Jason (& Michel), I appreciate your referencing me in the email dialog between yourself and Michel (on 7/1/17). Yes, one of my themes is the inadequacy of the human brain (evolved for tribal situations) to cope with the Magnitude/Scope/Complexity of 21st Century reality.
Another relevant theme is the enormous cognitive diversity in the contemporary human population; both due to brain variations and to variations of developmental environments. It is grossly inappropriate to imagine an “average” human; yet we all do this most of the time. Many populations of humans today live within cultural belief systems that others attribute to the far distant past. Many humans don’t “live in the 21st century”.
Whatever changes we may consider proposing, on this naive view of humankind, would quickly be made moot should a project to significantly UPLIFT the global human population be implemented. Likewise, our forecasts of recommended programs for change will remain highly uncertain so long as we ignore the massive cognitive diversity in global humankind. What do we really know about the distributions of relevant traits, knowledge, attitudes, beliefs, competencies in the global population? We desperately need a global census on relevant dimensions (which, to specify/determine, would be an additional challenge).
When we explore alternative economic or value systems, as Jason and Michel are discussing, we shouldn’t limit alternatives to only those that can be implemented within the global population configured much as it is today – where the different distributed sub-systems are somehow transformed to a new distribution of much more viable and compatible sub-systems.
One alternative is that a target population chooses to radically bootstrap-change itself, in semi-isolation from the rest of humankind. They can apply innovations impossible to implement in human systems dependent on significant relations with global humankind. If this model is successful, persons in general humankind could be attracted to and assisted in shifting to the nu emergent humanity. I call this model: UPLIFT to Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis (Up2Met). In Up2Met, most of the societal institutions in global humankind are not transformed to be part of the nu, emergent humanity. I believe it could be “proven via simulation” that Up2Met has many viable variations; whereas reforming contemporary humankind into a viable humanity is “impossible”.
I don’t have time or background to study and engage with our email dialog – although I am sure I would find it interesting. I have probed to a few fractal levels in a few domains – essential to comprehend “depth” as compared to “scope”.
CRITIQUE OF VALUES ARTICLE
My critique is not traditional. “Value in the Commons Economy” is impressive -in its openness to diversity and acceptance of uncertainty. However, it is deeply constrained within “traditional contexts”. Within this limited context, the article has “value”.
Our paradox is the destructive competition between (1) Here&Now, practical & pragmatic, “solutions” to current “problems” and (2) longer-term “processes” exploring “solutionateques” to “problemateques”, and actualizing our vast potentials to begin our relevant participation in our own evolution/emergence. See: Nu Genesis. There is also a massive literature critiquing economic theories and other social science. A recent example.
I skimmed the 50 page PDF article and was impressed by the references and historical information. All of this is what I labeled “top traditional contexts” – and is the best of what humans can do at that holon level of analysis (which, to most, appears far too comprehensive and abstract). The other/larger contexts, I imply, relate to alternative realities – such as if humankind were vastly uplifted in knowledge and competencies – with a common base and yet with very wide diversity.
Each era in human history lacks fundamental insights that are common in future eras. Even when we speculate on what future insights might be key for the next era, beyond our own, we find it very difficult trying to influence contemporary process to anticipate gaining new knowledge and competencies, for future decisions and actions.
Elsewhere, I have cited The Apollo Program as a possible exception, even if within the much simpler domain of physics and space travel. With its objective of putting men on our Moon and returning them safely to Earth, it started without the requisite knowledge and competencies to actualize that objective. An explicit part of the Program was to UPLIFT the knowledge/competencies of NASA to achieve its mission. This objective was different from objectives set and actualized when confronted with war, such as for WWII. The Apollo Program was VISION MOTIVATED, not survival pushed.
Given the threats and challenges of Earth Changes (well beyond Climate Changes) mixed with the seemingly epidemic of human madness and dysfunction, we encounter barriers and resistance, as well as the lack of imagination. [NOTE: The exceptional weirdness of individual leaders (Trump, Christie, McConnell, Putin, etc.) is masking for the public and MSM commentators the greater puzzle as WHY & HOW our “peoples and systems” put and keep them in power. Humankind is far from what we believe it to be.]
One obvious limitation to a general theory of value, is how the field of what might be valued has enlarged over history, and deferentially in different populations, societies, and cultures.
I found the focus (in the longer article) on the identification of value masking the issues of how value is used, and how values change within persons, communities, and societies/cultures. This includes two features of value use that has concerned me for decades, that are not mentioned and I believe brings into question the whole dialog about value – that it is “out of context”.
