The Mobius Strip Book

Dr. Leon James
(c) 1976


Interstitial Dialectic

Reconstructing Standard Meaning

Dualitites of Talk

Level of Understanding

Poking Technique

Radicalist Understanding

Centrality Hypothesis


Being a Performer

Function of Institutional Schedule

Affirmation Principle

Strategies of Avoidance in SOFW Register

SAOROGAT and SOFW Registers Contrasted

Cognition and Re-Cognition

Referring and Meaning



Back To Top

1Constitutive exchanges operate through turn taking of moves by participants. A move is a display that has a recognized relationship to a dialectic characteristic of constitutive exchanges, called dialectic of move and reply moves. This characteristic can be recognized in such simple constitutive exchanges as the Skinner Box (the rat's bar press is a move within the pre-established exchange where the reply move is the dropping of a pellet of food), or in more complex "transactional" exchanges, where providing a remedy is a move within a pre-established exchange ritual of "offense and remedy".

2 The significance of a move designates the specific relationship it has to recognized setting features (as pre-established).



Back To Top

1Uses of talk deslgnates the transactional range available in an ongoing exchange. For instance, one use of talk is the satisfaction of recognitions in the reconstruction of the meaning of an exchange, viz., reciprocal contextualization or standard meaning.

2Contextualizing is an activity performed by participants individually. A transactional move is a (public) display that serves as a claim that specifies the recognition that has been individually reconstructed (contextualized). The ratification of this claim establishes its status as a reciprocal contextualization or a reciprocal recognition, and it is to this that participants orient jointly as the standard, (ratified), i.e., their reciprocal practical understanding of what's going on in the exchange.

3Reciprocal recognitions (standards) characterize the function of constitutive exchanges that relates to practicality. Formal methods of instruction (e.g.) schools) specify, in an explicit fashion (e.g. the curriculum), the standards of reciprocal recognitions, viz. the standard reality of accounts).

4Exchanges that serve to ratify reciprocal recognitions ("practical common understandings") operate in the various modalities of exchange: face-to-face conversation, stage performer and audience, unseen audience (e.g. in public places), etc. - - - as well as at the various levels of exchange: direct, indirect, representational.


Back To Top

1The Dualities of Talk designate the dialectics of constitutive exchanges. Constitutive exchanges are sufficiently characterized by two features which are also necessary: (1) the mutual observance of a common (jointly held) turn taking procedure (Y. "the ritual of talk"), and (2) the mutual adherence to a common (jointly held) dialectics of moves and reply moves (Y. "discourse units", mentioning something, doing something). The dialectics of an exchange of constitutive display moves is characterized by the dualities of talk.

2The First Duality designates the dialectic movement of topic within a transactional medium. The Second Duality designates the interplay between (general) meaning and (particularistic) reference. The Third Duality designates the reconstruction of a standard reified actuality or the basis of a transactional system of claims performed as mutually recognizable constitutive display features (i.e. moves). The Fourth Duality designates the demarcation of participants as individuals, in terms of the contrastive movement of individual reconstructions (of the on-going exchanges) versus "meaning" of ratified reciprocal recognitions (see "The New Three R's").

3 Out of these Four Dualities can be derived a four dimensional functional analysis that is of sufficient practical interest to justify the factuality of transactional engineering.

4Recapitulation: The Four Dualities

1: To/Tr 2: P.R./G.M.


Particularistic Reference

Transact. Str. General Meaning
3 S.R./C.L.S. 4: IR/RRR

Standard Reified Actuality

Individual Reconstructions

Claim Structure Ratified Reciprocal Recognitions



Back To the Top

1 Level of understanding designates guiding steps in an instructional transaction. The first or, elementary level, involves the construction of a functional system of organization. The second or practical level, involves the individual reconstruction of that acquired system through the observation of recognitions (viz. the reconstruction of meaning.) The third, or, instructional level, involves the observation of the function of recognitions (Y. "wisdom"). The forth, or mythological level, involves the construction of enactments and their aesthetic, imaginative and creative evolutions, expressions and performances.

2 The socialization practices that form the individual's environment can be reconstructed as a pattern, designated as cultural pattern, which has a function, designated as instructional function, the observation of which, as just here stated, constitutes the observation of a recognition, designated as standard recognition. The observation of the function of standard recognitions constitutes the ordinary actuality of interactions (transactional constitutive exchanges; "social behavior"). It is designated as the ordinary level of participant understanding or the practical level (of common every day social happenings).

3 Transacfional Engineering is the technical application --utility or service value-- of a functional analysis of the ordinary practical level of understanding. TE is displayed in a register that is efficient for such utilitarian services as are involved in teaching, counseling, therapy, training, child rearing, and so on. This register is designated as the transactional register.



Back To The Top

1Poking around is a strategy for assessing a participant's availability in an ongoing exchange. Availability relates to the transactional range through which the exchange can move, the declared constraints governing the exchange.

