Rafiki Institute - a model (why the name?)
click the flow chart to see the map
Map Details

This work is an iterative process of developing a new model for collaborative vision based upon community accepted open source standards. Out of these concepts, represented in software, can be woven models for vision and decision-making. The models are informed through a collective experience of culture, grounded in equitable respect. The way cultures schematize their world gives rise to the forms of Reason - and thus Respect is the fluid interaction of the forms in the societal context. By using respect as a foundation for the philosophical underpinnings of system design we can best aim for an interface design that is attentive to the present and ever-changing metaphors fundamental to the human condition.

The vision a new system can afford is one of patterns of association within a given context. These associations afford connection and translation between system elements. (that appear highly dissimilar based upon one's own perspective as a result of culture schema) Cultural schema form representing these connections and can be considered the basis of grammars, syntax or language. As these schemas are the result of a people's place and time they can be considered a Language of Change rooted in the transformation of their ecology (place and self).

Among a culture's primary grammars (being the morphological, syntactical and semantic forms) are those which meter social complexity. As a facet of the relative whole, each is a dynamic for reasoning (c.f. Qi, Complexity). Ways that each form of reasoning schematizes the world is therefore another relative perspective on the architectural foundations of the ecology. Further, Myth as all story of phenomena, is a way to characterize the experiential logic of phenomenology - that which is empirically & generally knowable. When a modern model such as quantum mechanics is viewed from the standpoint of its information topology (its most basic structuralism to consciousness) it too becomes a schema for that which is empirically & generally knowable. The quantum and the story/myth are thereby similar, and perhaps relfections of each other. Thus, they can be seen as a method for modeling the dimensional edges of a system. When quantum mechanics is coupled with a mythological schema for reasoning a connection between body/brain/consciousness and real world effects can perhaps be spotlighted. The shadows of this illumination are the forms of a general systems language - forms of broad cultural archetype that are synaesthetic in their realization. Such ideas leave open to the possibility of even redefining prayer as a system of consciousness.

Story, in this framework, by illustrating the behavior and logic of phenomena can be rendered visually in relation to its 'mythic density.' This density is a relationship between the length of a text and the spiritual, cultural and physical dimensions contained therein. The Bible and Lord of the Rings, as they are the #1 and #2 books consumed worldwide, exemplify this proportion of connection between mind, world, and succinct language - a relationship shared by all scriptures due to their encyclopedic nature. From these sources are rendered fictional forms, such as Frank Herbert's "Orange Catholic Bible" and poignant cultural wisdom of Murphy's Laws. Veering away from 'meaning' and toward the pure/mathematical grammars of a "General Systems Language" we may find ourselves arriving at a "Scale-less Quantum Foundations" and a Periodic Table of Geometry. Allowing for consciousness' role in phenomenology and relationship to mind, that which can be dowsed (i.e. intuitive 'phenomena') can broaden the scope of a General Systems Language to include the spiritual, ritual & ceremonial consciousness, ley lines and other forms considered ethereal.

Broadening a General Systems Language to be inclusive of the ethereal offers a wholism that spans the major cornerstones of our human experience. Those cultural forms that are inspired by the spiritual/ethereal, such as churches, shrines, statues, monuments, etc, tend to form the substrate of human imagination - both culturally and world-wide. When ethereal forms are incorporated into the matrix of associations that underlies 'macroscopic vision,' the fusion of broad context, the result is the ability to image a General Systems Language that is inclusive tacit global human forms. Most notable to the context in which we live are Human Rights, Environmental Epidemiology and Cultural Property.

In the development of global forms it becomes increasingly necessary to develop a model of macroscopic vision as a tool. It is the nature of the Open Source community to gather together popular philosophical models for a piece of software's interface design and functionality. A variety of community and collaborative models have gained widespread acceptance for various purposes, including Blogs, Slashcode, Wikis, and Version Control. Philosophical approaches to collating these community models are beginning to mature and becoming community standard models in-and-of themselves.

