VISUAL MODELLING

©  01.06: Ethics, global cooperation & need of a just game

 ´The knighthood’s time has passed. Hair-splitters’, economists’ and calculators’ time has begun.   Edmund Burke

01.06.01: Concept of right & wrong – society’s steering tool

In all time has the individual as has societies’ development been controlled through the contemporary morals. These days, the word moral is hard to define, since terms as moralising acquired such a negative nuance though time. Moral, according to the American Webster dictionary: principles or habits with respect to right or wrong conduct. This applies both generally and individually. The moral of society is what shall apply to all – this means a general understanding of what is good for society (advantageous) and what is bad (disadvantageous). Morals are a relevant composure of unwritten rules. As well as modern times, as times gone by, individual’s behaviour was rewarded or punished. The world’s or society’s judgment or encouragement have, in mankind’s history, served as an important, if not completely decisive steering tool. The tool was used to limit, in order to put society in its position and to force its individuals to exercise that, which was seen to be compatible with the general fruitful, and not the harmful.

Both state and religion assisted this purpose in their own ways. In the so called times of chivalry, such performances as to bare a sword and serve ones land, to be keen to others’ cry for help, to share one’s assets to the lesser affluent, to live without harming others, were seen as being compatible with the moral behaviour. These properties had been encouraged, the state rewarded its heroes for their devotion and its service-men for their industriousness. Those one helped in a moment of need became loyal and accommodating in return. The wording of the law was sparse but clear. Good custom and practice was therefore clarified. The individuals lifespan was made relatively easy to get through. 

01.06.02: Perception of moral’s logic and history

Here we must point out that people of yesteryear compared with now, lived under rule, in more or less isolated lands, societal classes, professional- and family-groups. Different groupings exchanged services and therefore had use of each other. Varying human categories lived by the moral that characterised just these special categories. Compared with the contemporary individual, the individual of yesteryear lacked freedom of action. Decision-makers were preselected rather than chosen, personal choice was limited. An individual born into a given society class should stay inside the said class throughout their life. All decisions were coloured by rulers’ adherence to the then prevailing moral. Decision-makers were conscious of their duty to adapt their decisions to valid practice and service, i.e. the state’s and the ruling class’ morals (unwritten rules), likewise their own land’s or community’s legislation (written rules).  All of the above created the framework of the real world.

When it concerned the human mind and mentality, religion in all its forms took care of the human psyche. Contemporary science took care of the body’s needs. At a later stage, sciences also made claim to be able to research and cure mental sicknesses. Psychiatry, psychology and behaviour studies took their place within the territory of human knowledge. In our own time, scientific branches, which involved first with mechanising and then computerising of society, bound together those scientific branches that had to do with mammalian behaviour patterns and psyche. The latter including the human psyche; that among all mammals’ most advanced mental mechanisms. Studying, followed by modelling of those mechanisms led to a computers and later to the Internet. All this paved the way so that the now valid information-society could come into its full effect.

The ancient societies lacked a moral concept as we know today; it was the ’first come first served’ which was valid. The feudalism had been the first to implement and establish rigid moral frames; plenty of those were still at work during the modern times. Comprehension of the moral precepts lightened under the industrial development period, where usefulness of one’s input and personal success were mainly judged by a material, or monetary, gain. The legislation became more and more complex, aiming to protect a state’s rather as well as an individual’s proprietary rights. By this, an individual’s natural right to protect himself was minimized to almost nothing. This led to unexpected consequences, which cause a number of troubles we experience today. A contemporary hybrid of industrial- and information-society doesn’t make it better. Manipulation of natural resources, industrial relocations abroad or out-sales, plagiarism, identity theft and the Internet’s information confusion. All this happens inside the construct of our contemporary law. This leaves a great number of lawyers rich, and us ordinary people, quite helpless and totally confused. How can they who do it, do it and get away with it? Where did all those excellent unwritten rules disappear to? With what are we going to replace the good old morals, in order to bring some kind of order inside a construct of this omnipotent confusion?

01.06.03: Moral message in words and pictures

We defined feudalism as the origin of morals. To seek the answer to the last-mentioned question, let us look further into feudal society’s inward and outward ways of communicating. Let us also see if there are any likenesses between feudal society’s and contemporary’s way to share their information. To be direct: what clearly links these two ways is the broad usage of visualising media, where pictures instead of words serve as the communication tools. What characterises our steadily growing information-society is a continuous effort to avoid lengthy verbal sharing of information, with the goal to shorten perception time, by exchanging the complex flow of words for the simplified symbols. The same proceedings were used with the same purpose in feudal society.

Another interesting parallel if one speaks about the replacement of ’word vs picture’ communication, it is actually vital – life or death – action for both types of societies. Let us now look into the reasons themselves. Why?

