicate Order 

The evolution of matter from the energy of the Big Bang may be considered the unfoldment of an explicate order of particles and objects from the implicate order of energy. Bohm (1980b, pp. 193-194) and Hammen (1983) suggest that not only physical, bur also biological evolution and development may be considered in these terms, organisms being complex explicate structures that organize and feed on the energy supplied to them from the environment (see also Prigogine & Stengers, 1984).

As regards higher forms of organization, such as the human mind, Bohm feels that the concept of implicate order is relevant here, too.

...Implicit... has the same root as implicate, and means "enfolded." This suggests that a given thought somehow enfolds further thoughts. As these unfold, they in turn enfold still further thoughts, and so on, thus giving rise to a whole train of thought. (Bohm, 1985a, p.122) 

In other words, the process of thinking may be understood as the unfoldment of a sequence of more or less clear ideas and words that appear in an explicit foreground, the focus of our attention (an explicate order). The origin of these ideas is a larger implicit background of feelings, associations, connotations, connections and so on, in the implicate order, just as physical particles may be seen as surface manifestations of the implicate order. This similarity leads Bohm to propose "...that not only are mind and matter related in this way, but further, that, they both unfold from a common ground, which unfolds them and thus is the basis of their relationship" (1985a, p. 123).

The idea that thoughts and other mental activity may unfold into an explicate foreground from an implicate background is amplified by the work in perception and memory by the neuropsychologist Karl Pribram (1977). He argues that what our senses pick up from the environment is organized differently from that which appears in our experience. We may experience or see a sharply defined table over there and hear a distinct knock on the door, but the energy that transmits this information to us does not arrive at our senses in such a tidy, explicate form. What impinges on the organism is an implicate order of energy--immensely complex interference patterns of waves of light, sound, gravity, pressure, etc. (In vision studies this is known as the "spatial frequency" theory. See Shapley & Lennie, 1985.)

As mentioned, the light waves reflected off the walls in the sunlit room carry an implicate order of information to the organism. A pair of eyes placed anywhere in the room detects this implicate order and transforms it to the explicate categories in terms of which an observer experiences the world: chairs, windows, paintings, etc. Likewise, sound is a wave-like disturbance of air molecules that travels and is decoded by the cochlea of the inner ear in such a way that we experience largely distinct sounds: the clicking of typewriter keys, voices, doors slamming, etc. Pribram argues that our the senses and the nervous system generally serve to pick up implicate information from the environment and transform it into the explicate categories and distinctions that appear in our consciousness.

Whatever is perceived by the senses and the nervous system is projected away from the sensory surfaces. The light from the walls of the room impinges on the retina, yet we experience the walls as out there, away from ourselves. We sweep under the couch with a broom and hit a toy car, which we feel is at the end of the broom, and not in our hand where the pressure from the broom hitting the toy is actually felt. This way the organism creates a distinction between itself and the "objective" world around it, the world of explicate objects (as is well described by Piaget and his co-workers in different terms, e.g., 1954). The world of objects is thus only dependent on us for its form (as objects), but not for its existence as waves of energy.

Applied to the old conundrum about the tree falling in the forest when there is no one there, the view presented here says that the tree does indeed produce a disturbance in the air molecules which propagates as a wave, but unless there is someone present with a functioning auditory system, there is no sound, for a sound, such as a distinct crash, is an explicate event that can only take place in the nervous system of a hearing organism.

By now it should be clear that the unfoldment of the implicate order into the explicate objects and events that populate our awareness is similar to the process of reality construction as described by the constructivists reviewed above. This puts the epistemological idea of observer-dependent reality construction into the larger context of cosmological reality unfoldment.

Thus, we might say that ever since the Big Bang an explicate reality of stable and localized objects has gradually unfolded (elementary particles, atoms, stars, molecules, organisms, etc.), but only with the evolutionary appearance of human consciousness and society has reality construction begun to take place. The human stage of evolution or unfoldment signals the emergence of an new and additional arena for explicate order, viz., human experience, thought, consciousness. With the advent of human beings reality is not merely unfolding "on its own;" now there is someone who knows reality is unfolding and whose world of knowing (consciousness) is itself being unfolded (developed, elaborated, sophisticated).


A.5 Finding Normative Guidance in the Implicate Order 

With Bohm and Pribram we have argued that the concept of implicate order is relevant not only in ontology, but also in the study of the human world (experience, consciousness, perception, etc.). I now wish to propose that the implicate order is not merely a useful device for describing the human world, but may also serve as a source of inspiration for prescriptions for the human world. In other words, my suggestion is that the implicate order may give us a clue as to what worlds we should construct, what values should guide reality construction.

