Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Interesting Things Occurring In Italy, & In Human Cultures Everywhere. A Challenge For Current Artists, In All Medias

What do we have to change in our K-12 education - and in our nation's art - to make most citizens aware of the pattern of process flow, and it's implications for our our own culture and our cultural adaptive rate?

Consider this question.

If your parent culture (and by default EVERY culture) was a developing baby-culture ....

... then what might evolving cultures of tomorrow look like?

This question is so interesting that I'm curious to hear reactions from diverse readers.

Some people are still obsessing over how our brains have already been making memories, for many million of years.

Ho hum. Ancient history.

That history is now recognized nothing more than a trivially necessary but not sufficient lesson for application on a larger scale, to current context.

After all, data is meaningless without context. So are known principles. Further, mass education learning rate is meaningless without reference to Cultural Adaptive Rate.

What matters far more are the details of how our social interactions form human culture ... or not.

Meanwhile, a tiny trickle of people - from Marriner Eccles to Warren Mosler - have been tripping over opportunities to link systems principles to everyday real life, and to our amazingly ignorant processes for setting national policies.

I remember hearing of a literature professor in the 1960s proposing that a negligible % of individual humans were "self-aware" before the advent of classical Greek literature, ~400 BC, and their "discovery" of grammar. Was he right? There's plenty of behavioral evidence for & against, so it seems to be a statistical question, not an absolute one. Most may recognize that what some of their neurons know is not always what they as an individual actually do. :) Even more telling:
there are vast differences between what key individuals and whole disciplines claim to know ..... and how their electorates actually behave.
In regards to classic Greek culture, it's sobering to consider that it took only a tiny confluence of triggers (perhaps the combination of exposure to vast diversity, plus newfound wealth & leisure?) to unleash a wholesale transfer of attention from trivial to profound interests, in a human population long past capable of doing so.

Such transitions are in general, viewed in systems science as phase shifts in autocatalysis.

Today, 2000 years after the most famous Greeks, we have a vast human population also capable of far more than it is actually doing, or even actively considering. 

It's exciting to think that we are waiting only for some unpredictable set of trivial triggers to unleash yet another transformation in collective human thought. Humanity as a whole may come out of our next transition as predominantly "culturally aware," not just with most people individually "self-aware." Such a transition in "group context awareness" may trigger cultural blossoming far greater than the transitions historically associated with the onset of classical Greek culture.

That aggregate transformation may not be marked by great advances in how much a tiny fraction of humans do know. Rather, it may be marked by great, but subtle, advances in how soon most humans are allowed to and required to know ... what few things most must know in order to produce greater Group Intelligence, and a faster Group Adaptive Rate. Military scientists at War Colleges refer to such "teamwork" adaptive agility as the "[adaptive] quality of distributed decision-making."  I'll call it simply the return-on-coordination.

Exciting times indeed!

I'm long past convinced that such expected advances will depend NOT on adding more to what we already know about simple systems like central nervous systems, but rather, in beginning to more actively disseminate and actually APPLY even slightly larger fractions of what's already known ... about system-coordination ... to our own policy coordination.

The difference between a self-tuning electorate (agile, adaptive democracy) and an un-tuned culture (past baby-cultures) will make the dramatic difference between an untuned vs a tuned V8-engine look like trivial child's play.

How do we visualize our own Evolution of Adaptive Power?

What do we have to change in our K-12 education - and in our nation's art - to make most citizens aware of the pattern of process flow, and it's implications for our our own culture and our cultural adaptive rate?

That's a challenge for current artists, working in all medias, to visualize.

We have to visualize our possible outcomes, before we can select which ones to shoot for. With every consensus national outcome adequately visualized ... we can always impress ourselves with our own, untapped ingenuity.

We know that evolving species, and cultures, constantly increase the amount of information they can process in a unit of time, which is itself relative to Adaptation Space. To speed up our own cultural adaptive rate, we need new methods. But which ones? We continuously need newer methods for increasing and tuning key communication throughput - the key to all development. And to get those methods, we have to first visualize how to select them. In all probability, we already have the required methods ... and just don't yet know what to use them for, nor why to use them.

It turns out that methods too are meaningless without context.

Here's the challenge for poets, musicians, videographers, writers and all other artists. 

Everyone's Looking for a "Better Way" - How Do We As A People Actually Achieve It?

  Visualize many Desired Aggregate Outcomes?
  Recruit more citizens to view that palette?
  Prepare more citizens to participate in SELECTING which aggregate options we want to explore?

If we don't help select where we're going, some collection of nincompoops will ... by sheer default, if nothing else.

That would be a pity, because A Group Brain Is A Terrible Thing To Waste.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

None Of Us Can Select As Well As All Of Us ... IF ... All Of Us Adequately Participate In Selecting Where We're Going

Paul Meli raised a key concern yesterday.
Why Has Our US Media Come To Function As A State Sponsored Institution?

