Friday, November 1, 2013

Social Engineering Requires Info on the Status of Society

Bear with the lack of paragraphs, please. One of these days, I'll do the code thing. I'm trying to look at things from the engineer's standpoint of causes and solutions. Mostly the causes so far, because the solutions (if they are to put us in harmony with nature) would be too draconian or bizarre for most people to accept. Here's a list of some points: 1. Civilization is the means we use to isolate humans from the natural risks and responsibilities of life. It works only for humans, and only temporarily (until resources are unattainable to support it). In terms of natural resources and economics, civilization is always a pyramid scheme, but some cultures (Amish) try to keep it down to one layer of bricks or so). 2. Money is a tool that accelerates resource consumption. In order to use money the way nature works with other things, the use of money needs some kind of feedback mechanism (predator-prey equations apply), and that has to be applied at the point where people choose to spend money, not on an intellectual blame level or educational level, but at the action level. This is related to "People do stuff. They have reasons for doing stuff: in that order." 3. The old saying goes, "The road to Hell is paved with good intentions." James Kunstler said, "'Efficiency' is the straightest road to Hell." Raj Patel said, "The opposite of consumption is not frugality: it is generosity." Those things add up to what I say: "All paved roads lead to Hell." 4. I will always fall back on my main theme of Net Usefulness: any species survives or goes extinct (in general) based on whether it is useful to the resources it depends on or simply a consumer of those resources. The problem with humans is that they have created an ever-accelerating extraction process that feeds usefulness up the pyramid of civilization, and we allow people who are the MOST disconnected from nature through the pyramid's infrastructure to make decisions about the flow of resources. Barbarians and farmers and naturalists are the interface between civilization and the actual world. They should be in charge of where resources are allocated (less farmers now because many are now factory managers rather than walking the wild fencerows).

Apocalypse Now

We're all Apocalyptic Now

Robert Jensen: "The claim that people are inherently greedy and self-interested is true enough, but we are also inherently bent toward compassion and cooperation. The question is which of those is dominant? If you create a system that rewards people for being greedy and self-interested, people will act in greedy and self-interested ways, but to claim that that's what human nature is, is an intellectually vapid argument." That's gotta be the Phrase of the Day: Intellectually Vapid.
The other aspect is that we have basically conflicting systems in America: we have a system of Corporate-controlled government which rewards greed and self-interest, but many systems of belief that emphasize cooperation and compassion. It is this conflict that is at the heart of our political stress, and it is fundamentally a conflict between those with resources to DO cooperative and compassionate things, and those who NEED cooperation and compassion. The solutions being presented are all about accumulating resources for greed and self-interest, then re-distributing those resources in token gestures of compassion. Better to stop the accumulation and denial of resources at the start, leaving people with the ability to act in their own compassionate self-interest locally. In other words, stop trying to get rich and start trying to live.

The Pile...

An old rant that I found in the archives.. The usual response to problems is to find a single Purpose to follow that will Solve the Failure. As illustrated by the idea that metal coin is better than paper money, or Hemp as a Solution to our energy problems. We don't have an energy crisis or political crisis. We have a consumption crisis. The same applies to the military bases, the deficits, the joblessness, and the status of our disreputable money. We get the government we purchase. Every empire has done something similiar: deceive themselves about the value of things so that the public will be sated (let them eat cake, bread and circuses, "Monsanto feeds the world", etc.). Those on the apex (on top of the piles of dead bodies) know that they only have to stay on top of the pile. They don't care what it does to the world, because their world is only the Pile. Those at the bottom of the pile of bodies are dead or dying, and they only know hunger or oppression: not Life or Law. This is the Predicament of Empires: that lack of moderation of the value of people (sometimes represented by coins or paper)that leads to some group creating a System of systems that exploits resources (including people) by controlling the perception of all value. In most empires, value is Inspired by an elite religiously-favored class (Capitalism is the worship of money, so those with the most money are the 'gods')established by Perpetual Growth and anything or anyone who defies that perception is marginalized. The System of systems is focused on its ever-expanding pile (GDP), not on any reason for the pile, nor any concerns with the future of the world that provides the resources for the pile. Only collapse of the pile will reveal that it is rotten and hollow. Even that revelation only works if the population wants to see the corruption. 9/11 blew a great big hole in the perceptions of the White Hat America, but the public didn't see the hole, and the media managed to cover it up rather quickly with lots of flags and flat screen TVs.