What prompts me to look for normative guidance in the implicate order is an intuition that there must be some relation between the way the world is structured and the way human beings should act in this world. In other words, my hunch is that if implicate order is a useful ontological concept it might just become a useful normative or ethical concept.4

Closer examination of the implicate order reveals two characteristics, as mentioned above, that suggest themselves as springboards for normative considerations. One characteristic, called the "whole-in-part" characteristic, is the fact that any part of an implicate order contains information about the whole; the whole is enfolded in the part. The other characteristic, the "perspectivism" characteristic, is the point that different parts yield different perspectives of the whole.

For these ontological or physical characteristics to become relevant in a discussion of the human world, we must reformulate or change them in some way. I suggest that they be subjected to two transformations, each of which expresses a critical difference between the natural world and the human world. One transformation concerns experience: the human world is not given and real in the sense that the natural world is; it is an interpreted or experienced world. The other transformation concerns values or prescription: unlike the natural world, the human world is permeated by values. Thus we obtain the experiential and prescriptive transformations.

Now, take first the whole-in-part characteristic and put it through the experiential transformation. This results in the idea that a one may experience one's world in such a way that every part of one's life seems to evoke or make contact with a larger wholeness or unity. This is the experience that through one's activities one connects with a larger purpose or meaning, which is revealed in every activity, in every part that one plays. It is the feeling that "This is what it's all about," the feeling that the fullness of life is revealed in one's chosen occupation or tasks. We may say that a larger existential whole is enfolded in the parts of one's life. (This contrasts with an existence in which one sees no connection between the different aspects or parts of one's life. Life and society are compartmentalized and fragmented; there seems to be no larger purpose or meaning in one's activities.)

The second, prescriptive transformation takes the situation described in the previous paragraph and makes a evaluative statement or a prescription out of it: it is good to be able to experience a larger whole or unity through the parts of one's life. It is good to be so engaged in one's activities that one is enabled, by virtue of this engagement, to find wholeness and meaning and fulfillment.

To sum up, the experiential and prescriptive transformations make the ontological whole-in-part characteristic into what will be called the unity principle. This is an ethical principle that proposes that the human-social world should be organized or constructed in such a way that people enjoy the experience that every part of their lives reveal a larger purpose and coherence, a sense of wholeness and unity. The unity principle says that the unity experience and the social, political, psychological etc. conditions that bring it about should be promoted.

Now subject the perspectivism characteristic to the two transformations. The experiential transformation of this characteristic results in the idea that a person may experience her world in such a way that different parts of it yield different perspectives of the same whole. One sees things from different perspectives, relative to where one finds herself, but these perspectives are still experienced as compatible, that is, they seem to express different aspects of the same unity or wholeness. If one is a painter, one enjoys the pleasures and excitements of art as much as if one were a sculptor, since one experiences these activities as merely different aspects of the same meaningful existential whole: a life dedicated to artistic expression and creativity.

This attitude to things applies to the individual life (within the person who paints and sculpts), as well as socially (among painters and sculptors, men and women, Christians and Muslims, etc.). A person with this attitude will find that other people's pursuits and activities merely express different aspects of life, as much as her activities do. There is an appreciation that "there are many ways of doing things and that's fine."

Next, the prescriptive transformation makes a evaluative statement out of this situation: it is good to be able to experience that different parts of one's life reveal different aspects of the whole; it is good to appreciate that other people's pursuits, although different, are compatible with one's own. This is called the diversity principle. This is an ethical principle that proposes that the world should be organized or constructed in such a way that people appreciate that their different activities and pursuits are compatible and non-antagonistic aspects of the same wholeness, the human community, the unity of all things, or however one wishes to express this. The diversity principle says that the diversity experience and the social and material conditions that bring it about should be promoted.

While the unity principle concerns the experience associated with the pursuit of one's current task or activity ("it should be conducted in such a way that a sense of unity with all is experienced"), the diversity principle concerns the manner in which one should regard other activities and pursuits ("they should be respected and appreciated"). Previewing the comparison with constructivism and other ethical positions to be made in the next section, we see that constructivism is strong on the diversity principle (respect, diversity, freedom) but says little about the unity principle, that is, the fulfillment to be had from the pursuit of particular activities, the commitment to one particular reality or tradition. More about this later.

Summing up: by applying the experiential and prescriptive transformations to the whole-in-part and perspectivism characteristics of implicate order we have constructed two ethical principles: the unity principle and the diversity principle. Together, these principles may be used to clarify what is meant by a good life. They say that a good life--or a good job, institution, society, or, generally, a good construction--is one that affords people both the unity experience (to connect with a larger whole through whatever part one plays), and the diversity experience (to appreciate that this wholeness may be equally fully experienced through other parts of life than the one currently engaged in). In the view of the good life proposed here, human and societal betterment consists in the construction of institutional, economic, political and psychological contexts that promote these conditions and appreciations in people.


