Monday, January 27, 2014

Steering the Expanding Responses of Growing Aggregates ... To Accelerating Data Flows (we need a more distributed steering wheel)

Warren Mosler indirectly raises a widely ignored topic, in his query:
"Who would have thought that with purchase apps down 10% year over year [... that] sales would fall?

So, it seems [as though] borrowers aren't stepping up to
[keep leveraging] the higher mortgage rates demanded by lenders [who are] fearful of future fed rate hiking?

That means the economy stalls and the fed doesn't hike?"

Hmmm. Changing aggregate data and unchanging institutional responses. Warren's query actually brings up a VERY OLD QUESTION. How do we make sure our institutional methods change soon enough to matter? How do we change ourselves from what is, to what can be?****

Why did the distributed Luddites ever START beating their heads against the wall?*

Answer: They never really STARTED, they just finally realized that they WERE!

*Maybe they finally realized that they all needed to get a better view?
(A view of what the liberal "fools" were saying was on the other side of their Luddite paradigm block?)**

** That, in turn, actually brings up another, very old question in organizational or systems science. 

"How ARE newly emerging organizational demands first vaguely 'sensed,' then slowly discriminated and eventually formally and productively represented by a growing aggregate - as re-invented institutional methods?"

As we'll see, the answer boils down to hierarchically tuning our array of emerging, aggregate inter-dependencies to each, transient context we encounter.

In practice, that boils down to developing methods for recursively re-inventing our institutional methods, no matter what happens.

Wow! That sounds like a difficult, endless cascade, so how do we actually DO that? Hmm. We've obviously been doing it for a long time, so it can't be as impossible as it sounds. Let's start with the following approach. Maybe it's largely an issue of reviewing the boundary conditions.

Evolving systems face an insatiable demand - to constantly organize on yet a larger scale. We know that demand occurs, and we've studied many of the basic mechanisms in unique settings. Yet we have NOT carefully considered the INITIAL and other EARLY steps in a constantly recurring cycle of cultural development - nor imagined the END conditions if our current context changes. Hence, it's hard to know when we're beginning to organize faster/leaner/better, vs being too slow to recognize that we need to, and hence guaranteeing that we will later ruefully regret allowing that failure.

How difficult is group foresight? What's the payoff for organizing exploration of group options sooner? And what is the penalty for neglecting to explore group options? Oh, survival vs death of cultures? These are very old questions.

How soon can we determine whether our new, larger population and culture (the ship you're on) is safely, irreversibly moving along a survival path, vs past the point of no return down a dead-end, death spiral? Are we closing the door on our own future evolution? Are we becoming Epimetheus, or remaining Prometheus? How would we know? Can we clearly identify first or early steps that discriminate the alternate, organizational responses that define those diverging paths... in an electorate that gets larger every year? Do we even have a prior framework to embrace and extend? And if we do, are we paying any attention to it?

For example, we commonly declare that the FIRST step in embryology is division of one egg cell into two cells. Most citizens vaguely presume that All divisions after that involve divergence steps, culminating in the many cell types of the human body, and the multiple organs those cells aggregate into.

Yet we also know that variation at every step can occur, even in that "first" step, with the result being the occurrence of twins, triplets or even quintuplets.

Even further, we know that a prior step involves "activation" of the egg cell - usually via molecular docking of a sperm cell, although indirect methods can also work, and produce clones.

There's a long history of where the sperm comes from, of course, and how the chosen one arrives, and what closes off the window of opportunity to others. All this points out that what is and isn't the FIRST step in organizational re-development ... is always in the eye of the investigator seeking some adaptive insight. For now, let's not go further back, into the organizational assembly of all the molecules that go into re-creating every egg cell and every sperm cell. For now, that's going back further than we can benefit from reviewing.

Instead, skip up to human cultures. What, for our purposes, is the FIRST step in re-organizing a human culture - or market - on a larger scale? During the lifetime of you, your kids and your grandchildren the USA is going to go through expansion steps quite analogous to the early divisions of an activated human egg cell. How will our current, FIRST steps in renewing vs aborting our national development be viewed, by posterity?

How far back do we look, in order to gain the most benefit for the least amount of painstaking, recursive re-examination ... of our own, cultural re-development cycle?

