Color, Polarization, Distributions – 3 comments

A few comments to Dan’s YW post, in no particular order.

1)  I, and I expect others, find RED as the color to signal ALERT.  Is red the universal color to signal STOP? I personally use red to both label in my calendar of DONE tasks, those activities of most importance; and in my TODO list those items I must give priority attention. I strongly object to RED being used to label negative associations, as it highlights and attracts attention to negative (for emotional first response) over positive.  I suggest you use colors that are as free as possible from other associations. I am OK with yellow and green: yellow as dying leaves and green as vibrant growth.

Although color is almost universal in developed world displays I am not sure that the new use of cell phones in other countries, such as Kenya, use color. We hope that the quality of images will improve, but that is not guaranteed. I would recommend some type of cross-hatch pattern in addition to color.

2) Two value characterization are tools – and I agree that they are often misused in creating polarization. But it is not two-value, itself, that is causing the trouble – other than it is the most frequently used, except maybe the one-valued THE (see below). The two values in complementarities, with the familiar Yin/Yang symbol or as particle/wave or determined/free – and NOT as opposites. Most people need to learn the significant distinction between complementarities and opposites.

Three and four valued systems are also just tools, and equally arbitrary – as are the four values for NETS.  Four quadrants provides a tool to facilitate thinking about the relationship between four concepts – but ANY four concepts could be used and would generate interesting discourse.  The Venn Diagram is also a useful tool and I wonder why it has been almost discarded. The Venn diagram calls attention to the interaction/overlap of the three concepts being compared. The cross-impact matrix tool of futurists can also be used as a tool when the variables become too many to be easily visualized. But, they are no more difficult to visualize as the mindmaps and other complex displays being played with today.

In that most of the systems we encounter have far more than four independent variables we are handicapped by our presentations being limited to four or five variables. George Miller’s 7+/-2 limitation of holding independent variables in mind also creates problems when attempting to represent essential complexities of reality. Vertices, faces and edges of regular solids can be used as frameworks, as the tetrahedron was recently examined here.

Our problem with the polarities of two values may be related to the way our Intuitive/Rapid/Emotional system (Elephant) is structured, as distinct from how the Rational/Slow/Conceptual system (Rider) works. Two value opposites may be hardwired into our Elephant. Haidt’s metaphor of the “Rational Rider” on the back of the “Intuitive Elephant” is useful (but also not complete).  Often we must resort to complementary systems of metaphors.  However, we can structure presentations that don’t automatically trigger emotional polarities. Much research indicates that we must first appeal to the Intuitive Emotional Elephant (which controls the tenacity of our frames) before any attention will be given to the Rational/Conceptual Rider.

3) Another distinction I believe essential in communicating complexity is to emphasize DISTRIBUTIONS (e.g. graphs) to replace the often misleading concept of NORMS or AVERAGES.   Also the highly destructive use of THE instead of A.  Politicians claim to speak for THE people about THE truth of THE economy.  An aside, Derek Bickerton claims that the first syntactic distinction chldren learn, or invent in pidgin, is the a/the distinction. This is the distinction: THE unique vs A class.

There is a strange paradox related to the inadequate use of structured visuals in almost all media, while most persons are visually oriented. And when they do, media appear to expect most people not to attend to them. For years the graphs in Scientific American lacked scales or labels for axes. I speculate that many persons transfer their fear of math to a fear of diagrams and graphs. Structured visuals require extended attention and study – a practice that must be learned and  apparently many adults have never learned it. Tools for easy creation and presentation of structured visuals have been available for over two decades. Research is needed both into why and how this aversion can be remedied.

One tact may be to display structured visuals as dynamically interactive with audio guidance. I, who like and use structured visuals, realize I need this to adequately study the structured visuals created so far for Y’Worlds. I quickly get frustrated as I don’t see why patterns there are more important than patterns missing. Coherence doesn’t come; but maybe I need to devote hours to them. I speculate that these complex structured visuals are highly idiosyncratic to their creators and don’t (yet) represent an “objective” structure. I note that persons may “like” a given structured visual  but have yet to see any detailed interaction; asking why thins and not that, etc.  I recommend experiments about how different persons perceive, process, comprehend, and report on structured visuals. Another project would be to give different people a set of terms and then compare the different structured visuals they create.

