NEUROTRIBES – Deep Review/Analysis

NeuroTribes:
The Legacy of Autism and the Future of Neurodiversity

Steve Silberman

INTRODUCTION

At 81 and with millions of things I really should do, reading carefully a long book is not what I do anymore. Except for NeuroTribes. I was attracted to the book by its title, as I have been promoting the concept of Cognitive Diversity for decades and NeuroDiversity resonated. My initial intent was to see if there was a useful connection.  I started reading and became engrossed in Steve Silberman’s story telling and was learning what I should have known long ago. His introduction told me there was much good to come from reading on.  After reading the introduction, I read the last chapter and epilogue and realized that I must give the whole book a careful read.

Each chapter was a revelation. Steve is not a scientist, but a journalist with strong interest in the history of science and ideas. This book is a masterpiece of reporting scientific, medical, and social misadventures – and was becoming an exemplar for my new thesis that the Sci/Tech of systems with humans as primary components hasn’t progressed much in millennia. This is contrasted to the exponential growth of the Sci/Tech of systems without humans as components. I explicate on this elsewhere.

The multiple ventures in the treatment (social and medical) of persons with so-called Autism is the astonishing tale of the stupidity and arrogance of modern humankind – when it comes to trying to understand ourselves. Yet, it is also a story of eventual success in human grit, creativity, and intelligence. Some of those persons who would fit the new “autism spectrum”, described in the book, are certainly far better off today than they were in the not too distant past.  It is ironic that Asperger, working in Nazi controlled Austria, had the core insight that took five decades to see the light – and that yet by only a minority of humans today.

By chapter 3 I knew I had to read the whole book, and eventually buy it.  Having to rush with this library book, I abandoned many of the activities I had planned. Unfortunately, I now tend to get sleepy when reading books, and had to chunk it during many sessions. I returned it to the library today. I rushed reading without taking notes, and with my poor memory I will need to get a Kindle copy for details. I have the LOOK INSIDE from Amazon up now, to review the Table of Contents.

While reading Chapter 6, strangely titled: PRINCES OF THE AIR, I speculated that this was much more than the detailed narrative of the emergence of the “autism spectrum” conceptual scheme.  Without coming out and directly saying it, Steve Silberman was midwifing a fundamental paradigm shift in how we humans conceptualize ourselves. This is clear in his use of the terms NeuroTribes and NeuroDiversity. In Chapter 6, the sharp focus of “autistics” gave them an advantage in the early radio (air) of both Morse Code and later voice dialog – and on into The Internet. These new media enabled social activity within the spectrum.

The book also implies that the extraordinary development of modern Sci/Tech was possibly dependent on persons from the “autism spectrum”, as many (if not a majority) of innovators in the communication/radio/computer technologies were able to maintain focus on task because of their special abilities. These “abilities” had been viewed as disabilities until very recently. These persons weren’t diseased, needing a cure; they were a very essential subpopulation in the Cognitive/Neural-Diversity of Humankind. More on this below.

I digressed from reading at this point and searched for and skimmed  16 reviews of the book, 12 positive and 4 negative.  These reviews need to be studied carefully; but from my brief skimming I failed to find any reviews that reported on this deeper aspect – the paradigm shift. Some reviews did mention a few details about the special skills of those on the autism spectrum, but didn’t generalize. Most reviews appeared to be outlining the medical/scientific story. Many of the positive reviews complained about the length of the book and the many details that weren’t “necessary”. I wonder how many of the reviewers actually read the book (and how many reviewers of most books actually read the books). One reviewer explicitly complained about Chapter 6 and said it should have been eliminated. The negative reviews were by those who still pushed the negative views of autism as had existed in the past: from parents wanting to cure their children to those believing still that autism is caused by vaccinations. Many reviewers strongly objected to what they called “unfounded speculations” – what I found as the core essentials of the book, the history of autism being the surface.

Two negative statements in the reviews:

“His affection for detail can get in the way, as in a chapter on the development of radio and electronic bulletin boards.”

“It’s full of long stories and blah blah blah, rather than getting to the point.”

URL links to the reviews can be found at  NEUROTRIBES REVIEWS.

CAUTION

One objection has merit. The perspective of disability
does have relevance for those seriously disabled.
We must always bow to complementarity,
no single perspective is universally dominant.
With wide diversity, there will always be populations
that require assistance and compassion.
However, in many cases,
disability couples with ability.
EXAMPLE:
Narrow Focus vs Broad Scans.

A moment ago, while searching for the TOC, I discovered a companion book: Key Takeaways, Analysis & Review (of Neurotribes by Steve Silberman) by Eureka Books.  Reading the reviews of this book, most reported being tricked into believing it was Silberman’s book, and only a few said it was a useful CliffNotes-type summary. I expect that it totally missed what I wrote about above. It appears that Eureka Books is an author of a great many short digests of popular books.

I had hoped that it would have been a depth analysis, as I found in a book by Slater on Eddington‘s posthumous Fundamental Theory.

Each chapter was filled with rich detail on historical happenings that I hadn’t known and which were enlightening. I won’t report on the exciting detail in this essay. For one, with my poor memory, I don’t remember them and will need to consult back with the book. Also, I don’t want you not to read this book because I summarized all the choice parts.

NeuroTribes is of a type that I find absolutely necessary to read fully, amd in detail, to experience what the author is opening you up to. It is more than the sum of information on different pages, that many persons jump around seeking the “gist” of a book. If you permit it, Silberman will lead you to the edge of a paradigm shliff.

Another example of this type of book is Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, Doug Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander   It took me well over a year to read this book – but it was worth every moment.

A very personal outcome of my reading NeuroTribes was the confirmed discovery that I am on the “autism spectrum”. I knew I was a far outlier in the diversity field, but had not seriously considered myself “autistic”. This primarily because, when talking to Temple Grandin, whose visual mental imagery her medium of thought – and I have no visual mental imagery.

I just discovered that I have a thread of autism among my other profiles.  I have “stimmed” since when very young.  Not flapping my arms in public, but picking the skin off my fingers. When trying to go to sleep, I do flap my arms and feet – which I had called “restless legs syndrome”.  About two years ago I peeled off some fingernails and had to start using those little rubber tips for turning paper, to let my fingers heal.  I am now addicted to using them. I must have many on reserve, some in each pocket. I move them about with my other fingers. Sometimes one on each hand.  When my beard was long I was known as a constant beard twirler – as I lectured to students. I would also stroke my cheeks, saying I was only proving to myself that I was still here – as my proprioceptive sense are weak.  It was only after reading NeuroTribes that I learned the term “stimming” and that I have stimmed all my life.

My poor social skills also can be attributed to the spectrum. I would like to be liked – as do almost all on the autism spectrum. What they fear is how to handle popularity. This, also, has been me all my life. POPULARITY DEMANDS RESPONSIBILITY.  I don’t want to be responsible for those who seek my attention.  Yet, I do – I am usually over responsible when other persons are involved.  My email inbox is too full for me to keep up – but they are there calling. Long ago I invented a concept: The Screen of Renown.  When a person gets so popular than they can’t process requests, they must create a screen/filter.  I would feel obligated to everyone – which is impossible. Before the Internet, almost every person of renown I attempted to contact I was turned back by their Screen of Renown. Erich Fromm was the only exception.

However, I have some other features in my personal Cognitive/Neural-Diversity that make me not a usual representative on the spectrum. Most significant is that I lack mental imagery in all sensory modalities, thus having no sensory remembrances or imagination, no experiential past. I am also  conative dysfunctional (by the Kolbe test and an adaptor ( by Kossyln’s Top/Bottom Brain test .

TWO THEMES SUPPORTED BY NEUROTRIBES

These two themes have been emergent within nuet for a long time, gaining significance and support yearly. Below, I only summarize them and merely point out how Silberman’s book supports these themes. It is not my priority to show this in detail here, as I don’t expect many others to read this at this time. I highly encourage the book be read in its entirety, attending to the details.

These two themes are closely related, the first contributing to the second. When these themes mature they will have impact on par with those of Newton, Darwin, or Einstein.