Let's state it this way. Aggregate re-organization tasks emerge - and become a significant, detectable aggregate "potential" - long before organized paths for draining that building "potential" formally coalesce. For example, the early steps of cell division in an egg cell are profoundly affected by both the NET presence AND distribution of either toxins or nutrients, and all subsequent development is skewed by both factors. How early in our cultural development process we recognize & mount responses to emerging cultural toxins & nutrients, AND THEIR DISTRIBUTIONS, is determining - as we speak - whether our nation's culture evolves and thrives, or is harmed and stunted.

Network response features are themselves always network size dependent (unique for each aggregate size),*** so it is not at all clear how to orient THIS electorate to the benefit of FINDING paths to tap emerging returns on still-emerging aggregate coordination - other than through group practice! We always need entirely new methods for distributing cultural "benefits," in order to quickly and continuously make it self-evident to all people - how & why to align increasingly distributed local actions to aggregate benefit. Molecular gradients guide embryological development of humans. Social gradients presumably guide the continuous embryological development of human cultures. 

To continuously improve our quality of distributed decision-making, the distribution of all benefits must be continuously improved.

Once stated, that is a simple enough concept, similar to engine tuning, even though the exact details always vary. For example, the details of engine tuning practices diverge completely as you go from a 1-cylinder to a 4-cylinder to an 8-cylinder internal combustion engine. One consequence is the now familiar V8 design. Yet "V" had no relevance whatsoever to a 1-cylinder engine, and had to be discovered through trial & error. As our population grows, what will a V400 million economic engine look like? It'll undoubtedly replace "V" with some other concept which has no immediate relevance to each of us personally, or even all of us in our current USA population of ~320 million.

All this drives home a simple realization. As an aggregate, we're simply out of practice at organizing on a larger scale, and haven't been training our NET selves to even orient to that task.

How WOULD we train ourselves to aggregate task? Trial & error, of course. Let's start by at least posing the question, and then fumble through finding out - while avoiding crudities like triggering more wars. Right now, through politics, we're only discussing inanities masquerading as national policy. As a result, we're clearly going backwards, purely for want of trying enough other directions.

*** Every time an aggregate adds new members, it's population "N" grows by some rate, but the interdependencies which the aggregate has to re-organize grows by N-factorial? Worse, the characteristics of the newly emerging interdependencies are based only partly upon prior component characteristics, and partly upon entirely novel characteristics of the new aggregate size itself. 

Clearly, no aggregate has the pre-existing computational power to predict HOW best to adapt it's own developing capabilities. The solution to that chicken-&-egg task has to be gradually discovered, through continuous, fully distributed, trial & error. 

Skip the math details for now: Without guaranteeing enough DISTRIBUTED liquidity & degrees of freedom for our entire diversity of all citizens, we in the USA cannot maintain adequate rates of aggregate trial & error. There's a deep, logical reason why we need not just FULL employment, but exhaustive degrees of freedom too. Our quality of distributed decision-making generates more than the simple sum of our net-freedoms, net-work and net-review.

A FREELY overworked electorate doesn't just go to bed deliriously happy every night ... it also adapts far faster. Given that it gets a good nights sleep! - which brings up the issue of the optimal work duration.

~5 hours of work?
+ ~5 hours of public discourse? 
+ ~8 hours of sleep-stages?

That's what many anthropologists say is the historic norm for our evolving ancestors. There's no evidence that aggregates working longer hours gain any further NET Adaptive Rate for their effort. In fact, cultural analysis & Adaptive Rate decline with excessive work/analysis ratios, just as analog-computing-models predict.

Without enough recursive review, overworked analog aggregates [human or neuronal or machine] can't re-run enough group-discourse, or CNS, or CPU activity iterations offline, to refine signal-to-noise discrimination. Without that, they can't keep parsing the overwhelming flood of data. Group intelligence, like any analog "brain," has to use every off-line hour, digesting what can be safely ignored in tomorrow's data-deluge.

***ps: Conservatives vs Liberals? They are a hysterically funny comedy team. Just two idiot savant aggregates, comically arguing over what IS vs what CAN BE. They're all correct, and all oblivious to the fact that they're joined at the shoulder. Blessed are both, for only some of each shall be co-selected.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

A Nation Bouncing Uselessly Between Alternating, "Stolen Narratives"

There are some startling and very troublesome allegations in the two reports below, forwarded in an email from Chuck Spinney.

