THE GREATEST MYSTERY STORY

THE GREATEST MYSTERY STORY

I don’t “brood over the Dark Side”, although it may appear so as many of my post are about “what is happening”. My emotions may be tweaked occasionally. Actually, I am concerned that I am not more “deeply” concerned.

  • There appears to be an asymmetry in how the Dark and Bright Sides are experienced.  The Dark Side is experienced through events which violate, and excite our fight/flight responses. Experiences of the Bright Side may also be triggered by reports of events, often “viewed” as evidence of emergent processes in emergent synergy. Dark Side events point to relatively independent forces which, however, often reinforce each other contributing to destruction. It is easier to comment on Dark Side events than Bright Side processes.

I have come to realize that THE STORY OF HUMANKIND AND GAIA is a most exciting mystery being composed collaboratively by human persons living human lives. I enjoy mystery and SciFi novels, and this story is one hell of a tale. It even includes all fictions as well as all histories and so-called ‘news of the day”. What went on? What is going on? What is to come?  I would be fascinated even if I weren’t part of the story and one of its authors.

Once I read an excellent book, The Gift of Fear by Gavin de Becker.  Fear is experienced when our whole system is alerted to potential danger – a very important competency. While humans can’t function well when constantly in the state of fear (as is the intention of some media), to block essential fear is dangerous.  We need to periodically dip into fear of Climate Change and Humankind Collapse if not Extinction. I comment on this in my blog post, Deep Denial.

Once I made an analog of our future adventures akin to wagon trains attempting to cross high mountains in winter, migrating to a “promised land”. A wagon train is an exemplar community with self contained infrastructure.  There would be periods when everyone had to push hard to survive. There would be moments of extreme challenge. The experience of high challenge isn’t fear, but related to it. It provides the extra energy, stamina, and heightened attention needed to keep going.

Post-collapse videos are bad, but the closest we get – and they may contribute to our avoidance of stories we might learn from. We need positive and dramatic stories of continuing emergence during collapse. The problem is “what is emerging”? We are confused in trying to imagine positive transformation occurring while the same system is collapsing. I am not sure such conflicting phenomena occurs in nature. Healing occurs in the midst of damage, but usually the damage already has been done. We need narratives for Societal Metamorphosis. We need to include challenges of self-organization as well as interactions with collapsing humankind.

Who really imagines their lifestyle significantly changing as we create a better humankind. Everyone wants “things to get better”, but without fundamental PERSONAL change (other than the removal of negatives, such as addictions, and acquiring more things). We need to imagine ourselves on challenging and sometimes strenuous EXPEDITIONS-in-TIME in tumultuous environments – but with confidence that we have the potential to succeed and that our daily lives need not be stressful or painful. Survival depends on successful self-organizing/learning emergence, not on winning against an oppressive societal environments.

  • I learned from Robert Fritz (The Path of Least Resistance) to view most social systems as environments (with both dangers and resources) but not as supra-systems to which I/We owe allegiance and are members.

I have abandoned (because I deem it impossible) trying to change others while they are embedded in their social network reinforcing their addictive lifestyle. Our efforts as significant change can only be directed to “ourselves”, but much more than individual consciousness raising. We will succeed only in teams and in the future as we engage in the world-weaving of HUMANITY – to which we will have allegiance.

HUMANITY has yet to be conceived, although there have been many attempts, and we learn from our lack of success.  The story of emergent HUMANITY will probably manifest as the formation and continuation of viable teams – beginning with an initial “conception team” (analogous to the first fertilized egg). There may be concurrent multiple teams independently forming. It may start with the formation of one critical team which catalyzes the formation of teams from other groups ready and needing only the catalyst.  Teams will grow (galdee), reproduce, differentiate and organize – forming a little embryonic HUMANITY with “superhuman” viability and vitality, and astonishing competencies.  Not super hero individuals but vibrant super teams and communities-of-teams.

Knowledge to do this already exists, distributed and now being curated by the Learning Change Project, the P2P Foundation, The Millennium Project, TheCo-Intelligence Institute, and literally thousands of start-ups in cyberspace. None of these are the conception team – if they were we would be witnessing rapid exponential growth. Imagine them as “Imaginal Buds” in insect metamorphosis.

