Insideness and Outsideness

 Buckminster Fuller in his book, Synergetics, discusses the concept of insideness and outsideness. He said there are four states you can have relative to a boundary:

1. Outside
2. Outside on the surface
3. Inside on the surface
4. Inside


This appears obvious, but it has interesting implications when we look at tetrads.

First, I want to look at Marshall McLuhan‘s Laws of Media tetrad. McLuhan described his tetrad as having two domains:

1. Figure
2. Ground

Retrieve and Enhance were Figure laws. Reverse and Obsolesce were Ground Laws. The question this left me with is which is Inside and which is Outside? I decided to look at other tetrads to see if they could provide an answer. This led me to look at the Zachman Framework focuses.


The Zachman Framework focuses all complement each other with their four perspectives. I decided to look at the Network focus for guidance:

1. ExtraNetwork
2. InterNetwork
3. IntraNetwork
4. Node

Node appeared to conform with Inside, IntraNetwork with Inside-Surface, InterNetwork with Outside-Surface and ExtraNetwork with Outside.


I believe that Obsolesce correlates to Node, Reverse to IntraNetwork, Enhance to InterNetwork and Retrieve to ExtraNetwork. Therefore, Insideness was Ground and Outsidedness was Figure. That being the case I let it guide all further correlations.


Here is Moffett’s Data Dimension:


Here are the DIKW perspectives:


As you can see the possibility of correlations between many tetrads is possible when different metaphors bring out the similarities.

Here’s Maslow’s Hierarchy recognizing that the physiological needs are not a social need:


As you can see with Fuller, McLuhan, Zachman, DIKW and Maslow there is an inside and an outside to their tetrads. Crossing the boundary between the two sides requires a transition in viewpoint that we do not always recognize. That boundary can be the difference between an open and closed society, between order and chaos, between fire and ice.

WQ: Wisdom Quotient

I was watching a video of a presentation by Max More at the Singularity Summit at Stanford where he poses the question: Will Superintelligence come with Superwisdom? And it lead to me thinking about James Moffett’s Universe of Discourse and an earlier related post where I discussed cognition and intelligence.


Moffett’s universe of discourse, I feel takes intelligence and the intelligence quotient and puts it in its place. If we look at the four columns in the above diagram and correlate “recording” to “data”, “reporting” to “information”, “generalizing” to “knowledge” and “theorizing” to “wisdom”, I am of the opinion that the intelligence quotient only measures knowledge or the ability to generalize. And what scientists are trying to create is artificial intelligence. The scope is too narrow.

What we really need is the ability to break down and measure cognition. The American Heritage Science Dictionary defines cognition as ” The mental process of knowing, including awareness, perception, reasoning, and judgment.” An intelligent system only emphasizes reasoning or in Moffett’s model generalizing. What we need to create is Artificial Cognition. What we need to measure is awareness (recording), perception (reporting), reasoning (generalizing) and judgment (theorizing).

Perhaps the AI scientists are betting way too much on intelligence.