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An application for the Middle East.




Chapter 1:


1.1 Contemporary Misunderstandings on the Concept of Understanding

1.2 From Action, Interaction, Games and Transaction to Conversation - the Development of Social System theories

1.3 Human Construction, Reconstruction and Conversations for Human Reconstruction

1.4 Cognitive Interpretation of Conflict and Conflict Resolution

1.5 The Construction of Redemptive Scenarios

1.6 Brief History of Modern Dialogical Philosophy

Chapter 2:



2.1 On Misunderstandings Concerning Judaism and the Talmud

2.2 Judaism as a Developing P-Individual

2.3 The Talmud as Construction, and as Conversational Reconstruction, of Judaism

2.4 Conflict-Resolution in the Talmud and the Development of Kabbalah

2.5 Constructs of Redemption in the Bible, Talmud and the Kabbalah

2.6 Presently Applicable Judaic Redemptive Scenarios

Chapter 3:


3.1 Focusing on Implications and Applications

3.2 Issues and Misunderstandings in the ME Conflict (MEC)

3.3 A Model of ME Conflict-Resolution

3.4 A Model Simulations System for MEC Resolution

Appendices (not in typed text)

  1. Two Basic Ideas of the Kabbalah - Man and His Soul; Exile and Redemption
  2. Abstracts of two Former ME Peace Proposals
  3. Sketches for Simulating a Political Ecology
  4. Sketch Examples for SEMINATIC DOMINO Games
  5. P.L.O.T. Synopsis for a Three-Act Play





Chapter one explores the social implications of Gordon Pask's cybernetic Conversation Theory (CT) which has proved useful in the guidance of individual and small group learning, learning to learn and even in the area of innovation. It then goes on to survey the current misunderstanding in the social sciences regarding Verstehen/Understanding. This dispute has its origins in the forming schools of science with the great debate over man as an entity born chiefly for "action" as opposed to man as a "reasonable" rather than an active being (Hume, 1748).

Verstehen has become a controversial issue, with academic polarization to such a point where there is no real dialogue between its proponents and detractors. Thus the author seeks to offer CT as an operational answer to the dispute. The conversational paradigm is presented through a ten-stage development that encompasses and extends the Action, Interaction, Games and Transaction paradigms currently used in the social sciences. Implications of CT are then explored both "positively" - in terms of "Human Reconstruction" - and "negatively" - in terms of conflict and conflict-resolution. Both lead to the need for specifying sequential descriptive guiding schemes termed here "Redemptive Scenarios." These "redemptive scenarios" are allegories for Human Reconstruction, and through their application possible futures may be laid out and broken down into intermediate stages which may help to persuade the reader that "some steps, changes, efforts, investments etc. taken now, have a prospect that they may lead to a better situation in the future." Conversational methods for their development are then presented, and the contemporary meaning of "redemption" is illustrated by case studies from modern "Dialogical Philosophy" (or "co-existentialism") in which "primary reality is based on conversation."

The second chapter gives a historic study of a socio-cultural entity -- The Jewish People -- which anticipated many of these cybernetic developments. The discussion follows the structure of the preceding chapter to show how analogous constructs to the proposed cybernetic principles and tools have been employed with respectable results on a whole societal scale. The author sees an intimate connection between the function and methodology of the Talmud (the commentary on the Mishnah, the Oral Law, and the "great collective work" of the Jewish People) and the concept of Understanding. The Talmud is seen to have constructed an enormous conversation domain which served, in turn, to reconstruct Judaism. The survey adds some insights into redemption from the Talmud and from Kabbalah, the Jewish mystical, esoteric discipline.
A progression similar to that outlined in Chapter One is employed (assuming an external observer with no prior notions of Judaism), starting with "the simplest tool" for understanding the Jews -- i.e. "physical appearances"-- and bringing in such headings such as "Observable Behavior," "Observer's Perspective," "Torah and Halakhah (Law) as Contract," "Judaism as Traditional-Ritualistic Culture," "Encounter of Judaism with Greek and Roman Policies and Methods," "Understanding the Mishnah and the Talmud," "Contacts with High Civilizations," "Kabbalah as Innovation and as Self-Understanding," before moving into analysis of the "conversational" and "reconstruction" aspects of the Mishnah and the Talmud.
In chapter three, the Middle East conflict is taken as a test case. From a starting point that originates with Buckminster Fuller's scheme for the "World Game," a different portrayal of the conflict is suggested for reconstructing the conflict. A special role is assigned to scientific endeavors which can explore and extend common grounds for forming understandings both between the contending parties and between their own disciplinary perspectives, so as to generate feasible and innovative solutions. The same constructions developed earlier are employed to sketch an interconnected system of simulations (called the "MECCA-HEJERA System") to guide and assess the feasibility of human reconstruction in the ME.
Prior to this, the foremost problem of the Middle East, namely, complexity, is analyzed in terms of the conflict created through confusion of perceptions. A small circuit is made of Middle East issues of the time, followed by a more in-depth assessment of specific Arab-Israeli disagreements. A survey of some "Prerequisites to Conversations" comes up against fundamental misunderstandings, relating to political ideology and religion, that restrict the opening of forums for dialogue at the inter-personal level. All of this is further exacerbated by the different types of "rationalities" and/or "sets of values" (which take different "sets of facts" into consideration) set in motion when Arab meets Israeli. Also discussed is the historically unconnected group name "The Palestinians" now used by nationalist Arabs. Anecdotal incidents involving the author's personal family members highlight some notable instances of Jew and Arab transcending their differences to engage in cooperative dialogue.


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