INSIGHT NOW: The conception team will not be noted for the specific persons who will be members. The conception team will be identified by the distribution of requisite competencies among members and their collective ability (mediated by intelligent infrastructure) to be viable and capable of reproduction.  These “stem” teams have the collective competenties to PRSOS (Promote, Recruit, Select, Orient, Support) other persons in their social environment and seaf their learning/organizing into becoming competent members of other viable teams with the same requisite competencies as the original conception team.

  •     This insight is a radical revison of the BUS project for UPLIFT, with the primitive node being shifted from a person to a team. However, the PRSOS is directed to PERSONS. It is TEAMS that are functional components of BUS activity, although the interactivity will be between PERSONS-IN-WEBS.
  •     Here is where humankind encounters the “singularity”. As competent as the human brain is, it lacks the scope/magnitude/complexity in biological time to adequately function as a primitive node of a viable planetary HUMANITY. Humans are a product of their biological evolutionary history – with intrinsic limitations. HUMANITY is to be an essential subsystem of an emergent Gaia far into the distant future. What is to become of the “lowly” biological human?
  •     I am not in position to predict the future of humans. I doubt we will be replaced by computers, with our “minds uploaded”. HUMANITY will have an essential biological substrate for the foreseeable future, and it will be in HUMANITY’s best interest to keep its human persons healthy and creative.  The team is an interactive system of personal human body/brain/minds. Over millennia HUMANITY may modify the “nature” and distribution of human persons; but unlikely in ways that would dimish the mental life of persons. The near future of HUMANITY will be much more dependent on the uplift and organization of competencies of existing biological humans than the fantasies of GMO humans and computers with uplifted minds.
  •         With the re-discovery of the microbiome within our multi-celled organism, and the microbiol domain of single-celled organisms foundational for the continued viability of Gaia, the significance of intra-cellular and inter-cellular process are recognized and accepted. In analogy, the biological human body/brain/mind will continue to be the foundation of HUMANITY.  But, just as our being and identity is determined by our multi-cellular organization (and not dictated by the whims of our individual biological cells), so HUMANITY will be determined by the multi-person organization (and not dictated by the whims of individual persons). Our “identity” is relevant, not our “individuality”.
  •         For those with “religious needs”, HUMANITY will be a great substitute for “GOD”.
  •     Because of my age and my weird “savant” nature, I will not be part of a conception team. Nor could most persons. The conception team is analog to the first few cells of a mammal, becoming a ball of similar cells – until they begin to differentiate. As new teams of emergent HUMANITY differentiate and specialize most humans in the general population can become members of these diverse teams.

The future HUMANITY analog to a multi-celled biological organism is but one of many complementary metaphors for that which we label “HUMANITY”.

RATIONAL vs INTUITIVE RANKING & PREFERENCES

RATIONAL vs INTUITIVE RANKING & PREFERENCES

RATIONALE

The personal phenomena reported below has led Larry to propose a few propositions and speculate on their consequences. This may seem a small contribution to our major concerns and initially may appear not very relevant. Yet, the cWrld of nuet, hosted in Larry, has hundreds of such bits which in synergy support the potentially viable conceptual schemes he calls Societal Metamorphosis and UPLIFT.

Two classical learning/teaching styles were called “deductive” and “inductive” in analogy to the two logical processes. “Deductive” learning/teaching starts with concise statements of what is to be learned (a proposition), then followed with evidence and arguments in support. “Inductive” learning/teaching starts with exploring a number of concepts (initially not appearing related), leading to a synthesis of these components occurring in the mind/brains of learners and resulting in acceptance of a proposition. Gregory Bateson was explicit to his audiences that he was using the “inductive” approach. Individuals have preferences and some conceptual schemes may be best taught with a given approach.

It appears Larry’s creative style is “inductive”, while his communication style has been “deductive”. The conceptual schemes of Societal Metamorphosis and UPLIFT are “presented” in summary (often long), followed by some evidence and argument. These conceptual schemes emerged in nuet as the result of interaction of many component concepts. Each new concept involved a significant variation from existing concepts, using the same term. These variations “tuned” each other, so as to better “fit” as components of the larger, emergent conceptual schemes.