COLOR as exemplar

This was a comment composed in YW related to an excellent article on how different cultures and languages divide up the regions of the color spectrum into differed names, such a blue or green.    ———–

This is very interesting and I could devote days (even years) exploring the fractal depth of color (and sound, taste, feel, etc.) and mixtures – AND how different cultures and languages divide up our experiences of color so (when needed) we can communicate.

It has always intrigued me that we see a color spot differently depending on the other colors that surround it – a color area has no unique color experience to the human mind.  In the 1960s on an LSD “trip” I saw multicolored surfaces in continued shifting of hues. On closer study, some regions of uniform color remained constant while others shifted, then what areas remained constant shifted again and again. What LSD did for me was to block the coming to an inner, unconscious decision as to what fixed color map would be presented to consciousness. Most of my sensory experiences with LSD were of this type – a blocking of inner decision-making and my experiencing the decision process – and these experiences were always beautiful.

As to the naming of spots on a continuous light spectrum, did they look at the needs to communicate color distinctions. Visual artists obviously have motivation to have a fine grained naming of colors. Every spring I enjoy observing the new growth (e.g. leaves) from the older growth, and I would use “lighter green” from “darker green” when communicating this distinction.  That the color of new growth on different plants was different was not a relevant issue for me at the time.

This brings to mind a meta-query. How do we decide what detail is relevant to achievement of our primary objectives and what can safely be ignored? There are far, far too many domains of potential interest that can all be attended to. There will always be some to attend to each domain; but what domains call for collective attention? And, it is essential to account for individual differences – most humans are prone to assume others experience as they do, but only interpret it differently. This assumption has caused great difficulty for humankind.

For those with vision, and not color blind, color is a very important visual characteristic for presenting distinction in images. However, I frequently find others objecting to my use of color for emphasis in text as the equivalent of SHOUTING – as others also object to the use of all CAPS.  That specific colors are selected to represent different values of some other variable is a totally different issue. It brings to mind the different color levels of threat FEMA used, for which many ridiculed (not necessarily correctly). If we chose colors to represent values, we had better be sure that those colors have the same connotations for most cultures. And, if you chose too many colors you will need to provide a color key for those who will see the colors but who can’t readily attach the proper label – unless there is training for that practice. Just as some have perfect pitch and some don’t, I expect others have perfect “color pitch” and others don’t. I can distinguish two colors when they are presented together. But, show me one color, and ask me to pick it out from a set of colors that are close, I would not be able to do it. Others can do it easily. I don’t know the distribution of these competencies in populations.

SEAFNETS and enhanced Y-Persons

Conspire, breathe life together, YES, Dan.  We can go a long way towards this fantasy vision, and maybe beyond, eventually.

ALL aspects of each of our selves/WORLDS cannot yet (and maybe never) be coded in utterances (sems). Some of these may be inferred eventually by future YWorlds systems. Yet, our Y-Persons could truly be awesome.

Such a personal profile was always part of my uplift scenario, starting with with a ongoing census of relevant personal variables, to be processed as social-netwokring projects and research. This is essential for humankind making efficient use of our diversity.

This profile will quickly reveal aspects of our “selves” of which we were not consciously aware. Various forms of psychological “therapies” and “practices” do this today. Many persons, as they are today, won’t be able to comprehend themselves, so revealed.

I speculate that individuals and teams will probably not engage much, themselves, with their personal profiles. Primarily because it will take special competencies to do so that most people won’t have or can’t devote the time to learn.  Each can learn some novice competencies, but the “reesee” of the system requires a “seafnet.”

reesee = relevant, effective, efficient, sufficient, enjoyable, elegant.
seaf = support, enable, augment, facilitate

This seafnet would be a specific domain of functionalities and roles taken by a subset of the whole population. Taking off from Zuboff”s THE SUPPORT ECONOMY, seafnet would have two basic domains. ONE – The network of all personal profiles (including needs and resources of everyone) operated by persons skilled in working with such systems. TWO, small teams that personally engage individuals and teams (and their personal profiles) to assist them optimally using this system.  These “contact teams” seek matches between needs and resources with the assist of domain ONE. Zuboff imagined the seafnet (my terminology) “employing” a large portion of the human population in the future. Zuboff got no traction on her proposal.