In the creation of a macroscope, the composite community models form the cognitive interface basis for grid-based web service architectures. These architectures themselves form the basis of a 'cognition service bus' on top of which can be developed a new operating system - representative of another stage of our 'technological evolution.' In the steps toward this operating system, what begins to emerge is a system of visualizing broad information of a given cultural domain within its own context, and/or inclusive of other cultural contexts. In visualizing across cultural contexts a synaesthesia-like learning comes into play, and education facilitated by visualization can become increasingly experiential. Among the visions of what we could see through a cultural interface is a view of the environment with a 'resolution' of DNA, the imaging of genetic stressors, the conception & utilization of genetic 'flexing' as a kind of CPU, and the experience of genetic flux at a bodily scale through being on-site in a given ecosystem.

A service-architected operating system is likely to grow slower than some of the more culturally tangible community and collaboration models. Increasingly smooth cognitive interfaces can be developed toward these social, academic and professional products of culture. Through the composition of personal mindshare blogs with various forms of slashcode-style promotion to home pages and RSS feeds, not only can community identity be further established, but also the most shared and nurtured ideas gain a history of stewardship. When interaction and other histories are delineated through wiki-style resources, and all direct and ancillary material is tended with version records, the stewardship of community property becomes more accessible and non-locally tangible.

In this model, it is perhaps not only application code that is being stewarded, but ideas as well. Such ideas may initially have small support groups, but with patience and attention small groups may gain enough maturity to become higher-level Academic Groups, and exist within a context of an existing Educational Program. Because of the potential for a clear and stable history of development, such 'coagulations' could form a new notion of Intellectual Property. Coupled with real-world community support and interest, in time collections of these academic groups could gather and converge to become Programs and Institutes. The process of groups becoming larger institute-like structures would set an extrapolatory precedent for such institutes to mature into Schools in their own right. Schools formed through open source development, though conceptually radical, could be positioned to gain acceptance through the overall stability of their developmental models.

New model schools could then gather together and form Colleges, in the open source model used to grow them. It is likely that existing colleges would adopt an open source model into their existing bureaucracy, shedding a bit of guiding light upon the fledgling open-source-bred colleges. With patience and time, a well-developed tool for open source education development could steward enough material to draw it together in the form of an academic charter and seek University status. If the first catalyst of a reaction is the creation of an open source idea stewardship tool, then the second catalyst would be the utilization of that tool to create a university charter - leading to a chain reaction that would see open source collaboration as the model for all operations not involving private information.

An open source approach is already being considered by the corporate world. A challenge for open source development models, following proof of academic salience, will be that of governance. The first steps to collaboratively developing models of government via open source methodologies will be through policy. Coordinating academic-scale development with an architecture for macroscopic vision would allow discussion to occur about the role of environmental patterns in the epidemiological cycle. New policies could be constructed around Environmental Epidemiology, which would create a staging ground for inquiry into Planetary Ecology. The natural resource management capabilities can facilitate risk management that is not only more robust, but also attentive to modern complexities.

In tandem with these developments, more thorough identification of objects and sites of Cultural Property could occur. Culture, and Cultural Property, identification is likely to happen with more involvement from open source community tools than macroscopic imaging - at least until there is a strong movement to define the natural resources involved in a Cultural Property site. As the foundation for Cultural Property is with international law formed from Human Rights provisions for widows and orphans, the development of Cultural Property holds the potential to advance a transcultural scale of policy, aiding in the conception of global governance. It is along these paths that open source collaboration models could gain sufficient footing to influence the way we govern ourselves.

Associated pieces

The Macroscope: Exploration of the human experience

This text investigates the scales of human perception, and our understanding of envelopes of experience.

Ars Botanica

Designing a Natural Resource Management System.

Semasiographic Language

The nature of this area of inquiry is to render patterns in nature iconographically as systemic concepts, such as the form of energy flows through the environment.

Rosetta Ley

Dowsing laser light to explore the connection between consciousness and gravity.

Going over the Rainbow: Bridges Between Human Knowledge and Patterns in Nature

Presentation on geometric correspondences between symbols of human consciousness and the form of natural patterns.

Summary of Referenced Works

The Toronto Manifesto

Development of Cultural Property considerations, and "The Right to Historical Memory."

The Name return to the top

The 'codename' Rafiki Institute comes from African stories of the shaman who called the heards for storytelling, and was advisor to the lion pride. As the wisest of the community, Rafiki's unexpected insights are a model for what this system can provide.

© New Alexandria 2002