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A washer for my thoughts?
polydad
Okay, I'm up and conscious, and according to the weather report I'm going to mildew today. Forecast is for 90F and 90% humidity.

I'm going to put off summarizing all the "rape" posts, because I have more immediate things that want my attention if I'm going to get Gabe to pennsic. If things get too rushed, I may have to forego BaitCon, and I don't want to do that.

As we've "progressed" as a civilization, we've gotten more and more thoroughly engineered. This means we've learned to make do with the minimum possible amounts of whatever's under discussion at the moment. Which in turn means as things start to break down, they will do so in more and more catastrophic ways, because the *last* time something like whatever-is-under-discussion broke down it was a much sturdier one. And the ancillary resources it relies on are also built thinner, so we'll have things breaking that we didn't expect to break.

Think about the differences between a modern car and an old one. A 1960 Chevy was a big, cumbersome, heavy boat. It also had a huge amount of room and cargo capacity, and had a lot of heavy pieces of metal to bolt things to, and the engine could be fixed by anyone who understood the basic concepts of internal combustion, had a few tools, and was willing to fiddle. Compare that to a 2005 Toyota or Honda. A quarter the mass, technically expected to hold as many bodies, but of much smaller people, and much higher "crash-worthiness" rating. But if the '60 chevy hits the '05 honda, there isn't going to be much left of the honda. And what there is left won't be fixable. The Chevy will be damaged, and some of the passengers may be dead, but a few whangs in the right places with a sledgehammer and we'll be able to use the car.

The above example might turn out to be irrelevant or meaninglessly tangential. Or just plain wrong; the last time I looked in detail at a '60 Chevy was about 1965.

The idea I'm trying to reach for is that the faith-based cultures of the 17th century that gave rise to American culture as we knew it before Ronnie Ray-gun lost his few remaining marbles and left the country to Nancy, her astrologer, and George I had a lot of underlying structure that has been dissolving since then, but we've been so dismissive of the obvious faults of those cultures that we've been tossing babies out with the bathwater. Every time we reach for a cultural value to use as a handhold, it breaks off in our hand, as per the 'over-engineering' concept three paragraphs up.

So if we want to have a culture, we have to figure out what our proper common value structure is, and sort out all those elements we were calling "propriety" back in the rape discusson. Which order decisions get made in is crucial; if we find ourselves obsessing on the propriety of Harry Potter spoilers when we need to be distributing anti-cancer drugs we end up with the next civilization having to wait until the cockroaches evolve up to the point of needing it.

Next topic: Why Management is difficult and vital.

Oh, the title: I think faster than I type, and so connecting bits often get left out when I brainstorm. The washers are to try to keep enough distance between the bits that they don't break each other.


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Good stuff, which I mostly found myself nodding away to. The only thing I'd point is that this bit ..

As we've "progressed" as a civilization, we've gotten more and more thoroughly engineered. This means we've learned to make do with the minimum possible amounts of whatever's under discussion at the moment.

.. doesn't apply to people and personalities - in general, they seem to have got more demanding, incapable and/or unwilling to make do with less. As this mismatch between our people and our technology gets wider and wider, the bigger the upcoming crunch is going to be when the latter can't support the foibles and idiosyncracies of the former.

You're right that the nature of the culture seems to be changing; in general, we seem to be getting more fearful, but also much better at neurotically denying that fear. In previous eras I guess there were more people who, to use R terminology, were type 3 or 4 immunes: either "diligent" for moral reasons, or objective reality fixated because back then there were still a large number of jobs that actually involved grokking natural systems, rather than paper shuffling, bullying subordinates, and devising nuisance marketing campaigns.

Which order decisions get made in is crucial; if we find ourselves obsessing on the propriety of Harry Potter spoilers when we need to be distributing anti-cancer drugs we end up with the next civilization having to wait until the cockroaches evolve up to the point of needing it.

There was a guy on the TV the other day who I was initially rather prejudiced against, saying that all the money spent on Kyoto and other global warming initiatives is only going to delay the (literal) global meltdown by a handful of years, and we'd be better off spending it on something more important - say reducing poverty - and presumably hoping that we think of more ingenious and effective ways of dealing with the climate change issue later. By the end I could sort of see his PoV, though any talk about money always irritates me somewhat because it's an entirely artificial constraint imposed on human society by human society; if more people realised that perhaps we could make faster progress. The most important thing to educate people right now about is probably the true nature of modern economics.

