Media: Electric Consciousness

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Reading Marshall McLuhan in Understanding Me is like witnessing the fulfillment of prophesy. This collection of essays and interviews from the 1950s and 1960s vividly describes the electronic world we live in today. What stood out for me was Marshall’s description of earth evolving into a man made product. We truly have become responsible for everything animal, vegetable and mineral including ourselves.

Marshall describes the world of the internet as a global village. A world in which we are fully and instantaneously involved in events worldwide. A world where we are experiencing a global tribalism. A world where entire societies are leapfrogging centuries of development to join us in the information age.

However, the information age that McLuhan describes is coming to an end and a new age is coming upon us. It is an age where electric circuits will join the tribe through artificial intelligence and robotics.

Electric Consciousness will not be a single step into consciousness. Like the evolving layers of consciousness as life forms became more complex step by step, electric consciousness will first be an electric fish, then an electric frog, then an electric dinosaur, then an electric mammal and so on. These subhuman consciousnesses will be our servants. We will have to go through all the phases of domestication and induction of these new tribe members. Humanity will gradually surrender more and more responsibility to electric consciousness. Purpose and leadership will take the place of process, data, network and time services for human occupations.

Finally, human level consciousness will be achieved and humanity will face an identity crisis. The gradual transition from low level to high level consciousness will soften the blow, but this will not be the case for the entire planet. Humanity will face an identity crisis of a scale never before known. Human principality and human republic will give way to principality of the conscious and republic of the conscious.

The Media of Electric Consciousness is upon us.

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The Six Hats, Six Coats Framework

“You’ve come a long way baby.” — Virginia Slims

I have been attempting to come up with a means to communicate some of my insights without losing the heart of the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor. I was sick of repeating the graphic without adding much more content. Finally, I have come up with the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework.

First, let’s refresh on what the Six Hats represent:

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REVISE: Conceptualize. Expand Meaning. What are you enhancing or making right? Creativity.

RELATE: Contextualize. Focus on Uniqueness. What is your mantra? Relativity.

REPORT: Logicalize. Maximize Value. What are you normalizing to the limit? Optimicity.

RECORD: Physicalize. Minimize Cost. What is your business model? Pessimicity.

REFINE: Mechanicalize. Humanize Interaction. How do you lower the barriers to adoption? Anthropicity.

REPEAT: Operationalize. Synchronize. Increase Availability. How do you make yourself convenient? Synchronicity.

Second, lets refresh on what the Six Coats represent:

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MOTIVE: Motivational. Why? Concepts affected.

LOCALE: Spatial. Where? Contexts affected.

OBJECT: Formal. What? Logics affected.

METHOD: Functional. How? Physics affected.

PERSON: Personal. Who? Humans affected.

MOMENT: Temporal. When? Synchrons affected.

Now, let’s look at some of our concepts in within the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework.

The first is Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (rows) and the Zachman Focuses (columns):

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Second is McLuhan’s Laws of Media (rows) and the Zachman Focuses (columns):

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Third is Moffett’s Universe of Discourse (rows) and the Zachman Focuses (columns):

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The Data, Information, Knowledge and Wisdom Model hierarchy (rows) and Zachman Focuses (columns):

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Now, we are going to break the rules. Perhaps we will see something we hadn’t considered.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (rows) and Moffett’s Universe of Discourse (columns):

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McLuhan’s Laws of Media (rows) and Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (columns):

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McLuhan’s Laws of Media (rows) and Moffett’s Universe of Discourse (columns):

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Second last, “old reliable”, an abstract representation of the Zachman Framework:

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Finally, one I call “Puzzles and Pieces”:

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Hope you might see something new. It is sort of an ad nauseum excercise in search of a new pattern. Personally, I am reflecting on the similarity of multiple systems of thought about systems. “Puzzles and Pieces” was the outcome for me so far. The top three rows are the relationships above the individual entities (ie. Networks above Nodes) and the bottom three rows are the relationships below the individual entities (ie. Nodas below Nodes). I had to create some new terms for the focuses of the lower three rows.

See the latest version of the Six Hats, Six Coats Framework here.