This causes great difficulty in learning by the “deductive” approach, where these component concepts are first introduced by their words/labels, which are taken by learners as having their traditional meanings, not the variations. Each argument for a variation must confront the established meaning, where the intention of the process was usually unclear. Concept variations often involved sharper distinctions, usually represented by using terms with more specific definitions, when the terms were traditionally synonymous. Another language change was to use sets of words (e.g., mind/brain/body or support/enable/augment/facilitate=seaf ) in an attempt to block use of the narrow meaning resulting from using just one term. These subtle language changes appeared critical (to Larry) in efficiently representing the variations in basic concepts. Unfortunately, processing these language changes proved very difficult – especially as the reason for them was not explained.

This language issue needs explicating in greater depth. This essay is an attempt to begin using the “inductive” approach. Here I introduce variations in my use of the concepts labeled by “ranking”, “preferences”, “measurement”, “distributions”, and “norms”.. These are not Larry’s variations, but aspects of some limitations on these terms accepted by those most knowledgeable about them, but often not recognized and applied by most users of those concepts.

 

PERSONAL PHENOMENA

Larry has never been able to identify cars of different makes and years, as others can do with considerable accuracy. This disability applies to observing differences between members of ANY category. Present two members of a category side by side and Larry can begin to seek differences, a childhood exercise in many publications for children in his time. Even when differences are obvious, Larry has great difficulty remembering their names – except for the most extreme cases of very frequent experiences.

Larry often has no basis to rank or give preference to variations of an item. Coffee is the exemplar – each cup of coffee may be experienced differently, but there is never a preference unless the variation is extreme – moving it outside the category of “just coffee”. Lacking sensory memory, Larry is unable to compare the current taste with a remembrance of a taste. This disability applies to ALL items perceived with any of the senses.

Based on the knowledge of these phenomena, and his conceptual remembrance of conclusions from reading a book on measurement sometime in his distant academic past, Larry is very sensitive to the misuse of ranking common today, even in the sciences. He has no detailed remembrance of the book’s content, title or author, and would have to reconstruct his conclusions.

  • A strange association is that the author may be Australian. Let’s see if it checks out. Also, the paper cover may be light blue – but this is not by visualizing it as mental imagery. The conceptual idea that it was blue just popped to consciousness.
  • The book is in storage to be searched for soon. A search of Amazon books for “theory of measurement” didn’t reveal the book.

In summary. Probably due to his lack of mental imagery, Larry cannot rank or have preferences for most categories, which others seem to do so readily. Of course, were he in a forced choice test he would have to chose, but without conscious reasons. Research might show an unconscious preference – at each moment.

 

        GROKED FEATURES OF GROUND

The term “grok” is taken from Robert Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, being used by some to label a vague sensation of a presence, but what is present is not in consciousness – but some if its feature may be conscious.

Larry “groks” distributions as real; as real as their concrete members. Human attribution of concrete vs abstract is a feature of human mammalian perception and should not be attributed to a reality independent of humans. This makes Larry sensitive to the misuse of averages and norms in human discourse.

  • The use of “the” instead of “a” is a popular fallacy. THE economy, THE people. EVERYONE knows.
  • Lacking mental imagery, Larry has great difficulty “imagining” how others experience their Wrlds. He is sensitive to the great diversity of Wrlds (specifically the great variety of mental imagery competencies and styles), but is also cautious that he sometimes lumps them into a single category of “with mental imagery” to be contrasted with his personal “lack of mental imagery”.

 

PROPOSITIONS

 

        MANY DIMENSION FALLACY – ONE DIMENSIONAL LIMITATION

We can only rank items one dimension at a time.

My example is ranking persons as to “size”, with the two dimensions of weight and height. We can plot individuals on a graph of weight vs height. The data points don’t fall neatly on a curve we might call “size”. “Size” can be any arbitrary curve drawn through the distribution of data points or a curve using “best fit” criteria.

There are very few items we rank that have only one dimension. Most ranking is done by subconsciously choosing one dimension.

A variation of this is persons claiming “superiority” for themselves or their causes. Persons and causes are multi-dimensional so ranking is invalid. Personally I am hyper sensitive to the common practice of this fallacy.

