It is possible to see the world in a complete different perspective if the previous steps are understood and accepted as a viable tool to approach reality. We can free ourselves from the bonds of survival, not being obsessed by the simple attraction of oppositional thinking, with an emphasis on power (and its derivatives of money and sex). That is Third Quadrant stuff, efforts to support our identity. The reality of the visible visibility is only a part of the story. Rationalists and empirists are people with a limited view.
There is more, in fact, a whole quadrant can be added: the four-fold way of thinking gives a startling acquisition, not only of the human position in the universe as a moment in time and place, but also of the universe itself. The powers of intuition, ideas, facts and feelings are forced into the unity of a New Man.
Multiple thinking is the essence of the Fourth Quadrant approach. The quantity is not exclusively conceived in an additive way, piling knowledge on to knowledge – like the encyclopedic technique – but is understood simultaneously, as magnanimity.
The acknowledgement that the power of the multitude became more and more important in communication led to the popularity of systems. In particular, the pioneering work of Von BERTALANFFY (1968) set the pace. He saw systems everywhere and talked in a Viconian way of a new science and suggested a basic re-orientation in scientific thinking. Several theories (like the compartment-, set-, graph- and net-theory) were directly related to the formal, structural and topological properties of open or closed systems.
The theory of cybernetics deals with the transfer of information between system and environment and also with the control (feedback) of the system’s function in regard to the environment.
The information theory is particularly concerned with information as a measure of organization. The decision theory is a mathematical theory regarding the choices among alternatives. Ultimately, there will be, in Von Bertalanffy’s view, a systems science (a theory of ‘systems’), systems technology and a systems philosophy.
The popularity of this approach may have dwindled somewhat since then. John LAW (2000), in his article on the social study of technology, noted that ‘the term ‘system’ has had its day: it sounds 1950ish or 1960ish, something to do with self-regulation, cybernetics and autopoesis’. The interest in multiplicity thinking is, nevertheless, still strong. ‘But if people are no longer so keen to talk about systems’, Law continued, ‘then the term ‘network’ is on everyone’s lips’. Names changes, but intentions remain the same. A network is a sociological unit consisting of interconnected members who share information. Information has to be understood in this context as a communication of knowledge and intentions.
Authors like Manuel CASTELLS (1996/2000) introduced the modern network society as a specimen of the times to come. He defined the information society as ‘a specific form of social organization in which information generation, processing, and transmission become the fundamental sources of productivity and power because of new technological conditions emerging in this historical period’ (p. 21). A parallel was drawn with the industrial society of the early nineteenth century where the technical and sociological advances of an industrial organization permeated in all spheres of activity.
Castells speaks of an information technology revolution, which makes its influence feel on a global scale and leads to a new economy. An important difference with the previous industrial revolution lies in the creation of value, which is no longer necessary embodied in material production: ‘There is a growing decoupling between material production, in the old sense of the industrial era, and value making’ (p. 160). ‘In the new, informational mode of development the source of production lies in the technology of knowledge generation, information processing, and symbol communication.’
The capital accumulation in the network enterprise is different from the mechanisms of conventional capitalism. A change from a mass production to a flexible production can be noticed on a worldwide scale. This diversification is of direct influence on the large corporations and the small businesses alike. The former institutions have to adjust their organization model (based on large vertical integration and hierarchical management), and the latter can only survive if their innovative power and dynamic communication capacity is greatly enhanced. ‘The main shift can be characterized as a shift from vertical bureaucracies to the horizontal corporation’ (p. 176).
The modern working systems, be it economic or social, are powered by networks, according to Castells. They transform the nature of work and employment. The new labour force has to be flexible in every aspect. Lifetime employment seems a thing of the past, even working in the same branch of industry is no longer an established rule. Adaptation is the name of the game, and those who can make the fastest move are designated to become the (temporary?) winners.
Space and time play a crucial role in the modern society. Both are transformed under the effects of the information technology and are mutually intertwined. Or, as Castells put it: space is crystallized time. It is at this point that the writer gives an illuminating insight in the modern, Fourth-Quadrant society where a ‘timeless time’ and a time-denying mind is dominant. The concept of temporality (or ‘time-space compression’) leads to different approaches in finance (the speed of transactions), working conditions, and even warfare (the instant war). These changes are all made possible by new communication technologies.