And as for any future coakroach-derived civilization, let's just hope they don't need any oil or metals. There won't be any.


Good stuff, which I mostly found myself nodding away to.

I shall remember to keep a charged seltzer-bottle handy if I ever work with you live. 8^)

.. doesn't apply to people and personalities - in general, they seem to have got more demanding, incapable and/or unwilling to make do with less.

I think somewhere in the metaphor or the communications process, we had a sign switch on us. The greater fragility you get in an overengineered product shows up even *more* strongly in modern social structures, but the method of expression is different.

BTW, I'm having trouble distinguishing between ProgStone and Reciprocality. I *think* I'm reading R, but I'm not sure; all I'm sure of is that I'm reading something I downloaded seven folders of from Alan's site.

The denial of fear is what I'm worried about; when denial breaks we'll go straight to survivalist panic in a heartbeat. I'm offhand unable to come up with an uglier scenario. If someone can *admit* fear and learn how to deal with it, that's survivable; it's when the merchantcrats start trying to bottle and sell the fear that it gets dangerous.

And the cockroaches only have to wait until the sites of our current civilizations have been subducted, melted in the mantle, and convected back up again. Roaches are endlessly patient; it just may take a few million years of waiting.

best,

Joel. Who still wishes you'd learn to use a phone, because the higher bandwidth is so much more pleasant.

I realised as soon as I submitted that the first sentence didn't come across the way I meant it - I'm obviously too tired today to compose coherently :(

.. doesn't apply to people and personalities - in general, they seem to have got more demanding, incapable and/or unwilling to make do with less.

I think somewhere in the metaphor or the communications process, we had a sign switch on us. The greater fragility you get in an overengineered product shows up even *more* strongly in modern social structures, but the method of expression is different.

Yeah, a slight concept mismatch perhaps. What I was getting at is that the resource footprint of our technological devices is generally shrinking (proportional to their capabilities, anyway), though perhaps not as fast as it could. The resource footprint of individuals however, at least in our hemisphere, seems to be on the up. Perhaps you were thinking more in terms of 'robustness'?

BTW, I'm having trouble distinguishing between ProgStone and Reciprocality. I *think* I'm reading R, but I'm not sure; all I'm sure of is that I'm reading something I downloaded seven folders of from Alan's site.

The PS is the first folder - "r0". It's not technically part of R, but was the work Alan did in corporate contexts to try to wake people up and turn them into useful programmers; it was this that got him thinking about the R concepts (as you can see if you look at the last day of the course). It's included in R to "set the scene" and to break the reader in (relatively) gently to some of the terminology, particularly the map / mapper / packer stuff.

Incidentally, it's actually 8 folders, numbered 0 - 7 - don't you just love off-by-1 errors? ;-)

The denial of fear is what I'm worried about; when denial breaks we'll go straight to survivalist panic in a heartbeat. I'm offhand unable to come up with an uglier scenario. If someone can *admit* fear and learn how to deal with it, that's survivable; it's when the merchantcrats start trying to bottle and sell the fear that it gets dangerous.

I think the peak oil thing will be like this. It doesn't matter how much oil we actually have left; if and when large numbers of people start to believe that it's going to run out, then the shit will hit the fan. Find a nice isolated cave now, and start practicing your flint-making and spear-throwing techniques! See also: Olduvai Theory.


I'm obviously too tired today to compose coherently :(

I recall a long string of similar comments from you under past circumstances. I have an alternative thought to propose; You're not *tired*; you're *weary*. Your soul is impatient to go do what its core purpose needs it to do, and you're not doing it.

Weary, of course, *feels like* tired. but it's not the same.

The resource footprint of individuals however, at least in our hemisphere, seems to be on the up. Perhaps you were thinking more in terms of 'robustness'?

No, I think I was using a different definition of "resource." The overall model I'm using is that of society-as-organism, with humans as cells and smaller social units like families and congregations and such as organs. The CCC structures we set up are partly data-buses to feed the groupmind, and also partly mindfuck powergames to feed the primate egos of the monkeys we're using to hold our brains for us. Feeding monkey egos is where it gets expensive.

The PS is the first folder - "r0"... Incidentally, it's actually 8 folders, numbered 0 - 7 - don't you just love off-by-1 errors? ;-)

Right; Alan was a mainframe programmer, and his counting starts with 0. And the poor guy has taken an awful lot of shit recently; if I still had a polyclan around me I'd be suggesting to a girlfriend or two to go make nice on him.