All attempts to rank items with multiple dimensions requires arbitrary assignment of “weights” to each dimension. Arguments for “weighing” often are given; but this makes the ranking dependent on the theories supporting the arguments. This makes the ranking theory dependent (while theories are culture dependent). My exemplar as been IQ. Each separate exercise in an IQ test is a new dimension – even when exercises are sorted into categories.

Weighted ranking can have pragmatic utility. We seek a “measure” to be used as a tool to provide first order category identification. The MMPI test for psychiatric categories is an example of a test so designed. Each question is a probe to reveal differences. The coordination of different responses to sets of questions is mapped on psychiatric categories derived from other means (usually long term clinical observation).

 

        STATISTICAL AVERAGES ARE VALID ONLY WHEN MEASUREMENTS ARE GIVEN IN A INTERVAL SCALE

For an average to be mathematically valid, the numbers averaged must fall on an interval scale. This means that the difference of measured variable, say between 75 and 80 (on a scale of 100) is the same as any other 5 point difference, such as between 60 and 65.

This implies that teacher practice of averaging scores of individual items on a test or averaging test scores over a semester is not mathematically valid. Single test scores to represent achievement also suffers from violation of the many dimension fallacy.

Pragmatic utility of averaging practice needs independent verification. This issue is never considered in the debate about testing in education.

 

        DISTRIBUTIONS vs NORMS or AVERAGES

When items in a population vary in many dimensions and each dimension may have a wide range of values; then the whole set of distributions must be the “entity” considered and should not be represented by a simple set of averages with statistical variations. The metaphor of reality consisting of entities with single values is significantly different from a reality viewed with entity DIVERSITY being the primary feature.

Mammalian survival may have favored using norms. The factors today threatening survival are more “global” and “long term”, no longer “local” and “immediate”.

Education about statistical reality (not necessarily presented with high mathematics) is essential for human sustainability, for both adults and children. Visuals to complement numbers are needed, as well as an acceptance of this need.

 

REALITY ISN’T WHAT OUR SENSES TELL US

This statement points to a set of issues well beyond this essay, but the POINTER is important here.

Humans, as mammals, slowly evolved a rapid/intuitive/emotional means of assessing momentary situations along survival/thrival attributes. The local reality we share through gestures of agreement, coupled with naming and verbal description dominates our behavior and conscious sense of what is “real”. We can call this our sensory or visible reality. It is natural to attempt to extend the attributes of this local & visual reality to the very small and very large and to other domains that are not directly observable – such as societal systems (of which we observe only a part and infer there is a whole).

For over a century humankind has scientifically explored the invisible world of the very small. Microscopes brought forms just below natural visibility into the visible range. For the much “smaller” entities of particle physics the “visible” became the reading of scientific instruments and displays of empirical data (often massaged) either as arrays of numbers or graphs. The success of Quantum Physics depended on the abandonment of attempts to project features in our sensory reality on the phenomena of the very, very small. Even the metaphor of the Bohr atom, analogous to a solar system, had to be explicitly abandoned before the emergence of Quantum Physics in 1926 was possible. Also, the metaphor of “spin” had to be abandoned before the discrete value variables could be properly comprehended. This resulted in the acceptance of “quantum weirdness” for this large domain of invisible reality. Unfortunately, educational and lay presentations still feature the solar system atom and spinning particles. The many anomalies in studies of the cosmological universe may be hinting about a coming shift in the reality of the very large and a Cosmological Weirdness.

It is my speculation that this abandonment of projecting features of sensory reality must be applied to the equally invisible domains of the societal and global. The “social” observed directly in our sensory spaces with humans interacting with each other must be seen as radically different from our inferred belief in societal organizations (corporations, governments, agencies, political parties, etc.) interacting like “objects in our sensory environments”. We might discover a “societal weirdness” as strange as the quantum weirdness of quantum reality. This reflects my distinct uses of “social” and “societal”.