A.6 A Model of the Good Life

It is tempting to see the unity experience and the diversity experience as mutually exclusive. After all, the experiences expressed by the excited exclamation "this is what it is all about" and the calm acknowledgement "there are many ways of doing things" do seem rather contradictory. People with an intense unity experience, such as religious or ideological zealots, are often little able to appreciate that other paths to God or the good society are possible. Likewise, people who accept diversity and have broad respect for others sometimes show little commitment to any one cause and may find it difficult to identify with any particular values.

I wish to propose that the unity and diversity experiences need not be mutually exclusive, but are in fact best seen as mutually inclusive. That is, it should be possible to enjoy them to the fullest at the same time. To conceptualize this coincidence, we will use a two-by-two matrix somewhat like those used by Blake & Mouton (1964) and Gharajedaghi (1983). We place the unity principle on one axis and the diversity principle on the other (see Fig. A.1). Each is divided into a low and a high, which yields four cells.


Diversity Principle


Cell 3:
without unity

Cell 4:
(The good life)


Cell 1:
Neither diversity
nor unity
(Null case)

Cell 2:
Unity without diversity





Unity Principle


Figure A.1 The Unity-Diversity Matrix



Given that the matrix combines two desirables (the unity and diversity experiences), the high-high cell (cell 4) features the optimal case where both experiences are enjoyed to the fullest at the same time. The high-low and the low-high cells (cells 2 and 3) will be called degenerate cases, because only one of the two experiences obtain in either cell. The low-low cell may be called the null case; here neither unity nor diversity is experienced to any significant degree. All of the cells must be seen as extreme cases that serve only as poles for personal moral orientation, not as a basis for any "objective" classification of people or events. (More about this below.)

Let us consider the four cases in turn. By the nature of the matrix, little can be said about cell 1: there is none of either experience and we are left with no words to describe this case. Moving on to the more interesting cells, we notice that in cell 2 the unity experience is present maximally and the diversity experience minimally. In other words, here is a person (or group of persons, organization, culture, etc.) who sees a larger whole through the part she plays, but does not feel that this is possible through any other role or part of life. This is a person who insists that her path in life is right because it puts her in touch with something much bigger than herself, but she does not appreciate that others may want to or are entitled to pursue other paths. In the extreme, this is an absolutistic attitude that claims privileged access to higher dimensions or powers. Absolutism is the belief that others must follow one's own path. This type of person is authoritarian, holds on to fixed beliefs and cannot let go easily. She shows a high degree of attachment to things.

The opposite, relativistic case is found in cell 3, where the unity experience is minimally present and the diversity experience maximally so. This is a situation in which a person (group, organization, etc.) is unable to see a higher purpose of connectedness in what she is doing, but is amply aware and appreciative that there are many paths that people may follow. The problem is that she sees no path as better than any other and hence nothing has any higher value or meaning. In the extreme case this is nihilism. This type of person resigns herself easily, she lets go of things too easily. She shows excessive detachment from things.

Absolutism and relativism, or cells 2 and 3, are both degenerate cases in the sense that both are less than what is optimal: cell 2, absolutism, lacks the diversity experience that enable people to respect others, and cell 3, relativism, lacks the unity experience that give meaning and fullness to one's own life. Although each principle expresses a desirable experience, realizing one in the absence of the other leads to an non-desirable extreme, a degenerate case: absolutism or relativism.

In the model, cell 4 conceptualizes "the good life" as the coincidence or synthesis of the two desirable experiences. The alternative to relativism and absolutism does not need to be a half-hearted compromise between the two, it can be both. The optimal case may be called unity-in-diversity, or diversity-in-unity. Conditions are optimal when they, one, enable people to feel part of a larger whole and, two, induce people to appreciate that others may want to pursue other paths in experiencing a larger wholeness.

Such a person will be committed to one or a few particular causes, will have found a special path in life that gives her a sense of unity and meaning, while fully appreciating and respecting that others may follow paths that are equally important. She takes her chosen tasks seriously and pays attention to detail; she is attached to the task while at the same time realizing that the way she does things may not be the only right way, in other words, she shows detachment as well, is ready to resign and change horses if need be.

This is a process we are all familiar with: it is when we are operating at the height of our skills and everything works perfectly, whether playing intense basketball, facilitating a heated discussion in a large meeting, negotiating obstacles on the road in a critical moment, preparing a dinner with many ingredients under time pressure, writing creatively and fluently, or organizing one's work and family commitments to everyone's satisfaction. In all of these situations I may feel that this is what it is all about, this is the one thing in the world that I enjoy the most, while at the same time I am able to pause for a moment and reflect that, well, the guy over there is doing something else and may feel exactly the same thing, and that is just fine; and maybe I will do something else in a moment, too.

