The Role of Listening and Non-Listening in the Formation of Organizational Hierarchies
In his book Tractatus Paradoxico-Philosophicus Uribe presents an oscillator (in section I.17), which alternates between two states (say ON and OFF) at a frequency that is easily observable (say in the form of a blinking light) for human observers (say 1Hz). The oscillator has an output and an input. The output channel sends a very short trigger signal at the moment the oscillator changes from its ON state to its OFF state. When the oscillator receives such a triggering signal on its input channel, it immediately resets its timer to the beginning of its ON cycle. If two such oscillators are connected to each other (the input channel of each to the output channel of the other), the two oscillators will, from the viewpoint of a human observer, soon display a stable alternating oscillation at which one oscillator is ON and the other is OFF for one second, then one oscillator is OFF and the other is ON for one second and so on (the blinking light will appear to jump back and forth). Similar oscillators with four input channels and four output channels can be used to achieve such oscillations in two-dimensional arrays and similar oscillators with six input channels and six output channels can be used to achieve such oscillations in three-dimensional arrays. Larger arrays require progressively more “negotiation” time until the overall back-and-forth oscillation between any two neighboring oscillators is synchronized. In the process of synchronization all oscillators of the described design are playing identical roles and have equal impact on the overall synchronization progress. This process of synchronization can be regarded as a radically simplified metaphor for human organization amongst individuals of identical power, i.e. no hierarchy amongst the individuals before, during and after synchronization. In my proposed paper I would like to explore this metaphor further and investigate how the broadcasting or not broadcasting of the trigger signal and how the listening or non-listening for trigger signals from neighboring oscillators affect the formation of causal (power) relationships and hierarchical structures amongst oscillators. I expect this exploration to be interesting when viewed as a metaphor for the role of human speaking and non-speaking as well as human listening and non-listening in the formation of hierarchies in organizations of humans. I will implement related software and/or hardware experiments to discuss in my paper and, as far as practically possible, also to show at the conference.
“Listening” may be regarded as a homonym, referring to listening as in paying careful, open-minded attention to something new or to paying obedient attention to instruction. These two understandings are directly opposed to another since listening according to one or the two understandings precisely precludes listening according to the perceived other understanding.