Thursday, February 10, 2011



The effect of working through the sources of the CATTt  is the emergence of a conversation (intertext) between and among the readings.  The specifications of instructions in one text call out correspondences in subsequent texts.  For example, the instruction from Contrast is to appropriate some popular narrative (Hollywood movie) as a probe to identify relative to your disaster an operative mythology (Russell's "Chicken" relating Rebel Without A Cause to Dulles's brinksmanship, subsequently applied to the Cuban Missile Crisis).  This instruction is further motivated by the context of matching and replacing the role of Game Theory in public policy formation.  An important feature of this Contrast is the use of scenario form, narrative structure, to represent strategy alternatives.

There are many studies of this practice, and some of the basic principles include the goal of identifying and changing the mental models of decision makers, in order to envision possibilities for actions anticipating tendencies, trends, propensities of events in the future.  In short, scenarios are formulations of deliberative reason, or collective or organizational prudence.  It is common to propose three or four alternatives, between the poles of best and worst case.  Peter Schwartz in The Art of the Long View identified a collection of plot templates:  winners and losers, challenge and response, evolution, revolution, cycles, the lone ranger, "my generation".  It goes without saying that the narrative form itself supplies a set of assumptions:  a model of human agency, the role of action in transformation situations, the whole actantial structure familiar to students of literature. 

There are two key points for our instructions.  First is the central argument of our Theory regarding Figures of the Transpolitical, which declares the end of scene as such.
The transpolitical is the transparency and obscenity of all structures in a destructured universe, the transparency and obscenity of change in a dehistoricized universe, the transparency and obscenity of information in a universe emptied of event, the transparency and obscenity of space in the promiscuity of networks, transparency and obscenity of the social in the masses, of the political in terror, of the body in obesity and genetic cloning.... The end of the scene of the historical, the end of the scene of the political, then of the scene of fantasy, the end of the scene of the body--the irruption of the obscene.  The end of the secret--the irruption of transparency (Baudrillard, 45).
 The second point is that a goal of our project is to do for obscene what scenario did for scene:  obscenario.  Our strategy must perform the function fulfilled by Contrast, using our own means for guiding policy planning, to assist decision makers with collective prudence, that draws upon the ecstacy of communication in the same way that Game Theory drew upon the theatrics of alienation.  We need to learn from Theory the formal resources of the obscenario.

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