Will this be ALIVE?  In what sense is the life-nature of biological cells different from the life-nature of multi-celled organisms, and these different from the life-nature viable communities/tribes? Athough Miiler attempts to define Living Systems as holons, there was a lif-nature to cells when there were only cells. What is the nature of the “consciousness” of each of our cells, or of a tribe? Have you ever speculated on communication with our cells – a bigger challenge than communicating with extra-terrestrial aliens.

In analogy, a seafnet can be viewed as an enzymatic system for human creative/productive/organizing/learning processes. In analogy, I see human persons as uniquely folded proteins, coupling and uncoupling. In this, the biological cell is analog for a new type of human community/tribe (involving both geographic and online proximities). Biological enzymes are a special type of protein that speeds up, and even makes possible, protein-protein reactions. IMHO a functioning seafnet is essential for the ongoing emergence to mature in the time we have in facing our Crises-of-Crises. [Do we Y-World participants not need our own seafnet, now?]

I can “imagine” persons competent to function within their enhanced Y-Person significantly different from whomwe are today. But contemporary biological time processes result in an enormous gap between what we can each do in an hour/year and what might potentially be done. There are “reports” of persons (e.g. A. Huxley) experiencing/doing much (in their minds) when only a short duration had expired – but not yet scientifically validated (we have the reports, but what do they mean?).

My crude view of the multi-millennial future of Humanity sees a separation of our inner & personally interactive lives from our integrated participation in the holarchy of Humanity. From the perspective of a future emergent Humanity, we will be as we now view our biological cells. This would actually free persons and teams to pursue their “spiritual” and artistic creative “natures”. Yet, persons may still be essential for the continued existence of Humanity and may continue to collectively play important roles in the longer term emergence of Humanity. [I can argue that wetware is fundamentally different from dryware.]

CONSPIRE:  Some persons need to experimenting with seafnets, yesterday.

The above is output from a spontaneous wave in nuet generated by Dan’s pebble.


SEMS, Whorf, and Diversity

Dan, for over a day I thought this was your writing. My Adobe reader needed upgrading and my Windows Installer is often installing something I can’t detect which blocks all updates. It cleared and I was able to view Whorf’s ancient pdf, and find the above a direct quote – and still very important.

Whorf seem concerned that we can’t have a universal language. However, since each language provides a different window on reality, and there are many, any universal language may lock us into a subset of all possible frames. If everyone has a first language that is not the universal language, it may not be all that bad.

The different scientific languages also provide multiple perspectives. Our problem is that each believes their language (and frames) are the best and most correct. We need to develop a system where diversity is primary and where there are no norms or deviations treated as objective.

You are probably familiar with my view that WE ARE WORLDS, not individuals sharing a common world. ALL that we experience and know is ourselves, we are autopoietic systems (although Maturana resisted generalizing from the biological cell). We structurally couple rather than interact, which from a new perspective may actually be more powerful. There are larger systems, only we can’t know of them directly. The unifier for this is the SEM or Latour’s Multifaceted Mobiles. Mountains may appear stable for years but they can’t be replicated. SEMS, the raw pattern, can theoretically be viewed by everyone – and we know it is the same. Interpretations will vary as to language and unique cognitive/emotive/performance competency profiles – which can be sems.

We can study the sems in stone cut millennia ago, and our sems may be viewed millennia in the future. Eventually computers can organize sems strictly as to pattern, without interpretation – although meta-interpretation may result in alternative organizations.

I speculate on a 3M, trinity, reality: Matter/Mind/Marks or Material/Mental//Media. Are molecules sems, are DNA sequences sems? Not created by humans, but repeatable structures. We need technology to read their patterns, but some might some need magnification to see very tiny inscriptions, or pixel patterns. The atom and smaller are actually conceptual artifacts, as are structures much larger than humans. What are the implications of this?

