Beyond Intercultural Management is Transcultural Management

The Intercultural Manifesto in 4 Languages (English, French, German and Spanish)

Textbook, 2012

303 Pages


Contents/Inhalt/Table des Matières/Indice …

1. English Edition

2. Version Française

3. Deutsche Fassung

4. Versión Española

5. Synopsis of Inter-/Transcultural Management Instruments

6. Inter-/Transcultural Reference Terminology


1. English Edition


Scio, ut nescio!


Nosce te ipsum - Γνῶθι σεαυτόν - Conócete a ti mismo! - Know thyself!


1 The State of the Intercultural Art and Science

On human relativity in intercultural research

NATO has contributed its share to the liberation of Libya. It is not yet sure, whether, from the western standpoint, that is liberation into the past or into the future, as the introduction of a form of Islamic law has also been announced. Culture and religion are important components of culture indeed and seem to be stronger than presumed attractiveness of western ideology. Exactly a fortnight ago media have been reporting about an escalating demonstration by Coptic Christians in Cairo which has caused a considerable number of victims, which has, however, been trivialized by some media by presenting it as business as usual in this part of the world. And as if I was not enough, the seismic changes of the Arab spring, which also involves Syria and other nations of the Maghreb and the Mashreg, culminates so far in a strong physical earthquake today in Turkey. The Euro crisis and the sword of Damocles of a global financial crisis are again threatening to strike and “Boycott Wall Street” movements in culturally diverse forms question the legitimacy of the global financial system. The gaps between the haves and the have-nots as well as the cultural gaps between players are seemingly widening to such an extent that the geological earth drifts apart as much as the social world. And this fragmentation and antagonizing atomization seems to have its cause in a divisive force in the human psyche which should be looked at in search of a remedy for the ongoing externalization of division with its logic of conflict. It raises the questions of integrative forces in man to counterbalance divisive forces. The spirit of division in many shapes and forms seems to prevail over the spirit of unity, from the local to the global, from the personal to a worldwide scale. Is that the shadow of today’s technologically feasible global integration? However, conditioned separation and division as well as a priori given essential unity of man are both aspects of man. When this complementary reality is lost out of sight dysfunctionalities occur in the organism of humanity. So the question seems to arise how this lopsided prioritization of human anthropological reality can be rebalanced, how the game of the perennial centrifugal and centripetal forces in many garbs can be harmonized and reintegrated. More culturally and abstractly speaking the question arises, how the integration and reconciliation of myriads of singular forms and shapes and types of human diversity on the one hand and their essential unity as members of humanity on the other hand can be realized. The realization of the complementary synergetic function of both aspects of man’s constitution has a naturally conflict preventative impact, because the natural divisive forces are contained by the natural integrative forces. The perception of the whole has a controlling function, an integrative and pacifying impact within and as a consequence also without. Deficits with regard to the perception of this reality as an interdependent whole, which results from socialization as much as cultural conditioning - in fact it is part of fundamental overall human conditioning of man across cultures and civilizations - lead to a structural and functional imbalance of man that is counterproductive to the development of humanity from a diverse human species to a solidary human family with all its diversity. In the following we want to focus our attention on the contribution of intercultural research to the correction of this state of affairs in order to complement presumable deficits in intercultural theory and practice in view of enhanced global management. Not presumptuousness moves and motivates such a lofty perspective but rather the need to address a presumed core issue of human affairs. And unity is not a form of vague idealism but rather a functional aspect of the human.

A parabolic story in which an individual is looking for an object in the light of a lantern can be considered symbolic of mainstream intercultural research. When a passer-by asks the searching individual where exactly he has lost the object, the latter answers that it must have been a little further away, whereupon the puzzled passer- by further asks why he was not looking where he assumes he has lost the object in question. The searcher answered that he was looking here in the light of the lantern because the visibility was better in the light of the lantern.

Some intercultural research does not seem unlike the search of the lost item in our didactic, parabolic anecdote, as there seems to be a tendency to enquire within the known, rather than exploring new horizons that might cast a new, creative light on the object the research. While, for example, quantified sophistication is certainly legitimate and may provide precious insights and meet a human need for formula- like certainty based on specific numbers without ambiguity it does not necessarily mean that the researcher leaves the already charted territory of the known and comes closer to the destination aimed at by the pioneers of true intercultural research, which consists, so to speak, in the realization of a form of cultural Eldorado in the sense that man may reach masterhood in the control of the ambivalence of the culture variable with its divisive as well as its integrative and synergistic potentiality alike in this era of globalization with its increasing cultural challenges across the world as we have seen and said in the few introductory examples that epitomize the state of the world.

A quantum-cultural reading of cultural and intercultural reality suggests that specific data of cultures need to be complemented by the complementary momentum of cultures. It fulfills the metaphorical imperative of the complementarity principle Niels Bohr’s as well as of the insight gained from Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle. Both together allow us to view culture from two complementary angles and to state about the integration of the two optics: On the one hand there is the specific world of cultures with specific cultural data and coordinates based on empirical intercultural research, while the complementary optic is that of their wave dynamic and momentum. In order to integrate the two and to describe culture and its dynamics holistically, one has to leverage a neurophysiological analogy of twofold structural and functional integration. Not doing so means lagging behind scientific paradigms in the sense that the particle approach to cultures, where each culture is attributed a particular numerical position needs to be complemented by its dynamic momentum. The former tends to be more static, is classificatory and divisive per se, while the latter is dynamic and integrative. Both together constitute the more complete cultural reality that performs better globally in business management and politics alike and therefore needs to be leveraged in our time of increasing globalization challenges.