Cognitive/Neural-Diversity of Humankind is Vast

That our scientific and technological advancements may have been dependent on persons on the autism spectrum is sobering. Their roles may be more than quirky exceptions. We may find that teams of persons with complementary attributes and competencies may result in a much healthier and viable humankind.

There is much more than humor in the atypical’s characterization of the typical/normal: “Neurotypical syndrome is a neurobiological disorder characterized by preoccupation with social concerns, delusions of superiority, and obsession with conformity. There is no known cure.”  Much of our Crisis-of-Crises can be attributed to a societal dominance of a narrow and warped view of who we humans “really” are. Finding a viable path to survival/thrival may require a broadening of who we view as human – which will be difficult in this critical time of enhanced racism and ethnic discrimination.

Our cognitive/neural-diversity goes well beyond the traits on the autism spectrum.  We vary vastly in our use of mental imagery, memory, attention, creativity, various intelligences, etc. I propose that the cognitive/neural-diversity of humankind would be better represented by a higher taxonomy, beyond species, as genus, family, or order. Within the cognitive/neural domain, there are no “normal” humans – any more than there are “normal” mammals or insects.

The Sci/Tech of Human Systems is Inadequate

The many failures of science and medicine, during the decades of attention to those experiencing what we now call the “autism spectrum”, typifies how the Sci/Tech of human systems has failed to compare with the exponentially emergence Sci/Tech of non-human systems. These tragedies can be added to the many others in the history of medicine and human sciences. On top of these failures is the cover up of this history and the perpetual continuation of the illusion that our knowledge of ourselves is great, let alone adequate.

To make matters much worse, the “best” of our (inadequate) Sci/Tech knowledge/competencies of human systems is only known or used by a small fraction of the human population. Even in the case of the “autism spectrum”, if you search online today you will find most of the information still the outmoded and dangerous views supposedly supplanted by the advances cited by Silberman.  It is still viewed as a disease to be cured and the conspiracy theory about vaccinations causing autism is still very active.

I recommend we transcend any anger about this, nor attempt to assign blame.  As I “argue” elsewhere, everyone’s behavior tries to be consistent with their experienced wrld. Yet, we need to accept this important distinction between the Sci/Tech of human and non-human systems and begin working immediately to bring the Sci/Tech of human system to a level required for our taking appropriate actions to ensure our survival/thrival in the face of our Crisis-of-Crises.

HG Wells’ Birthday to UPLIFT & Our Challenge

This started as a brief reply email to the announcement of H.G. Wells birthday, but – as usual – expanded into another sketch of alternative contexts for our troubled times.  That I devoted hours composing this is evidence for my own inability to change my behavior – even if what is said below is quite relevant.  Larry/nuet

I always wanted to go back and read more of Wells, more than his novels (which I read).  His bio would be interesting, but not my priority now. I “remember” that he turned very negative about humankind’s future in his last years, changing from his earlier optimism.

I took this as a lesson for myself.  Starting in 1970, I adopted the FACTOR/DISTRACTOR distinction. No “so-called” negative information should be a distractor from positive strategizing. Apparent negativity motivates me to push to enlarge my context until  it resolves the troublesome factor.  This enables me to push deep into the ugly underbelly of humankind (our growing/evolving pains) and treat all “negatives” as potentially useful information – knowledge over innocence – analogous to Gavin de Becker’s THE GIFT OF FEAR.   I am assisted in this by my lack of visual imagery, which – for others – blocks their ability to think truly ugly.

I am sure being put to the test in 2016.  Just read SCIENCE on the funding of science in the USA and elsewhere. Not only shrinking drastically, but being directed to politically ideological directions.  Just one example that humankind has reached a deep level of dysfunction that there are no more relevant decision-making systems – for critical issues. All major decision-making gatherings have no significant impact, while their existence gives false hope.

The American Psyche is in pathological collapse – the strange and dangerous resonance between Trump and his supporters, and the paralysis of liberals and progressives – all highly dependent on the current “state” of information distribution.

Within UPLIFT, all these are but factors to be resolved. BUT,  what concerns me the most, and what threatens my optimism, are the blocks nuet detects in the thinking/acting of the “best of the best” working for a positive transition, and a sustainable, resilient, better future.  Within nuet, the trending sums of their current activity is necessary, but far from sufficient. Two recently viewed videos from P2P elevated my concern, even though they were intended to be positive.

Re-Imagining The Future  6 minutes

System Crisis, System Change  40 minutes, with Gar Alperovitz (scroll down for video)

NUET’S ANALYSIS:  Unable to sustain conceptualization of a full transition (including interaction with the trending negatives) humans resort to an exclusive bottom-up fantasy with hope in an imagined coming-together/commons-emergent process – that will emerge “naturally” without the need of human creativity applied to planetary and inclusive issues. Much which “we” need to be doing is missing, in our collective blindspots. Part of “our” difficulty is the lack of eeree (efficient, effective, relevant, enjoyable, elegant) TECH6 (tools, techniques, tasks, training, teams, time) to do WHAT HAS NEVER BEEN DONE BEFORE.

Because of the overwhelming MSC (Magnitude/Scope/Complexity) of our challenge:

Lesson One:  NO SINGLE DOCUMENT can ever be sufficient in highlighting ALL ESSENTIAL variables, related to our challenge. Or any reasonably finite set of documents (sems).

Lesson Two:  NO INDIVIDUAL HUMAN PERSON can attend to THE WHOLE in their working mind/brains.

Lesson Three: Applying what “we” already know is insufficient. LEADERSHIP is most in need of UPLIFTING.

This means that what I intend to be the consequences of this email will not occur.

What must “we” do, beyond dialog and conversation, to initiate new processes?

I have three critical and vitally important expanding set of documents collected and made accessible by:

1) Michel Bauwens: P2P Foundation
2) Joe Brewer: multiple sites Culture2Cognitive Policy WorksEvonomics  , etc.
3) Giorgio Bertini:  Learning Change

There are hundreds of such sites for submitting and accessing ideas relevant to our better future. These three are part of larry/nuet’s POSITIVE IGNORANCE: Knowing OF what I don’t yet know or comprehend, and OF what I can’t yet do or appreciate. There are also curators of relevant posts in Cyberspace, some of which I access – many I remain innocent of (not even part of my +Ignorance).

There is a virtual infinity (relative to individual human knowledge) of information and ideas relevant to a transition to a positive future.  It is being assimilated into siloed archives, essentially buried. Each new doc/sem may cite and attempt to relate a few other docs/sems from the archives.  Each doc/sem, no matter how excellent, assumes a context that may be limiting, or ignores contexts that may be useful.

Larry/nuet claims to identify ONE limiting context assumption that he believes essential and critical for “success”. That is the assumption of TRANSFORMATION. The emergent NU will somehow interact with the established societal subsystems to morph the latter to be consistent with the former.  This assumption puts undue constraints on how the different nu ventures might collaborate and synergize. For example, it forces maximum attention to economics and governance to the virtual exclusion of significant learning/organizing (“education”). The emergence of NU is highly constrained in having to “merge” with the old, even if only during the transition. An alternative, UPLIFT to Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis, frees these alt ventures/enterprises/projects to explore more freely their integration.

UPLIFT would also permit Alternative Movements/Orgs to face the “true”, ugly reality of the establishments and the “states” of personal human dysfunction. Within the constraint of transformation, the ready potentials of persons is grossly overestimated (and “real” potentials underestimated) and the potential “evil” of the power elites grossly underestimated – both essential to permit hope for transformation.

Larry/nuet

On 9/21/2016 9:23 AM, albert lundquist wrote:

Today is the birthday of H.G. Wells (books by this author), born Herbert George Wells in Bromley, England (1866). He failed at a series of apprenticeships, but then he won a scholarship to a science college, where he learned about biology and Darwinism from Thomas Henry Huxley, grandfather of the writer Aldous Huxley. But he failed his geology exam and had to leave school. Wells had a series of medical problems and he often thought he was dying, but this only prompted him to write more and faster. Over a period of three years, he produced his three most famous books: The Time Machine (1895), The Invisible Man (1897), and The War of the Worlds (1898). He lived until he was 79-much longer than he expected to-and he continued to produce books at a rate of two or three a year for the rest of his life; in the end, he’d published more than a hundred books.

