Archive for April, 2009


Why footprints and handprints are not enough

April 5, 2009

Footprints measure consumption, which is one side of the coin. On the other side you find the handprint, a “mirror side” presenting the “gain” or efficiency in a certain process, system, application, …

“The Handprint analyzes the positive impacts on three interrelated aspects of action towards sustainability ; viz.; environment, society and the economy.” [more at:]

Mindprint looks into the design behind the Footprints and Handprints — how our thinking impacts our impacts, positive and negative, and that we need to look into the “design” or “next-design” behind our actions. It is about bringing together the tangible and intangible, the exact and fine arts and sciences, nature and the humanities. Here is a nice “Call” for such work and a LOI for:

Harnessing Virtual Worlds for Arts and Humanities Research

See also work in 1996 outlining such a thinking and modeling in and around the communities working on Creativity & Cognition and Visions and Design Conferences and how this is based on earlier work on metaphors (1994) and later on analogies and agents (1998).

We have worked in the 90ies on T-personalities, lateral and diagonal thinking, mindscapes and a mind-book and how to augment the human intellect to be better able to share the new challenges of Cyberculture and Globalisation. Please come back as we will provide here some references.

Mindprint is about much more than just physical print-outs. It is about including the manifestations and representations, senses and sign systems, because using only one “channel” or one way of perception or expression is not enough and definitely not how living things work, eat, breathe, and exist. It is about resonating with oneself and others and all living and material things.

To address unprecedented challenges we not only old and news ways of thinking and acting, but also to gain again some shared orientations. We called it an embodied covenant. (more below)

As times are busy and critical we have little time to review and rewrite all that already been done. This new book or internet portal is not about re-inventing the wheel but trying to help to connect, co-create and expand what has been done to be better able to tackle the challenges we face.

Maybe start here to get an idea what is meant and what we are basing our efforts on: [DIALOG-DELIBRATIONS – COMMON FRAMES OF REFERENCES (conceptual superstructure)]

1001 Dialoges, 100001 Diversities, 10001 Seeds of Change

Earth Charter and an Embodied Covenat (See this Tagore-Einstein presentation), called also a House of Eyes (Horizons and Perspectives), a World-House (Welthaus), or a common construct between Oikos, Ecumene, Ecudomy, Ecumenopolis, Ekistics and Eco-Cube, Ecology and Economy. For more see ECOTHEE in Bamberg and Chania and “Our View of Life is too Flat”.

So why do we speak about mindprints? 

We have to revisit the whole system, not only what we consume and produce ! We need to check where we can be afluent and serve, contribute not in a single slot or box, but serving a bigger picture.

When focussing only on the consumption (footprint) and  efficiency (handprint) we are missing something. We avoid being more creative and productive if we only optimize known processes instead of also looking into other ways and means. So another culture, technology, paradigm, form of living and enjoying,  might be much more “productive” as it is a positive agenda, not only making less polution, but also creating other levels of quality and beauty.

By blaming people and making them afraid and feel guilty we are not achieving desired goals in the field of sustainability. We have to set examples and give people a place they can enjoy and contribute, also serve, as in situations where “the more the give the more you have”. We just have to go beyond “counting” beans and blaming others.   A mind-set-reset, a look into our mind-maps and thinking stiles, our approaches and ways to support and help will show that too often we are lost in sweet isolation and so avoiding anything strange or mind boggling, anything where we are emotionally and intellectually overwhelmed.

At this point I only want to mention and select further reading in English. (See below for more, going “deeper” into what I mean in German)

A Metaparadigm or Sharable Framework – (Cognitive Panorama)  – Conference on a New Space for Culture and Society – NEW IDEAS IN SCIENCE AND ARTS, Council of Europe, Prag 1996:

Minds-Eye: Vision Plus 2, Schwarzenberg, 1996:

Viewpoint Generation, Transportation and Composition –  Creativity and Cognition, Loughborough, 1996,

Positions and Identities in Global Contexts:  Awareness of Self and Others with  me, you, we, they and “others” models, UNESCO, Club of Budapest, Paris, 1995

MAN- MASS- MEDIA – Interaction and Manipulation  – New Horizons and Orientation Thanks to a New Mental ArchitectureInternational Design Forum (IFG) Ulm, 1996,

Cognitive Spaces, Cognitive Panorama, Mental Models, …. International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics, late 90ies early 2000:


Sorry some of the articles below are not available in English: (We are working on translations) –  –  –  –  –  –  –  –   –  –  I recommend IGNORANCE or COMPASSION?

or the recent Humanities Research Proposal highlighted above, hoping to give an idea of the width and magnitude, sectors, level, proportions and consequences we are talking here about “here and there”:

PS:  Mindbugs & Mindprints – Mind-Fallacies and Mind-Ignorance/-Denial

I  just remembered that the key publication on mind bugs from 1990 is by Kurt Van Lehn and called Mind Bugs: The Origins of Procedural Misconceptions. It focusses on how we “aquire” a systematic bias towards errors and misconceptions in school, higher education and life. We call it “systematic errors” —  or a cultual bias —  which can be adressed in terms of  standard deviation or normal distribution or, on the other hand, natural variance, another category Carl Friedrich Gauß was concerned with…  So we have here a systemic bias from outside, from the way we learn, how the cultures make us think in certain ways, and how to possibly identify and avoid such bias.