Quantum physics has not only allowed outer space conquest but it can also enable inner space conquest with the totality of its cultural conditioning. In other words the intercultural aquis (research output), as I shall try to show, needs to be complemented by the transcultural approach, which is a metaphorical application of the microphysics paradigm that has been inaugurated as long as a century ago already. Therefore it is high time to translate this epistemological breakthrough discovery as far as possible to the sociocultural domain as well.

The hope that global business, global communications and transportation infrastructure against the backdrop of an even wider scaled space research, in short, that advanced technology would also bring about the cultural integration of the planet and would complete the technically feasible global village socioculturally as well remained unfulfilled so far. On the contrary, rather than peacefully and solidarily, as in olden days but in new forms, draw the vital resources from the common wellsprings of the one village, in a spirit of worldwide interdependence and therefore solidary unity, we are in a process of technological convergence paralleled by cultural divergence. Some indicators for the drifting apart of the world, albeit coupled with the quest for the realization of synergy potentials in transnational management are, for example, that the perceived multicultural threat to the integrity of cultural identity in transnational organizational environments can lead to defensive, ethnocentric attitudes and behaviours that are humanly divisive rather than integrative. In some urban environments there is, in addition to the understandable need of cultural solidarity within foreign cultural environments, a trend to cultural ghettoization, which again is divisive rather than integrative. And in geopolitics and the economy, as one can deduce from the Euro crisis and that of the global financial system for example, there is a trend to undermine the integrative acquis of decades of integration policy by multilayered national cultural interests based divisive behaviours. National and supranational identities need further reconciliation and integration while obviously safeguarding cultural uniqueness as the basis for intercultural synergies, in the interest of a sustainable future at large. The game of the two fundamental forces – as in physics –, those that weld mankind together and those that rip it apart seem to have mankind in their grip as much as the gravitational and the antigravitational pull in nature. And when imbalances become too strong seismic change occurs as much in society as in nature. That leads to cyclical catharsis for the recovery of the balance of centrifugal-centripetal forces in diverse domains and shapes.

Half of the wars waged during the past decades were apparently motivated by the struggle for water and land and the two can be subsumed as the competition for food, as both resources together enable the resulting resource of food or in their absence lead to a lack of it and thereby undermine survival. Then the ensuing question of survival may be connected to deeply rooted and at times irrational motives like that of cultural overidentification for the sake of presumed insurance of survival – which may of course backfire and cause destruction of self an others alike – which may be difficult to control. Culture and its management-dependent ambivalence are at risk of becoming a focus of power and identity processes in the competition for food and the survival of cultural groups increasing in number and size that might be tempted to use and play the card of cultural identity in the power game about the access to resources. Culture and survival issues might therefore be at risk of forming a not so holy alliance in view of the future of humanity with its likely challenges. But in spite of this projected negative scenario that involves culture, that latter, if properly and more thoroughly understood can nevertheless also be a potential factor of integration of the planet as a whole. This dichotomy and its effective management in the interest of man is a tenor of this study. Whether culture plays the role of a factor of integration or of disintegration of mankind at its diverse scales and in its multilayered human contexts depends on the depth of its understanding and its management in the light of such enhanced insight with practical relevance.

From this vantage point one may ask whether the cultural question has been posed comprehensively enough, so as to lead to complete answers that involve the root causes of cultural processes whose understanding allows the sustainable management of culture. For, as long as one does not manage to penetrate to the root of culture and understands its rationale in depth one will keep turning in circles and gilding the cage the culture gurus have designed, assuming that one has achieved masterhood over cultural issues, without, however, ever finding the actual key that would allow one to open that golden cage and to access the path towards freedom in the sense of a more comprehensive management and control of the key cultural variable within man’s psychological constitution.

The well-known North American architect Frank Lloyd Wright was framing his architectural design challenge as the need of “cracking the box”, so as to integrate the structure with the environment in a new way. Well the intercultural box and the architectural box may indeed be likened, as both seem to require a wider and better performing contextualization in a wider whole that provides more sense and purpose.

The physical and the psychological definition of space do not lack a certain similarity. They however differ in a subtle way in the sense that the physical edifice had to be integrated into the Arizona desert at the time of Lloyds architectural research, while the psychological structure with its socio-culturally conditioned content has to be taken out of the limited desert of the mind to be reintegrated in the vaster space of human consciousness, so as to uncover the true meaning and logic of culture and to enhance the performance of its management by the wider horizon, that provides access to its governing axiomatic and thereby shows how culture can be recontextualized in a way that reengineers it from a sword into a plough that can help solving the human nutrition issue physically as well as psychologically: the need for healthy cultural identity and food alike.

In other words, the human mind with its conditioned sociocultural content, needs to be relocated in its wider context of the human spirit. This opening and resetting of the limited cage or box will show what the actual meaning of culture is within the context of human evolution. By perceiving the complete picture culture becomes manageable from the widest angle of vision and therefore the greatest sustainability and effectiveness. It becomes a true resource for the future of mankind rather than a potential treat. Practically the cultural and the intercultural will have to be embedded or recontextualized in an inner space that transcends them and which can therefore be called culture transcending human consciousness or transcultural consciousness. The inter-transcultural complementarity with the command, control and integration function of the transcultural with regard to the intercultural, based on a psychophysiological axiomatic can be leveraged for the benefit of man at every level and in every walk of life by global professional manager and common man alike. Finally one may rhetorically ask whether it is not necessary to create a more solid foundation for a structure in terms of scope in order to increase the performance, the bearing power and the capacity of the building, whether the building be physical or psychological in nature. In that sense we will design a bigger and more performing edifice that can house culture and its peaceful management comfortably.

2 Enhancing the Intercultural Art and Science

Sources, models and the achievement of supreme cultural intelligence

Intercultural theoreticians as well as practitioners sometimes tend to forget, in addition to the contributions of the diverse civilizations of the world to the topic, which we shall review later on, what the sciences of life, matter and energy as well as religion as an all-encompassing time transcending understanding of life can contribute to a complementary epistemological, transcultural perception of cultural diversity and its effective and sustainable management that suffices the global management imperative of our global multicultural age.