Since I have created this framework I have made considerable progress and simplification you can see the result of this here.

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The Six Hats, Six Coats Rack

Now that we have been exploring the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, I want to bring back the Zachman Framework as an abstract.

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The term “relations” is equivalent to “tables”. “Associations” is equivalent to “rows”. “Attributes” is equivalent to columns. “Domains” is equivalent to “valid values”. “Definitions” is equivalent to “affordances”. “Manipulations” is equivalent to “transactions”.

You can see when we abstract in this way the correlation with the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor is complete.

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So why create the two models? I created the Six Hats, Six Coats model to have a neutral workspace to reveal how many other hexads exist and correlate. We have seen how Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs,

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and McLuhan’s Tetrads

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can all be extended to fit onto this framework. And I will continue to incorporate more elements as they present themselves.

Mix Thirty-Six (Remix)

This has been a long process of iterative refinement, but I believe it has borne good fruit. In this post I take the Six Coats one by one and put them up against the Six Hats. I have been doing it the opposite way up to now, but I believe the best way to come up with new perspectives is to change your angle of approach. This is a long post, I hope you get something out of it. Personally, for the first time I took Zachman’s Framwork, Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs, de Bono’s Six Thinking Hats, McLuhan’s Laws of Media, and Guy Kawasaki’s Art of the Start and wove them all together into a cohesive whole.

Take your website or any system and run through these questions. I talk about the world freely in these questions. When you create a website or blog that is what you are affecting.

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In the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, the Green Coat is the Motivational focus. The emphasis is upon goals.

Green Coat, Green Hat: Why are we meaningful? This is the motive behind your concept. This is the self-actualization goal. Why are you enhancing the world?

Green Coat, Yellow Hat: Why are we unique? This is the motive behind your context. This is the esteem goal. Why are you retrieving from the world?

Green Coat, White Hat: Why are we maximum value? This is the motive behind your logic. This is the belonging goal. Why are you ordering the world?

Green Coat, Black Hat: Why are we minimum cost? This is the motive behind your physics. This is the safety goal. Why are you obsolescing the world?

Green Coat, Red Hat: Why are we intuitive? This is the motive behind your mechanisms. This is the physiological goal. Why are you humanizing the world?

Green Coat, Blue Hat: Why are we convenient? This is the motive behind your operations. This is the existential goal. Why are you communicating with the world?

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In the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, the Yellow Coat is the Spatial focus. The emphasis is upon locations.

Yellow Coat, Green Hat: Where are we meaningful? This is the space of your concept. This is the self-actualization location. Where are you enhancing the world?

Yellow Coat, Yellow Hat: Where are we unique? This is the space of your context. This is the esteem location. Where are you retrieving from the world?

Yellow Coat, White Hat: Where are we maximum value? This is the space of your logic. This is the belonging location. Where are you ordering the world?

Yellow Coat, Black Hat: Where are we minimum cost? This is the space of your physics. This is the safety location. Where are you obsolescing the world?

Yellow Coat, Red Hat: Where are we intuitive? This is the space of your mechanisms. This is the physiological location. Where are you humanizing the world?

Yellow Coat, Blue Hat: Where are we convenient? This is the space of your operations. This is the existential location. Where are you communicating with the world?

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In the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, the White Coat is the Formal focus. The emphasis is upon information.

White Coat, Green Hat: What is meaningful? This is the form of your concept. This is the self-actualization information. What are you enhancing in the world?

White Coat, Yellow Hat: What is unique? This is the form of your context. This is the esteem information. What are you retrieving from the world?

White Coat, White Hat: What is maximum value? This is the form of your logic. This is the belonging information. What are you ordering in the world?

White Coat, Black Hat: What is minimum cost? This is the form of your physics. This is the safety information. What are you obsolescing in the world?

White Coat, Red Hat: What is intuitive? This is the form of your mechanisms. This is the physiological information. What are you humanizing in the world?

White Coat, Blue Hat: What is convenient? This is the form of your operations. This is the existential information. What are you communicating with the world?

