Saturday, February 1, 2014
Reductions to code that fail to give folks credit for this adaptability shortchange them. Thus cartoonifications of people for better and for worse may be bound to fail, if used naively to guide the design of societal structures.
What examples pop up in your mind of judgement failures, concerning both values we might have expected folks to have, and values that we might have expected folks to not have? Examples of such failures might be worth listening to from folks with a wide range of vantage points on what worked, and what didn't.
Monday, January 6, 2014
Alas as you might be noticing with the news in the past couple of decades, constructive-synthesis doesn't automatically happen. It turns out however, that clues to a constructive-synthesis are already available thanks to insights from many different walks of life.
In this note, therefore, let's discuss how to assemble those elements into something that works as sustainably as possible. What would you do first?
Saturday, December 21, 2013
In a complementary sense, social consensus may also be seen as an evolved survival trait for groups of organisms as well as a skill on the part of individuals. Social consensus in principle can give the group many eyes, many arms, and many brains!
Like most patterns of behavior it is also a double-edged sword. Thus for better and for worse, it has provided a path to domestication for many large mammals in today's human-communities (cf. Diamond 1999).
Consensus itself is also inherently inward-looking. Consider for example (cf. Kuhn 1962) the challenge of paradigm-change in science: Like organisms in a maze, consensus scientists may be good at working the system but have no reliable way to learn about the big picture i.e. about places where the particular maze they are running falls short.
Thus the perception of "experts in the old", i.e. the authorities of consensus, may understandably miss better paths that start below the point on the hill to which they've already climbed. This is a shortcoming that consensus communities should keep their eyes open for...
Wednesday, October 2, 2013
This self-isolated population, moreover, might be particularly difficult to reach except by information that is delivered in a package which likewise exploits that addiction. Looks like we've discovered yet another means by which humans can (by just following their natural instincts) inadvertently guide a social-system toward collapse.
Saturday, September 28, 2013
Monday, July 1, 2013
One of the phone companies has been running a series of commericals which falsely pretends: (i) that wireless TV is a new thing, (ii) that they invented it, and (iii) that it is difficult for kids to live without it. This is odd, since TV in our house was wireless from the beginning and still is.
Moreover, not once did I (or my kids) ever ask to take advantage of its wireless nature by moving the TV to the garage or to the closet. Is it really OK to pay children to broadcast a self-servingly false history of communications technology in this way?
What does it suggest about the technical competence and/or professional ethics of the people responsible for such uses of electronic media? Is this an occasion to ask advertisers to flag: (a) the audience they are targeting, (b) the soft spots within the target audience they are trying to hit, and (c) the places where technical and historical observations are being distorted to falsely-inflate the status of the organization running the ad.
Friday, May 31, 2013
- pursuit of food (H),
- fear-based avoidance and/or camouflage (F),
- intra-species fighting for territory or mates or belief-systems (A),
- aggression-redirected toward e.g. pair-bonding, bauer/sports, or xenophobic-treatment of outsiders (R),
- imitation of high-status individuals, which as above may also involve denigrating others (I),
- humor and "the joy of the aha!" in model-selection (C),
All of these response-modules seem to have been naturally-selected for good reason in the worlds of our ancestors. However in the world of today they also play into the way populations as a whole respond to electronic-communications (like radio, TV, and the internet) which did not exist in ancient times.
If electronic-communications can neurophysiologically associate (e.g. by repetition) certain desired sensory-patterns and/or behaviors with these fast-reaction modules above, then they can elicit reactions that after-the-fact modules (like the PR-module mentioned below) will naturally help institutionalize e.g. by reduction to memetic-code.
After-the-fact and hence "slower-by-comparison" modules might instead involve:
- public-relations or "knower in charge" self-narrative construction (P),
- prefrontal-cortex reasoning in general (L),
Somewhat illogical (L) but none-the-less successful examples of modern-world uses for these "modules with ancient roots" include:
|(meta-stable) "diamonds are forever"||R,I||created a tradition that expanded a mining-industry|
|cigarettes placed in movie actor hands||I||helped start nicotine-addiction among tobacco-industry customers|
|"king of beers"||H,I||helped start alcohol-addiction among brewing-industry customers|
|guns & terror on TV||F,R,I,P||excellent stimulus to arms-industry sales|
|bottled-water commercials||I||popularized water-in-plastic where high-quality tap-water was basically free|
|"four-cheese" as a good thing||H||excellent stimulus to the dairy & fast-food industries|
|rhetoric of mono-cultural superiority||F,A,R,I,C||politically-incorrect comedy, isolationism, and worse...|
|academic self-aggrandizement||I,P||grants/publications as ends, rather than as tools to apply/refine|
and what else?