The transcultural and transdisciplinary perception and insight, which we shall look at in greater detail in the course of this exposé, are among other readings, last but not least also transpositions of hard scientific evidence, albeit at a metaphorical rather than a concrete level of course. I am referring more specifically to Niels Bohr’s complementarity principle, formulated in 1927 already. It is among quantum physics breakthrough discoveries which have enabled modern high-tech civilization right to space conquest. Not only the management of physical space but also that of psychological space can benefit from such principles, provided they are carefully - with due respect to the specificity to the disciplines - translated to other levels of life and research. Objections against the crossing of disciplines are legitimate and need to be carefully scrutinized in order to prevent confusion. But not attempting the judicious metaphorical translation of fundamental laws of existence, which due to their fundamentality affect everything that is supported by that foundation in nature as a whole, has not been and does not seem to be pardoned by history. On the contrary, the omission has called a form of scientific nemesis on to the world’s stage in the shape of the greatest cultural conflicts of human history. The translation and application of lead-paradigm shifts for an enhanced view of life is not only more appropriate epistemologically but also more ethical, because it is more truthful. And truth is one in which true science and true ethics seem to converge and guide human understanding and action in a new light, the light of truth which is sustainable per se. But it is never too late. Therefore let’s get started hic et nunc, here and now. At least the question needs to be raised in order to be not held accountable by history for an epochal omission.

It is also necessary to correctly read the principles of evolution with their logic of differentiation and integration in view of their translation to the management of cultural diversity. This duality is not to be interpreted antagonistically, guided by the individual and collective ego, but rather as a means of evolution for the purpose of furthering its finality of continuous enhancement. Microphysics as well as neurophysiology seem to illustrate that the principle of complementary dualities can contribute to a more effective conceptualization and description not only of material but also of immaterial expressions and manifestations of life, in particular from an application-oriented standpoint.

In the domain of biology a most determining complementary duality along with its integration comes into being at the very beginning of life itself, to such an extent that is seems to be the actual hallmark and leitmotiv of life per se, with myriads of variations and transpositions of its guiding theme. I am referring to the life enabling, unifying integration of the diverse complementary male and female genetic information in the fertilized ovum. Not heeding this activity of the intelligence of life itself from its very beginning does not permit either the correct understanding of the entire biographical course of this constitutional biological complementary duality. It is always advisable to reconnect to that root cause and compass of life as it adapts to and interacts with the environment in order to understand it anew at the diverse levels of its individual and social outforming. It is the assumed tenor of life and also of culture and therefore of this study. How much the very science of genetics is aware of the critical balances involved in this assumption will finally also decide on its destructiveness or creativity. What authority should the genetic feasibility enthusiasts be accountable to for irreversible manipulations of essential and implacable balances of life that condition its existence or inexistence? Are they apprentis sorciers? Can they be allowed to be such potentially corrupting agents of life? This question would, however, go beyond the scope of this essay, as it involves the question of culture and ethics in general and that of scientific culture and ethics in particular. It involves their duality and therefore seems to require an agent for the sustainable integration of that duality in order to prevent the ambivalence with regard the use of the acquis of genetics and its engineering. It is part of the overall integration of human duality in order to prevent a replication of what has happened with regard of the ambivalent use of quantum physics in the nuclear domain, which has been regretted by the leading scientists.

The translation of a principle of life and evolution to the sociocultural level, which cannot but also be supported by the very basis of life itself, besides which there is no other to our knowledge - in the interest of humanity and without its corruption by the dynamic of ego and greed - is not more and not less than a logical conclusion and a cultural act, worthy of civilized man.

But the contrary seems to occur, as one may infer from trends of corruption of that condition of existence itself in the shape of attitudes and behaviors of sexual competition, for example, or in the form of interferences with prenatal life. Here, the interdependence and complementary integration of life, its unity, does not always seem to be perceived. Such oblivion and estrangement from the fact of life itself, from its biological truth without alternative is a deviation from the one and only way of life – for there is no body and no life of replacement -. Such is the way, the truth and life which, in the religious optic, is epitomized by Christ, from who all men are images, albeit in myriads of diverse appearances, yet essentially united by the ultimate metaphysical template which is God in the appearance of Christ. In that sense religion is the ultimate panacea and sustainable solution for diversity issues of any kind.

It is necessary to know the corset of cultural conditioning and to also be able to liberate oneself from it when solutions within the known are out of sight. Or, in the golden cage metaphor, it may be necessary to transcend that cage, to free oneself thereof and to cut asunder the Gordian knot of the cultural logic of conflict when all attempts at solving and ending it seem to be exhausted, or, paraphrasing Shakespeare, when all ”cultural remedies are past” and no conventional cultural remedies seem to be left. In that way the culturally conditioned sorrow of man can be mitigated, which leads to the second part of Shakespeare’s stanza, i.e. „the cultural sorrow is over.“ In other words, the phylogenetic human endowment for the transcendence of the socio-cultural, mental space within by the noetic, metamental or transcultural dimension of a wider biologically-based space of consciousness can effect a wisely-integrative solution to all human diversity-related challenges. It appears as if the wisdom of life itself had foreseen from its very dawn that integrative option teleologically as an ever accessible rescue and resource of life for the regulation of its entire course of evolution in order to always be able to recover its integrity within a context of evolutionarily necessary diversification. It appears to be the very game of life that, although it may seem puzzling at the surface, makes sense at a deeper level of understanding. And the understanding compliance with it, based on the perception of the logic as a whole along with its evolutionary rationale, sets man free from diversity-conditioned struggle, as the ways of nature, of life, the very truth of life itself, are unraveled thereby. The complementary perception of the two strands of the game of evolution highlights the essential oneness of life with its dynamic that unveils its enigma to the perceiver. More specifically, culturally speaking, if the complementary transcultural integrative aspect of the intercultural surface view can be operationalized, then cultural sorrow that is due to human cultural astigmatism in the wider sense is truly gone by. Is that not the beginning of the fulfillment of the objective formulated in the heading of the chapter that intends to enhance the art and science of culture?

