Liminocentricity

Ahh, a new word. Yes, it baffled me when I first saw it yesterday when googling for reviews of Samuel Avery’s The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness, recommended by Scott Roberts in Comments on Elizaphanian, using in Google “Dimensional Structure of Consciousness” without the quotes. Yes, the link to the Amazon review of Avery’s book turned up, but what also caught my eye was this link which had the strange word Liminocentricity in the title. Why didn’t I just put quotes around The Dimensional Structure of Consciousness in Google and let it go at that? Well, I wouldn’t have learned something new.

It turns out that Liminocentricity is quite an interesting word. The link is to a paper entitled, The Structure of Consciousness – Liminocentricity, Enantiodromia, and Personality by John Fudjack, in itself an interesting name. This is a fairly long paper which provides a visual metaphor for ‘liminocentric’ organization, applies it to human consciousness, and goes on to explain why this is appropriate and why it has a baring on Jung’s theory of psychological types. So, what is ‘liminocentric’ organization, and why should we care?

Fudjack starts by providing three diagrams, the third of which is liminocentric. For his first diagram, he shows the letter T, where the letter consists of Xs (second level) in a T-formation, with each X itself made up of a series of Os (third level). This arrangement is not fractal, has only three levels, and is not liminocentric. Then the second diagram shows little Ts making up the big T. Each little T itself is made up of littler Ts in the same fashion although these aren’t shown on the diagram because this is too impractical. This is a fractal arrangement because the Ts can in principle go on forever. Finally, the third diagram shows Xs which are made up of small Ts with the Xs making up the big T. This is not ‘fully’ fractal because the large T is made up not of smaller Ts, but of Xs, and these Xs are not made up of smaller Xs, but of Ts. Confusing? Better look at the diagrams. In any case, the larger T is actually ULTIMATELY made up of small Ts. There could be any number of stages, for example, the Xs could be made up of Os and the Os made up of something else, and so on, between large T and the small Ts. This is what’s known as liminocentricity.

A ‘liminocentric’ structure, then, has the property of being ‘indistinguishable’ at its highest and lowest levels of organization. Fudjack claims, after conversations with the physicist Brian Greene, that the ‘string theory’ in physics says that “extremely large distances in the physical world may be LITERALLY identical to (i.e. indistinguishable from) extremely small distances”, and thus that physical reality may be liminocentrically ordered.

The paper goes on to give several other examples of liminocentricity:

In earlier articles we have also shown how liminocentricity is [1] utilized as an explanatory device in music theory; [2] used in Indian myth to help us ‘pull ourselves up by our bootstraps’, according to Mary Doniger O’Flaherty; [3] appears as a metaphor for ‘God’ in the work of Plotinus; and [4] operates as a principle of organization in the mandala in general, and in the figures of the Enneagram and Dzogchen mandalas in particular.

In Part 2 of the paper Fudjack describes the structure of human consciousness and shows how it is liminocentrically ordered. But this is too much to go into here. This post is long enough!

Perhaps the beginning lines of the last paragraph of T. S. Eliot’s Four Quartets sum it up:


We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

Oh yes, I read the reviews of Avery’s book and they’re all quite glowing except for one which calls it incoherent.

  1. Gabs’s avatar

    Good summary of the Fudjack article.

    Also, Wiktionary has a good definition of liminocentric that’s worth reading:

    http://en.wiktionary.org/wiki/liminocentric

    Cheers.

  2. Mardé’s avatar

    Thanks for your comment, Gabs. I see it’s almost a year ago that I posted this. I thought it was interesting at the time. Thanks for that link. It does clarify the generality of it further and gives more interesting links to follow. Good!

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