What are the implications of this for our development team, for the various stages of YWorlds, and for the rest of this century? It might be interesting as a small project to gather short sems from everyone reporting on their interpretation of a common sem. This may already be common practice in some areas of semantic analysis.

How might this impact the YWorlds proof process, of which I remain quite confused.




Constructive Review of Bruno Latour’s Visualization and Cognition

                 nuet  12/16/12

                 This 32 page PDF doc (Visualization and Cognition: Drawing Things Together) was a very exciting read, from which I took notes. I did not study the doc to the depth of every detail; I focused on how close it related to some of my insights and that it appears to have been a (if not the) seminal doc motivating Alan to initiate YWorlds. I won’t attempt to summarize Latour here. A full critique would create a doc longer than Latour’s.

I quickly realized that what Latour called “Immutable Mobiles” (IM) I had called “Semiotic Structures” which I later abbreviated as SEMS. However, Latour and I viewed this identity from different (but consistently related) contexts. IM=SEM is a core concept for Alan’s YWorld project and Larry/nuets’ UPLIFT Project.

SEM = a human created pattern in physical space that when perceived generates “meaning” in the perceiver. “Meaning” will remain a primitive for this discussion. For this discussion restrict sems to visual displays of distinct symbols on a plane (paper or screen) – texts, diagrams, graphs, maps. Different persons can agree that the patterns (the SEM) each view are identical, even when neither can interpret the pattern. Although machines can prove the identities of copies of a SEM, it remains important that human perceivers also agree on the identity of the SEM (again, not needing to agree on its “meaning”). Latour refers to this as “optical consistency”.

        SEMS can be nested: larger sems comprised of smaller sems. Sems can be linked to other sems with different types of relationships. A finite web of sems is also a sem and could be labeled/represented by a unique sem (icon). Individual sems in the web may have links also to other sems outside the web. Operations can be performed on sems giving each sem a set of values, relative to the frame of the operations. Each sem can have meta-sems attached that give “coordinates” of that sem in a network. A given sem can have more than one set of “coordinates”, depending on frames (or alternative clusterings).

        Icons for sems can be displayed on a map, arranged so as to be perceived as a recognizable pattern. These maps can be guides for navigating among sems.  The same sem can result in different “meanings” depending what sems were perceived before it. It is important to distinguish a sem, like text which can be studied and generate meaning, from an icon that labels that sem as a node in a network graph. I sense that both Latour and YWorlds confuse this distinction.

        Although a SEM or IM could be as small as a character I would consider the smallest useful SEM be what could be examined in the specious present, or while all perceptions remain in working memory.

        Single words perceived generate meaning, and can be viewed as sems. Many words in a cluster or a linear string of words also generate meaning. An icon representing another screenful of symbols could also generate meaning, if the icon is recognized.  However, having icons to uniquely represent many thousands of significant sems would run into the same problem as for Chinese ideographic languages.

Latour posits that all relevant sems can be simultaneously displayed for synoptical perception – “to be presented at once”. To me this is demonstrable impossible – even for sems related to a sub-sub-discipline. It may be theoretically possible for a vast network of all “relevant” sems to be created by machines+humans. But only very small parts can be displayed visually for synoptical examination. However, an enhanced way of displaying multiple sems – as I believe is what is proposed for YWorlds – can be very, very useful. Individuals will probably remain limited by Miller’s 7+/-2 law (of holding in mind independent ideas), teams viewing larger displays may learn to collaborate as collective minds.

Since this will be dynamic, older versions of sems must be available as well as alternative ways to display parts of the web. Think of how a graph of many points can present in a clear, useful pattern by selecting specific axes and coordinate scales.

Published in 1983 (based on years of work by Latour). I was fortunate not to have read it before I composed and presented my own doc at a General Systems conference at Asilomar in 1994: “The Fundamental Reality of Text“.  I didn’t begin to call Latour’s Immutable Mobiles “SEMS” until after 1994. A rough draft doc in QuickDoc in 2008 introduces the “SEM: One Feature of Colab Scaffolding“. Glisten, you commented in this which shows how long we have been connected. Look at the comments in the QuickDoc. It appears that my other writings about SEMS are embedded in other docs.