  • Yet, the ontology/epistemology of operators, state functions, and collapse in quantum physics is not restricted to particle physics – and could be tested with societal reality.
  • My recent work on these issues was catalyzed by Bruno Latour’s idea of “phantoms”.
  • The “laws” governing humankind may well be quite different from those governing our immediate sensory realities. We cannot wait on a new theory of the societal before we begin to abandon questionable assumptions generalizing from the “social” to the “societal”.
  •         A new narrative of the discovery/creation of quantum reality of the invisible for the non scientist emphasizing how the visible and intuitive have limitations, is needed. Many non scientists are fascinated by reality weirdness, often making invalid generalizations based on inaccurate knowledge of quantum weirdness – but who may be motivated to learn of this new narrative and how it may be applied to better comprehending the societal and our Crisis-of-Crises.

 

 

POSSIBLE CONSEQUENCES

Larry has more freedom to explore alternatives because of his lack of ability to assign preferences or ranking.

It can be hypothesized that those human persons with useable mental imagery have a mammalian tendency to rank and develop strong preferences. Once ranking and preferences are set, they are resistant to change – especially resistant to conceptual argument.

Those with strong preferences and ranking severely restrict the scope of their Wrlds. There is probably also a tendency to view their Wrlds as more “objective” than those whose reality is more a statistical/probabilistic field of alternative Wrlds.

This may contribute to Larry’s difficulty of sharing his major conceptual schemes, but not the only factor.

DEEP DENIAL

I just returned {July 8, 5pm} from a short 15 minute walk in the local park with Piper, E’s dog.  I usually can stand heat better than cold, but the whole time I imagined life in the future after runaway Global Warming. It was unbearably HOT!

My thoughts were on a deeper denial, than the denial of catastrophic Climate Change.  Everyone’s behavior informs that “deep down” we all deny we are in critical crisis, even when we use the words and forecast what may be coming.  My intuitive/emotional-Wrld can’t accept this crisis, although my conceptual/rational-Wrld holds it in potentially frightening clarity. Yet, I am not frightened. Being frightened doesn’t call for panic, but should call for continuous exploration of alternatives if what “is being done” appears insufficient. I explore, but far from what I could be doing.

Are we humans wired so only immediate threats lead to sufficient action? It appears so. Are there process we can perform to compensate for this barrier, and design/implement sufficient action? Maybe, we won’t know unless we try.

Like John Muir – as a child falling into a well and being overcome by fumes hearing his father above instructing him to hang on – I am deep in my well of depression about our condition and  I am unable to share with anyone my vision/mission of UPLIFT so as to motivate their appreciation of its significance and be able to work with others to bring it to reality.  I have no “father” to assist me.

All  those who might help are also in deep wells – most unaware of their condition. I don’t blame anyone, it is our condition of human exceptionalism (“there are no beings superior to us”).  Every human’s iWrld has their in-group exceptional to all out-groups. We are deep wired for this; but we have competencies to compensate. However, exceptionalism blocks any serious effort to improve – one of the reasons to explain how America’s infrastructure has slipped to the bottom of developed nations – while it continues to beat its drum of American exceptionalism – and today it is exceptional, as a powerful monster.

A few hours ago {July 8} I finished reading Barbara Ehrenreich’s Living With a Wild God. I resonate with her so deeply in her life adventures and emerging insights.  On one plane we had quite different lives and experiences; at another we were both weaving within the same scaffolding. Even her insight about OTHERS resonates with my own. I have fantasized that OTHERS may have guided my life so that “nuet”, my cWrld, would have the utility it has for Humankind/Gaia in our Crisis-of-Crises.

  •     Then there was the serendipitous concurrence of her repeated mention of Dr. Gerald Edelman as director of a lab she worked in at The Rockefeller Institute. Finally confronting his blatant authoritarianism (probably justified) and the oppressive tedium of labwork, she walked away to another of her life paths. It was interesting as I knew of Edelman and had read one of his books. I read that part in Ehrenreich earlier this morning; that evening I read the obituary of Edelman in SCIENCE (10.1126/science.1257185  27June2014 pp 1457). The obit focused on Edelman’s work after The Rockefeller Institute on Neural Darwinism, which I knew about – and often think about it.  Neural Darwinism might be a model to be used in researching iWrlds and cWrlds.  This type of spontaneous coincidence, very frequent  throughout my life, led me to speculate that I was “guided”. I even concocted a “theory” about how “time-loops” (info moving back in time) can model the synchronicity phenomena.