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

Long time no post, but there isn't anywhere else I can put this because of the last sentence, which really says it all. We're All Apocalyptic Now Robert Jensen: "The claim that people are inherently greedy and self-interested is true enough, but we are also inherently bent toward compassion and cooperation. The question is which of those is dominant? If you create a system that rewards people for being greedy and self-interested, people will act in greedy and self-interested ways, but to claim that that's what human nature is, is an intellectually vapid argument." That's gotta be the Phrase of the Day: Intellectually Vapid.
The other aspect is that we have basically conflicting systems in America: we have a system of Corporate-controlled government which rewards greed and self-interest, but many systems of belief that emphasize cooperation and compassion. It is this conflict that is at the heart of our political stress, and it is fundamentally a conflict between those with resources to DO cooperative and compassionate things, and those who NEED cooperation and compassion. The solutions being presented are all about accumulating resources for greed and self-interest, then re-distributing those resources in token gestures of compassion. Better to stop the accumulation and denial of resources at the start, leaving people with the ability to act in their own compassionate self-interest locally. In other words, stop trying to get rich and start trying to live. Getting Rich isn't making a living: it's making a killing.

Friday, May 31, 2013

Consciousness and humans

I've been having a long discussion with a friend who is convinced that there is such a thing as a non-logical conscious state. There have been a lot of other forays into that territory over the ages, such as transcendentalism, glossolalia, OOBE (out of body experience), etc.
I submit that these are simply the same phenomena as dreams are: random image associations within the human brain that are later remembered (even if only milliseconds later) as real experiences. The telltale that comes to my mind is that people don't have any externalized method of communicating such experiences other than the symbology of language (logical behavior put together by the neurosystem). In other words, the only means we have of knowing about those experiences is through some logical consciousness that assembles and describes them: a consciousness known to be full of holes and emotional and random connections that only exist sans physical reality.
The human mind is already overblown from its basic logic-function state, let's not clutter the world with wishes and dreams as though they are separate from that state.
It's like trying to suggest that Windows would run on clouds.


Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Computer Philosophy

It occurred to me yesterday that one of the reasons that it is so difficult to create a computer with artificial intelligence is that the people doing so believe there is some other kind. Once you realize that humans don't have "intelligence" that is connected in any way to the real world, you can rethink the concept of what it means to set up a model of the world and respond to the model, rather than the real thing. If the physical connections to the servos of the machine happen to go where the real universe works out for them, then you suddenly have the nearest thing to human intelligence that can be created: the illusion that your machine did something on purpose.

That damned 43%

A while back, there was a story about the distribution of wealth among people of the world. The gist of it is that 80% of the people survive on 7% of the wealth.
Mixing and matching statistics makes some interesting associations. When Mitt Romney talked about the 43% who aren't going to vote for him because they are gettin' some from the gubmint, the remaining majority (who weren't at all bothered by this, by the way...they just say "it was taken out of context" or "he could have said it better" or "well, it's the truth"), keep believing that he was talking to THEM.
He wasn't. He was talking to the 20% (and if you don't know you are in the 20%, then you aren't) who have access and control of the 93% of the world's wealth. The remaining (notwithstanding the actual set intersections for a minute) 37% who were not in the 43%, THINK that they are somehow on the way to BEING able to access that 93% of the wealth (If we just didn't have to pay those darned income taxes). They are not. They are actually just fighting with each other and the 43% of ill repute for that aforementioned 7% which the top tier is willing to write off as "necessary losses."

The problem with this contempt of the working classes is that there is really no way to quantify it properly to illustrate how far out of proportion it is to the natural world.

Imagine a big warehouse full of happy puppies, getting automatically fed just enough to keep them from yelping...day in and day out. Throw in a hungry tiger. No matter how many puppies it consumes, there are always more than it needs, and the tiger just chases the puppies around for entertainment (creates jobs for them) and when he gets bored, he shuts off the feeders and takes a nap, maybe he even takes some of the extra food (because he's been eating puppies) and uses it as a reward to get some of the bigger puppies to follow him around or chase the smaller puppies for him. We'll call them the "middle class". Put a collar on one and call it a priest, and you've pretty much got the Euro-Western idea of civilization in a nutshell. Just add marketing and noisy shiny crap to distract everyone.

Now, granted, the numbers don't accurately apply to the disparity between the West and the Third World, where the rich would take the tiger/puppy idea and actually implement it at some kind of gaming profit (financed by Harvard Investment banking...), or the massive flow of useless information filling the void between the Haves and the Have Nots in the West, who are convinced that they live in an 'advanced' society because they have running water and cars (at great expense to their own future selves). What needs to be considered in the natural world, however, is the usefulness of the actions of any species toward its own future, and the rate of change of the environment vs. the artificial stability of civilization. In other words, those whose lives are 'nasty, brutish, and short' know that their lives will continue to be so. Introducing modern ideas of "standards of living" always comes with a price: the potential loss of those artificial standards. Romney and his ilk believe that by virtue of their control over the vast majority of wealth, their lives are perfectly stabilized as far into the future as they can see with their "free market" goggles on. What they don't see is an end to economics and civilization caused by the instabilities introduced when they created their artificial world and "conquering" nature by isolating themselves from its feedback mechanisms.