These reports certainly fit the picture of a nation bouncing between alternating, "Stolen Narratives," continuously fed to a divided and conquered electorate. That's no way to run a Democracy. We can do better.

As Chuck Spinney (below) and others repeatedly note, both sides in the ideology wars leave outrageous national returns on the table, untouched, based on their fear and loathing of each other's positions. The left's & right's inability to pursue the additional, compounding return on coordination (as we did during WWII) is eroding and wasting most of the potential of the USA (and other countries too). If these opposing sets of obsessive, compulsive ideologues would just work honestly together, all would benefit, by more than either can currently imagine.

The only thing we have to fear, is fear of coordination?

At the end of the day, you have to ask the following questions. What part of Democracy and teamwork does our current electorate NOT understand? And why don't they? We should NOT be stocking our policy offices with these kinds of actors. We are better than this. Far better.

No democracy can succeed by pursuing an absolutist fight to determine whether two random, arbitrary, and opposing views are right or wrong. In a changing world, they both are, always. It's only a matter of time. Survival lies only in cooperatively exploring all emerging options, and discovering what no one could expect or predict. If the unexpected is discovered sooner rather than later, the net returns are unimaginable. That's easy, if we just let it happen.

To counterbalance the current view of the GOP-only as synonymous with the MICC, I've also listed links to 2 critical reviews of the Carter & Clinton administrations, indicating two equal but different flaws in what can, again, be described as over-simplistic, stolen narratives, this time from the Democratic Party (either dealing naively with the MICC or Wall St. - a FICC* - or in turn, being captured by them). 

We could go all the way back to LBJ and Vietnam, or Eisenhower as the first to warn against an overly influential MICC. However, instead of choosing sides in a pointless, political civil war, let's move on to something better, by abandoning the 2-gang, .. er .. "party" political system. The 2-party approach to contingency management is an obvious failure. Instead of a 2-channel approach to public discourse, we need faster/better/leaner ways to use all available channels.

Roger Erickson, Jan, 2014


Chuck Spinney (email commentary quoted here) speaks with considerable authority on DoD policy issues. [Jan 11, 2014]
"Gareth Porter and Robert Parry, two of our finest investigating reporter/historians deserve kudos for placing the self-serving nature of the [recent] Gates' memoir in a proper perspective.

Readers should bear in mind that the soap-opera-like gaming of Obama into acquiescing to the fatally flawed plan for a surge in Afghanistan surge in 2009, described accurately by Porter and Parry below, was clearly obvious well before Obama made his decision to cave into the pressure exerted by Gates, Clinton, and the Generals and their neo-con allies in Congress. 
To be sure, Obama was also feebly playing the game by leaking differences of opinion to the press -- but his was an amateurish operation by an inexperienced malleable politician and his pissant staffers. Those on the other side were pros in manipulating the wholly owned subsidiaries in the press. Predictably, as explained [in the articles listed] below, the brass hats won in 2009, notwithstanding a well publicized last ditch effort to stop the madness executed by Ambassador (and former General) Karl Eikenberry. 
Now, with the publication of his memoir, Gates is attempting to administer the coup the de grace on the dawn of a mid-term election -- which shaping to be a bad one for a hapless President and the Democrats ... and this is just an opening shot. Benjamin Netanyahu, with the help of many Democrats as well as Republicans, has another exceeding dangerous caper waiting in the wings (more on that later)." 
Herewith are Porter's and Parry's reports. 
Gates Conceals Real Story of ‘Gaming’ Obama on Afghan War
Robert Gates Double-Crosses Obama

And here are counterpoint reports, lest anyone think we're following anything other than ping pong policy narratives.

The Trusteeship Presidency: Jimmy Carter and the United States Congress

The Great American Stickup: How Reagan Republicans and Clinton Democrats Enriched Wall Street While Mugging Main Street

A Presidency in Peril: The Inside Story of Obama's Promise, Wall Street's Power, and the Struggle to Control our Economic Future

* FICC, Financial, Industrial, Congressional Complex

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Continuously Newer Methods For Increasing AND Tuning Key Communication Throughput - The Key To All Development.