2Poking around involves the following steps: (a) requesting elaboration of a participant's claim (e.g. "what do you mean? "); (b) making a comment about an implication of the elaborated claim such that it reflects, by topicalizing, a covert theme (i.e.) hidden implication, presupposition, etc.)

3The participant's reply move to a poking strategy is indicative of his alignment vis-a-vis his availability: he may ratify the poking move by displaying recognition of a covert theme having been topicalized (e.g. by smliling or laughing); he may reject ratification by ignoring it, by distancing, by claiming, having been offended, etc.

4Poking around is a pre-emptive strategy that serves to demarcate publicly (is made a matter of record in the relationship, Y. keeping score) the parameters of the relationship viz. what's appropriate, what transactional range is currently available to them as a form of exchange.

5Poking around is to be distinguished from other moves that are used as strategies for achieving greater intimacy, such as making confessions. These direct approaches serve different functions (Y. making confessions)



Back To The Top

1 The deeper the reflection the more it is accessible to the vision of everyone.

2 That, like the obvious, which is least accessible to the vision of everyone, is of the deepest reflection.

3 The obvious is that which is most at the surface of things. We see it least from all other things (those that we notice.)

4The obvious is the deepest reflection. It is least noticed. It is accessible to everyone.



Back To The Top

1The theme of my life is the function of the Centrality Hypothesis.

2The history of an individual is the account that identifies the life theme of an individual. My life theme is labeled The Centrality Hypothesis.

3Life themes, like The Centrality Hypothesis have an individual function in the "drama of the species" that plays itself out in the evolutionary theater.

4The individual is the medium wherein the life theme plays itself out. The individual that serves as the medium for the life theme of The Centrality Hypothesis is me. Who are You?



Back To The Top

1 The individual has no conceptual existence separate from its creation by the function the life theme.

2 The individual's doings are events reified by a cultural contract. These "events" are "displays" to individuals, which they then "interpret" into systems of "thought" called "knowledge".

3 The cultural contract is the device which ensures that individuals will use a uniform procedure for reifying "events" and the subsequent treatment of the idealized entities.



Back To The Top

1 Life themes in the drama of our species concern themselves with Relationship. The Centrality Hypothesis Life Theme, which is me, concerns itself with that Aspect of Relationship that deals with Being a Performer.

2 Being a Performer is, in the cultural contract register, an individual for whom ''performing for other individuals" occurs above all his likes in his list of activities.

3 I am a Performer, and The Centrality Hypothesis is a function for the exploration of the relationships. Performers enter into with other individuals.



Back To The Top

1 A schedule is an institutionally stylized strategy for dealing with preoccupations. Doing Being Preoccupied involves making transactional moves that are seen as engaging in selective orientation. A schedule serves to counteract in systematic directions the self-imposed selectivities of the preoccupied enactment.

2Scheduling the preoccupied through standards of appropriate ways of allocating "time" to activities (within time) is displayed through institutional strategies that are adopted by individuals as stylized enactments (Y. doing Being Hard Working, doing Being Lazy, doing Being Efficient, doing Being Inattentive, and so on).

3 The selectivity of the preoccupied state or mode of being is radically grounded in its reconstruction, as the existentially complementary state of availability. Doing Being Available is a transactional register that is displayed as a show of Being Peaceful. Thus, the selectivity enactment involved in doing Being Preoccupied achieves its authenticated reconstruction in the recognition of its value - type relationship to the availabilty enactment involved in doing Being Peaceful (doing Being Not Preoccupied).



Back To The Top

1The affirmation principle relates to the establishment of a radicalist ground for transactional labels. Therefore, NOT DOING is the reconstruction that serves as base for the construction of Doing, as in: doing Being Disinterested is the reconstruction that authenticates doing Being Interested. The latter comes first in the enactment of its construction (the commenting and feeling stage), followed by recognizing doing Being Disinterested as the ground of the former -- which is the reconstruction necessary for authenticating doing Being Interested (Y. "Are you interested in dog shows?")

2The following is an illustration of the application of the affirmation principle to the solution of the meaning of inauthenticity. Step 1: "inauthentic is not the negation of "authentic"; rather, it is as affirmative (positive in existence) as "authentic" is. Step 2: doing Being Authentic and doing Being Inauthentic are mutually implicative states of existence displayed transactionally according to their respectively appropriate culturally sanctioned enactment moves as specified by the relevant oriented to features (e.g. "John is being authentic/inauthentic"). Step 3: the medium of inauthenticity, viz. the proper engineering of the transaction of doing Being Inauthentic, is malleable in accordance with the same strategies of face claims as doing Being Authentic, though they possess complementary values (the latter being a direction concept).

3 The existential semantics of affirmative complementary value is a characteristic dialectic of the raclicalist register.