Latour’s focus on the mobility of Immutable Mobiles (IM) was not a major focus for SEMS, whereas the replicability of SEMS was my focus, but also mentioned by Latour.  In spite of the excellence of Latour’s doc, he gets carried away with a few aspects of this idea and leaves major gaps. This is typical of all single docs that attempt to cover vast territory, no matter who the author. Many of his gaps are not relevant to this discussion.

Latour argues correctly that advances in visualization, such as perspective, and printing which distributed duplicates of Immutable Mobiles, greatly accelerated the spread and advancement of science during the last five centuries. However, when he argues that science itself is dependent on visualization; I don’t feel he is successful. Could a population who are all sightless but with enhanced other senses never develop science? What if the camera preceded the artist’s discovery of perspective? This is not to deny the very high significance of visuals as the dominant sense for constructing reality.

I am pleased to see that my assertion that Science is the study of patterns in SEMS (data and reports) and not the study of an objective reality is also developed by Latour (my first encounter with another who shares this view).  It’s been a while since 1983, and except for a few exploratory minds, everyone still talks as if corporations, nations, peoples, wars are perceivable things – a point also made my Latour. I take this as a very important meme. All that we know about a world beyond our immediate perceivable environments are gained from SEMS (including video reports as sems).

Latour makes a good case for the importance of files and their organization and that real power resides with those who are skilled in navigating and using the files. Power appears to be an important theme for French philosophers, Foucault and Latour.  I sense that YWorlds also seeks power – which is OK if it is power to create, but power-over-others should be avoided unless absolutely necessary, as for survival.

Latour appears to ignore the cognitive diversity of humans, as do most philosophers and scientists through the ages. Some sems may not be perceived or comprehended by some persons no matter how hard they try. Some persons can have experiences that they report in a sem; but there may be others who can’t have that type of experience, so they can’t evaluate the claim in the sem. The time and study required to equip a person with competencies to gain “meaning” from all different categories of sems may mean that everyone will have domains of sems incomprehensible.

Everyone using such a system will have to trust others whose expertise is different from theirs. Everyone will have their domains of expertise.

I am not familiar with his other writings, so I speak only of “a Latour” – author of this doc. He may imply that there is only one comprehensible system of SEMS that represents a practical reality for humans today.  There are some who would question this assumption and who believe risking the future of Humanity/Gaia on this assumption may not be wise.

There may be more than one “reality” in complementarity, as in the field/particle complementarity. Physics may have its sems all fit into a single, logically consistent set; but I am not sure of biological sems and even less sure of psychological and sociological/cultural sems.

        In speculation, who can say with confidence that the (superficial) Red and Blue clusters of sems and corresponding inner woven worlds of believers isn’t a case of “multiple universes” in interference.

More critically, if the intent of this analysis is to create a new technology to bring some constituency and synergy in humankind’s distributed, collective knowledge, so we can plot a route out of our Crisis-of-Crises – then we must be clear about the sems that are most important.

Ever since the first Earth Day where I challenged my panel members whether we had to fix what we had done to the biosphere or whether we had to fix the structure of human societies that both led to the destruction and may be incompetent to do what is needed – has been an ignored sem. IMHO only when the distribution of cognitive/emotive/performance competencies of the global population have been uplifted significantly and the primary structures/processes of Civilization are replaced, can we come to resolution of our Climate Change and other crises.

Some research should be conducted as to what might be done for Gaia, but the bulk of our energy should be on better comprehending and changing human systems.

        Latour’s focus on power reflects the French concern, but also implies an eventual engagement with the old power order (which I feel we grossly underestimate its real power and high resistance to change) and ignore what might be a much more feasible route, replacement (via societal metamorphosis) instead of transformation (or a mix). Until these two alternatives are studied and evaluated it is impossible to prove which is more viable and which might be a dead end.

The above review may seem quite superficial compared with the more indepth analyses I discovered by a brief search online, some of which I provide links below. I have yet to examine these.