Yesterday I had a useful insight, on how to reframe my ideas.  Compare the metamorphosis of Tadpole2Frog with Cateripllar2Butterfly as models for Humankind2Humanity.  Concepts to explicate this have been filling my mind since, with no time or patience to explicate. I might start with the query of where on the progress of an organism’s biological development, from conception to death, would we place – in analogy – humankind today?  The analogy is far from perfect – but I would venture somewhere between fetal just before birth to very early infancy.  On evolutionary scales humankind is so very new. Think on the comparison of worldviews and competencies of infants with mature adults and relate to where humankind has potential yet to develop.  Resolution of our Crisis-of-Crises demands a change commensurate with the challenge. Ross Ashby’s Law of Requisite Variety (this Second Law of Cybernetics is as irrevocable as the conservation laws of physics) strongly implies that our tinkering-to-survive is as futile as designing perpetual motion machines.  Our needed change is in the deep nature of humankind, NOT what contemporary humankind decides what to do with each individual crisis/problem. A form of Societal Metamorphosis is required – which I concluded in 1975 and whose exploration has been my life mission since.  Will it be by continuous transformation of Tadpole to Frog, or by the emergence/replacement of Caterpillar to Butterfly.

I am converging on a mixed model.  The societal butterfly must begin organizing ASAP, with the “educational” focus of UPLIFT. Meanwhile our current Tadpole must transform into a Frog appropriate to not block the emergence of NU (my name for the Societal Butterfly) and to enable replacement with minimal suffering.  This may involve some level of reform of humankind’s economic system, which unfortunately dominates the econo-centric perspective of humankind today.

  •     I propose that no transformation of contemporary humanity can achieve a “condition” suitable for survival/thrival. The future is in the hands of the Caterpillar2Butterfly conceptual scheme. If we try to morph the Frog into Humanity, we will fail.
  •     However, I don’t call for competition between the two models of metamorphosis. I recommend collaborative support of both models. The design of a future Humanity prepared for multi-millennial life is not in the hands of either models: contemporary humans lack requisite competencies. The objective of UPLIFT is to create a human population with those requisite competencies.
  •         It is not that this model would produce suffering, suffering exists and portends to increase. Societal Metamorphosis should decrease existing suffering. The 1% will initially cry that they are made to suffer. What they will lose will be the continuing ability to make others suffer. Should they chose, they could have fulfilling lives as components of NU.

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So why am I depressed.  It is biological Larry that is depressed by his addiction to a lifestyle of masked dysfunction. From some perspectives, his dysfunction is not all that masked. But, he continues living day to day, moderately healthy, free from threat. Nothing demands he do differently, other than possible financial trouble ahead and limited resources to enjoy other activities. The other two persons in his household are also highly dysfunctional, but both hiding it in daily routines – hoping for miracles to lift them from their misery. Each feign enjoying life. But we are all much better off than many on this planet.  This morning as I listened to details of the child refuges from Central American I experienced guilt for the actual comfort of my addicted lifestyle.  I speculate that all humans today are masking their dysfunction.  Dysfunction is, of course, relative to the functions lacking. If one denies the need for those functions, then they are not dysfunctional – by definition.  But, we are not solely individuals, but deeply social. Our deeply inherited social competencies are over stressed by the societal constraints of “civilization”.

Who is researching “lifestyle addiction” and means of “recovery”? I propose that shifting lifestyles requires alternative social environments designed to simulate the new lifestyle. Persons would live for extended periods in this new setting learning the new lifestyle. There are many settings that partly do this (college, military, prison, marriage, refuge camp) but none are designed for full lifestyle change. This is an analog to personal metamorphosis; not a “detox” and “return” to an old lifestyle absent a few behaviors. The UPLIFT model incorporates this process.  In a future Humanity, persons may have more than one lifestyle to alternate between.

Are new  settings/lifestyles required to breakthrough our deep denial and to seaf a viable and sufficient action strategy to meet our challenges?

What am I to do?  I compose this essay in avoidance of that question – or maybe in process of coming to solutions.