An interesting campaign poster appeared on twitter recently, indicating that 100 yrs ago, we as a people had a better grasp of return-on-coordination?

There are tangible benefits to organizing and coordinating?

Why do we have to be reminded of this?

Obviously, we've known this ever since the first proto-humans bagged a mammoth or other large prey, or organized their first camp.

Even chimpanzees and baboons know this implicitly

Every pack, herd or band animal does, to some degree.

So it's extraordinary that modern humans express an oxymoron as profound as the following.

All people implicitly grasp the benefit of small team behavior, and ... too many also DISPUTE the benefit of successfully organizing on a national scale.

If one national effort doesn't quite work, too many tend to say it can't be done or is too difficult, instead of just deciding to adjust existing methods?


Or at least it's only a part of our nature.

If resisting growth was all we did, we wouldn't be here today in nation-states, after a million+ years of human evolution. You have to presume that a constant level of failed context awareness, aka parasitic self fraud, aka Control Fraud supplies the bulk of our actual selective pressure? What seems to divert us from our own evolution is the same pressure that drives us to further evolve human culture? Namely, our internal frictions.

We've all heard or expressed the following thoughts, at different stages of our development. They're familiar refrains, which both limit and drive our development of new mobilization methods.

"We have too much government!"
"It can't be done!"

"In theory, but not in practice."

True, or not true? It's very difficult to even have this discussion with most people, since most aren't comfortable separating required methods from emerging options. Yet there's a fundamental truth that cuts across this irrelevant, student argument.


Ya think?

So why do we see so much friction over such an ancient topic? Today, everyone can discuss small-group teamwork as an implicit or natural behavior, yet too many refute the obvious corollary, that larger scale teamwork can also be "natural" or implicitly achievable.

We all laugh at "Cargo Cults" in simpler settings, yet nearly all of us are still Cargo Cult Cultural Scientists ... who actually believe that we have to GET our dynamic fiat and our static assets FROM something other than our own teamwork.

Here's one significant conclusion. It's one that all students should learn by age 10?

The sensory instrumentation of small groups of people wield communication throughput that allows them to easily accommodate iterative trials & errors, until they find what works. Our 5 senses alone give us enough leeway to do a lot, and our various tools and methods provide additional "force-extension."

Those capabilities allow us to:
.....gather much information;
.....recognize inter-dependency patterns (aka, make context models);
.....test behaviors (generate trials);
.....assess outcomes (before going back to review other context changes).

If we both make enough mistakes and forgive ourselves for them - quickly enough - then we call it learning, and find sustainable success as what's left over.

Sure, we always have to select how little data or communication throughput is needed to be efficient at a given task. Yet to achieve group efficiency, we ALWAYS need enough communication throughput to explore constantly changing group options, by iterative trial & error.

Once achieved, the same new methods that allowed new achievement also allow selective TUNING. Selecting to relax into efficient habits for transient contexts? That requires enough computational power to drive the selection of which transient habits to fall into, and then to re-gear everything as contexts change. To survive, we gradually toggle between fully activated vs relaxed organizational states.

However, at the end of every relaxed period, we usually have MORE PEOPLE to activate or mobilize. So there's a double task.

First, re-activate the prior level of organization, by re-asserting and increasing the active, non-relaxed level of communication throughput across a LARGER TEAM!

Second, tune the communication throughput to actually make this larger team even more organized than competing teams, in a given context. Most data is usually irrelevant to context, but it takes considerable practice to sort that out.

Imagine you're a sports coach. It takes months of practice for a given team to get better at a given game.

What happens if periodically the team and coach are told that the league has changed the rules, and there are more people on every team - say, 7 on 7 basketball, instead of 5 on  5. Worse, imagine that the field size or shape has changed, and that the equipment changed.

All teams would struggle to adapt, and get good at exploiting all the new options! Organizing on a larger scale is difficult. It requires readjust ALL interdependencies, and finding new tolerance limits for every one of them.

Yet would it take even more time and effort than the original training did - or less?

Those growing teams that excelled would be those who adjusted their entire training methods, and got good at learning itself, not just excelling at one, defined iteration of one sport. If the changes occurred too quickly, many would spend time complaining, or just give up and quit.

Only the most agile groups would survive.