There's a particularly interesting implication in the video at the above link.

"you can have journalism, or you can have empire"

I've long wondered how an entire press corp became so complicit.  Patrick Smith indicates that it's the same creeping momentum that drives citizen complicity in the excesses of empire. It's an unregulated bug baked into our narrow approach to "capitalism."

That reminds me of a saying attributed to some Roman statesman, 2000 yrs ago:

"No law withstands the will of the people."

One nuanced translation: 

"No reality withstands the temptations of an electorate." 

So periodically, we can easily be our own Control Frauds? Defrauding ourselves of some part of our own options?

Whole aggregates, not just individuals, can succumb to rash temptations, if they feel that not enough people are either watching or willing to condemn their actions. In other words, if there are no significant consequences.

Once you know that you can act with impunity, your behavior WILL gradually start to change, and your moment of adaptation will move towards those processes shaping your own, local self-regulation, and away from distributed, aggregate adaptation (e.g., looking out for your grandchildren). Feedback? Pattern recognition? Both effect your ability to perceive the spectrum of immediate-to-sequential outcomes.

Somewhat analogously, once our nation feels that it can act with complete impunity, OUR national behavior also begins to change, also inevitably, and our moment of aggregate adaptation moves to or away from our methods for maintaining distributed national vs international feedback, which alters how we set aggregate Desired Outcomes - which in turn drive all our efforts and methods for aggregate self-regulation.

There's a deep implication in these observations. When whole nations - not just individuals - begin to condone actions they themselves wouldn't willingly submit to, it always involves the conscious conclusion that the people being acted upon DO NOT MATTER AS MUCH AS WE DO.

Overwhelming evidence, historical and current, indicates that this is a highly conserved behavior in humans, not just in other species. So it's a feature of reality that we must acknowledge and deal with, not try to ignore.

Whenever a feature is highly conserved throughout an evolutionary sequence, it has some strong adaptive value, even if it's not immediately obvious.

In this case, when aggregate experiments fail, and revert to meanness, not just any mean, it may usually have helped human cultures dissolve and shift wholesale direction, faster than they would have otherwise. Think of NeoCons and NeoLiberals as our safety valve, in case everything goes wrong. In that case, returning to stone-age thinking sooner rather than later may actually help. We may be homo sapiens, but it pays to keep a remnant of our ape ancestors around.

Note that that doesn't mean that we should put our lowest common denominator in charge BEFORE we find ourselves in grand dead ends! We still have insanely interesting options to explore. Many of those options are not possible anytime soon, if we restrict ourselves to use of our NeoLiberal monkey brains alone.

"In order to make a more perfect union" is an ideal long endorsed - in one form or another - by the majority of humans.
When and how to make selective inclusions is one corollary of that ideal, as are two other corollaries.

Whom to exclude from our union - and when?

And also, who, when and HOW to exile from our union? And, for what reasons, and to satisfy which emerging Desired Outcomes for the remainder of our union?
There are well known methods for exploring and estimating answers to these questions. We merely need to be fearless and honest enough to face them quickly, rather than just letting those feared ills occur anyway, through our inaction. For example, given sexual and cultural recombination, physical culling is rarely necessary. We just have to stop making more of or reinforcing a mal-adaptive human, habit or method, and let its representation in our aggregate repertoire rapidly dwindle. 

As always, we as a people face overwhelming pressure to make rapid decisions based on insufficient data - but not too rapidly. That's the business of nations and cultures, not just the business of individuals. Our job - individually as well as collectively - is to choose well.

There's no evolution for the detached. Success follows the depth and quality of participation, not just blind complicity. Since our aggregate selections drive all national adaptations and national outcomes, we must admit that none of us can select as well as all of us - IF we maintain enough distributed participation to add adaptive value.

Aggregate intelligence means aggregate uncertainty. Only fools, and foolish nations, are cocksure and recklessly bent on being number one, which is historically a mistake in a marathon. Staying in an unending race means positioning ourselves in THIS TRANSIENT CONTEXT to be ready for subsequent, entirely unpredictable, contexts.

What is YOUR definition of success?

Finding a better way, NOW? That's efficiency (which is meaningless without present context).

Finding ways to keep finding adequate ways to get by? That's resiliency.

As soon as we as the people can juggle two method-sets simultaneously, we can move on to juggling yet another. And another after that, someday. Even though we can't imagine what that might someday be.

The biggest question is always "HOW" to achieve more participation, from more people, more of the time.

There's no human population in history that could compete with the one we have today. Would they have stopped fighting if they knew about us and our capabilities today? Would we, if WE knew about future achievements?