Here John Warfield comes in. He left a legacy of work in system sciences and we had much in common not only around the Panetics Society, but also the Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics. Nearly 20 years ago we joked about his “schematic turn”  and we agreed that we need all these turns, iconic, lingusistic, … I later wrote  about “beyond turns and turfs”  (see blog) as we have to overcome single issue and single sign representations and stay aware of the mindbugs ! You can understand John better when you see his and others axioms around dialog and delibertation and see his work for the Panetics Society as well. I recommend you start with this summary on mindbugs by a collegue of him:

So back to Warfield: Typically John creates a new terms and axioms for new Sciences, he was an analytical deep mattermind in the field of complex systems: See here his Science of Mindbugs:  MENTOMOLOGY – THE IDENTIFICATION AND CLASSIFICATION OF MINDBUGS.

Warfield twenty-five mindbugs before 1995 and “classified them into Mindbugs of Misinterpretation, those where concepts are misconstrued or misattributed, because of faulty interpretation, Mindbugs of Clanthink: those where – concepts are very widely perceived to be correct, – but which are demonstrably incorrect, Mindbugs of Habit: those which involve ingrained behaviour, evinced with essentially no conscious thought, and Mindbugs of Error: just plain mistakes.

Warfield was aware that it is not always possible to consign a mindbug to just one category. “Later refinements may allow this flaw to be corrected” he mentioned. PLEASE TAKE NOTE:  Warfield  is not just writing “Clanthink” in contrast to for example “Groupthink”, Spreadthink, and Linkthink: ,.. and is building on the work which started more than 40 years ago with the first two reports of the Club of Rome which were obviously not understood at those days and are seldom revisited…. And not to forget, these approaches are used today to see for example the 15 Global Challenges for Humanity by the Millennium Project in perspective, exploring deep and unconscious drivers and roots.

Instead of looking back we experience that the next generations of scientists seem to be creating always their own, often appealing systems from scratch, unfortunately reinventing the wheel, maybe this is another omnipresent “scientific” mindbug John would consider for inclusion <sik>.

Here is John Warfields original full text introducing MENTOMOLOGY

I feel it is necessary to check out his terms and thinking, as it was very special and well grounded. This is the case not only regarding FALLACIES and FAULTY REASONING,  but also regarding “group-think” versus “clan-think”,  including situations and scales! [More]

Without getting into the difference from, and the relation to, other forms of “thinking” there is little chance to get to know Warfield and collegues like Alexander Christakis and Walter Bogan and so really appreatiate where they have been years ago….  A Mindset, Mindbug, and MindPrint is a statement which needs to be seen in relation and in common frames of references. Words can be in the way when you search for meaning, practice and peace…..

New information is comming in: I was lead to The Mind-Bugs Taxonomy by Larry J. Bloom 2011  His term Mind-bugs™ is a metaphor for how our brains can unconsciously influence and support bad decisions. How we gather information: Sufficiency and Accuracy and how we process information: Beliefs, Social Cultures.

The questions behind the surface understanding: Do I have the correct inputs, are they truthful? Or, on the reasoning side: How do I value and “colour” my decisions?, or what is the influence of others? These questions are very helpful but leave out a very important aspect: The Mindsets, Mental models, Conceptual Superstructures, specially when trying to combine competences for the close and the distant across sectors and times !  This is where I feel we need to go into Mindprints !

We have now years of discussions in the Wikipedia about Mental Spaces and Mental Models — a boring task because it is hard to find agreed upon definitions for the basics such as “What are Spaces?” or “What are Models?”. We therefore insist on having greater depth in the International Encyclopedia of Systems and Cybernetics, as there we have footnotes to the definitions of subject areas. Maybe you even like the overlap of meaning in Cognitive Spaces? This creation of extensional embodied meaning spaces is what I am aiming at with panoramic or spectrum thinking (shades) – see the general model theory and neo-pragmatism of  Herbert Stachowiak and his “big brother is watching” – and how this can be understood – build – shared not only between 2 points but in 3-dimensional spaces and the combination of reference spaces (across scales). Without build/modelling and jointly exploring situations – we called it long ago situations spaces – we get lost in wording and culture clashes.

So here we are getting to Mindprints – maybe to give it another word – call it Cognitive and Tangible Mental Models. I do not care. Important is the joint negotiation to overcome some of the mindbugs – specially when different scales and cultures are involved…   (I KNOW THIS FOOTNOTE is a little much – but it evolved, sorry – same as the the term Mindprint – at a table – in dialog and looking at issues from all positions and ends, as a process of doing, not labeling!).