Sports are obviously a very pale comparison of life, war, or cultural evolution.

To drive group learning, faster/better/leaner, large groups struggle to field and quickly tune the variable communication throughput required to sustain group trial & error without excessive group frictions.

Simply put, that's why so many individuals and subgroups are always PURSUING MAL-ADAPTIVE OPTIONS FOR TOO LONG, before receiving adequate, full-group, feedback. We call it fraud, yet fraud is itself just a symptom of failed group maintenance or self-regulation, resulting in isolated people lacking adequate, timely group feedback.

Spectacular examples of task-specific or context-specific communication throughput occur repeatedly (campaigns, wars, environmental impact statements, FDA clinical trials, banking regulations, Automatic Economic Stabilizers, etc).

Yet such examples are usually either local or temporary achievements that face considerable frictions, and constant resistance to their retention.

Cultural evolution works on yet another level, beyond the comprehension of most component citizens.

Hence, most adaptive cultural adjustments are not immediately MAINTAINED, even those that were seemingly demonstrated to all. 


So there's a 2nd step to cultural evolution.

To MAINTAIN organization on a larger scale, we have to first develop the full, group-wide communication throughput that allows the original achievement.

Subsequently, we must then institute some 2nd order changes in citizen development (i.e.,. upbringing, education & training) to permanently capture and retain both the new achievements AND the newly elevated threshold of communication throughput that allows them.

This cycle repeats, so there is a 3rd step in accelerating adaptive rate, or autocatalysis, that is scale dependent. Once a human group fields enough communication throughput to start taking on "larger prey" or bigger challenges, it also fields enough computational power - in the form of agile public discourse - to actively observe and tune it's own developmental methods.

Once we can adjust our upbringing, education and training methods at will, we can accelerate our cultural achievement-&-retention cycle. Then we can chase context change faster/cheaper/better.


If you follow the old advertising adage, you might suggest that it once took Neanderthal or ancient Cro Magnon humans, say, 12 generations of observable trial and error before a new group trait was clearly separated as an adaptive signal, from all the competing cultural noise. That's presumably how cults, clans and bands form - through behavioral recruitment and meme flow, not just gene flow. The adjusted methods can be physiological or purely behavioral.

To answer the behavioral part of the question, how soon a culture retains new behaviors is always some selective function of how early each new generation is exposed to a newly practiced behavior, so that kids start practicing it during development, by emulating emerging adult tasks. That's a inescapable reality, given the known developmental "windows" for all forms of human developmental plasticity. To foster results, all groups recruit children to start practicing required individual or group skills at an earlier age.


So what must we do? Change everything? How much? Without assessing the impact of everything, how do we selectively change everything?

We have a significant industry evaluating HOW children learn. Yet we don't invest nearly as much effort into constantly reevaluating WHAT they start emulating, how soon, or how to ASSESS THE IMPACT on our desired, national outcomes. If we diverted more of our existing NSA and other MICC budgets to assessing how well our developmental, education and training methods track our emerging national challenges, we'd be far more secure.

National security is a function of what we as a people become, and how quickly we achieve and retain newly adaptive traits? No surprise there. Wallace & Darwin would have said they told us so?

National security tracks our Cultural Adaptive Rate, which tracks our development and assessment of new methods, not just diversion of MICC profits into private hands.


And rate of changing cultural methods drives our rate of cultural development.

Our rate of retaining new cultural methods, in turn, tracks our effort at rapidly adjusting our development, education and training methods to fit our emerging, national Desired Outcomes.

Yet what good does it do to let children emulate the national tasks of the day, if we're not setting new national goals for ourselves? So we end with yet another link in a cascading cycle of cultural development. If we don't keep setting national goals worthy of our expanding audacity, then we can't keep ourselves employed, or become all that we as a people can become.

To end, here's an updated set of tuning memes for our cultural situation.

Full group interactions drive group awareness.
 Group awareness exposes group options.
  Group options demand adaptive, group exploration activity.
   Adaptive group exploration demands increasing group coordination skills
    Increasing group coordination requires new group assessment methods.
     Group assessment drives group interactions
(restarting the cycle, on yet another level).

Please get busy making sure that our culture becomes more than the one we were capable of making. Give ALL of our descendents new cultural options, not just hoarded fiat currency. Fiat they can always make, by fiat.