When it concerned the feudal society, it was firstly that most of the citizens were illiterate. Therefore pictures, information sans words, became a medium to communicate with those that could neither read or write. Secondly, all of the unique society groupings and trades required their own identification icons. Within the nobles, who simultaneously represented higher positions inside the military, it was clothing patterns, colours, and coats of arms which passed as modern ID. These shields bore distinctive signs that referred to the family history, the bearers own achievements, their own peer rules and their morals: we do this, we don’t do that! All this from a single picture, without even reading or speaking with each other. If and when one then went to war, one knew from the banners, shields, coats of arms, clothing, horse dressings’ appearance, which sort of friend or foe one was dealing with. Simultaneously and via the same medium, the moral values that one gave expression for, were visualised.

01.06.04: The Maltese cross’ ’emic (emission) aspect’

According to the authors experience as a frequent traveller, there is at least one place on earth where visually expressed medieval morals continue to live happily ever after in image form. The place is Malta. The forty kilometer long Mediterranean island has been a transfer station between Southern Europe and Africa. Europe’s and Africa’s knightly elite passed this island to and from their crusades. Some of these knights took up home there and built up a society which was based on the medieval  understanding of noble pursuits and noble morals. The Maltese flag is a prime pictorial example of the visualising power of symbols. See image: 01.06. The pictures message is given by four red triangles which point towards the pictures’ middle. The triangles represent that it was knights from the four quoters of the world over that came to the island. That which each triangle has looks like a swallowtail each with its two backward pointing lesser triangles, altogether eight, tells us that these knights come from the worlds eight different language groups. That fact that the triangles are red symbolises that the knights gave their “blood” to Malta. They had been prepared to offer their material gains as readily as sacrifice their lives. The Maltese flag makes an excellent example of visual structuring of moral concepts. The same can be said of the feudal society.

01.06.05: Information society’s specific needs

When it concerns the information society, so are the inhabitants everything but illiterate in the strictest sense. In the word’s indirect meaning, one can still call an uneducated individual illiterate, or at least one that isn’t sufficiently educated, or possibly one that isn’t educated in a specific subject. For example, one could hear about someone that they are a mathematical illiterate! Nowadays it isn’t so easy to be generally educated compared with how it used to be. Partially due to the human knowledge domain increasing by amount of information every day as it grows, partially due to the ’knowledge tree’ progressively diversifying and creating new scientific areas which broaden out in all possible and impossible directions. All sorts of information gradually become complex, increases in specificity, compresses or expands. The individual has no realistic possibility to keep up to date on all this. If one is educated within a certain scientific area, one can however stand out as an altogether illiterate within other areas. This brings us back to the pictures and icon’s function within the modern information technology. 

What helps us to be less illiterate is our personal computers and the Internet. These two truly give rise to information sharing. Neither computers nor the Internet can get by without using the tiny simplified pictures: icons and symbols. These symbols, behind which a large amount of useful information is hidden, save both hard-drive space and processing time. So one needs not always read to get by. You see symbols and you know what to do! Here we have touched this parallel that exists between feudal and information societies.

Only one question remains and this is: If the feudal society could mediate its moral values through symbols, how could our information society possibly mediate in the equivalent way via its own icons and symbols?

It ought to be possible. Here we maintain that the Project Modelling Game with its image icons is the first step in the right direction.

01.06.06: PMG – a tool that nurtures a just game!

Card images in PMG couple these two: meaning and its form, where the pictured form develops and visualises the meaning’s content. The meaning is generalised, purified, abstracted and expressed via geometri. This is done to be able to map processes or situations in picture form with the aim to grasp the actual situation and get the idea of how to get these suitable solutions. This is in order to be able to reach the goal you set yourself with the tools you have at hand. Images in PMG build on nature’s own patterns and nature’s way forth. These patterns repeat themselves readily in all that one is and one does. Via its geometrical images, the card-game ’suggests’ a certain way forward. If one is led by PMGs’ images, one follows it in natural guiding order. One is led how one should succeed with the task without any damaging effects on one’s surroundings. And this is is exactly what morals are for!

The Internet, the information society’s foremost communication medium, has visualising graphic media together with an unbelievable openness of information and availability. Precisely why society finds itself in acute need of corresponding ethic rules and legislation. We must be able to inform and be informed without misusing others’ trust. Here we need a tool which would uphold a moral, genuine procedure without slowing further development. These tools ought to be ’moral replacements’. They must correspond the needs of the times and the modern mans intellectual peak.

The main reason why the morals with their corresponding ethical rules seem to have become excessive is based on the fact that the ’win/lose’ strategy is predominant. Consequently the mathematical game theory became a steering tool within modern economics. Due to this, the book’s author has an additional goal. This is to present PMG as a general test-tool for all sorts of activities. PMG is a game which simulates projects. One trains in usage of correct patterns in order to structure one’s activity in project form. Because PMG builds upon the laws of nature and natural structures, the players are automatically limited to play justly. Through this, one will be forced to avoid completely or at least minimise eventual harmful effects. This is without diminishing the activity’s goal, which will be to the project’s advantage. This will make the project more hardy and will ensure future profit for society.

See: VS Tools

The above text© is a part of the Chapter 01 from my book ’Visual Structuring with PMG’, where PMG is a Project Modelling Game, a tool to be used in all kinds of project and organisational change.

Tanja Pérskaja

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