The transcultural dimension can be supported scientifically by hard and softer social sciences alike, as well as by religion and the diverse epistemologies and philosophies across civilizations, space, time and culture alike. It can enable a supreme cultural device for the management and control of the cultural diversity dimension within mankind at the individual as much as at the social level. When all cultural measures within intercultural frames and spaces of the mind fail, then the art and science integrating and transcending dimension space of pristine consciousness can - as at the source of the spring of a river before it is laden with the debris of its course and free form the cultural sorrow that man has brought about by his own deficitary cultural insight - provide a cryptic remedy. “When remedies are past, the sorrow is over“, provided the transcultural dimension can be operationalized. Otherwise, the cultural dimension remains, in spite of its synergy and creativity potentialities, part of the cause of man’s existential sorrow. - The understanding of the concomitance of the complementary dimensions of singular diversity and essential unity enhances both in a superordinate formula of existence and evolution while it removes its conflict potentiality.

The access and initialization of such a survival mechanism, provided by evolution, through the transcendence of the cultural may be required when the ship of mankind threatens to crash on the rocks of the waves of culture generated by the human mind with its cultural conditioning. It reminds one of George Bernard Shaw foretelling of the imminent First World War in his play “Heartbreak House”, when a he states that nothing happens, except that a ship is crashing on the rocks. And the rocks of nationalism of that epoch are not unlike the (tidal) waves of culture in our time and the foreseeable future. However, the difference between the two eras lies is the fact, that today, if man is willing, he can steer the ship of mankind to the harbour of destination of cultural peace in the safer waters of a true transnational and transcultural dimension that can prevent its being torpedoed by destructive culture waves and reefs and rocks of a culturally unenlightened human mind. Man can heed or ignore the signs of the time. History confronts man in another spiral turn with an analogous challenge. The awareness-based response or non-response has conditioned his destiny then as it does now as it seems. And far from gloom and doom philosophy the challenge also points to solutions instead of irreversible destiny; a shift of the focus of human awareness so as to also encompass, beyond the aspect of surface divisions, complementary essential integrity, solidarity and unity of the human family. One may call it idealism or a fact of existence. Why should existence not be an ideal scenario? Has it not to be one to perform its monumental task? Practically the seemingly insurmountable Himalayas of conflicting diversity profiles are dwarfed to insignificance by an enlightened transcultural mindset. With its development and transcultural awareness the diverse elevations on the cultural map of the world that constitute man’s cultural mental software appear as an interdependent organic tissue of diverse elevations that make up the topography of the world’s terrain, physical, cultural, societal and personal. It is the transcultural software of the mind and consciousness that allows its conflict free navigation. We have to move from specific interculturalism to holistic interculturalism, from symptomatic to holistic interculturalism that sees the entire organism as explanatory of the diverse limbs of the organism. That shift from symptomatic approaches to integrated approaches has been accomplished by branches of medicine and many other sciences. Now it is culture’s turn as well. The transcultural mental software is that complementary add-on that meets the need of the day and the age. It can be likened to the soaring eagle above rugged mountain chains of diverse cultural clusters or to the cybernetic autopilot that navigates man’s cultural routes and destinations based on superordinate information management mechanisms. Transcultural consciousness-based transcultural intelligence provides this cultural autopiloting capability that integrates and transcends human diversity of any shape, form or type in an appropriate way. And the view of the whole is aware of interdependent wholeness in diversity and tends to be naturally ethical. And with that new ethics the lack of ethics-based malfunctioning of our civilization (business, finance, and cultural emancipation of groups as in the Balkans etc…) can be corrected and made sustainable again.

A great number of the wars in recent times were motivated, as has been pointed out already, by the competition for two major resources, namely those of water and land, which amounts to the competition for food, as both resources condition this resulting resource from water and territory.

Culture is ambiguous if its particle aspect is looked at while its wave aspect is excluded and vice versa. A wholistic quantum cultural reading of culture, however, has an impact on future scenarios. The natural trend of the divisive cultural momentum can be counterbalanced by its complementary integrative momentum once it is leveraged. And therein consists a possible remedy for potential cultural conflict.

For, among the future scenarios one can also imagine one from the cultural standpoint, which assumes the shape, that diverse cultural groups might be tempted, due to demographic and ethnocentric processes in a general context of scarceness of resources and precarization, to use culture as a strategic arm for survival, as we have similarly seen in the case of national, racial and religious fundamentalisms during the course of history and more specifically of more recent human history. After all, national racial, ethnic, linguistic and religious identity are part of a still vague notion of culture, of that which constitutes the multifactored singularity of man and societies. Yet, if a complementarity-based notion of culture can underpin a more wholistic understanding of it, its divisive and integrative components are provided with a mechanism of checks and balances that can prevent a getting out of control of cultural processes.