Simultaneity and timelessness are the very characteristics of a mind, which can diversify into a multiple division environment, leaving room for the ‘space of flows’. The global communication network, starting to live its own life, might be nothing else than an anticipation of the real space which is created by accepting the fourfold way of thinking.
Any working system, which becomes operational in the visible area, must have boundaries, either spatial or dynamic. This means, in practical terms, that names can be given to the various areas and points on the CF-graph. Some quadralectic terms are introduced here in order to facilitate the description of empirical data in a later stage.
The complete quadralectic communication is a full circle. The length of a whole encounter (between the participants of a communication) is called a muun and is abbreviated as V:
The muun-length V indicates a full cycle on the universal communication trajectory and is determined by the Smallest Part (SP) which partakes in the communication.
The muun-length V consists (by definition) of four quadrants, which in turn can each be divided in four parts. This subdivision represents the main operational level, although deeper levels can be envisaged. There is a total of 4 x 4 = 16 subdivisions on the X-axis of the CF-graph. An individual subdivision (measured as a distance between two consecutive points) is called a basic unit (BU).
A basic unit (BU) is a subdivision of the communication cycle (V) with a length of 1/16th V.
The major muun-cycle V can be divided – along the X-axis – in an invisible area (O) and a visible area (X) (fig. 50), in which
V = O + X
The invisibility area (O) has a ‘dual’ character in the communication cycle, although the area is not divided in itself (in a cyclic setting). It contains the arbitrary beginning and the end of the communication cycle.
Fig. 50 – The Universal Communication Graph (UCG) as seen from an empirical perspective with the main areas of invisibility (O) and visibility (X). The boundary of the visibility area (X) is chosen based on the definition of the first visibility at the value CF = 11. The total visibility area consists of ten basic units (BU).
The ‘beginning’ of a communication (cycle) consists of the five basic units (or subdivisions) which are situated in the First Quadrant and first quarter of the Second Quadrant. Therefore, every communication (which becomes visible in a later stage) ‘starts’ with a movement through the invisible area O, i.e. 5/16th of the total communication cycle V.
The ‘end’ of a communication cycle takes place in the last sub quadrant of the Fourth Quadrant where the CF-values rise above the visibility boundary CF = 11. This single area is also part of the invisibility area O. The formal ‘end’ of a cycle (when CF = 15) is outside the realm of empirical observation and is, in fact, the beginning of a new cycle. The definition of the invisibility area O is as follows:
The invisibility area (O) of a communication cycle is, for one part, situated in the First Quadrant and the first quarter of the Second Quadrant of the communication cycle and, for another part, in the last quarter of the Fourth Quadrant.
The visibility area (X) is, from an empirical point of view, of much more importance. The definition of that area is given here:
The visible area (X) of a communication cycle is situated on the CF-graph between the first point on the graph where the CF-value is 11 (in the Second Quadrant) and the last point on the graph where this value is reached (in the Fourth Quadrant).
The invisibility area O (consisting of two seperated parts) and the visibility area X are graphically represented in fig. 50. The invisible area (O) consists of six (6) basic units (BU) in total, while the visibility area (X) comprises ten (10) basic units. The distribution between the visible (X) and invisible (O) areas can, therefore, be expressed as follows:
X : O =10 : 6
The various inflection-points in the visibility area X are given on the CF-graph (fig. 51). These locations mark distinct moments in a (universal) communication. Their meaning, as an indication of a particular distance between observations is vital in the understanding of quadralectic thinking.
The visible area (X) contains the following points of description:
——————— FV – First Visibility
——————— AP – Approach Point
——————— FMA – First Major Approach
——————— FVC – First Visibility Crisis
——————— PP – Pivotal Point
——————– SVC – Second Visibility Crisis
——————— SMA – Second Major Approach
——————— RP – Receding Point
——————— LV – Last Visibility
Fig. 51 – The position of the inflection points on the CF-graph in the visibility area X. The names given to these point and their abbreviations are described in the text.
