Cognitive Fusion Reactor: ITER-8 (CONTEXT MAP) University of Earth Union of the Whys Union of Imaginable Associations
University of Earth
6th June 2007

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)


In considering the possibility of providing meaningful answers to the following questions, it is useful to be clear about the unconventional nature of this initiative. This is indicated on the home page -- clarifying explanations and documents are also accessible from the pull-down menus (above). These all suggest that conventional answers to the following questions would be misleading. Especially significant is the extent to which the questioner has a degree of responsibility for the significance that can be attached to any answer.

There is a particular challenge to reframing any question+answer to enhance its significance -- beyond that associated with conventional understanding of the following questions or the patterns of response they typically evoke. In this sense this FAQ deliberately evokes the possibility of "out-of-the-box" reframing of both question and answer such as to avoid reinforcing essentially uncreative (if not boring) patterns of significance.

To the extent that the following questions imply a binary logic in the preference for answers, it is useful to recognize the existence of logical frameworks (common to other cultures) that may be more appropriate. Specifically it may not be a matter of whether an answer is "A" or "B", rather the appropriate answer may be "A and B" -- or even "neither A nor B". A binary logic may itself be questionable in understanding unconventional initiatives.


Does the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) really exist?
Is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) an essentially imaginary initiative?
What does the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) do? What are its projects?
Who are the members of the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8)?
Is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) a secret society or cult?
Is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) accredited by any authority -- or to any authority?
To whom is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) accountable?
How is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) funded?
With what other initiatives is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) partnered?
How can I -- or my group -- become involved in the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8)?
How can I assist (collaborate with) the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8)?


Does the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) really exist?

Conventional responses to this question would focus on whether it has been duly constituted as a de facto or de jure organization, with appropriate statutes. However the clarifying documents specifically challenge the unfruitful constraint of such understandings of "existence" -- especially in the increasingly virtualized world of cyberspace (cf Consciously Self-reflexive Global Initiatives: Renaissance zones, complex adaptive systems, and third order organizations).

Given its intended parallel development to the ITER mega-research project on nuclear fusion, it is clearly the case that it is premature to consider that it exists as an operational reactor, whatever the research undertaken to that end.

Clearly, as with any project, it exists as an idea, but the question is how to understand the nature of the form to which the idea has given expression. That such a framing is non-trivial may be seen in the recognition that al-Qa'ida needs to be understood as essentially an idea which inspires various forms of expression. This is indicative of the extent to which collective initiatives can be understood to exist primarily as a potential threat -- inviting consideration of the manner of existence of an initiative that constituted a potential hope.

Perhaps an appropriate question in response -- consistent with the emphasis of the initiative -- would be how do you imagine it might exist such that you would find the manner of its existence meaningful?

Is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) an essentially imaginary initiative?

Any response to such a question would itself raises the question of the role of imagination in the construction of social reality in an emerging knowledge society. For any initiative to be viable, significant and successful in some measure, it must necessarily have an imaginative, if not imaginary, dimension. It is this that is the focus of image management -- now essential to the viability of social undertakings in a a world dependent on the communications media.

As to whether it is "essentially" imaginary, this would again depend on understandings of "essential". Archetypal, atemporal patterns governing social processes may be fruitfully understood as essentially imaginary attractors (as attractive dimensions of culture and identity), whether or not they are "only" imaginary.

Furthermore it is important to bear in mind that in this context ITER is understood to stand for Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing -- as discussed in the clarifying documents.

What does the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) do? What are its projects?

This is described in some detail in the clarifying documents, notably with reference to the challenge it constitutes to comprehension.

Any meaningful answer is again dependent on understanding of the forms of "doing" that are meaningful to the questioner in a society dominated by "busyness" and tormented by failed initiatives -- or by the tragic consequences of those considered successful.

The manner of action of the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) is in some measure a direct challenge to the conventional mindset which gives rise to "projects". Specifically it acts such as to avoid consequences implied by the related term "projectile" -- especially when the project has "targets" that may be other entities on which "impact" is sought that may be unsolicited and undesired. In avoiding such "project logic", the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) is also sensitive to its own "projections" in recognizing and responding to "objects" as a "subject" -- an intersubjective collectivity.

Some provisional indications of the themes explored by the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) are available from a pull-down menu (above).

Who are the members of the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8)?

Membership is typically a matter of convention -- however formalized, if at all. The United Nations claims to act on behalf of "We the peoples..." however remote (or meaningless) this membership is to individuals of the world community who are thereby associated with that enterprise.

A more challenging way of formulating the question is in terms of the nature and role of any member of such an initiative -- especially in sustaining any sense of collective identity. In terms of the continuing erosion of collective memory, to what extent is membership defined by the capacity to "re-member" the initiative -- perhaps in terms of "re-membering" its archetypal significance?

Of particular interest is the complementarity of the cognitive roles -- of the members of requisitely distinct orientation -- necessary to cognitive fusion.

Is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) a secret society or cult?

Clearly for enthusiasts of conspiracy theory it could be imagined to be so.

Increasingly it is recognized that any initiative -- even the most conventional -- depends for its coherence on the cultivation of a particular culture. If this is unusual, the culture may then be framed pejoratively as a "cult". Provocatively it might even be asked the extent to which institutions most opposed to change do not themselves cultivate cultures which merit the description of "cult-like" by outsiders. Similar points could be made with respect to "secrecy" when many institutions go to great lengths to ensure confidentiality. Even those within them may be sensitive to the existence of "inner circles" of the better informed often caricatured as a "mafia".