The missing “contexts” relate to the complex “whole” of a dynamic, evolving & emerging, diverse humankind. It will be very challenging to rectify this deficiency because the best of our “interactivity technology” (as “advanced” as it is, and “rapidly” changing) remains grossly inadequate (by lack of imagination) to meet the real needs of humankind. Part of this is due to our limited comprehension of the Magnitude/Scope/Complexity of issues (and their interactivity) related to emergent humankind. Part is due to intrinsic/systemic limitations of human brains and social system for humans to perform in accordance with idealistic & simplistic (mythological) models of humans and “humanity”. Our cultural/social/societal emergence has been too “successful” and has out-stripped our ability to adequately function within what we have enabled to emerge.
I believe humankind has the potentials to transcend this Crisis-of-Crises; but it will require “us” to accept our “reality” (including what we don’t know) and make long-term survival/thrival TOP PRIORITY. This includes acceptance that a rapid mass conversion of large populations is impossible, and that an emergent strategic enterprise is needed – utilizing the best of our collective knowledge/competencies, well aware of our limitations and deficiencies. We are as children, without parents.
The two missing features are:
1) VALUE IS NOT TRANSITIVE. This has been known by some economists, but relegated to the back burner because it invalidates most of the mathematical processes used by economists. Yet, humans and human system treat the relativity of value as if it is transitive. TRANSITIVE: If A<B and B<C, then A<C.
[I first learned of this from Nobel economist Kenneth Arrow at a six week summer symposium at Stanford in 1967.]
2) WE CAN “OBJECTIVELY” RANK (by value) ONLY ONE VALUE (or attribute) AT A TIME. Multiple dimensional entities cannot be objectively ranked or referenced – which requires subjective “weighing” of different variables. I have yet to encounter this issue discussed. Yet, this FALLACY is practiced by all humans and probably hard wired in our brains (essential for survival in time of immediate crises).
How is the “common good” defined? Especially, how are values of “stability” ranked with values of “improvement”, when improvement requires some instability – which puts a price on those who would be “hurt” due to instability. Today, there is much talk about the positive nature of DISRUPTIVE TECHNOLOGY. Can a society be “managed” so that the “well-being” of every person is optimized, even when some are forced to change life-styles because of disruptive technology? Examples: (1) education and new jobs for coal miners and (2) what if robotics and automation makes human employment unnecessary to maintain our material infrastructure?
DIFFICULT CHALLENGE: Might the future “survival/health” of Humankind/Gaia be best served by a radical reduction in the global human population? What if such a radical reduction were “proven necessary” for the survival of humankind? This is the ethical “trolley decision”, amplified. Might this already be the “game plan” by a cabal of psychopaths, facing the “reality” of Climate Change?
RE: JASON’S EMAILS
TRIBAL vs NOMADIC
To me, nomadic is mobile tribal vs stationary tribal. The paradigms of home/place vs mobility/migration calls for deeper study. Our comprehension of the changes from tribal to societal is in it infancy. Yet, in every era and culture, their inner “WRLD“, at that time, is believed to be nearly TRUE and UNIVERSAL Our processes, policies, and practices are as relevant as our beliefs, assumptions, and theories.
I have yet to reply to your many emails. I use the term “semiotic”, yet – not having explored the expansive literature on the concept. I anticipate revolutionary insights (akin to Relativity and Quantum in physics) about Language and Meaning. Meanwhile we play in the sandbox. Except, that the sand is composed of a vast diversity of symbol forms arranged in equally diverse systems of spatial/temporal patterns.
For decades I have speculated that we need a radical change in our visual language representations.. I am awed by the tenacity of older forms, such as these linear symbols in lines; and the resistance to explore the many potentials available with our rapidly emerging digital technology. The lack of imagination is shocking, to me. Personally, I am severely handicapped by our “unimaginative” information representation technology! I speculate much of this limitation is due to the economic factors limiting innovation to short term gains. Almost all sponsored innovations make no learning demands on potential users. Blind marketing dominates. Also, small individual innovations are never adequate and there are no mechanisms to coordinate the emergence of a new visual representation system for languaging – a system-of-projects well beyond the MSC of space exploration, or materials science. .
BLOCKING CHANGE – OPPRESSIVE EDUCATION
This is not an explicit topic in your dialog, or in most online dialog. Yet, to me, it SCREAMS LOUDLY behind the scenes. The gross inadequacy of humans to effectively learn and organize is “criminal”, yet “natural”. Pundits pontificate about the takeover of public education by charter schools, while ignoring the gross inadequacy of “education” AT ITS VERY BEST. Evaluation of education is limited to comparison; never as to objectives or goals (which are warped to match performance).
