Under-construction for ©-infringement.
The tetralemmic model which has been developed in oriental logic stipulates
the existence of four lemmas:
Here (a) and (b) both belong to formal logic
, whereas (c) and (d) are unacceptable
to it, although they are acceptable in theoretical physics
. Only an acceptance
of the third and fourth lemmas can allow a full representation
of the contemporary
in its totality
since contemporary world reality is
full of cases where a mere affirmation or negation does not make sense.
The four lemmas lend themselves to an
action-oriented interpretation as the basis for a more general "action
- (a) affirmative action, including support, commitment, initiative,
proposition, cooperation, consensus formation, empowering, "opening";
- (b) negative action, including sanction, withdrawal (of support),
denial, disassociation, delimitation, criticism, opposition, promotion
of dissent, disempowering, "closing";
- (c) non-affirmative and non-negative action, including indifference,
indecision, non-action (in the oriental sense), "neither confirm nor
deny", "opening and closing";
- (d) affirmative and negative action, including ambiguous action,
non-violent resistance, "dumb insolence", "giving with one hand and
taking with the other", "double dealing", "stick and carrot tactics",
the "yes but no" response of the frustrated cross-examinee.
The conventional western-based logic of international actions uses modes
(a) and (b) consciously, although some groups promote strategies based
on one or the other only. For example, those in favour of "positive thinking"
claim not to use (b), despite the positive value of closure. Whereas those who
fear "contamination" by a system gone wrong claim not to use (a).
The strength of the tetralemmic perspective is that it draws attention
to the complementary role of the two other modes (c) and (d), which are
outside the framework of action explicitly (consciously) accepted by the
international community, although they are evident in its interstices.
The (a) and (b) modes are embodied in formal agreements and procedures
and are the focus of academic study of international action. The existence
of other modes can only be publicly "recognized" as scandalous illegality
meriting no serious attention, except as the spice of informal discussion.
The (c) and (d) modes are the tools of wily, world-wise actors, as well
as of those they are trying to manoeuvre, both being aware that there
are degrees of freedom of action which the (a) and (b) modes are unable
to reveal. In contrast to the "cut and dried", overt (a) and (b) modes
are unable to reveal. In contrast to the "cut and dried", overt (a) and
(b) modes, in the essentially covert (c) and (d) modes what is not done
is as significant as what is. Many valuable illustrations of the importance
of the (c) and (d) modes are given in Douglas Hofstadter's justly acclaimed
Gödel, Escher, Bach (1979). The authors cited provide conceptual,
visual and auditory indications of the opportunities for transcending
the limitations of the (a) and (b) modes.
Most of the examples given suggest the questionable value of the (c)
and (d) modes because until recently they have been largely embedded in
the collective unconscious at least for the Western mind. These are the
kafkaesque worlds of double dealing ("crime"), influence ("old boy networks"),
double standards ("hypocritical leadership"), and collective resistance
("bureaucratic stonewalling"). Other possibilities are however suggested
by the oriental approach to action, by their extensive literature on non-action,
and by the recent innovative use of "non-violent" strategies. All the
modes are significant for development, as well as being vulnerable to
For more information check the Encyclopedia of World Problems and Human Potential from the Union of International Associations