The difficult thing, of course, is not to have such experiences in one's personal, but to organize a society in such a way that this experience of commitment to one pursuit and respect for other people's pursuits is available for all, not only on the small, individual scale, but also on the large scale, in relations between groups, organizations, governments, churches, political ideologies, races, etc. What I offer here is simply the conceptualization that allows us to recognize this experience as possible and real.

My reason for speaking of the good life in terms of "experience" is that I proceed from the assumption that what is good cannot be determined objectively, but must be experienced as such. No individualistic bias is implied: what one experiences is heavily influenced by prevailing cultural and political conditions, and these must be attended to if the unity-in-diversity experience is to be promoted.


A.7 Using the Model 

The unity-diversity model suggests that what should be striven towards is cell 4, which renders a view of the good life as the simultaneous realization of the unity and diversity experiences. The four cells of the model of course represents ideal types, none of which may be actually found but which are useful for classification and discussion. Cell 4, the optimal case, is an "idealized" case in the sense of Ackoff (1981), in that it is infinitely approachable, but it cannot be reached.

In positive terms, the model encourages people to approach cell 4 by attempting to create conditions favorable to the unity-in-diversity experience. Conversely, the negative injunction implied by the model is "avoid the other cells". This negative injunction represents the constraints that any framework for values should also contain. If some things are good, there must be things that are bad. The model cautions against roles, ideologies, ideas, etc. that emphasize the unity experience at the expense of diversity, and vice versa. This rules out absolutist and relativist paths in proportion to their extremeness.

One should tolerate or support ideas and roles in proportion to their closeness to the optimal case, cell 4. For example, one should be reluctant to follow the advice of an absolutist fanatic, and one should avoid emulating the life of a relativist. This may sound rather restrictive, and it certainly contrasts with the friendly maxims of the constructivists reviewed above: "consider the Other," "grant others the autonomy your yourself enjoy," etc. However, stating such injunctions positively is only the first step. The difficult thing is to articulate a negative demarcation. Without the negative side of the coin such maxims can offer little guidance in real situations, because surely we are not supposed to grant autonomy to a lunatic on a shooting spree in a shopping mall? We may all agree to the general principle of concern and consideration for others, but in real life a line must be drawn.

In the constructivist writings reviewed above, the lack of attention paid to the question of where to draw the line goes hand in hand with an emphasis on what I have called diversity dimension of the good life. "Increasing the number of choices", finding "fresh alternatives," "being sensitive to the inequities of social life," "considering others"--all these amount to promoting the diversity experience. But opening up the space of opportunities and creating alternatives will lead to relativism unless there is a simultaneous narrowing of this space, a honing in on some particular value or vocation or task that a person may commit herself to and find meaning in. "Increasing the number of choices" is a fine guide in a oppressive situation where too few alternatives are available, but it is only one side of the coin, the diversity side. The other side involves selecting an option and investing oneself in the chosen task, which is the only way to achieve the unity experience to complement the tolerance and respect lauded by the constructivists. (In speaking of taking responsibility for one's constructions, Krippendorff approaches the unity side of things.)

Expressed in terms of the model, then, unless complemented by the unity principle, the ethic of constructivism will be unduly skewed toward cell 3, relativism. This, however, leads to paradox, because by the definition of the model the relativist attitude is too tolerant and permissive, too detached from the challenges of life to offer reliable guidance, that is, it is in fact too lax to be an ethic at all.

The unity-diversity model points to constraints on what is permissible in a straightforward way: avoid all cells but cell 4, the optimal case. This demarcation is interesting because the model does not allow us to define with any specificity what the things to be avoided actually are. To wit: What ideas and practices should we keep out of our lives and society? Those farthest from cell 4. But what are they? Those that entail insufficient respect for others (such ideas and practices being absolutist), as well as those that imply excessive tolerance of others (relativist ideas and practices). That is, embrace only that which entails accept of others in the right way (that is, neither insufficiently nor excessively). Moreover, the ideas and practices we embrace of course should not be ones that entail acceptance of ideas and practices that themselves imply accept of others in these incorrects ways. Further, these latter ideas and practices are defined by the way they in turn embrace other ideas and practices, and so on, ad infinitum.

So, instead of a positive definition of what is to be avoided or who is to be respected, the model opens up for an infinite regress, a recursive movement of ethical and moral reflection that has no ultimate foundation , no cookbook with recipes for correct action or thinking (cf. Varela, 1988). Despite the clear-cut conceptual distinctions between the four cells, the model is not a system for objectively classifying moral ideas, beliefs or practices; it cannot serve as a tool for determining in any absolute way which is the better of two alternatives.