H.G. Wells said, “Every time I see an adult on a bicycle, I no longer despair for the future of the human race.”

HUMANKIND vs GAIA

PROPOSITION: With its visual languages, humankind “breaks from the mold” for all life in Gaia.

This is not necessarily negative for Gaia, as it was from within Gaia that humankind emerged. At present, humankind’s spreading and effects on Gaia are analogous to cancer metastasizing in an organism. But, unlike cancer, humankind has vast potential to become a powerful new subsystem of Gaia and serve Gaia’s multi-billennial survival/thrival.

All advanced competencies within Humankind have their roots in the evolutionary paths of animals. The reinforcing interaction of competencies gave what appears to be a qualitative leap with the emergence of humans with their intelligence, language, and technology.

Humankind was too successful in adapting to Gaia, basically eliminating predators and other means to “naturally” limit population growth. Until recently, most humans were unaware that their population growth threatened their Gaian support system. Via their “religions”, human cultures came to believe they were special and had the divine right to take from their environment, which was put their for their use and pleasure. They lacked the conceptual scheme of ecological systems and flows. Tribal respect for their environment didn’t transfer to civilized humankind.

Creating and Using Information Patterns was the innovation that broke Humankind from the basic patterns of life that had characterized all life in Gaia for billions of years.  I call these information patterns, sems, for semiotic structures. Sems include texts, diagrams, data tables & graphs, painting and other artforms. I will leave for later whether buildings and city/farm/grid layouts are sems.

Sems are unique in our universe! All other information is locked into physical structures, such as DNA.  The sems I refer to here are capable of being copied and replicated – that preserves the pattern or information. Humans can confirm to each other the identity of sems, even though they may interpret their meanings differently.

It is important to note that sems transcend language. Photography and digital recording of video carries sems beyond language, although the meaning of these visuals is processed through our languaging systems. Yet, we have only begun to explore alternative ways of dynamically presenting language symbols in space and time for perception. Visual languages must transcend having to be verbally read or being arranged in linear sequences as you are now experiencing.

Before there were sems, all information flows in Gaia were accompanied by patterned flows of matter and energy. There were closed loops, although it might take a long time for closure to complete.  As humans spread across the planet and began living in dense populations the stimuli they responded to became more and more sems – and not the patterns of “nature”. Where the sems were to simulate/represent “nature”, they were often not accurate.

I use the term semfield to label the collections/systems of sems that influence a person, group, culture, or population. The collective semfields for planetary humankind are immense and rapidly growing.  They, not Gaia or “Nature” are the primary “reality” determining human behavior.

Disasters resulting from wars or climate change do have an impact on those directly effected; but the “whole” of humankind responds to the sems reporting such happenings, which includes spin, disinformation, and propaganda. In reality, visuals (including videos) are manipulated to better influence persons than text or words ever did; they result in a  paradox of what appears more concrete is actually more abstract.

Those few aware of the divorce of humankind from Gaia, call for a return of humankind to Gaia – unaware that it is not possible. Humankind is defined by its semfields.  What humankind must do is create its semfields so that they relate well with Gaia. Humankind will not “solve” its Climate Change issues using its existing semfield – on which all governance and economics is based.

PROPOSITION: The contemporary semfield of humankind cannot be edited to be the semfield we need. The nu semfield must be different in structure, processes of composing and using, as well as content.

A key component of my proposed UPLIFT expedition is the creation of a nu semfield for Humanity. Semfields provide scaffolding for bootstrapping the exponential growth of the nu Humanity within collapsing Humankind – a Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis.

Post Authoring Commentary

Reflecting back, within my limitations, reveals a slow, but steady, emergence of the system of conceptual schemes that makeup nuet’s reality. Two shifts occurred during the writing of this short essay.

The insight that semfields transcend language is new. Although I had long considered artworks and video as sems, I didn’t make the leap to realize that video sems don’t necessarily involve explicit language.

Also, that semfields are a world/space for inputs/outputs, in direct competition with “Nature” and “Local Settings” – what we see and hear around us – rose a notch in significance.  This clarified how sems are a break with Gaia, leading to my use of “vs” in the title of this essay.

I did not, while composing, reflect on the epidemic of cell phone use and the SciFi extrapolations re The Matrix. But now, moving in cyberspace (with the new virtual reality glasses) makes semfields very REAL.

This, strangely, returns humans to a special place in the Cosmos, but without the wishful fantasies of Gods who favor humans, and “consciousness” as supreme reality.

Belief vs Knowledge and the Minds of Trump Supporters & other Humans

ABSTRACT:

Humans have two operating systems in their brains, for belief (mammalian) and knowledge (human).  They interact differently in different persons. Some persons have no knowledge about significant phenomena and function only on belief; they cannot be “reached” by informing, as their OS can’t process knowledge.

This is work in progress and feedback is essential.

HISTORY:

For over a quarter century, physicists, globally engaged in the collective challenge to discover a new physics for matter/energy systems. Many anomalous empirical findings shouted out that their contemporary conceptual theories about matter/energy systems was both wrong and incomplete. Einstein’s breakthrough paradigm shifts about space-time and gravitation alerted them that major changes in thinking would be required. The breakthrough to Quantum Physics occurred ONLY after they deliberately abandoned all use of the Bohr Atom as metaphor for the atom that they were studying.  Then they also abandoned the metaphor for “spin”, a variable of quantum data that had some analogy with spinning objects. Quantum theories are mathematical systems to “best fit” the data, PERIOD. Any attempts to reverse metaphor from the Quantum World to our everyday world has no scientific justification. It can be interesting speculation, but to seek cosmic universals from these reverse metaphors can be dangerous if lifestyle changes are based on them.

Metaphors from today world’s of perception, quite useful in everyday communicating about phenomena not directly observable, can cause great difficulty for theoretical, scientific research in such domains of the very small or very large. A careful analysis of the advances in the Sci/Tech of human systems vs non-human systems demonstrates an enormous gap, not fully appreciated. In a very real sense, our Sci/Tech of systems with human persons as components has advanced little in millennia. The application of our diverse, personal/cultural beliefs about human systems and humankind usually ignore the fragments of Sti/Tech knowledge we have gained. For example, the many findings from social psychological research are ignored in politics and economics (or secretly used to exploit). However, these highly inaccurate models of human behavior/thought in practice do employ the exponentially growing advances in the Sci/Tech of systems where humans are not components.  These advances bleed over to our faulty comprehension of human systems and create an illusion of progress.

Also, most advances in human biology and brain studies are strictly not about human systems, as such. A great amount of findings about humans has been collected; but efforts to discover a more comprehensive and accurate “theory” of humankind, to integrate these findings, remains an unrecognized challenge. Our beliefs about humankind are powerful and easily over-ride any knowledge gained.

The physicists were aware of the challenge; human activists are not yet aware of this new challenge – even as anomalous findings accumulate and our Crisis-of-Crises worsens, primarily as a result of our not adequately comprehending ourselves.

RATIONALE and CHALLENGE:

In mid August 2016, I began to explore, deeper  – in my mind – than before,  useful distinctions between knowledge and belief, but was not coming to any clear ideas. Then I listened to a large variety of persons describing why they supported Donald Trump. I was shocked by the compartmentalizing of their ideas. They appeared insensitive to logical contradiction and many reports about Trump’s quoted statements were not mentioned and probably not known or acknowledged. That Trump supporters are in information silos doesn’t adequately account for this observation. This population included college educated and well spoken professionals. That possibly 40% of polled Americans claim to support Trump is very hard to “believe”, and downright scary. I have been groking that the USA Elections 2016 may be a very unique phenomenon – which if studied will provide some very useful insights about humankind.

