Truth, Perception, and Consequences (Proteus Monograph Series, Volume 1, Issue 1, November 2007)
ARMY WAR COLL CARLISLE BARRACKS PA CENTER FOR STRATEGIC LEADERSHIP
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Intelligence, IO, Psychological and Influence Operations, and Strategic Communication SC all require a deep understanding of our adversaries and, in some cases, our allies. They also require a deep understanding of our own cultural biases, so that we see as clearly as possible while looking through our own cultural lens. While there may be a single truth out there, most of what we see is perception, not truth and most of what the adversary sees is also perception, not truth. We have done some things well and have achieved some of our objectives. We have sometimes achieved first order results at the expense of longer-term strategic goals, and in some cases, we have failed to achieve our desired results and have created unintended consequences. Many of these failures have happened because of lack of a systems perspective and the ability to see patterns on a strategic scale lack of understanding of the cultural context lack of understanding of some key cognitive dimensions of adversary decision making lack of understanding of the cultural-cognitive relationships lack of understanding of the nature of and complexity of the systems with which were dealing. This monograph focuses on the key elements of understanding cultures the stories our cultures develop to make sense and meaning from the world the metaphors we use and how those help to frame perception and the nature and determinants of our mind-sets. I have illustrated all of these with historical examples from the last fifty years. Finally, the monograph outlines a limited number of critical cultural-cognitive dimensions that can be used to evaluate an adversary-including his values and motivations-so that we can anticipate his actions and better determine how to influence them. It also recommends a checklist of other things that we can do to enhance our cultural awareness and understanding, and it suggests the kinds of further research that are needed.
- Sociology and Law
- Military Operations, Strategy and Tactics