I suggest that the model is properly used as a pair of glasses one puts on and sees the world through. One may imagine oneself being located in the middle of the diagram, at the point where the four cells meet. One's attempts to do what is right and good may thus be seen as efforts to move toward cell 4 while avoiding the temptations of cells 2 and 3 (and cell 1). Personal development and social progress take place to the extent one is able, together with ones peers, to promote the unity-in-diversity experience in oneself and others. However, since the model features only ideal types one never actually finds oneself in any of the cells. The cells remain poles or extremes in terms of which one may interpret and discuss the various situations and ideas one encounters.

If the model is used in this manner, as a guide for personal ethical orientation rather than as a tool for the "objective" assessment of ideas and practices, it may become a vehicle for dialog between people trying to do what is right. It provides the beginnings of a language--a simple typology, some new, yet familiar terms, a few examples--in terms of which people in morally difficult situations may discuss and reflect on their options and constraints.

Above, I called attention to the model's lack of a foundation, its silence on the particulars of exactly what is to be accepted and embraced. This point is closely linked to the model's optimal use as a vehicle for discussion and social interpretation, for only in such a dialog, taking place in historically concrete situations, can the abstract and foundations-less precepts implied by the four cells acquire personal meaningfulness and become guides to action.


A.8 Social Research: A Reality-Constructive Activity in Need of Values

The late twentieth-century rebellion against positivism and the fact-value dichotomy in the social sciences has advanced to the point where forward-thinking writers in social research methodology are ready to infuse social research with values, making social research as a reality-constructive activity an integral part of attempts to better the human condition (Maslow, 1966; Reason & Rowan, 1981; Weisskopf, 1971). In an earlier section I reviewed some attempts in cybernetic constructivism come to grips with the values question. In this section I propose how the unity-diversity model may be used as a moral guide in social research.

In modern organizational research, to mention the social-science discipline with which I am most familiar, there is a strong trend toward considering the research process a cooperative venture between the researchers and their hosts (the research subjects) (Argyris & Schon, 1978; Clark, 1976; Torbert, 1976). The scientific knowledge that is derived from this process is not understood in terms of true representations of factual states of the world, but rather as knowledge that can be put to use in action by the research hosts. The "action knowledge" (Ravn & Baburoglu, 1987) obtained in the research process does not reside exclusively in the researcher's mind, but is diffused throughout the group or organization under study and is thus tested out and improved continually, in actual lived practice.

When knowledge is considered in the context of its use and practice, the question of values appears automatically, for what kind of practice are we talking about? The answer is "optimal practice," of course, performing as well as possible, doing one's best. An apprentice cabinet maker needs to know about many kinds of tools, but she is not interested in the scores of different ways one can use a plane: she needs to know what the best way is. Likewise for the members of an organization: they need to know how best (or better) to carry out their jobs, plan for next year, manage the accounts, solve interpersonal conflicts etc.

Now, what "best" (or "better") means is, of course, a matter of background and interpretation. One must do more, however, than merely state this; one must also propose a particular interpretation of what best or good means. This is the intention behind the unity-diversity model. This model may be used as the researcher's moral guide in her dealings with the research hosts.

In an earlier manuscript (Ravn, 1987a) I sketched a methodology for community research which put particular emphasis on the normative aspect of the research. My intention was to describe a process in which a researcher/consultant helps a community experiment with new forms of organization and develop in ways desirable to its members. The scientific aspect of this effort would be the identification of those innovations that would be of interest to other communities, that is, those novel features of community organization that are generalizable and hence may be said to constitute knowledge of a kind useful to community leaders, planners and activists, that is, action knowledge.

The methodology consists of a cycle with five phases: idealization, implementation, evaluation, meta-evaluation and generalization. In the first phase, idealization, the researcher helps the members of the community (or their representatives) draw up a vision of the community as they would most like it to be (this idea is due to Ackoff, 1981, who, in a planning context, calls this vision an "idealized design"). This vision or idealized design must be unconstrained by the present problems facing the community; it must truly represent the innermost desires of the members for what their community could be like: governance, business and work opportunities, housing, recreational facilities, cultural activities, etc. The idealized design is not a static blueprint. It is the best vision people can come up with right now, and it must be changed continually as people change their minds (Ackoff, 1981). Extensive procedures for the negotiation and resolution of conflicting interests must be employed in the course of idealization.

The idealized design may be considered a theory of a better community. It may be called it a "transformative theory" (called a "futures theory" in Ravn & Baburoglu, 1987) because the idea is to use it to transform its subject-matter, the community in question. The theory is put in to effect in the second stage of the methodology, implementation, during which the new ideas contained in the vision are implemented in the community. This implementation must of course be carefully planned and executed and must proceed at a pace that the community can sustain: neither too fast nor too slow.