One could simplify this by arguing, that if psychological culture forms an unholy alliance with physical culture conditions a potentialization occurs, which can only be offset by the complementary notion of culture that is cognizant of its integrative dynamic in addition to its divisive dynamic. Can therefore a more differentiated understanding of culture bring about a turnaround in human history? Maybe the transdisciplinary contextualization and insight into culture in the sense of an enhanced cooperation of the creature of creation with the truth and the logic of that creation appease the Creator or the dynamic of creation. As long as this even wider contextualization of cultural dynamics does not occur, and man does not heed the all-comprehensive context he may be held accountable for it by cultural nemesis. From an authentic Christian civilization standpoint the non-compliance with the primal source and its equally twofold complementary law of love of God and one’s neighbour hold man at ransom in the cage of his limited constructs. And, one may ask, whether cultural issues are not better cared for by entrusting them in His hands than by entrusting them exclusively to a seemingly sophisticated and presumptuous science, which may, in the present garb only be the consecration of its ultimate ignorance, as intellectual constructs and cultural reality are positioned at a dead angle to each other as long as the latter is not understood more completely, as suggested for example by the cultural translation of hard science paradigms, more specifically, for example, of the complementarity principle. More constructively one may ask whether the above referred to unholy alliance can, once more, be remedied by a complementarity-based scientific-metaphysic understanding of life of which culture has to be viewed as a component, a variable that may be magnified or minimized by the quality of mind and consciousness. And as long as that complete view does not dawn, Hegel’s dictum according to which “we learn from history that we learn nothing from” it cannot change fundamentally. Yet this is a wider question that entails a more fundamental review of culture and civilization, in particular of western rationalism – which is no discreditation of much needed reason, on the contrary -, that seems to be able to lead the horse to the water without, however, being able to make it drink as the saying goes. There is a difficulty in this term in the sense that the supreme source of creation is termed “logos”, translating as word or reason, whereas reason in the sense of Cartesianism usually refers to a limited cultural product of reason in the sense of the mind. On lifting the reductionist siege of reason by the mind one may possibly come closer to the metaphysical rather than the merely philosophical notion of reason. And that is again a supreme strategy for the understanding of creation and constitutes the royal path of integration of its myriads of multidimensional diversity in an all-encompassing logic of unity and integrity. So, while limited reason torpedoes this supreme integration of unity and diversity the complementary semantics of reason is the supreme creation and integration principle. The understanding of reason in the sense of ”logos” unveils the entire rationale of creation and the Creator and that is the ultimate logic of all phenomena of which culture is but an aspect, which therefore requires a recontextualization in the rationale of creation. Thus recontexualized in its true place, where it belongs, it assumes its real meaning and purpose which is only positive and life enhancing as long as it is not grabbed by a reductionist mind for its idiocentric purposes, whereby it assumes its creative-destructive ambivalence and the human travail of its arduous management.

Therefore the question of the “missing link” in the human equation as a whole arises that keeps thwarting human endeavours. What the role of a wider complementary prerational-based, rational and transcultural notion of culture can play for the remediation of that state of affairs would be worthy of an investigation in the light of the metaphorical complementarity principle. In this essay we shall confine ourselves to considering the cultural or intercultural dimension and product of Western rationalism as well as the transcultural dimension of man.

In any case one may safely assume that the identification and comprehension of the diverse complementary constitutive components of man’s nature are a key to his wholeness and therefore to more complete solutions in the world of culture and beyond. An all-comprehensive understanding – if such thing is possible – would, however, require the consideration of fundamentals of existence like space, time, consciousness, matter and energy, which is not necessarily limited to the quantum paradigm that, as all mental constructs, is time-relative and superseded by subsequent conceptualizations of nature. Yet, one may assume on the basis of scientific and philosophic epistemologies of diverse cultures that time and the mental space whose content seems to be relative because it is acquired in time and through socialization for our cultural purposes may be transcended by the more time transcending transcultural space of consciousness. Time and its cultural and other accumulation transcending, the latter is less affected by the duality of dialectical processes that characterize in particular mental processes, and therefore ends identity-based diversity dialectics in a way comparable to a transcultural refuge for man. Similar to a cultural autopilot transcultural intelligence which is connected to that transcultural space (circum)navigates critical cultural terrain. The inter-transcultural complementarity is a step towards an understanding and a solution of sociocultural questions. But if man is neither aware of nor willing to heed the time and space transcending exhortation no language can reach him, neither that of science, nor a human one, nor that of common sense, nor that of the divine. And what if not, one may pursue paraphrasing the Talmud? Well, nothing might happen, “except a ship crashing on the rocks”, one might further pursue by paraphrasing G. B. Shaw, or by quoting the time-transcending perspective of the Bible that perceives it ultimately all as "vanity and a striving for wind" (Ecclesiastes 1:14).

Yet, let us resolve to rather follow the light that is nonetheless shining at the end of the sometimes dark tunnel of the human mind, for one can practically argue that the integrative and the disintegrative potentials of what we have agreed to call culture, seems to depend on the depth and completeness of its understanding.

The mental or intercultural space of consciousness is connected to the specific, divisive, which separates humanity at the surface, while the metamental or transcultural space of consciousness is connected to the integrative function of consciousness of mankind. The specific-diffuse dialectic of the wider space of consciousness with complementary functions of division and integration has to be viewed holistically. In the process the conflict-laden logic of separation and division is ended by the concomitant perception of complementary aspects of the one and the whole. This understanding seems to require a stepping beyond the metaphorical quantum physics insight of Heisenberg’s uncertainty principle, according to which the simultaneous determination of the position and the momentum of a subatomic particle is impossible and raises the question whether two apparently simultaneously incompatible perceptions can be integrated. In consciousness the law of physics, relative to the simultaneous perception and determination, may be relativized by the possibility of concomitant awareness, at least as a working hypothesis and based experiential perceptual evidence. A psychological analogy of neurophysiologic research data, based on the principle of twofold structural and functional integration, seems to suggest that not only concomitant perception, but also the integration of the intercultural perception by the transcultural is possible. It seems that consciousness cannot even be fully described by quantum physics metaphors. One has to assume a quantum physics transcending, i.e. a "supraquantic" dynamic of consciousness, so to speak. Science appears as a time-space-consciousness-relative construct that is tentative in nature and calls for a more time enduring complementary embedding. Yet let us leave the metaphorical domain of physics, which is intended as a support of our cultural quest, rather than its complication.

