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I'm new to this place, coming in from a very integral or "holistic" perspective, and very motivated to explore ways that "scientists, mathematicians and engineers" can work together to "save the planet" (and, along the way, of course, human civilization). After looking around a bit, I thought I'd take a crack at posting a new discussion.
Of course it's true that there are major scientific issues associated with maintaining a healthy planet -- and many of you have no doubt heard the phrase "Planetary Boundaries" (if not, there are good essays on the Great Transition Initiative, such as http://www.greattransition.org/publication/bounding-the-planetary-future-why-we-need-a-great-transition -- "Bounding the Planetary Future", by Johan Rockstrom, Professor of Environmental Science at Stockholm University) -- but for me, what might be even more of a human emergency is the inability of the scientific community to fully persuade the political communities of the world that action is needed promptly. Have you see video clips of the floods in South Carolina, USA? We've got to learn to live within our limits -- within our boundaries -- and if we can't do it, we're going to reap the whirlwind.
[PS -- here's a brand-new article from Rockstrom: http://www.socialeurope.eu/2015/10/leaving-our-children-nothing/ ]
If we want to hang on to this planet, we human beings have to find ways to work together -- effectively, directly, correctly, with substantial influence and impact. But the reality is -- human beings these days at grassroots levels are tending to bicker or fight with each other about just about everything. The human community isn't just "divided". We're atomized, around almost every possible dimension of difference (there are a number of influential books on this theme, like The Big Sort, by Bill Bishop), and our collective failure at the large-scale task of collective governance puts us all into the hot water with the mythical "boiling frog" (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Boiling_frog ). We see this problem all over the world -- and we absolutely see it in the gridlock and paralysis of the US Congress, on just about any issue more serious than naming a post office. If you've been watching the US news, this is the number-one topic right this minute: the paralysis of our congress.
I'm a network builder with a background in algebraic semantics, and I want to work on building models of shared understanding that fully embrace "diversity", and support vital disagreement or discussion on critical issues -- but hold the entire conversation together in "co-creative" and respectful/constructive ways, that lead to creative solutions. As regards "apples and oranges" arguments -- I've heard it said recently that a major reason for crazy health-care costs in the USA isn't simply the avarice of health-care providers or pharmaceutical companies -- but also emerges in large part from the sheer fragmentation and internal disconnects of the health-care delivery system. We're living in a world of mis-matched taxonomies. It doesn't work.
Many years ago, I started working on generalizations of epistemology and category theory, in terms mostly defined by dimensionality. Today, I'm feeling a burst of enthusiasm for this field, thinking that some cocreative work by passionate analysts might provide what I believe could become an amazing "breakthrough" theory in general cognitive and semantic theory -- with big implications for database processing, cognitive science, any kind of taxonomy or any process that involves classification. There might be serious implications for hard sciences. There might be serious implications for collaboration in a diverse culture. Can we diffuse the problems of "Babel" with a new integral vision?
Obviously, we've living in a highly networked world -- where building smooth mappings between cultures and systems -- and branches of science -- looks to me like an increasingly essential process. We gotta get "people" AND "computers" talking to each other with less confusion. In this context, it looks to me like a theorem with significance comparable to Gödel’s Proof is out there ripe for the picking. There are currently no widely accepted "industry standards" for ontological fundamentals -- and the so-called "foundations of mathematics" -- but there absolutely should be. The right theorem might sweep away centuries of cobwebs.
I'm wanting to post a few ambitious ideas on the fundamentals of scientific method and the language of process description. It looks to me like we are living in an era of high convergence -- a convergence across a very wide spectrum of interconnected elements -- and I'd like to see that idea tested and grown under a sharp and constructive and motivated scientific critique.
Whether this possibility goes anywhere here might depend on what kind of response it gets. There's a lot to talk about, and some critically-important scientific and technical issues in play. And there's an opportunity to do something great. But nobody can do this stuff alone. Creativity takes cross-fertilization. So let's see what happens when I post this. I might go get a theme or two from an interesting current discussion started on GooglePlus by John Baez, on the theme "A Moebius strip in the space of concepts" -- at https://plus.google.com/117663015413546257905/posts/jkqH5e48w6L
This Moebius thread gets into two areas I find fascinating: the dimensionality of conceptual structure -- and maybe (???) how something like a topological deformation of this space along the lines of Moebius might "fully integrate" the dimensionality of conceptual form -- "closing the space", or something like that. Personally, I think it's possible -- and could produce an amazing and very significant theorem. I'd love to talk about it here.
Bruce Schuman, Santa Barbara CA