In the third phase, evaluation, the members of the community decide whether they are satisfied with the new practices and institutions. This constitutes a first "testing" of the transformative theory. The criteria for acceptance of the theory are the aesthetic, ethical and political standards that the members of the community happen to possess. Do they like the new procedures for garbage disposal? Are the open town hall meetings more useful than the old closed ones? Does the new inter-cultural center help integrate the immigrants better? Much of this evaluation of course occurs spontaneously, as part of people's reflection on their lives, but it must also take place in a orchestrated manner and be brought to bear on those responsible for the changes in community life.

In phase four of the methodology, meta-evaluation, the researcher/ consultant makes sure that the criteria used in the evaluation are themselves subjected to scrutiny. This establishes a forum for moral debate in which people are invited to reflect critically on their reasons for accepting some changes and disliking others. The role of the researcher/consultant is to facilitate and sophisticate this process. In this the researcher can profess no objectivity or value-neutrality. On the contrary, she must be extremely conscious of her own values and outlook on life, lest she unknowingly manipulates the community members into adopting her values and biases.

In research undertaken for my doctoral dissertation (presented provisionally in Ravn, 1987a) I attempted to instantiate the process of meta-evaluation by engaging in values-reflective conversations with activists from social-change organizations in Denmark. The values and moral orientation that I brought to this dialogical or conversational approach were, to the best of my knowledge, roughly those of the unity-diversity model (or, more correctly, an earlier version which I called the model of unfoldment; cf. Ravn, 1988). In these conversations I sought to learn about the activists' visions for their organizations, how these visions fare in the daily activities of the organization and how the activists evaluate them.

The process of meta-evaluation involved my probing into the bases of their evaluations, what ideas of good and bad and what basic assumptions about human conduct and society lay behind their assessments. Whenever I encountered an idea or a conceptualization that conflicted with what I thought was consistent or right, I objected respectfully and suggested alternative conceptualizations, as derived from the model I had in the back of my mind. At issue was not the surface preferences or aversions of everyday life, since an exchange about such things tend end up in unproductive statements of positions: "I like it this way", "Well, I like it that way." I used my conversations with the activists to focus on more fundamental problems of conceptualization.

For example, when I heard from one activist that he was torn between a desire to travel abroad for a year and a wish to stay in Denmark and help his organization win an important political battle, I perceived this not as problem of values that I could argue with at its own level ("I think you should be loyal to your organization and stay at home"), but as a deeper conflict in himself that was due to what I saw as an inadequate conceptualization of freedom and commitment. I explored his views on the relationship between freedom and commitment and found that he dichotomized the two in a rather unproductive way. I challenged him to reflect on this way of seeing things and after an hour's conversation we arrived at a notion of freedom as being realizable only through commitment, and not despite it. He expressed satisfaction with this conceptualization and I concluded tentatively that it represented an improvement in his criteria for evaluation, helping him to make a better choice between travelling abroad and staying at home.

My contribution to this clarification was in some part guided by the normative framework of the model of unfoldment which, at that phase in my research, carried some implications for the concept of freedom. But it also tested this framework, to the extent that, although I felt I entered into this particular meta-evaluation with rather a consistent normative framework for discussing the concept of freedom, I was soon driven to make alterations in the model, resulting in the version I presently favor, the unity-diversity model as presented in this chapter. And this is as it should be. Any researcher/consultant, whether engaging in meta-evaluation with an individual, as I did, or with a community, as is implied by the methodology outlined, should be open to challenges to her own views on how to conceptualize ethical concepts, such as freedom, which constitute our criteria for evaluating ideas and situations.

In the fifth and last phase of the methodology, generalization, the general applicability of the innovations tried and evaluated in the community is considered: are the lessons learned in the community useful to other communities? Are the successes likely to work elsewhere; are the projects that failed here likely to fail elsewhere, too? These considerations are largely the responsibility of the researcher/consultant, as the community members may be presumed to be more interested in working on the community's own problems. Further, this is the phase where the scientific part of the project is most manifest: the attempted generalizations of the lessons learned may be considered (social-)scientific knowledge to the extent they are borne out by future community experiments elsewhere.

An important part of the researcher-consultant's job is to discover what special circumstances obtain in the community that would prevent the lessons learned from being successfully transferred to other communities. For instance, one community may find that ten minutes of silent hand-holding and contemplation before the town meeting works very well. The researcher-consultant is impressed with this and is about to recommend in her report that other communities try it, too, when she discovers a strong, but never articulated Quaker tradition in the community. She makes a note of this in her report, and communities with more Dionysian temperaments then know how to interpret the results and make their own adjustments.