The vertical axis of the graph shows the values of the communication factor (CF). The communication factor CF is a measure for the maximal (CF = 22) or minimal (CF = 6) shift between partners, which is possible within a communication. The dualistic concepts of ‘approach’ (or terms like: intensio/attraction/convergence) and ‘alienation’ (remissio/ estrangement/divergence) provides, in turn, a possibility to describe and evaluate a communication. It must be understood that such a polarity finds its origin in the oppositional way of thinking.
The marker points in the visibility area X, as indicated in fig. 51, will now briefly be described:
FV – The First Visibility is defined as the very distinction in time and place when some form of (measurable) recognition takes place between the communication partners. The event takes place at the beginning of the second subdivision of the Second Quadrant (II, 2), when the critical value of CF = 11 is reached. The FV is located at 5/16th part of the full communication cycle V.
AP – The Approach Point marks the position on the CF-graph where the CF-values drop for the first time below the value of CF = 11. This point lies at the end of the second subdivision of the Second Quadrant (II, 2). The AP is fixed at 3/8th part of the quadralectic cycle V and at 1/10th part of the visible visibility area (X).
FMA – The First Major Approach is characterized by the lowest CF-value on the CF-graph (CF = 6) at the end of the third subdivision in the Second Quadrant (II, 3). The FMA has the greatest intensio, which means that the maximum visible result of the communication will be gained at this particular point. All the potential possibilities of the communication become apparent at this point.
FVC – The First Visibility Crisis is situated at the end of the first subdivision in the Third Quadrant (III, 1) where the CF-value (CF = 13) reaches for the first times its greatest remissio (or alienation). This process causes tension within the communication and results in a mental confusion or some sort of ‘identity crisis’ between the partners.
PP – The Pivotal Point is situated in the middle of the visible visibility area X and also in the middle of the Third Quadrant. The point lies on a vertical symmetry axis, which mirrors the values of the CF-graph (restricted to the area X). The oppositional character is consciously felt since the CF-value is 10, i.e. within the realm of visible visibility.
SVC – The Second Visibility Crisis is to be found at the end of the third subdivision in the Third Quadrant (III, 3) where the CF-value (CF = 13) reaches for the second times its greatest remissio (or alienation). Again, the tension mounts as a result of the alienation, but now with regards to the material side (in terms of gains and loss).
SMA – The Second Major Approach is identifiable by the lowest CF-value on the CF-graph (CF = 6) and is situated the end of the first subdivision in the Fourth Quadrant (IV, 1). The SMA has – just like its predecessor the FMA – the greatest intensio, resulting in a maximum visibility of the essential elements of the communication. All potential possibilities (of the FMA) are now materialized and can be appraised.
RP – The Receding Point marks the start of a period of equilibrium (CF = 11) at the beginning of the third subdivision of the Fourth Quadrant (IV, 3). The RP is fixed at 7/8th part of the quadralectic communi-cation cycle V and at 9/10th of the visibility area X.
LV – The Last Visibility is the antagonist of the First Visibility and situated at the very end of the visibility area X (IV, 3), where the CF-value 11 is reached for the last time. It signifies the last notion of (measurable) recognition between the communication partners. The LV is located at 15/16th part of the full communication cycle V.
The theoretical description of the Second Quadrant draws now to a close. The journey, and the implication of movement, started in some uncharted territory, which was and will remain completely unknown. Any observer has to accept, if only from a philosophical point of view, that any sensible expression (of whatever is observable) can only exists if there is enough space (and time) to accommodate it.
The movement is, in itself, not sufficient to generate a communication. The notion of division has to develop somewhere in that great and incomprehensive universe. A division can ignite an interchange of parts and result in some sort of (visible) visibility. This event (of division) starts, in combination with the continuous assistance of movement, a train of other events and interactions, which will collectively be known as a universal communication.
This whole process finds its full appreciation in the fourth division of the Second Quadrant, which is before ‘half time’ (of the full communication cycle V). The ensuing Third and Fourth Quadrant are a substantiality of things already experienced. It is possible to give an overview of the full communication cycle at the end of the Second Quadrant, because this quadrant is – in short – a reflection of the whole communication cycle.
The CF-values on the CF-graph will now be described in more detail.