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Let's Get Back To Building National Adaptive Rate, Instead Of Constraining Group Intelligence

Is the USA becoming as corrupt as Europe or, even worse, Russia?
"When we [grow] we shall become as corrupt as Europe."  Thomas Jefferson
An old worry. Is it coming true? Our escalating NSA boondoggle offers one insight into constructing an adequate assessment mechanism.
"You've got [to view] the federal government and the rest of the world to understand what happened. Among experts and journalists, there has been no doubt as regards the operation of the NSA, the Five Eyes and many other intelligence agencies in the field of electronic surveillance. Nevertheless, it makes a difference whether one suspects anything or if you can prove it. And in many places Edward Snowden has revealed a level of supervision [such] that even those who have been working on it [were] taken by surprise. The Internet industry has promised secure encryption standards, but they do not exist. The code will be handed out either under legal threat [to] the industry [from] the NSA and the GCHQ, or they are cracked or stolen. This is the same for other intelligence agencies. I am waiting impatiently for a whistleblower from France, Great Britain, Russia and China."
Notably, and quite aside from all the technical theatrics, this whole story reflects a very fundamental change of perspective within the USA. We in the USA didn't formerly think of ourselves as paranoid. For long periods, it was completely obvious that it was more important to build more than any could initially imagine - through the coordination achieved by "a more perfect union" - than it was to regress to trying to constrain & hoard what already exists. That was a given. Not any more. Our national IQ has been reduced.

Our present mood - with our NSA/gov/public all adopting KGB mentality - is clearly a regression, a step back from our founding, very public, purpose.

Why did this happen? It was inevitable.

In all growing systems, when growth outraces the pace of inventing organizational methods, the result is a period of clumsiness - before system agility is regained ... if it is regained at all. That is the same system phenomenon seen in every adolescent whose nervous system is racing to catch up to it's suddenly expanded body size. When that happens, distributed coordination methods fall behind, not just Central Planning "Command & Control" systems. Every system that undergoes growth spurts has to get clumsier before it can regain agility. When individuals or groups fall a bit behind events, it matters whether they throw out the best or worst methods, old or emerging.

Is our current mess just a transient growth spurt by the USA, or long term regression into a clumsier state?

That depends on how hard we work on which adjustments.

1) Do we invest in improving the quality (including tempo) of distributed decision-making, i.e., in our Democracy Methods, or ...

2) do we desperately try the NSA/KGB approach, where random variants of Central Planning idiocy seek to constrain the patterns of distributed decision-making?

At heart, this boils down to a question of ensuring stability by investing more in superstructure or foundation.

The democracy approach involves MORE data shared as OpenSource, for all to parse and MORE education and training. That way, all become more capable of selectively utilizing what little group-data is relevant to them, for unpredictably emerging national as well as local options. For a Nation to Maneuver with Agility, all of it's citizens must be able to change everything that goes on beneath the surface, and also be free to instantly tailor decisions to the optimal mix of local-PLUS-national goals. Systemic agility follows speed of realigning all components to consensus goals. For that to occur, an ounce of distributed preparation (in a better cultural foundation) is worth a ton of concentrated cure. Especially when we find ourselves pouring endless cure onto superstructure lacking an adequate foundation.

The Central Planning approach always involves some of us trying to trap all of us into expressing no more Group Intelligence than some subgroup of Central Planners can muster. That is mathematically impossible, and that conclusion was logically clear long before it was described in math equations. It is abjectly embarrassing and frustrating to watch our public agencies, government and electorate straying down this path.

If the NSA, our government, and our electorate has unlimited fiat to invest, surely it can invest in BUILDING the quality of it's own, distributed decision-making, rather than in seeking to constrain what little decision-making is allowed. The winning strategy is to run circles around competitors, by out-deciding them, rather than constraining our group intelligence by trying to reduce the decision-making capabilities of the rest of the world. That path leads to the madness of trying to build more by destroying more - a path that always destroys democracy. The NSA approach is equivalent to a sports team trying to win not by it's own level of practice and innovation, but by trying to disrupt the other teams training facility. Ample experience has proven that the glory always goes to those who find a better way forward, not backwards.

