Beliefs, Models, and Analogies
||There is no Riddle to Existence
||One's Own View of Reality as the Only Reality
is the Most Dangerous of all Delusions
||Order and Chaos are not Objective, they are Determined
by the Perspective of the Observer
||The World is Four-Dimensional
||Even if All Scientific Questions can be Answered,
the Problems of Life have still not been Touched
||Man Exists in a Broad, Complex, and Private Relation
||Man Never Ceases to Seek Knowledge
||Man's Quest for Understanding of the Meaning of
his Existence is an Attempt at Formalization
||Existential Despair is the Painful Discrepancy
Between What Is and What Should Be
||General Systems Theory as a Model for Human Interaction
||Paradox as a Model for Communication Disorders
||Theoretical Game Model for Concept of Interdependence
||Feedback and Circulatory as a Model for Interaction
||Mathematical Function and the Concept of Relationship
||Communication as Metamathematics
||Theory of Levels of Language and Theory of Logical
||The Concept of Calculus in Metamathematics as
an Analogy for Metacommunication
1. There is No Riddle to Existence
"But the solution to the riddle of life and space and time lies outside
space and time. For, as it should be abundantly clear by now, nothing inside
a frame can state, or even ask, anything about that frame. The solution,
then, is not the finding of an answer to the riddle of existence, but the
realization that there is no riddle. This is the essence of the beautiful,
almost Zen Buddhist closing sentences of the Tracticus:
For an answer which cannot be expressed the question too cannot
be expressed. The riddle does not exist..."
2. One's Own View of Reality as the Only Reality is the Most Dangerous
of All Delusions.
"As I have already said, the belief that one's own view of reality is the only
reality is the most dangerous or all delusions. It becomes still more dangerous if it is
coupled with the missionary zeal to enlighten the rest of the world, whether the rest of the world
wishes to be enlightened or not. To refuse to embrace wholeheartedly a particular definition of
reality (e.g. an ideology), to dare to see the world differently can become a think crime' in a truly
Orwellian sense as we get steadily closer to 1984."
3. Order and Chaos are Not Objective, They are Determined by the Observer.
"With this we have-re-entered, through a rear door, the field of communication--probably
just at the moment the reader was beginning to wonder what all this had
to do with the subject of this book. For once it is understood that contrary
to general belief, order and chaos are not objective truths, but--like
so many other things in life--determined by the perspective of the observer,
it becomes possible to look at communication and certain disturbances of
communication from a new vantage point."
4. Our World is Four-Dimensional
"Time is not, as it is sometimes believed to be, merely a dimension of
the human mind, a necessary delusion of consciousness. And indeed, physics
has found evidence of this. Einstein's and Minkowski's space-time continuum
is the most modern and precise representation of our physical reality yet
presented, and it leaves no doubt that our universe is four-dimensionan at least appreciate that four types
of measurements are needed to define the location of an event in our world,
its spatial coordinates (e.g., longitude, latitude, and elevation) and its
point in time."
5. Even If All Scientific Questions Can Be Answered, the Problems of Life
Have Not Been Touched
"We feel that even if all possible scientific questions be answered,
the problems of life have still not been touched at all. Of course
there is then no question left, and just this is the answer."
6. Man Exists in a Broad, Complex, and Private Relation to Life
"In a sense, then this chapter is a statement of faith: the belief that
man exists in a broad, complex, and private relation to life."
7. Man Never Ceases to Seek Knowledge
"Man never ceases to seek knowledge about the objects of his experiences,
to understand their meaning for his existence and to react to them according
to his understanding. Finally, out of the sum total of the meanings that
he has deduced from his contacts with numerous single objects of his environment
there grows a unified view of the world into which he finds himself "throw"
(to use an existentialist term again) and this view is of the third order."
8. Man's Quest for Understanding of the Meaning of Existence is an Attempt
"If we have dwelled on Goedel's work at some length, is it because we see
it in the mathematical analogy of what we would call the the ultimate
paradox of man's existence. Man is ultimately subject and object
of his quest. While the question whether the mind can be considered
to be anything life a formalized system, as defined in the preceding paragraph,
is probably unanswerable,
his quest for an understanding of the meaning
of his existence is an attempt at formalization.
9. Existential Despair is the Painful Discrepancy Between What Is and What
"If we search our subjective experience in comparable situation, we find
that we are likely to assume the actions of a secret experimenter' behind
the vicissitudes of our lives. The loss or the absence of a meaning in
life is perhaps the most common denominator or all forms of emotional distress;
it is especially the much-commented-on modern' illness. Pain, disease,
loss, failure, despair, disappointment, the fear of death, or merely boredom--all
lead to the feeling that life is meaningless. It seems to us that in its
most basic definition, existential despair is the painful discrepancy
between what is, and what should be, between one's perceptions and one's
10. General Systems Theory as a Model for Interaction
"Interaction can be considered as a system, and the general theory
of systems gives insight into the nature of interactional systems. General
Systems Theory is not only a theory of biological, economic, or engineering
systems. Despite their widely varying subject matter, these theories of
particular systems have so many common conceptions that a more general
theory has evolved which structures the similarities into formal isomorphism.
...'The isomorphy we have mentioned is a consequence of the fact that in
certain aspects, corresponding abstractions and conceptual models can
be applied to different phenomena. It is only in view of these aspects
that system laws will apply.'