Very few general "laws" of community organization or social behavior are likely to emerge from experiments like these (Gergen, 1978). The reporting of the process will most likely appear as a thoughtful narrative interspersed with tentative conclusions and mentions of special circumstances, as well as articulations of the underlying criteria and values as discovered during the meta-evaluation process. The assessment of the community effort and its reporting will look less like a lab report and more like Geertz's "thick description" (1973) or Glaser and Strauss's "grounded theory" (1967).

Let us recapitulate the five stages of the methodology:


1. Idealization: creating a vision of a better community (a "transformative theory").

2. Implementation: living as the theory suggests.

3. Evaluation: are the community members satisfied with the innovations?

4. Meta-evaluation: the researcher-consultant probes the criteria and values underlying the evaluation.

5. Generalization: can the lessons learned be transferred to other communities?


The phases may be separated conceptually, but may overlap considerably in practice. They constitute a cycle in which one may (and should, to keep the process going) go back to an earlier phase whenever something has been learned that may improve, say, the idealized design, or the way it was implemented, and so on. The process has no end: it is always possible to make new progress; no design should last forever (Ackoff, 1981).


A.9 Summary and Conclusions

 Let us walk through the argument as presented. I started out with a review of some writers in constructivism who have addressed the values problem in constructivism. This is the problem of deciding what worlds we should try to construct. I found that the notions of values in these writings resembled the classical precepts of liberalism: respect others, increase the number of options, create liberating alternatives, etc.

With the ambition of piecing together a broader framework for moral discourse I delved into physics and ontology, for the purpose of using David Bohm's ontological concept of implicate order as an inspiration for ideas on what is good. To Bohm, the implicate order represents a domain of dynamic potentiality in which the whole is enfolded in each of its parts. The explicate order, on the other hand, is the manifest world of stable objects and distinct events. The process by which the explicate order is created from the implicate order was called unfoldment, and cosmological and biological evolution were briefly mentioned as examples of unfoldment.

It was proposed that the concepts of implicate and explicate order were relevant not only in the physical and biological world, but also in regard to thought and consciousness. Bohm argued that thought is an unfoldment of an explicate (explicit) foreground from a deeper implicate (implicit) background. Pribram showed that perception involves the transformation of the implicate order of energy presented to the senses into the explicate order of the world of experience: our eyes receive only (implicate) light waves, but we experience explicate objects like tables and chairs. By the process of unfolding implicate information into explicate categories and distinctions our nervous systems construct a reality for us. Thus, reality construction is a special case of unfoldment.

The idea that the order underlying the physical-biological world and the order of thought and perception may be the same--the implicate order--led me to suggest that maybe the concept of implicate order can give us a clue as to what sorts of world we should unfold, what realities to construct. For that purpose I identified two special characteristics of the implicate order: the whole is enfolded in its parts, and different parts yield different perspectives of the whole. These two characteristics were made applicable in the human-social world by putting them through the experiential and prescriptive transformations. Thus appeared the unity and diversity principles. The unity principle says that it is good to see wholeness and meaning through any part or aspect of one's life, and the diversity principle says that it is good to appreciate that the same experience can be had from many other perspectives.

Come thus far in the recapitulation of the steps that led to the unity-diversity model, let me pause to consider the nature of the ethical principles proposed. I take it as axiomatic that there is no one absolute font of values, no one exclusive place to look for answers to what is good. All we can do is look for inspiration where we find it, construct proposals and enter into dialog with others, arguing our case as best we can, while being open to objections and alternatives.

I find the concept of implicate order an interesting ontological idea, which, in the work of Bohm and Pribram, has shown some promise of capturing essential aspects of the order of the physical and psychological realms. Assuming that some continuity between our descriptions of the natural and cultural worlds is desirable, I teased out the two normative principles from the implicate order. Their having been "derived" from a concept originally devised to address questions of physical order must not be understood as a reduction of the complexity of the cultural world to the physical world. In fact, the experiential and prescriptive transformations were intended to introduce what is integral to the cultural world into the ontological whole-in-part and perspectivism characteristics. Also, I do not mean to imply that because implicate order is primarily a natural-scientific concept and hence may seem "factual" to some (which it is not: as far as Bohm is concerned it is merely a proposal, cf. Bohm, 1980b, p. 213), then the normative principles constructed from it must also be "scientific," "true" or in some other sense beyond negotiation and dialog.5

To continue the summary of the argument, the unity and diversity principles were combined in a two-by-two matrix, which allows us to think of the unity and diversity experiences as simultaneously obtainable, in the top right-hand cell, cell 4. This cell stands for the normative ideal, which I simply called "the good life." It opposite was called the null case, and the two remaining cells, degenerate cases. These latter two are interesting because they identify two very common attitudes to life, both of which are described here as distortions or degenerations of a more happy ideal, the coincidence of the unity and diversity experiences.