Civilization – the current mode of social/societal organization – depends on the suppression of optimal phenotype actualization of genotype. This is unique to the human species. I have written, extensively – elsewhere, on this issue. I believe this has “evolved” for the pseudo-survival of societal institutions. An knowledgeable/competent/organized public would never tolerate the organizational practices of “civilization”.
Also, the MSC (Magnitude/Scope/Complexity) of any “endeavor” to “right this crisis” is beyond the imagination/capacity of contemporary humans – WITHOUT A SPECIAL PUSH.
Up2Met is a crude, rough draft of a proposed strategy to Actualize the Impossible: Quickly and Radically UPLIFT the distribution of knowledge/competencies of global humankind, to insure the multi-millennial survival/thrival of humanity/Gaia.
MY CONTRAST – Alt Perspective
I believe that, it can be dangerous, to elevate one (or a few) “basic” principals to dominance – leading to a strongly biased perspective of a larger reality (with many more independent dimensions). Such tactics can be useful, when these limitations are acknowledged.
Five decades ago I shifted primary priority from “economics” to “education” as “THE” most important domain for human futuring. Economics (with finance, money, and business) is the dominant domain today – with much thinking reductionist to this domain. Thus, in the Here&Now, we can’t avoid engaging from an “economic perspective”. However, we have the option to concurrently engage more than one domain.
For the far future, after we dodge the Climate Change Bullet, I speculate about one alternative societal system, where economic issues have been optimized and relegated to invisibility (not usually consciously attended to). In my 1975 unpublished manuscript, MISSION_2000, I proposed a two level economic system: Basic Needs and Gourmet.
Using Big Data (no longer a threat to basic privacy), algorithms personalize needs (both present and future) and facilitate automated production/distribution system to optimally meet the personal needs of everyone. The production of some products may be best centralized at a few specific locations and the products distributed. Other products would be produced at localized, automated stations. Access to this Basic Needs System is “free” to all humans. The system is long-term and ecologically sound. Example: basic food needs production is isolated from weather variation, and may use insects and single cell components to produce nutritious food, processed for pleasant eating.
I envision coordinated teams of persons, with interests in these system, monitoring and managing them. The public would have access to making recommendations and be occasionally polled about possible changes. Such an automated system MUST be “supervised” to ensure “the system” doesn’t mold the “people”, or that small groups don’t attempt “control”. These are issues of “democracy” far beyond contemporary imagination.
The Gourmet System seafs (supports, enables, augments, facilitates) individuals and teams producing (goods & services) to specific criteria and creativity, for self and gifts. This would include specialized food production (with limitations on killing animals or damaging environments) and craft making of “things”. A future “Internet” would seaf exchange.
A “healthy future humanity of “minds/bodies embedded in viable social/cultural/societal systems” is beyond our best contemporary creative imaginations. This “beyond” is essential to sustain emergence. Contemporary “entertainment” and “possession” addictions will be replaced. Ideas and their representations will replace the material “things” of today. Material things will continue to be valued, but in moderation. A version of the “economic perspective” will arise to assist in the “exchange of ideas”.
“CHANGE” will be experienced and conceptualized quite differently than we do today. We must learn to be open to the exciting challenge of actualizing potential. We must not demand insurance of a concretely imagined future “state”, transformed from our current “state”.
In this different future, the well-being-over-time of the Human Holarchy become our primary motivation. By Human HOLARCHY, I mean not only persons, but also the well-being of relationships, groups, families, communities, societies, orgs, etc. – all in balance with Gaia. By “education” I mean much, much more that what is done by our best educational institutions today.
I go so far as to speculate that our contemporary Crisis-of-Crises will not be resolved by initiating any economic changes, without prior, massive changes in the knowledge and competencies of the whole global population. The future won’t slowly evolve from economic to educational, but the shift to UPLIFTing persons (I avoid the term “people”) to new, levels of knowledge and competencies, requisite for our survival/thrival, must be intentional and strategically systemic.
The PATH (plans, strategies, scenarios, projects, etc.) from “now” to “when” must be organic/emergent (yet with creative design). How these memes appear/modify/distribute will be empirically influenced; based on our new knowledge about ourselves and by avoiding false myths about “human nature”.
