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Understanding and Sharing in a Cognitive Panorama 

Prepared as an Invited Keynote Address: Culture of Peace - Intersymp 97

9th International Conference on Systems Research, Informatics and Cybernetics, Aug.18-23, 1997, Baden-Baden

Understanding and Sharing
in a Cognitive Panorama

Heiner Benking
Creative Member, The Club of Budapest - FAW - Research Center for Applied Knowledge Processing, Ulm


* presents a way to visualize complex issues in connected space-scapes or situation rooms, which is called a Cognitive Panorama,
* shows how to embody lateral thinking, which we call diagonal as it crosses patterns and domains, igniting creativity,
* combines synthetic and real pictures to form models, which portray objects as they are seen from different perspectives,
* presents ways to focus interest and invite voices in dialogue, and
* summarizes lessons learned in areas such as: education, knowledge organization, ethics, and policy making, or communication in detail and in general.

In contrast to the metaphor of the `Second Flood' (Lévy 1996), describing Cyberculture's impact due to its 1.) `open-ended' universality, 2.) loss of meaning, and 3.) loss of context, this paper makes use of context to organize knowledge, and provides orientation by localizing `what we know and miss', by mapping relations and connections. Instead of accepting a `flat' chaotic mess of data, the concept actively addresses critical issues such as mis-use, manipulation, and under-use of messages and information, and searches for other factors, like quality, to help further discrimination of data and knowledge. Some focus is on disorientation and apathy, specialization and globalization, and specific schools, like scientific or post-modern relativist's views. Central is the idea to use space not only as a real world platform to position and share objects, but also to bridge and follow meaning into embodied context and semantic spaces which form an organic or holistic world- view. Through reflection on conceptual positions, outlining and embodying situations or topics (logical places), we can also scrutinize abstract `realities' and interconnectedness, explore participatory approaches (Judge 1980- 97), (Harman 1996), (Benking, 1988-97), ways to share more effectively and consistently in groups `where we are and what we think'


cognitive spaces, education, metaphors, mental models, orientation, world views


1. A Cognitive Panorama Bridge
2. Deeper Thinking for Better Understanding
3. Inviting and Sharing Voices and Views

As the paper tries to encompass many aspects and ways to approach such a broad theme, the author had to gave up the idea to tell all to some meaningful end in a few pages. Finally he decided to follow the line of the paper and include various sources and media to construct a more comprehensive overview of the issues at stake, more comprehensive as the editors allow. The idea (As with The Club of Budapest) is to overcome dualism and show the shades between seriousness and play, science and arts, policy and chaos. The following both dismissed titles indicate further aspects presented:

`CULTIVATING INSIGHT, EMPATHY, AND OVERVIEW IN A COGNITIVE PANORAMA: An approach to augment and share understanding, policy making, and responsibility' `Building, Inviting, and Sharing Ways and Meeting Grounds to See, Imagine, Think, Talk, & Listen'.

Prepared as an Invited Keynote Address: Culture of Peace - Intersymp 97

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