My speculation on USA Election 2016 (not relevant to this essay): The multiple forces behind the Trump campaign have no intention of winning the election in November. If he was going to lose, Trump would withdraw. If he doesn’t withdraw it means something else is expected. I speculate “THEY” plan to disrupt the election in ways that throw it into SCOTUS (4-4) or the House of Representatives.  There are many ways it could be disrupted, which I will develop elsewhere.  I read nothing about this speculation anywhere, even in the far left and anti-USA news. Could MSNBC speculate on it – or, it can’t be “reported” as it is only speculation at this time.  MSNBC wonders why Trump is holding rallies in States he can’t win. I speculate that “they” are collecting names of persons who may be recruited to take disruptive action on election day or before.  What are projections if Hillary were somehow not to run, and Trump continues? Could he “win”?  Can the Electoral College be successfully attacked as a rigged election?  What if too many election sites are disrupted and vote counts hacked to postpone the decision? What might the “Alt-Right” do if the election isn’t conclusive?

Our challenge is two fold. One, to recognize we need a radically new “theory” of humankind. Two, to remain alert to the dangers of using metaphors from our personal and local/social domains for “entities” in the unobservable “societal” domain.

Even expect “societal weirdness” analogous to quantum weirdness. For various reasons, I (Larry/nuet) have devoted many decades exploring these challenges. I am at the pre breakthrough stage – I have identified many anomalous findings and have discovered a few new features of humankind – but I have not yet had the insights analogous to those that led to quantum physics for our comprehension of humans and humankind.

This essay is work-in-progress, exploring new insights as to the differences between what we label as “knowledge” and “belief”, which might account for the sudden increase in strange behavior among humans; behavior that is quite threatening. Up front, I must declare that I am not proposing any superiority to one of these; it is not Knowledge vs Belief. Or Science vs Art. Or new vs old. Or ….Our mess today is the result of our not yet adequately integrating Knowledge and Belief. Each without the other causes dysfunction in human cultural/societal systems.

PROPOSITION:
Operating Systems for Belief and Knowledge,
are distinct in the human brain.

They may share neurons and neural circuits, and they probably interact.

These OS are not experienced, and we haven’t yet mapped them onto brain structures or processes. They give rise to experiences and behaviors.

The Belief OS is old, mammalian (and animal) and of very high quality. The BOS is subject to conditioning (Classical and Operant). In humans it remains primary for perception and stimulus/response behavior.

The Knowledge OS is new, dependent on human level languages, specifically visual languages. The KOS has probably evolved within those populations that have used KOS.

There is great variation among persons (and possibly populations) in their ability to use and integrate BOS and KOS.  This variation must also account for neuraldiversity related to Autism, Dyslexia, ADHD, and mental imagery competencies.

The terms and associated meanings to belief and knowledge are experienced differently in BOS and KOS.

In BOS, “things believed” are not experienced as “believed”. Belief in BOS is unconscious, unless challenged. Believers are unable to experience an alternative as potentially believable. Challenges to beliefs are “evil”, threatening to their very existence.

In KOS, all knowledge is expressed in language, although it may not be overt. There can be a meta-experientials (grok) associated with the experiencing of knowledge. There can be experiences from BOS associated with this groking of knowledge.

More on KNOWLEDGE & KOS:

In this analysis, “knowledge” is the meta value used exclusively by humans when processing language information and governing deliberative activity-in-time.  “Thinking” (usually with words) is knowledge processing. Verbal utterances in response to beliefs, which don’t have the qualia of thought, is not knowledge processing. However, all knowledge processing occurs in the context of beliefs. The content of a belief might trigger knowledge of that content – for persons competent in knowledge processing.  Knowledge work might trigger belief content.

Ordinarily, humans don’t distinguish between knowledge and belief for their experiences. And, this proposal is but a theory-of-mind, within one mind/brain, in an attempt to gain some order on our Crisis-of-Crises. For the whole-of-reality, there may not “be” aspects/things corresponding to this model for knowledge and belief.

 

More on BELIEF & BOS:

In this analysis, “belief” is the meta value used by mammals (including humans) in processing their stimuli and governing their responses. Accuracy is never an issue.  Experience is accepted, without the experience of accepting. Aesthetics and ethics are values used to organize beliefs. Beliefs can be associated and classified (subconsciously by believers – when conscious it is knowledge). Art, poetry, and mythology are human enhancements in the domain of belief. The wonder of mammals (and other living organisms) is a tribute to the quality power of belief.

Many artists, poets, and others are deeply sensitive to the sensory and experiencing how engaging these media effects the overall thinking/behaving of persons – otherwise stressed and dysfunctional. For persons to engage in knowledge work they need quality lives which depends on harmony of their beliefs. Aesthetics and ethics, personalized and applied inter-personally, greatly enhance knowledge work.

On the other hand, much of our trouble today is consequence of domains of reality capable of being engaged only by knowledge and scientific languages. The problem is that competencies for knowledge work don’t emerge from the domains of belief, aesthetic, and ethics. Just as the matter/energy universe, with Earth and Gaia, provide a given reality we humans must live within. We cannot chose any universe we might desire.  The same applies to humans and humanity.  We must create social and societal/cultural systems for a nu humanity consistent with who we “really are”, and not what our myths and beliefs demand. This, a more accurate, “nature of humans and humankind” is our challenge to discover.

 

A THIRD OS:  IMAGINATION   IOS ?

Humans can experience imaginary things they know are not real, not believed to be real.  When artwork is concrete, it is experience as real, even when it comes from the imagination. In a sense, mathematical structures, proposed as theories for phenomenon or systems. are from imagination – a relaxing of both belief and knowledge.

Imagination may not be a third OS, but a special way BOS and KOS interact.

I don’t perceive knowledge through my senses, nor am I explicitly conscious of my belief in what I see.  I can read “THIS SCREEN IS WHITE”, and agree that it is a confirmed,knowledge statement. THE MOON IS IN ORBIT AROUND EARTH, is another knowledge statement that I don’t, at this moment, confirm. 2000 years ago the sentence would have had no meaning. To contradict the moon statement would be high imagination; and IF IT WERE TRUE, I would expect immediate consequences (confirmation, assuming Newtonian Mechanics). So, I believe the moon is in orbit. Yet, I don’t experience the essence of “belief” as I believe. Nor do I experience the essence of “knowledge” as I know.  Yet, in the domain of images and statements related to USA Elections 2016, the effects of BOS and KOS are strikingly evident.

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I have surveyed quite a few articles and essays about the distinctions between belief, knowledge, and truth. I was greatly disappointed; but none were by famous philosophers – who have thought on Epistemology for millennia. They had to be searched separately. I have only skimmed them. None seemed to stray into the domain (OS) where I recently discovered a possibly useful distinction – as distinct brain processes.  From the online essays it appears that the terms are used quite differently by different authors – and probably differently by the same person at different times.

It would be interesting to query Doug Hofstadter about how metaphors/analogies would play in his take on meaning, as applied to these proposals

——————  CRUDE METAPHOR

Persons experience very differently.

Imagine how the face of President Obama is experienced by persons of different political persuasions.

Some may think of him in many ways, as the current role player in POTUS, with all the complex functions of that office: The Executive Branch of the US Government. They may puzzle over why he does as he does, with the many constraints he has, with a deadlocked congress and a 4-4 SCOTUS. Given agencies as the CIA, FBI, NSA, & Pentagon – one might wonder whether Obama has the power we attribute to POTUS. We may also notice how he has aged, or see him as family man with Michele and his daughters. We experience the visual image of Obama as a believed human person with knowledge of his role as POTUS in the US Government. With knowledge, we may approve or disapprove of his decisions.

Others will react emotionally, with labels they had read or heard assigned to him as real attributes: Muslim, non-citizen, not born in the USA, liar, criminal, conspirator, evil. None of these attributes are knowledge about the POTUS, Obama. They are attached to the image experienced with belief.  There may be mental imagery associated with these attributes that are experienced as a montage, when experiencing a picture or video of Obama. There may be associated behaviors, such a name calling or gestures. These persons may compare “Obama” with other US Presidents – maybe visualizing them.  For these believers, presidents are bosses like fathers of an unruly family. They bandy the term “constitution” with no thoughts that it lays out a system of decision-making. To them it is but a set of rules – to be strictly obeyed.