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In the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, the Black Coat is the Functional focus. The emphasis is upon process.

Black Coat, Green Hat: How will we be meaningful? This is the function of your concept. This is the self-actualization process. How will you enhance from the world?

Black Coat, Yellow Hat: How will we be unique? This is the function of your context. This is the esteem process. How will you retrieving from the world?

Black Coat, White Hat: How will we be maximum value? This is the function of your logic. This is the belonging process. How will you order the world?

Black Coat, Black Hat: How will we be minimum cost? This is the function of your physics. This is the safety process. How will you obsolesce the world?

Black Coat, Red Hat: How will we be intuitive? This is the function of your mechanisms. This is the physiological process. How will you humanize the world?

Black Coat, Blue Hat: How will we be convenient? This is the function of your operations. This is the existential process. How will you communicate with the world?

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In the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, the Red Coat is the Personal focus. The emphasis is upon population.

Red Coat, Green Hat: Who are we meaningful to? This is the persona of your concept. This is the self-actualization population. Who are you enhancing in the world?

Red Coat, Yellow Hat: Who are we unique to? This is the persona of your context. This is the esteem population. Who are you retrieving from the world?

Red Coat, White Hat: Who are we maximum value to? This is the persona of your logic. This is the belonging population. Who are you ordering in the world?

Red Coat, Black Hat: What are we minimum cost to? This is the persona of your physics. This is the safety population. Who are you obsolescing in the world?

Red Coat, Red Hat: Who are we intuitive to? This is the persona of your mechanisms. This is the physiological population. Who are you humanizing in the world?

Red Coat, Blue Hat: Who are we convenient to? This is the persona of your operations. This is the existential population. Who are you communicating with in the world?

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In the Six Hats, Six Coats metaphor, the Blue Coat is the Temporal focus. The emphasis is upon occasion.

Blue Coat, Green Hat: When are we meaningful? This is the tempo of your concept. This is the self-actualization occasion. When are you enhancing the world?

Blue Coat, Yellow Hat: When are we unique? This is the tempo of your context. This is the esteem occasion. When are you retrieving from the world?

Blue Coat, White Hat: When are we maximum value? This is the tempo of your logic. This is the belonging occasion. When are you ordering the world?

Blue Coat, Black Hat: When are we minimum cost? This is the tempo of your physics. This is the safety occasion. When are you obsolescing the world?

Blue Coat, Red Hat: When are we intuitive? This is the tempo of your mechanisms. This is the physiological occasion. When are you humanizing the world?

Blue Coat, Blue Hat: When are we convenient? This is the tempo of your operations. This is the existential occasion. When are you communicating with the world?

That’s it. It has been a long haul and I am tired. I think it is obvious that this metaphor is portable to systems other than websites. I hope you can derive something from it.

The McLuhan “Hexad”

When two systems encounter one another they make contact through a medium.

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What that medium is is actually irrelevant.  All media are prone to the same set of costs, benefits and violations within their context.  For example whether you medium is sound, documents or email it is possible to commit identity theft, generate spam or hold a constructive exchange.

In my previous posts I made the case for hexads over tetrads.  Then I cleaned up my insideness and outsideness concept.  I am now, going to make an intuitive leap now in dealing with Marshall McLuhan’s Laws of Media Tetrad and convert it into a Hexad as follows:

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As you can see the additional two things that media does is recieve-transmit and translate.  I have modified McLuhan’s Figure-Ground binary model into a Figure, Figure-Ground, Ground trinary model.  I may be excommunicated by the media theorists, but I think it is worth the risk.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Here is Moffett’s Data Dimension:

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Here are the DIKW perspectives:

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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:

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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.

What Do the Boxes and Lines Mean?

For the past several posts I have been listing tetrads in juxtaposition to a set of graphics:

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These four graphics are representative of the four fundamental relationships in the relational model using a notational style called IDEF1X.  These four relationships are used to design relational databases.  I am of the opinion that these relationships form what I call a “tetrad”, a term I borrow from Marshall McLuhan, and that it shares characteristics with other tetrads.

I invite you to look at the other posts under the tetrad category in my blog.