The physical resource cost (and environmental damage) for UPLIFT should be much less than the resource cost of “material” economic transformation (without UPLIFT, were it even possible). Once UPLIFTED, the global population would be willing to LIVE-LITE on Earth for a few decades and contribute their coordinated, creative efforts to begin reversing the damages of Climate Change.
This shift should be more than a desperate effort for survival. It might also be viewed as the “birth” of a viable HUMANITY, from the yet embryonic humankind, now gifted with Consciousness and Agency. From an alternative metaphor, this shift is the Cultural/Societal Metamorphosis from the caterpillar (humankind) to the butterfly (humanity). The radical differences between butterfly and caterpillar will be also expected in radical differences between humanity and humankind. Just as the caterpillar can’t imagine the butterfly, so we in humankind can’t fully imagine humanity.
In the current rise of migration, we might view Up2Met as migration-over-time from humankind to humanity.
CREATIVE FREEDOM AND AGENCY
The conceptual schemes about “creative freedom and agency” will be radically different within humanity as within humankind.
Within humankind, the simplistic notion of freedom is about each person being able to “freely” chose between alternatives; “free” from outside influences. Today, our “freedom” is more the avoidance of others telling us what to do, than our having choices of alternatives. Each person’s “deep self” should be “fee” to “consciously chose”. This perspective has many fallacies which I won’t discuss here.
Freedom for Humanity involves three essential features:
1) The literal freedom to pull any of the levers, or chose from alternative choices, without outside influence at the moment of choice or threats. We also assume that the choice is accurately recorded and properly processed. We are not insured to “get what we chose”, as that depends on “objective reality”.
2) That the list of choices are of ALL that are relevant; and presented in a way that the distinctions can be accurately comprehended. In humankind, the list of choices is always limited and their distinctions confusing.
3) Each person has the knowledge/competencies to comprehend their alternatives, have the competencies to actually chose, and understand their freedom to chose – without fear of direct consequences for their choices. Most humans in humankind lack these requisites and are often propagandized to believe they don’t need them.
Free Creativity applies only to spontaneous cognition, not to direct responses to stimuli.
All S/R behavior is deterministic, part of the determinism being the momentary states of our brains/bodies as the moment of stimulation. Those “momentary states”, may – in turn – have been deterministically modified by recent activity. WE participate in the choice, not from conscious will, but from our biological state at that moment, interacting with the stimulus. Brain studies reveal that we become consciously aware of making a decision a short moment AFTER our brain signals a decision has been made. The experience of conscious choice is an illusion.
We sit doing nothing, our “mind wanders”, a new idea emerges: “pops to mind”. Most of such instances are deterministic to internal stimuli or external stimuli, not noticed.
I speculate that we can truly have AGENCY, through the EMERGENCE of a new thought/idea, not “caused” by any event in our brain or world. Our mind/brains are dynamically active, changing in “emergent” ways (not strictly causal). Sometimes new connections can be made, spontaneously creating new patterns – which can have impact on our whole. I have labeled this “creative holistic determination”.
After a shift occurs, the processes are probably highly deterministic – but in very complex ways. Essential “creativity” may be necessary in establishing new behavior routines, but when we are “creating” we may be deterministically apply these practices (which had resulted from creativity). [The artist, Robert Fritz, introduced me to this distinction between creativity and creating. We can learn “creating”.]
CHOOSING OUR FUTURES
I firmly believe that OUR FUTURES are not classically determined (unfolding on a linear temporal path) nor definitively influenced by Here&Now creative interventions. I reject these alternatives, primarily on aesthetic reasons. I believe “reality” has the essence of whim, humor, aesthetics (beauty), creativity, love (essential bondings); but also a type of “stability” to not “go haywire”.
Most of our choices are to gain in the near future, the front edge of our Here&Now. This has been the situation for all life on Earth, until recently. Choices in the Here&Now accumulated over very long time intervals, via “natural selection”, resulting in an increase in the complexity of systems. Choices in the Here&Now were never done with intent to influence the distant future (or even near mid-future).
However, patterns were established that influenced distant futures. Primary was care of progeny, to improve their survival and propagation of their species.
Our choices in the Here&Now, should be taken not to determine the future. They are taken to enable our full freedom for wider choice opportunities at future moments. Without such earlier choices we would often be faced with situations where we are unprepared to chose some alternatives, because their availability depended on earlier choices we failed to make.
We shouldn’t attempt to design big future STATES. We should attempt designing processes that will seaf choices in our sequential Here&Nows, so as to increase and improve our fields of choices, our abilities to competently chose, and our literal freedom to make choices.