A very common way of engaging with the world is to view it in a simple binary way,

The world and all its relationships, are either 'good' or 'bad', 'positive' or 'negative', etc.

Aa representation of this disposition could be:

But it is not difficult to see this as far too simplistic a model.

For what place does 'neutrality' play in this?

Does 'neutrality' sit somewhere between 'good' and 'bad', 'positive' and 'negative'?

Is 'neutrality' really a bit of both, somewhere in between - a compromise.

So, to improve the model, a third node must be added:

The first of Melvin Kranzberg's 'Six Laws of Technology', states that, 'Technology is neither GOOD nor BAD; nor is it NEUTRAL.

[Refs: John Naughton, The Observer, 01.03.2020, and Cambridge University, CAM 88 2019.]

To model the relationships in his thesis we must include a fourth node, INDETERMINACY.

The model can be used to represent the relationship of a number of players. For example in the Spanish Civil War, an historian could study the relationships between the REPUBLICANS, the FASCISTS, the COMMUNISTS and the ANARCHISTS.

Christopher Alexander in 'Notes on the Synthesis of Form', sees the interrelationship of the creative forced in design as: PERFORMANCE, SIMPLICITY, ECONOMY and JOINTING. He modelled the problem as a five-way conflict:


In my teaching and consulting, I have encouraged the rejection of a simple linear way of considering a problem, be it for design, or for understanding issues, for a more interesting and richerer complex model of thinking, as suggested here. It is a case of injecting more COMPLEXITY into the thinking process around issues. Makes us more human. (Needs more work! LB)