Many human persons have very strong beliefs but very little useful knowledge (in specific knowledge domains). Actually, I speculate that for many their knowledge is not only small, but absent as an OS – and absent as a moderator of excessive belief.

In most ordinary, everyday encounters, a person without knowledge can function well based on belief alone. I propose that the belief system is mammalian and thus well adapted for proper behavior within interpersonal encounters.  Those with knowledge simply take others as having little knowledge. What I am proposing here, is that there can be a qualitative difference with persons who lack the category, knowledge, when interacting about collective activities of others (patterns of activities that are incapable of direct perception  – e.g., no one perceives economies or governments).

The new tech media and propaganda systems have literally changed how humans function [The Cyber Effect, Mary Aiken] in ways that are just now crossing thresholds.  Mobs have emerged in the past. This may be a new type of mob – where BELIEF is amplified and KNOWLEDGE is eliminated or suppressed – and maintained.

It has been claimed that Hitler and the Nazis were able to achieve their organization because of the new technology, broadcast radio and film.  Social media online and video are much more powerful tools for indoctrination than radio and film. They are able to successfully isolate persons in silos and shield then from conflicting information.

Also, we are discovering that when persons have strong belief systems, information input cannot be used to change them. Only very sophisticated “educational/social” systems can reach them.

Michel Foucault, in The Order of Things described the paradigm shift from categorical thinking to systems thinking in Western European thought.

Larry/nuet to Tony on “STATE” and his Semfield: “Laetus-in-Praesens”

[This started as a comment to a doc by Tony from a url on his recent email. As I engaged more his whole works I began to comment on it, and feel that I need to share these with others.]
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Tony, while waiting to see my doctor the other day I encountered one of your docs on my cell, and got into it. There was something about the topic that keeps coming back and I am now trying to write about it. It was one you linked me to in your latest email.   .

What interested my was your complex analysis of the meaning of “state”. This triggered my recent explorations of two ideas.

(1) Media reports of disasters seem to be locked-in to each disaster as distinct and separate “states” – a block of space-time – isolated from any thinking on trends.  Every evening news report, for many months, tells of disasters, primarily the big three:  FWF (Floods, Winds, Fires). The TV could run stock video and most wouldn’t know the difference. Other than references to Katrina and Sandy (both hurricanes) there is no mention of other disasters and no mention of Climate Change. This is probably intentional, as considering more disasters coming could give rise to panic and force the issue of Climate Change – not wanted by many.  A while back I posted a comment that said: If you can be flooded, you will be flooded. If your area can burn, it will burn. It just takes time.

These are no longer isolated incidents (states) to be compared, and to recover from. Looking back, they involve stories of courage and survival. Read Rebecca Solnit’s A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disasters.  We know everyone doesn’t recover. I await the expose documenting how recovery from disasters is slowing and may eventually cease.

(2) The growing elevation of “phenomena” to a focus for my attention, almost to replace “system”. My exemplar phenomenon: Elections 2016 in USA.  One might consider a phenomenon as a nonlinear interaction of many systems.  A phenomenon can impact many systems not initially part of the phenomenon. My exemplar is global in scope and will have effects far into the future. Should we call these effects into the future, and precursors from the past as part of the phenomenon? I grok “phenomena” as having many of the aspects you gave to “state”.
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Tony, the above is a tiny drop in an ocean compared to the “power and glory” (there are no good words to label your works) of Eliciting a Universe of Meaning. I could only skim it, but did recognize a few persons and works mentioned. Whenever I stopped to read, it was exciting. AND, the LINKS!

I try to imagine you composing your works and the access system you must have for your files. How much of it is accessible in your own memory?  I have 1/1000 of yours, and I can remember only a few – without a good search system – past intentions to create one never fulfilled.

I just metamorphed/imagined your docs as Amusement Parks. Teams would navigate and play within your scaffolding. What wonderful dialogs would emerge, even over a single paragraph. One might caution about getting lost, if one wandered down url links to other docs.

Have you graphed a map of all your docs and their links?  Imagine a learning expedition that hops from doc to doc – and assembles those parts into another doc.  Have you considered the utility of linking points within different docs; not that you should do it, considering the time needed. Could an AI program make attempts – versions of the site protected from alteration.

What is this: https://www.laetusinpraesens.org/ ?  Not the short sequence of symbols, the url.  Not the page of symbols that appears. Not all the words, sentences, paragraphs, pages, diagrams, links in this file, or every other file. I call this a SEMFIELD.  Wikipedia is another semfield.  They are also “sites” in “cyberspace”. Where is the semfield “laetus-in-praesens” located?  Is it’s “existence” (as a “thing”) of similar nature to that of a rainbow?  Is  http://www.un-intelligible.org/  a different, distinct semfield?  Are there more?

Do you edit or rewrite older docs?  I just discovered your FAQ , to be explored later. This is an excellent guide to potential readers. And your MAP .  I encountered an external “review” that couldn’t conclude whether your site is “safe for children” and that it probably wasn’t fraudulent!   Is it safe for the elites of humankind?

Tony, do your have a short name for  “laetus-in-praesens”?  I shall refer to it as LIP, until otherwise.  LIP = [Joy in the Present]. An interesting choice.  “Metascape” just popped to my mind. The content of LIP is “meta” – and is atemporal.  That resonates with my “Here&Now”, the “specious present” that contains Past, Present, and Future (with alternatives). LIP “IS” – as replicated semiotic structures – continuing “out there” for all Here&Nows.  Has LIP been translated? Who have read significant parts? Is there an archive of dialog on LIP?

A person could read all of LIP – as it was created by one person, who did other things. One might consider all the texts referenced within LIP that were not written by Anthony Judge.  LIP might be an excellent “text” for a core curriculum for young activists. Persons and Teams could record their travels/expeditions within LIP, with commentary and associated dialog.

LIP is far, far from comprehensive re human knowledge – nor does LIP intend to be comprehensive. What is the projection of LIP on a quality taxonomy of human knowledge? For what LIP does cover, are there biases and are there alternative positions?  Has anyone taken issue on any parts of LIP?  Where else is LIP explored as I call for here?

LIP is the product of one mind/brain; probably not much influenced by feedback on the product, LIP – because few read with comprehension and provided feedback.  Larry/nuet has faced similar conditions, and his work, Nuets Nodes (NN) and other docs, have not been effected by others — OTHER than much written is about the lack of attention, blindspots, and self analysis as to WHY? Both LIP and NN are difficult to read. With LIP I am drawn in many concurrent,competing directions: (1) STUDY each part, think and comment; (2) SKIM ahead to grok the whole; and/or (3) follow the links. (4) would be to compose my own docs in response to what I “got” from engaging a part of LIP.

What should others do who value LIP and want to make it more accessible and useful?  What might they do, while Tony is with us, to access what he has not yet put into words. What services can LIP provide for relevant projects now and in the future?  Can the practical essence of LIP be extracted to serve us in our transition from humankind to humanity?

How much of LIP is redundant – statements made in a doc to make a point clear, but which are in other docs, probably worded differently.

Where would we be at if I had engaged with Tony when I first knew of him, decades ago? How would Larry/nuet have been changed?

Will any of Larry/nuet’s insights lead to alterations and/or additions to LIP?
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CONCLUSION:  Tony Judge and his semfields are gems, valuable human resources. Within are perspectives I speculate are essential for humankind to comprehend and apply, to succeed in “his/er” transition to Humanity. {Recently I read we shouldn’t use “it” as pronoun for humankind. Do we need another category of pronouns, or is it OK to consider humankind as having “gender”?}

Yet, there is a paradox.  Tony’s concerns, analyses, and recommendations are expressed in a form nearly impossible for a person to adequately engage – and do something with others related to it. I won’t be able to even begin exploring LIP, although I probably will peek in now-and-again. There is so much else to attend to.

I (Larry/nuet) also learned, that even had I organized all my life’s writings for quality access by others, they would not have been adequately engaged. I view a “nuet” semfield as relevant, although on different issues, as is Tony’s LIP semfield. How many other eeree semfields by individual persons are out there?