Back To The Top

1 From the point of view of the participant transacting in the SOFW register, the SAOROGAT performances are seen as InapproprIate in some ways: e.g. failing to ratify a face claim, mentioning a taboo topic, questionlng reputation claims on uncommon grounds, taking liberties with personal space, invading privacy, and so on.

2 From the point of view of the participant transacting in the SAOROGAT register, the SOFW performances are seen as a persistent attempt to avoid personalizing the ongoing interaction. Some characteristic strategies of avoidance used in the SOFW register can be listed.

3 (1) Making subjectifying assertions which moves topicalization work into established discourse patterns, and avoids topicalization work that serves to investigate their authenticity status, viz. their practical significance for the ongoning transaction.

(2) Questioning the propriety of a SAOROGAT display or its value on grounds familiar to the SOFW register: disagreeing, expressing unwillingness to cooperate, enacting being hurt and needful of face work remedies and so on.

(3) Avoiding personalizing topical reference through strategies common to the SOFW register: substituting "we", "you", "they", and "one" as the subject of predicate assertions and their derivatives that would take the personal pronoun "I" in the objectifying assertions of the SAOROGAT register; substituting authority (e.g. encyclopaedic and specialized sources of knowledge) in referring to the actuality in place of objective (persona) observation, the latter being seen as "subjective" and hence invalid, or less valid in a different sense, but not, valid ( i.e. adequately authlentic).



Back To The Top

1The SAOROGAT (pronounced with emphasis on first "O", and medial emphasis on "gatt") register is appropriate for close-up interactional control by participants of the authenticity status of the record they are producing in an exchange.

2 Performing in the SAOROGAT register requires an appropriate reference code which must be learned independently of the SOFW register (Standard Ordinary Face Work; may be pronounced as in "soff"). Some characteristic contrasts between the SAOROGAT and SOFW registers can be listed.

3 (1)As relevant to face work: the SAOROGAT register is selective about the ratification of claims participants make, whereas the SOFW register defines all claims as needing ratification or accounted denial.

(2)Relevant to topicalization work:the SAOROGAT register requires all topicalization to relate to the ongoing transaction, whereas the SOFW register allows such topicalization work only under pre-defined and circumscribed setting conditions.

(3)As relevant to authenticity: the SAOROGAT register defines ritualized exchanges that serve participants to investigate jointly the authenticity status of an assertion, whereas in the SOFW register, the ritualized routines of exchange pre-suppose rather than investigate the authenticity status of assertions (in that case, being claims).

(4)As relevant to relationship dynamics: the SAOROGAT register requires personalizing the style of every interaction, whereas the SOFW register defines allowable limits of personalizing.

4In learning the SAOROGAT register after the SOFW register, apprentice practitioner encounters to some small or large extent the dilemma also experienced by participants when they are seen to cross registers inappropriately. Some characteristic forms of this dilemma are treated under the rubric of "work".



Back To The Top

1The traditionalist establishment teachings conceptualize the life of an individual as involving such major features as "learning", "being socialized", "having a memory and remembering thing", "thinking and solving problems or having insights into relationships" and the like. In the radicalist register, these are sufficiently understood in terms of two processes which account for the basic fact of human individual life: COGNITION and RE-COCOGNITION.

2 Cognition is the process of maklng a meaningful viz. culturally sanctioned, record of actuality. The process of cognition is here viewed as a property of the brain or "higher nervous system". Given any environment whatsoever, the developing infant will "cognize". In our society, and others like ours, the process of cognizing has been institutionalized in the form of parent-child (and teacher-pupil ) role relationships. Socialized (sanctioned) displays of cognizing activities take the form of performances or productions of indvidual behavior as in talking and transacting.

3Re-cognition is the process of authenticating the record produced by cognition. There are a number of individual strategies available for the authenticating of a record. These are discussed in the radicalist register under the topic of work.



Back To The Top

1A record has both meaning and reference. "Meaning" relates to a semantic taxonomy of features and a logic of operation. "Reference" relates to the sanctioned eventualities and their on-going existential status or their actuality.

2The act of referring involves the making of a claim, such that the participant or claimant indicates by his display that the eventuality referred to in the record is indeed that which exists in actuality. Therefore, the act of referring may be qualified as either authentic or inauthentic.

3The act of meaning involves the production of an assertion in some appropriate register. An assertion is a formula produced by a logic of operation in which the elements of a semantic taxonomy are manipulated. Therefore, the act of meaning may be qualifiedas either sensible or insensible, depending on the adjudicated correctness or incorrectness of the logic operation used.

4A sentence is a unit of record that serves in the act of meaning. A sentence may be used by a participant to mean something, viz. to produce an acceptable, bona fide formula, or to refer to something, viz. to claim the authencity of a record, either, or both.

Back To The Main Page and Table of Contents

Back To The Top

Back To Dr. Leon James Artilces

E-Mail Me
Daily Round Digital Library Back To The Main Page and Contents Need Some Help?