Sunday, June 19, 2016

narrative truth

Narratives may be designed not to mirror reality but to elicit certain behaviors. In other words, "narrative truths" might serve to correct our innate response to the world around in context of acquired information on the individual level, somewhat like the way that our innate and acquired immune systems function on the cellular level.

Like prairie dog barks, thus for example, the idea that we as individuals are responsible for our actions is not so much a mirror of causal connections (e.g. of a homunculus that controls everything we do according to conscious logic), as it is a narrative designed to redirect our innate reactions (e.g. with paleolithic roots) into acquired reactions which work better in a high-population world. What are some other examples of this use of ideas to redirect perceptions and reactions toward more constructive ends?

Thursday, May 5, 2016

what ball to watch

Focus on the steering direction (while ignoring the pumped oscillation) of a truck that's pulling a trailer along the highway is like focusing on the individuals (while ignoring self-amplification processes associated with electronic-media attention-slicing itself) during a modern-day election and/or terror campaign. The outcome may not be what you expect, or desire.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

the medium's message

Attention begets attention. The more neolithic the content the better. The more electronic the medium, the faster.

A focus on the oscillation, rather than on our gut level response to it, may be the only way to avoid spinning out.

Unfortunately, these may not be things that folks learn to correct for in journalism school.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

banality deconstructed

In academic circles, being average (or below) is often given a bad rap. This tendency to map folks onto a linear (ordered) manifold has well-documented shortcomings, not just in academia.

Perhaps a healthier approach is to expect mediocrity, but to go beyond that to embrace its diversity. After all, average behaviors are inevitable by definition, but it takes a wide range of skills and perceptions to support the communities in which we live.

Friday, February 26, 2016

"Jerry Springer" worlds

One way to slow down population-growth may be to get folks to step back from our developing tradition of taking responsibility, as individuals, for all 6 layers of subsystem-correlation that look in/out from skin, family & culture, and instead to focus on unhinged bad-mouthing not just of individuals (thanks to Jerry) but whole subsets of our species (many more deserve thanks here), while distributing among them (to "ensure their safety") as many guns and bombs as our arms manufacturers can produce.

Electronic media, needless to say, helps to this end, but I'm hoping that there is a better path toward sustainability. What do you think?

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

no payout gambling

Folks buy a lottery ticket for a chance at a prize. If no prize is awarded, regardless of whether or not the prize money is used to sell additional tickets for a future contest award, isn't that false advertising?

How is it legal for folks to sell tickets on prize money they plan not to award, so that they can sell tickets on it again next week? Not awarding of course increases the profit margin of those selling the tickets, but what does it do to the odds that the ticket you bought will pay off?

The standard approach is to fix the odds of winning at much less than one out of the number of entries. This has the added advantage that sequential "failures to award" can bump the prize money for a new entry up, creating interest in the game. The fact that it's a bad investment is old news, while a billion dollar pot is today's news.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

neolithic media

New media sometimes elicits inappropriate neolithic responses, like fear and xenophobia, from crowds first exposed to it. A classic contemporary example of course is the role of radio in 1930's Germany.

Did development of the printing press play a role in religious intolerance on or around the Renniasance in Europe? More importantly, is the internet playing a similar role in the emergence of "conservative" extremism across the globe today?