I propose that there are nu collective ways teams/crews/tribes can engage these “personally authored” semfield resources and begin construction/emergence of a “master” semfield for emergent humanity.

HUMANITY’S SEMFIELD

That which every human can access/perceive,
and know that it is the same “pattern” all others access/perceive.

Humans can dialog about different interpretations,
with processes seafing convergence.

All that happens beyond our immediate experience
can only be known via reports (sems in semfields).
There is no objective reality to be observed.
Yet, OTHER can impact our lives.
We learn about and share OTHER via our Semfields.

SEAFING revisited, Mutual & Web

SEAF = Support  Enable  Augment  Facilitate

Being aware of our personal limitations gives us the collective potential
to seaf ourselves to live much fuller personal lives
than we do not acknowledging our personal limitations.

FINDING: All humans require seafing to live optimally in complex human orgs. Special seafing will be required to uplift our dysfunctional humankind to a viable humanity.

All humans are severely dysfunctional, relative to what needs doing, much of which we don’t yet know (what needs doing), so learning that  – is what we most need to be doing. Those most functional in their life notch may be the most in need of seafing. Not because of what they are doing (which most likely is making things worse – indirectly), but because only they have existing knowledge/competencies to start their new learning/development so as to be prepared to begin actions to eventually turn everyone around; yet they are often the most resistive to real change.

There is no blame. Each person is where-they-are-at by their particular mix of Nature/Nurture-over-time, with a little personal agency that seldom was significant.  Recognizing and taking advantage of a rare opportunity is probably the type of personal agency most powerful. Who we are is more a matter of chance, than choice. Drive is not agency, but a Nature/Nurture developed tool that can be used by agency. Drive doesn’t always lead to the best actions.

Human persons emerge by their brain’s OS organizing the outcomes of events in their lives, most of the events not being chosen.  When some persons get to a point where they can partly determine their events, the set of events from which they can chose has been very severely limited – and they are not free to chose events outside this narrow set. The set, itself, is seldom, if ever, chosen.

FINDING: No one can change significantly by themselves. Our over dependence on personal agency and conscious will is detrimental to the viability of human social/societal/cultural systems, and the survival/thrival of humankind/Gaia.

Of course, it all depends on how we define “significantly”. In a sense, the statement is a tautology when “significantly” is defined as what is beyond  the competencies of the individual person to comprehend on their own.

This is a “finding”, in that scientific evidence could be assembled that demonstrates how individual persons are significantly limited in their accurate perception and comprehension of all that may be relevant to their lives and future well-being, from their available stimuli and without  seafing/helping  http://nuet.us/2016/08/24/seafing-and-helping/  by others.

SEAFing & HELPing

 

 HELPing is action taken in the Here&Now in response to needs (perceived and comprehended) present in the Here&Now. Much helping is hard-wired, in mammals and is essential in nuturing young.  The Mutual Aide with tribes is helping.

SEAFing is action taken in the Here&Now consistent within strategies of actions based on temporal analysis of complex situations, relating Here&Now conditions to cyberspace accessible data, information, and possible assistance by coordinated teams & persons.

Within close groups of intimate persons, seafing and helping are integrated. Seafing intimates involves considerable subconscious analysis of the other in terms of the person’s own needs – with intention to CHANGE the other, which makes it seafing.

DEEP SEAFING

INSIGHT: Deep seafing refers to seafing when the seafed person’s deep psychology is used, along with the deep psychology of close associates, friends, co-workers, colleagues as well as analyzed futures scenarios/strategies that may involve the future changes for seafed person.

The “personal rights” of a person being deep seafed is a topic what needs extensive exploration.  Should the person being deep seafed be provided access to all (or limited) information about him/er self and the process? Should they be assisted in comprehending the information, if requested?

In the context of this doc, persons can never be “totally free”(a delusional myth in the ideology of individualism). As infants they were subject to the whims of others; all through life they encounter unanticipated others, events, circumstances, and opportunities. Their development of cognitive skills for navigating life is also mostly out of a person’s agency.

Yet, the societal/cultural entity that will have seafing as a subsystem must be carefully secure against invasion by destructive forces.

Mini Semfields for Mutual Aide

This is an exploratory topic.  It relates to possibly soon to be created, teams of persons, who mutually explore their deep psychology, involving a private semfield for the team, and a mutual seafing system.

Whether such teams should be observed/monitored and/or whether interaction between experimental teams should be explored are additional topics.

Refer to my Wire Sculpture metaphor for competency phase spaces for persons and teams.

COMPLEMENTARITY of PERSPECTIVE needed.

There is a human propensity to chose between alternative actions – essential for quick survival decisions.  This propensity to treat alternatives as competitive causes serious difficulty when planning or strategizing future actions.

“Complementarity” is a relationship between alternative perspectives that was found necessary in Quantum Physics. You may know it as the wave/particle duality. Light and matter can be observed as a wave (field) or particle, depending on the situation; but only one at a time, when observed. I have generalized this to claim that reality (whatever “it” “is”) cannot be comprehended by one, single, logically consistent, explanatory scheme.

Human persons as (1) having “free” conscious agency and (2) being determined as components of social systems are in a complementarity relationship, they are not competitive.  Free/Determined is analog to Wave/Particle, in complementarity.

It is not nature OR nurture, but nature AND nurture.  It is not mind OR heart, but mind AND heart. But, the AND may not imply a kind of total integration as in everyday metaphor.

When a person acts in belief of their conscious will, that action is REAL in terms of their effects on the processes within their brains/wrlds. They can WILL (not always achieved) their inner wrld to change to meet their desires; even if their inner wrld is conflicted with evidence (they could perceive, but don’t) with an intersubjective (consequential) world. WILL can often have strong so-called, sub-conscious components.

The so-called REAL WORLD, that OBJECTIVE REALITY (that bites us in the ass when we ignore it)  IS REAL (consequential), but our knowledge of IT is never direct and always hypothetical within our inner wrlds.

SEAFing and HELPing

On 8/22/2016, I could only skim an email from a colleague requesting Seafing or Helping. I was so dizzy I couldn’t sit up, the side effect from a new med I had just started taking to improve my memory. I had the same reaction from my previous memory med. Writing this I am not dizzy but my balance and perceptions are still not “normal”, and I can’t find good words to describe my state. I have since read the email and this event has cast useful light on the distinction I am making between seafing and helping.

In a grossly inefficient manner (low eeree), Banner Medical Center (UofArizona) provides a weak form of seafing. They assess my biological condition and prescribe treatment in the form of recommended medications, which I must perform the behavior of acquiring and taking the med. Banner doesn’t do any behavior for me that I could do myself.
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The following is an exercise in exploring distinctions, not a call to use the terms “help” and “seaf” in this precise manner. For some readers, it will seem to “picky”. However, if we were to use this distinction and assess the ratio of helping vs seafing being done, I would expect that helping would be much more frequent – whereas, our survival/thrival may call for much more seafing.

Seafing (supporting, enabling, augmenting, facilitating) might be viewed as meta-helping. Seafers might provide information, from an assessment of a person’s (team’s, org’s) situation and needs, from which the person can plan and execute change. With the person’s permission, the seafers may undertake to alter some of the environment of the person being seafed. Seafers may also provide guidance (education, training, counseling) for the changes to be undertaken. Such changes may be in concert with changes others are making.

The line between seafing and helping may not be sharp.

Helping, as used here, refers to a person or system doing some of the tasks the entity being helped can’t do, but would need being done to achieve their (the entity’s) objectives and goals. Helping may involve doing more of what the person being helped is already doing. A helper joins the helpee in his/er activity.

Persons from the seafers team might also chose to help, but it should not be classified as seafing. The objective of seafing is to improve the “commons”, by assisting a person change to better fit the needs of the commons AND also improve the overall well-being of the person. Seafing feeds emergence; helping only adds “energy/momentum” to an ongoing activity. Helping may also contribute to emergence, but by accident not intention.