More talk on that later; we've got too many subjects open as it is.

Find a nice isolated cave now

That's exactly the wrong approach. I'm a social organism and that is what makes me strong; I don't *want* to go back to being a planes-ape.

and start practicing your flint-making and spear-throwing techniques!

I'm better with a bow. Spears are good for heavy game; if I have to hunt boar I want a boar-spear. But the range is lousy. Primitive tech is fun, but it's a toy, not a tool.

I'll check out Olduvai Theory and get back to you.

best,

Joel

Tired *and* weary, probably. I generally think of it this way: when we're flowing with our environments, we're constantly storing energy and building up reserves (I'm not talking blood glucose, more Taoist ch'i / R backtime effect "budget" - did you see my "reality roulette" model I posted a while back?); when we're fighting them, we run those reserves down to zero and eventually our health collapses.

My reserves are still pretty low; I'm gradually rebuilding them, but my environment is still sucking more of them than I'd like, and unfortunately to change the energy-sucking environment one needs .. energy. Nasty Catch-22. I'm think I'm slowly winning, but nothing's going to happen overnight unless I'm very lucky (and I'm working on that).

Another way to think of all this sort of thing is in terms of Leary's 8 circuit model. Most of my 4 or 5 lower circuits are imprinted in loser mode; fortunately I'm more positive about the final three, but one can't do magic at the drop of a hat - bandwidth is limited, and if one has squandered one's budget previously, it takes a while to rebuild.

And yes, my soul is undoubtedly impatient; I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing because I don't know what that is yet - all I have is a long list of things that it's turned out I'm not supposed to be doing. I've got one or two vague clues, but I need more clarity and precision, or at least spare energy to experiment with, before I'm prepared to initiate any substantive action.

My pervading feeling at the moment is still that I'm on the wrong planet, or that I've just lived too damned long. My Dad seemed to get to my current position in his mid 50s, at which point he up and died, something I don't think was coincidental. Incidentally, shedding one's fear of death in this way turns to out to have useful practical consequences: it eliminates all the psychological hysteria generated by threatening physical situations; even though the hormonal fight-flight thing is retained, the mind remains calm (and for some reason often actually slightly contemptuous!)

did you see my "reality roulette" model I posted a while back?)

Yes. Still reading the Stone Society, though.

when we're fighting them, we run those reserves down to zero and eventually our health collapses.

I did that; it sucks.

My reserves are still pretty low; I'm gradually rebuilding them

Good luck, and let me know if there's a way I can be of help.

How do you "work on" luck?

Leary's 8 circuit model

More homework. Thank you, but don't expect responses any time soon.

I'm not doing what I'm supposed to be doing because I don't know what that is yet

My project-manager soul tells me this project is in assessment phase, the goal of which is to create the specification for the project. So figuring out what you're doing *is* what you're supposed to be doing. Not sure if that's helpful or not...

I'm on the wrong planet

Which planet would you prefer to be on, and how do you intend to get there? Mars emigration seems like the only workable option to me; I can babble on at great length about this if you're interested, and there's even a way to turn it into a money-making project for *right now* that could generate greater resources for doing more mundane and immediate things with.

I've just lived too damned long.

If true, how would you tell? According to my Mom, I was born an old man and have been getting steadily younger since then. My own take on mortality is that the Universe was here a long time before I got to see it, and will be here a long time after I'm gone, and so what I get of Life is a brief explosion of light in the middle of the darkness. I'll get all the darkness I can handle later on; the question is what I can do with the light while I have it.

shedding one's fear of death in this way

I don't think I've ever actually *feared* death, it's just not what I want to be doing any time soon. Having said that, I recognize that I've got a clamp on a lot of emotions, and thus don't *feel* them even if I'm experiencing them. When I went rock-climbing 30 years ago, losing my grip on the rock caused an *amazing* feeling of fear, even though I knew I was on belay and wasn't going to fall any further than eighteen inches, and then dangle on the rope from my bellybutton and look foolish. As it was, I was afraid of falling, not dying, and responded by sticking my head into a crack in the rock and twisting it. Head-jamming is not a recommended climbing move; it makes it impossible to see where to go next. Good for resting the hands, though.

best,

Joel. Wishing positive energy upon you, possibly in the form of good Italian cooking.

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