 Citations to Visualization and Cognition

 Chart for New Theory of Text

 Distributed Cognition: Where the Cognitive and Social Merge

 Word, Pictures, and the Unity of Knowledge

 Data Visualization and Defunct Metaphors

 Discipline and the Material Form of Images: An Analysis of Scientific Visibility

 Culture and Cognition: The Boundary of Literacy and Scientific Inquiry

 Cognitive Ethnography



Comment on: (EDM) Council’s FIBO Semantics Initiative

I enjoyed exploring the many aspects of your linked site, and downloaded it pdf. The Enterprise Data Management (EDM) Council’s FIBO Semantics Initiative. I have neither the time or competencies to explore the technological details; but I will share my first impressions.

This is obviously a product of the community of intelligent and creative, high tech people who created the technology that enabled the high financial sector to become top dog and (possibly unintentional) architect of the global financial collapse a few years ago. This system is needed for them to consolidate their power.. This being said, YWorlds should use this technology, or ideas gleaned from it, if worthwhile.

How far along is this project and will any of the details be available?  This may be far too ambitious for YWorlds as this time – I just don’t know.

Is the focus on financial data and processes an exemplar for the first intended users, but it can easily be generalized? Or, will it have structures that limit its generalization to other application domains?  ALL structures enable some domains and limit other domains. What kinds of knowledge and processes might this new technology prohibit?  Even if limiting, it could be used so long as the limitations were acknowledged and other systems used to complement.

Quick Aside: Related to YW, I just finished a book: IGNORANCE: HOW IT DRIVES SCIENCE, by Stuart Firestein. He and I agree on the new meaning of Ignorance. Ignorance, the queries and questions we have should be another set of SEMS for YW.  It is proposed that Ignorance be the top organizing system, with knowledge SEMS related to the Ignorance SEMS be linked. I intend to compose a separate doc on this.



Comment on: It’s Time to Change What is Possible on Climate

 nuet  12/16/12

        I agree that complex systems can exhibit threshold effects and tipping points; and I do not question that attitudes towards climate change may be catalyzed to tip, or shift radically. However, I query whether we are near any significant threshold (given the whole scheme of things) and whether the ClimateMeme Project (to the extent I understand its objectives and methods) will be sufficient.    

        My queries are in no way criticism and I highly encourage the Project to continue its work. May my queries suggest what may be missing and possibly later supplied by the ClimateMeme Project or other complementary projects.

        My first intro to these concepts was a 1970 paper by my faculty mentor John R. Platt: Hierarchical Restructuring, as relevant today as when I first read it 42 years ago. Many of the memes we feel are essential for the future are actually old memes. We may be missing a few critical memes, but our main challenge is that these memes become permanent residents in more minds.        

        Reading this essay triggered my memory of a seminal book I often refer to on this issue. Paradigms and Barriers: How Habits of Mind Govern Scientific Beliefs by Howard Margolis (1993), a historical study of times when a new paradigm was ready to propagate but was delayed by incidental “habits of mind” not directly related to the incommensurability of paradigms. Shifting paradigms, core perspectives, and Margolis’ “habits of mind” as studied by Margolis may be more usefully complex than our more simple views.        

        We are never obligated to use the most sophisticated strategy when a simpler strategy looks viable; but we should not settle with a simpler strategy when there are questions of sufficient action and when other strategies may be available. The specific objective of the ClimateMeme Project, “to map the meme landscape” is an essential first step in any strategy. “Habits of Mind” might be assessed as well as memes directly related to the acceptance of climate change as a threat and that we can do something about it.

I must confess that I have not delved deeply into the meme literature, as my overly simplistic view of a meme at a particle of information that could “stick” in a mind diverted me from further investigation – as well as confusingly different definitions of a meme. I apologize if these references are already known to you.

        Goggling Margolis (1932-2009) I see he published 6 books.  In 1996 he published: Dealing with Risk: Why the Public and the Experts Disagree on Environmental Issues, which appears directly relevant to the ClimateMeme project.        