In order to reduce much of the said to a straight forward common sense metaphor, I offer the image of a tree: The roots of our tree represent our cultural conditioning, which is one level of our identity that we classically assume to be involved in our intercultural interactions. If you look at a powerful, well grown tree in nature you perceive its complex structure. Similarly interconnected and complex are cultural profiles. Yet there is another set of roots that assimilates the atmospherical nutrition to complement the flows from the roots. The two are interconnected by the stem. None of the two components is irrelevant. On the contrary, their synergy truly yields good fruit physically and culturally for our purposes. Without trees and their ecological function nature is unimaginable. It is sustained by them. The same interrelatedness with its impact on our world can be applied to the intercultural first level of cultural awareness and identity and the complementary superimposed second level of cultural awareness and identity, which is the crown. Their synergistic interconnection by the vital stem integrates the two complementary aspects of earthly and cosmic identity which yields the type of fruit that sustains a global cultural world. Thus the totality of culture with regard to structures and functions can be represented by a common tree. Actually, Dr. Thérèse Brosse assumes that our identification processes are connected neurophysiologically to what is the brain stem in neuroanatomy. And the simply tree metaphor of a complex holistic cultural reality also shows that if one severs the roots (intercultural space) from the crown (transcultural space) by cutting the stem the life of the physical tree dies as well as living culture alike. Alternatively, the intercultural and the transcultural can also be glad in a straightforward engineering metaphor of two wheels connected by the axis (the intercultural and the transcultural wheel). If you have only one you may at best turn around in circles, if they are not properly synchronized you get nowhere in the world of culture. However, if they are properly integrated and synchronized you can navigate the world of culture comfortably. Or think of the inter- and the transcultural as the natural coordination of your left and your right arm by the brain. With it many things are possible, without it everything seems impossible. Furthermore, it is simply about wholeness, a wholeness that perceives through the wholeness of consciousness the wholeness of the world and is therefore naturally integrative. If you are the world you affect the world in accordance with your state of mind and consciousness. The quality of the consciousness of the observer or perceiver - comparable to the wave detector that perceives waves and the particle detector that perceives particles - perceives its likeness and co-creates a world that seems to originate first and foremost in consciousness. When you reach that ONE you are beyond cultural dualism and cultural conflict and you become a natural bridge builder, integrator and anchor on the stormy sea of time with its cultural waves. Epistemologically that implies a shift from an instrumental, mechanistic intercultural management to a consciousness-based inter-transcultural management philosophy which empowers cultural subjects while it holds them accountable for their own psychological processes, above all if they are strategic managers, whose consciousness is targeted at vaster ensembles in global business and geopolitical contexts due to their global roles.

In order to prevent culture conflict it seems therefore necessary to not only develop the more specific divisive function of consciousness or the particle perception, but also the more integrative function of consciousness or the wave function. The particle perception and the wave perception have been connected by the Ch. Hampden- Turner to the left brain hemisphere and the right respectively. Their integration is as vital as the stem of the tree in the wholistic tree metaphor of culture or as the axis in the engineering or vehicle metaphor of a complementarity-based perception of the world of culture. The awareness and development of the complementary integrative function of consciousness balances functional disequilibria and the synergy of the two functions seems to fulfill the requirements of life whose two constitutive components seem to be diversification and integration at ever higher levels. Their synergy seems to be beneficial to life while it absence seems to constrain life. Their disconnection destroys the wholeness and vitality of culture. Then it becomes a liability instead of a creative asset. The constraint of natural mental-biological conditions may even cause a state of cultural and other forms casus belli. Not observing such principles can menace life even irreversibly. Appropriate diversity management therefore is a biologically-based sociocultural imperative.

In the following I would like to lay an epistemological foundation for a transcultural and integrative function of the human mind and consciousness that complements its differentiation function. The two functions are complementary and constitute a wider space of consciousness that allows the wider contextualization of culture in it and puts it in a new light that releases enhanced global culture management potentialities.

The range of the diverse cultural traditions seems seem to provide elements in support of such a transcultural-integrative space of consciousness. They seem to indicate in culturally diverse forms and terms that one should consider man as much as possible as a whole, in order understand him wholistically and thereby solve his problems equally wholistically and therefore sustainably, for a wholistic insight into human nature reveals a natural integration and control dynamic that can also be applied to the management of the culture variable within him and without.

In that sense Sun Tzu’s dictum becomes plausible, according to which self-awareness amounts to invincibility in the sense that man can conquer himself which is the greatest victory, as it also entails the victory over the world, due to the interdependence of the two. When exploring the diverse cultural contributions to our quest, we shall follow the sun’s orbit from sunrise to sunset that of the physical sun as much as that of the light of the human spirit. Without proceeding to a detailed comparative philosophical analysis, we shall realize that all civilizations which partake in an all-comprehensive and potentially uniting field of consciousness and human life per se, highlight forms of consciousness that transcend dialectical mental consciousness which seems to be the repository of cultural programming and thus contribute to more differentiated forms of human self-awareness. This unity in consciousness and life of man embeds him, beyond evolutionary diversification dialectics, in a fundamentally indissoluble unity, comparable to the biblical metaphor of “the vine and the branches”, while this metaphor also accounts for the source of life per se.