Let's Get Back To Building National Adaptive Rate, Instead Of Constraining the Group Intelligence of ourselves, and others?

That requires investing our unlimited public initiative in the cultural foundations that allow a more resilient and more adaptive nation. We can do that by repurposing the NSA budget to better/faster/leaner methods for educating, training and informing all of our own citizens. With that sort of, smarter effort, we could achieve and maintain a markedly higher level of Situational Awareness across our entire citizenry. Group agility tracks Group Situational Awareness. By building our cultural foundations first, we can also become more secure, knowing that we can always outmaneuver competitors, instead of getting distracted trying to prevent their maneuvers. The highest form of agility is to preclude a fight even starting, and head it off through intelligent, productive coordination.

Such an effort would fulfill the prescient tasks set down by the writers of the US Constitution, as well as heeding their warnings.

"EDUCATE AND INFORM THE WHOLE MASS OF THE PEOPLE... They are the only sure reliance for the preservation of our liberty." Thomas Jefferson 
"Knowledge will forever govern ignorance; and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." James Madison

"Liberty cannot be preserved without general knowledge among the people." John Adams

"If Tyranny and Oppression come to this land, it will be in the guise of fighting a foreign enemy." James Madison

"Power always thinks... that it is doing God's service when it is violating all his laws." John Adams 
"Every government degenerates when trusted to the rulers of the people alone. The people themselves are its only safe depositories."  Thomas Jefferson
No mention of spy agencies (or more than one) in the US Constitution? Certainly no mention of 5-10% of national GDP going to a MICC armaments lobby, including unnamed budget allocations? The sheer size of US GDP makes this affordable. The better question is why we're investing so much in armament superstructure, while neglecting to invest even more in our cultural foundations. What will the return be on our pattern of investment?

So far, we're investing in everything EXCEPT democracy. 

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Reviewing "Game Tape" of Human Cultural Development, Before And After Designing New Plays To Try Out

Reader Magpie commented at a previous MNE post that "it is _OUR_ opinion that really matters." Well, supposedly. In a democracy anyway.

Yet that is true ONLY if we, the Middle Class, makes our consensus opinion matter. Without expression of consensus opinion, we can't generate cultural evolution. Seems obvious.

So how and why is it, you ask, in this day & age, that we are still discussing the obvious, rather than acting on it? It's a long story, and you have to know your history to get a big enough perspective on things to matter. Please imagine you were on the moon, viewing the Earth, and could repeatedly review the tape of the the last 100K years of homo sapiens cultural development.

That "game tape" would be very interesting.

For now, let's jump over most individual details, and note that one group organizational response to population growth PLUS situational challenges is to trust & delegate to discipline-specific talents. Consult endless anthropology literature for background.

Among other things, this leads to various TEMPORARY chiefs, including War Chiefs, cultural phenomena which were managed very well by tribal methods honed over +60K years.

However, once net population growth makes tribal groups bump into one another constantly, a typical response is to go to a permanent war standing, with elevation of War Chiefs to perpetual "Strong Men" rulers & factions - and eventually to some crude, gang-related hacks called aristocracy.

And one step further beyond that? Once advanced methods for organizing democracy are developed, people simply DO NOT NEED aristocracy, and the strong-man mentality retreats into military roles, to which responsibility can be delegated on an as-needed basis.

Where does this quick glimpse leave us now?

We've scaled up democracy methods quite a bit in preceding centuries. Now we're bumping into entirely new levels of organizational demand. Population size has outrun our old methods for adequately organizing democracy. We need some bigger changes in group methods, and the group stress of being forced to look for them is showing.

Hence, as expected, we're seeing the last gasp of an aristocracy phenotype and habit, trying to re-establish it's "need," by imagining constant threats, and actively denigrating past, present and emerging democratic institutions as too slow, and hence [supposedly] unworkable.

We've seen this all before, in various model systems. First the "Luddites" laugh at progress, then they try to outlaw it, then they try to kill it. Then the Luddites always lose out to evolution.

Our greatest need is not to argue with Luddites. More to the point, we need more suggestions, more experiments, and exploration of more options. That's how we progress through the 4, cyclic stages of Luddite grieving. It's the cycle of cultural life.

For cultural adaptive rate to stay the same ... every Luddite has to be stood upon, not argued with.