        Threshold and Tipping point are metaphors, as is self-organization. I am sure you explore them at greater scientific depth. I am not yet familiar with “self-organized criticality”, but if studied by complexity researchers their work is probably using computerized models. Are there studies or real exemplars of this?  Although shifting the USA to a more healthy approach to climate change would be a significant achievement, climate change is a global responsibility and shifts for each of the populations and cultures is needed. Further, in the USA we are not working with one culture with associated paradigms but a complex mix. A census of meme complexes as proposed will help sort this out.       

        Catalyzing a shift in frames by memes, an Awakening, doesn’t immediately lead to changed behavior. For many, the shift will result in cognitive dissonance between the new perspective and the old behavior (often strongly reinforced by social networks, media, and jobs). Without explicit support for behavior change, cognitive dissonance usually is resolved by sliding back to the old perspective, to be consistent with old behavior.

        My exemplar for this comes in the conclusions in a report of a quality study on Enhancing Human Performance reported in an edited book: Learning, Remembering, Believing (1994) edited by Drukman and Bjork; the third in a series sponsored by the National Research Council.  The conclusion reported that after insuring that many leaders of organizations comprehended the results of the studies and agreed that they would make great improvements; they all declined to implement policy changes. They could not imagine any way to change their behavior within the existing climate of their organizations.        

        Recent books on the mixed roles of emotion and reason in human change questions whether the semantic content of a meme is sufficient. A meme may be like a virus, it has a simple fixed structure as a message, but when in the mind it interacts with the ongoing processes in the mind/brain, which deeply involves the emotions.

        Thinking, Fast and Slow by Daniel Kahneman and The Righteous Mind by Jonathan Haidt.

        A sequence of meta-frames for individuals (not characteristic of cultures) is what I call Adult Stage Development. This has been studied by Robert Kegan [The Evolving Self (1982), In Over Our Heads, (1994), Immunity to Change (2009)] and Spiral Dynamics [Beck and Cowan (2006)- who called their stages, MEMES.]  The higher stages are occupied by only a small percent of the human population, a fact (if confirmed) of great significance. Research efforts to move person up stages has very limited success (but stage changes may require totally new social systems as powerful embedment may block change).

        Be prepared for a shift in the “opposition” from deniers to adaptors. Adaptation to climate change is rapidly emerging as the new approach of the world elites to the reality of climate change, involving no strong effort to reduce emissions but to assist developing and developed nations to prepare for the consequences of climate change. This is more a strategy to manage the costly climate change enhanced disasters, without any real concern about worse case scenarios. This is also a strategy to accelerate disaster capitalism.

        We need to assess the best strategies to work on the larger issues of Earth Change in a milieu of Adaptation. It may be better that we not immediately attack adaptation as insufficient until its own catalyzed frame shifting settles down. It may be that we could progress better if not confrontational with those involved with adaptation; and we may be able to apply meme approaches to adaptors easier if we don’t cause them to suppress our efforts.  They will have enough trouble trying to control the hardcore deniers.

        Speculation: Obama will take the lead in the global adaptation program and become formal leader after his 2nd term.

        Ultimate success re Earth Changes requires a global population far more knowledgeable and competent than the current distribution. Human survival and multi-millennial thrival requires a rapid and significant uplift of the global distribution of cognitive/emotive/performance competencies.  Achieving this is the objective of my “UPLIFT proposal”.  One component of this project is a global census of all significant factors that contribute to the great diversity of the human population – needed to create a system that accounts for this diversity, and makes use of it.  A census of climate memes is a significant contribution. +

What is Science ?

There is the budding edge of science (Kuhn’s paradigm shifting science  vs normal science) which speculates beyond the empirical evidence.  Science practice often overlooks (and sometimes intentionally suppresses) valid data that doesn’t agree with established scientific dogma. The history of science is full of such shenanigans. I don’t personally know, but IMHO almost all of conventional science will eventually be replaced by something else, as Newtonian Science has been replaced by Quantum Science, yet most of the equations of Newtonian Science remain as good approximations for most on-Earth situations.