Before my dizzy spell, I had started a new post titled: SEAFING revisited, Mutual & Web, wherein I will attempt a comprehensive explication of this conceptual scheme. I was doing this for two reasons: 1) the significance of SEAFing for all that we do in the future, and 2) my personal needs for being seafed at this time. I was confronted, myself, with the distinction between seafing and helping. My colleague’s request for seafing and/or helping simply highlighted the need for clarification.
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During my many hours lying in bed, metaphors for the helping/seafing distinction kept popping to mind.

Think of a person pushing/rolling a large boulder to the top of a hill.

  • You can HELP the person by pushing with him/er.
  • You can SEAF the person by clearing the path, making it easier to roll.
  • You can SEAF the person by giving him/er water, food, even encouragement.
  • You can SEAF the person by organizing others to HELP him/er.
  • You can SEAF the person by suggesting s/he use a block & tackle and drag the boulder up the hill.

I had the idea of a “seafing boulder rolling down a hill”. Instead of the destruction we imagine caused by a stone boulder, imagine a “seafing sphere” that would seaf all things it encountered as it rolled through the people on the hill.
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Is gifting money or resources helping or seafing? It may be both or neither.

Gifting would be HELPING when it enables the persons gifted to do more of what they are doing, and/or to do what they had planned to do, but had not yet started.

Gifting would be SEAFING when it is used to explore and test new aspects or relationships of what is being done with the doings of others, or with expanded objectives or goals.

Gifting would be neither helping of seafing when it is used to improve the quality of life of the persons being gifted. Only, if gifting the persons did it improve the work of the persons, would it be viewed as helping/seafing.

  ————————————-

Helping/Seafing Persons in NEED.

Persons surviving disasters, or any persons in danger or under the influence of “forces” that oppress or block advancement, are in NEED.

HELPING persons in NEED would keep them alive and/or repair what they had lost.

SEAFING persons in NEED would improve their actions to remove themselves from being in NEED.

    ————————————–

Implications of this will be the subject of other posts.

ALTERNATIVE HUMAN REALITIES – A POSSIBLE TAXONOMY

These insights came to me in the evening of August 19 and morning of the 20th, 2016, as I lay in bed listening to a audio novel on CD. It is a slightly different perspective of what has been brewing within nuet for quite a while, related to my perspective that we humans host “wrlds” that emerge (wrld-weaving) as patterned activity in our brains – and that all human behavior and (conscious) experientials emerge from this autopoietic “musical dance on the mind/brain”. What we moment-by-moment perceive as the WORLD is better hypothesized as ourselves reacting to our structural coupling with Gaia and other humans. “wrlds” are what we each know about and experience in our lives. Humankind is composed of 7+ billion, structurally coupling “wrlds”. Vastly different wrlds.

As was recently debated online, a rainbow is perceived as a thing, and can be physically represented in terms of light coming from raindrops into one’s eyes – yet it is different from each perspective and is created within our mind/brains. Rainbows aren’t physical things “out there”. There are processes “out there” that can be used in our creating “rainbows” in our mind/brains.

We never directly perceive each other, but experience what our mind/brains have created from structurally coupling with the light and sound coming to me from you. We don’t perceive input processed by our brains – modulated by our wrlds. Rather, the input patterns modulate our wrlds to emit behaviors and experientials.

Maturana and Varela claim, using Spencer-Brown’s Logic of Forms, that the two perspectives (information transfer vs structural coupling) are logically equivalent.  I have not followed their argument.

Structural Coupling can be dynamic and resonating, as is evidenced by mirror neurons responding to voice and gestures. Wrlds aren’t alone, it is only that there is no direct contact between minds. This has many positive aspects when you think about it.

Also, although the natural brain process of wrld-weaving is within each person, the wrld that is woven is as much (or more) from the structural coupling with all that one encounters during life. “Nature” provides the wrld-weaving OS (which can be modified) while “Nurture” provides the content threads to be woven.

Unfortunately, today, the patterns-of-nurture that humans encounter are far from optimal for their wrld’s emergence; many times suppressing actualization of innate potentials. This is the “crime” of the current mode of societal organization called “Civilization”.

All the above was already known to me.  My new insights were how the wrlds of others might be, if lacking certain conceptual schemes – such as an “environment” or “society” or “system”.

Scientifically we know our environment is an ecology of living systems among various physical structures, landscapes, oceans, atmospheres, etc. – a changing complexity that we use “systems” to label.  This is a conceptual scheme, a framework within our wrld for organizing the patterns.

The wrld of a newborn doesn’t yet have these frameworks, and tribal humans didn’t either; they are probably not inherited. Humans, with language, weave “abstract” entities in mind, “phantoms” that are never perceived, but can be “imagined”. We wrld-weave within systems of categories.

We have yet to uncover the role of dreams, mental imagery, and hallucinations in the development of wrlds. I speculate that our “consciousness” may have started with dreams and later applied to perceptions – which are well utilized by animals without language.

Birds must have excellent inner “maps” of their surroundings, as they fly away from and then all return to the flock from large distances. Even butterflys migrate in generational hops. Squirrels know where they have stored nuts for winter. Early humans did the same, even as they migrated.

Australian natives learn their culture’s names of things and when they walk on journeys they recite to themselves and remember the things observed. Later they may tell others the story of their trip, which is remembered as a “map” for others to follow the same route. A living native was frustrated, when riding in a car; having to ask the driver to slow down because he couldn’t name things he saw because they came by too fast.

Tribal persons would learn the names and uses of many things in their surroundings and evolved to care for their surroundings. They did not usually TAKE, extract – but they did DUMP, which eventually corrupted their surroundings.  Their wrlds we composed of sensorally perceived things with relative locations to other things (including the moving sun, moon, and stars).

Modern humans do the same for their immediate surroundings. For those not educated in the sciences, the wider world is a montage of different surroundings, regions that can have special names and attributes (including characteristics of their peoples). But, they are unaware of the complex relationships between components of the globe. They may assign mythological attributes from metaphors from their more immediate realities. This can often become confusing, especially if they view TV.

Terms like government, economy, environment, society don’t mean for them what they mean for those who have learned the conceptual schemes. We have yet to study (or maybe some have and I don’t know about it) how their realities are organized. From their perspective, it is OK to take, as “out there” is but a collection of things for the taking – not a system where what is taken may disturb other important things.

What we (educated & enlightened humans) must not do, is assume that our reality is shared by most other humans living on Earth today. Their wrlds are alien to ours – and many of ours are alien to each other.

For example, most persons familiar with the conceptual scheme of “systems” are unaware of how this even limits their wrld. Crudely, a system is composed of components with properties, linked by relations, and embedded in an environment of things and stimuli. Specific knowledge of a system enables a person to sometimes forecast how the system will respond to changes. Some systems can be mathematically described and forecasts can become predictions. This conceptual scheme can be intuitively comprehended by persons working with machines, for example, that can be viewed as systems, without having any formal instructions about General Systems.  This frame called “systems” can then be applied to many different things, but each in isolation.

A person may acknowledge that components can be viewed as smaller systems and that a system can be a component of a larger system, where each system is called a “holon” in a “holarchy”. What is often ignored is that holons at separated levels in a holarchy can interact. Molecules from cells can effect experience and behavior, and can interact with social systems that distribute molecules (eventually) to cells. Networks and webs are “things” different from “systems”, but are often called systems. “Systems” often becomes the scientific replacement for “things”.

I use four frames for organizing: systems (holons), networks, ecologies, and holarchies.  [sys/net/eco/hol]  I take them to be conceptual tools I use to organize my experiences. They may not be “out there” anymore than a rainbow is “out there”.

We are far from ready to create a taxonomy of wrlds in our global population, but we need to make a good estimation of distributions soon. Otherwise we don’t know who we are.  Ethnicity, gender, age, wealth, health, education are grossly insufficient to characterize humankind. Our cognitive profiles, learning styles, imagery competencies, etc. are much more important for us to comprehend our diversity of wrlds.

How do wrlds change, evolve and emerge? How do different wrlds interact (structurally couple – via language)? How do our use of media effect wrlds. Paradigm shifts, a concept many decades old, hints to a shifting of wrlds. Most formal education is devoted to the assimilation of new information to fit a pre-existing wrld. Accommodations and equilibration do occur, as Piaget proposed – but his application was child development. How wrlds change and shift for adults in turbulent and stressful times is a major challenge, today.  Different psychiatric states can be also viewed as different wrlds.