"Finally, one of the most significant characteristics of open systems
is found in equifinal behavior, especially in contrast to the closed-system
model. The final state of the closed system is completely determined by
initial circumstances that can therefore be said to be the best explanation'
of that system; in the case of the open system, however, organizational
characteristics of the system can operate to achieve even the extreme case
of total independence of initial conditions. The system is then its own
best explanation, and the study of its present organization the appropriate
"Human interaction is described as a communication system, characterized
by the properties of general systems: time as a variable, system-subsystem
relations, wholeness, feedback, and equifinality. Ongoing interactional
systems are seen as the natural focus for study of the long-term pragmatic
impact of communicational phenomena. Limitation in general and the development
of family rules in particular lead to a definition and illustration of
the family as a rule-governed system."
11. Paradox as a Model for Communication Disorders in Psychotherapy
"In summary, there are three types of paradoxes:
clearly corresponding within the framework of the theory of human communication,
to the three main areas of this theory--the first type to logical syntax,
the second to semantics, and the third to pragmatics."
logico-mathematical paradoxes (antinomies)
paradoxical definitions (semantical antinomies)
pragmatic paradoxes, (paradoxical injunctions and paradoxical predictions.)
12. Theoretical Game Model for Concept of Interdependence
"The concept of interdependence is perhaps best introduced by the game-theoretical
model of the Prisoner's Dilemma, formulated and named by Albert W. Tucker,
a professor of mathematics at Princeton. In its original version, a district
attorney is holding two men suspected of armed robbery. There is not enough
evidence to take the case to court, so he has the two men brought to his
office. He tells them that in order to have them convicted, he needs a confession;
without them he can charge them only with illegal possession of firearms,
which carries a penalty of six months in jail. Of they both confess, he
promises them the minimum sentence for armed robbery, which is two-years.
If, however, only one confesses, he will be considered a state witness
and go free, while the other will get twenty years, the maximum sentence.
Then, without giving them a chance to arrive at a joint decision, he has
them locked up in separate cells from which they cannot communicate with
This is their dilemma, and it has no solution. Even if the prisoners
somehow succeeded in communicating with each other and reach a joint decision,
their fate will still depend on whether each feels he can trust the other
to stick to the decision--if not, the vicious circle will start all over
13. Feedback and Circulatory as a Model for Interaction
"If the parts of a system are not summatively or unilaterally related,
then in what manner are they united? Having rejected these two classified
conceptual models, we would then seem to be left with what in the nineteenth
and early twentieth centuries were their disreputable alternatives -- vague,
vitalistic, and metaphysical notions which, since they did not fit the
doctrine of determinism, were branded teleological. However, as already
shown... the conceptual shift from energy (and matter) to information has
finally led us away from the sterile choice between deterministic and teleological
casual schemes. Since the advent of cybernetics and the discovery' of feedback,
it has been seen that circular and highly complex relatedness is a markedly
different but no less scientific phenomena than simpler and more orthodox
Feedback and circularity, as described in detail
in Chapter 1 and as illustrated repeatedly in Chapters 2 and 3, are
the appropriate causal model for a theory of interactional systems.
The specific nature of a feedback process is of much greater interest than
original and, frequently, outcome."
14. Mathematic Function and the Concept of Relationship in Communication
"There exists a suggestive parallelism between the emergence of the mathematical
concept of function and the awakening of psychology to the concept of relationship."
15. Communication as Metamathematics
"When we no longer use communication to communicate but to communicate
about communication, as we inevitably must in communication research, then
we use conceptualizations that are not part of but about communication.
In analogy to metamathematics, this is called metacommunication.
Compared with metamathematics, research in metacommunication is at two
significant disadvantages. This first is that in the field of human communication
there exists as yet nothing comparable to the formal system of a calculus....
The second difficulty is closely related to the first: while metamathematics
posses two languages (numbers and algebraic symbols to express mathematics,
and natural language for the expressions of metamathematics), we are mainly
restricted to natural language as a vehicle for both communications and
metacommunications. This problem will arise again and again in the course
of our consideration."
16. Theory of Levels of Language and the Theory of Logical Types
"Perhaps the most famous of all semantical antinomies is that of
the man who says of himself, I am lying.' On following this statement to
its logical conclusion, we find again that it is true only if it is not
true; in other words, the man is lying only if he is telling the truth,
and vice-versa, truthful when he is lying. In this case, the theory of
logical types cannot be used to eliminate the antimony, for words or combinations
of words do not have a logico-type hierarchy. To the best of our knowledge,
it was again Bertran Russell who first though of a solution. In the last
paragraph of his introduction of Wittgenstein's Tracticus Logico-Philosophicus
he suggests in an almost identical fashion, that every language has, as
Mr. Wittegenstein says, a structure concerning which, in the language,
nothing can be said, but that there may be another language dealing with
the structure, and that to this hierarchy, of languages, there may be no
limit'. This suggestion was developed, mainly be Carnap and by Tarski,
into what is now known as the theory of levels of language. In analogy
to the theory of logical types, this theory safeguards against the confusion
17. A Game Like Chess and a Formalized Mathematical Calculus
"...general meta-chess' theorems can be established whose proof involves
only a finite number of permissible configurations on the board. The metachess'
theorem about the number of possible opening moves for white can be established
in this way; and so can the meta-chess' theorem that if white has only
two Knights and the King, and black only his King, it is impossible for
white to force black into a mate.
"We have quoted this analogy at length because it illustrates the
concept of calculus not only in metamathematics but also in metacommunication.
For if we expand the analogy to include the two players we are no longer
studying an abstract game but, rather, sequences of human interaction that
are strictly governed by a complex body of rules."