Kuhn’s work is itself controversial, as Social Epistemology (a discipline where these issues are explored) demonstrates.  I was influenced by Steve Fuller’s books, Social Epistemology (1988) and Thomas Kuhn: A philosophical History for Our Times (2001). The former explores the social underbelly of science and the later studies the social influences on Kuhn and analyzes the social responses to Kuhn.  Fuller appears discredited today by his studies and defense of Intelligent Design, which he claims is quite distinct from Creationism. If the designer in ID is the autopoietic cosmos itself and not some external god or force, I can cite empirical evidence that might point to this. He is excluded as contributor to Social Epistemology: Essential Readings edited by Goldman and Whitcomb (2011) – which I have not read. The discipline of Social Epistemology has recently merged with the discipline of Information Science, and this is distinct from the discipline of Science and Technology Studies.  Today there is an accelerating fragmentation of disciplines with gaps growing between them.  And, all this at a time when the belief in empirical evidence is being challenged by major corporations and politicians.

Somewhere else I commented on the limitations of models that exclude humans, so I agree with the criticism of the chemical analogy for a Global Brain. However, it is a common scientific practice to start with analogies and then attempt to modify them for new situations. Within a frame of essential complementarity (which I tentatively support) we might need more than one, logically consistent explanatory system; where only one system can be operational when situational specific.

Paradigm shifting science has many failures and a few outstanding successes.  On the other hand, Kuhn’s work has multiple interpretations and remains controversial.   Andrew Pickering’s THE MANGLE OF PRACTICE, Time, Agency, and Science (1995), and his later edited The Mangle in Practice: Science, Society, and Becoming (2008) cite detailed studies of how empirical researchers often shift many aspects of their research as they adjust process towards a meaningful conclusion. And I highly recommend his The Cybernetic Brain: Sketches of Another Future (2010) where he champion’s a process ontology over an existential ontology for science.  I prefer to use the two ontologies as a complementarity.  The upshot of it all is that the nature of science is evolving and if you look beneath the claims for superiority you will find exciting turbulence.

I don’t expect “perfection” in published documents. I have never read a doc where I haven’t noticed somethings “missing”; not so much error as incomplete.  Since so much is inter-connected, it is probably impossible to craft/compose a single document (and even a web of documents) that is complete.

I keep remembering a statement from my studies in the philosophy of science:

[extracted from an email]


Glisten, I had this insight looking at your most recent graphic model posted in Y-World, and then looking again at some of your other maps/models.

String Theory in physics was invented after I left the discipline and have yet to find a good book to give me an adequate introduction. All I know is that instead of imagining the world composed of particles and space of points and time of momentary events – they are replaced by strings. Many equations of physics blow up as a variable approaches zero, or a particle to a point. Somehow making the most fundamental entity a string of finite length avoids the infinities that so disturbs mathematical physics.  I don’t know what spaces the string are in.

What might visual maps look like if what we normally represent as nodes, with names or closed shapes we represent as strings or threads or ribbons. At places a number of strings may weave as a rope, and ropes as cables There can be knots, special weaves, and places where many threads converge..  Along a string their thickness (width of ribbons) could vary, indicating a variable value for that thread.

I have no idea whether maps with woven threads could be aesthetic or useful.

I have long avoided viewing human traits as boxes or categories. It is hard to put a person in more than 2 or 3 boxes and have that useful.  On the other had, view each person as a weave of many threads representing traits. For some traits the thread may be very, very tin – in some situations; and thick in other situations.

Our lives are complex weaves of many threads from conception to death. Our life-lines weave with other life-lines.  Wish I could visualize these.


Can the Military solve Climate Change?

The following I put in a comment re the position proposed by Channon in the video:

IMHO Channon is highly distracting from the real issue: who can make the right decisions to stop global heating and prepare for restoration? Who would tell the military (if they exist, then) what to do? The global corporate world? There are speculations that the global elite are willing to let climate change happen but make their own lives tolerable – which is what Channon’s scheme would facilitate. Although Climate Change is the most serious threat threat, primary action must be to radically change our global societal system’s decision making process, which currently must continue high profits (much from not counting ecological destruction as a cost) and exploitation. As I pointed out during the first Earth Day many decades ago, climate change is the effect of dysfunctional human systems; a point that was ignored then, and now. Human systems must be changed before anything meaningful can be done about Climate Change.

{I wanted to put this as a comment to my previous post, but I can’t figure out how to comment within my own website!}