What I described here as the unity experience includes what in the literature is often described as the mystical or religious experience (Huxley, 1944; Underhill, 1911) (but also includes those more ordinary experiences of perfect coordination and apparently effortless accomplishment that characterize many of our everyday activities). The diversity principle, on the other hand, may be seen as a more secular or humanistic principle, in that it opens up the subject's field of vision to alternatives, including the activities that other people engage in.

The unity-diversity model conjoins the mystical and the humanistic, the divine and the secular, and shows how either of these dimensions in the absence of the other is degenerate and much less than "half" of what is desirable. The unity experience is: "I have seen the light", but in the express absence of the diversity experience this becomes: "I have seen the light, and there is no other path," which is absolutism and fanaticism, whether religious or ideological. The diversity experience is: "Appreciate other paths," but in the express absence of the unity experience it becomes: "Accept any path," which is relativism and nihilism.

I argued that the constructivist ethics reviewed tended towards relativism, in that it paid too much attention to the "secular" and liberalist diversity side of things. Perhaps because of the tradition against which the constructivists rebel, namely, that of objectivism and realism, they have tended to focus on our ability to construct alternatives to what the objectivist and realist traditions assumed was the only reality. However, this emphasis on alternatives has somewhat overshadowed the desirability of constructing one reality for a person or a community to become absorbed in and find meaning and fulfillment through. One does not live by choices, alternatives and emancipation alone. Both sides of this coin must be included, as pointed out by the unity-diversity model.

Social research is an activity recognized by many as not just unveiling the facts but as constructing them, and the researcher plays a major role in this. Thus enters the question of values in research activities as well, and a fuller discussion of what is good, that is, what values should guide the researcher in her studies and interventions, is required. A five-phase methodology for community development and research was proposed. In this methodology, rudimentary as it is, the normative question has center stage, and the generation of social-scientific knowledge is seen as part and parcel of a process that aims to improve community life.

The methodology has the community members first create a vision of a better community, then implement it and then evaluate it (all of which is, of course, a far more complicated process than indicated in this chapter). In the fourth phase, meta-evaluation, the researcher examines the criteria or values by which the community members have evaluated the innovations. She shows she is worth her salt by challenging the community members from a normative and moral standpoint that she is able to articulate. In the example offered from my own research, in which I simulated the meta-evaluation process in conversations with social activists, I used (an earlier version of) the unity-diversity model as my normative footing. This example was intended to illustrate that it is possible as well as desirable to draw on a comprehensive and articulable normative framework in one's activities as a social researcher.

Further studies may demonstrate that the experiential nature of the unity-diversity model is well suited to the dialogical and participatory nature of the type of social research discussed here. In this way, and likely also in many other ways, as aided by other normative frameworks, one may attempt to fulfill Gergen's recommendation that "moral debate... play an increasingly important role in the new science" (1982, p. 205).



1. This appendix will appear in Frederick Steier (Ed.): Research and Reflexivity. (London: Sage, in press[1991]) Besides containing a summary exposition of the argument presented in the main text (in its "weak version." See Section 6.5), it offers an outline of a social research methodology that allows a researcher to use a valuational framework like the unity-diversity matrix in research intended to help a community change. It thus goes beyond the main text, by discussing research done for an earlier version (Ravn, 1987a) and drawing on other independent work (Ravn, 1987b, in press a, Ravn & Baburoglu, 1987). The paper is set in the context of " cybernetic constructivism," as represented by most of the other contributors to the book in which it will appear (Kenneth Gergen, Klaus Krippendorff, Ernst von Glasersfeld, and Humberto Maturana, among others). The paper was written some six months prior to the completion of the dissertation and thus differs slightly in terminology and style.

2. That is, Steier (in press).

3. At this point one may invoke the analogy of the hologram. A hologram is a static record of a dynamic interference pattern of light waves reflected from an object. However, this analogy has been trivialized by "New Age" journalists and some organization researchers and is now best avoided (for a further critique, see Section 4.2). Besides, the analogy says nothing that cannot be better said with a properly dynamic implicate order, such as the interference pattern of light in our example of the room.

4. Not everyone, of course, would find a hunch of this kind equally agreeable. Advocates of the doctrine of the naturalistic fallacy (Moore, 1903) hold that an inference from "what is" to "what ought to be" is illegitimate. The doctrine of the naturalistic fallacy, however, rests on some highly questionable assumptions, as shown by Searle (1969) and others. See the disccusion in Section 4.4.

5. It should be added that the usefulness or validity of the unity-diversity model does not hinge on the concept of implicate order. The model should be perfectly meaningful also to someone who does not know or appreciate Bohm's ontological concept. Some might even find the model more appealing if it presented without its physical-ontological roots.