This more comprehensive self-awareness constitutes a launching pad for the exploration, definition and systematization of a complementary transcultural and integrative dimension that contextualizes culture in an innovative way in the sense of a natural integration of the cultural. Such an approach can contribute to the opening of the golden box or cage of human constructs and show man the way to a comprehensive and all-integrative higher form of freedom, which also is his birthright without thereby destroying the acquis of the known of the box but rather transforming it in the light of a more comprehensive self-knowledge. A pivotal point thereby may be the process of the opening of the said box, which is a metaphor for the state of the human mind and the relativity of its artifacts: Is it progressive and analytical, or triggered by sudden illumination or is it a tearing open of the door (an expression by Benedict XVI employed recently) to let the divine enter that it may illuminate limited and limiting mental consciousness. Far from New Age magic with its confusion it is an inquiry into the totality and vastness of a Creator-Creation continuum with man and his nature as a cardinal dimension of this totality along with its sociocultural translation – to the extent that such understanding is bestowed on human relativity. Let’s get started on our tour of the epistemological horizon of the world:

1. Indian civilization, whose prime cultural value is said to be the quest for metaphysical truth, not surprisingly celebrates true self-awareness in the notions of „vidya“ (knowledge) as opposed of „avidya“ (ignorance) and in the notion of „consciousness-witness“ which can be correlated to the metamental, noetic (from the Ancient Greek “nous” (referring to the top of a threefold wholistic noetic-psycho-somatic structure of man, based on Dr. Thérèse Brosse) or transcultural dimension or space of awareness and consciousness that can be said to act as a witness with regard to the conditioned processes taking place in mental, (inter)cultural consciousness with its streams of thoughts and feelings of like and dislike, pros and cons etc. It is aware of both dimensions and acts by mere witnessing, perceiving and observing “mindfully” without getting dragged into the processes of the mind. It allows stabilizing oneself unmoved in the eternal present as at the center of a wheel, whatever its speed and frequency of revolution. The transcultural dimension can be likened to a positioning of the observer at the wheel’s hub, whatever the intercultural processes of the cultural scenarios towards the periphery of the ever turning wheel. It may remind a Western Christian Civilization reader of the comparable Biblical belief that we are “living in this world but that we are not of this world”, which leads, as the consciousness-witness perspective to a sense of non-attachment and non-involvement because one is anchored in a dimension that transcends the dialectics of mind and emotions. The simultaneous awareness of the hub and of the periphery, likeable to the complementarity principle-based perception of culture, leads to its more complete perception and therefore to an enhanced management potential thereof, because the culture manager can leverage multidimensional resources for the management of culture that transcend conventional intercultural assumptions, instruments and techniques. The hub of the wheel of culture may be likened to the transcultural dimension in which all spokes are bound to converge, while the periphery may be likened to the intercultural dimension. The two are, based on a neurophysiologic-psychological analogy, a hierarchized two-dimensional system of consciousness that is complementary and in which the hierarchically superordinate transcultural center has an integrative command and control function with regard to the subordinate intercultural dimension. The two synergize as full circle, 360° inter-transcultural awareness and capabilities. Transcending time and mind it acts without acting in the traditional sense. Seeing is doing as the proverb says and as the sage Krishnamurti confirms in the “choiceless awareness” attitude, which may be framed in more Buddhist environments as “mindfulness”. So, the South Asian, the East Asian, the Western Christian, common sense and the sage’s optic, the quantum metaphor and the physiologic-psychological analogy as well as other optics, all seem to converge on an interdependent multi-dimensional culture consciousness assumption with a new dynamic of culture governance within man’s reach, for which there is multidisciplinary evidence.

This assumed time transcending dimension of human consciousness is a tenor of the contributions of Asian cultures to human civilization which we will encounter again in Japan and China in culturally diverse forms. Dhyan, the Sanskrit root word of meditation, which becomes Chan in China and Zen in Japan and which is assumed to further that type of consciousness, illustrates the interconnectedness of Asian cultures. The well-known monkey king story across Asia, in which the Buddhist Sutras are brought to China by a monk in an adventurous-educational way, illustrates the physical and metaphysical paths of knowledge in general and in Asia in particular.

In Judeo-Christian civilization the inter-transcultural complementarity assumes a more personal, divine form, as monotheisim beliefs in a personal God that has, in Christianity, three complementary aspects which assume the form of the Holy Trinity. The essence of the Christian teaching is likewise time and space incorporating and transcending, transcultural or universal or all-encompassing, which is he actual meaning of catholic. And the Asian culture crossing paths of religious enculturation are replicated in the West, for example, by the process of Christianization of Europe from the south and from the north.

2. As announced, Chinese civilization similarly contributes to the achievement of self-awareness in the form of the concept of „wuwei“ (without action), for example, in the sense of an alignment with Tao, the Way, as well through Sun Tzu’s already mentioned dictum, according to which true self-awareness is connected to invincibility. Both contribute to human self-awareness in a culture-specifically diverse form. The principle of Not-Doing reminds us of the principle of the consciousness-witness.

3. And in the Japanese culture this principle is replicated by the Hishiryo concept, symbolized by the moon reflected unmoved in the flow of the river. „Hishiryo, Wuwei, Not-Doing und Consciousness-witness“ seem to provide culturally diverse evidence from Asia that complements the dualistic western psychosomatic concept of man by a wider dimension of consciousness that can be conducive, as pointed out, to a threefold holistic noetic-psychosomatic understanding of man, in which one may assume a neurophysiologically-based hierarchized integration and control logic. Apart from being a cultural east-west synergy of enhanced self-knowledge it also confirms the complementarity principle in the sense that the constitutive complementary aspects of man constitute his wholeness. And their integration provides the key to higher cultural, i.e. integrative transcultural intelligence.

4. Ancient Greece, the cradle of Western Civilization, is likewise aware of the need of self-awareness. In Delphi as well in the teaching of Socrates we encounter the exhortation “Gnôthi seautón” or „Man, know thyself “ as a prerequisite for the highest knowledge. Dr. Thérèse Brosse has traced the “nous” (spirit) in Greek, in particular in Aristotelian philosophy. Translated as “noetic” is represents the superior level of the threefold integral human structure. In her understanding the Nous integrates and subordinates the psychological and the physiological levels of man. Derived from the Greek nous in the meaning of spirit, noetics is the noun and noetic its adjective.