What exactly was my recent insight? I groked the diversity of wrlds, with an increased awareness that many humans don’t have what I have as societies or sci/tech or evolution/emergence within the frames of their wrlds. They lack categories I use; although they may hear or read terms for those categories.

Last night I was interrupted at this computer, and shut down early, by Milo, a beautiful male cat, who insisted on my attention for an hour. A few months ago Milo had a few weeks of hourly seizures, which we were able to cure with a medication I learned about online. I am convinced Milo is expressing thanks to me, as I held him many, many times during his seizures.  I  sometimes wonder about the scale of wrlds from Milo through chimps to the taxonomy of human wrlds.

A sys/net/eco/hol of wrlds hosted by humankind is emerging towards the “birthing” of humanity via Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis. UPLIFT is a conceptual scheme that intentionally and systemically seafs the merging and shifting of wrlds – one-at-a time (analogous to the embryonic development from fertilized egg to baby – each cell in mitosis to become two cells). One human, already uplifting within a seafing network of others uplifting, engages a person from the societal environment of UpMov and they become TWO members – both change in the process. Then each of the TWO, become FOUR, then EIGHT, on to the exponential viral penetration of the UPLIFT meme into the global human population.  Diversity within Unity.

Four decades ago (minus two years), alone on a hill top near Perth, Scotland, I raised my arms in the air and shouted:  HUMANKIND METAMORPHOSIZE , many times. Am I beginning to hear the echos?

 

 

IS EMPATHY POSSIBLE ?

I have just viewed a half-hour discussion on empathy, that is very enlightening to me. This post reports my brief reaction to the video, not a crafted explication on:  Is Empathy Possible? , which is the query of their debate.

The “furious debate” is between Edwin Rutsch, founder of the Center for Building a Culture of Empathy and Sam Vaknin, a well educated, intellectual, expert on narcissism and psychopathy – also “formally” diagnosed as (borderline) lacking empathy – who is the producer of the video.

To me, they are cross-talking – yet, there is, to me, considerable  “empathy” demonstrated in their dialog.

Is emotional embodiment when experiencing others necessary for “empathy”? How is Sam’s disassociation of his experiencing others without emotion different from Eastern disciplines who claim being able to experience without emotional involvement?

I rephrase the query: Can humankind create a viable humanity even if persons cannot fully share each other’s conscious experiences?

Edwin cites mirror neurons and other physiological correlates to conscious experiences as evidence for shared consciousness, that IMA is correctly refuted by Sam.  However, Sam’s example that we can’t prove we both share the same experience of red, to imply we can’t agree make inter-subjective agreements about a common, “objective reality” is not fully accurate. Different persons can agree on the identity of patterns (e.g. text or diagrams on surfaces, visually perceived), even if they differ on interpretations of the patterns.

It is true, the overall experience of perceiving and comparing patterns will have features which are different between viewers; thus their whole experiences can’t be compared.  But need they be? Is there a positive aspect that humans are limited to being autopoietic systems, capable of structural coupling, having some “privacy” and “uniqueness”?  Might the ultimate consequence of total empathy lead to a bland oneness?

Both Edwin and Sam exhibit the all-to-human trait of believing what they experience to be “real” (with minor imperfections). They assume that humans, at our stage of evolution/emergence can possess (some) ultimate truths.

I am exploring the potentials of a semfield of shared patterns (sems – semiotic structures) to be created as a common empirical foundation for the structural coupling  of humans (and eventually other beings).

This relates to a shift in perspective I think is needed in how humans approach their experiences. For everyday living in our immediate settings we can’t avoid our mammalian predisposition to believe what we experience is of an external reality. This is necessary for eeree functioning. The exception may be when inter-personally relating to other humans.

There is very strong evidence that the content of consciousness, our experientials, are associated with body/brain processes (possibly at levels not yet explored, such as the microtubles within neurons). The “screen” on which these “experientials” are displayed and the “experiencer” remains a mystery, although some claim to “know”. Even if some content may result from “sources beyond perception or body” (e.g., Transcendental Reality, TR), it is obviously (from an analysis of reports of TR) filtered through the contextual “wrld” that emerges during the life of a person.

For topics beyond the experiential immediate, it will often be necessary to distinguish:

1) A common, objective, external WORLD within which all humans live, but who may perceive and interpret differently.  In this reality, a person (teacher) attempts to have the other person look more objectively and experience what is really there (as assumed by the teacher).

2) Objective reality cannot be directly known. Each human autopoietically emerges an internal/woven “wrld” during their lives in structural coupling with Gaia and other humans (and possibly with TR). To change others one must tweak the structural coupling to move the other to change their wrlds.  This is primitive in contemporary humankind, in what I call Adult Stage Development with linear stages as in Spiral Dynamics   and the Objectification model of Robert Kegan. We need new non linear developmental models.


The issue of how to “treat” persons born with structures that would lead to propensities to be dangerous to humanity cannot be avoided. This is not different on how to “treat” situations where a mis-match of nature & nurture may also result in persons dangerous to humanity.

Elsewhere  I have discussed how the lack of emotional empathy in a small percent of the population had positive survival value for tribes. Given the strong empathy within tribes, a “psychopath” may occasionally be needed when some members of the tribe must be sacrificed to save the tribe. Tribes lacked the special hierarchical structures that “psychopaths” use today to “climb to the top”.

BOOKS, relevant on the nu human

Recent books I have read which cite changes in how we conceive of humans and humankind.  Many of these findings are not incorporated in how we think and behave. These are not all that do this, and there are many older books that do this also. We just haven’t connected the dots.

More dots from Giorgio Bertini’s Learning Change

About Time: Cosmology and Culture at the Twilight of the Big Bang, Adam Frank

AntiFragile, Nassim Nicholas Taleb

Coming to Our Senses: Perceiving Complexity to Avoid Catastrophes, Viki McCabe

Denial: Self-Deception, False Beliefs, and the Origins of the Human Mind, Ajit Varki and Danny Brower.

Present Shock, Douglas Rushkoff

Scarcity: Why Having Too Little Means So Much, Sendhil Mullainathan & Elda Shafir (economist and psychologist)

Smarter Than You Think: How Technology is Changing our Minds for the Better, Clive Thompson

Social Physics: How Good Ideas Spread, Alex Pentland

Social: Why Our Brains Are Wired to Connect,  Matthew Lieberman

Surfaces and Essences: Analogy as the Fuel and Fire of Thinking, Doug Hofstadter & Emmanuel Sander

The Infinite Resource, Ramez Naam

The Innovators: How a Group of Hacker, Geniuses, and Geeks Created the Digital Revolution  by Walter Isaacson

The Righteous Mind: Why Good People Are Divided by Politics and Religion,  Jonathan Haidt

Thinking, Fast and Slow, Daniel Kahneman

Who Owns the Future, Jaron Lanier

Willful Blindness: Why We Ignore the Obvious at Our Peril, Margaret Heffernan

The Man Who Wasn’t There: Investigations into the Strange New Science of the Self, Anil Amanthaswarmy

The Silo Effect: The Peril of Expertise and the Promise of Breaking Down Barriers, Gillian Tett

Peers, Inc.  Robin Chase

The Organized Mind: Thinking Straight in the Age of Information Overload, Daniel J. Levitin

The Upright Thinkers:  The Human Journey from Living in Trees to Understaidning the Cosmos , Leonard Mlodinow

Reclaiming Conversation: The Power of Talk in the Digital Age, Sherry Turkle

The Path: What Chinese Philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life, Michael Puett & Christine Gross-Loh

Hope in the Dark: , Untold Histories, Wild Possibilities, Revecca Solnit

A Paradise Built in Hell: The Extraordinary Communities That Arise in Disasters  Rebecca Solnit

The Hope: a Guide to Sacred Activism, Andrew Harvey

Ignorance: How It Drives Science, Stuart Firestein