A more interesting response might take account of the extent to which the very frustration with the lack of conventional answers to conventional questions transforms that which has not been understood into assumptions about the core beliefs of an initiative -- then necessarily understood as secretive and cult-like.

To what extent is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) an open secret -- possibly conceptually akin to a joke that has not been understood? And which it would be counterproductive to try to explain? Any response should recognize the extent to which the viability of many conventional initiatives is sustained by the kind of secret caricatured in the tale of the Emperor's New Clothes -- a situation beyond a joke, given the variety of emerging challenges.

Is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) accredited by any authority -- or to any authority?

The use of of "un" in www.un-iter8.org does not signify that the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) is in any way accredited to the United Nations, or related to it in any way. If anything, as indicated with respect to that web domain, that prefix is partly intended to point to the possibility that any United Nations of the future might specifically consider how it might be associated with some such imaginative response to enhancing psycho-social energy.

Despite deliberate use of the acronym ITER, employed by the new mega-project developing a nuclear fusion reacor (and a number of other bodies), also does not imply any form of accreditation with that intergovernmental institution. But again it does point to the possibility that the ITER of the future might specifically consider how it might be associated with some such imaginative response to the energy challenges of humanity.

The conventional process of accreditation is however especially problematic in that it implies approval from a conventional body with regard to an initiative which engages imaginatively with the possibilities of new, and necessarily unconventional, forms of action. Any such approval would then imply that the initiative reflected criteria for credibility determined in the past -- and sustained by a mindset of that time. These determinants could be considered to be engendering the problems of the present rather than enabling remedies appropriate for the future. In that sense acceditation is a guarantee of the absence of significant innovation.

The question might however be fruitfully understood as to whether the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) could in any way be considered a credit to such an authority or to those who engage in the initiative. This raises the issue of what constitutes credibility and who needs it to be determined for them by others. What kinds of initiative need to have credibility accorded to them?

To whom is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) accountable?

Following valiant efforts to ensure an international rule of law, notably based on declarations and conventions on human rights, recent years have seen these provisions severely undermined by authorities seeking to respond to threats to the security, values and way of life of their constituencies. In doing so, notably through subterfuge, they are now recognized to have severely undermined their own ethical standards. The threats to security -- whether real, imagined or fabricated -- are expected to increase in the increasingly turbulent environment of the 21st century. It is therefore increasingly inappropriate to rely on any form of accountability to such authorities.

It is noteworthy that past efforts to articulate civil and collective rights have not been successfully matched by efforts to articulate patterns of responsibility -- even amongst those of highest authority. Failure to respect those that have been elaborated is especially significant.

However, precisely in an effort to respond to a turbulent environment, the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) explores new patterns of checks and balances capable of embodying values to which conventional authorities are no longer capable of proving they are subscribing in practice -- whatever is claimed for public relations purposes. In this sense, for it to function as an essentially self-reflexive initiative, the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) is necessarily about accountability processes and what they imply for emergent forms of organization of collective initiatives.

How is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) funded?

Again this implies a preoccupation with financial resources conceived as fundamental to sustaining initiatives of any significance. Understanding how it is sustained might however be dependent on understanding the nature of initiatives in which funding is a secondary consideration. This is notably a characteristic of many creative environments.

More provocatively the relationship between funding, fundamental and fun might be fruitfully explored. To what extent is an initiative fundamentally dependent on fun to be contrasted with one that is "fun-dead"?

Given that "funds" are merely tokens of degrees of mutual confidence and trust in psychosocial systems, by what other tokens can the integrity of collective initiatives be sustained? Metaphorically, given how plants (and ultimately the biosphere) are sustained by light and photosynthesis, to what extent are psychosocial entities (and ultimately the noosphere) sustained by some analogue to light -- for which the excitement of imaginative creativity might correspond to photosynthesis?

Again it should be stressed that in this context ITER is understood to stand for Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing -- as discussed in the clarifying documents.

With what other initiatives is the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) partnered?

The pull-down menu on "context" (above) identifies some significant relationships with other initiatives, notably the complementary Union of Imaginable Associations, University of Earth and Union of the Whys.

In the larger scheme of things, strategic initiatives co-evolve and contribute to framing the environment in which that is possible and within which new initiatives may emerge as a consequence. The nature of the relationship to the various ITER-type initiatives is discussed in the supporting documents.

Focusing on conventional understandings of partnership -- coalitions of initiatives with shared values -- obscures subtler forms of mutual reinforcement essential to the viability of such initiatives. This may be framed in terms of solidarity. But the implied rigidity of this metaphor inhibits recognition of the dynamic resonance between initiatives that resists the rigid bonding of conventional solidarity.

How can I -- or my group -- become involved in the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8)?

Indeed. How might you imagine doing so -- and why?

Given the energy challenge it seeks to reframe and address, how may you understand your involvement in an Imaginal Transformation of Energy Resourcing?

How can I assist (collaborate with) the Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8)?

Indeed. How might you imagine doing so -- and why?


In the light of this FAQ, if you are interested in the further development of the work of the emergent Cognitive Fusion Reactor (ITER-8) initiative, further information may be currently available from info.iter8@laetusinpraesens.org

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