5. And the Talmud of the Hebrew tradition also states in the awareness of man’s conditioning that „we do not see the world as it is, but as we are“.

6. Roman civilization mirrors the Greek cultural heritage in the Latin adaption of the Greek “Gnôthi seautón “ as "Nosce te ipsum“.

7. Bridging time-space and civilizations from the Far East via the Middle East and the Cradle of Western Civilization to the New World we note that the latter also seems to be working with the timeless premises of the Old World, when Harvard postulates self-awareness in its leadership programmes or when Harvard psychologist Ed Schein considers cultural self-awareness as the prerequisite for intercultural learning and professional intercultural management education. And closer to us in the Anglo world the British psychoanalyst R. D. Laing considers „awareness“ to be the condition for personal change and change management in the following words: “The range of what we think and do is limited by what we fail to notice, and because we fail to notice that we fail to notice, there is little we can do to change, until we notice how failing to notice shapes our thoughts and deeds.” (Quotation from DICM, Cambridge UK, 2004)

8. Finally, we arrive, here and now, at our own intercultural vocation. For the interculturalist cultural self-awareness represents the first phase of the following cycle of intercultural management training:

1. Cultural self- and concomitant other-awareness
2. Culture-general and culture-specific cultural knowledge: Culture-general knowledge based in particular on empirical intercultural research
3. Intercultural competence; IC or TC characterized by the ability to think cybernetically or circularly or from multiple cultural perspectives
4. Intercultural practice and feedback from that practice to be refed into that cycle as input for growth and development, which thus becomes an intercultural development spiral that ultimately to
5. Transcultural or higher level cultural awareness that can integrate the previous intercultural phases in a cognitively consistent way with enhanced global management capabilities (Item 5 is the specific contribution added by this study.

Effective management of culture on this basis should enable the following positive cycle, while its mismanagement can trigger “vicious” as opposed to “virtuous” circles:

1. Diversity
2. Creativity
3. Innovation
4. Prosperity

9. Already referred to quantum physics has implicitly exhorted us since the beginning of the past century to consider and take account of the complementary aspects of wholistic realities in order to understand them in their totality and to therefore manage them more effectively. I am referring more specifically to the Complementarity Principle or the wave-particle duality formulated by the Danish physicist Niels Bohr in 1927 that allows a more differentiated understanding of matter and energy, as well as to Werner Heisenberg’s Uncertainty Principle. As the separation of mind and matter as well as that of the conscious and the unconscious are culture-relative constructs - in the South Asian tradition, for example, the mind is considered material - it is not unthinkable to apply fundamental laws of physics to a “physics of the mind" as well, so to speak, at least metaphorically, in the awareness of the categorical difference of the subatomic world and the level of our concrete human experience as long as there is no integrative hard science conceptualization that is fundamental enough to integrate the diverse worlds in a unifying formula or law. The assumption of dependence, interdependence and interdependence or convergence of the domains seems to be culturally conditioned in general and by the scientific culture in particular. The fact that leading scientists of physics and biology seem to tend towards a consciousness-based explanation of the world remains a hypothesis which still lacks hard science, experimental and experiential evidence. Socratese’s formula “scio, ut nescio” applied then as much as it does now, as well as the consequential imperative “Gnothi seauton, as far as fundamental questions of existence are concerned. Although, in the social sciences we can observe, based on the philosophical assumption, according to which “the observer is the observed” (Jiddu Krishnamurti) as well as experiential evidence that conscious processes impact the continuum formed by the subject and the environment in a variable way that needs to be furhter researched and framed more systematically. This observer-based tendential determinism supported by the instrumental observer-based reading of nature can safely be used metaphorically and lightly without any scientific pretense. - Only eschatological insight and doctrine can presently provide a form of unified formula, which has been insinuated above, in the shape of the Logos as the one and only and ultimate source of existence in its infinite diversity. “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. The same was in the beginning with God. All things were made by him” (Jn. 1:1-3). Voilà the ultimate cause and formula of the totality of existence which can by described in an infinitely diverse range of semiotic systems, ranging from science, via the humanities to religions. Evolutionists therefore start at a lower level of cognition than creationists.

10. Enhanced contextualization and conceptualization of culture and its axiomatic are the purpose of this writing. They allow a new understanding of the world of culture and of cultural diversity, in which the intercultural is advantageously complemented by the transcultural. This scientifically-based, quantum physics derived, transculturally and transdisciplinarily supported understanding of culture opens up dimensions of cultural insight and management that are truly revolutionary. Complementary inter- and transcultural perspectives and optics constitute the cultural phenomenon as a whole and provide a wider and more solid foundation for an all-encompassing understanding of culture and more sustainable solutions to cultural challenges. Indeed, a thorough understanding of culture in this this new light that eclipses the shadows of cultural dualities, enables the management of the cultural dimension of man per se and thereby of all cultural diversity related issues within and between man from the the veryroot.


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Beyond Intercultural Management is Transcultural Management
The Intercultural Manifesto in 4 Languages (English, French, German and Spanish)
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ISBN (eBook)
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quadrilingual: English/French/German/Spanish
intercultural management, transcultural management, global management, multicultueral management, research, paradigm shift, interkulturelles Management, transkulturelles Management, globales Management, Diversitätsmanagement, interkulturelle Forschung, Paradigmawechsel
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D.E.A./UNIV. PARIS I Gebhard Deissler (Author), 2012, Beyond Intercultural Management is Transcultural Management, Munich, GRIN Verlag,


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