Means and Ends


An interesting fourfold I saw while browsing through “The Power of the 2×2 Matrix” that I mentioned previously was the Means and Ends matrix of Russell Ackoff, known as a pioneer in the fields of systems and management sciences.

Composed of the relationships between two purposeful agents, where the means and the ends of each are separately considered to be compatible or incompatible.

  • Conflict: Incompatible means, incompatible ends
  • Competition: Incompatible means, compatible ends
  • Coalition: Compatible means, incompatible ends
  • Cooperation: Compatible means, compatible ends

Ackoff is also known for the “Hierarchy of Understanding” of Data, Information, Knowledge, and Wisdom, which probably begs for its own entry.


Russell Ackoff and Fred Emery / On Purposeful Systems: an interdisciplinary analysis of individual and social behavior as a system of purposeful events

Jamshid Gharajedaghi / Systems Thinking: managing chaos and complexity: a platform for designing business architecture

Images of Data Information Knowledge Wisdom

[*9.88, *9.89]


The Four Hats of Creativity


These four livelihoods: artist, designer, scientist, and engineer, make a nice fourfold. They are called the “four hats of creativity” by Rich Gold. They are also called the “four winds of making” by computer scientist Richard P. Gabriel.

Some say the artist and scientist are “inward” looking, and the designer and engineer are “outward” looking. Some say the artist and the designer “move minds”, and the scientist and engineer “move matter”. One can observe that the artist sorts the important from the boring, the scientist separates the true from the false, the designer discerns the cool from the uncool, and the engineer divides the good from the bad.


Rich Gold / The Plenitude: creativity, innovation, and making stuff

Images of Artist Scientist Designer Engineer.



A Solstice Message


“As far as we can discern, the sole purpose of human existence is to kindle a light of meaning in the darkness of mere being.”

— Carl Jung, from Memories, Dreams, Reflections



The Four Cultures Model of Fons Trompenaars

sq_trompenaarHere is a model of cultural differences, with two major axes:

Egalitarian (Decentralized) vs. Hierarchical (Centralized)
Person (Informal) vs. Task (Formal)

Leading to the following types (and orientations):

  • Incubator (Fulfilment) [Egalitarian/Person]
  • Family (Power) [Hierarchical/Person]
  • Guided Missile (Project) [Egalitarian/Task]
  • Eiffel Tower (Role) [Hierarchical/Task]

Trompenaars’ research later expanded these into seven cultural differences (universalism vs. particularism, individualism vs. communitarianism, neutral vs. emotional, specific vs. diffuse, achievement vs. ascription, sequential vs. synchronic, and internal vs. external control)! I’m not clear on how the four map into the seven.

Another model of cultural dimensions was developed by Geert Hofstede, who first found four dimensions (power distance index, individualism vs. collectivism, uncertainty avoidance index, and masculinity vs. femininity), and later increased these to six (adding long-term vs. short-term, and indulgence vs. restraint). Again, I’m unsure what the differences are between Trompenaars’ and Hofstede’s models.

Trompenaars’ model of four cultures is somewhat similar to another fourfold I found in the article “How to Build Scenarios”. It consists of two axes: individual vs. community and fragmentation vs. coherence.

  • Ectopia [Community/Fragmented]
  • I Will [Individual/Fragmented]
  • Consumerland [Individual/Coherent]
  • New Civics [Community/Coherent]

This fourfold is also mentioned in the book “The Power of the 2×2 Matrix”, which looks quite interesting. I think it is generally geared towards business decision applications, but has a compendium of various 2×2 matrices that appear to be broadly useful.

Also, the website looks like it has a wealth of models and introductory information about them (and not only those with four aspects).


Books / Articles:

Fons Trompenaars, Peter Woolliams / Business Across Cultures

Lawrence Wilkinson / How to Build Scenarios (in Wired Scenarios 1.01)

Alex Lowy, Phil Hood / The Power of the 2×2 Matrix: using 2×2 thinking to solve business problems and make better decisions

[*4.130, *9.64, *9.82]


Childhood’s End

sq_childhoods_end“No utopia can ever give satisfaction to everyone, all the time. As their material conditions improve, men raise their sights and become discontented with power and possessions that once would have seemed beyond their wildest dreams. And even when the external world has granted all it can, there still remain the searchings of the mind and the longings of the heart.”

― Arthur C. Clarke, Childhood’s End




The Four Idols of Francis Bacon

sq_four_idols2As a counterpoint to my previous post (and perhaps most of my previous posts) I present the following from Francis Bacon’s Novum Organum:

Idols of the Tribe
Errors in the mind of the group
Beliefs because most people have them

Idols of the Cave
Errors in the mind of the individual
Beliefs due to limited experience

Idols of the Marketplace
Errors in the use of words
Beliefs due to misuse of words

Idols of the Theater
Errors in false learning
Beliefs colored by religion and personal philosophy




The Four Transcendental Imperatives of Bernard Lonergan

sq_lonerganJesuit and theologian Bernard Lonergan had a worthy goal: to generalize the successful methods of science to all facets of human inquiry. Most particularly, he sought to consider not only exterior data from sensation but interior data from consciousness. He presented four epistemological precepts of ‘being’ that transcended cultural norms, to inform all domains of human knowing and knowledge:

Being Attentive
in Experience

Being Intelligent
in Understanding

Being Reasonable
in Judgment

Being Responsible
in Deciding

In addition, his Generalized Empirical Method (GEM) had four facets, and four methodological questions:

What do I do when I know?

Why is doing that knowing?

What do I know when I do it?

What therefore should we do?

These are certainly worthy precepts, domains, facets, and questions. How well have his techniques worked? At one time, Lonergan was said to be considered by many to be one of the finest thinkers of the 20th century.

The summary of the article on Lonergan at the IEP states:

A generalized empirical method in ethics clarifies the subject’s operations regarding values. The effort relies on a personal appropriation of what occurs when making value judgments, on a discovery of innate moral norms, and on a grasp of the meaning of moral objectivity. These innate methods of moral consciousness are expressed in explanatory categories, to be used both for conceptualizing for oneself what occurs regarding value judgments and for expressing to others the actual grounds for one’s value positions.

GEM is based on a gamble that the odds of genuine moral development are best when the players lay these intellectual, moral and affective cards on the table. Concretely, this implies a duty to acknowledge the historicity of one’s moral views as well as a readiness to admit oversights in one’s self-knowledge. Moreover, given the proliferation of moral issues that affect confronting cultures with different histories today, it also implies a duty to meet the stranger in a place where this openness can occur.

Lonergan’s imperatives are also somewhat similar to Kolb’s Learning Cycle and the Scientific Method. In both of those fourfolds, observation (sensation) occurs both before (but also cyclically after) experimentation (action). Could this be because these are methods for inquiry as opposed to one of making? Some think there is no distinction, that discovery is always socially constructed anyway, but I disagree.


Lonergan, Bernard


A good discussion and comparison of learning and inquiry at the Tetrast:


Bernard Lonergan / Insight: A Study of Human Understanding

Bernard Lonergen / Method in Theology

[*3.122, *3.124, *9.70, *9.72]